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Tutorial: Create a map containing versioned data on Portal for ArcGIS and download to Collector for ArcGIS

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This tutorial involves a member of the organization using Collector for ArcGIS in the field to confirm edits provided from redline maps. In this case, the worker requires the downloaded map to have the latest data from the Default version of the geodatabase. When the worker downloads the map, a version is created. Once back in the office, the employee synchronizes edits made in the field, removes the map from Collector, and reconciles and posts the map's version with the Default geodatabase version. The process may be repeated several times a day. As each process completes, the employee also deletes the offline map version.

The following sections describe this workflow:

  • Configure basemaps for offline use—The portal administrator configures the portal to use basemaps that can be taken offline.
  • Create a group and invite members—The portal administrator or another member of the organization creates a group in Portal for ArcGIS and adds those members who will need to take web maps offline for editing.
  • Publish a feature service—Another employee creates a map in ArcMap containing versioned data and publishes a feature service to an ArcGIS Server site.
  • Add the feature service to the portal—The publisher adds the feature service as an item in the portal and shares it with the group.
  • Create a web map—A member of the group creates a web map that contains the feature service and shares the web map with the group.
  • Take the web map offline—A field editor connects to the portal from Collector for ArcGIS and downloads a local copy of the web map, which also gets a version of the data used in the feature service. The field editor makes changes to the data in the field.
  • Synchronize edits—When back in the office, the field editor connects to the network and synchronizes changes made in the field.
  • Reconcile and post edits, then delete versions—Individual editors can reconcile with the Default geodatabase version and post their edits to Default, or the process can be automated. Once an editor has reconciled and posted, the offline map version created when the editor downloaded the map can be deleted.
  • Compress the geodatabase—The geodatabase administrator needs to compress the enterprise geodatabase on a regular basis.

Configure basemaps for offline use

The default basemaps included with Portal for ArcGIS come from ArcGIS Online. These basemaps are not supported for use in Portal for ArcGIS maps you take offline. The portal administrator can do one of the following to prepare basemaps that can be taken offline:

Create a group and invite members

A member of the organization who has privileges to create, update, and delete groups signs into the portal and creates a group named FieldWorkers. Once the group exists, the group owner adds field workers in the organization to the group.

Create a group.

  1. Sign in to your portal.
  2. Click Groups.
  3. Click Create A Group.
  4. Type FieldWorkers for the group Name.
  5. Type a Summary, Description, and Tags for the group.
  6. Choose Private from the Status list. In this case, you will invite members to the group.
  7. Allow All members to be Contributors to the group.
  8. Click Save to create the group.

Now, add users to the group.

  1. With the group's item properties open, click Invite Users.
  2. Type the name of a member of the organization and click Search.
  3. Click the member's name under Users to add him or her to the Invitation List.
  4. Search for and add the other organization members who should be members of this group.
  5. In this case, you know who the members of the group should be, so you do not need the members to confirm. Check Add members of the organization immediately, without requiring confirmation.
  6. Click Add To Group to immediately add the members to the FieldWorkers group.

Publish a feature service

A feature service containing the data to be edited offline must first be published.

The publisher starts ArcMap and adds data to the map from the Default geodatabase version. In this example, a feature class from the company's enterprise geodatabase is added to the map. The feature class participates in a topology and, therefore, the data is registered as versioned to allow editing.

The publisher publishes a feature service named InspFS from ArcMap. During publishing, he checks the Sync capability in the Service Editor, since the service is intended to be used in an offline map. The publisher also checks the Query, Update, Create, and Delete capabilities, because the data will be edited. The publisher also clicks Advanced Options to display Feature Service Advanced Options.

The Create a version for each option as enabled in the Advanced Options dialog box. For this example, the publisher makes sure Downloaded map in the Advanced Options dialog box is checked. With this option set, a uniquely named version is created for the offline map when a field worker takes a map offline. This version is then used when the worker synchronizes.

Follow these steps to publish your own feature service to take offline:

  1. Start ArcMap and add versioned data to the map from the Default version of an enterprise geodatabase.
  2. Make any changes you want to the map, such as changing symbology or applying a definition query, and save the map document.
  3. Publish a map service with feature access (a feature service) to your ArcGIS Server site. (File > Share As > Service).
  4. Choose a publisher connection to the ArcGIS Server site.
  5. Click Capabilities in the Parameters pane, check Feature Access, and uncheck KML.
  6. Click Feature Access in the Parameters pane, and check the following operations to enable them: Query, Sync, Create, Update, and Delete.
  7. Click Advanced Options.
  8. In the Sync section of the Feature Service Advanced Options dialog box, click Downloaded map. This indicates that a version will be created each time the map is downloaded.
  9. Click OK to close the Feature Service Advanced Options dialog box.
  10. Click Item Description in the Parameters pane and, at a minimum, type a Summary and Tags for your feature service.
  11. Click Analyze to make sure your data can be published. If any error messages are returned by the analyzer, you must correct those before you can publish.
  12. If the analyzer does not return any errors, click Publish.

Your feature service is published to ArcGIS Server.

Next, a member of the organization signs in to Portal for ArcGIS and adds the feature service to the portal.

Create a web map

A member of the FieldWorkers group who has privileges to create content signs in to the portal, creates a web map, adds the feature service to the map, and shares the map and feature service with the FieldWorkers group. The portal member enables the web map's offline mode property to make it available for download to Collector for ArcGIS.

Follow the instructions to create your own web map, add a feature service, share it, and enable the map for download:

  1. Sign in to your Portal for ArcGIS organization.

    You must be a member of a portal role that allows you to create, update, and delete content.

  2. Click Map.

    The map viewer opens.

  3. Add the feature service to the map.
    1. Click Add > Add Layer from Web.
    2. Be sure An ArcGIS Server Web Service is chosen in the drop-down list.
    3. Type or paste the URL of the feature service in the URL text box.
    4. Click Add Layer.
  4. Make any changes you want to the map, such as changing symbology.


    As noted in the first section, you cannot use the default basemaps. Be sure the portal administrator has configured basemaps for offline use.

  5. Save the map (Save > Save).
  6. Type a title, tags, and summary for the map, and click Save Map.
  7. Click Share and check the box next to the group with which you want to share the map. When prompted, also share the feature service with the group.

The map is saved to My Content, and is shared with the group you specified.

Now enable the map for offline use.

  1. Open the map's item details.
    1. From the map viewer, click Home > My Content.
    2. Click the name of the web map to open it's details.
  2. Enable the map for offline use.
    1. Click Edit in the map's details page.
    2. Scroll down to the Properties section and check Enable offline mode.
    3. Click Save to apply your changes.

Other members of the group you shared the map to can now download the map and take it offline.

Download the map

With the web map available to them, workers can take the map offline using Collector for ArcGIS, and then go into the field to inspect requested updates. To do this, a worker starts Collector and logs in to the organization. The newly shared web map appears.

Since the web map has offline mode enabled, it appears in Collector with a download button. The worker clicks the download button to start the process of taking the map offline.

The worker then chooses the extent and the base map resolution for the offline map.

When the download process starts, a version is created from the published version (Default) in the backend geodatabase. Since the service was set to create a version for each offline map, a unique version name is generated for this version. The name is made up of the field worker's login, the feature service name, and a unique ID. This version will be used when the offline map is synchronized. For example, for worker Bob accessing a map that contains feature service NetFS, the version created is named Bob_NetFS_1404578882000.


If your feature service was published to an ArcGIS Server site that is not federated with the portal federated with the portal or you don't have individual user accounts in ArcGIS Server, the name of the map version will be Esri_Anonymous_<feature service name>_<ID>.

The data is then downloaded to the device. Once downloaded, Collector switches the map to reference the local data. At this point, the map can be edited without having to be on the network. A sync button appears on the map in Collector to indicate that it is referencing the local data.

Follow these steps to download a map to Collector for ArcGIS:

  1. Connect to your portal from Collector for ArcGIS on your mobile device and sign in. You must sign in as a member of the group with which the map was shared.
  2. Tap the Download button. (The cloud with an arrow)
  3. Zoom to the area of the map you want to work with offline.
  4. Tap Map Detail and zoom to the level of detail you want to see when working offline.
  5. Tap Download to get your offline map.

    The feature service was configured to create a geodatabase version for each map taken offline; therefore, taking the map offline for editing creates a geodatabase version. The version created will have your organizational account name, the feature service name, and an ID number.

Now you can work with the map in the field, editing as you require, even if you do not have network connectivity. When you have network connectivity, synchronize your edits.

Synchronize edits

While in the field, workers edit the map from Collector for ArcGIS. If connectivity is available in the field, workers may choose to synchronize edits from the field. When back in the office, workers connect to the internal network from their mobile devices and do a final synchronization. This ensures that all corrections made in the field have been applied to each worker's version.

Follow these steps to edit and synchronize your own data:

  1. Make edits on the map in Collector for ArcGIS while disconnected from your network. For example, add features, move features, and edit feature attributes.
  2. Reconnect your mobile device to your internal network and synchronize your edits. To synchronize, tap Sync on the map card in the Map Gallery in Collector.
  3. After you synchronize for the final time for the day, remove the map from Collector for ArcGIS. To do that, Open the Manage screen from the Map Gallery, choose the map, and tap Remove on the item card.

Once you remove the local map from Collector for ArcGIS, the version that was created when you took the map offline is no longer associated with an offline map. You can now reconcile and post the changes from your offline map version to the Default version.

Reconcile and post changes

Once all edits are synchronized, each worker removes the local map from Collector for ArcGIS. Each worker then connects to their geodatabase version in ArcMap and reconciles and posts it with Default. At this time, conflicts can be detected and manually resolved.

Once the edits are saved and each worker switches back to the Default version, the offline version can be deleted.


If you don't want workers to manually reconcile, post, and delete versions, you can automate this workflow. See Automate reconcile and post operations for sync-enabled data.

As workers further review edits in the office, they may need to make other trips to the field. Each trip to the field results in a new offline map and a new offline version. Each new version will include the latest edits from the Default version. These versions will remain in the geodatabase until they are disassociated with a map, reconciled, posted, and deleted.

  1. Start ArcMap and connect to the source geodatabase.
  2. Add the data you edited while offline to the map.
  3. Click the List By Source button in the Table Of Contents pane.
  4. Right-click the Default version and click Change Version.
  5. On the Transactional tab of the Change Version dialog box, choose the version that was created when you took the map offline. Remember, the version name is your account name + feature service name + ID.
  6. Click OK.

    You are now viewing the data in your offline version.

  7. Reconcile your edits and resolve conflicts as necessary.
  8. Post your changes to the Default version.
  9. Remove the data from ArcMap.

Once all edits are posted to Default, workers can delete their versions.

  1. Right-click the source geodatabase in the Catalog tree.
  2. Point to Administration and click Administer Geodatabase.
  3. Right-click the offline version in the list on the Versions tab of the Geodatabase Administration dialog box and click Delete Version.

Compress geodatabase

All versioned geodatabases must be compressed periodically to remove unneeded states and rows from the system tables that track versions and versioned edits. The geodatabase administrator performs this operation. The administrator can run the compress operation from ArcGIS for Desktop, or the compress operation can be automated, usually as part of an automated reconcile and post operation.