Tile Package Kreator (TPK) is a new Esri Labs desktop application for Windows, Mac and Linux that is focused on tile package creation and discovery. As an Esri Labs project, the TPK is free to use but is not an official Esri product and is not supported by Esri technical support.
Currently, Esri provides several ways for users to create tile packages, most notably via ArcMap and Pro applications. The TPK is meant to provide a focused utility for users that need to simply create a tile package for offline use, browse and download organizational tile packages from ArcGIS Online (with Portal support on its way) and upload existing local tile packages online.
The TPK requires an internet connection as it uses online map services that support exporting tiles to complete its tasks. These services may include well known Esri basemaps, such as the World Street Map or Light Gray Basemap, as well as publically facing map services or custom organizational map services created via ArcMap or Pro that have been published online and enabled to allow the exporting of tiles. Once the tile package is created via online services, it can be used in offline scenarios, such as within Survey123 as a basemap for a specific survey.
Creating Tile Packages
Creating tile packages with the TPK is straightforward. Once a map service is chosen, the user can create an area of interest by either drawing a rectangular envelope or a multipoint buffered path on the map. The buffered path might be useful when tiles are only needed along a specific complex route such as a stream or trail. The online services that are employed to create tile packages via the TPK are designed to only return the tiles needed to display the path at the requested levels, which can greatly reduce the overall size of the tile package as unneeded tiles aren’t included. After drawing an area of interest, the user can either save the tile package locally, or upload it to their ArcGIS online content, with the additional option of sharing it with the organization, or publicly.
It should be noted that there are limitations with the creation of tile packages via online services. Tile packages created via these services are in general limited to a maximum of 100,000 tiles. The TPK provides an estimated output size, however this is just a guide, and requests may be rejected via the service after it performs its own estimation. The TPK provides feedback during this process. Also, the larger the tile package size, the greater the bandwidth needed to download and upload them. Currently, Esri doesn’t support transferring a tile package created online directly to a user’s online account, so the TPK requires downloading the tile package file first before uploading it to a user’s online content. These limitations aside, the TPK should prove useful for the effective creation of offline basemaps that cover smaller geographic areas with a high number of zoom levels.
Browsing and Uploading Tile Packages
Along with creation of tile packages, the TPK also provides an interface that allows a user to browse online tile packages that are private or have been shared with the user’s organization. A context menu for each tile package displayed allows the user to view it online via ArcGIS or download it locally for use offline.
An upload interface is also included with the TPK that focuses solely on pushing and sharing local tile packages to the user’s online content. A bonus of this upload tool is the spatial reference check conducted. When a tile package file is selected, the TPK opens it up and checks to see if its spatial reference is Web Mercator, alerting the user if it is or is not. As the Web Mercator spatial reference is used with many online and native tools, this check provides the user with a pre-upload compatibility verification of sorts.
Esri welcomes contributions from anyone and everyone. Please see our guidelines for contributing.
The easiest way to download the source code is by using AppStudio for ArcGIS Desktop Edition. Once installed, click on New App and search for TilePackageKreator under the Enterprise category. You can look at the code, modify it and run it in your Mac or Windows development machine. If you have an AppStudio for ArcGIS Standard license, then you will be able to compile your code for Windows, Mac and Linux.