Create a blank basemap for ArcGIS Online

Last Published: April 25, 2020


ArcGIS Online does not have a blank basemap by design. However, it is possible to create one in ArcGIS Online.


Use one of the following options to create a blank basemap in ArcGIS Online.

Set the transparency level of the default basemap

  1. In ArcGIS Online Map Viewer, select basemap from the gallery
  2. Set the transparency level to Transparent (100%) to make the basemap invisible. Refer to ArcGIS Online: Change transparency for more information.
Set the transparency level of the default basemap

Create a blank basemap in ArcMap and add it to the basemap gallery in ArcGIS Online

Basemaps added to the gallery must share the same spatial reference. To achieve the best performance, it is recommended that all basemaps added to the gallery are cached (tiled) layers.
  1. In ArcMap, create a polygon shapefile using the Web Mercator coordinate system, and save the map.
  2. Publish the shapefile as a service to ArcGIS Server. Follow the default settings for publishing options, except for caching.
    1. In the Caching tab, for Draw this map service, check the Using tiles from a cache option.
    2. For Tiling Scheme, select ArcGIS Online/ Bing Maps/ Google Maps from the drop-down list.
    3. Check the Build cache manually after the service is published check box.
    4. Click Publish to publish the service to get a blank tiled map service.
The Service Editor dialog box
  1. Open the ArcGIS Server Manager site, and select the published tile map service. Click the Capabilities tab and copy the REST URL.
Copy the REST URL
  1. Using an ArcGIS Online organizational account, create a group, and add all organizational users to the group.
  2. In ArcGIS Online Map Viewer, create a new map, and add the tiled map service.
    1. Click Add > Add Layer from Web.
    2. In the Add Layer from Web dialog box, paste the URL copied in step 3.
Add layer from web
  1. Check the Use as Basemap check box.
  2. Click ADD LAYER.
  1. Share the blank basemap with the group created for the organization in step 4.
    1. Navigate Organization > Settings > Map.
    2. Under Basemap Gallery, select the blank basemap to use the basemaps from the group created.
Any map shared with this group containing only a basemap layer will be added to the basemaps of this group.
  1. Check the Share the Esri default basemaps to this group when you click Save check box. Refer to ArcGIS Online: Basemap gallery for more information.
Share the blank basemap with the group
  1. Click Save.

Edit all ArcGIS Online maps to use the blank basemap. The maps are loaded, and users have the option of selecting another basemap when required.

The map load with a blank basemap

Article ID:000012587

  • ArcGIS Online

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