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Rhode Island Digital Atlas: FAQs

What are some of the future improvements do you have in mind?

  • Within each section of the Atlas, have the maps ordered by title rather than the date they were last updated.  Currently we're limited by the API on this.
  • More maps!  We've more in the hopper ourselves, and will be working with our partners to bring more useful maps to you.
  • Search engine for maps.  Currently our website's search engine searches the entire website, but can't find our maps since they're not directly hosted by us - but by ArcGIS Online.  There may be a custom developer solution, but it'll take some time.
  • Custom map apps, such as one that lets you compare the most recent aerial photography available from RIGIS versus the oldest.


Are there any restrictions on how maps from the Atlas may be used?

Creative Commons License The Rhode Island Digital Atlas is a product of the University of Rhode Island Environmental Data Center, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, and is subject to any applicable terms and use conditions of ArcGIS Online and any other data sources and services referenced by this application (e.g. OpenStreetMap).

In a nutshell, you're welcome to use the Atlas as you like, but please respect our work by giving the University of Rhode Island Environmental Data Center credit for it.


How do I credit the Rhode Island Digital Atlas in a publication?

Here's a suggested bibliographic reference:

Rhode Island Digital Atlas, 2014.  Aerial Photographs (1939), URL:, University of Rhode Island Environmental Data Center, Kingston, Rhode Island (last date accessed: 7 March 2014).

This example follows the Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing (PE&RS) instructions for authors)


What technology are you using behind the scenes?

We use a combination of Esri ArcGIS for Server and Esri ArcGIS Online for Organizations.  The use of ArcGIS Online saves us a tremendous amount of development time as we're able to rely on Esri to keep the underlying technology and code up-to-date, freeing us up to focus on the maps themselves.


Do I need to pay for an Esri ArcGIS Online account to make my own custom maps?

No!  ArcGIS Online offers a free public account that you may sign up for here.  There are some strings attached, particularly if you plan to use ArcGIS Online for commercial purposes, so you'll probably want to read the fine print when you sign up.  Existing Esri customers may also be entitled to their own ArcGIS Online for Organization as well.  Please contact your local Esri office for more details.


I'm a developer - is it possible to build Atlas maps into my own custom websites and apps?

Yes, definitely.  All the Atlas maps use underlying ArcGIS for Server map services that are accessible via REST, and to a lesser extent, WMS and KML.  However while we try to not make too many changes once a map service has been shared, any of our map services are subject to change at any time with zero advance notice, and we don't guarantee their availability 24/7.  We plan to post more information on this at some point, but in the meantime feel free to contact us for more information.