A portal is a secure gateway that can create, manage, and share geographic information.

You can use a portal to:

  • Manage private and public content and data for applications.
  • Create and share data using hosted layers and data services.
  • Create, save, and share web maps and web scenes.
  • Search for content within your organization.
  • Share content with other users and groups.
  • Share map and layer packages to use in ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Desktop, or ArcGIS native apps.
  • Create and host web mapping apps with ArcGIS app templates, app builders, and ArcGIS APIs and SDKs.

How a portal works

A portal includes a website and a REST API. To access a portal, you can use applications and tools to sign in and manage content, users, and groups. You can create and share different types of content such as maps, layers, files, services, and notebooks. Content is stored and managed as items. A portal is secure, so items can be private, public, or shared with a group of users.

You can build applications to access and manage content in a portal with the REST API. To access private content and resources, applications need to make authenticated requests using OAuth 2.0 or an API key. To access public content and resources, unauthenticated requests can be made.

Learn more about building applications in Items, Users, Groups, and Search.

arcgis portals

Accounts and organizations

To access a portal you need an ArcGIS developer, ArcGIS Online, or an ArcGIS Enterprise account. The account (and credentials) allow you to sign in to a portal website, use data management tools, and build applications to access the portal.

All ArcGIS developer, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Enterprise accounts are associated with an organization. An organization is a private space in a portal for one or more members to create, manage, and share content. Content can be private, shared with members, or shared publicly. Content can also be organized and shared by using groups.

A member's role and privileges in an organization are determined by the organization's administrator. This is assigned when a member creates an account or joins an organization.

ArcGIS developer accounts

If you have an ArcGIS developer account, you are the only member of the organization. You are the administrator and have full privileges to access, manage, and share content, manage the settings of the organization, and to build applications that access the organization's content and resources.

ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise accounts

If you have an ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise account, and if you are an administrator, you have full privileges to access, manage, and share content, manage the settings of the organization, and to build applications that access the organization's content and resources. You also have the additional ability to manage members in the organization. If you are a member of an organization, your ability to access, manage, and share content, and build applications for an organization, is determined by the role and privileges assigned to your account. In most cases, you will need at least Creator permissions to build applications with the REST API.

Tools and applications

There are a number of tools and applications that you can use to access a portal. Some tools allow you to perform administration tasks, while others allow you to view, create, manage, and share content and data. All tools require you to sign in with an account. The tool functionality available is determined by the user type and permissions associated with an account.

The following tools can be used to access an organization in a portal:

Developer dashboard

Use the ArcGIS Developers website to sign in and manage your account, subscription, credits, API keys, and OAuth 2.0 access, as well as perform some (limited) data management tasks such as creating hosted layers.

ArcGIS Online

Use the ArcGIS Online website to sign in administer the organization, set defaults, and manage users. You can also use data management tools to search, create, manage, and share content and data such as web maps, web scenes, hosted layers, files, and applications. It also provides access to tools such as the Map Viewer and Scene Viewer.

ArcGIS Pro

Use the ArcGIS Pro desktop application to sign in and search, create, manage, and share content. You can also use ArcGIS Pro to publish content and services that cannot be published with ArcGIS Online. For example, map and layer packages for mobile use and scene services for 3D applications. Learn more in ArcGIS Pro - Sharing and publishing.


Data management tools