Tips for sharing your maps and Web mapping applications

01/14/10–Over the past month, we’ve highlighted some of the new maps and applications you’ll find in ArcGIS Online. This growing collection of geographic resources is made possible by community members sharing their work. We encourage you to take part in this effort by adding your own maps and Web mapping applications to ArcGIS Online and sharing them with everybody. Below are a few tips for sharing your maps and apps:

Consider the best format for your information

  • If you want to share data such as shapefiles, feature classes and other data sources you use in your maps, create a layer package and upload it to ArcGIS Online. A layer package includes the data inside the package so it is self-contained and can be opened by any other ArcGIS user. People will be able to download your file and work with the data in ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Explorer.
  • If you want to share a map that you have already published to the Web using ArcGIS Server, add an entry for your service in ArcGIS Online. People will be able to access your map and use it in ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Explorer, Web maps and Web mapping applications.
  • Only share your map document file (MXD), layer file (LYR), etc., if the file references server-based services that the people you are sharing your file with will be able to access on the Web. When you upload one of these ArcGIS files, only the file gets uploaded, so if your map, globe or layer references any local data on your machine or your enterprise network, it does not get included and your map may appear broken to somebody viewing it in their ArcGIS application.
  • If you want to share your work with the widest audience, consider creating a Web map, either from the ArcGIS Online Web Map Viewer or by developing an application with one of the ArcGIS Web mapping APIs.

Include source and descriptive information

If you’re adding an ArcGIS file, such as, a layer package, be sure to fill out the general layer properties within ArcGIS Desktop since this information is carried over when somebody downloads your file. You should also take the time to review and edit the item properties that are created in ArcGIS Online when your add your map or Web mapping application. Be sure you have accurate credits and a useful summary and description. Within the description, you might want to add details about the data, how you created the map or app, and hyperlinks to additional information.

Be sure your URL works

ArcGIS Online references your ArcGIS Server services and Web mapping applications through URLs. When you share these with everybody, make sure your URL link works and doesn’t require a login. If you take down the service or application, you should remove the reference from ArcGIS Online.

If you have questions, please post them to our forum at

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  1. arth2877 says:

    Yes, I have not been able to add data packages to ArcGIS Explorer from ArcGIS Online (pkinfo). It keeps giving me an error. Is this supported?