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5 tips on how to advance search for content in the Living Atlas

Looking to go beyond the basic search filters in the Living Atlas? Learn how to apply these 5 advanced searching techniques adopted from ArcGIS Online.  

The Living Atlas is a one-stop shop that showcases curated environmental, infrastructure and demographic geospatial content around the world that can be viewed as an insight tool in the form of web maps or be plugged into customizable apps as a feature service. Given the plethora of information available on the Living Atlas, it can sometimes be challenging to narrow down a particular item of interest.

Screenshot of the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World home page

The Living Atlas website provides some basic ways to filter items which includes specifying sub-categories under the 7 main categories (Trending, Basemaps, Imagery, Boundaries, People, Infrastructure and Environment), filtering by the item type, last modified, region (i.e., country) and Esri-only or Authoritative-only content. Although these basic filters would suffice for a quick search, the search results can be further narrowed down by specifying certain fields and terms in the search bar.

Query your search results in the Living Atlas using fields and terms

An advanced way to search for items directly in the search bar of the Living Atlas, similar to searching for items in ArcGIS Online include querying by fields such as the title, owner, tags, item type, categories, time period and more. After specifying the field name followed by a colon, the desired term can be entered. Multiple field-term groups can be grouped by separating the components with a space, which is equivalent to the logical operator “AND” set by default. The 5 examples include:

  1. If the owner of the item and item type are known, they can be grouped:
    Screenshot of search field looking up: owner:esri_canada type:Web Map
  2. If there is potentially more than one owner, the “OR” operator can be used:
    Screenshot of search field looking up: (owner:esri_canada OR owner:esrica) AND type:Web Map
  3. If a term includes more than one word or for more accurate results, use quotations:
    Screenshot of search field looking up: (owner:esri_canada OR owner:esrica) AND type:Web Map AND title: “Active Wildfires”
  4. If the title of the item is not known, search for the term in the description or tags:
    Screenshot of search field looking up: owner:esri_canada AND (description:emergency OR tags:emergency)
  5. If the creation date of the item is known, query using a range of dates expressed in UNIX time. The range used in the example is from Jan 1, 2020 to Jan 1, 2021:
    Screenshot of search field looking up: tags:emergency AND created: [0000001577906960000 TO 0000001609529360000]

Alternatively, items can also be searched using a Twitter-based style using ‘@’ to indicate the owner and ‘#’ to indicate tags:
Screenshot of search field looking up: #fire by @esri_canada

Give these 5 tips a go and see what you can find!

If you have any inquiries or would like to nominate any Canadian content for the Living Atlas, please contact the Living Atlas Curator at Esri Canada, Farah Hoque.

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

About the Author

Farah Hoque is the Living Atlas Curator at Esri Canada dedicated to curating insightful Canadian content. She has a Bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences and Technology from University of Toronto, a Master’s in Predictive Modelling and GIS from York University and a Certificate in Applied Digital Geography and GIS from Ryerson University. Farah is a strong advocate of applying data-driven solutions and geospatial analysis to solve the world’s most pressing problems. In her spare time, Farah loves to paint, discover new music artists, work out and explore different cuisines.

Profile Photo of Farah Hoque