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Retrieve historical imagery

In this lesson, you'll locate the area of interest (Samut Songkhram province, Thailand) and add Landsat satellite imagery fromLiving Atlas of the WorldNASA's Landsat satellites have been taking pictures of the planet for almost 50 years. As satellite imaging technology has improved, so have the quality and types of data collected. This massive archive of images has been compressed into one data layer that can be viewed on ArcGIS Online.

Locate the study area

First, you'll locate Samut Songkhram province on a map in ArcGIS Online.

  1. Sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account.

    If you don't have an organizational account, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.

  2. Click Map.

    Map link

    Map Viewer opens. The map extent is set to the default extent of your organization.

  3. In the search box to the upper right of the map, type Samut Songkhram, THA. Click the matching location when it appears below the search box.

    Search results

    The map changes to show Samut Songkhram city. A pop-up automatically appears and confirms the location.

    Samut Songkhram on the map with a pop-up

  4. Close the pop-up and use the zoom tools in the upper left corner of the map to display the whole province of Samut Songkhram.

    Map zoomed to the province of Samut Songkhram

Add administrative boundaries and Landsat data

Every map starts with a basemap, which provides geographic context for the data you want to display on the map. Since you'll be adding satellite imagery to the map, the basemap and administrative boundaries won't be visible. You'll add a layer of administrative boundaries so you can show the extent of Samut Songkhram province while also showing the imagery. Both of the layers you add can be found in Living Atlas. Living Atlas is the foremost collection of authoritative, ready-to-use global geographic information ever assembled. The themed and publicly shared content in Living Atlas can be accessed using ArcGIS Online map tools. Next, you'll add Living Atlas data to your map.

  1. To the upper left of the map, click Add and click Browse Living Atlas Layers.

    Browse Living Atlas Layers

    The Living Atlas pane appears. It shows a list of all Living Atlas layers. You can filter the list by specific categories to more easily find the layer you want.

  2. Click the Filter button.

    Filter button

  3. In the Filter pane, click Only show content within map area.
  4. Click Categories, and in the menu, select Boundaries.


  5. For World Boundaries and Places (careful not to pick Alternate), click the Add button.

    Add World Boundaries and Places

    The layer is added to the map. The name of the layer is added to the Contents pane and the Living Atlas pane remains open. Next, you'll add the Landsat imagery layer.

  6. To close the Filter pane, click the X located at the upper right corner of the pane.
  7. In the Living Atlas pane, in Search for layers, type Multispectral and press Enter.

    Search for Multispectral

    Among the search results is the Multispectral Landsat layer.

  8. Add the Multispectral Landsat layer to the map.

    Add Multispectral Landsat layer

    The layer is added to the map and the name of the layer is added to the Contents pane.

  9. Click the Back button to close the Living Atlas pane.

    Back button

  10. In the Contents pane, click the World Boundaries and Places layer. Click the three vertical dots on the left side to drag the layer above the Multispectral layer.

    Vertical dots to the left of the World Boundaries and Places layer name

    You can now see both the imagery and the administrative boundaries.

    Map with new layer order

Save the map

Next, you'll save your map and give it metadata.

  1. On the ribbon above the map, click the Save button and click Save.

    Save button

  2. For the title, type Land Use Change in Samut Songkhram, Thailand.
  3. For the tags, type the following words and press Enter after each one:

    • Thailand
    • Historical
    • Imagery

  4. For the summary, type This map is a collection of images showing four decades of vegetation change in Samut Songkhram, Thailand.

    Save Map window

  5. Click Save Map.

    The map is saved with the specified title, tags, and summary.

You've created a map that will serve as a foundation for your presentation on land-use change in the province of Samut Songkhram, Thailand. Saving the map frequently will ensure you don't lose any progress. In the next lesson, you'll delve into the historical collection of the Multispectral Landsat layer and create a time animation to show certain images in chronological order.