Add Layers to ArcGIS Online from Zip,Text, and GPS Exchange Files

by | Sep 13, 2011

ArcGIS Online has enabled the capability for you to add layers from a file such as a shapefile compressed into a zip file, delimited text file (.txt or .csv), or a GPS Exchange file (.gpx) when creating a map using the free online map viewer.  This allows even more functionality and map creation possibilities when using the map viewer to develop maps.

The map viewer acts similar to other ArcGIS programs such as ArcMap and draws the features by using the location information as well as stores any attribute information that is included with the data.  By including the attribute information, the map viewer allows you to create pop-up windows for your map based on this data.

To add a layer from a file from the map viewer:

–        Click “Add”

–        Click “Add Layer from file”

–        Navigate to the file location on your computer

–        Click “Import Layer”

If you are using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, you can import the data directly by dragging the data from your computer and dropping the file into the map

There are a few things to keep in mind when adding features from a file:

–        Delimited text files must have latitude and longitude information stored in separate fields

–        The map viewer will display the first 1000  waypoint, track, and/or route features from a GPS exchange file

–        You must compress the shapefile into a .zip file which must contain the .shp, .shx, .dbf and .prj files that comprise a shapefile.  In addition, the zip file and shapefile must have the same name and be under 1 MB since larger datasets will experience poor performance



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Eric Pimpler
Eric is the founder and owner of GeoSpatial Training Services ( and has over 25 years of experience implementing and teaching GIS solutions using ESRI, Google Earth/Maps, Open Source technology. Currently Eric focuses on ArcGIS scripting with Python, and the development of custom ArcGIS Server web and mobile applications using JavaScript. Eric is the author of Programming ArcGIS with Python Cookbook - 1st and 2nd Edition, Building Web and Mobile ArcGIS Server Applications with JavaScript, Spatial Analytics with ArcGIS, and ArcGIS Blueprints. Eric has a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Texas A&M University and a Master's of Applied Geography degree with a concentration in GIS from Texas State University.

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