Map the highest mountains

Prepare the mountain data

First, you will prepare a text file with data about five of the highest mountains in the world and create a feature layer from this data.

You can create a feature layer from data saved in a comma-separated values (CSV) format text file (.csv or .txt). A .csv format file has a row of data for each item with a comma between each value. The first row in the file contains the field names, which describe the type of data in the file. For instance, the first row of your text file will contain the lat, lon, name, range, elev_ft, thumb_url, and photo_credit fields.

The fields are described as follows:

  • The lat field contains the latitude of the mountain.
  • The lon field contains the longitude of the mountain.
  • The name field contains the name of the mountain.
  • The range field contains the parent range of the mountain.
  • The elev_ft field contains the elevation of the mountain in feet.
  • The thumb_url field includes a URL to an image of the mountain.
  • The photo_credit field includes a URL to the source of the image of the mountain.

To appear on a map, text file must include location data. In your text file, the first two fields contain the latitude (which describes the location north and south on the globe) and longitude (which describes the location east and west on the globe) of each mountain. The other items provide details about the mountain that aren't necessary for mapping the mountain but can be useful in other ways.

After the first row, which contains the field names, all subsequent rows contain information about a mountain. For instance, the row for Mount Everest contains the following information:


The first number, 27.9879, is the latitude of the mountain, and the second number, 86.9250, is the longitude. The remaining information, separated by commas, corresponds to the field names. Your text file will contain six rows: one for the field names and five for the five mountain you'll map.

  1. Copy the following data into an application where it can be saved as a .txt or .csv file, such as Notepad, Notepad++, Microsoft Excel, or a similar program:

    If you use Microsoft Excel, you may need to use the Text to Columns tool to separate the rows into columns.

    35.8825,76.513333, K2Qogir,Karakoram,28251,, 
  2. Save the file on your computer with the name mountains.csv.

    Next, you will create a feature layer from the .csv file in ArcGIS Online.

  3. Sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account or your ArcGIS Enterprise account.

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

    If you encounter an error or are unable to sign into your account, remember that passwords are case-sensitive. If you forget your ArcGIS password, you can reset your password from the sign in page. See Account Troubleshoot for more information.

  4. If necessary, on the ribbon, click Content and click New item.

    The New item button on the Content page

    The New item window appears.

  5. In the New item window, click Your device. Browse your computer and choose the mountains.csv file you created.

    You can also drag the file onto the drop area of the New item window.

    The New item window page updates and asks if you would like to add the file as a .csv or to also create a hosted feature layer from the file.

    A hosted feature layer is a feature layer that is available online through your ArcGIS account.

  6. For How would you like to add this CSV?, ensure Add mountain.csv and create a hosted feature layer or table is selected and click Next.

    Option to add the csv file and create a hosted feature layer selected

    The window updates to show detected fields in the .csv file.

  7. On the Fields page, confirm that the Display name and Type fields are accurate and click Next.
  8. On the Location settings page, confirm Latitude is set to the field lat and Longitude is set to the field long. Click Next.
  9. In the next window, for Title, replace the existing text with highest mountains, followed by your initials. Optionally, you may include Tags and a Summary.

    You cannot create two layers in an ArcGIS organization with the same name. Adding your initials to a layer name ensures that other people in your organization can also complete this lesson. Once a layer has been created, you can rename it in the map to remove your initials, which will not affect the name of the underlying data layer.

    Parameters to name the hosted feature layer

  10. Click Save.

    The item page for your new feature layer appears.

    Each item in ArcGIS Online includes an item page that contains its metadata. Metadata on the item details page includes the title, the type, and the source, author, last modified date, thumbnail, and tags related to the item. It can also include additional information such a summary and description, how accurate and recent the item is, restrictions associated with using and sharing the item, credits, and so on. This information can help others discover and validate the usefulness of the items.

    Next, you will add metadata for your feature layer on its item page.

  11. On your highest mountains item page, next to Description, click Edit.

    Edit next to Description on the item page

  12. In the Description text box, copy and paste the following text:

    This feature layer includes the names and location of the the five highest mountains on Earth, the elevation at their highest point, a URL to an image of the mountain, and photo credit information.

  13. Click Save.

    You have added a description to your feature layer's item page.

    Description text is added to the item page

You have successfully created a feature layer from a .csv file. Next, you will create a web map and add this layer to the map.

Open and save a map

In this section, you will create a blank map in Map Viewer, choose a basemap, and save the map.

  1. If necessary, sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account or into ArcGIS Enterprise account.
  2. On the ribbon, click Map.

    Depending on your organizational and user settings, you may have opened Map Viewer Classic. ArcGIS Online offers two map viewers for viewing, using, and creating maps. For more information on the map viewers available and which to use, please see this FAQ.

    Map on the top ribbon

    This lesson uses Map Viewer.

  3. If necessary, in the pop-up window or on the ribbon, click Open in new Map Viewer.

    A new map appears in Map Viewer with your organization's default basemap. The map does not contain any layers at the moment.


    Whether you are working in ArcGIS Online or in ArcGIS Enterprise, the experience should be similar. However, the account credentials will be different and the portal will be your organizations, not ArcGIS Online.

    First, you will update the basemap. A basemap provides a background of geographical context for the content you want to display on a map.

  4. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Basemap and choose Charted Territory Map.

    Charted Territory Map basemap

    The basemap changes to Charted Territory on the map.

    Charted Territory Map basemap on the map

    Before you continue, you'll save the map.

  5. On the Contents toolbar, click Save and open and choose Save as.

    Save as on the Save and open menu

    The Save map window appears.

  6. In the Save map window, for Title, type Map the highest mountains and add your initials.
  7. For Tags, type Elevation, Peaks, Himalayas and press Enter.
  8. For Summary, type Information about the highest mountains in the world.

    Save Map window

  9. Click Save map.

    The map is saved to your ArcGIS Online account. It is important to save your web map regularly so you do not lose any changes you have made to your web map.

    The web map you have saved is different from the hosted feature layer you created earlier in the lesson. You will add the hosted feature layer to the web map to visualize information.

Next, you will add the highest mountain layer you created earlier in the lesson to your web map.

Add mountain data to the map

Next, you'll add the mountain layer you created earlier to your map.

  1. On the Contents toolbar, click Layers.

    Layers on the Contents toolbar

  2. In the Layers pane, click Add layer.

    Add layer on the Layers pane

    The Add layer pane appears.

    To add information to the map, you can search for layers from your content, your favorites, groups to which you belong, your organization, subscription content, ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, or ArcGIS Online. The Add layer pane opens by default to search your content.

  3. Confirm that My Content is selected and in the search bar, type highest mountain.

    Search My Content for highest mountain.

  4. In the list of results, for the Highest mountains layer, click the Add button.

    Add button to add the layer to your map

    The layer adds to your map. The map's extent zooms in to center on the highest mountain layer's features. The mountain features are styled as small red spheres by default.


    You may need to zoom in to see all five symbols because four are located close together in Nepal.

    Mountains on the map with default symbology

    Next, you'll change the symbols to better represent the mountains. Symbols in the shape of triangles are more appropriate.

  5. In the Add layer pane, click the back arrow to return to the Layers pane.
  6. In the Layers pane, ensure the highest mountain layer is selected.

    A blue line appears next to the layer to indicate that it is selected.

  7. On the Settings (light) toolbar, click Styles.

    Styles on the Settings toolbar

    The Styles pane appears.

  8. In the Styles pane, under Pick a style, for Location (single symbol), click Style options.

    Style options button for Location (single symbol) drawing style

  9. In the Style options pane, click the symbol under Symbol styles.

    Symbol under Symbol style

    The Symbol styles pane appears.

  10. In the Symbol styles pane, under Symbols, click the triangle. For Size, type 30 and press Enter.

    Triangle symbol selected and Size set to 30

  11. Under Fill, for Colors, choose a black color.

    Black color for Colors

    The symbols on the map change to black triangles.

    Mountains with black triangle symbols

  12. On the Style options pane, click Done two times.
  13. On the Contents toolbar, click Save and open and choose Save to save the map.

Configure custom pop-ups

Next, you'll configure pop-ups to display a sentence that identifies the name of the mountain, the mountain range it's in, and its elevation. First, you'll look at the default pop-up and see how it can be improved.

  1. On the map, click a mountain feature.

    The feature's pop-up appears.

    Default pop-up

    The pop-up shows the attribute values for each mountain based on the information in the .csv file you created at the beginning of the lesson. Attributes provide information about a map feature. Currently, the pop-up displays the attributes as a list and only provides a URL to the image of the mountain. First, you'll configure the pop-up to display important attributes as part of a single sentence. Later, you'll configure the pop-up to display the picture of the mountain in the pop-up instead of only providing a link.

  2. Close the pop-up.
  3. On the Settings toolbar, click Configure pop-ups.

    Configure Pop-ups on the Settings toolbar

    The Pop-ups pane appears.

  4. In the Pop-ups pane, click Title.

    Title on the Pop-ups pane

  5. Delete the existing text and click the add field button.

    The add field button for the pop-up title

  6. In the Add field window, choose name.

    The pop-up title updates to show the field name, which is the name of the mountain.

    The pop-up currently shows a table of fields for the mountains layer. You will delete it and add customized text content instead.

  7. In the Pop-ups pane, for Fields list, click the Options button and choose Delete.

    Delete the Fields list.

  8. Click Add content.

    Add content button in the Pop-ups pane

  9. In the Content window that appears, click Text.

    Text in the Content window

    A text editor window appears. You'll use the text editor to create a sentence that will appear in the pop-up. Your pop-up can also include attribute information that changes depending on which mountain feature is clicked. You'll create the following sentence:

    {name} is located in the {range} range and has an elevation of {elev_ft} feet.

    In this sentence, the words in braces, such as name, range, and elev_ft, refer to attribute information.

  10. In the text editor window, type { (an open brace) and choose name {name}.

    Add the name field

    The name field is added to the text editor.

  11. In the text editor, after {name}, type is located in the range.
  12. Add a space and type {. Choose range {range}.

    The range field is added to the text editor.

  13. After {range}, type and has an elevation of.
  14. Add a space and type {. Choose elev_ft {elev_ft}. Type feet.

    The text is complete.

    Completed sentence in the customized text item for your pop-up

  15. Click OK.

    The pop-up preview updates with the text you edited.

    Configured pop-up

  16. Save the map.

Configure images of the mountains

Next, you'll configure the pop-up to show a photo of each mountain and its photo credit.

  1. If necessary, on the Settings toolbar, click Configure Pop-ups.

    You'll add an image to the existing pop-up.

  2. In the Pop-ups pane, click Add content and in the Content pane that appears, choose Image.

    Image option

    The Configure image pane appears.

    Next, you'll configure the URL so a small (thumbnail) image appears in the pop-up. You'll add a link to the image, so that when the small image is clicked, a full-size version of the image appears in a separate window.

  3. In the Configure image pane, for URL, click the add field button.

    Add field button for URL parameter in Configure image pane

  4. In the Add field pane, choose thumb_url {thumb_url}.
  5. Under Options, for Link, click the add field button, choose thumb_url {thumb_url}.

    Configure Image window

  6. Click Done.

    You'll also add a link to the photo credit. You'll add this link to the sentence you configured previously.

  7. In the Pop-ups pane, under Text, click the sentence to edit it.

    Click sentence under Text to edit it.

    The text editor window appears. It shows the sentence that you configured in the previous section.

  8. In the text editor, place the pointer at the end of the existing text and press Enter.
  9. Type Photo Credit.

    Photo Credit text added to text editor

  10. Highlight the Photo Credit text and click the Link button.

    Link button and text Photo Credit highlighted

    The Link URL window appears.

  11. In the Link URL window, type {photo_credit} and click the Save button.

    Link URL window set to the field photo_credit

  12. In the text editor window, click OK.

    In the pop-up preview, the Photo Credit text is underlined, indicating the link is active.

  13. Close the Pop-ups pane.

    Your pop-up is configured. Now, you'll see how it looks on your map.

  14. On the map, click a mountain feature to see its pop-up.

    Completed pop-up

  15. Click the image.

    The full-size image appears in a new browser tab.

  16. Close the full-size image. In the pop-up, click the Photo Credit link.

    The source of the image appears in a new browser tab.

  17. Close the image source and the pop-up. Save the map.

In this lesson, you saved data about mountains as a text file. Then, you added the file to ArcGIS Online to create a layer in a map locating each mountain. You configured custom pop-ups for the layer to display information about the mountain's name, range, and elevation. You also added a photo and a photo source link to each pop-up.

You can find more lessons in the Learn ArcGIS Lesson Gallery.