Skip to main content

ArcGIS Online Terminology Overview Part 2

Do you want a quick reference to help understand our mapping and application products? In this second portion of our terminology blog, we will review some of the key words pertaining to Web Maps and Applications. 

Part one of this blog series covered general ArcGIS Online organizational terms, along with items and layer types. The purpose of this segment is to help you better understand web maps, web scenes and online applications.  

Mapping Online 

Web Map: A dynamic and interactive product used to visually represent geographic data. A web map contains a basemap, data layer(s) and navigation tools to pan and zoom. 

More about Web Maps  

  • Layers can also be added directly to the map, along with layers and basemaps that are referenced externally. 

  • Web maps are viewed through the Map Viewer which allows users to create, view and tailor their map all in one place 

Web Scene: Is geospatial content that is visualized in a 3D mapping environment. It allows you to render, analyze and share your data in an interactive environment called Scene Viewer. There is an option to choose a global or local scene to best display your data, such as global weather patterns.  

What is a Scene composed of? 

  • Layers — this would be your geospatial data with styles and configurations suited for your purpose. 

  • Basemap — this provides the background and geographic context within your scene. 

  • Ground — the terrain with elevation data that can be turned on and off. 


ArcGIS Experience Builder: A configurable GIS solution for constructing powerful web applications that can support both 2D and 3D data. You can choose from a template or start from scratch to connect web maps and widgets across multiple pages. Along with optimizing for various screen sizes, you can also build custom themes through minimal development to extend your apps potential! 

ArcGIS Dashboards: These are single-page dashboards that display data in a format that makes it easy to comprehend. They’re highly configurable with a variety of ready to use tools like maps, charts, lists and gauges to name a few. They enable users to quickly convey information by presenting dynamic results as their audience explores the data.  

ArcGIS Hub: Is a platform for engagement that helps to organize and distribute information from an organization into their community. This solution allows users to share their expertise and data in a practical and meaningful way that can enable collaboration and support various initiatives. 

  • ArcGIS Hub is available at two license levels: Basic and Premium.  

  • ArcGIS Hub Basic is included with ArcGIS Online and allows users to create sites and share data 

  • ArcGIS Hub Premium brings additional features and capabilities for working with community members 

ArcGIS Instant Apps: Allows users to create applications in just minutes. You can start by selecting a template, then configure it to suit your design and share it. With built in accessibility tools and responsive design, it’s never been easier to construct your application! 

  • Instant Apps is included with ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Enterprise. 

ArcGIS StoryMaps: Is a web-based application that allows you to share your maps alongside narrative text and other media content to support telling your story. You can construct your layout within the story builder which supports text, videos, images and more! 

  • Once it’s completed you can then publish and share your story with its unique URL or include it in other applications to continue your story. 

ArcGIS Solutions: Is a gallery of tailored GIS products that focus on addressing various industry challenges. They are intended to reduce the time it takes to deploy spatial solutions and maximize the benefit for your organization. A few examples of these solutions are listed below: 

  • Crime Analysis – for enhancing public safety 

  • Emergency Management Operations – for allocating necessary emergency response resources 

Field Operations Applications 

Along with the above listed applications, there are several products nested within ArcGIS Online that facilitate work being completed out in the field. This can include infrastructure inspections, data collection or task assignments. 

ArcGIS Workforce: Is a solution to support better task coordination and teamwork, primarily used through the mobile app. Workforce projects, however, are first created in the Workforce web app (within ArcGIS Online) so that dispatchers can create a personalized assignment list for their field workers. 

ArcGIS Field Maps: A powerful application for streamlining work being done out in the field. Field Maps Designer is the web facing tool that is used to create maps for use out in the field. Here you can configure symbology and incorporate smart forms for your field workers to use in the Field Maps mobile app. 

ArcGIS Survey 123: With the capabilities of XLS forms users can create in-depth surveys using this tool. You can collect data using web or mobile devices regardless of whether you’re in a connected environment or not! 

This concludes our ArcGIS Online terminology journey! You can access Part 1 here if you missed it. If you’d like to know more about how you can access ArcGIS Online to start making great maps and applications, please feel free to get in contact with us.  

Do you already have a subscription and are ready to start making awesome maps in ArcGIS Online? Try out these tutorials! 

About the Author

Ashley Ford is an Associate GIS Analyst with Esri Canada’s Ontario Region. She focuses on demonstrating the art of the possible to clients within the province. Ashley has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and completed the GIS Applications Specialist graduate program at Fleming College.

Profile Photo of Ashley Ford