Selecting a deployment pattern for location services systems

Location services systems are typically deployed using one of four deployment patterns:

Selecting a deployment pattern is one of the most important decisions to make in designing a GIS system for your organization.

Perhaps the most critical factor in this decision will be aligning with your organization’s IT principles, guidelines, and comfort-level in supporting different deployment approaches. For example, some organizations may prefer to standardize on SaaS-based systems and solutions. Other organizations that are investing heavily into Kubernetes-based deployments, including hiring and training staff with operational Kubernetes experience and skills, may prefer Kubernetes-based deployment patterns. Whereas organizations that are building GIS capabilities into their existing applications may prefer a PaaS-based approach.


The capabilities as well as the considerations differ between deployment patterns. Review the comparisons below, along with the deployment pattern pages for additional information.

For general information and considerations around these deployment approaches see the ArcGIS products and deployment options page of the ArcGIS overview.

Capability comparison

In addition to aligning with your IT principles, guidelines, and comfort-level, it’s also important to consider the capabilities of each deployment pattern in your decision-making process. The capabilities of a data editing and management system differ between deployment patterns. The following matrix compares the specific capabilities supported by each of the deployment pattern.

Capability SaaS PaaS Windows/Linux Kubernetes
Mapping and visualization
Basemaps 1 1
Reference data layers 1 1
Place search      
Geocoding 1 1
Route and directions 1 1
Data enrichment 2  
Network analysis 1 1
Geometry analysis

Full support

Partial support

  1. Requires additional data, such as ArcGIS Street Map Premium  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  2. Requires ArcGIS Business Analyst Enterprise 

See the location services system capabilities for more information on each row listed above. Additionally, each of the cells above is described in more detail in the location services system deployment pattern pages.

The capabilities represented above reflect those available as of December, 2023.

General considerations

The considerations below aim to help align your organization’s business and IT needs with the appropriate location services system deployment pattern. The information presented here is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather highlights key considerations for designing and implementing location services systems.

  • Most organizations that allow internet access make use of at least some location services provided through a SaaS or PaaS deployment pattern. Alternatively, organizations without internet access (for example secure or disconnected networks) rely entirely on Windows/Linux or Kubernetes based location services systems.
  • Most location services are backed by general use, foundational datasets including streets, places, facilities, and customers, with coverage and level of fidelity needed to support business operations. As such, location services system deployments on Windows/Linux and Kubernetes require data. Organizations may use their own data, or data provided by 3rd parties; however, many organizations choose to leverage ArcGIS Street Map Premium and/or other Esri data offerings for your infrastructure.
  • It is common for organizations to leverage a combination of services that are hosted and managed by Esri (as SaaS or PaaS), such as a global satellite basemap, in addition to services hosted and managed by the organization in their own location services system on Windows/Linux or Kubernetes, such as assets or customer locations.
  • Scalability, reliability, service level agreements (SLA), security, and the balance of responsibility between your organization and Esri tend to be major factors in selecting a deployment pattern. See the reliability, performance and scalability, and security pillars for more information.
  • The service level agreements (SLAs) for SaaS and PaaS differ. Review the ArcGIS Online (SaaS) SLA and ArcGIS Platform (PaaS) SLA in more detail.
  • Many other ArcGIS system patterns rely on location services provided by a location services system. The location services system may be integrated or combined with other system patterns, as described in using system patterns. For example, an organization may deploy a data editing and management system on Windows/Linux, and incorporate basemaps and reference data layers from a SaaS-based location services system to provide visual map context while editing. In fact, most deployments on Windows/Linux and Kubernetes come pre-configured with access to some SaaS-based location services.

Selecting a deployment pattern is one of the most important decisions to make in designing a GIS system for your organization. However, it is not the only one. There are many additional factors to take into consideration when designing your system, including areas like security, reliability, and integration. As such, don’t consider the information provided here to be exhaustive. Review the architecture practices and pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework, as well as product documentation, in detail as part of your design process.