Create an offline map area

Use ArcGIS Online to create an offline map area for your users.

create an offline map area
In ArcGIS Online, three offline map areas are represented on the map by three rectangles. The names of each map area are in the left pane.

If your users work in well-defined geographic areas that are known in advance (for example, a park area or an area covered by a utility network), then the web map owner can define these geographical areas by creating offline map areas. Each offline map area is a package, containing a map and data, that can be downloaded by any number of users. This workflow is known as the ahead-of-time workflow (also known as the preplanned workflow).

Tutorial scenario: your users are park rangers who need to inspect gates and trailheads during the spring season and make sure they weren’t damaged during the winter. Some inspection sites have limited cell coverage, requiring park rangers to have a local copy of the data to conduct inspections. Because you, the developer, (and in this case also the web map owner), know ahead of time which areas have poor cell coverage, you define the areas so park rangers can download the areas to their device before they head to the parks. In this tutorial you define only one area, but you can repeat the steps to add more.


You must have an ArcGIS Online account.


  1. Click this link, Mahou Riviera, to open the Item Details page of the map you'll use in this tutorial. This data has been enabled for offline use.

  2. On the Mahou Riviera Trailheads page that displays, click Sign In and sign in using your ArcGIS Online credentials.

  3. In order to create map areas, the map and data must be your own. Save the map and data as your own by doing the following:

    1. In the Item Details page, click the thumbnail. Items Page with Thumbnail
    2. The map opens in the Map Viewer. Note that no Settings tab is present.
    3. Click Save and Open Save And Open button and then click Save As and navigate to the folder you want to save the tutorial data in.
  4. The map is now your own and you can create map areas in it.

  5. Click Map Properties Map Properties and click Item Details. Your screen should resemble the following image. Note that now a Settings tab appears, which was not present the first time you looked at Item details in step 3. Page After Log-In

  6. Click Settings.

  7. Scroll down to the Offline section, which should resemble the following image.

    Settings Page
  8. Click the Manage Offline Areas button.

  9. In the left pane, click the Create offline area button.

  10. On the toolbar in the map, click the Sketch rectangular map area tool Sketch tool and draw a rectangle around the area that juts into the water. This rectangle represents the area that you (the map owner) know has poor cell coverage in the Mahou Riviera. Your map should now resemble the following image.

    Map with defined area

    The rectangle you draw "slices" through all the layers in the map as it creates the package; it doesn't just grab the topmost layer.

  11. Click Save in the left pane. You'll see that the word "Packaging" appears in the left pane while the offline map area is being created.

  12. When the word "Packaging" disappears, your offline map area (the package) is ready for your users to use. They can download this area to their device before they head to Mahou Riviera. You can create additional map areas by repeating steps 9 through 11 above.

Additional information

For tips on creating offline map areas, see the ArcGIS Online discussion create, edit, and manage offline map areas.

For information on offline options, see the ArcGIS Online discussion, choosing the right advanced offline options.

Creating offline map areas ahead of time was previously known as the preplanned workflow. You may also know this workflow as preparing maps for download or predefining map areas.

What's next

Now that you've created offline map areas in your web map, you're ready to download the map, which will display the offline map areas you created.

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