Use map image layers

Map image layers come from dynamic or cached map services and can be viewed in maps and scenes. Following are some common tasks for working with map image layers.

Map image layer structure

Map image layers are added to the Contents pane as composite layers. Composite layers are expandable, so you can expand a map image layer to see its sublayers.

However, you cannot add or remove sublayers to the map image layer in the Contents pane. Since the layer is based on a map, you can view the layer's organization in the source map, but this order can't be changed. For example, you cannot insert a layer into the composite layer or divide the map image layer into its constituent sublayers. If the service includes a table, you cannot remove the table.

Get information about a map image layer

In the layer's properties, the Source tab displays information such as the map extent, server name or URL, service capabilities, cache status, and the native coordinate system of the service.

Map image layer attributions

The data source credits or attributions for an ArcGIS Server map image layer are available to display in the printed or exported map. In a map view, click the button Show credits for service layers located in the lower corner of the map to open a window that lists source information for all web layers currently turned on in the map. Once you export the map or create a layout, the button is replaced with the text of the web layer attributions. You cannot move or change this text.

Explore map image sublayers

Map image layers can contain one or more sublayers. The sublayer of a map service may have additional features that allow you to interact with and analyze its data.

Work with tables

If the administrator of the map service has granted permission, you can view the attribute table of a map service sublayer. Right-click a sublayer in the Contents pane and choose Attribute Table Open Table, or press Ctrl+T.

Map image layers can include stand-alone tables, and these tables are visible in the Contents pane. Right-click the table and choose Open Open Table to view them.

When the table is the active view, you can use the Table tab on the ribbon to perform the following tasks:

  • Filter by extent
  • Zoom and pan to features
  • Select by attribute or location
  • Create summary statistics
  • Export all or a subset of features

The Select tool can be used to choose multiple rows in the table at a time. However, the features cannot be highlighted in the map or scene. Additionally, the extent filter only shows feature records that are visible in the current map extent.

View map image sublayer pop-ups

You can click map image sublayer features to open and view pop-ups. Use the Explore tool to click a feature and view its attribute information. You can only click a single feature at a time, but you can use the pop-up to zoom and pan to features. The pop-up cannot be customized, but any custom pop-ups stored with portal items in the layer are honored.

If the map image layer is configured to allow data properties, you can view the related records of the feature in the pop-up, as well.


The Flash command Flash cannot be used to highlight map image layer features.

Change the display of map image layers

The Display tab in the layer's properties allows you to change the following:

  • Background transparency for the web layer
  • The image format used for delivering map service displays

Background transparency

All image-based services have a background. The background is any part of the image layer in which no map features are drawn. If the image type received from the server supports transparency, ArcGIS Pro makes the background transparent by default. A transparent background is particularly useful for using the layer in mash-ups (such as for point and line web layers).

To make the background color transparent, check off the check box in the map image layer's Display settings.

Set layer transparency

Adding transparency allows you to see map features under the layer. This adds information to the map and can add depth to your cartography. You can only add transparency to the layer, not to sublayers.

Change the web layer's image format

Many web layers can be served in a selected image format. By default, ArcGIS Pro requests images in PNG32. This format returns a high-quality image and supports transparency. However, its data size can be much larger than other formats. You can use smaller-sized formats, such as JPG; however, layer transparency is not supported for JPG.

To choose an available image format, use the Image format drop-down menu. This menu displays the format options supported by the service.

Save a map file

When you save the map or scene containing a web layer or a layer file, the web layer connection information and the state of the web layer are saved as part of the map or scene. When you reopen the map, ArcGIS Pro automatically reconnects to the server and sends an appropriate request based on the initial spatial reference, map extent, and saved state of the map layers. For example, if you turn off the visibility for a particular server layer (or its sublayers) and save the map, the layer remains turned off the next time you open the map.