Collaboration approaches and recommendations

Collaborations enable people from multiple ArcGIS organizations to work together and share content through trusted and secure workflows. By implementing one or more collaborations, you can more effectively leverage authoritative data, foster engagement and communication, and glean insights from data. Collaborations let you preserve departmental control over data and workflows while supporting the needs of the entire organization.

Collaboration is based on a foundational trust between participating organizations and is motivated by common goals and initiatives that support data access and sharing. There is no single pattern for collaboration, so you can implement it in the way that best suits the needs of your organization.

Distributed collaborations can involve ArcGIS Enterprise organizations, ArcGIS Online organizations, or a combination of both. A collaboration consists of one host and one or more guests, where a host is defined as the organization where the collaboration is initiated, and a guest are those invited by a host. Collaborations can be between two portals or between multiple portals with one central portal. See key concepts for collaboration for details.

For example, in a city, the police, fire, public works, and municipal water utility departments might each deploy their own GIS to support their work. In the below illustration, each department shares to a central portal, called City, while the Water and Fire departments have initiated another, separate collaboration. Additionally, a collaboration between the internal City deployment and an external-facing ArcGIS Online deployment has also been initiated to share authoritative information securely to the public.


Each organization within a collaboration maintains its own maps, apps, services, and data. Each participating organization chooses which content to share with members of the collaboration; updates can be shared either in real time or at scheduled intervals. Importantly, a collaboration uses each organization’s existing security model.

With collaboration enabled, you can achieve larger organizational goals through distributed and partnered collaborations, well-defined sharing processes, and automation, all within ArcGIS.

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