Using ArcGIS Pro for web-map creation and publication


More and more GIS software products appear on the market these days. They do a great deal to both help with scientific research and spread the results for a wider audience. One of these new products is ESRI’s ArcGIS Pro. It is included with ArcGIS for Desktop 10.3 release (2014). Actually, ArcGIS Pro became available from January 2015, and later was upgraded in September 2015. This product is developed as a main tool to organise work with geo data, editing and analyzing, visualization and publication. Detailed info on use policies,  installation, functionality of ArcGIS Pro can be found here.

ArcGIS Pro includes all ArcGIS for Desktop functionality, but has a completely updated design and user interface. In this post we will use a specific research as an example to get to know the new software better.

What we need to do

So, the task we have is to:

❶ analyse monitoring data of heavy metals inclusion in agricultural soils;

❷ next, a map will be made containing the characteristic contamination levels for lead, cadmium, zinc, and copper;

❸ the results will be published as web-map.



The data in use is a 2005 set of agriculture land monitoring in Shchorsa region, Chernihiv oblast. The data were provided by “Oblrodiuchist” Chernihiv state centre.



Obviously, the contamination is a continuous field. It would be only logical to interpolate the point  values to represent spatial characteristics of heavy metal contents in the soil. But in this example we will limit the work to initial data analysis and representation. (Another post about interpolating agriculture land contamination is on its way.)

So, first thing the data is classified by contaminant contents, extreme points are selected and the values are compared to the maximum concentration allowed for specific element. The area of interest is located in Polissya region, so the concentrations for chemical elements are selected for sandy soils.



First, create a project in ArcGIS Pro, where all the resources are stored (vector and raster data,  tables, styles, instruments, maps, database connections etc.). Each project gets a separate folder on the computer’s drive to store all the resources. The project supports import of various ArcGIS for Desktop files: ArcMap (.mxd), ArcGlobe (.3dd) и ArcScene (.sxd).

First impression on opening the project – the interface is completely different from ArcGIS for Desktop (figure 1). The tools used most are gathered on the top ribbon. These are grouped into tags: Project (general settings), Map (map tools), Insert (creating maps and scenes, adding sets, basic maps, tools), Analysis (access to geo processing), View (managing views), Edit (editing tools) and Share (managing and sharing projects).

The menu is dynamic, context-oriented, the tabs are highlighted depending on context (like in Microsoft Office 2013). The ribbon can be minimized, to make more space for the map(s), and the tools used most may be placed in the Quick access panel (top left). Panes, map and scene windows, tool panels can be opened separately, docked in various ways, or minimized.

For our project we will create a new map:

Input → New map.

The new map is created according to general settings, set out in Project – Options. For instance, in our case the map view and base layer are selected by default according to organisation settings in ArcGIS Online. One project can store any number of 2D maps, 3D scenes and configurations. Moreover, these can be open at the same time with their views linked.


Figure 1.  ArcGIS Pro Interface

Next, we add a point shapefile to our map storing locations of 419 sample points, it stores data on heavy metal (Pb, Cd, Cu, Zn) composition in the attribute table:

Map → Add data.

After adding the shapefile, map extent is changed to fit the data.

I’ve already mentioned that ArcGIS Pro menu is context-oriented, meaning it may propose specific actions based on the selected data. For example, if a certain vector layer is selected in the contents pane, the software highlights the data specific tool menus (figure 2).

Taking the tip we go to Feature layer → Appearance → Symbology.

Here we choose classification type and data representation type. A new pane is opened showing corresponding settings, similar to the desktop version of ArcGIS. What I personally like, is that the symbology settings pane is open next to the map, can be scaled, layer appearance adjusts instantly as the changes are made.

After selecting the symbology, the numerical attribute table field is selected to classify the data by. The contents of a specific chemical element is showed by a graduated symbols of the same colour, but the points with excess contents are shown with a more intense colour. Using a manual classification method, the outlier values need to be placed in a table. As for me, this is not that handy (not handy at all) comparing to  ArcGIS for Desktop, where on can select the classes from a distribution graph.



Figure 2. Feature layer settings in ArcGIS Pro

Then we set up other settings for the layer: labels, zoom scales, transparency and pop-ups (figure 2). It is extremely easy to work with pop-ups in ArcGIS Pro. Pop-up window title can be edited, a general description, text may be formatted. Additionally it is possible to add a diagram (using the table fields) and an image (using a URL).

In our case we set every pop-up value to the allowable concentration of specific element and its contents at sample point (figure 2). Similarly, themes for each chemical’s characteristics are customized and saved to a layer .LYRX file.

Next, the heavy metal concentration map is customized with thematic layers of chemicals’ characteristics, and we go on to share it as a web-map using a personal ArcGIS Online account.



An ArcGIS web-map is an interactive representation of geographic information consisting of web layers. In ArcGIS Pro a web map can be created using existing web layers and also using personal layer data (the web layers will be shared together with the web map). Publishing a web map is possible through the Share tab. We set the map name and a short description, tags, sharing options (for your organization or general access) in a dialog (figure 3).


Figure 3. ArcGIS Pro map and sharing settings

When shared the layer order, visibility, style settings, pop-up settings is passed from the original map. However, there is a set of limitations. For example, layers consisting of several sub-layers are not supported, there are restrictions on the use of symbols (e.g. dashed lines are not displayed). To avoid errors it’s best to use an Analyze option for the software to find inconsistencies and suggest ways of solving them.

After sharing the map successfully we can manage the it on My resources page of ArcGIS Online account settings.  Design can be altered and the map can be further customized in these settings.

ArcGIS Pro thematic layers can be saved as separate web layers that are instantly added to your ArcGIS Online account, they can be added to an existing web map or to a new one. When editing a web map that contains layers one should mind the pop-ups’ appearance, to see if the original formatting remains.



As a result we get an interactive web-map (see below) having four thematic layers that show soil content of the most spread and dangerous heavy metals – lead, cadmium, zinc, and lead. Now sharing settings can be customized and the map can be embedded into any web resource using a link, shared in social media, embedded into a web site using a generated html code, or a web app can be created on the map’s basis.


“Monitoring agricultural land. Heavy metal concentration in soil, Shchors region, Chernihiv oblast” web map