Location services system (PaaS)

The location services system pattern is available as a platform as a service (PaaS) based deployment using ArcGIS Platform.

ArcGIS Platform provides market-leading location services to you as a PaaS managed and delivered by Esri. ArcGIS Platform provides capabilities that span the data and services/logic tiers, with mapping libraries, APIs, SDKs, and no-code options that give you full control over the presentation tier. Built on world-class cloud architecture and managed by IT and geographic information system (GIS) experts, ArcGIS Platform offers flexible location-focused PaaS for software developers, businesses, and organizations that need to bring location innovation into their products, solutions, and systems.

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Base architecture

The following is a typical base architecture for a location services system deployed as PaaS.

This diagram should not be taken as is and used as the design for your system. There are many important factors and design choices that should be considered when designing your system. Review the using system patterns topic for more information. Additionally, the diagram depicted below delivers only the base capabilities of the system; additional system components may be required when delivering extended capabilities.

Location services system base architecture (PaaS)

Key components of this architecture include:

  • ArcGIS Platform includes standard portal components such as users, groups, and items, though these components are largely managed behind the scenes. ArcGIS Platform includes one user account, and management of location services is supported through the ArcGIS Developer dashboard. Learn more about ArcGIS Developer accounts for ArcGIS Platform. ArcGIS Platform also includes location services such as basemaps and geocoding services. The ArcGIS Platform data store hosts organizational data and content used to power location services such as basemaps and reference data layers.
  • Location services systems are used by almost every application, as they are foundational to most workflows and use of ArcGIS. However, applications that use location services are typically provided by other systems. One exception is the ArcGIS Developer dashboard, which serves as a management console for ArcGIS Platform.

Key interactions in this architecture include:

  • Client applications communicate with data services as well as location services over HTTPS, typically via stateless REST APIs.

Additional information on using and administering ArcGIS Platform can be found in the ArcGIS Platform product documentation.


The capabilities of the location services system on PaaS are described below. See the capability overview and comparison of capability support across deployment patterns for more information.

Base capabilities

Base capabilities represent the most common capabilities delivered by location services systems and that are enabled by the base architecture presented above.

  • Mapping and visualization allows users to create as well as interact with 2D maps and 3D scenes. ArcGIS Online includes rich mapping and visualization capabilities, including data-driven visualization, 3D visualization, as well as basemap styling. Learn more about maps and visualization.
  • Basemaps are web-based layers that provide overall visual context for maps and scenes. ArcGIS Platform provides numerous basemaps, including satellite imagery, streets, and canvas-style basemaps. ArcGIS Platform also allows organizations to publish its own basemaps. Learn more about basemap layers.
  • Reference data layers are web-based layers of data that provide additional visual and analytical context for maps, scenes, and other geospatial workflows. ArcGIS Platform allows organizations to publish its own reference data layers as data services, including feature services, vector tile services, and map tile services. Existing data layers published and managed by Esri in ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World and ArcGIS Online services such as traffic and demographics may also be consumed through ArcGIS Platform. Please note that premium content requires an ArcGIS account. Learn more about products, accounts, and subscriptions.
  • Place search enables searching for places (also known as places of interest, or POIs) near a location or within a bounding box. ArcGIS Platform makes available a places service used to search for businesses and geographic locations around the world. Places also contain valuable details (attributes) such as name, category, street address, marketing district, contact information, website, social links, hours of operations, price ratings, and user ratings. Learn more about places in ArcGIS Platform.
  • Geocoding is the process of converting text to an address and a location. ArcGIS Platform provides geocoding, reverse geocoding, batch geocoding, and autosuggest services, along with support for several APIs and SDKs (some including UI components). Learn more about geocoding in ArcGIS Platform.
  • Route and directions involves finding the best path from an origin to a destination for an individual or single vehicle. ArcGIS Platform provides a routing service for finding the shortest path from an origin to one or more destinations, as well as generating driving directions in multiple languages. It also provides support for several APIs and SDKs. Learn more about routing in ArcGIS Platform.
  • Data enrichment, also known as GeoEnrichment, is the process of finding demographic data and local facts data for locations around the world. ArcGIS Platform provides a ready-to-use GeoEnrichment service that aggregates demographic information and other relevant characteristics for places within an area. (https://developers.arcgis.com/rest/geoenrichment/api-reference/geoenrichment-service-overview.htm). Learn more about data enrichment in ArcGIS Platform.
  • Network analysis helps solve complex network problems (typically on street networks) such as creating an optimized route to visit many destinations, finding the closest facility, identifying a service area around a location, or servicing a set of orders with a fleet of vehicles. ArcGIS Platform provides a routing service that supports a number of network analysis operations. The routing service also supports direct requests (synchronous) and job requests (asynchronous). ArcGIS Platform also provides support for several APIs and SDKs. Learn more about routing in ArcGIS Platform.
  • Geometry analysis is the process of using a client-side API to perform one or more operations on a point, polyline, or polygon to solve a geometric problem. Learn more about geometry analysis in ArcGIS Platform.

Extended capabilities

All of the capabilities provided by an ArcGIS Platform based location services system are considered base capabilities. Note that while some of the capabilities described above are available in the free tier of a subscription plan, the majority require enabling pay-as-you-go. Learn more about ArcGIS Developer accounts.


Additional location services and/or supporting content is also available from Esri distributors, partners, and 3rd parties. Discover more at the ArcGIS Marketplace.


The considerations below apply the pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework to the location services system pattern on PaaS. The information presented here is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather highlights key considerations for designing and/or implementing this specific combination of system and deployment pattern. Learn more about the architecture pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework.


Reliability ensures your system provides the level of service required by the business, as well as your customers and stakeholders. For more information, see the reliability pillar overview.

  • ArcGIS Platform leverages multiple availability zones, regions, and service providers to ensure redundancy, resiliency, and service continuity.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) provided by ArcGIS Platform.
  • When publishing your own location services (for example basemaps) to ArcGIS Platform, additional consideration should be given to recoverability. In these scenarios backup processes and procedures external to ArcGIS Platform are recommended.


Security protects your systems and information. For more information, see the security pillar overview.

  • Building applications with ArcGIS Platform that access secure resources requires Authentication. ArcGIS Platform requires an ArcGIS Developer account and subscription, which supports API key and OAuth 2.0 based authentication. Learn more about security and authentication.
  • Systems are subject to vulnerability assessments including system, web application, and database scans.

Performance & scalability

Performance and scalability aim to optimize the overall experience users have with the system, as well as ensure the system scales to meet evolving workload demands. For more information, see the performance and scalability pillar overview.

  • Scaling is handled automatically by ArcGIS Platform.
    • Multiple content delivery networks deliver highly scalable maps and apps to diverse locations around the world.
  • For location services published by the organization, regional geospatial data hosting is available in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific to improve performance and support data residency requirements.


Automation aims to reduce effort spent on manual deployment and operational tasks, leading to increased operational efficiency as well as reduction in human introduced system anomalies. For more information, see the automation pillar overview.

  • Esri provided location services in ArcGIS Platform are managed by Esri and generally do not require any automation to operate and maintain.
  • Workflows related to the use of location services, and/or publishing and management of organization-specific location services hosted in ArcGIS Platform, can be automated. This is most commonly done using the ArcGIS API for Python.


Integration connects this system with other systems for delivering enterprise services and amplifying organizational productivity. For more information, see the integration pillar overview.

  • The location services system is most commonly used as a service provider for other systems and applications in use across an organization’s enterprise. As such, integration is very common, and most typically handled via services-level integration.
  • Location services are easily integrated and used outside of the ArcGIS ecosystem using standards-based Mapping APIs, SDKs, and open source libraries.


Observability provides visibility into the system, enabling operations staff and other technical roles to keep the system running in a healthy, steady state. For more information see the observability pillar overview

  • Careful monitoring of service utilization is important with this system pattern. The delivery of location services typically extends to the whole organization (and possibly beyond), and therefore usage patterns and growth may not be anticipated by the system designers or operators. Monitoring helps people make decisions about when to scale and evolve to meet demand while continuing to operate properly (and in accordance with SLAs).
  • ArcGIS Platform, as a PaaS offering, does not support observation of its underlying infrastructure and software internals. It does, however, offer ways to observe system utilization and health. This includes monitoring usage of apps as well as layers through the ArcGIS.com website, which can be accessed through the ArcGIS Developer dashboard.


Additional considerations for designing and implementing a location services system as PaaS include:

  • Management and operation of Esri-provided location services is handled by Esri.
  • When publishing organizational location services, the need for data governance and alignment with IT policies and roles, such as data steward and content manager, should strongly be considered when implementing this system pattern.

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