Introduction to maps, scenes, and layers

Maps, scenes, and layers are the foundation for visual mapping applications. All maps and scenes access and display geographic data though layers. A basemap layer provides the overall visual context for a map. The data source and style for a basemap layer are provided by the basemap styles service. A data layer allows you to display your own feature or raster data on top of the basemap layer. The source for a data layer is a data service which you can create interactively by hosting your data in ArcGIS. To learn how to create and display maps and scenes, go to the topics below.

Map and scene used to display satellite imagery and hurricane data in 2D and 3D


Maps (2D)

Learn how to create and display a map in 2D.

Scenes (3D)

Learn how to create and display a scene in 3D.

Basemap layers

Learn how to display different basemap styles from the basemap styles service.

Basemap places

Learn how to display places with a basemap style using the basemap styles service.

Data layers

Learn how to display your own data from hosted data services.


Learn how to display points, polylines, and polygons on a map or scene.




API support

2D Display3D DisplayBasemap layersBasemap placesData layersGraphicsWeb mapsWeb scenes
ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for .NET
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Kotlin
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Swift
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Java
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Qt
ArcGIS API for Python
Esri Leaflet34
MapLibre GL JS34
Full supportPartial supportNo support
  • 1. Display places only.
  • 2. Access via HTTP request and authentication.
  • 3. Access via Feature layer or Map tile layer.
  • 4. Access via layers.


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