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Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.

Taking ArcGIS Online …. Offline

July 25th, 2012 by Matt Sheehan

ArcGIS Online is a major step forward for mobile ArcGIS. True its not just targeted at mobile, but it has and will make the lives of mobile developers and their clients considerably easier. Why? Let’s make a list:

1) Single endpoint, or webmap to load, in a mobile viewer

2) Easy for users to prepare and publish their data.

3) Shapefiles published to ArcGIS online are converted to Feature layers and pushed to the mobile ArcGIS viewer within the webmap itself.

4) Other data sources can be easily published in ArcGIS online, then rendered in a mobile map viewer.

Those are just some of the advantages.

We’ve just released ‘GeoMobile for ArcGIS Online’ a free mobile app which allows users to load on a mobile tablet, their own published ArcGIS Online webmaps. We designed it to be extensible. So it goes beyond the excellent ESRI mobile widget, in that we can add functionality based on user requirements.

We are approached regularly about offline ArcGIS. Thus the somewhat confusing title of this blog post ArcGIS Online Offline! Here, we will discuss using GeoMobile for ArcGIS Online to access your webmap in an offline mode. The approach we demonstrate could easily be used in our other free mobile app GeoMobile for ArcGIS Server.

Before we describe the offline widget in more detail, here is a demo:

Offline ArcGIS Online Data Preparation

The steps we provide below are how, in future, clients will set up their data for online and offline access.

In online mode, GeoMobile for ArcGIS Online renders data from your published webmap at The first thing we did then was to publish our data:

Figure 1: ArcGIS Online Map

Next we pulled up ArcMap with the same data sets (you can publish to ArcGIS Online directly)

Figure 2: ArcMap Data Load

and generated a tile package or tpk

Figure 3: ArcMap Generate tpk

Offline ArcGIS – Hosting the Data

The tpk can be accessed by a mobile ArcGIS app most easily through a web server. Thus once a tpk has been generated it then needs to be pushed to a public web server. In our case:

The tpk will be stored on the mobile device for offline access. Now be aware these tile packages can be very large; beyond what a mobile device can handle. So one needs be careful.

Workflow for Offline ArcGIS Access

While online users will need to download the tpk to the device. Thus in the video above, the user downloads the tpk in the offline widget, from a web server. From there the app is smart enough to know when the device is offline, and switch to rendering the tiles in the tpk.

Wonderful. Extending GeoMobile for ArcGIS Online to provide offline access is done. What next?

Offline Feature layers


Offline editing

Watch this space!

To learn more about extending GeoMobile for ArcGIS Online contact

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Categories: Mobile ArcGIS, Mobile GIS

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