DC Atlas Plus is an online mapping tool that contains over 340 different data layers, organized by category. DC Atlas Plus is the updated version of DC Atlas, which was created by OCTO GIS, as an easy way to view geographic information about the District of Columbia.   http://atlasplus.dcgis.dc.gov/


Main Menu. 2

Navigation. 2

Layers. 3

Property Search. 4

Tools. 4

Buffer by Location. 5

Buffer by Square, Suffix, Lot. 5

Buffer by Point. 6

Measurement Tools. 6

Print Tool 7

My Maps. 8

Link Tools. 8

Location and Basemap Tool 9

Location tool 10

Basemap. 11

DC Basemap. 12

Community Basemap. 12

ESRI Street Map: 12

Legend Tool 12

Clear Map. 12

Popular Maps. 13

Clear Selection. 14

Identification Tool 14

Help. 15

Full Screen. 15

Technical Assistance. 15




Main Menu


The main menu allows you to select from a variety of mapping tools.


·         Navigation

·         Layers

·         Property Search

·         Tools

·         Identification

·         Popular Maps

·         Clear Selection

·         Clear Map

·         Help

·         Full Screen

Each tool is described in detail in this document.



The navigation tools allow you to move around the DC Atlas Plus map. 


Zoom in – After activating the Zoom In tool by clicking on it, left-click and drag the mouse to create a box around the area of interest.  The map display will zoom in to that area.

Zoom out – After activating the Zoom In tool by clicking on it, left-click and drag the mouse to create a box around the area that will become the center of the map.  The map display will zoom out to that area.

Pan (the display) – Left-click and drag the mouse to move the display in the desired direction.  Release the mouse button at a location to center the display at that location.

Full extent – Click the Full Extent button to return to the boundary of the District of Columbia.

Previous extent – Click the previous extent button to return to the previous extent displayed on the map.

Next Extent - Click the Next Extent button to return to the previous extent displayed on the map.




To add data layers to your map, you will select a layer from the drop down list of categories. Data layers are organized into categories to make finding the correct layer easier.

Select a category from the drop down to view layers within the category.  Tick the box next to each map layer that you wish to add to your map. 

Use the Up, Down, and Top buttons to move the layers into your desired order. The layers will draw on the map in the same order they show in the Layers Tool.

Use the Remove button to remove unwanted layers from the list.  Highlight the unwanted layer, then click Remove to remove the layer.

The transparency tool allows you to make an individual layer more or less transparent.  Click on a layer to select it.  Move the slider from 100% (completely opaque) to 0% (completely transparent) to adjust the transparency.  40% is a good amount of transparency to be able to see the layer and what is underneath.

Property Search






Buffer by Location




In the box that says Enter Location, type in the address, intersection, or block location you would like to buffer.

Choose your buffer radius by typing in a distance measurement and selecting a unit of measurement.

Click Search

The map display will zoom to the selected location and create the desired buffer around the location.


Buffer by Square, Suffix, Lot

Enter the Square Suffix and Lot number for the property location you would like to buffer.

Choose your buffer radius by typing in a distance measurement and selecting a unit of measurement.

Click Search to generate the buffer.

Buffer by Point

To buffer by a point on the map, choose the desired radius and unit of measurement and then click on the map.  The tool will zoom to the location and create the buffer.


Measurement Tools

Click one of the tools to start measuring. You will be able to select the distance and unit of measurement.

The Polygon Tool will measure the perimeter AND area of the object.

The Line Tool will measure the linear distance between locations.

The location tool will set a point and identify the coordinates for that location in Degrees Minutes Seconds or Decimal Degrees

To use the measurement tools:

Click the appropriate tool to select it. 

Choose the measurement units from the unit dropdown

Click on the map to create the beginning and end points of the feature.  Polygons require at least three points, lines require two points. Double-click the last point to complete the feature.

Once the feature is created, you can change the units and the tool will update the final measurement to the selected units.




Print Tool

Choose a title for your map, and type it in the box that says “Set the map title.”

Click the Template button to choose the preferred page orientation and map format.  You can choose landscape or portrait orientation. 

Select an option from the Template dropdown menu.

Once you have selected your map template, the map will be generated and open in a new window.  Make sure that you have the browser pop-up blocker turned off, or set the browser so that it will allow pop-ups from this site.


My Maps


To use the My Maps tool, create a map by adding layers from the Layers tool.  Then activate the My Maps tool by selecting it from the Tools menu.

Type in your preferred map name in the “Set map name” box and click Save. 

The newly saved map will show up in the list under “My map list”.  This list will be available to you in other tools like the Link Tools.


·         This tool is only available in IE9, Chrome, and Firefox.

·         Maps are only saved during the current session. If the browser is closed and the cache is cleared, saved maps will not be available.


Link Tools

Use this tool to email a map to another user.  You must have an email client installed (Outlook, etc.) for this function to work.

Email Current Map

“Email Current Map” allows you to send a link to the map currently visible in the browser to an email recipient.

To email your map, enter the subject for the email and add whatever additional text you wish to add.  Make sure that you do not change any of the link text for the map.  This will render the link unusable.

Email My Map

To send one of your previously saved maps, select the saved map from the drop down menu and click “Email It.”  The tool will open a new email in your email application with the subject line set to the name of your map and a link to the map that you have created.  You can edit the subject line, but do NOT edit the link text.  You may add additional text in the body of the email, separately from the link text.


·         This tool is only available in IE9, Chrome, and Firefox.

·         This tool will only work if the browser cache has not been cleared.

·         When saving maps for "Property Search", the boundaries/selection (highlighted in yellow and orange for specific property) will NOT be displayed as a saved map. Email Current Map is recommended.

Location and Basemap Tool


Location tool

Find a DC location using one of the methods below:


For example, 441 4th ST NW

An address consists of a street number, a street name, and a quadrant (NE, NW, SE, SW). The address number and street name are required.

Type in the address to search for and click “Go”

The location tool will attempt to find the address with as much information as you provide.  If part of the address is missing and there are multiple possible address matches, the tool will ask you to choose from a list.  Select the correct address from the dropdown list.









INTERSECTION: An Intersection search consists of two streets that either physically intersect or  cross over each other but are physically separated. Examples of how to format an intersection search are:

·         14th ST NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW

·         14th ST NW & Pennsylvania Avenue NW

·         16th ST NW over Military RD NW

·         Military RD NW under 16th ST NW

·         North Capitol Street NE Northbound and ramp from Irving Street NE Eastbound

This search will always find two possible intersections.  You will need to pick one to execute the search.

·         Type in the appropriate set of streets and click Go to initiate the search.

·         Select one of the two results to continue.

BLOCK: A block consists of a street and any other cross streets.

·         4th ST NW from D Street NW to E Street NW, or

·         400 Block of 4th St NW

Type in the appropriate set of streets and click Go to initiate the search.  Select one of the two results to continue.


PLACE NAME: A place name is typically the name of a well-known landmark, institution, or public building name.  Examples include:

·         "White House"

·         "Dupont Circle”

·         "Wilson Building”

·         “Wilson High School"

·         "Woodrow Wilson House"

Type in the appropriate place name (without the quotes) and click Go to initiate the search.  Select one of the results from the dropdown (if offered) to continue.


A base map is a map that shows basic information about a place and provides the user with context for the information that they are interested in learning about. A base map typically only includes basic geographic data like political boundaries, building footprints, water features, etc.  In DC Atlas, you can choose one of the following base maps by clicking on the dropdown menu and highlighting one of the base maps:

·         DC Basemap

·         Community Basemap

·         ESRI Street Map

·         ESRI Gray Basemap

·         2012 Orthophoto

·         2011 Orthophoto

·         2010 Orthophoto

·         2008 Orthophoto

·         2007 Orthophoto



You can add information to the base map by activating the Layers Tool and adding additional data layers on top of it.

DC Basemap: uses DC GIS layers to create a detailed background for adding a few, simple layers.

Community Basemap: A basemap developed for ESRI, designed for community level mapping.  This basemap employs data layers from a variety of sources, including DC, Federal, and private sector organizations.  Primarily focuses on building footprints, road polygons, and open space features.

ESRI Street Map:  This basemap was created by ESRI as a tool for maps around the world.  This basemap includes highways, major roads, minor roads, one-way arrow indicators, railways, water features, etc., overlaid on shaded relief for added context. The map also includes building footprints for selected areas in the United States, including the District of Columbia.

ESRI Gray Basemap: A base map designed to feature data by using a neutral background with minimal colors, labels, and features.

2007 - 2012 Orthophotos: An orthophoto is specialized aerial imagery that combines the image characteristics of an aerial photograph with the geometric qualities of a map. In an orthophoto, all ground features are shown in their correct ground positions and can be used as a backdrop, or base map, for other layers.


Legend Tool

The legend is the description of the types of features included in a map, usually displayed in the map layout.  The legend in DC Atlas Plus will be generated as you add layers to your map.

Changing the data layers in the Layers Tool alters the appearance of the legend on your map. 











Clear Map

The “Clear Map” button will clear all data layers from your map.  Click the button to remove the layers.  To replace layers you will need to add them using the Layer Tool.


Popular Maps

·         Click on one of the pre-designed maps to select it. 

·         Click “Open” to activate the map and add the thematically-related layers to the map area. 

The remove button will remove all of the layers from the map, similar to the “Clear Map” tool.



Clear Selection

The Clear Selection tool allows you to clear selections made on the map using the following tools:


Property Search



Location (search)


Once a selection graphic has been added to the map using one of the above tools, click on "Clear Selection" to remove the graphic and/or any accompanying text from the map.


Identification Tool

The identification tool allows you to work with data layers in the map, to provide information about locations.


1. Start by using the DCGIS Layers tool, and add at least one layer to the map 2. Click “Identification” on the main toolbar to open the Identification tool.

3. On the identification dialog box, check the box next to one or more layers from the “visible layers list” to select the layer(s) for identification.

4. Choose a method of selecting a feature on the map:

                              By Point (click on the map)

                              By Extent (left-click and drag a box around the features of interest)

                              By Polygon (create a multi-sided feature by left-clicking to create vertices/corners of the polygon)


5. When you select a feature (or multiple features), an Identify Results box will appear on the screen.  It will list the features that were identified.  If more than one layer was chosen for the identification operation, you will see each layer listed and you can select the layer that you wish to review.



The Help button will take you to a web version of this document.


Full Screen


Click  the Full Screen button to expand the map to the extent of your monitor’s viewable area.

Click the Exit Full Screen button to return to normal view.


Technical Assistance


For technical assistance, please contact DC GIS at dcgis@dc.gov.