Creating an Awesome First Map with ArcGIS Online – The Eclipse Viewability Map

Yes indeed, ArcGIS Online is a powerful tool and best of all, AGOL is available to all! A Tweet got my attention recently, firstly the cool map piqued my interest but then as I read the tweet I found it to be even more awesome! Via @jjrennie the post read “This was our first attempt playing with @Esri ArcGISOnline. Hoping more cool stuff can be made with this.”  The post is in reference to an Eclipse Viewability Map created by the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS).

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the continental United States, starting in the Pacific Northwest at around 9am Pacific Daylight Time and ending along the Southeast Atlantic coast at around 4pm Eastern Daylight Time. The eclipse will be visible across most of the country, but the path of totality, where the moon will completely obscure the sun, will be only about 70 miles wide, stretching from the Oregon coast across the central part of the country and down through Charleston, South Carolina.

The prime viewing locations are displayed on the interactive map above. You can click on any station to view detailed information for that location, including the local peak time of the eclipse, how much of the sun will be obscured at that location, the computed viewable percentage, and the percentage chances of the five categories of cloud cover (clear, few, scattered, broken, and overcast) used to calculate the viewable percentage.

About the map and more info from NCICS

This map shows the likelihood of being able to view the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse, based on historical cloudiness data from the NOAA NCEI 10-year hourly climate normals dataset. For more about the eclipse and the development of this map, see our News story and Ready, Set, Eclipse on NCEI’s web site. (Source)

Making GIS, maps, spatial science and analytics available to all is definitely the most awesome thing about ArcGIS Online. Users can jump right in and create a free public user account, organizations can now create a variety of user accounts having various levels of access, and yes, developers can even create a free developer account to test the waters and really get their hands dirty! With a free public account, you can create, store, and manage maps, scenes, layers, and apps, and share them with others. You also get access to content shared by Esri and GIS users around the world. Public accounts are for noncommercial use only. OpenData is all over the web and the Living Atlas is growing daily, providing us all with access to data to mashup and map.  Seeing a “first attempt” like this is pretty darned awesome and proves that any user or organization can do great things with all the fabulous tools and resources that are available to us.

Hopefully the NCICS will also see how our popular tools for ArcGIS Online (Admin Tools, Mapfolio) may be useful to help them do even more in less time!

You can get started with ArcGIS Online today:


GEOspatial Evangelist & CMO

Geographer, GIS professional, writer, and fan of all things mobile.

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  1. Making GIS, maps, spatial science and analytics available to all is definitely an incredible feature about ArcGIS Online. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This article explains the capabilities of arcGIS online and the creation of an eclipse viewability map really well. Thanks for the post!

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