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Work with offline maps

Offline maps allow users to continue being productive when their network connectivity is poor or non-existent. Apps that support offline workflows allow users to explore maps, collect information, edit their asset data, find places and route to new locations, all while disconnected. You can choose to synchronize data updates with other users when a connection is re-established.

ArcGIS Runtime supports maps with always connected, fully disconnected and occasionally connected workflows as follows:

  • Always connected: Apps that rely on devices that always have a constant network connection. Users expect their apps to have full access to online map and layer services. If the device loses network connectivity then the application will lose access to these services which can result in loss of data and app failure.
  • Fully disconnected: Apps can operate in a fully disconnected environment by opening mobile map packages created with ArcGIS Pro. These read-only packages can be distributed and side-loaded onto any number of devices and opened using any ArcGIS Runtime application. The fully disconnected workflow is suitable for read-only apps that do not require regular data updates. See open an offline map from ArcGIS Pro for more details.
  • Occasionally connected: Apps that are occasionally connected can take maps offline when a connection is available. Users can interact with the map, perform analysis and edit operational data whilst the device is disconnected. When connectivity is restored changes to operational data can be synchronized back with the online services. All of these tasks can be undertaken by ArcGIS runtime apps. There are two options available to support occasionally connected workflows:
    • Take a map offline - preplanned: the map author defines a map area and generates the offline map ahead of time; so that any number of field workers can download the same map and take it into the field.
    • Take a map offline - on-demand: the field worker defines the map area, generates the offline map content, and downloads the map to their device.

All of the disconnected patterns use the mobile map package format to take maps offline. The mobile map package uses the common map definition that specifies how the map is displayed and used across the ArcGIS platform. For a high level discussion of these patterns, see Offline.

An alternative approach to taking a map offline is to build up the map using individual offline layers. Layers can either reference offline data sources on the device, or be exported from suitable online services. Working directly with layers gives you full flexibility to compose your own offline map. However, it does require more code and does not leverage the common map definition which allows you to share your map across the ArcGIS platform. For more details working with layers see: