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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.

Offline Editing with Mobile ArcGIS

August 8th, 2012 by Matt Sheehan

Our previous blog entry showed the initial steps in working with mobile ArcGIS when offline. We ended the post with “whats next? Offline Feature layers and Offline editing”. And that is the topic of this blog post.

As we have mentioned before as a company our focus is mobile location technology. GIS, and specifically ArcGIS, is an important part of this work. We are also advocates of open source software. Now the so called ‘elephant in the room’ of mobile GIS is offline. Everybody wants it, but there remains no practical solution. Both ESRI and Google have discussed rolling out offline solutions. But nothing is yet in place, at least in published API’s.

We are regularly approached about disconnected mobile maps and offline GIS. Its an itch we started to scratch a while ago. Our goal was initially to put in place a solution in the ArcGIS world, upon which we could also base an open source solution. ESRI, and in particular Mansour Raad, have been a big help in moving this work forward. We now have an end to end solution for working with mobile ArcGIS while offline.

Before we describe the work, here is a video which shows an ArcGIS Online webmap being takes offline; that is basemap, feature layers and editing.

Now the steps we describe in the video are as follows:

1) Publish a public ArcGIS Online map.

2) In ArcMap generate a tile package (tpk) of tiled and dynamic layers. Make this .tpk available on a web server.

3) Open our mobile ArcGIS application (note, the offline and editing solution is a custom addition to GeoMobile for ArcGIS Online)

4) In the Offline widget select the tpk button which will download the tpk to your mobile tablet. Next, in the same widget, select the feature layer button which will store all published FeatureLayers to the mobile.

5) The mobile app will detect when the device is offline and automatically switch to the tpk for the base map.

6) In the demo Featurelayers are rendered from the Edit Widget. Select a checkbox and that layer is added to the base map. From here the layer can be edited.

7) All feature edits are stored on the mobile. Once back online they are then passed to the server.

As mentioned, with the development of this solution we have had open source in the back of our minds. A similar process can we stepped through using the likes of TileMill and WFS.

That is it. We will be dsicussing this work in more detail over the next few months. If you are looking for an offline mobile GIS solution please feel free to contact us at

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Categories: Mobile ArcGIS, Mobile GIS

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