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About distributed collaboration

With distributed collaboration, you can connect and integrate your GIS across a network of participants including those with membership in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. The benefit of establishing distributed collaboration is to organize, network, and share content between individuals, and across organizations and communities. Distributed collaboration (or, simply collaboration) is based on a foundation of trust and driven by common goals or initiatives. Once you've established a trusted collaboration among collaboration participants, you are able to share content as you would with a single GIS to distribute it across the network of participants. Shared content becomes discoverable for each organization participating in the collaboration.

Example deployment patterns

When considering how to leverage distributed collaboration for your organizational needs, consider some common deployment patterns:

  • A centralized hub pattern where a centralized organization aggregates content from several other organizations.
  • Collaboration between two organizations.
  • Integration between an ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise organization. This pattern is well suited for workflows such as field collection and public or contractor participation.

Example use cases

Scenario: Establish collaboration using a centralized hub

A medium sized city establishes a centralized hub to manage authoritative data for several projects that involve its local police, fire, recreation, and transportation departments.

A few things to note about this example are:

  • The city and each of the participating departments in this collaboration are using their own implementation of ArcGIS Enterprise.
  • The city initiated this collaboration.
  • The city and each of the four participants have agreed upon a scheduled interval to send and receive synchronized items.

Scenario: Establish collaboration between two portals

In the above scenario, a centralized hub is established to manage a project where multiple agencies or departments contribute content. It is also possible to establish a collaboration with as few as two participants.

A few things to note about this example are:

  • Both departments in this collaboration are using their own implementation of ArcGIS Enterprise.
  • The planning department initiated this collaboration (but if terms were set differently, the community development department could also initiated the collaboration).
  • In this scenario, both departments are sharing synchronized data across their enterprise as references (no copies of data are made.)

Scenario: Establish collaboration using a combination of ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise.

A medium sized city's Public Works Department is collaborating with its Department of Public Safety and local residents to report and monitor graffiti, crimes, and utility concerns, such as water leaks. In this initiative, each group is working together to identify and report incidents as they occur, determine whether patterns exist in the data, and increase resources appropriately when needed. A few things to note about this example are:

  • In this pattern, residents are participating in the distributed collaboration through a single ArcGIS Online organization, and the city departments are participating through ArcGIS Enterprise portals.
  • The ArcGIS Online organization, owned by the Public Works Department, initiated the collaboration. The Department of Public Safety is a collaboration participant.
  • Residents will be sending and receiving shared content to both the Public Works Department and the Department of Public Safety in real time.
  • The Public Works Department has provided residents with a mobile app to enter incidents and is tracking and addressing activity in the office using a dashboard app.
  • The Department of Public Safety is receiving updates as activities are reported.

Use a collaboration

You can share content with other collaborators by sharing it to the group associated with your collaboration workspace. See Share content with collaboration groups for details.