Within the limits of available resources the Montana Climate Office attempts to provide users with a consistent experience.  For most users the basic guidelines for using the Montana Climate Atlas are:

  • For a quick look a link to a JPEG image is provided for each product
  • For print quality a link to a PDF is provided for each product
  • For a more robust online experience, a link to a web application is provided for each product

Web applications

Web Applications: Each web application provides the following basic capabilities

  • Legends are available for each map, typically as a dropdown
  • A brief description of content is provided for each map
  • Clicking on a location on the map will return the value for that location
  • In most cases the value for the location being returned represents about one-half mile across (250 acres) or less.
  • Applications containing a single map have an option to print to a PDF

Our map services are currently running on a single server and the services demand a lot of resources. The Montana Climate Office is looking to improve that situation, but at this time additional resources are not available. Please be kind to our server and other users.

  • Performance will depend on your Internet speed. Simple web applications will typically take about 5-10 seconds to fully load the underlying map
  • Some web applications (e.g. monthly) contain up to 12 (twelve) maps and will take longer to fully load
  • It is best to be patient and wait until the application has fully loaded into the browser.  A fully colored classified map should appear when the application is fully loaded
  • The web applications will work in any modern browser on any device including tablets and smartphones
  • The recommended platform is a desktop computer with standard Internet download speeds
  • With a little patience, good Wi-Fi capability, and some experimentation the web applications will perform adequately on a tablet or smartphone devices
  • It is not recommended that you initially use jestures to navigate to a location.  Use the location search tool. Once you have zoomed to a location you can refine the view using jestures

For users of ArcGIS Online

There are multiple ways to enumerate the Montana Climate Office content on ArcGIS Online. All of the content is public. The most basic option is to simple go to the ArcGIS Online homepage or gallery page for the Montana Climate Office, but these sites will only show web applications.

Additional resources such as web maps, map services, and image services can be found by querying the ArcGIS Online homepage at

For users of ArcGIS Desktop or programmers

The Montana Climate Office services descriptions  for the Montana Climate Atlas are available through  All services are REST based and hosted on ArcGIS Server technology.  Users of ArcGIS Online and programmers will find assistance in utilizing these services at this location. 

Images services are built using the ArcGIS mosaic dataset architecture and as a result some image services will contain multiple images. For services with multiple images an attribute such as "month", "season", or "year" is provided to facilitate selecting a single image or subset of images from the service.

All image services utilize ArcGIS Server's raster function capability to provide thematic maps.  The default raster function is "tinted", which combines a classified map with a hillshade.  Raster functions iare also provided to show the classified map without a hillshade, and to show no classification ("none").

To use the Atlas content directly within ArcGIS Desktop please note that all content is built on the ArcGIS 10.3 platform, but should work within ArcGIS 10.x software versions.

  • In ArcCatalog add the service URL as a GIS Service:
  • In ArcMap navigate to this service and the "Atlas" folder, and add content to your map
  • In ArcMap under the layer Properties you can select the raster function template. The default raster function is "tinted", which combines a classified map with a hillshade.  Raster functions iare also provided to show the classified map without a hillshade, and to show no classification ("none")
  • For image services with multiple images, in ArcMap under the layer Properties you can set a Definition Query to select as specific image.  Time series is not supported as Esri does not provide "month" or "season" as an option to define "time"

Download content for the Climate Atlas of Montana can be found at The datasets and maps used will be available for download in the near future.