Essential vocabulary


A systematic examination of a problem that provides new information. ArcGIS Runtime SDKs support many types of analysis, from simple geometry-based analysis to advanced spatial analysis. You can also string analysis operations together to build models for analysis. For details on analysis and model building, see geoprocessing.


Application programming interface. A specification that allows developers to create applications.


A map layer that helps orient the user of the map. Typically it shows roads and buildings, is non-editable, and is a tiled layer.


For details, see tile cache.

Client ID

In ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, an identifier you associate with the app you build (one Client ID per app). You get a Client ID by signing into For details, see License your app.


In ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, the state of having a network connection to one or more of the following: ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS for Portal, or ArcGIS Online.


A value that denotes the location of a vertex. Coordinates may represent 2D (x,y) or 3D (x,y,z) space. The meaning of the x,y,z-coordinates is determined by a coordinate system. The vertices and coordinate system together allow your app to translate a real-world object from its location on the Earth to its location on your map. For details, see Geometry contents in the Geometry operations topic.

coordinate system

A reference framework consisting of a set of points, lines, and/or surfaces, and a set of rules, used to define the positions of points in space in two or three dimensions. For details, see Geometry contents in the Geometry operations topic. Also known as map projections.


In ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, nearly any kind of computer, including desktops, mobile phones and devices, laptops, smartwatches, and large mainframes.


For details, see offline.


A representation of a real-world object on a map, such as a building, a river, or a county. In many Esri products, a feature has geometry and is a row in a geodatabase that you can interact with (edit, query against, and so on). In ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, a feature does not require geometry. For more information, see Features and graphics.


The combination of location and shape for a real-world object or for a geometric construct such as an area of interest or a buffer area around an object. Geometry is the fundamental element for performing spatial analysis. For information on analysis operations such as clip, buffer, and intersect, see Geometry operations.


A GIS operation used to manipulate data. A typical geoprocessing operation takes an input dataset, performs an operation on that dataset, and returns the result of the operation as an output dataset. Common geoprocessing operations include geographic feature overlay, feature selection and analysis, topology processing, raster processing, and data conversion. Geoprocessing allows for definition, management, and analysis of information used to form decisions.

You can use geoprocessing tools to chain together a sequence of operations, feeding the output of one tool into another tool, to automate your work, solve complex problems, or perform batch processing. Sequencing operations like this are referred to as model building.

Your app can consume online geoprocessing services.

license code

A string of characters that you add to your project, as described in License your app to unlock certain capabilities on the deployment device.

map cache

For details, see tile cache.

map package

A single file (an .mpk file) you create in ArcGIS for Desktop that contains a map document (.mxd file) and the data layers it references. You can use it to provide local maps to apps that run offline or to share maps between colleagues in a workgroup, across departments in an organization, or with any other ArcGIS users by using ArcGIS Online.

mobile app

In ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, a software application that operates on a mobile device. A mobile device is typically a mobile phone or tablet, such as an iPhone, iPad, and an Android phone and tablet. Apps for custom-purpose handhelds, such as Windows Mobile devices, and car navigation systems are not included unless otherwise specified.

mobile device

In ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, a mobile phone or tablet, such as an iPhone, iPad, and an Android phone and tablet. Custom-purpose handheld devices, such as Windows Mobile devices, and car navigation systems are not included unless otherwise specified.


In ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, the state of having no network connection to any of the following: ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS Online, or Portal for ArcGIS.

operational layer

A map layer that users can interact with. Typically, an operational layer is vector-based and is editable by users. However, it can also be tiled data that can be queried against.


A set of items, such as a map and its referenced data, that ArcGIS for Desktop bundles into a single file on your local machine so that the items can be easily transfered from user to user or provisioned onto a device. Especially useful for disconnected apps.


A mechanism that defines how data appears when displayed.


Software development kit. A collection of documentation, sample code, and sample apps to help a developer use an API to build apps.

side-by-side development

A capability that lets you develop with different versions of the same SDK on the same machine.


An image, often a graphics file (for example, a .jpg file) and typically stored in a directory known as a cache. The image is part of a set of tiles that, conceptually, are pieces of a bigger map. How the tiles fit into the bigger map, along with other information, is defined in a tiling scheme. Two tile categories are:

  • Tiles in dynamic layers are created on-the-fly and can be stored in a cache on the client machine or on the server machine. Which tiles are created in this scenario depends on where the user pans and zooms, so technically, the tiles may not make up a complete bigger map when put together.
  • Tiles in tile cache layers are created before users view the map, often by a developer or GIS data administrator. These tiles are known as pre-processed tiles.

Also see tile cache.

tile cache

A directory that contains tiles of a map extent at specific levels. The directory can be local to a desktop app or to a client app in a client/server configuration. Also see tile.

tiled layer

A tiled layer is a layer comprised of images that when put together make up a bigger image of a map. Tiles are generated before they're displayed for the user. This differs from a dynamic layer, which generates the images as they are requested by the user, or on-the-fly.

tile package

Tile packages (.tpk files) make is easy to share complete map documents with others. A tile package contains a map and the tile cache of the data contained within it, packaged into one convenient, portable file. Tile packages can be used for easy sharing of cached maps between colleagues in a workgroup, across departments in an organization, or with any other ArcGIS user using ArcGIS Online. Tile packages are ideal in disconnected environments where access to local data is required.


A point that stands alone or makes up part of a geometry. Vertices that make up a geometry may be connected, one to the next, in a linear order. For more information on vertices and how they're stored in geometries, see Geometry contents in the Geometry operations topic.


The locations visible from one or more specified points or lines. Viewshed maps are useful for such applications as finding well-exposed places for communication towers, or hidden places for parking lots.

USB flash drive

A removable thumb-sized device that provides storage space. USB stands for universal serial bus, an interface compatible with most computers. Also known as thumb drive, flash drive, USB drive, and memory stick.