A former student, who like many of us is working from home quarantine, asked me this morning:
We’ve been working from home for over a month now and have been extended until at least May 23rd. That being said I do have an ArcGIS question for you. Currently at my office several of us are using 10.6. Generally we share a map using our server from work (with the data linked to the server), however, since we are all working remotely it’s been painfully slow to open the maps off the server. Do you happen to know if OneDrive would be a way to share these maps? Or do you have any other suggestions on an easier way to share a map besides using our server? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
OneDrive may be great for sharing maps, but I bet what is slowing you down is accessing data on the server. You could add all that data to OneDrive, but I suspect Synching all of that may take forever. There is also the issue of accessing data before it is totally synched which in the past would often corrupt data – this used to happen a lot in the early days of cloud services like DropBox – but I have not had much trouble with OneDrive and have been using it a lot. It still risky if you have multiple people with edit access to a file gdb or someone edits your data while you are using it – but that’s no different from multiple people accessing file-based data on a local network.
A very common way for people to work with large datasets of the network in this situation is to move ArcMap to the server by accessing a computer in the office using Remote Desktop. Then you are accessing datasets on a local network, not over the network through firewalls and slower 10 Mbit connections. This is especially wise if the data are in filesystem folders, like file geodatabases – ArcMap and Pro are notorious for crashing (and can even corrupt data) if you have a lot of network latency.
Another thing you can do is (while on the server) create a map package and download it locally. Map packages are basically a zipfile with the mxd and the data get get unzipped locally to your app folder with just the data for the area covered by the maps in the mxd.
There are also other options like putting your critical data into ArcGIS Online and accessing it as web services. Whether this meets your needs depends on what you need the data for – backdrop (tile layers) or analysis (feature layers, image layers).
Esri software does cost (non-trivial) money and one reason is you have access to Esri Technical Support (which of course you wouldn’t have with open-source solutions). I highly encourage you to contact Esri support and ask for help there. I have worked with them for > 30 years and have always found it worth the call. If your needs are complex, they offer lots of good advice and they can point you to the right training materials at esri.com/training to get you to the technology you need to solve your problem. They also provide consulting services, and though that costs money, for certain challenges it is totally worth the investment.
Another thing I recommend is joining Esri's Geonet community, especially the Petroleum space where there are people who are facing the same challenges as you.
Hope this helps, stay safe!