Make a basemap

First, you'll download a project with data and use ArcMap to build a basemap of Tequesquite Community Garden. This data was provided by UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. The data includes 11 layers representing the features at the garden—the plot boundaries, the garden perimeter fence, an orchard section, and so on. You'll add these one at a time to a new map, applying styles and symbols from the ArcGIS Desktop library to build a nice-looking map of the garden.

Download the geodatabase

First, you'll download the geodatabase file containing the data needed to map the garden.

  1. Go to the ArcGIS Online group, Mapping the Public Garden.
  2. Click TCGFeatures.gdb and choose Download to download the file.
  3. On your desktop, create a folder named Garden_Map.
  4. Locate the compressed file in your downloads and extract (uncompress) it to the Garden_Map folder.

Load and symbolize map layers

  1. Start ArcMap.

    If you don't have ArcMap, you can get it by purchasing ArcGIS Desktop from the Esri Store.

  2. In the ArcMap - Getting Started window, click My Templates under New Maps and double-click Blank Map.

    Blank template

  3. In the Catalog window, click the Connect to Folder button.

    Connect to Folder button

  4. In the Connect to Folder window, browse to your desktop, choose Garden_Map, and click OK.
  5. In the Garden_Map folder, right-click TCGFeatures.gdb and choose Make Default Geodatabase.
  6. Expand the geodatabase until you can see all of its individual feature sets.

    Expanded geodatabase

  7. Drag GardenPlots onto the map window.

    The layer is added to the map, symbolized with a random color. At this point, you'll start thinking like a cartographer, making style choices from the ArcGIS Desktop palette of colors and symbols.

  8. In the Table Of Contents, confirm that the contents are listed by Drawing Order.

    List by Drawing Order button

  9. In the Table Of Contents, click the colored symbol below GardenPlots to open the Symbol Selector.

    Edit item details

    The Symbol Selector window appears.

  10. Scroll down the list of available ESRI default symbols and click the Cropland symbol.

    Cropland symbol style

    The stippled pattern works well to represent vegetation, but it would be better to make these plots green to reflect what's growing there—mainly vegetables.

  11. Click Fill Color and select Lemongrass.

    Point to a symbol color on the palette selector to see the color name.

  12. Change Outline Width to 1, and change Outline Color to Leaf Green.

    GardenPlots symbology

  13. Click OK.

    Garden plot symbology updated.

    Clear demarcation of the plot boundaries is a primary goal of this map design. Next, you'll add a layer for the paths that circulate around the garden plots.

  14. In the Catalog pane, from the TCGFeatures geodatabase, add the Path feature class to the map.
  15. Open the Symbol Selector for Path, scroll down the list of symbols, and double-click Sand.
  16. In the Table Of Contents, drag Path below GardenPlots.

    Path layer

    Next, you'll add the steel fence that separates the garden from the surrounding park.

  17. Add the OuterFence feature class to the map.
  18. Open the Symbol Selector, and for OuterFence, type fence in the search bar, and press Enter.
  19. Under CADD GIS Center SDS 200, click fence_line.

    OuterFence symbology

    The solid black line is a bit too stark.

  20. Change Color to Gray 20%, and click OK.

    Next, you'll add a flood control channel adjacent to the garden.

  21. Add the FloodControlChannel feature class to the map.

    The feature is actually a portion of a longer channel clipped to the study area.

  22. Open the Symbol Selector for FloodControlChannel, scroll down the list of symbols, and double-click Water Intermittent.

    FloodControlChannel layer

  23. Add the Easements feature class to the map.

    These are utility-controlled strips of land that must be kept clear for public works access. They are essentially just dirt, so you'll symbolize them with the sand symbol.

  24. Open the Symbol Selector for Easements and double-click Sand.

    A large area of fruit trees surrounds part of the garden outside the fence. You'll apply a special orchard fill to these areas.

  25. Add the TreePlantings feature class to the map.
  26. Open the Symbol Selector for TreePlantings and click Orchard or Nursery.

    The trees are a bit small, so you'll edit the symbol by scaling up the tree size.

  27. In the right pane of the Symbol Selector, click Edit Symbol.
  28. On the Picture Fill tab, change Scale X and Scale Y to 2.

    Orchard scale

  29. Click OK, and click OK again to apply the style.

    Orchard layer

    The remaining areas inside the fence that aren't pathways or individual plots are the areas of group plantings. These areas are covered in ground scrub.

  30. Add the GroupPlantingAreas feature class to the map.
  31. Open the Symbol Selector for GroupPlantingAreas and double-click Scrub 1.
  32. Add the Shade Awning feature class to the map.
  33. Open the Symbol Selector for Shade Awning and make it a brown color of your choice with no outline.
  34. Add the WildflowerField feature class to the map.
  35. Open the Symbol Selector for WildflowerField and click Swamp.
  36. Change Fill Color to Macaw Green, change Outline Color to No Color, and click OK.

    Wildflower symbol

    Next, you'll add the gravel walkway that passes the garden along the wildflower field.

  37. Add the ParkWalkway feature class to the map.
  38. Open the Symbol Selector for Park Walkway, change Fill Color to Gray 10%, change Outline Color to No Color, and click OK.

    Walkway layer

    The final feature is the lawn, which has been clipped to the immediate study area.

  39. Add the Lawn feature class to the map.
  40. Open the Symbol Selector for Lawn and click Grassland.
  41. Change Fill Color to Olivine Yellow, change Outline Color to No Color, and click OK.
  42. Reorder the layers in the Contents window using the following sequence:
    • OuterFence
    • ShadeAwning
    • GroupPlantingAreas
    • TreePlantings
    • Easements
    • FloodControlChannel
    • GardenPlots
    • Path
    • ParkWalkway
    • WildflowerField
    • Lawn

    Final map

  43. On the menu, click Save.
  44. Name the file TCG_Garden.mxd, and click Save.

You've built a basemap of a community garden. Next, you will publish your map to ArcGIS Online as a basemap.

Publish a basemap as a tiled map service

Previously, you created a detailed map of a community garden. Next, you'll publish that map as a type of image known as a tiled map service.

Publish the tiled map service

A tiled map service is one of the two main ways to publish geographic data to ArcGIS Online. The second is to publish feature services, which you'll do in the final lesson of the project.

  1. If necessary, open your TCG_Garden map in ArcMap.
  2. At the top of the page, click File and click Sign In.
  3. Sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account.

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

  4. In the File menu, click Share As and click Service.

    Share as service

  5. In the Share as Service window, confirm that the button is checked for Publish a Service and click Next.
  6. For Choose a connection, choose My Hosted Services (your organization), and name the service GardenBasemap_yourname.

    The name of your service must be unique in the organization. If you use a name that someone else in your organization has already used, you'll get an error message.

    Service name

  7. Click Continue.

    The Service Editor window appears.

  8. In the left pane of the Service Editor window, click the Capabilities tab. Check the Tiled Mapping box and uncheck the Feature Access box.
    Capabilities tab

    The Capabilities tab has two options: Tiled Mapping and Feature Access. Tile layers are collections of spatially adjacent images, or tiles, and are usually used as basemaps, which is what you want. Feature layers are composed of discrete elements that can be edited and symbolized.

  9. Click the Caching tab.

    Caching tab

    The default tiling scheme is set to ArcGIS Online/Bing Maps/Google Maps. There are 17 default zoom levels, ranging from a global scale to a city block scale. These are the standard caching levels for the largest online mapping systems. But that's not close enough of a zoom level for your garden purposes, since you want your map to zoom all the way down to the individual plot level. The four new levels you'll create are 1:500, 1:250, 1:125, and 1:62.

  10. Click the Advanced Settings tab.
  11. For Area of interest to cache, choose Current extent of the map.

    Area of interest to cache set to Current extent of the map

    Next, you'll add four scales to the existing list.

  12. Above the list of scales, type 500 and click Add.

    Advanced Settings tab

  13. Repeat the previous step for the following scales: 250, 125, and 62.
  14. Scroll to the bottom of the scales list to see the new entries.

    New scale disk space

    Notice the extremely high Disk Space estimates. TB means terabytes. These numbers are so high, you would not even be allowed to proceed if they were accurate, because it would consume too many credits and take too long. You need to have the system recalculate now that additional scales have been added.

  15. Return to the Caching tab and click the Calculate Cache Size button.

    Calculate Cache Size button

    The Calculate Cache Size window appears.

  16. Click Start.

    The calculation takes a few moments. When the calculation completes, the total cache is estimated to only consume approximately 7 to 12 megabytes, with the largest scale (1:62) estimated at approximately 6 MB.

    New estimates

  17. Close the Calculate Cache Size window and click the Item Description tab.

    You need some metadata to go with your service, so people can search and browse for it.

  18. On the Item Description tab, enter the following:
    • For Summary, type Tequesquite Community Garden.
    • For Tags, type Riverside, Tequesquite Community Garden.
    • For Description, type This is large-scale basemap of the Tequesquite Community Garden at Brian Bonaminio Park in Riverside, California.

    Item description

  19. On the Service Editor toolbar, click the Analyze button to check for problems.

    Analyze button

    The Analyze button examines your map document to determine whether it can be published to the server. In the Prepare box, a list of warnings and messages appears, but no errors. None of the warnings or messages will prevent you from publishing the service.


    More detailed explanations of what these warnings mean can be found in the ArcGIS help.

  20. On the Service Editor toolbar, click the Publish button.
  21. When the service has been published, click OK to close the Service Publishing Result dialog box.

    In the Catalog pane, the My Hosted Services section expands and your new service is visible.

  22. In the Catalog pane, expand the My Hosted Services section to see your new service.

    My Hosted Services

  23. Right-click GardenBasemap_yourname, choose View Cache Status, and wait until 100 percent of the tiles are processed.

    Cache status


    If the Status is Processing, click Refresh Status to see the latest status. Processing may take several minutes to complete. When the process reaches 75 percent, you may want to review preliminary results. Even if the process does not complete to 100 percent, when it reaches at least 75 percent, you can proceed with this lesson.

  24. Save your map.

    You have just published your garden map as tiles. Next, you'll go to your organization and have a look at the new published service.

Set the map service as a basemap

To start your garden web map, you will first add the tile layer as a basemap.

  1. If necessary, sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account.
  2. At the top of your organization home page, click Map.

    Map button


    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.

    This lesson uses Map Viewer.

  3. If necessary, on the ribbon, click Open in new Map Viewer.

    Map Viewer opens.

    You want to use the garden map as your basemap.

  4. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Basemap. In th Basemap pane, click Current basemap.

    Current basemap

  5. For Base, click Add layer.

    Add layer button

  6. In the Add layer pane, confirm that the list of layers shown is for My Content. Find your GardenBasemap layer and click the Add layer to basemap button.

    Add your GardenBasemap layer as a basemap

  7. Click the back arrow to return to the Basemap pane.
  8. In the Basemap pane, for the GardenBasemap layer, click Options and click Zoom to.

    Zoom to

    The map zooms to the GardenBasemap layer extent.

    Map zoomed to garden basemap extent

  9. On the Contents toolbar, click Layers.

    The layer you just added is not shown in the Layers pane because it's being used as a basemap. It does not have options for displaying a table or changing symbology because it's a tile layer. You can zoom in and out to view the zoom levels that you created for this layer, but clicking a garden plot doesn't display a pop-up with feature data. Those capabilities exist for operational layers. You have yet to publish an active operational layer of garden plots. You'll create, configure, and publish an operational layer next, so your web app can be interactive.

  10. On the Contents toolbar, click Save and open and click Save as. In the Save map window, enter the following:
    • For Title, type Tequesquite Community Garden.
    • For Tags, type Riverside, Tequesquite Community Garden.
    • For Summary, type Map of the Tequesquite Community Garden in Riverside, California.
  11. Click Save map.

Next, you'll prepare an operational layer in ArcMap and add it to your web map.

Publish an operational layer and configure the app

Previously, you published a garden map to the web as a basemap. Next, you'll create and publish the operational layer that will make your finished app interactive.

Publish an operational layer of garden plots

An operational layer is one that people can interact with. You'll publish the garden plots layer so garden members can view pop-ups and send email to plot holders.

  1. If necessary, open your TCG_Garden map in ArcMap.
  2. In the Table Of Contents, press Ctrl while clicking the layer names to highlight all of the layers except GardenPlots.
  3. Right-click any of the highlighted layers and choose Remove.

    Remove selected layers.

  4. Right-click GardenPlots and choose Zoom to Layer.

    Plots only

  5. On the File menu, click Save as to save the map as a new map document named PlotExporter.mxd.

    You now have a map of only the garden plots. You'll publish them as vector features (not tiles, as in the previous section), which you'll then be able to configure with pop-ups in your web map.

  6. Open the attribute table for GardenPlots.

    Attribute table

    Notice some fields of interest: name, plot, email, and mailto (a specially formatted version of email). These will be the key elements of data in your operational layer of plot holders.


    Mailto is an expanded version of the email address that allows users to click a link in a website to send an email without first having to copy the address and open an email client.

  7. Close the attribute table.
  8. In the File menu, if necessary, click Sign In and sign in using your ArcGIS organizational account.
  9. In the File menu, click Share As and click Service.
  10. Click Publish a Service, and click Next.

    Publish a service

  11. Name the service TCGPlotholders_yourname, and click Continue.

    Name the service.

  12. Click the Capabilities tab. If necessary, uncheck the Tiled Mapping box and check the Feature Access box.

    Feature access

  13. Click the Item Description tab. Edit the summary and description as follows:

    Summary: Tequesquite Community Garden plot holders operational layer.

    Description: This is a query-only feature service of the plots and plot holders at Tequesquite Community Garden at Brian Bonaminio Park in Riverside, California.

    Item description

  14. On the Service Editor toolbar, click Analyze. If there are no high-severity errors, click Publish.

    Feature services (especially small ones such as this one) generally don't take as long to process as the tiled map service from a previous section. Once the system tells you it has successfully published the feature service, it's done. You can go to your ArcGIS organizational account to continue your work.

Update the web map

Next, you'll add your new feature service as an operational layer to the web map that you created earlier.

  1. If necessary, sign in to your ArcGIS organizational account.
  2. At the top of your organization home page, click Content.


  3. Click the more options button next to Tequesquite Community Garden and choose Open in Map Viewer.

    Open in Map Viewer

    The map opens in Map Viewer

  4. In the Layers pane, click Add layer.
  5. Click the Add button for your TCGPlotholders layer.

    Search results

  6. Click the back arrow to return to the Layers pane.
  7. In the Layers pane, click the Options button and for TCGPlotholders (your name) - GardenPlots, and choose Rename.
  8. Change the layer name to Garden Plots, and click OK.
  9. On the Settings (light) toolbar, click Labels.


  10. In the Label features pane, click Add label class.
  11. Click the field name under Label field, choose plot, and click Replace.
  12. For Label style, click Edit label style, and make the following changes:
    • For Font, choose Arial Bold.
    • For Size, choose 12.
    • For Color, choose green (#73b566).
    • Turn off Halo.

    Label style settings

  13. Close the Label style window.

    At the full map scale, the new labels are too big for the plot features. You'll adjust the visibility to specify at what zoom levels the labels should draw on the map.

  14. For Visible range, click World and choose Small building.

    Visible range slider set to Small building

  15. On the map, zoom in to display the labels.

    The map showing garden plots with number labels

Configure pop-ups

Next, you'll use your Garden Plots layer as the source for a pop-up that includes the site holder's name and an email link.

  1. On the Settings toolbar, click Configure pop-ups.
  2. In the Pop-ups pane, expand Title.
  3. Delete the existing text and type Plot Number: .

    Make sure you included the colon and a single space after the colon.

  4. Click the Fields button next to the title.

    Fields button for Title

  5. In the list of fields, choose plot.
  6. For Fields list, click the Options button and choose Delete.
  7. In the Pop-ups pane, click Add content and choose Text.
  8. In the text editor window, type This plot is held by: {name}.

    Text editor window

  9. Press Enter two times and type Email the plot holder.
  10. Highlight the text Email the plot holder and click the Link button.

    Link button

  11. Type {mailto} and click the Save button.

    Add mailto field as link URL.

  12. In the text editor window, click OK.
  13. Save the map.
  14. Test the pop-up by clicking one of the Garden Plots features and clicking the email link (which should open to a new email message in your default email application).

    Now you’re ready to create a web app for this map. First, you’ll zoom the map to set a default map extent for the web app when it first opens. (After you've deployed the app, you can always come back into the web map and save it at a different zoom level if you want to adjust it.)

  15. In the Layers pane, for the Garden Plots, click the Options button, and click Zoom to.

    The map zooms to center on the garden plots.

    Map centers on garden plots

  16. Save the map.

Configure a web app

Your web map is complete and ready to share with the other community garden members.

  1. On the Contents toolbar, click Share map.
  2. In the Share window, for Set sharing level, choose Everyone and click Save.
  3. On the Contents toolbar, click Create app and choose Instant Apps.

    Create app menu with Instant Apps chosen

    The Instant Apps gallery page appears. This page provides information and guidance to help you choose an appropriate app template.

  4. On the Minimalist card, click Choose.
  5. In the Create App window, for Title, type Email the TCG plot holder.
  6. Click Create App.

    The app is created based on the template you chose. The app configuration window provides several app settings and an interactive preview of your app, including options to view how the app will appear on a mobile device.

  7. If necessary, close the welcome window.
  8. In the app preview, zoom in and click one of the garden plots in the map.

    Pop-up for plot number 38, held by Luther Fetzer

    The plot is selected and a pop-up appears.

    Community garden members will be able to use this web app to discover who holds specific plots, and send email to them with problems, notifications, or compliments. You'd also like members of the community garden to be able to find their plot, or another held by a friend. You'll modify the Search tool to search the Garden Plots layer.

  9. Close the pop-up.

    When configuring the app, you can use the default express setup mode to create an app with the most essential settings or turn off Express to access all its configurable settings. You'll use the express settings. If the default settings are acceptable for your use case, you don't need to go through each step in the setup.

  10. In the Express panel, click Step 3. Interactivity.

    The Interactivity settings include options for the search tool.

  11. In the Search configuration section, click Add.
  12. For Add a search source, on the Layer tab, select Map, and click Garden Plots.

    Garden Plots layer selected as a search source

  13. Click OK.

    The app preview updates to include the additional search source in the search tool, and the app automatically saves as noted next to the Draft badge that appears in the configuration panel.

    Additional search source settings appear in the Search configuration section. You'll change the placeholder text. You must also specify which fields to search in the layer.

  14. For Placeholder text, type Search plot holders.
  15. For Search fields, choose name and click Add. Optionally, choose plot and click Add.

    Garden Plots search source settings

    You'll accept the name field as the default display field for the search results. You'll also accept the remaining defaults, including enabled suggestions that will appear in the search box as users type a search term.

  16. Scroll down and click Done.
  17. In the list of search sources, for ArcGIS World Geocoding Service, click the Edit button and click Delete.

    Edit menu for the geocoding service

    The app preview updates and now the search box displays the placeholder text that you provided. You can test the app as you configure it.

  18. In the app preview, search for Ruth and press Enter.

    Search result for Ruth in the map search tool

    The map zooms to plot number 108 and displays its pop-up.

  19. In the configuration panel, on the vertical toolbar, click Views and click the Portrait and Landscape options to test how the app appears on a mobile device.
  20. On the app preview, click the Default map view button to zoom the map to its default extent.

    Default map view button

    By default, the Minimalist app includes a side panel that displays a legend and map details. You'll keep them both, but you'll configure your app to display the details first when the app opens so you can provide useful information and instructions for map readers.

  21. In the Express panel, click Back and click Step 2. About.

    The About settings include options to provide information that helps users understand the map, including a header and a side panel with the legend and map details.

  22. For Select which panel to open at start, choose Details.

    The app preview updates to show the Details panel. Your app currently has no details because the default content comes from the web map and you haven't given your web map a description yet. You'll add a description next.

Share a web app

Next, you'll edit the map description by using a link provided in the app configuration settings. Then you'll test and share the app.

  1. In the Express panel, click Back and click Step 1. Map.

    The Map settings include the item details for the map used in the app. (You can also select a different map.) You'll add a map description to your map's item page so it appears in the Details panel.


    If you want the details panel to include different content than the map's description, you can turn off Express and provide a custom description in the full About settings.

  2. Click View item details.
  3. In the map item page that appears, for Description, click Edit.

    Edit map description on the item details page.

  4. Type or copy and paste the following text:

    The Tequesquite Community Garden is in Brian Bonaminio Park in Riverside, California. Use this app to contact garden plot holders.

    Click a plot to find the holder's name and a link to send them an email.

    Find plots by holder's name using the search bar at the top of the map.

  5. Click Save and close the item page.
  6. In the app configuration window, click Publish and click Confirm.

    A success message appears when publishing is completed and the Draft badge changes to a Published badge with the date and time you published. The Share window appears, which includes a link to the app, buttons to share via social media or email, an option to embed the app in a website, and the date and time the app was last published.

  7. Click Launch.

    Your web app opens in a new browser tab or window. The side panel shows the map details, including the map description that you added. The search tool includes your custom placeholder text and searches only the Garden Plots layer.

  8. In the web app, test that the search tool and pop-ups work as expected.

    Pop-up for plot number 91, held by Allen Kearney

  9. In the header, click the Send a link button and copy the short URL. Send an email with the URL to your smartphone, if you have one, to test it yourself.

    Send a link button in the app header.

  10. Close the web app window and return to the app configuration.
  11. Close the Share window. Click Exit. When prompted, confirm that you want to exit.

    The app's item page appears. The title and tags are already completed from when you first created the app. You could also add more details, such as a summary and terms of use.

  12. Click Share and share the app with Everyone.

Now that you've published a feature service and delivered a working map-based email application, you've completed this lesson.

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