Fancy Adding Your Own Rasters to ArcGIS Online?

16th January 2015

Ever wanted to have your own raster data in ArcGIS Online, but don’t have ArcGIS for Server? Well now you can with the help of ArcGIS for Desktop! These rasters could be aerial imagery, historical mapping, or other rasters that represent events like flooding etc.

1) Open a fresh ArcMap document > add your chosen rasters > save the map document (.mxd)

2) You can choose to use the ‘ArcGIS Online/Bing Maps/Google Maps’ Tiling Scheme to set the scale levels for the tile cache but this may not work well with your rasters if they were created at other scales. The scale levels will also determine the zoom levels in web applications that use your rasters as a basemap. 

To create your own Tiling Scheme browse through the ArcToolbox for the “Generate Map Server Cache Tiling Scheme” tool (Server Tools > Caching > Generate Map Server Cache Tiling Scheme) and fill out the fields:

Map Document – browse to where you saved your .mxd.

Data Frame – this field should fill automatically, but if it doesn’t then select the data frame from the drop down menu that your rasters are contained in.

Output Tiling Scheme – browse to where you want to save the result of this tool to and give a name (it will be a XML file).

Tiling origin in map units – this field should fill automatically, but feel free to change these to match your preference.

Number of Scales – you can specify the number of scale levels you want in the tiling scheme and they will be generated for you (skip this if you want to set your own specific scales).

Scales – here you can enter specific scale levels to be included in the tiling scheme. Use 5000 to represent a scale of 1:5000 and so on.

Dots(Pixels) Per Inch– here you can choose the DPI (dots per inch) of the intended output device. If you choose a DPI that does not match the resolution of the output device then the scale of the map tile will appear incorrect. The default value is 96.

Tile Size– this is where you can select the width and height of the cache tiles in pixels. The default is 256 by 256. For the best balance between performance and manageability you should avoid deviating from standard dimensions of 256 by 256 or 512 by 512.

Your dialog should look similar to this:

3) Double-check that you have ArcGIS Runtime enabled. Now we’re ready to create our Tile Package! In the same .mxd we’ve been working in browse to: File > Share As > Tile Package.

Then complete the fields across the four tabs:

Tile Package – here you can upload the package directly to ArcGIS Online or save it locally and load it into ArcGIS Online at a later point

Tile Format – for the Tiling Scheme option select ‘A tiling scheme file’ and browse to the Tiling Scheme (.xml file) you created in step 2 or select ‘ArcGIS Online/Bing Maps/Google Maps’ for the Tiling Scheme option.

Item Description – fill out the metadata for your Tile Package, both Summary and Tags are required fields.

Sharing – choose who to share your Tile Package with, by default it isn’t shared with anyone.

When you are happy with your options, click the Analyze button. If there are no red Errors then you can go ahead and Share your Tile Package.

4. In ArcGIS Online, you will see your Tile Package. If you go into the item details of this layer, you will need to publish this item so the tiles are unpacked and hosted in ArcGIS Online.


Update 14/03/2019

If this option is not available to you, you may need to review what role you have in your account, permission to ‘Publish hosted tile layers’ is required


It then becomes a Tile Layer and you can delete the original Tile Package item:

This Tile Layer can be added to a Webmap as a layer or used as the basemap!

Tips & Tricks:

1. Make sure that the appropriate extents are saved with the map document – we don’t want any parts of the raster cut out!

2. Make sure that the projection of both the layer and the data frame are correctly defined. 

3. Make sure there is no extra information in the Table of Contents apart from the Rasters