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Learn how to add layers and conduct simple manipulations in ArcMap (ArcGIS Desktop) and ArcGIS Online

ArcMap vs. ArcGIS Online

In this LibGuide we will use two programs: ArcMap (also called ArcGIS Desktop) and ArcGIS Online.

Below is a list of a few key differences between the programs. 

ArcMap (ArcGIS Desktop) ArcGIS Online
License Required (and may be expensive) Free version available
Storage Computer memory Cloud storage
Sharing Internal, external, and public sharing Output & sharing is publically available
  • Analytics
  • Full map authorship
  • Compile & edit GIS databases
  • Geoprocessing & use of Python
  • Customize user experience
  • Limited capabilities in the free version
  • Some authorship
  • Mostly viewing


Demo scenario

Let's assume that you are a civil engineer that is tasked with the following project:

Your project is to identify a location around the CSN-Charleston Campus in which a long-lived, shade structure made from sustainable materials, which convenient utilities in each bay, and lighting and ventilation to enable students to work during all seasons of the year but shields them from dust and heat.

In this exercise, we will go through the process of identifying, combining, and editing layers in order to figure out a location. We will not find a solution.

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