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You will learn: how to find and use spatial data that others have shared on the ArcGIS platform.

Organizations all over the world use ArcGIS to create and manage their spatial data. Many of them share their work publicly through ArcGIS Open Data, the Living Atlas or ArcGIS Online. Because of this you can often find a relevant existing layer in the area you're studying if you take the time to search for it. Do note that it's up to you to evaluate the coverage, quality, recency, and accuracy of the third-party open content you find.

In this tutorial, you'll practice searching for interesting datasets on ArcGIS Open Data.


Find a dataset on ArcGIS Open Data

  1. Go to ArcGIS Open Data and browse the available data under Sustainable > Infrastructure.

  2. Under the filters, add a filter for data tagged Transportation from the source City of Los Angeles Hub. You can also search for Metro Bus Lines in Los Angeles.

  3. Click on the dataset titled Metro Bus Lines.

  4. In the Attributes section, click on MetroBusType and notice that individual lines are now colored differently on the map. A bar chart is displayed which compares the total number of bus lines of each type.

  5. The Data tab shows you the item's raw data in tabular form. The API Explorer tab is an interactive tool to help you create your own queries to filter the RESTful service.

  6. Return the Overview tab and click View Metadata to open this item in ArcGIS Online.

  7. Note the URL of this layer's service under the URL in the sidebar. Also note the service's item ID appears in the page's URL in your browser. For example in the item ID is 898c91b2d8f046608a4df64de8d36649.

Add data from Living Atlas

  1. Click the arrow next to Open in Map Viewer and select Add to new map.

  2. Click on Modify Map in the top right of the page to edit this map.

  3. Click Add > Browse Living Atlas Layers to search for other authoritative content contributed by a variety of sources. You can also browse the Living Atlas outside the ArcGIS Online Map Viewer at the Living Atlas website.

  4. Search the Living Atlas for Los Angeles Transit Stops and click the + symbol to add it to your map.

  5. Click the arrow to return the to maps content.

  6. Optional You can save this web map by clicking Save > Save As.

  7. Hover your mouse over the Los Angeles Transit Stops layer. Click the icon and click Show Item Details

  8. Note the layer's service URL under the URL in the sidebar. Also note the service's item ID in the URL of the page in your browser. For example, in, the item ID is ec66e4bfc642480ebf68b996c56d5578.

Congratulations, you're done!

Your web map should look something like this. You should also have the following item ids and URLs that you can use in future tutorials:


Find more data

ArcGIS Online hosts many public layers that might be available for use in your applications. You can search and browse content with a wide variety of filters.

On the Living Atlas website you can search and browse content sorted into categories like basemaps, imagery, and demographics.

ArcGIS Open data hosts official datasets from thousands of organizations.