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About utility services

Utility services are the services that power specific functionality in your portal, for example, printing maps, locating addresses, calculating areas, finding directions, and performing analysis. The portal comes with some default services, but you can use your own services. To learn how to configure your portal to use different utility services, see Configuring utility services.


Print services allow you to print or preview your web maps. You can print maps from Map Viewer or from a web app made in Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS or with a configurable app template. Web apps created with a template or in Web AppBuilder will use the portal's print service in their print widgets. When you click Print in Map Viewer, the print service configured with the portal will create printable documents with the layouts available in that print service. Beginning at 10.4, you can create custom print layout templates that provide layout options for printing in Map Viewer.

The portal's default print service only allows you to print map and feature services; you will not be able to print other services, such as WMS, hosted web layers, or files. As well, cached map services can only be printed using the default print service when dynamic layers are enabled for the service.

To print or preview other service or item types, configure your portal to use a print service from ArcGIS Server. If you federate a server with your portal, it is recommended that you use that server's preconfigured print service. Alternatively, you can create your own custom print service and use that as the print service for your portal. Layouts from this custom print service will be available to portal members for printing from Map Viewer.

If you federate and also specify a hosting server for your portal, the hosting server's print service is automatically started and configured with the portal. You'll only need to share the print service to use it in the portal. However, if you've previously configured a print service with your portal, the URL is not updated when specifying a hosting server. You need to start the service, share the service, and configure it as a utility service.

When using an ArcGIS Server print service with services added to the portal through HTTPS, additional configuration is necessary. Any machine that runs the print service will need to be configured to trust Certificate Authority (CA) signed certificates from the site providing the HTTPS services. This configuration needs to take place at the operating system level. See Enabling SSL using a new CA-signed certificate for details on how to do this. For example, a portal may be federated with an ArcGIS Server site and using its default PrintingTools service for the portal's print service. A member of this portal attempts to add a map service using HTTPS to the portal, but the service is from another ArcGIS Server site that is not federated with the portal. The thumbnail for the web map containing this HTTPS map service will not be correctly generated. The CA-signed certificate from the unfederated server site must be added to the operating system trust store on the machine running the PrintingTools service.


Geocode services are used to search for and locate addresses and places on a map. Portal for ArcGIS is preconfigured to use the World Geocoding Service hosted on ArcGIS Online, which allows you to find and map a specified address or place-name.

You can also configure Portal for ArcGIS to use a geocode service through your ArcGIS Online organizational account (including Esri World Geocoding) or your own geocode service powered by ArcGIS Server. This is appropriate in the following scenarios:

  • You need to geocode a large number of addresses at once (batch geocoding), such as when you add a CSV file that contains addresses to your web map or when using Esri Maps for Office to map a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. To learn how to set up batch geocoding for your portal, see Configure the portal to geocode addresses.
  • You need to geocode addresses or places based on your own data.
  • You do not have an Internet connection or are not allowed to rely on external geocode services for security or other reasons.


Geometry services perform the calculations necessary to do such spatial analysis as buffering and calculating area. Portal for ArcGIS uses an ArcGIS Online geometry service by default. Alternatively, you can use the preconfigured geometry service of one of your federated servers. You can also choose to use a custom ArcGIS Server geometry service.


Route services allow you to find directions between two or more locations. Your portal's route utility service is used for the Directions functionality available in web maps.

There is no default route service in Portal for ArcGIS. If you want to get directions from Map Viewer, you can either publish your own route service or use the ArcGIS Online World route service.

The ArcGIS Online World route service requires an organizational account. Since credentials are required to use this service, add the service ( as a portal item and use the item's REST URL for the portal route service. For instructions, see the section "If the service is not from a federated server and requires credentials" in Configuring utility services.

If you do not configure a route utility service, the Directions button will not be present in Map Viewer. For setup instructions, see Configuring the portal to get directions.

Network Utility

The following are part of the group of services referred to as network utility services. All of these services are required to enable network analysis tools in the portal.

Closest Facility

Finding the closest hospital to an accident, the closest police cars to a crime scene, and the closest store to a customer's address are all examples of problems that can be solved using the closest facility service. When finding the closest facilities, you can specify how many to find and whether the direction of travel is toward or away from them. Once you've found the closest facilities, you can display the best route to or from them and include the travel time, travel distance, and driving directions to each facility. The service can use current traffic conditions when determining the best routes. Additionally, you can specify an impedance cutoff beyond which the service should not search for a facility. For instance, you can set up a closest facility service to search for hospitals within 15 minutes' drive time of the site of an accident. Any hospitals that take longer than 15 minutes to reach will not be included in the results. The hospitals are referred to as facilities, and the accident is referred to as an incident. The service allows you to perform multiple closest facility analyses simultaneously. This means you can have multiple incidents and find the closest facility or facilities to each incident.

This service supports synchronous and asynchronous execution modes. For more information, see the ArcGIS REST API documentation.

Service Area

With the service area service, you can find the area that can be reached from the input location within a given travel time or travel distance. A service area is the area that encompasses all streets that can be accessed within a given distance or travel time from one or more locations, referred to as facilities. Service areas are generally used to visualize and measure the accessibility of facilities. For example, a three-minute drive-time polygon around a grocery store can determine which residents are able to reach the store within three minutes and are thus more likely to shop there. The service can also create multiple concentric service areas around one or more facilities that can show how accessibility changes with an increase in travel time or travel distance. It can be used, for example, to determine how many hospitals are within 5, 10, and 15 minute drive times of schools. When creating service areas based on travel times, the service can make use of traffic data, which can influence the area that can be reached during different times of the day.

This service supports synchronous and asynchronous execution modes. For more information, see the ArcGIS REST API documentation.

Vehicle Routing Problem

Various organizations service orders with a fleet of vehicles. For example, a large furniture store might use several trucks to deliver furniture to homes. A specialized grease recycling company might route trucks from a facility to pick up used grease from restaurants. A health department might schedule daily inspection visits for each of its health inspectors. The problem that is common to these examples is the vehicle routing problem (VRP). Each organization needs to determine which orders (homes, restaurants, or inspection sites) should be serviced by each route (truck or inspector) and in what sequence the orders should be visited. The primary goal is to best service the orders and minimize the overall operating cost for the fleet of vehicles. The VRP service can be used to determine solutions for such complex fleet management tasks. In addition, the service can solve more specific problems because numerous options are available, such as matching vehicle capacities with order quantities, providing a high level of customer service by honoring any time windows on orders, giving breaks to drivers, and pairing orders so they are serviced by the same route.

Consider an example of delivering goods to grocery stores from a central warehouse location. A fleet of three trucks is available at the warehouse. The warehouse operates only within a certain time window-from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.-during which all trucks must return back to the warehouse. Each truck has a capacity of 15,000 pounds, which limits the amount of goods it can carry. Each store has a demand for a specific amount of goods (in pounds) that needs to be delivered, and each store has time windows that confine when deliveries should be made. Furthermore, the driver can work only eight hours per day, requires a break for lunch, and is paid for the amount of time spent on driving and servicing the stores. The service can be used to determine an itinerary for each route such that the deliveries can be made while honoring all the vehicle and order requirements and minimizing the total time spent on a particular route by the driver.

This service supports synchronous and asynchronous execution modes. For more information, see the ArcGIS REST API documentation.

Location Allocation

Location-allocation helps you choose which facilities from a set of facilities to operate based on their potential interaction with demand points. It can help you answer questions like the following:

  • Given a set of existing fire stations, which site for a new fire station would provide the best response times for the community?
  • If a retail company has to downsize, which stores should it close to maintain the most overall demand?
  • Where should a factory be built to minimize the distance to distribution centers?

In these examples, facilities would represent the fire stations, retail stores, and factories; demand points would represent buildings, customers, and distribution centers.

The objective may be to minimize the overall distance between demand points and facilities, maximize the number of demand points covered within a certain distance of facilities, maximize an apportioned amount of demand that decays with increasing distance from a facility, or maximize the amount of demand captured in an environment of friendly and competing facilities. For more information, see the ArcGIS REST API documentation.

Route Utilities

The Route Utilities service contains tools that provide auxiliary information for working with network analysis services available with ArcGIS Online. Currently, the Route Utilities service contains only one tool, GetTravelModes. This tool returns a list of travel modes configured for your organization that can be used with network analysis services. A travel mode represents a means of transportation, such as driving or walking. Travel modes are essentially templates consisting of a long list of travel settings.

The GetTravelModes tool is meant to be used by different applications to display the name and optionally the description of the available travel modes in their user experience. An Administrator of your organization can configure travel modes to change the properties of the default travel modes provided by ArcGIS Online, add new travel modes that better reflect your organization's workflows, or remove travel modes that are not suitable for your organization's workflows. For more information, see the ArcGIS REST API documentation.


You can use the traffic map service to visualize real time traffic speeds and incidents such as accidents, construction sites, or street closures. Traffic visualization displays information about how travel speeds on specific road segments change over time. The traffic incidents in the map service provides the location of the incidents and some attributes such as the severity, the expected start and end time, as well as the description of the incident. The traffic speed and incident data is updated every five minutes.

The traffic map service acts as a good background layer to display the results from network analysis services. The traffic data used by the traffic map service is also used by the network analysis services when performing analysis. If you want to emphasize why a particular route was returned by the route service, you can display the traffic map along with the route to show areas of traffic congestion that influenced the choice of roads used by the route.

The traffic data used by the service is updated every five minutes. Each traffic update also includes traffic speed predictions for next twelve hours. This allows you to visualize traffic for future planning. The service archives the traffic information for up to twelve hours. This gives you the ability to visualize traffic speeds within a twenty four hour time window. The traffic incidents are not archived and are refreshed with every update. For more information, see the ArcGIS REST API documentation.


The GeoEnrichment service provides the ability to get facts about a location or area. Using GeoEnrichment, you can get information about the people, places, and businesses in a specific area or within a certain distance or drive time from a location. More specifically, by submitting a point or polygon to the GeoEnrichment service, you can retrieve the demographics and other relevant characteristics associated with the surrounding area. You can also use the geoenrichment service to obtain additional geographic context (for example, the ZIP Code of a location) and geographic boundaries (for example, the geometry for a drive-time service area). Currently, the service is available for Canada, the United States, and a number of European countries. Other countries will be added in the near future.

This service enables you to answer questions about locations that you can't answer with maps alone. For example: What kind of people live here? What do people like to do in this area? What are their habits and lifestyles? What kind of businesses are in this area?

Site analysis is a popular application of this type of data enrichment. For example, the GeoEnrichment service can be leveraged to study the population that would be affected by the development of a new community center within their neighborhood. With the service, the proposed site can be submitted, and the demographics and other relevant characteristics associated with the area around the site will be returned. For more information, see the ArcGIS REST API documentation.

Elevation and hydrology

The Elevation Analysis services allow you to perform various operations for elevation analysis (Profile, Viewshed, Summarize Elevation) and hydrology analysis (Watershed and Trace Downstream). The data these services reference is hosted and curated by Esri. For more information, see the ArcGIS REST API documentation.