Community Maps Program Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

  1. What is the Community Maps Program?
  2. What basemaps are included in the Community Maps Program?
  3. Where does the content in the Community Maps basemaps come from?
  4. What are the benefits of participating in the Community Maps Program?
  5. Will users be able to download data I contribute to the Community Maps Program?
  6. Is a legal participation agreement required to contribute content to the Community Maps Program?
  7. How often is the World Topographic Map service updated?
  8. How do I get started?
  9. What is the required spatial reference for data submitted to the Community Maps Program?
  10. Is populating the entire Local Government Information Model required in order to contribute to the Community Maps Program?
  11. Now that the Community Maps Program is encouraging participants to contribute their vector data, will a different data sharing agreement be required?
  12. If I'm an existing contributor in the former participation model why do I have to "apply" for the program through the new Web-based Contribution Management App?
  13. I'm an existing contributor and my organization supplied content in the previous template. Are there tools or instruction for moving from the older template model to the newer, CM 2.0 template?
  14. If my organization only submits two (2) layers, let's say Administrative Boundaries and Roads, will the basemap only contain these feature layers?
  15. Why am I asked to select a geography when I apply to the Community Maps Program using the online contribution management system?
  16. We're interested in contributing and have most of our data in the Local Government model except for parcels. Do we need to convert our parcels to the Parcel Fabric before we can submit these data?
  17. Is the Trees feature class intended for trees planted as landscaping only or all trees within a community?
  18. What's the difference between Basemap Layers and Campus Layers in the online Contribution App?
  19. What do I do if I find out another agency is contributing content for which I am the data steward?
  20. I work in a facility with restricted internet access. Is there an alternative way to upload our data to Esri Community Maps?
  21. How do I report a mistake in the World Topographic Map?
  22. Can building footprints be classified and symbolized by their type (educational, commercial, etc.) in the World Topographic Map?
  23. Are Community Maps contributors required to have ArcGIS Data Reviewer or any other extensions?
  24. Will Community Maps contributions be used in other ArcGIS Online basemaps besides the World Topographic Map?
  25. What if I have more questions?
  26. We are preparing our data to submit, but would like some assistance on the "Neighborhood" feature class. What are the rules for the Neighborhood data?

Q1: What is the Community Maps Program?

Community Maps is an initiative to develop a suite of authoritative, multi-scale global basemaps for use in a wide variety of applications. These basemaps are made available as free online map services hosted on ArcGIS Online.

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Q2: What basemaps are included in the Community Maps Program?

Currently there are four basemaps in the Community Maps Program:

  1. The World Imagery Map
  2. The World Street Map
  3. The World Topographic Map
  4. The Ocean Basemap

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Q3: Where does the content in the Community Maps basemaps come from?

The basemaps in the Community Maps Program are built from the best available data sources, including authoritative content contributed by those who know the data best—Esri users. For more detailed information on the contributors to the Community Maps Program, please refer to the Contributors page in the Community Maps Resource Center.

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Q4: What are the benefits of participating in the Community Maps Program?

Organizations that contribute their authoritative content to the Community Maps Program realize several benefits:

  1. Their basemaps are hosted for free as an online map service via ArcGIS Online. This means that they are available to users inside and outside the organization, and can be used on their own or as the basis for further custom web application development.
  2. By hosting their basemap content on ArcGIS Online, organizations are relieved of the system and resource requirements associated with hosting the web service themselves.
  3. The basemap templates used in the Community Maps Program are cartographically pleasing and relevant to a wide variety of applications.
  4. Contributors to the Community Maps Program can count on a high degree of support from the Community Maps team at Esri, including training, online resources, and quick responses to questions and issues.

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Q5: Will users be able to download data I contribute to the Community Maps Program?

No. At this time the Community Maps map services are cached map services. The original source data used to produce these cached map services is not accessible through the services and remains solely the property of the data contributor.

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Q6: Is a legal participation agreement required to contribute content to the Community Maps Program?

Participants in the Community Maps Program retain full ownership of the content they contribute, but Esri must have permission from an organization to host its content before we can actually publish it. For more information on the participation agreement (form G-181), please see this brief FAQ.

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Q7: How often is the World Topographic Map service updated?

The World Topographic Map service is updated monthly. However, contributors to the map service are not required to submit updates to their content at this frequency. At a minimum, we ask that contributors update their map content on an annual basis.

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Q8: How do I get started?

If you are interested in contributing to the Community Maps Program, please visit the How to Participate page in the Community Maps Resource Center.

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Q9: What is the required spatial reference for data submitted to the Community Maps Program?

Participants who contribute their data as a file geodatabase may use whatever local spatial reference best suits their needs. If contributing a map cache, participants should make sure that the Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere projection is used.

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Q10: Is populating the entire Local Government Information Model required in order to contribute to the Community Maps Program?

No. Only a subset of feature classes from the Local Government model are used to build the World Topographic Map. While the actual number of feature classes you will need to populate will depend on the layers you are contributing, they will represent just a small fraction of the overall model. That being said, we encourage our contributors to explore the other parts of the Local Government model to see if it fits their business needs. There are many reasons to adopt pieces of this model aside from Community Maps.

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Q11: Now that the Community Maps Program is encouraging participants to contribute their vector data, will a different data sharing agreement be required?

No. Because Esri is still only publishing a map cache of contributed data, the standard program participation agreement (G-181) should continue to meet the needs of most participants. lf your organization believes the program changes make an additional data sharing agreement necessary, we will be happy to work with it to meet its requirements.

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Q12: If I'm an existing contributor in the former participation model why do I have to "apply" for the program through the new Web-based Contribution Management App?

Esri has launched a web-based application where contributors to the program can apply to become data stewards for data in their geography. Esri needs new and existing contributors to perform this quick apply step to get their organization registered as authoritative data providers in their geography for their specific data themes. Esri will use this registration information provided in the apply process to manage data submissions, stewardship boundaries and track data stored centrally at Esri. Contributors will use this same web application to upload updates and manage all additional data submissions in the future.

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Q13: I'm an existing contributor and my organization supplied content in the previous template. Are there tools or instruction for moving from the older template model to the newer, CM 2.0 template?

The new Map Templates are configured to a data schema in the Local Government Information Model. Esri has released conversion tools and Help materials on the Resource Center to assist participants with migrating from the former model to the Local Government Model. These tools may need to be reconfigured to fit your specific data distinctions but will convert features into the proper feature classes taking into consideration the subtypes and domains in the Local Government Model.

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Q14: If my organization only submits two (2) layers, let's say Administrative Boundaries and Roads, will the basemap only contain these feature layers?

No, the basemap will not only display the two data layers submitted. Esri has seeded the basemap with content from licensed commercial vendors and will simply integrate the two data layers supplied by the contributor with the existing commercial content. In this particular example, Esri will have Administrative Boundaries and Roads already from the commercial vendor in the basemap. Therefore Esri will turn off those Roads and Administrative Boundaries from the commercial features within the contributor’s Area of Interest and replace them with those from the contributor. All other commercial content will remain in the basemap to generate the full suite of map elements. However, in a similar instance where a contributor is providing a feature layer which is not in the existing commercial content, such as Parcels, then the contributor’s content will simply be appended to the existing commercial map in the area.

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Q15: Why am I asked to select a geography when I apply to the Community Maps Program using the online contribution management system?

All contributors to the Community Maps Program have a geographical extent associated with their account. During the initial program application, this polygon boundary is used to determine if other participants are providing similar data within the same geography, and later in the process is used to define the extent of the data that will be contributed to Community Maps. To find out more about this contribution extent see this blog post.

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Q16: We're interested in contributing and have most of our data in the Local Government model except for parcels. Do we need to convert our parcels to the Parcel Fabric before we can submit these data?

No, the parcel fabric schema is not required for contributing to Community Maps 2.0. While the parcel fabric has additional benefits for managing data maintenance and using the apps such as Tax Parcel Viewer or Parcel Value for Mobile, this schema is not required for Community Maps. In the World Topographic Map parcels are only displayed as polygons at 1:1000 & 1:2000 scales. At these scales the polygons are displayed as a single symbol meaning no special symbol attributes are required and these features are not labeled.

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Q17: Is the Trees feature class intended for trees planted as landscaping only or all trees within a community?

Esri is accepting both situations. A growing number of local government contributors are submitting tree data as points, whether for just their parks are special area of interests (campus) or their entire city. The attribute [NAME] values we use to display the trees in the map template are the following:

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Q18: What's the difference between Basemap Layers and Campus Layers in the online Contribution App?

The Community Maps Program accepts a wide variety of layers. In the online Community Maps Contribution Application these layers are divided into two categories - Basemap Layers and Campus\Other Layers. Basemap layers are the predominant features in the World Topographic Map and display at widest range of scales (with the exception of Parcels, which only display at the two largest scales). Campus\Other layers represent larger scale features typically found on educational and commercial campuses. Many of these layers, such as Pavement Marking Lines, only display at 1:9128 or larger, while a few, such as Trees, can display at a wider scale range. The combination of layers from both categories provides the richest and most useful basemap, so contributing organizations should make sure to investigate both categories of layers and contribute any of them for which they are the data steward.

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Q19: What do I do if I find out another agency is contributing content for which I am the data steward?

The Community Maps Program can only allow one contributor for each individual basemap layer within a particular area of interest. For example, two different organizations cannot contribute road centerlines for the same city area. If an organization applies to contribute content to Community Maps, the program will verify that no other organizations are contributing the same layers for that geographic area. If an existing contributor, or data steward, is found, then the Community Maps team will notify them that another organization would like to contribute the same content for their area of interest. The applying organization is also notified that a data steward for the layer(s) in question already belongs to the Community Maps Program. Using this information, the two organizations should discuss which one should be the data steward for the layers moving forward. The Esri Community Maps team can help facilitate and participate in this discussion if desired. If a mutual decision cannot be reached, the Community Maps Program will choose the data steward for the layer(s) based on which content produces the best output in the ArcGIS Online basemap services. For more information on data stewardship in the Community Maps Program see this topic in the online Help.

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Q20: I work in a facility with restricted internet access. Is there an alternate way to upload our data to Esri Community Maps?

Yes. If you are unable to use the upload capability of our online Contribution Application, please just contact us at communitymaps@esri.com, and we will arrange an alternative upload option or provide physical shipping support.

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Q21: How do I report a mistake in the World Topographic Map?

Feedback map services are available for the Imagery, Street and Topographic basemaps in ArcGIS Online. Simply navigate to the appropriate feedback service and use the Edit tool to add points, lines or polygons to describe the mistake. The ArcGIS Online Content team will address the issue and update the status of the comment as soon as possible.

Q22: Can building footprints be classified and symbolized by their type (educational, commercial, etc.) in the World Topographic Map?

Yes. Building footprints are symbolized according to the value of their FEATURECODE attribute. The accepted values for FEATURECODE in the building footprint layer are:

  • General
  • Government
  • Medical
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Commercial
  • Religious
  • Recreation
  • Cultural/Heritage
  • Hospitality
  • Airport
  • Industrial
  • Community Center

Building footprints without a FEATURECODE value will be symbolized as General.

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Q23: Are Community Maps contributors required to have ArcGIS Data Reviewer or any other extensions?

No. While the ArcGIS Data Reviewer extension is particularly useful during the data review phase of the contribution process, it is not required. Similarly, the Data Interoperability extension is a terrific tool for migrating map data into the Local Government Information Model schema preferred by Community Maps, but it is not required to participate or perform the data migration.

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Q24: Will Community Maps contributions be used in other ArcGIS Online basemaps besides the World Topographic Map?

Yes. While the World Topographic Map remains the primary recipient of most Community Maps contributions, beginning in 2014 we expect to be able to blend relevant layers into the Streets and Light Gray Canvas maps as well.

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Q25: What if I have more questions?

If you have more questions that are not addressed in this brief FAQ, make sure to check out the Community Maps Resource Center or feel free to contact us.

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Q26: What are the rules for the Neighborhood data?

This is a great question since we've seen many variations of this feature class over the past few years submitted through the Community Maps Program. The best way to describe the rules for this feature class are to first explain the feature class schema and how it's used in the map, then give some examples of what it is, and then what it is not.

First, the Neighborhood feature class is not part of the standard Local Government Schema. This was added solely for the Community Maps basemap production. This is a point feature class for labeling the neighborhood areas. The data is displayed in our basemaps at the larger scales to provide location reference or context to the community. The points themselves are not displayed but rather only labeled in the map in the general location of these named neighborhoods. The only attributes needed for this feature class is the official, or name referenced locally. One side note, the NAME attribute is preferred to be in title case e.g. "GOLD COAST" should be "Gold Coast."

This feature class should represent the approximate center of a localized community that is within a larger city, town, suburb or rural area. As Wikipedia states, "Neighborhoods are often social communities with considerable face-to-face interaction among members." Many established, large cities have such communities within their city limits which residents use regularly for spatial reference.

Lincoln Park and Old Town Triangle labels in Chicago, Illinois

Little Italy Label in San Diego, California

These features should not be confused with populated places, or city/town names. Esri has an extensive commercial dataset of city/town names and we do not want to duplicate these features in the basemaps which can cause confusion to the end user. The neighborhood labels are also not home owner associations (HOA), subdivision names, apartment/condominium complexes or mobile home parks which may be important to city governments but are not recognized as familiar neighborhood names. If your community does not have true neighborhood features, don't worry, it is not required.

The ArcGIS Content team who manages the Community Maps data would be happy to discuss your options and look at your data to make a determination to include or exclude these types of features for your community. Please contact us at communitymaps@esri.com to request an evaluation of your neighborhood data.