Skip to main content

The latest ArcGIS Online updates for K-12 education

Every few months ArcGIS Online is updated to include new features and enhancements to allow users an improved user experience. Discover the latest updates released in December 2020.

Happy New Year! ArcGIS Online was updated in December 2020. Just in time for you to try some new things with your students. Explore the latest features and enhancements that are relevant to K-12 education.


A major update to ArcGIS Online is that it now enforces https everywhere. If a resource of yours or someone else's is suddenly not showing properly, this may be a cause. You can easily see if a resource is using https by checking the URL. Most browsers also have a visual, such as a lock icon, to indicate that a website is secure and using https. If you have any questions about updating your resources to work with https, contact us

"HTTPS, short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol for Secure communication, allows for the secure transmission of data, both incoming and outgoing, between a client, such as a web browser, and the server. " ArcGIS Online FAQ

Story Maps

Some of the latest story map updates from December 2020 include:

Map actions allow you to make your story map more interactive by setting up an experience for the users. One example is creating a link in your text that goes to a specific location on the associated map in a slide in the story map.

Map actions make your story map more engaging! Try creating some in your next story map.

Story navigation allows you to have sections set up in your story map in the form of a navigation bar created at the top of the page. This tracks a reader’s progress through a story by highlighting the current section. A new addition is the sidecar headings and the credits headings that are included in the list of navigation anchor points that can be enabled as story navigation links.

Using the sidecar option, you can now include headings and credits in the navigation.

The Living Atlas

World Imagery Wayback

Wayback imagery is a digital archive of the World Imagery basemap, that includes more than 100 different versions of the map archived over the last 6 years. With the World Imagery Wayback app, you can browse for changes in your area of interest and create a map. The Swipe mode is a newly added capability that makes it easy to compare selected imagery from different dates.

Using the Wayback app, find a location in the world to compare.


The Web Designer has some new enhancements. The Analyze page now provides additional methods to display number questions, as well as to set custom number ranges. In addition, there are options to customize scoring or hide answers, for ranking questions.

Educators - access free ArcGIS Online resources to get started or to continue your GIS journey.

Happy Mapping!

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Resource Developer on the Esri Canada Education and Research team. She has over six years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela is responsible for producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum specific resources, conducting and creating custom workshops for educators and judging and developing the question for the annual GIS Skills Ontario competition in Waterloo, Ontario. Angela has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Western Ontario and completed the Applied Digital Geography and GIS certificate program at Ryerson University.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander