Best practices for organization maintenance

As an administrator, you're responsible for configuring ArcGIS Online to meet your organization’s needs and structure during setup and as your requirements change, and to take advantage of new capabilities. It's equally important to regularly maintain members, items, and groups to keep your organization uncluttered and optimally useful for its members. Some of these maintenance tasks, including monitoring use, can help you get the most value from ArcGIS Online.


Search partner solutions in ArcGIS Marketplace for apps to help with maintenance tasks, if needed.

Member strategies

The members of your organization are likely to change over time. Strategies for the following common member maintenance tasks are described below:

Invite members

As you roll out or expand access to ArcGIS Online to new members or groups of members, you will need to use the invite members workflow. You can invite and configure user settings individually or in a batch by uploading a .csv file.

When inviting and adding members, do the following:

  1. Before inviting members, configure new member defaults to specify member properties such as user type, member role, groups, and member categories to assign to new members.

    For example, if credit budgeting is enabled for the organization, save time by specifying a default credit allocation for all new members. This provides some initial credits to new users without requiring you to manage each user's credits individually. You can adjust the default credits for specific members as needed. It's also a best practice to configure a set of baseline groups so new members have immediate access to relevant content without having to request it.

    If your organization has set up categories for organizing members according to characteristics, such as department, location, and expertise, you can specify default member categories to assign to all new members. Member categories make it easier to find and manage members in the organization.

  2. During the invitation process, assign a role with privileges that provide the member access to relevant capabilities. For example, if the member needs to create content, ensure that they have create capabilities.

If you invite members via email, their names appear under Pending Members until they accept the invitation. You can resend invitations as reminders if necessary.

Remove members

When members leave your organization, you'll need to remove their account and decide what to do with any add-on app licenses, content, or groups that they own. When you delete the member account, the member's licenses, items and groups are transferred to another member that you specify.

Transition to organization-specific logins

If your organization decides to use organization-specific logins (SAML logins or OpenID Connect logins) after initially setting up built-in accounts, you must migrate members' items and groups from their original account to their new organization-specific account.

Item strategies

The items in your organization will change over time. An item's information, status, and currency may need to be updated over its life cycle. Methods for the following common item maintenance tasks are described below:

Identify old or unused items

Old and unused items consume storage space and can clutter search results. It’s recommended that you periodically review items. Unused and unneeded items can be deleted from the organization. Out-of-date items that are still relevant can be designated as deprecated.

To find the oldest, least frequently modified, or least viewed items in your content, groups, and organization, sort or filter items on the respective tab of the Content page. You can also create an item report showing all items in the organization and sort the report by Date Modified or Date Last Viewed.

Find large hosted feature layers

ArcGIS Online charges storage credits based on the amount of feature data stored. As an administrator, it's important that you monitor your stored content to ensure that storage is used effectively.

To view a list of your organization’s hosted feature layers by size, complete the following steps:

  1. Open the organization's Status page.
  2. At the top of the page, click Reports.
  3. Click Create report and click Single report.
  4. Follow the steps in Create a report to generate an item report.
  5. Download and open the report, filter the Item Type column to show Feature Service items only, and then sort by Feature Storage Size.

    Size is reported in megabytes.

Update service URLs in a web map

Web service URLs that are included in live web maps can change over time. During server migrations, the server name may change. Servers will be migrated to HTTPS as it becomes a web standard. You can update the URL referenced by web map layers using the Update References utility on the Settings tab of the map's item page.


You can avoid having to update service URLs in web maps using canonical names, or CNAMEs, for your GIS server machines. CNAMEs are server name aliases that are added to your DNS by your IT department (such as for When a server is migrated to new hardware, you can update the CNAME reference to point to the new server; all service URLs will remain the same, so web map and other service references do not need to be updated.

Update URLs for service or app items

URLs for services hosted in ArcGIS Server and locally hosted web apps may change when servers are retired or renamed. You can update a URL reference to layer and web app items by updating the URL in the Data Source utility on the Settings tab of the item page.

Migrate items between accounts

Many users will never need to use more than one ArcGIS account. However, as an administrator, there are situations in which you may need to copy maps or other items from one account to another.

You can use Change Owner to transfer existing items from one account to another or adjust group ownership. The items remain in the same organization, which means all references and links between layers, maps, and apps are preserved, and everything continues to work as expected. Group membership can also be adjusted.


When migrating accounts with a large number of folders or groups, you can also use ArcGIS API for Python to expedite and maintain the folder structure in My Content. Download the sample script.

Group strategies

Curate featured content using groups and promote a set of groups as the organization’s Featured Groups. (Assign this task to other staff if possible.) If your organization decides to use basemaps other than the default Esri basemaps, create and maintain a group for the basemap gallery.

Groups do not consume credits, but cleaning up groups may also help you clean up old content items that are consuming storage credits.

Identify stagnant groups or groups that are no longer in use, especially public and organizational groups.

  1. Click Groups > My Organization's Groups to view your organization's groups, and reverse the sort order to list oldest groups first.
  2. For each group, view its Content tab to determine the most recently modified items.
  3. Open item pages for the group content and review the Usage tab for activity statistics.

Monitor and report activity

It's also important to monitor metrics of your organization’s users and content. Some strategies to monitor and control your organization’s activities are described below.


ArcGIS Online stores usage data for the past two years only.

System usage

Administrators may find it useful to monitor some of the following basic statistics:

  • Number of members, groups, and items (total and new)
  • Most active users and most viewed items
  • Users and groups with the most items

See activity-based metrics in the Dashboard section of the organization's Status page. Download detailed system usage information from the Reports section. Item reports illustrate how users are creating, using, and sharing geographic content. Member reports reveal how users are contributing to the organization.

Storage usage

An organization's storage and database resource needs can change over time. To get information about your organization's storage usage and limits, go to your organization's Overview page and click Feature Data Store. You can also create an item report with detailed storage information from the Reports section of the Status page.

During periods of intensive query and editing workloads, you may want to upgrade to a Premium Feature Data Store to access dedicated database resources and increased storage for your organization. Visit the Esri store for pricing, performance information, and purchase details.

Credit usage

Each organization uses cloud resources differently, so each uses credits differently. Even heavy use of a cloud service often offers the best value. Rather than targeting all instances of heavy credit use as excessive, carefully evaluate reasons for usage. For example, identify duplicate efforts, redundant data, and the use of services or data that are also available locally.

Identify and investigate unintended use of credits and suggest alternative solutions such as the following examples:

  • Unnecessarily generated tile services—Use the option to generate tiles automatically only to generate tiles when they are first viewed by a viewer so you'll only be charged for generating tiles that are requested. If you'd rather generate your own tiles, build the tile cache in ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap (as a tile package), and then upload and publish the tile package in ArcGIS Online.
  • Large hosted feature services—Simplify geometries, reduce the number of attributes, or use a tile service to reduce the amount of hosted data that's stored. If you can support large datasets on your own infrastructure, consider publishing feature data to an ArcGIS Enterprise deployment.
  • Duplicate layers—Search for layers to see if they are already available before publishing. Use a hosted feature layer view to provide a different view of the data (fewer fields, specific features), without needing to store a duplicate set of data in ArcGIS Online.
  • Large or repeated geocoding, routing, or geoenrichment jobs within the same organization—Discourage regeocoding of the same data. If a dataset has been created from an ArcGIS Online tool, encourage users to share the data instead of running duplicate jobs. You can also encourage the use of locators running on ArcGIS Server for repetitive jobs. Publish commonly used layers to the system and publicize them.