InstantAtlas Data Catalog

An InstantAtlas data catalog is a method of organizing large attribute datasets in ArcGIS Online so that they are easier for your organization to work with. Let’s say for example that you have a large number of statistical attributes or indicators,  numbering in the hundreds or thousands, for different areas… setting up a data catalog would provide you with a way to easily navigate the data, locate specific indicators, add them to ArcGIS web maps or use them in Report Builder for ArcGIS.

The InstantAtlas Data Catalog app provides tools set up a data catalog, to explore the contents and to produce web maps with the data. To use the InstantAtlas Data Catalog you should familiarize yourself with the terms and rules below.

Within Data Catalog you will find these tools:



Web Map Builder



  • A core layer is a feature layer that represents the geographical features for which data is to be viewed – for example countries, districts, wards or cities.
  • A data layer is a feature layer that contains data for a core layer.
  • An indicator is a specific data item in the catalog – for example Unemployment Rate. A single indicator can be available for more than one core layer.
  • An instance or date is one specific collection of data values for a given indicator, time period and core layer, for example Unemployment Rate, Districts, May 2018.
  • A theme is a collection of indicators within the data catalog. It is an organisational item only, no data is held/referenced at the theme level.
  • A data model is a visual representation of all of the themes and indicators in your catalog, usually shown as a tree structure.
  • The master table is the heart of the Data Catalog. It is a table held in ArcGIS that tells the InstantAtlas apps and tools where to find your data.
  • The metadata table powers the Data Explorer app(s) and plays an important role in the Data Catalog helping you find your data. It is a table held in ArcGIS that tells the InstantAtlas apps and tools about your data.


  • All feature layers referenced by the catalog must have a CODE and a NAME field and these should be named/aliased in the same way in each layer (core and data layers). Note: The code field does not have to be called CODE, for example it might be called WardCode, but it must be consistent between all layers that represent the same features. If you are using relationships for comparison features, the NAME field (containing the feature names) needs to have a consistent field name across all layers participating in the relationship. This ensures that comparison features will show the correct names in the outputs. We suggest you call the name field NAME for all layers.
  • All data layers should contain at least the full set of features in their related core layers i.e. there should be no missing features. *
  • All indicator data fields in data layers should be aliased with the form <indicator-name>|<date-text>, for example Unemployment Rate|May-2018. *
  • All values (for all dates) for an indicator for one core layer must be in one feature layer.
  • If a data field has the same alias as another data field (apart from the date, see above) then it is the same indicator.
  • If you are using relationships for comparison features, the indicator/date fields in each table/layer must have the same name. (more detail on this is available on the Comparison Areas and Relationships page)

If you are using one of the InstantAtlas National Data Services and want to mix and match “our data” with “your data” you must make sure that the CODE and NAME fields match those of the core layers in the national data service:

  • LSOA – LSOACode and NAME
  • Ward – WardCode and NAME
  • District (Local Authority District or Lower Tier Local Authority) – LTLACode and NAME
  • Unitary Authority or County (Upper Tier Local Authority) – UTLACode and NAME
  • Region – RgnCode and NAME
  • Country – CtryCode and NAME

For custom geographies contact the Esri UK Technical Support helpdesk (UK and Ireland customers only). International customers please email

* Rules marked with an asterisk help the InstantAtlas Data Catalog Manager and related tools to automatically process your data layers. Some of these rules/restrictions can be worked around in certain cases, but it makes your life more difficult! Please contact the Esri UK Technical Support helpdesk (UK and Ireland customers only) if you need more information. International customers please email