ArcGIS Enterprise

Moving content across tiered ArcGIS Enterprise environments

Many organizations use a tiered model to deploy content in ArcGIS Enterprise. This means that before information is available in a production environment, it is first created in development and tested in staging. This tiered method helps provide a layer of quality assurance and approval before the content is available to a wider audience in production.

Some organizations use a single ArcGIS Enterprise environment and use separate groups for development, staging, and production. The groups typically have different sharing settings and members, based on who needs access and the tier the group represents.

Yet, some organizations use multiple ArcGIS Enterprise environments to separate these different tiers. For organizations who have separate environments, it can be challenging to move and manage content across environments. This is the scenario we will focus on in this blog, covering new operations that make it easier to move layers, maps, and apps as they move across environments. We will specifically focus on the export group content and import group content operations available in the ArcGIS REST API at ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1.


Take an example scenario where you have developed a Web AppBuilder application which contains a web map and feature layers. You’ve added the app and all related items into a group in your development environment and are ready to test it in staging. To do so using these new operations, you would follow these steps:

In diagram form, the workflow looks like this:

Moving content from development to production

We will use this scenario in the workflow section of this blog. But first, let’s look at the prerequisites needed to achieve this.


The prerequisites are relatively simple, ensuring you have the right setup and version of ArcGIS Enterprise. You’ll need:

It is also recommended that before you get started, your developers and administrators review the export group content and import group content help topics for additional information, including the list of currently supported items.


Let’s use the Web AppBuilder workflow, mentioned above, and demonstrate how it works across a development and a staging environment, both using ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1.

Note: in brackets, we will include the environment where the actions are taking place, either [development] or [staging].

Step 1: Export the group contents to a package [development]

Screenshot of a group with three items shared
Items in the development group.
REST API resource for exporting content

Step 2: Add the package as an item [staging]

Add item
Not shown: 'Add Item' button at the bottom of this page.
Capture item ID in the REST API

Step 3: Import the contents of the package into a group [staging]

REST API for Import
List of import status
Screenshot of the staging group
Items have been successfully moved into the staging environment!

Let’s review the result. An application was created in the development environment and exported as an .epk package. That .epk package was then imported into the staging environment so that the hosted layer, web map, and application were all published to the staging environment. The item IDs remained the same across development and staging, allowing item references in the web map and Web AppBuilder application to be preserved. The web map in the staging environment correctly references the hosted feature layer that was published to staging and the application references the web map in staging as well. When opening the Web AppBuilder application in the staging environment, it will work successfully because it has been updated to use the feature layer and web map hosted in the staging environment.

Frequently asked questions

This concludes an example workflow for moving content across development and staging environments. The workflow would be the same when moving content to production, but for the sake of time, was not shown here.

Let us know if you have any questions below and we hope this helps with your enterprise workflows.

About the authors

Hilary is a Product Manager for ArcGIS Enterprise and loves urban ecology, biking and her dog Ada.

Kenyon Wilker is a Solution Engineer in the Geospatial Center, supporting federal government users. He focuses on WebGIS, Real-Time/Big Data GIS, and ArcGIS Enterprise on Kubernetes. In his spare time he is an avid wakesurfer.

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