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The simple Map Note: ArcGIS Online

The simple Map Note: ArcGIS Online

Scenario:  You have organized a meeting at which you will be seeking public input regarding the location of problem areas in town.  You want to be able to mark locations, given by the public, on a map and add associated comments to those locations.  Ultimately this data will be incorporated into the town’s GIS system for departments to analyze and rectify any issues.

How-to ( & ArcMap):  Using an ArcGIS Online Public Account, create a basic web map adding existing basemap layers and other map or features services available, also add a Map Note layer.  This layer is editable; feature locations and attributes will be saved in this layer.

Add the Map Note layer to your web map.  There will be prompt to choose a template.  In this example we are using the Citizen Requests template, there are other templates to choose from and you should choose the template that best suits your application.   The layer is ready to accept features.

To begin editing, click the Edit button located along the ribbon interface.  All editable layers will be listed within the Contents panel.  Select the appropriate template icon from the contents panel and click on the map to place the feature.  When the feature is placed, a comment bubble is exposed.  Add all pertinent information here.  All content will be saved with the layer and will be visible when brought into ArcGIS Desktop.  Repeat this process until all features have been captured.  Save the web map.  This web map along with the features and comments added to the Map Note layer will be saved to your conent area on

Bringing the Map Note into ArcGIS Desktop:  View the My Contents listing in and find the saved map.  Click on the map title, ex: Map Note – public input features.  A webpage with the web map details will be opened.  Click Open in ArcGIS for Desktop.

ArcGIS Online will package the web map and create a file called item.pkinfo.  This file will be opened with the ArcGIS File Handler which automatically un-packages the file and launches the ArcMap application within ArcGIS Desktop.

When the package is opened you will have an ArcMap document containing  pointers to the basemap layers and other map services used in the webmap and the Map Notes layer, Action Required, saved as a feature class.

The Map Notes layer is extracted as a feature class inside of a file geodatabase.  The feature class contains the feature id, shape, title, description field.  The Title field is coming from the Map Notes template and the description field contains the information entered in the comment section of the comment pop-up bubble in

This data is a feature class and can be used as such.  It can be saved to another workspace, exported out to a shapefile.   The feature class can be edited.  Features can be added, deleted and/or attributes updated.

Notes: The Map Note templates are an easy way to obtain input from others who may not have ArcGIS Desktop.  There is no link to the Map Note features sitting in the web map and the Feature Class sitting on your hard drive.  Any edits made to the feature class will not be reflected on the web map and vice versa.   The edited feature class would need to be saved as a shapefile, zipped and added back into the web map.  See uploading a zipped shape file for how this is accomplished.

For others to interact with this map you will have to share the map.  You may try using the example web map created for this article.  The Layer named Action Required can be edited.  Notice if you try to save the map, you will be prompted to login to and the map will be saved in your area on



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Last updated

09/14/2016 - 09:12