Frequently Asked Questions


What is a map layer? What kind of map layers does Tribal-FERST have?

  • A map layer is information that can be added to and viewed on a map. It could be a point or line segment that identifies a location or a route, such as a school, road, or shaded area. Often, there are underlying values for locations, such as one representing estimated concentration of a pollutant in a census tract.

    Tribal-FERST Maps displays map layers for pollutants, regulated facilities, demographics and other key community characteristics, which are described in the list of Tribal-FERST Map Layers. However, Tribal-FERST does not provide map layers for every environmental issue that may be important to a community and should be supplemented with additional information and local knowledge before taking any action to address potential concerns. See User Guide below to add information specific to your Tribal Nation to a map and to protect your information behind your Tribal Nation’s specific Username and Password. For more information about the limitations of data in Tribal-FERST, please see the Tribal-FERST Limitations page.

Where do Tribal-FERST map layers come from?

How were these map layers chosen?

  • The map layers chosen for Tribal-FERST maps include community and environmental issues for which USET has national data at sufficient geographic resolution on EPA’s Geoplatform. Additional map layers that meet this criterion will continue to be added as they become available.

    Other types of information, either not available at the community level (e.g., radon) or not available nationwide (e.g., local health data or local drinking water quality data), can be overlaid on Tribal-FERST map layers by adding the relevant geospatial map layers to the maps.  

What are the browser requirements for Tribal-FERST maps?

  • Tribal-FERST maps are displayed in an ArcGIS Online viewer. For the best performance use the latest versions of the suggested browsers listed on the ArcGIS Online website. 

ArcGIS Online: Supported BrowsersEXIT

How do I view a map layer in Tribal-FERST?

  • To view the menu of Tribal-FERST map layers, click the map contents button on the left side of the map. Each of the listed map services contains several map layers within it. Click the name of the map service, and the list of map layers will appear below it. To select or turn on a map layer (or several layers), click the check box next to the name of the layer AND the check box next to the name of the map service.

    The checkboxes for both the individual map layer and the map service must be checked for the individual map layers to be displayed.

    Different map services are displayed at different spatial scales. You will need to zoom in closer to view some layers (these are shown with gray text on the list). You can view layers independently or overlay multiple layers at a time. You may need to adjust the transparency to view multiple layers at the same time:  first click the down arrow that appears to the right of the layer name, then click “Transparency” and a sliding scale will appear to adjust the transparency of the layer.  More information can be found in the User Guide link below:

These maps should not be used to establish causal relationships, although overlaying distinct types of information on maps may suggest some patterns or questions that you want to investigate further. 

How do I navigate the Tribal-FERST Map?

  • Start by zooming into your location by typing a location in the upper right search box or by using the zoom buttons on left of map. To move the map around, simply click and hold the mouse button down anywhere on map and drag the map to the desired view. More information on how to navigate the map can be found in the User Guide link below:

Tribal-FERST Maps User Guide

How can I download and find more information about Tribal-FERST layers?

Although Tribal-FERST offers multimedia environmental data and demographic data, it does not add together or otherwise calculate cumulative risks for different environmental exposures. Tribal-FERST does provide access to estimated cumulative cancer and non-cancer risks from exposure to hazardous outdoor air pollutants, as calculated by the 2014 National Air Toxics Assessment. Tribal-FERST also includes information about population characteristics, so users can explore where environmental sources and higher environmental concentrations are located in relation to communities. This information in Tribal-FERST might help users to identify issues and explore these further, but Tribal-FERST does not calculate cumulative risk or impacts. Follow the link below to the 2014 National Air and Toxics Assessment that was made publicly available by EPA in 2018. 

How can I add data to the Tribal-FERST map?

To add map layers to Tribal-FERST Maps, first click the “Modify Map” button in the top right corner of the map viewer. This will cause an “Add” button to appear in the left corner of the map viewer. Click the “Add” button and a menu will drop down with several ways users can add data to the maps. For more detailed information see the “Add map layers” section in the Tribal-FERST Map User Guide.

How can I adjust the transparency of the map layers?

To adjust the transparency of the map layers, first click the down arrow that appears to the right of the layer name. This will open the menu of options you can perform on that layer. Click “Transparency” and a sliding scale will appear that adjusts the transparency of the layer so that base map features like roads are easier to see under the layers that are displayed. See the “View or Modify Map Layer Details” section of the Tribal-FERST Map User Guide.

How can I show the map legend?

To view the legend for all layers that are displayed, click on the legend button, which is the 3rd button under “Details” on the left side of the map. To view the symbol for a single layer, click on the name of that layer and the symbol will drop down below (click again to close). For more detailed instructions see the “View Legend” section in the Tribal-FERST Map User Guide.

How can I save or print an image of my map?

Maps you create in Tribal-FERST are only available during the current session unless you save or print them. To save your map and all its data online, you must have an ArcGIS Online account.

Ways To save an image of your map:

  • Use the print feature on your browser to print your map;
  • Use the “Save As” feature on your browser to save it as a PDF; 
  • Use the “Print Screen” feature on your keyboard to capture the map image on the screen and then paste it into a presentation or document;  
  • Click the “Print” button on the map to create an image with a caption, which you can then print or save as a PDF (Note: You may need to disable your browser’s pop-up blocker).
  • Tribal Nations interested in saving the maps that they have created can do so by ensuring that they are logged into their Tribal ARC GIS Account within Tribal FERST so that mapping data is saved to the Online Arc GIS or Arc GIS Pro account that is being used.  their   
  • Tribal-FERST Map User Guide

Will data that I add to Tribal-FERST maps be saved?

No, Data added to Tribal-FERST maps is not saved to Tribal-FERST or any USET or EPA database. It is only available for the user to view during the current Tribal-FERST session, unless you save your maps to an ArcGIS Online Account.

Will data that I add to Tribal-FERST maps be accessible to USET or other users?

No, Data added to the Tribal-FERST maps via the Modify Map/Add Data function will not be accessible to USET, other Tribal Nations, Tribal colleges and universities, or other users.