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Maximizing your Offline Success with ArcGIS Field Maps

Are you heading out to a remote area in northern Canada to document wildlife sightings? How about keeping track of municipal assets in a rural environment? The offline capability of ArcGIS Field Maps allows your users to perform disconnected editing in areas where your internet connection may be spotty. To ensure success, your offline workflows need to be robust. Check out our tips below!

A well functioning Field Maps application can be a huge benefit to your offline data collection workflows. But when things go wrong, it can be frustrating for those in the field and in the office. Below are some key steps for ensuring your users can download their offline areas and sync their edits successfully.

  1. Create map areas ahead of time. Creating map areas ahead of time ensures that you can address any potential issues in offline map creation prior to users heading out into the field. It can help you identify layers that are not sync enabled or other potential problems.

Creating Offline Areas Ahead of Time in the Field Maps Web App

Creating Offline Areas Ahead of Time in the Field Maps Web App

  1. Ensure that your field workers are singed into Field Maps using their own usernames. Not only is sharing usernames for multiple devices against your licensing agreement, it also can cause issues when trying to download offline areas and syncing data. As it is also not supported, tech support is limited in the help they can assist in these scenarios.
  2. Keep your layers to a minimum. Too many layers can cause your offline areas to bloat, and you may experience timeouts when trying to download them. Also, the more layers you have the harder it may be to troubleshoot potential issues. Consider making a tile package and uploading a tile layer of your contextual layers to reduce the size and speed of uploading times.
  3. Do not make any changes to existing layers or maps that are being used for offline use. If you must, ensure that all layers have been synced by users and no one is collecting in the field. If you need to make changes to your map, you can save a copy using Save As so that existing field workers are not affected.
  4. Publish your hosted feature layers as separate services. While it may be easier to publish your layers as part of a single hosted feature service, it can be harder to isolate issues with individual layers. For offline work, try and keep each layer as its own service.
    Hosted feature service with only one layer. We suggest this configuration for data collection in Field Maps.

Hosted feature service with only one layer. We suggest this configuration for data collection in Field Maps.

Hosted feature service with Multiple Layers. We suggest, if possible, to avoid this this configuration for data collection in Field Maps.

Hosted feature service with Multiple Layers. We suggest, if possible, to avoid this this configuration for data collection in Field Maps.

  1. Test, test, and test again. Perhaps most importantly, do not forget to test before your users go out in the field. Often users will have different devices with different operating systems. Testing to ensure that your map will work on all devices can help ensure that everyone is successful.

The key with offline editing is to keep it simple. Good data design and efficient background data is important in streamlining your workflows and minimizing problem areas. This will ensure you can collect the data your organization needs. And of course, do not hesitate to reach out to Esri Canada Technical Support for assistance.

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

Carson Smulders is a Support Analyst with Esri Canada. He focuses on providing support for Esri's desktop GIS technology. With a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a graduate diploma in GIS from Fleming College, Carson loves learning about the diverse range of applications to which GIS can be applied. He loves to search out interesting GIS datasets and can’t get enough of the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. In his spare time, Carson enjoys exploring and learning about his favourite geographic feature: the Great Lakes.

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