Mobile operations and offline data management system

A mobile operations and offline data management system enables a full spectrum of online and offline mobile usage scenarios. This includes field data collection, editing, and operations use cases using native applications, mobile databases, and web-based data synchronization technology. This pattern can also be used for non-editing scenarios, in which mobile users take data and maps offline on native devices for situational awareness, navigation, and decision support in the field. Additionally, this pattern supports offline use of maps in embedded applications, like in vehicle navigation. Mobile operations and offline data management systems empower organizations to manage how geospatial data and maps are packaged, secured, edited, and synchronized by mobile workforces working in disconnected or limited connectivity environments. This pattern also enables GIS professionals to work offline, including viewing, editing, and more, with the desktop application ArcGIS Pro.

A mobile operations and offline data management system pattern delivers value to an organization through various characteristics, such as:

  • Bringing standardized editing workflows from the office out to the field, with data quality controls, workflow-based activities, rigorous permissions, and conflict management – enabling mobile workforces to function effectively regardless of network connectivity.
  • Replacing or reducing reliance on paper processes with offline digital content and smart, logic-driven digital data collection.
  • Leveraging the power of location in your mobile operations by bringing local perspective and accuracy to data collection, as well as putting your data directly into the hands of field users.
  • Centrally monitoring the real-time status and progress of field operations in through visually rich dashboards.
  • Enabling GIS professionals to work with desktop tools in the field, disconnected from all networks.

If you’re new to ArcGIS system patterns, review the introduction first.

User personas and workflows

The user personas who most commonly interact with mobile operations and offline data management systems, along with the types of workflows and tasks they typically perform using this system, include:

  • Mobile worker. Mobile workers are users working in the field, typically on mobile devices. Work performed includes collection, inspection, exploration, and other focused operational tasks. Mobile workers may range in their level of IT and GIS competency, as well as in their level of training prior to field operations. Field work may also be performed with varying levels of network connectivity, including completely offline or disconnected scenarios.
  • Field manager. Field managers plan, coordinate, and manage the work performed by mobile workers. This may include work planning and assignment prior, oversight and coordination during, as well as reporting and collaborating after field work is performed. Field managers typically work in the office with network connection but may also work in the field alongside mobile workers.
  • Data owner. Data owners are accountable for the dataset(s) being used, edited, or managed in offline workflows. Data owners are typically involved in design and oversight aspects of data management, including data modeling, quality control, and governance.
  • Data steward. Data stewards are typically responsible for day-to-day management of the data being used, edited, or managed in offline workflows. Common workflows and activities may include loading/importing data, reviewing and validating data edits, auditing data edits, as well as structuring and governing editing workflows.
  • GIS professional. GIS professionals play a similar role to the mobile worker, but instead of mobile devices performing focused tasks they use ArcGIS Pro, the desktop application designed for GIS professionals, running on a Windows-based laptop or desktop computer. This specific system pattern applies when GIS professionals are working offline, performing more advanced GIS work without a network connection. GIS professionals may also work alongside the data owner and data steward when advanced spatial data design or management support is required.


There are many applications and experiences provided by ArcGIS, though only a subset are typically employed as part of a mobile operations and offline data management system. The applications most commonly used by the personas above to interface with a mobile operations and offline data management system are described below.

  • ArcGIS Field Maps is an all-in-one mobile application available for Android, iOS, watchOS, and Windows devices. In mobile operations and offline data management systems, ArcGIS Field Maps is commonly used for map-centric data collection, typically performed in the field with or without network connectivity. For information on offline (disconnected) data collection please see the considerations below.
  • ArcGIS Survey123 is form-centric data gathering solution for web and mobile devices. In mobile operations and offline data management systems, ArcGIS Survey123 is commonly used for form-centric data collection running with or without network connection on native mobile devices.
  • ArcGIS QuickCapture is Esri’s rapid data collection mobile app. It features a user experience specifically designed to support rapid field data collection workflows where the interaction with the mobile device must be minimized. Like Field Maps and Survey123 it supports working offline-online, location sharing, mapping, and data collection.
  • Other native mobile applications are commonly used in mobile operations and offline data management systems to support a variety of workflows in the field. These applications include ArcGIS Navigator for advanced navigation and routing, ArcGIS Workforce for field team coordination, and ArcGIS Indoors Mobile for viewing and interacting with indoor maps.
  • ArcGIS Pro is a desktop application used by GIS professionals for a wide variety of use cases. In mobile operations and offline data management systems ArcGIS Pro is typically used by GIS professionals and other expert roles within an organization to conduct advanced geospatial work with limited to no connectivity, as well as perform back-office data management work.
  • The portal website is the general web interface into ArcGIS systems and supports a wide variety of use cases for viewers, editors, creators, professionals, as well as administrators. In mobile operations and offline data management systems the portal website typically supports offline data and map content management workflows. The portal website also exposes the Track Viewer web application to view and manage shared location tracks.
  • Other web, mobile, and desktop applications and application builders are commonly used for viewing, reporting, other activities performed when connected to the network. These include, but are not limited to, ArcGIS Instant Apps, ArcGIS Dashboards, ArcGIS Story Maps, and ArcGIS Experience Builder. These applications are commonly delivered through other system patterns, either integrated or combined with a mobile operations and offline data management system pattern. Learn more about related system patterns.
  • Custom applications built with mapping APIs and SDKs.

For more information on the full spectrum of applications provided by ArcGIS, see application architecture in the ArcGIS overview.


The primary capabilities provided by a mobile operations and offline data management system are introduced below, including both general capabilities as well as industry-specific capabilities and solutions.


Not all capabilities described below are available in all deployment patterns. See selecting a deployment pattern and the deployment pattern pages for more information on how these capabilities apply (or don’t apply) in various deployment contexts.

General capabilities

  • Offline data and maps allows for data and maps to be taken offline and used without a network connection. This capability supports multiple mechanisms to prepare, load, update, and manage data on mobile devices. Once offline, data and maps can be used in a variety of ways, including through some of the other capabilities described here. Learn more about offline applications and the options for taking data and maps offline.
  • Mapping and visualization allow users to create as well as interact with 2D maps and 3D scenes. This includes 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. There are different types of basemaps, including vector tile basemaps, image tile basemaps, and multi-layer basemaps. While basemap services are typically provided by a location services system, special consideration is required in this system to make basemaps available offline. Learn more about basemap layers.
  • Geocoding is the process of converting text to an address and a location. Geocoding enables searching for an address (geocode), reverse geocoding, finding candidate matches, getting suggestions, and batch geocoding. While geocoding services are typically provided by a location services system, special consideration is required in this system to make geocoding available offline. Learn more about geocoding.
  • Route and directions involves finding the best path from an origin to a destination for an individual or single vehicle. Also known as simple routing, this capability takes into consideration many different data parameters in the street network such as speed limit, number of lanes, and time of day. This capability can also generate driving directions. While route and direction services are typically provided by a location services system, special consideration is required in this system to make routing and directions available offline. Learn more about route and directions.
  • Work assignment and dispatching ensures the right worker goes to the right place with the right tools to do the right job. Work assignment and dispatching with ArcGIS Workforce provides a common view across the field and the back office, helping to facilitate efficient mobile operations. Assigning and dispatching work can also be done using the inbox feature of ArcGIS Survey123.
  • Location sharing enables organizations to record where mobile workers are and where they have been. Current and historical locations are stored as tracks and can be viewed, and optionally shared, by administrators. ArcGIS mobile apps are optimized for sharing locations in the background, minimizing the impact on device battery.
  • Data editing enables service-based editing of relational data, including geometry and/or attributes. This capability also supports simple data collection workflows using forms and/or maps. Data editing in mobile operations and offline data management systems is designed to work with or without network connectivity. Learn more about editing data offline.
  • Data import and export supports importing and exporting data in bulk. Data Pipelines, which can be used to import data, is also an option for some deployment patterns.
  • Data interoperability and transformation supports data movement among hundreds of systems and apps using the visual design and programming interface provided by ArcGIS Data Interoperability. Data Pipelines is also an option for some deployment patterns.
  • Edit tracking and auditing automatically records information about any data inserts or updates using editor tracking. When editing offline edits are associated with the user who took the map offline.
  • Short transaction management leverages database transaction models to support atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability (ACID) transactions without managing multiple versions of your data. See data management without versioning for more information.
  • Long transaction management extends the database transaction model by allowing multiple concurrent states of the databases, known as versions, to exist at the same time. This capability also supports conflict detection and reconciliation. Long transaction support through versioning is handled by the enterprise database, not on individual databases running offline on mobile devices. See data management with versioning for more information.
  • Spatial and attribute rules enhances the editing experience and improve geospatial data integrity using attribute rules. Rules are not included in the offline data; they are applied when data is synchronized with the back-office system.
  • Data distribution and replication empowers administrative users to distribute data using replication and other mechanisms.
  • Data archiving and history enables data changes to be captured, managed, and analyzed over time using archiving.
  • Advanced data validation simplifies, improves, and automates data quality control workflows using ArcGIS Data Reviewer.
  • Workflow management and automation orchestrates and automates work across teams using ArcGIS Workflow Manager.
  • Hosted Python notebooks incorporates Python-based analysis, administration, and automation using ArcGIS Notebooks hosted and delivered by the system.

Industry-specific capabilities and solutions

  • Parcel management enables management of 3D and 4D parcel data, including strata and subsurface information, ownership records, and agricultural and natural resource rights, using ArcGIS Parcel Fabric. Parcel fabric data can be taken offline for viewing and editing workflows as part of this pattern.
  • Roads and highways delivers measure-based location and associated data editing and management workflows to the transportation industry using ArcGIS Roads and Highways. ArcGIS Roads and Highways supports offline event data collection and editing using this pattern.
  • Pipeline referencing delivers measure-based location and associated data editing and management workflows to the pipeline industry using ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing. ArcGIS Pipeline Referencing supports offline event data collection and editing using this pattern.
  • Indoor GIS combines source CAD, BIM, and reality capture data into a single geospatial system of record using ArcGIS Indoors. ArcGIS Indoors enables organizations to build an indoor GIS, putting the power of indoor mapping, wayfinding, and space management software into everyone’s hands. 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 enable the rapid deployment of industry-specific configurations using ArcGIS Solutions.

Architecture considerations

Mobile operations and offline data management systems are built using ArcGIS. This section describes in more detail how mobile operations and offline data management systems align with and focus on specific aspects of the ArcGIS architecture.

For more detailed architecture considerations please see selecting a deployment pattern.

Data (persistence)

Mobile operations and offline data management system data architecture considerations

Mobile operations and offline data management systems work primarily with relational spatial data stored in a relational database. In this system pattern the majority of use and editing of data is performed on mobile devices against mobile databases. Advanced spatial objects, rules, and relationships may be employed, but not all capabilities are supported on mobile devices or by all deployment patterns. Industry data models are also commonly employed, with some involving additional services and applications to support more advanced industry-specific capabilities and workflows. Please see industry specific capabilities and solutions for more information.

Services (logic)

Mobile operations and offline data management system services architecture considerations

The services or logic tier makes heavy use of data and visualization services for editing, viewing, reporting, and data management workflows. A key dimension of these services used in this system pattern is the ability to take and work with data and maps offline, without network connectivity. Data and maps can be taken offline in several ways.

  • Offline data can be downloaded from data services as features or tiles, as well as sideloaded or downloaded from data files such as packages. Learn more about using data services or files offline.
  • Offline maps can be taken offline using mobile packages or web maps. Mobile packages are created with ArcGIS Pro and can then be sideloaded or downloaded onto the device. Mobile packages do not support editing, but do support fully interactive maps, and scenes, as well as more geocoding, route and directions, and more. Learn more about mobile packages.
  • Offline web maps are web maps downloaded from an ArcGIS system and run locally on the mobile device. Offline web maps can be downloaded on-demand or ahead-of-time. With the on-demand approach, an offline application requests a custom geographic area of a web map as an offline map. An offline map is generated and downloaded for this geographic area. With the ahead-of-time approach, the owner of a web map first defines geographic areas of the web map to be packaged as offline maps. These offline maps are then made available for applications to take offline. Learn more about offline web maps.

Spatial and imagery analysis services may be used to complement mobile data editing and management workflows, though heavy use of analytics is typically supported by other, more analytic-focused system patterns.

The portal services are all employed as part of normal editing, viewing, reporting, and data management workflows. This is especially true for user access and management, ensuring user identity is established and both data access control and user permissions are managed centrally and enforced throughout the system. Content discovery, sharing, and collaboration is also commonly used to ensure mobile workers have the right maps and data for their job, as well as support teams of editors working in collaboration on shared or related editing workflows. Content creation, cataloging, and management is also employed, though largely behind the scenes, as most end users are working directly with specific content and datasets as part of editing-focused workflows.

The ArcGIS REST API is used as the main endpoint into the system for application access when connected to the network, though some applications may leverage other services-based APIs. In some specific data management and administration workflows a desktop application may be used to access the data tier directly, though in contemporary mobile operations and offline data management systems these situations are less common.

Applications (presentation)

Mobile operations and offline data management system application architecture considerations

The application or presentation tier includes applications for user editing, viewing, reporting, as well as data management. These primarily include native mobile applications, as well as the professional GIS desktop application ArcGIS Pro, as these applications are capable of working offline with locally stored and managed data. Custom mobile and desktop applications built using the ArcGIS Maps SDKs are also common.

Web applications are commonly used for back-office workflows with internet connectivity, but do not support working with offline data. Immersive experiences are not commonly used in mobile operations and offline data management systems.


There are multiple approaches to taking data offline in ArcGIS, and applications differ in how they support these approaches. Review product documentation in detail and consider application architecture when designing systems intended to support offline data management.

For more information see the applications section above.


Mobile operations and offline data management systems are commonly used to support business and mission critical mobile workflows for data editing, maintenance, and management. Therefore, these systems often necessitate rigorous support practices and infrastructure, and may be designed and operated with high levels of reliability, security, observability, performance, and scalability in mind. Special considerations around these architecture pillars may also apply to mobile devices, for example data encryption on mobile devices. Learn more about ArcGIS secure mobile implementation patterns.

It common for spatial data managed in this system to be tightly coupled or related to data managed in another information system. For example, an organization’s assets may be managed in an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system, and this system is used in combination to collect and manage locations in the field. Integration with mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) systems are also common. For more information on systems integration please see the integration pillar of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework.

For general support and architecture considerations please see architecture practices as well as the architecture pillars of the ArcGIS Well-Architected Framework.

Mobile operations and offline data management systems may be integrated or combined with other ArcGIS system patterns. Some common examples include:

For more information on integrating or composing system patterns, see using system patterns.


Industry-specific system examples for this system pattern include:

  • Utilities: The mobile operations and offline data management system pattern is foundational to all types of utilities (electric, gas, and water). Utilities use the mobile operations and offline data management system pattern to implement asset inspection systems, perform damage assessment, vegetation management, customer surveys, meter testing, and so on. This system pattern is also used to with other system patterns such as enterprise application hosting and management and self-service mapping. Arizona Public Service uses a mobile vegetation management application to support vegetation inspections, treatment, trimming, auditing, and reporting. The mobile operations and offline data management system pattern is used by several cities in Oklahoma to support their water, sanitary sewer, stormwater, flooding, and emergency management needs.
  • Transportation: By taking GIS to the field, the mobile operations and offline data management system pattern can improve the efficiency of staff in the field. For example, OmniTRAX used the mobile operations and offline data management system pattern for asset verification and audits of its railroad assets. Another example is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, who broadly use the system pattern to support various airside inspection operations across the airport.
  • State and Local Government: The mobile operations and offline data management system pattern is common for state and local government organizations. The system pattern improves efficiency, typically by reducing or eliminating paper forms. For example, the city of Lawrence, KS used ArcGIS Survey123 to collect accurate information about sidewalk conditions, including locations and hazards. Butler County, KS used ArcGIS Field Maps to support staff conducting appraisals. In both examples, collected field data is seamlessly fed into a dashboard for further monitoring and reporting.