Mobile operations and offline data management system (SaaS)

A mobile operations and offline data management system pattern is available as a software as a service (SaaS) based deployment using ArcGIS Online.

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based GIS managed and delivered as SaaS by Esri. ArcGIS Online provides capabilities that span the data, services/logic, and presentation tiers, working together to provide a complete system. Built on world-class cloud architecture and managed by IT and geographic information system (GIS) experts, ArcGIS Online offers reliable and comprehensive web-based GIS capabilities.

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Base architecture

The following is a typical base architecture for a mobile operations and offline data management system deployed as SaaS.

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.

Mobile operations and offline data management system base architecture (SaaS)

Key components of this architecture include:

  • ArcGIS Online, including standard portal components such as users, groups, and items, as well as location services such as basemaps and geocoding services. The location services powering the mobile operations and offline data management system may also come in part or full from another location services system.
  • Most data and map interaction is enabled through feature services and tile services, including vector tile and map (image) tile services. These services also support taking data offline. The data powering these services are stored within ArcGIS Online, in cloud-based storage managed by Esri. Data can be published to ArcGIS Online from several sources. Learn more about offline data.
  • There are several applications commonly used in this pattern. Mobile and desktop-based native applications make use of local storage, which ArcGIS uses for vector and map (image) tiles as well as mobile geodatabases persisted in SQLite databases. Game engine-based applications also make use of local storage for vector and map (image) tiles. ArcGIS web applications do not support offline data. Learn more about applications used in mobile operations and offline data management systems.

Key interactions in this architecture include:

  1. 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 Online can be found in the ArcGIS Online product documentation.


The capabilities of the mobile operations and offline data management system on SaaS are described below. See the capability overview and comparison of capability support across deployment patterns for more information.

Capabilities used in a mobile operations and offline data management system, but typically provided by other systems, such as basemaps, geocoding, and other location services provided by a location services system are not listed below. Learn more about related system patterns.

Base capabilities

Base capabilities represent the most common capabilities delivered by mobile operations and offline data management systems and that are enabled by the base architecture presented above.

Extended capabilities

Extended capabilities are typically added to meet specific needs or support industry specific data models and solutions and may require additional software components or architectural considerations.

  • Increase ArcGIS Online subscription feature data storage and support for intensive query, edit, analysis, and extract with Premium Feature Data Store options.
  • Data interoperability and transformation capabilities support data movement among hundreds of systems and apps using the visual programming interface provided by ArcGIS Data Interoperability, which includes reading and writing to hosted feature services in ArcGIS Online. An alternative for easily creating and scheduling simple pipelines that write data to ArcGIS Online is Data Pipelines.
  • Workflow management and automation extends ArcGIS Online with the capability to orchestrate and automate work across teams using ArcGIS Workflow Manager.
  • Hosted Python notebooks enable Python-based analysis, administration, and automation using ArcGIS Notebooks delivered as SaaS through ArcGIS Online.
  • Indoor GIS extends ArcGIS Online with ability to create and manage floor plan data, map building interiors, and share floor-aware maps and services. ArcGIS Indoors Mobile is a native mobile application for iOS and Android that supports viewing and interacting with indoor maps in various ways, including exploring, searching, saving, and sharing points of interest, reporting incidents related to indoor assets, and getting landmark-based directions. With the availability of an indoor positioning system (IPS), ArcGIS Indoors Mobile allows you to explore indoor spaces where you can view your real-time location inside buildings. Learn more about ArcGIS Indoors Mobile.
  • Indoor positioning allows you to locate yourself and others inside a building in real time. Similar to GPS, an indoor positioning system (IPS) puts a blue dot on indoor maps and uses location services to help you navigate to any point of interest or destination. Learn more about ArcGIS IPS.
  • Other industry solutions allow for rapid deployment of industry-specific apps and configurations of ArcGIS Online using ArcGIS Solutions.


The considerations below apply the pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework to the mobile operations and data management system pattern on SaaS. 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 Online leverages multiple availability zones, regions, and service providers to ensure redundancy, resiliency, and service continuity.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) provided by ArcGIS Online.
  • Data integrity and recoverability is typically of concern with this type of system, thus backup processes and procedures external to ArcGIS Online are recommended.


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

  • Mobile operations and offline data present unique security considerations. Learn more about ArcGIS secure mobile implementation patterns.
  • Authentication and authorization are almost always required for mobile operations and offline data management.
    • User access and data collaboration are governed by role-based access controls and modern authorization and authentication models, including OAuth, SAML, and multifactor authentication.
  • Systems are subject to vulnerability assessments including system, web application, and database scans.

Learn more about ArcGIS Online security best practices and implementation guidance.

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.

  • Taking data offline introduces important architectural considerations related to performance.
    • Consider the approach used for downloading offline maps. On-demand offline maps are flexible because a user can request any area to download, but this means that each offline map must be generated at the time it is requested. In addition to introducing a delay before the offline map can be downloaded, this may also put excessive load on the server during certain times of day. With ahead-of-time offline maps the owner of a web map must first define geographic areas of the web map to be packaged as offline maps. Ahead-of-time offline maps are quick to download and start using because they are generated before they are needed. Learn more about ahead-of-time and on-demand offline map options, as well as ability to use update packages with ahead-of-time offline maps.
    • Consider other optimizations for offline maps, such as reducing the size of offline maps and the time needed to generate, download, and later synchronize them.
  • Scaling is handled automatically by ArcGIS Online.
    • Multiple content delivery networks deliver highly scalable maps and apps to diverse locations around the world.
  • For additional feature data storage support, isolation, and compute, consider the ArcGIS Online Premium Feature Data Store extended capability.
  • For both performance and data residency, regional geospatial data hosting is available in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.


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.

  • Data management often involves automation, typically using Python to access and manage data in ArcGIS Online managed data storage. This is most commonly done using the ArcGIS API for Python as well as ArcGIS Notebooks delivered as SaaS through ArcGIS Online.
  • Most offline map and data preparation is typically handled automatically by ArcGIS Online, though scheduling of ahead-of-time offline map packages is configurable by the map owner. Learn more about offline maps.
  • Workflow automation is increasingly common with SaaS-based mobile operations and offline data management systems, especially when coupled with a data editing and management system for situations involving large groups of editors working in concert to edit and maintain shared or related datasets. See ArcGIS Workflow Manager for more information on this extended capability.


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

  • Integration with enterprise mobile app management systems, including mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MDM), and mobile content management (MCM) systems, is common. Learn more in the ArcGIS secure mobile implementation patterns technical paper.
  • Integration with other information systems such as Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) systems is common.
  • Data exchange and alignment between systems is very typical
    • Use of ArcGIS APIs and SDKs is quite common
    • 3rd party integration tools and applications are also available


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.

  • Successful operation of this system pattern typically benefits from a good understanding of how data is being used in the field and by whom. This may include, but is not limited to, who is taking data offline, when they are taking it offline, what data they are taking offline, and how.
  • Field editing scenarios involve many of the same observability considerations as data editing and management systems.
  • ArcGIS Online, as a SaaS offering, does not support observation of its underlying infrastructure and software internals. It does, however, offer ways to observe system utilization and health.
  • Some extended capabilities of this system pattern, such as workflow management and automation with ArcGIS Workflow Manager, have additional observability support. Please review the corresponding product documentation for more information.
  • Additional observation of user logins and account changes may be possible through the configured identity provider when using SAML and/or OpenID Connect logins. Additional observation of mobile devices, content, and applications may also be possible when integrated with enterprise mobile app management systems.


Additional considerations for designing and implementing a mobile operations and offline data management system as SaaS include:

  • Successful operation requires strong understanding of GIS and IT concepts as well as technology. The organization should also understand the implication of SaaS, from a data access, security, and management perspective.
  • 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.
  • Enterprise mobile app management should be considered for systems involving moderate to large workforces, as well as strict SLAs, security, and/or other technical requirements. Learn more in the ArcGIS secure mobile implementation patterns technical paper.

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