Become part of the GIS of the World

As a community-fueled effort, thousands of contributors have shared their best maps, apps, and data with the world.

Feel free to browse their work to get a sense of what people are contributing or read the Q & A to learn more.

Why join us? You will get to work with our team of curators who help improve your content and ensure it reaches a wide audience, an audience numbering in the millions.

The ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World designates content in ArcGIS Online as the best of the best. We can all use and benefit from this wealth of information.


Collections are organized by theme to make exploring and discovering ready-to-use apps, maps, and data effortless. Use this content to enhance the work you do every day. ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Enterprise, and ArcGIS Pro users can learn more about how to use the Living Atlas.

The Living Atlas is a collaborative effort between users, partners, and Esri. Whether it’s contributing data or nominating your maps and apps, there is a way for you to get involved.

Why contribute?

There are numerous reasons organizations and users chose to contribute to the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. The Living Atlas places your content among the best of ArcGIS Online, making users more likely to choose your authoritative contributions. Your content will reach a broad audience, and you will be helping to build the GIS of the world. The My Contributions tab makes it easy to nominate your items for Living Atlas inclusion, and many enjoy the collaboration that takes place between the contributors and the curators.

Through the Community Maps Program, Esri hosts your data online for free in relevant Community Maps products, making it easier and more cost-effective to build maps and apps. You will become part of a collaborative effort with hundreds of participating organizations. You will always retain ownership and control over the data you provide, and your organization will be given credit and recognition for helping to build the Living Atlas.

Success Stories

Many organizations have benefited from using the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. From nominating maps and apps to contributing data, these stories showcase ways to get involved and the benefits.

MarineCadastre.gov Has the Living Atlas Swimming in Ocean Data

Shining a Spotlight on the Environment

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan Introducing the Ecological Marine Units

Add your data to Esri's basemaps

Through the Community Maps Program your organization can contribute its local geographic content to the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. The data will be published and hosted by Esri as part of ArcGIS Online maps and layers. Everything from basemap layers such as parks and trees to stream gauge data can be contributed. Your data is integrated with data from other providers to improve and enhance the maps and layers.

This program is available to any Esri user organization and other geographic data providers interested in making their data content broadly available to their customer base as well as the larger GIS community.

What data can you contribute?

The Community Maps Program works with authoritative GIS data contributions to build the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World consisting of reference and thematic maps covering a wide variety of topics. Community Maps members participate by contributing data in one or more of the following categories.

Basemap layers

Basemap layers

The ArcGIS ready-to-use basemaps are built from the best available data sources, and many of them are enhanced with contributed content from authoritative users. For most organizations, this will be the way in which they participate in the Community Maps Program. Learn more.



ArcGIS includes detailed basemap imagery for the world, consisting of the best available data from both commercial and community sources. Your organization can enhance this ArcGIS imagery by contributing your recent, submeter-resolution imagery. Learn more.



ArcGIS World Geocoding Service helps you find and display global addresses on a map with a high degree of accuracy. Its global address dataset includes data from commercial sources, all levels of government, and many reputable mapping organizations. Esri works with its global distributors to include local data suited for each region for an unrivaled user experience. International reference data ensures that ArcGIS World Geocoding Service offers consistent and authoritative geocoding results.

Your organization can enhance the geocoding experience for its users by contributing the most recent, accurate, and comprehensive point or polygon address data to the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service. Learn more.

Land elevation and bathymetry

Topo Bathy Hillshade

ArcGIS includes an elevation map featuring topography (land elevation) and bathymetry (water depths). Slope, elevation-tinted and multidirectional hillshade are also included. Elevation powers 3D scenes. If your organization has high-resolution elevation data, you can contribute to the Community Maps Program. Learn more.

Hydrology and stream gauges

Watershed tool and Hydrology

The ArcGIS World Hydrology basemap and Live Steam Gauges layer provide a reference map of the world's water resources and real-time observations of river depth and flow rate, respectively. Your organization can participate by contributing your hydrology and stream gauge layer. Learn more.

Urban Observatory themes

Urban Observatory

Understanding precedes action. The Urban Observatory is an interactive collection of data that enables side-by-side comparison of cities around the world in order to make our planet more understandable. Learn more.

Community Maps Program contributors

The number of organizations that have seen the benefit of integrating their accurate, up-to-date map layers into the online products of Community Maps has reached several hundred and is growing each year. Use the map below to find out if an organization in your area is already contributing to the World Topographic Map.

For a complete listing of all current contributors to the four ArcGIS Online Community Maps basemaps use the links below:

Community Maps Program contribution process

The contribution process is described in the following steps:

1. Apply

Apply to the Community Maps Program with the online Community Maps Contributor App. You’ll provide contact information, the area of interest (geography), and the type of map layers you intend to contribute. The Community Maps team will contact you to verify information and provide guidance on moving forward with the program.

2. Prepare

Before contributing to the Community Maps Program, you’ll need to prepare your content for uploading into Esri’s basemap database. The Data Preparation steps will vary depending on what type of data you will be contributing, and how you contribute (via a service or a zipped geodatabase). You may need to use the Community Maps Data Preparation Tools to pre-process your data.

3. Upload

Use the online Community Maps Contributor App to provide your content. Map data contributions that are 500 MB or smaller can be uploaded directly via the app. The Community Maps team will make alternate arrangements for larger data contributions.

4. Review

Your data contribution will undergo a review for completeness, accuracy, and integration into the relevant ArcGIS Online basemaps. As a contributor, you’ll participate in this review and provide feedback and help resolve issues if necessary.

5. Publish

After the review has been completed and any issues addressed, your data contribution will published into the relevant basemaps.

Prepare your basemap data contribution

The Community Maps Program accepts contributions of basemap data in two formats:

  1. As a Hosted Feature Service from your ArcGIS Online account or as a ArcGIS Server Map or Feature Service. Read the Tips and Tricks document to see which layers are supported, and the Service requirements.

  2. As a file geodatabase that is created using the Community Maps Data Preparation Tools.

Get the help you need

The ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is integrated directly into the ArcGIS Platform. Learn more about how to use it by clicking the links below.

ArcGIS Online
Quick exercises
ArcGIS Pro
ArcGIS Enterprise
User help
Administrator guide
Learn ArcGIS exercises
Contribute your best maps and apps

We are always looking for great maps, apps, and data. Many of your items probably already meet the minimum requirements for nomination. Contribute these items to the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World and help us build the GIS of the world.

Contribute data to the Community Maps Program

Do you have data that can become part of our community-supported maps and layers? If so, contribute today and see how your data can help power the world. From campuses to nations, let your data benefit others.

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