Prepare maps for download

In the field, mobile workers often work in areas without a reliable data connection, or with no data connection at all. In these situations, mobile workers can download maps to make them available offline. Once a map is downloaded, mobile workers can use it the same way they do when connected. While they only receive updates to downloaded maps on request, downloaded maps allow mobile workers to continue working with GIS data you've shared with them without a data connection.

ArcGIS Field Maps supports downloading web maps and mobile map packages (MMPKs). Web maps can be used while online or they can be downloaded. They can have multiple offline map areas defined as part of the map or on the device, and they must be configured to support offline use. MMPKs are authored in ArcGIS Pro specifically for downloading and viewing assets. They cannot be used for data collection.

Note:

Your user type limits the maps you can create. Creator and GIS Professional user types can create web maps. Creating MMPKs requires ArcGIS Pro, which is included with the GIS Professional user type.

Decide how to prepare a map for download

Both web maps and MMPKs work offline. Which you choose, and how you configure it, depends on your project requirements. Choose one of the following three ways to prepare a map for download and enable mobile workers to work offline in Field Maps:

Configure a web map for download and create map areas

The primary offline workflow is to configure a web map for download and define map areas that mobile workers can download. Areas, such as a region of the county or a service area, are defined in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise by the author of the map. Mobile workers can view and download these map areas in Field Maps.

If you know where your mobile workers will be working, such as a region of the county or a service area, this is the recommended offline workflow. If you don't know all the areas your mobile workers may need to download, they can still define and download additional map areas in Field Maps.

Tip:

When possible, define map areas as part of the map. This saves mobile workers from having to define the areas, and it allows map areas to be prepared and packaged once and downloaded by multiple mobile workers. Map areas defined in Field Maps are packaged and downloaded for a single use. If they are removed and must be downloaded again, or if they are needed by another mobile worker, they are redefined and regenerated.

Configure a web map for download and have mobile workers create map areas

If mobile workers need to go offline in a location that wasn't prepared in advance—where there is unplanned work, for example—they can define the area to take offline in Field Maps.

As the map author, you need to configure a web map for offline use. You don't need to define map areas that mobile workers can take offline (but you can still define them—they won't affect this workflow). Mobile workers can then define and download map areas in Field Maps.

Create and share an MMPK

If a web map doesn't meet your offline map requirements, create and share an MMPK. For example, a web map may not support how you want to share your map. While mobile workers are responsible for downloading a web map to their device, MMPKs can be copied directly to the mobile workers' devices (sideloaded) before the devices are given to the mobile workers. It's not necessary to copy them before the mobile workers have the devices. Mobile workers can copy the MMPKs or download them in Field Maps using ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. However, copying them removes size limits on the MMPK (other than device storage space). MMPKs can also be shared publicly or have expiration dates after which they can't be opened.

Support for your data is another reason to use an MMPK, as some data that doesn't work offline in a web map can be used in an MMPK. For example, if you have layers that aren't sync enabled, or layers that aren't available as feature services that you don't want to publish (file-based data), you can package them in an MMPK and use them in Field Maps. MMPKs also support more advanced symbology than web maps.

Creating MMPKs has additional licensing requirements compared to creating web maps. To create MMPKs, you must have the GIS Professional user type and use ArcGIS Pro.

Configure a web map for offline use

Note:
The release of the ArcGIS Field Maps web app in Q4 2020 will introduce an improved experience for configuring web maps for offline use. To test the public beta of the web app, join the ArcGIS Field Maps Early Adopter Program.
Web maps that meet the offline requirements automatically support downloading map areas in Field Maps. Do the following to allow mobile workers to download a web map in Field Maps:

Once your map is configured, mobile workers can download map areas to Field Maps.

Tip:

To disable downloading a map in Field Maps, uncheck the Enable offline mode check box in the map's item details. For details, see Offline options in ArcGIS Online or Offline options in ArcGIS Enterprise. The offline mode option is not available if your map doesn't meet the offline requirements.

If you are using ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6.1 or earlier and your map contains a vector tile layer, map areas aren't downloadable by default. If all your layers meet the offline requirements (all feature layers support sync and all raster and vector tile layers support export), edit your map's item details and add the Offline-Ready tag. Then you can download it.

Data requirements

Web maps that are downloaded in Field Maps must meet the data requirements for web maps used in Field Maps in addition to having all layers enabled for offline use. See Enable the layers and map for offline use in ArcGIS Online or Enable the layers and map for offline use in ArcGIS Enterprise.

Create a basemap to copy directly onto devices (optional)

You can copy a basemap directly to the mobile worker's device (this process is called sideloading) and reuse it across multiple maps. This has a few advantages over downloading the basemap along with the map area: in most cases, it is faster than downloading the same basemap, and it allows you to prepare basemaps for much larger areas. Additionally, basemaps copied to the device are available to all mobile workers who use Field Maps—each user doesn't need to have their own copy, saving space on shared devices.

If you want the copied basemap to be the default when downloading the map (avoiding downloading the basemap along with the rest of the data), the map must reference it and it must be copied to the mobile worker's device.

To copy a basemap directly to devices, prepare your basemap as a map tile package (.tpk or .tpkx file) or vector tile package (.vtpk file). How you create the package depends on where you are creating it and the type of tile package it is.

Provision the package directly to the mobile worker's device. On Android devices, copy the file to the device or SD card. On iOS devices, use the Files app or iTunes. See Copy a basemap to the device for details.

Reference an on-device basemap

You may want your mobile workers to download only operational layers and not the basemap of a map, instead using a basemap you created to copy directly to their devices. When you author your map, specify a tile package to use for the offline basemap as part of the advanced offline options. If that basemap is on their device, only operational layers are downloaded. If the referenced basemap isn't on the device, the mobile worker can continue to download the map's default basemap with the operational layers. See Use a tile package for the offline basemap in ArcGIS Online or Use a tile package for the offline basemap in ArcGIS Enterprise.

Note:

Specifying a basemap for offline use with ArcGIS Enterprise requires version 10.7 or later.

Use an Esri basemap on ArcGIS Enterprise

You can download an Esri basemap from ArcGIS Online with an ArcGIS Enterprise map. To do so, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You have an account as a member of an organization in ArcGIS Online.
  • You are using ArcGIS Enterprise.

For step-by-step instructions, see Use an Esri basemap offline.

Create a map area as part of the map (optional)

Creating map areas as part of your map allows you, as the map author, to prepackage one or more areas of a map so that mobile workers in Field Maps can download them without having to configure the extent or level of detail. See Create, edit, and manage map areas in ArcGIS Online or Create, edit, and manage map areas in ArcGIS Enterprise.

If you are using ArcGIS Enterprise, the interactive experience for creating map areas (as in ArcGIS Online) was introduced in ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7. If you are using ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6.1, map areas must be managed through ArcGIS API for Python.

Note:

Once map areas are created as part of your map, mobile workers cannot use the map without downloading a map area. If mobile workers are using the map for data collection, their captured assets, observations, and inspection information is only available on their device until the map is synced. Updates from other workers is not available without syncing, either.

Optimize download and sync

By default, all features and attachments for both editable and read-only layers are downloaded and synced by mobile workers. However, mobile workers don't always need all of this information to complete their work. Also, your organization may want to limit the size and amount of data mobile workers retrieve from the server during initial download as well as subsequent sync operations. This can make it faster for mobile workers to share changes, and it minimizes data transfer costs. This is especially true when your mobile workers are in areas with low bandwidth. You can limit the types of data mobile workers retrieve from the server by adjusting the advanced offline options of your map. The options don't affect edits made by the mobile worker; those are always sent to the server. This section provides examples of when you may not want mobile workers to retrieve features or attachments. For details about how to change these settings, see Choose the right advanced offline options in ArcGIS Online or Choose the right advanced offline options in ArcGIS Enterprise.

  • If mobile workers are capturing new assets or observations and do not need knowledge of existing assets and observations, you may not want them to retrieve features and attachments. Mobile workers receive less context, but the time and cost for them to share edits is minimized. Mobile workers will see the assets and observations they have added since downloading the map area. They won't see assets and observations added by others or those they added if they worked with the map before the download.
  • If mobile workers are inspecting existing assets or observations, you may want them to retrieve only features. You may not want them to retrieve attachments, because they can be large. Mobile workers do not see attachments of existing assets, but they do see their locations and attributes, which may be all that is necessary to complete their jobs. Preventing the retrieval of attachments may also decrease the time and cost to share edits.
Note:

There are settings for editable and read-only layers in the advanced offline options. However, if you have multiple layers from the same service and at least one of those layers is editable, all the layers from that service honor the settings of the editable layer. For example, if you configure your map so that you get attachments on editable layers but not read-only layers, but one of the read-only layers is from the same service as an editable layer, that read-only layer's attachments are retrieved.

Create an MMPK for download

MMPKs that are created in ArcGIS Pro and shared with mobile workers can be downloaded in Field Maps.

Data requirements

The following types of data can be included in your map:

  • Local, file-based feature data—Geodatabase feature classes and shapefiles
  • Feature layers and feature services hosted on ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Enterprise, or ArcGIS Server
  • Tile packages (TPK and TPKX)
  • Vector tile packages (VTPK)
  • Rasters—Generally includes any type, including PNG, TIF, JPG, JP2, and others
  • Locators—Classic locators and new locators
  • Network datasets
  • Annotation created in ArcGIS Pro

Create and share an MMPK

Create MMPKs that can be downloaded in Field Maps in ArcGIS Pro by completing the following steps:

  1. Create a project in ArcGIS Pro.
  2. Add your supported data, including a basemap, to the map.

    Configure pop-ups for your features if your map users need details about the features. Add labels if your users will need them in the map.

  3. Optionally, configure feature search by adding a locate provider or creating a locator.
  4. Package and share the data using the Package Mobile Map tool.
  5. Share your MMPK in one of the following ways to make it accessible in Field Maps:
    • Share it through your ArcGIS organization and download it through Field Maps.

      Offline maps shared through your organization can be kept private, shared among your groups or with your organization, or made public. You can share the offline map through ArcGIS Pro using the Package Mobile Map or Share Package tools. Alternatively, you can sign in to your ArcGIS organization's portal and upload the .mmpk file. (See Share items in the ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise help.)

    • Copy (sideload) your .mmpk file from your computer to the Field Maps app on your device.

      Once the file is copied to your device, the map is designated as an On Device map the next time the app is launched or when the list of available maps is refreshed.

      Note:

      To access an MMPK from your computer, you must either save the package to a file in ArcGIS Pro when you create it or download the .mmpk file from your ArcGIS Online content.

  6. In Field Maps, download the map, open it, and work with it offline in the same way as any other map.

Tips

The following tips will help you make better MMPKs for offline use:

  • Support feature search—By default, you can search for places, addresses, and coordinates on maps. Often, map users want to search for particular features they see on the map. When you create the map, there are two ways you can support feature search, depending on the requirements of your map.
    • Add a locate provider.

      Using the Locate tool in ArcGIS Pro, you can add a locate provider so your users can search for features. Add one for each searchable layer. A locate provider can search multiple fields in a layer, and you provide a search mode for each searchable field. Search suggestions are not supported with locate providers. They don't increase the file size of your offline map. See Find places on the map in the ArcGIS Pro help.

    • Create a locator.

      You can create a locator in ArcGIS Pro that allows users to search for features. Create one for each searchable layer. Each locator searches a single field. Locators can include search suggestions. Locators increase the file size of your offline map. See Create a locator in the ArcGIS Pro help.

  • Provide useful pop-ups—When users view information about features on the map, they are viewing the pop-up you created for that feature. When creating your map, configure a pop-up with information users need. See Configure pop-ups in the ArcGIS Pro help.
    Note:

    If features don't have pop-ups, users can't interact with them on the map.

  • Include labels—Your users may need to see labels on the map. You can make these available by configuring labels for the feature layers. See Labeling basics in the ArcGIS Pro help.
  • Use a vector tile package for the basemap—Vector tile packages use tiles of the data instead of raw data. To create a vector tile package, all the layers of your map are turned into a single, optimized layer that looks the same but displays faster. A vector tile package doesn't include attributes, you can't create pop-ups, and users can't search the contained data. However, if you don't regularly update the basemap data in your map, vector tile packages allow you to process the data into a basemap once and reuse it each time you update the MMPK. Consequently, you can create an MMPK faster and update your operational data regularly without reprocessing your basemap layers each time the MMPK is generated.
  • Use the same name for the title of your map and the .mmpk file—Before an offline map is downloaded, the title in Field Maps originates from the item details, which uses the name of the .mmpk file. Once downloaded, the name of the map is the title. To help your users understand the relationship between the map they downloaded and the map on their device, use the same name for the map in ArcGIS Pro and the .mmpk file.
  • Use the default thumbnail for the item in your portal so it doesn't change when the offline map is downloaded.
  • Set an expiration date if you want the availability of your MMPK to end at a certain time. After this date, mobile workers won't be able to open it.

Limitations

The following are limitations when creating MMPKs for offline use in Field Maps:

  • The coordinate systems of the TPK and map must match or the TPK doesn't display.
  • If you're using a version of ArcGIS Pro earlier than 2.1, all basemap data must be contained in a single geodatabase.
    Tip:

    If your basemap contains data from multiple geodatabases and you don't want to restructure it, consider creating a vector tile package and using it as the basemap of your offline map.

  • Services can't be included in an offline map.

Next steps

Now that you have a map ready for offline use in Field Maps, download it and work offline. If you are collecting data or performing inspections offline, learn how to sync your work.