Create a distributed collaboration

To share content in a distributed collaboration with other organizations, you create a collaboration and collaboration workspace, link a group to the workspace, and invite participants to the collaboration. The organization that creates the collaboration is the host, and other participating organizations are guests. Creating the collaboration establishes trust between the participating organizations so that content can be shared among them.

Creating a distributed collaboration involves multiple administrators: one administrator for each of the participants. As a collaboration administrator, you may take on multiple responsibilities during the collaboration setup. If you are not the administrator of all the participants, you must work with the administrators of each of the other participants to complete the collaboration setup. Additionally, as the host of the collaboration, you are responsible for managing the collaboration and its workspaces.

Considerations for creating a collaboration

  • The collaboration host is responsible for creating and managing the collaboration. The ArcGIS Online organization must be the collaboration host.
  • Only one ArcGIS Online organization can participate in the distributed collaboration.
  • Any ArcGIS Enterprise organizations participating in the collaboration must be 10.5.1 or later deployments.
  • When inviting a guest organization to be part of a collaboration, its URL must be specified as HTTPS.
  • The guest organization doesn't need to be publicly exposed to participate in the collaboration. It can be behind a firewall, in a local intranet, and still join the collaboration, as long as the guest organization can access ArcGIS Online over HTTPS (port 443).
  • You can create a collaboration that includes ArcGIS Enterprise participants using both built-in and web-tier authentication.
  • You must enable pop-ups in your browser to allow invitation requests and responses to be downloaded.

Create a collaboration and workspace

  1. Sign in to the host (ArcGIS Online) organization as a member with administrative privileges to manage the organization's collaborations.
  2. At the top of the site, click Organization and click the Settings tab.
  3. Click Collaborations on the left side of the page.
  4. Click Create Collaboration.
  5. In the Create Collaboration window, fill in the Collaboration Name and Collaboration Description text boxes for the collaboration, and click Next.
  6. Fill in the Workspace Name and Workspace Description text boxes for the first workspace associated with the collaboration, and click Next.

    You can create more collaboration workspaces after the collaboration has been created if necessary. See Manage collaborations for details.

  7. Choose the group that will be linked to the collaboration workspace. This can be an existing group, or you can create a new group for this purpose. Click Next.

    A group can only be associated with one collaboration workspace. Host access to this workspace will be Send and receive.

    • If you create a new group for the collaboration, it will be a private group where all group members can contribute content to the group. You can change the status and contribution settings after the group has been created as needed. See Create groups for more information about these settings. When you create a new group for a collaboration, you must specify tags for the group to proceed.
    • If you choose to link an existing group, the drop-down menu will show a list of all the groups in the organization, including private groups.

    Each ArcGIS Enterprise guest in the collaboration controls the schedule at which group item content and feature layer edits are synchronized; the host (ArcGIS Online) does not control the sync schedule.

  8. Choose one of the following to specify how hosted feature layers will be sent to the collaboration workspace:
    • References—Collaboration participants will receive live access to feature layers. If the item is secured (not shared with everyone), users must sign in to the origin environment to access the item.
    • Copies—Collaboration participants will receive a copy of the feature layer, and updates from the origin will be synchronized at a scheduled interval defined by the guest.

      If you choose this option, the collaboration guest must set a sync interval in the collaboration workspace, and sync must be enabled on each item in the collaboration. A copy of the feature layer and its data will be extracted and published as an item in each recipient's environment. Once the item has been created, subsequent synchronizations will only sync updates of that item.

    • Allow two-way sharing of feature service edits to eligible participants—If Copies is selected, the owner and recipient of a feature layer can make and share edits between them. Once enabled on a workspace, this option cannot be disabled. To be eligible for the two-way sharing of edits, all ArcGIS Enterprise collaboration participants must be using a version of Enterprise that is 10.9 or later, with the collaboration workspace also having been created at version of 10.9 or later, and guests must have Send and Receive access to the collaboration workspace. Eligible feature services must be configured to use the ArcGIS Pro service runtime and support replica tracking and bidirectional sync.
    • If unable to share as copies share as references—If Copies is selected when setting up workspace sync settings and errors occur while sharing feature layers or views as copies, affected items will be shared as references instead. By default, this will be enabled. If the option is unchecked, feature layers and views will not be shared if an error occurs. This option can be updated when editing your workspace. For more information, see Manage collaborations.
  9. Click Save or Save and Invite to create the collaboration.
    • Clicking Save creates the collaboration. The new collaboration can be viewed in the table on the Collaborations page.
    • Clicking Save and Invite creates the collaboration and opens the Invite Guest Organization window.

Invite a guest to the collaboration

Once you have created the collaboration and workspace, you can invite one or more ArcGIS Enterprise organizations to the collaboration as guests.

  1. Sign in to the host (ArcGIS Online) organization as a member with administrative privileges to manage the organization's collaborations.
  2. At the top of the site, click Organization and click the Settings tab.
  3. Click Collaborations on the left side of the page.
  4. On the Collaborations page, in the table, click the name of the collaboration to which you want to invite a guest organization.
  5. Click View Guests.

    The Guests page contains a list of guest organizations in the collaboration.

  6. Click Invite Guest.
  7. In the Invite Guest Organization window, enter the Guest Organization URL to the organization. Ensure that the URL is specified as HTTPS in the format<webadaptorname>. Choose the Access to Workspaces option that the guest organization will have: Send Content, Receive Content, or Send and Receive Content.

    For more information on these access modes, see Access modes for workspaces.

  8. Click Save Invitation to save the invitation file.

    Once an invitation file has been created, it will expire after 24 hours.

  9. Share the invitation file with the administrator of the guest organization. You must share the file outside of ArcGIS Online; this can be done by email or another method you have arranged.
  10. The administrator of the guest organization must now accept the invitation to collaborate. For more information about this process, see the ArcGIS Enterprise documentation.

Import invitation response

Once the collaboration guest accepts the invitation to collaborate, you must import the invitation response file to complete the collaboration setup.

  1. Sign in to the host (ArcGIS Online) organization as a member with administrative privileges to manage the organization's collaborations.
  2. At the top of the site, click Organization and click the Settings tab.
  3. Click Collaborations on the left side of the page.
  4. On the Collaborations page, find the table entry for the collaboration whose invitation response you will import. Click the name of the collaboration. Click View Guests. You will see a list of participants in the collaboration. Click the Action button for the guest organization and click Accept Guest Organization.
  5. In the Accept Guest Organization window, browse to the invitation response file. Information about the guest organization, including the contact person and organization URL, will appear once you've chosen the file.
    1. If the guest organization requires web-tier authentication, select the Yes option, enter the credentials for the guest's web authentication, and click Accept Guest Organization.
    2. If the guest organization is secured using PKI client certificate based web-tier authentication, click Choose File and browse to a PKI user certificate in a .pfx file format. Click Accept Guest Organization.

      The user credentials contained in the client certificate should be able to successfully authenticate against the PKI client certificate challenge from the guest. The user does not need to be a named user in the guest organization.

  6. Note:
    If the collaboration host does not trust the certificate on the guest organization, an error message will appear. The certificate must be trusted before the invitation response can be accepted.

The guest organization's Status now shows as Active. The guest organization's administrator will receive a notification that they have joined the collaboration.

The collaboration is ready to be used. New items shared with groups participating in the collaboration, as well as updates to existing items, will be sent to participating organizations at a scheduled sync interval specified by collaboration guests.