ArcGIS Enterprise

Administering Your Collaboration - Tips and Tricks

We begin this blog with a quick announcement…

As of June 6th, distributed collaboration is now available for all ArcGIS Online customers with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5.1 or 10.6! Collaboration is enabled through My Esri and administered within your ArcGIS Online organization. To enable collaboration, head over to our blog that will walk you through the workflow.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled article.

Today our blog is geared towards administrators and will illustrate how to set up a collaboration. Though our scenario only includes a host and one guest, very similar practices are used when setting up collaborations with multiple guests.

We will use a scenario between an ArcGIS Online organization used by contractors and an ArcGIS Enterprise deployment used by a city for this collaboration. Both the city and contractors are working on a redevelopment project together and are looking for a simple way to share web maps and layers from Enterprise to Online during each stage of the project. Here’s a depiction of the collaboration, where data is shared from the city (in Enterprise) to the contractors (in Online) and made available for different stakeholders, such as partners and the public:

Distributed collaboration, sharing from Enterprise to Online to the public and partners

Now, before you get started creating a collaboration, we recommend drafting your needs and workflows with other collaborators. How will your data be shared and to whom? Which organizations need to be participating? Tips on these questions and more will be provided in future blogs – but today will focus on the nuts and bolts.

As we walk through administration, general tips are included in the text tooltips and the choices made for the redevelopment project are in screenshots of the setup dialog.

Let’s get started:

User interface for collaboration. Set up collaboration from the collaboration tab under Organization within ArcGIS Online. To create a collaboration, select the 'create collaboration' button.

Now, the fun begins!

Step 1 – Name and describe your collaboration:

Step 1 of collaboration: create collaboration. Collaboration name is River City Redevelopment. Collaboration description is "This collaboration is between the city (Enterprise) and contractors (Online). The purpose of the collaboration is to share data from the city to contractors during each phase of our redevelopment project." The tooltip reads "The first step is to provide a name and description of your collaboration. It is highly recommended to name it something relevant to your work so others understand the purpose of the collaboration. Also, provide a description of the objectives of your collaboration."

Step 2 – Name and describe your initial workspace:

Step 2 of collaboration: provide a name and description for your collaboration's initial workspace. The workspace name is River City - Westside Workspace. The workspace description is: Phase 1 begins the westside redevelopment project, where we will collaborate project boundaries and infrastructure layers. The tooltip reads: "The second step is to name your initial workspace. You can think of a workspace as a container for a group – where your users will send and receive data. Multiple workspaces can be created within a collaboration to help segment and organize your projects and open up different groups to collaborated content. The redevelopment project starts with the westside, so the workspace is named similarly."

Step 3 – Link a group to the workspace:

Step 3 of collaboration: Select a group to link to the workspace. Note that a group may be associated with only one workspace. The selection was for new group: River City - Westside Collaboration (to Enterprise). Tags are collaboration, River City, Westside and ArcGIS Enterprise collaboration. The tooltip reads "The third step is to identify the group (new or existing) that will be linked to that workspace. This is where members of your organization will send and receive collaborated items. The admins on the redevelopment project chose to name their group “River City – Westside Collaboration (to Enterprise)” so that it is easily identifiable for users as part of a collaboration. Note: details on the collaboration are also listed in the group details."

Step 4 – Decide how your feature layers will be shared:

Step 4 is to set the workspace sync settings. Options are to send feature layers as reference or as copies. Tooltip reads "This next step determines how your organization will send feature layers to your guests – by reference or as copies. Your guests will also make this choice from their side. Selecting references is a good option for collaborations where layers are either shared with ‘everyone’ or users in one organization have access (username + password) to the source Enterprise portal. Selecting copies is another option. It will replicate your data and publish it for your recipients. Once published, any edits will be synchronized from the source to that new layer at specified intervals. In the case of the redevelopment project, contractors will not be sending data back to the city, so they will default on ‘copies.’"

Step 5 – Invite your first guest:

The next step is to invite a guest to the collaboration. The URL has been entered for the portal URL. The options for level of access for the guest are send content, receive content or send and receive content. The tooltip reads: "The next step is to invite your first Enterprise guest by entering the URL of their portal. You have the option to choose whether your guest can send content, receive content, or both. In the redevelopment project, the city will be sending layers to the contractors, so the selection will be ‘send content.’Once you select ‘save invitation,’ a file will automatically download. Please email the file to the administrator of ArcGIS Enterprise. They will upload it under the collaboration tab of their portal and walk through their respective workflow to complete their side of the collaboration."

Step 6 – Accept your guest:

The next step is to accept the guest organization. The tooltip reads "Be sure you accept your Enterprise guest (in the redevelopment project, this is the city) by uploading their response file here. The administrator on the guest’s side will need to provide this response file to you via email."

Note that if your collaboration is sharing feature layers as copies (as shown in step 4), your Enterprise guest will be responsible for setting the synchronization interval, determining how often edits for your feature layers are synced with your participants’ items. Be sure to talk with your Enterprise counterpart on how often you want edits to synchronize.

A few final notes:

Now that the collaboration is complete, the contractors in ArcGIS Online can receive copies of data from the city and use the data in their own web maps and apps to share with a wider audience.

We hope this blog has inspired you to create your own collaboration! Please feel free to reach out to with any comments or questions. Also be sure to check out our help documentation for additional details:

Happy collaborating!

The Esri Collaboration Team

About Hilary Curtis

Hilary is one of the Product Managers for ArcGIS Enterprise and loves her dog, Ada.


Kelly is a Product Manager on the ArcGIS Online team. She has been with Esri since 2012 and enjoys blogging, Web Apping and outdoor adventures!

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