Understand collaborations

With collaborations, you can extend the reach of your GIS content by seamlessly sharing maps, apps, layers, and more with other organizations. Collaborations are based on a foundation of trust between participating organizations and are typically motivated by common goals and initiatives.

Two types of collaborations can be established with other organizations: partnered collaborations and distributed collaborations.

Partnered collaborations

Your ArcGIS Online organization can use partnered collaborations to share content with other ArcGIS Online organizations. When two or more organizations create a partnered collaboration, they enter a partnership that allows their members to work closely with each other and each other's content using groups.

For instance, wildlife management departments of two adjacent cities, each with their own ArcGIS Online organization, may want to share their wildlife maps and layers with each other. These maps and layers will be used by both cities to better monitor the movement of wildlife between them. To do this, both city organizations can create a partnered collaboration through which members can share content. Each organization continues to own and manage its own content while allowing the other to view and contribute. Once you have established a partnered collaboration with another organization, you create and use groups to share content with members of collaborating organizations. To learn how to set up a partnered collaboration, see Create a partnered collaboration.

Organizations can have a maximum of 100 active partnered collaborations. When a partnered collaboration ends, both organizations lose access to the other's content.

Distributed collaborations

Distributed collaborations can be useful for many workflows, including exposing ArcGIS Enterprise content to the public through ArcGIS Online, making data visible across different departments in an organization, or managing field data collections. There is no single pattern for a distributed collaboration, so you can implement it in the way that best suits your needs.

For instance, consider a scenario in which two city departments (for example, Public Works and Public Safety), each using ArcGIS Enterprise, need to share their maps and layers with the city's central ArcGIS Online organization. The layers and maps will be used to create additional maps and apps to share with both the public and city staff who need a complete picture of operations and activity. To accomplish this, the city's ArcGIS Online administrator sets up a collaboration with the two ArcGIS Enterprise deployments as collaboration guests. The guests use the collaboration to copy their data to the central ArcGIS Online organization, and the city then combines the layers into new focused maps and apps and shares them with the public and city staff. Through this process, content is replicated and updates are synchronized at a specified interval.

ArcGIS Online organizations can create distributed collaborations with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5.1 and later portals. Once the collaboration is established, your organization can share content with participating organizations using collaboration groups. For more information, see Share content with collaboration groups.

To learn more about the distributed collaboration process and concepts, see How distributed collaboration works.