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Nobody likes to talk about it, but sometimes computers can crash.  Yup, the entire thing just fails and nothing at all can be recovered (if you haven’t backed up your data, go do it now!) Or what if your laptop is stolen, or you flipped your kayak and your machine sank to the bottom of Lake Superior?  You just don’t have it anymore and there is absolutely nothing you can do to get it back. When these types of things happen, any Esri licenses that were authorized on the machine may be lost, too.

In the past, an authorized maintenance contact had to call Esri Technical Support to submit a license appeal and recover the lost licenses.  Now, this functionality is built in to My Esri, empowering your organization with self-service functionality and enabling you to get back up and running quickly.

I wanted to make sure that our customers are aware of this great new functionality and walk through how you’d go about getting your licenses back in the event of a catastrophic failure or loss as described above – though I really hope that never happens.

To perform the following steps, you will either need “Esri Admin” permission or the “Take Licensing Actions” permission. Sensitive information such as machine IDs, license numbers, and other personal information have been replaced with asterisks in the following screenshots.

First, log in to My Esri and click the My Organizations tab.

Please note that I’m demonstrating the steps in a QA environment and that your experience won’t include the green QA…MyOrganizationTab.png

Click the Licensing tab.


This will bring up the Licensing Overview page and if you have the correct permissions, you should see the Recover Lost Licenses option both in the Licensing panel as well as a card.

Next, click Recover Lost Licenses.

The Recover Lost Licenses screen explains that this is a process to retrieve licenses from a machine that is no longer accessible due to system failure, system loss, or destruction. The License Recovery process requires the signature of the organization’s License Administrator in a Certificate of Destruction. This process is irreversible and should only be used as the absolute last option when all other solutions to rectify the problem have failed.

An example of when you would not use the Recover Lost Licenses option is if you can still access the machine and deauthorize the licenses normally. The instructions provided describe how to perform standard license deauthorization:
Once you’ve determined that it really isn’t feasible to scuba dive to the bottom of Lake Superior to recover your machine (and hence, its licenses), follow the steps outlined below to complete the recovery.

Step 1: Find Your Machine

To proceed with license recovery, select how you would like to find the machine. There is an option to search by products on the machine or use the machine’s UMN IDs if you know those.FindYourMachine.png

Step 2

Option A: Search for machine by product

Search for the machine by populating the dropdown boxes.SearchForMachine.png

Click Search.

We see that the search for ArcGIS Desktop Advanced Concurrent Use licenses for this organization returns five machines.SearchResults2.png

Selecting the machine from which the licenses need to be recovered will take you to Step 3.

Option B: Select Machine using the UMN


Enter the UMN for the machine and click Search.  Since the UMN by definition is associated with a single machine, you should get only one result in this case, as opposed to searching for a machine by product.SearchbyUMNresults1.png

Click Select to take you to Step 3.

Step 3: Review Selected Machine

This step will show you a list of products our records show were activated for the selected machine.ReviewSelectedMachine1.png

After reviewing the selected machine, you have the option to go back if this is not the correct machine or proceed with the license recovery process.

Step 4: Accept Terms and Conditions

Review and agree to the terms and conditions, and click Next.TermsAndConditions.png

Step 5: Summary to process License Return

This step gives you another opportunity to fully review the selected licenses to return. If the selection is correct, click the “Process Return” button near the bottom of the page.SummaryToProcessReturn1.png

You’ll receive a confirmation screen showing the status of each license return.ReturnedSuccessfully1.png

And that’s it.  You are now able to authorize these licenses on a new, dry machine!

In the event that not all licenses are returned successfully, you will be presented with a summary of which licenses were returned and which were not. These should be exceptions; not the norm. In these cases, please work with Esri Customer Service or your local distributor to finalize the recovery process.
Kory K. - Customer Advocacy Lead
Have you ever wanted to create an empty feature service to use in ArcGIS Online, and found yourself stuck with no easy way to get this done? If you’re asking why in the world anybody would want to do this, this blog may not be for you – but keep reading anyway, because you may find new ways to leverage your ArcGIS Online account!

There are cases where you are planning on going out and collecting data, maybe using the Collector app … the point is, you don’t have any existing features. However, you need to provide the structure and format that field staff, volunteers, or community members use to add data to the feature service.

Since you’re using ArcGIS Online, your natural instinct is to go to the documentation and search for “create empty feature service.” You find a section of documentation called Publish an empty hosted feature layer. Steps 1 and 2 go by quickly - no sweat. But then you get to Step 3 and you can't go forward. You find yourself saying things like, “I don’t have an existing feature layer that is right,” or “this template just doesn’t work at all for what I want to do. It’s going to take way too much time to get this to work. This should be easier. Sigh.”Pssst…  Here’s the secret. Every named user for an ArcGIS Online Organization account has access to Go to the website and sign in from the upper-right corner using your ArcGIS Online Organization username and password. Once signed in, you will see options to the left of your profile. Hover over the options until you see Hosted Data.

My Hosted Data section of

Once in Hosted Data, you will find the answer that you’ve been looking for: a super quick, super simple way to create an empty feature service. Clicking either 'Create a Feature Service' or 'New Feature Service' will launch the same wizard to guide you through the process.

Enter the service’s Title, Description, Geometry Type, and Tags. Also be sure to set the service’s Default Extent.

New Feature Service section of

In Step 2 of the wizard, add the Field Alias, Field Name, and Data Type for each field of the service. Fields can be marked as Required or left as optional.

Create Fields section of

Select the renderer for your new service. Renderers define the visual display of your data when you are using the ArcGIS SDKs as well as how the service will look when initially added to the map viewer. You can override your chosen renderer in the SDKs and map viewer at any time. View this service in the map viewer to configure a custom renderer.

Review and publish your service.

Review and Publish service section of

Your service has been published and is ready for data collection. Add it to ArcGIS Online and give it a spin!

Edit empty feature service from in ArcGIS Online

Kory K. - Desktop Analyst - Support Services
BAOMobile.pngIf you are a Business Analyst Online (BAO) user, then you are familiar with all the great information you can find about a place. You can generate reports for your specific areas of interest based on thousands of data variables ranging from demographics and census to consumer spending and employment data as well as traffic counts.

Now, what if you are out and about and just have to have that information right now? The BAO Mobile app is what you need.

The next-generation BAO Mobile app is now available on the Apple App Store. Customers who have purchased BAO as a premium app get the mobile app as part of the subscription. BAO users who are a member of the organization’s Group (normally named ‘My BAO Group’) containing the BAO application will have access to both the BAO web app and the BAO Mobile app. If you believe that your organization has BAO but you are not able to log in, please refer to this post.

If your organization currently does not have BAO and you would like to try it out, sign up for a 30-day trial.

Keep in mind that if you’re using the old BAO mobile app, this will not automatically be updated to the Next Gen BAO Mobile app. You will need to download the new BAO Mobile app from the App Store and log in with your ArcGIS Online username and password. The old mobile app will remain available for a short time to allow users to download and start using the new app.

Old BAO app released 2012 (left) and new BAO Mobile app released 2014 (right)

While we understand there might be some confusion regarding which authentication credentials to use, it is necessary to have both the new mobile app and the preexisting product available for a short time to allow users time to download and start using the new BAO Mobile app. The new mobile app requires ArcGIS Online credentials (username/password) and the user must have the BAO web app to use the new version, which should streamline the login process between ArcGIS Online, the BAO Web app, and BAO Mobile.

Previous BAO mobile app users that do not have a current subscription to BAO will not be able to use the new app unless they purchase a subscription. This is the primary reason to keep the previous BAO mobile app available so these users will have time to transition to the new app if they want to continue using the mobile app.

Kory K. - Desktop Support Analyst

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