GIS Tips: You CAN still use BING with ArcGIS…….

Recently I’ve chatted with a few other gizzers (I assume this is the preferred term for a gathering of geospatial technology geeks) and the response I hear when I mention Bing maps and ArcGIS is “You can’t use it with ArcGIS anymore”……well, yes you can, the only thing that has changed is that Microsoft has put a (quite loose) limit on the number of transactions you can do in 24hrs, though at 50,000 transactions in 24hrs, it is a hard target to reach for the average user.

So, how do you get Bing back in your life? Easy, you get a Bing key and you’re all set to go again. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through the steps below.

Getting a Bing Maps key

The following Microsoft topic describes how to create a Bing Maps key:

There are 3 types of Bing Maps key:

  1. Trial – Trial keys are used for evaluation during a 90 day evaluation period and must not exceed 10,000 transactions of any type in any 30 day period
  2. Basic – Basic keys are used for non-trial applications that do not exceed 50,000 transactions of any type within a 24 hours period and comply with the limits of the application type as defined by the Bing Maps Terms of Use
  3. Enterprise – Enterprise keys are used for enterprise accounts only with a separately executed, valid Bing Maps agreement in place. To become an enterprise customer you need to contact Bing Maps for Enterprise

Adding a Bing Maps key to ArcGIS Online

To add a Bing Maps key to an ArcGIS Online Subscription account go to My Organisation > Edit Settings > Map, enter your Bing Maps key into the textbox under the Bing Maps heading and click Save:

Loading a Bing Maps layer into ArcGIS Online

The workflow to add a Bing Basemap to your map has changed. By default, you can no longer add Bing Maps from the Basemap section of the map viewer.

To add a Bing Basemap to your map, select Add > Add Layers from Web > A Bing Basemap (from the dropdown box), select the required Bing Maps layer and click Add Layer:

If you would like to have Bing Maps displayed using the Basemap Button, you can do so by creating a Group that contains both Esri and Bing Basemaps and then changing the selected Basemap Gallery from Esri Default to your new Group:

  1. Select Groups in the banner.
  2. Select ‘Create a Group’.
  3. Complete the required fields (including Group members) and click ‘Save’.
  4. In the ‘Search for Maps’ area, search for ‘Bing Maps’ (make sure to uncheck the option “Only search in Organization” on the left). This will display the Bing Maps Aerial, Roads and Hybrid.
  5. Click ‘Details’ for the Map you want to add to the Group.
  6. Click ‘Share’ and select the Group that you created.

Repeat steps 4 to 6 for all of the maps that you would like to use as basemaps (including Esri basemaps).

  1. Select My Organisation > Edit Settings > Map
  2. Under Basemap Gallery, select the Group that you created
  3. Click ‘Save’ and go the Map viewer. Now, you should be able to see all of the basemaps that were included in the group.

Bing Maps in ArcGIS Desktop

As a result of the ArcGIS Online release, Bing Maps has also been removed from the ‘Add Basemaps’ section of ArcGIS for Desktop:

Currently, Bing Maps can still be accessed from the ‘Add Data from ArcGIS Online’ window without the need for an ArcGIS Online account or a Bing Maps key:

However at the end of September, Bing Maps will also be removed from this dialog. Customers will then be expected to do one of the following, depending on the version of ArcGIS for Desktop being used:

Afer september ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop users will currently have to upgrade to ArcGIS 10.2 before being able to input a Bing Maps key (although this is subject to change and a patch may be released). ArcGIS 10.2 is currently scheduled to be available Summer 2013.


  1. you can also still add the Bing Maps through your C drive. At least on my work machine I still can. Go to Add Data > C drive > Users > ghoward (name) > My Documents > ArcGIS > Packages…..not sure if that is normal or not.

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