Download an offline map (ahead of time)

Your app can use a web map while it has no internet connection by first downloading an offline map from the web map. As soon as the offline map is downloaded, a mobile worker can disconnect their device and work with the map offline.

The owner of a web map can define a specific geographic area as an offline map area. This area of the web map will be packaged as an offline map ahead of time. These offline maps are well-suited to field apps used by mobile workers and scale well to large workforces.

The main advantages of ahead-of-time offline maps are:

  • The map author can organize a set of specific map areas for mobile workers to use.
  • Users can download the offline maps quickly and with minimal interaction. Since they are generated before they are needed, their download time is comparable to any other files and resources.
  • Many users can download the same offline map.

The steps to use ahead-of-time offline maps are:

  1. Create offline map areas for your web map.
  2. Get a list of offline map areas in your app.
  3. Create the parameters
  4. Create the job
  5. Run the job

Create offline map areas

To create offline map areas, you must use web maps created with ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6.1 or later. You must ensure that all services used in the web map are enabled for offline use.

You can create map areas manually using ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. You can also create them programmatically, using Python scripts or the ArcGIS REST APIs, as described below.

ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise

Use ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise to create, edit, and manage offline map areas for your web maps. See the topics below for details.

Python scripts

Use ArcGIS API for Python to write python scripts to create offline map areas and generate their associated data packages. See the managing map areas Python topic for details.

  • Update the offline map area of an offline map and any of its packages that have been deleted or contain more recent data.
  • Delete an individual data package.
  • Delete an offline map area along with its associated packages.
  • Inspect any of the offline maps's packages.
  • List the web map's current map areas.

ArcGIS Rest APIs

Use the ArcGIS REST APIs if you need even more control when creating your offline map areas. There are two stages to this process:

  1. Create an offline map area: Run the Create Map Area task with a bookmark or geographical extent to define the area of interest for a web map that's enabled for offline use. The task generates a new portal item of type MapArea. Only the owner of the web map and organization administrators can run this task.
  2. Create the data defined by the map area: Run the Setup Map Area task with the map area portal item ID. This creates a set of data files such as tile packages, vector tile packages, and SQLite geodatabases. For good data management, you should organize these files into folders. Only the owner of the map area portal item owner and organization administrators can run this task.

Define updates

In addition to creating the offline map area, you can also define how users receive updates to the data used in the offline map. Updates can come from the synchronization of the offline map's geodatabases with their online services or by applying update packages to the geodatabases.

  • Synchronization allows you to download updates from the online service and upload edits from the offline map when connectivity is available. You can configure the synchronization direction control how edits are synchronized download only, upload only, or bi-directional.
  • The update packages workflow provides feature service updates in a file that is created according to a packaging schedule that you can specify when you create the offline map area. ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps can download the required files and apply their updates to the offline map's geodatabases. These files are relatively small so they are quick to download and fast to apply. This provides a scalable solution for receiving updates to read-only geodatabases and is useful when you need to provide many clients with an up-to-date read-only copy of the feature data. If your geodatabase supports creating new features, then clients may also upload new features to the map as part of the update packages workflow.

Download the offline map

Once you have created an offline map area, the offline map publication will be initiated. The following section describes how you build an app to download the offline map.

Get a list of offline map areas

Each web map can have up to sixteen offline map areas defined, which are available to download as offline maps. Your app needs to determine which map area to download. You can do this by allowing the mobile worker to select a map area from a map view or from a list of map areas. Alternatively, the app logic could select a map area for the mobile worker.

Follow these steps to retrieve all of the map areas:

  1. Instantiate the offline map task by passing either a map (created from a web map) or a web map's portal item to the OfflineMapTask constructor.

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    //Create a task from a map
    offlineMapTask = new OfflineMapTask(map);
    //or from an online map's portal item
    offlineMapTask = new OfflineMapTask(portalItem);
  2. Retrieve a list of the offline map areas from the web map using the getPreplannedMapAreasAsync() method on the OfflineMapTask.

  3. Load each PreplannedMapArea.

  4. Show the map area titles and thumbnails in a list, display the map area extents, or select a map area by name.

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    //get all of the preplanned map areas in the web map
    ListenableFuture> mapAreasFuture = offlineMapTask.getPreplannedMapAreasAsync();
    mapAreasFuture.addDoneListener(() -> {
      try {
        // get the list of areas
        mapAreas = mapAreasFuture.get();
             // loop through the map areas
        for (PreplannedMapArea mapArea : mapAreas) {
          // load each map area
          mapArea.addDoneLoadingListener(() -> {
            // get the map area geometry so it can be used to display a graphic on the map
            Geometry areaGeometry = mapArea.getAreaOfInterest();
            // get the area title so it can be used in a UI component
            String areaTitle = mapArea.getPortalItem().getTitle();
                     // UI code for showing map areas goes here:
      } catch (InterruptedException | ExecutionException e) {

Create the parameters

To download an offline map to your device, you should provide a set of DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters. To obtain a set of default parameters pass in the map area to OfflineMapTask.createDefaultDownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParametersAsync(). The value of these default parameters will match the advanced offline settings configured by the web map author (discussed in Take web maps offline).

For more information see Advanced parameters.

Create the job

Create the DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapJob using OfflineMapTask.downloadPreplannedOfflineMap() and provide both the DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters and the download directory.

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// construct the download preplanned offline map job with parameters
downloadPreplannedOfflineMapJob =
  offlineMapTask.downloadPreplannedOfflineMap(downloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters, downloadDirectory);

Run the job

To download the offline map to your device, start the DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapJob. Upon completion, the job returns an instance of the DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapResult.

To ensure the job was successful, check the following:

  • If at least one table or layer failed to be downloaded successfully, hasErrors() in DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapResult will be true. In that case, you should examine the getLayerErrors() and getTableErrors() dictionaries in that result object to identify the problem.
  • The job's getParameters() method returns a reference to the DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters with which the job was created. If isContinueOnErrors() in that parameters object is false, then the job will be terminated immediately if a single layer or table fails to be taken offline.
  • If the offline map publishing has failed, or is still in progress, you will not be able to download the offline map packages. Before running this job, you can check whether the publishing process is complete, has failed, or is still in progress by examining the getPackagingStatus() of the PreplannedMapArea. (Note: The download preplanned offline map job has a getParameters() method that returns the job's DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters, which contain getPreplannedMapArea().)

If you want to display the map immediately, then use DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapResult.getOfflineMap().

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//start the job

// listen for job completion
downloadPreplannedOfflineMapJob.addJobDoneListener(()-> {

  // get the download result
  DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapResult downloadResult = downloadPreplannedOfflineMapJob.getResult();

  // check for errors
  if (downloadResult.hasErrors()) {
    // code here to examine errors:
    Map layerErrors = downloadResult.getLayerErrors();
    Map tableErrors = downloadResult.getTableErrors();
  } else {
    // no errors so use the map straight away
    map = downloadResult.getOfflineMap();

Offline maps created by the ahead-of-time workflow are stored in an unpacked mobile map package. When your app goes into the field, you will need to open the map directly from the mobile map package's download directory stored on your device.

Advanced parameters

Once you have the default parameters you can customize them in the following ways:

Continue if a table or layer fails

The DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapJob downloads a map's tables and layers for offline use. By default this job will continue, even if one table or layer has failed. Failures could be due to an intermittent network connection, loss of the service, or an unsupported layer type. The approach ensures that you can take a map offline but you may have some data missing.

To ensure that the offline map contains all of its layers and tables, you can request that the job is stopped if any layer or table fails to download. To do this, setContinueOnErrors() in DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters to false.

Which basemap should the map use?

The author of the web map can define whether the map uses:

  • The basemap defined by the web map.

    This is the default situation and ensures that a tile package is downloaded as part of the mobile map package.

  • A tile package that is already on the device.

    The tile package must be downloaded or copied onto the device and can be located using an actual file path on the device or a path that is relative to the mobile map package. You must ensure that the tile package covers the areas required by your offline map(s). The benefits of this option are that the mobile map package file will be smaller, the download time may be faster, and you can use the tile package in many different maps and apps.

    To use the tile package on your device, employ certain methods in DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters:

    • Use setReferenceBasemapDirectory() and pass in the directory which contains the tile package.
    • Confirm that the tile package file, getReferenceBasemapFilename(), exists on the device.

    Only then should you run the DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapJob. This job will add the tile package, as a basemap, to the offline map.

  • No basemap

    If you only want to take the operational layers offline, you can programmatically exclude the basemap by setting isIncludeBasemap() in DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters to false. In that case, the DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapJob will not download layers included as part of the map's basemap. (For more information, see getBasemap() in ArcGISMap or its base class GeoModel.) This task will not use the local tile package, even if you have specified one.

Manage the update mode

Your local geodatabase can receive updates from its online feature services. The DownloadPreplannedOfflineMapParameters.getUpdateMode() parameter indicates how this operates via one of four possible PreplannedUpdateMode enum values.

  • Synchronize with the feature services.

    This flexible option allows you to edit the local geodatabase and synchronize it with its online feature services. This enum value is SYNC_WITH_FEATURE_SERVICES.

  • Download update packages.

    The web map author can specify that update packages are generated for the feature services in the map (discussed in Define updates). This option means that the local geodatabase can only receive updates via the update packages. You cannot create, update, or delete features in the local geodatabase. This enum value is DOWNLOAD_SCHEDULED_UPDATES.

  • Download update packages and upload new features.

    The web map author can specify that update packages are generated and that the map supports the creation of new features. This option means that, while the local geodatabase can receive updates from its feature services via the update packages, you can also create new features that can be uploaded to the feature services. This enum value is DOWNLOAD_SCHEDULED_UPDATES_AND_UPLOAD_NEW_FEATURES.

  • No updates from the feature services.

    If you want to avoid receiving any updates to the local geodatabase, use the enum value NO_UPDATES. This option disables data synchronization with the map’s geodatabases and prevents the corresponding feature services from creating synchronization replicas. The benefits are that the burden on the feature server is reduced and you will not need to unregister geodatabases when they are no longer required.

Next steps

Once you have obtained the offline map follow these steps:

  1. Display and interact with the maps, layers and data offline. Explore and edit the feature data, if necessary.
  2. Update an offline map by synchronizing your edits with the online services, when connectivity is restored.
  3. Finish using an offline map by unregistering any geodatabases and fully releasing all locks on the mobile map package.

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