Frequently asked question

What is the correct way to cite an ArcGIS Online basemap?

Last Published: April 25, 2020


There are several ways to cite or attribute the ArcGIS Online basemaps that are used for publication, depending on the medium of publication. For each ArcGIS Online basemap, the proper attributions for the basemaps are as follows:

World ImagerySources: Esri, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, i-cubed, USDA FSA, USGS, AEX, Getmapping, Aerogrid, IGN, IGP, swisstopo, and the GIS User Community
World Street MapSources: Esri, DeLorme, HERE, USGS, Intermap, iPC, NRCAN, Esri Japan, METI, Esri China (Hong Kong), Esri (Thailand), MapmyIndia, Tomtom
World Topo MapSources: Esri, DeLorme, HERE, TomTom, Intermap, increment P Corp., GEBCO, USGS, FAO, NPS, NRCAN, GeoBase, IGN, Kadaster NL, Ordnance Survey, Esri Japan, METI, Esri China (Hong Kong), swisstopo, MapmyIndia, and the GIS User Community
National GeographicSources: National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, HERE, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, iPC
Light Gray Canvas MapSources: Esri, DeLorme, HERE, MapmyIndia
USA Topo MapsCopyright: © 2014 National Geographic Society, i-cubed
Ocean BasemapSources: Esri, GEBCO, NOAA, National Geographic, DeLorme, HERE,, and other contributors

To use Bing Maps as the basemap, users must adhere to Microsoft Print Rights. The logo must not be altered, and copyright notices must be included on the map.

The following are the correct ways to cite an ArcGIS Online basemap used for publication.

  • ArcGIS Online basemaps used in other publications
To reference the use of the ArcGIS Online basemap in other publications such as in the works cited section of a research paper, follow the following style:

Author. “Map title” [format]. Scale. “Title of the complete document or site”. Information date. URL – this must include the full path of the document address, not just the home page of the web site (The date viewed).

Here is an example of referencing the ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map basemap using the style mentioned above:

Esri. "Topographic" [basemap]. Scale Not Given. "World Topographic Map". February 19, 2012. (May 25, 2017).
  • ArcGIS Online basemaps used on ArcGIS Online content
When an ArcGIS Online basemap is used in ArcGIS Online content that is published, the acceptable method of attribution is by crediting the sources found in the Credits field of the item details for each ArcGIS Online map, task, or application being used. Credits should also be displayed in the lower right corner of the map or image.
Figure 1: Example of the Credits field
image of credit field
  • ArcGIS Online basemaps used in printed material
When using an ArcGIS Online basemap in printed materials such as books, articles, brochures, and research papers, attributions must be provided on or near the map or image that includes the ArcGIS Online basemap. In addition to that, reference the use of the basemap in the printed materials with a statement such as:
'Maps throughout this book were created using ArcGIS® software by Esri. ArcGIS® and ArcMap™ are the intellectual property of Esri and are used herein under license. Copyright © Esri. All rights reserved. For more information about Esri® software, please visit'
  • ArcGIS Online basemaps used at public exhibitions
When an ArcGIS Online basemap is used in a public exhibition, the attribution is included in the lower right corner of the map or image.

In some instances, users place all attributions in an exhibit on a single ‘credit panel’ at the end of each gallery or exhibition, instead of placing attributions on each map used. As long as this credit panel is located near the maps being used, there is no need to individually attribute each map. Nevertheless, to properly cite a publication, the copyright attribution must be on or near the map or image being used.

Article ID:000012040

  • ArcGIS Online

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