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Taking ArcGIS Field Maps Offline with ArcGIS Enterprise

A common scenario for using ArcGIS Field Maps is collecting data with poor or no cell reception. To do this, you need to take your web map offline. Preparing for this can seem intimidating at first if you work with ArcGIS Enterprise, but it doesn’t have to be! To help out I’ve put together some tips and tricks based on my experience with customers.

Just getting started with ArcGIS Field Maps? If you have questions about compatibility make sure to check out this recent Q & A. If you’re migrating to Field Maps from another app, like ArcGIS Collector, there is a white paper to help with this.

Know your situation and your end goals

The documentation for preparing maps for download in Field Maps is an excellent starting point and goes over key decisions, for example, taking an mobile map package (mmpk) or a web map offline.

Here are some good questions to ask when you’re thinking about preparing your map for offline use in ArcGIS Field Maps:

  1. What layers am I working with, and do I need any of them to be editable?
    1. If not, consider if using an mmpk would work for your situation.
  2. For the editable layers, are they hosted or registered feature layers pointing to my enterprise geodatabase?
  3. For registered feature layers, is my data using traditional versioning, branch versioning, or is it archive enabled?
  4. Am I using an Esri basemap or my own custom cached basemap?
  5. Are all editable and reference feature layers in my map currently sync enabled?
  6. Do I want my users to use pre-planned offline areas, or create and download their own on demand?

Knowing the answers to these questions will guide you to which requirements in the documentation apply to your situation. If you end up working with technical support, this is also helpful information to provide, as we will likely be asking these questions to ensure we understand your setup.

Once you’ve read over the general documentation and thought about these questions, here are a few more key resources:

Use the Field Maps Web App

ArcGIS Field Maps includes a web application you access directly from ArcGIS Enterprise to manage and configure web maps and a mobile application for field workers on Android or iOS.

The web app is a great tool to help you manage your maps. Not only does it enable functionality, like configuring forms for field maps, it has some useful tools to help with taking your data offline.

If you open a map in ArcGIS Field Maps and go to the offline tab, you can examine the offline section to see which layers are configured for offline use already, and which layers might need some additional configuration.

Offline tab of the ArcGIS Field Maps web app showing the editable layer Fire Hydrants with an error indicating that sync is not enabled

The offline tab in the Field Maps web app also has quick links to configure pre-planned offline areas, and settings like if you want download attachments from features that have been updated. 

Offline tab of the ArcGIS Field Maps web app showing settings for Map Areas, Features and attachment delivery, and Use of a tile package for the offline basemap

Keep in mind that if you are using version 10.8.1, this app is a separate install. If you’re using 10.9, it is included in the main install, no extra steps are required.

If you are using version 10.6.1-10.8, don’t fear! You can still use the mobile ArcGIS Field Maps app on Android or iOS with ArcGIS Enterprise. Simply configure your web maps with the layers you want; if you’re going to use offline areas, this can be accessed from the item details page of the web map.

The offline section of the item details page for a web map in ArcGIS Enterprise, including a toggle to Enable offline mode, Advanced Options, and the option to Manage Areas

If you don’t see the button, this is generally because one of the layers in your map is not capable of going offline, so you’ll need to narrow down which one it is.

Taking basemaps offline

One of the most common scenarios I come across with clients using ArcGIS Field Maps is that they’ve configured their editable layer for offline use by enabling sync, but they are still not able to download their web map because their basemap isn’t configured properly.

If you’re using one of the out-of-the-box Esri basemaps, they are not automatically enabled for offline use in Enterprise, so you will need to follow the documented steps to set this up by adding the For Export maps as items manually, then using that as the basemap.

If you’re using your own basemap, don’t forget to make sure that it is enabled for offline use as well! For hosted tile layers, this is as simple as checking the settings in its Portal item details page.

For traditional cached map services, they need to have the Export Tiles operation enabled. This can be a little easier to miss since it’s not on an item details page. If it’s enabled, you should see an Export Tiles operation at the REST endpoint of the service:

The REST endpoint of a map service with the ExportTiles operation enabled

If not, it can be enabled in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro.

Overwriting a map service from ArcGIS Pro with the setting to Allow clients to export cache tiles checked on

When troubleshooting, start simple

If you’re getting an error going offline or running into issues, a helpful way to troubleshoot can be to find the simplest scenario where the problem is reproducible, then build up the complexity from there.

For example:

  • If you test with one new hosted layer and an Esri basemap, do you get the same issue?
  • If no, make one change, like adding another layer and check if it continues to not work.

By testing this way, you can easily narrow down if this is a particular layer or service that is causing the issues.

Lastly, don’t forget that if you can’t get to the bottom of an issue or even if you just have general questions – technical support is always here to help!

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


About the Author

Nicole Gamble is a Technical Support Consultant with the Esri Canada Enterprise Support Team. She has a Bachelor of Arts & Science with a minor in GIS from McMaster University and a GIS Applications Specialist certificate from Fleming College. Early in her studies at McMaster, Nicole’s interest in GIS was sparked thanks to a geography course that focused on problem solving in an interdisciplinary setting. In her day-to-day role she provides support to Esri Canada clients for ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Desktop. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys reading, listening to podcasts and completing puzzles.

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