Privacy Setting, ArcGIS Online: unsearchable but publically viewable if embeddable

05-20-2016 02:57 PM
Status: Open
New Contributor II

It would be very helpful to have an option to make ArcGIS Online maps unsearchable, and therefore not visible on ArcGIS online outside of the organization unless you have a URL or it is embedded in a site (ideally, there would be an option for it to be visible only if embedded, with secure URL, but I don't know if that's possible). This would allow maps to be embedded in a secure website directory able to be displayed to everyone accessing it, but challenging to access in otherways.

I am having to go back and erase all the metadata, tags and descriptions so that the users can log on to the secure website directory but they cannot be easily found or understood in ArcGIS online. I think this may all be possible if I download the apps and maps and configure them offline and add them outside of ArcGIS Online, but it’s a bit of a hassle.

ISSUU online has a comperable security feature for sharing pdfs:


I'm unable to upvote ideas, but on behalf of the Story Maps community, I'd like to echo Molly's request for unlisted content in ArcGIS Online. This is an increasingly common feature request from Story Maps authors concerned about the privacy of their data. This feature would also help reduce clutter in ArcGIS Online, which currently contains thousands upon thousands of single-purpose layers that often conceal the more broadly useful/relevant content.


Yes we want to be able to share a URL to our WebMap with our customers for them to access on their home PCs, but not for our data to be found on ArcGIS online. Currenlty we have to make the map public, to get the URL to send out. There really needs to be a middle option here.


Assuming the option hasn't been added in the meantime, I agree. The ability to create public but unsearchable content would be a very valuable addition to the platform.   


Agreed - being able to mark a map and the associated layers as public but unlisted so they are visible only to those with the link would be a huge help. You can do this with YouTube videos and it would be a great feature for online maps.

As a land trust we work with property owners that have conservation easements on their properties. We monitor these properties once a year and provide reports to those individuals showing how the monitoring went. We are using Survey123 and Collector to do our monitoring and it would be very helpful to have a map for each easement with their monitoring information on it. Since we have 20+ easements we can't create user accounts for all of them. We are considering creating one user account for our easement property owners but the issue with just one account is that all easement holders could potentially log in and view other people's monitoring reports. Also, there is the added step of making them login to view the information which is a barrier to many of them.

Being able to share a link to an unlisted map would solve all these issues and would make our work flow much easier. Due to the current setup we are having to make pdf maps to send to the land owners. Having the option to make a map or app unlisted and shareable via a link would make a huge difference to our work. Please consider adding this option.


This idea is critical for serious workflow in ArcGIS Online because it is basically a Production environment only, and for most AGOL customers, I would guess they do not have a parallel on-premise Portal to use as the Dev or Test environment. Often prior to a public release, you would want to have draft data or web maps reviewed (or previewed) without requiring user login, but you don't want the general public to easily find the data or map or app still in beta. search engine should follow the basic Internet convention of using the noindex  metadata keyword to block the item from being indexed and not display the item when we tag it as such. Other possible tags may be 







I am currently updating my organization's (City of Bothell) ArcGIS Online pages/content and this functionality seems like a necessity. We have a lot of disparate layer/maps that connect to various web map applications. If someone searches for 'bothell', the search returns our authoritative web apps in addition to all of the maps and layer that must be shared publicly for the app to work. We don't necessarily want someone searching 'bothell' to see all the extra maps/layer that are used to create web apps. This problem should be fixed immediately. I'm not a web developer, but it seems that adding a 'make unsearchable to public' toggle button isn't too crazy to ask for. Thanks!


How about just eliminating the need to have named users entirely? Just allow a map service to be password protected with a username:password.


This is something that is just necessary.

by Anonymous User

Has there been any discussion on this internally? A colleague wrote to me this morning,

It would be helpful if there was something similar to an unlisted option where folks would only need a link and not have to create an account to review StoryMaps. When uploading a video in YouTube these options are available so you can decide who has the ability to see the video. I know we can share to different groups and publish publicly already, but I was thinking an unlisted option might be useful. Maybe include the ability to choose or create your own watermark (DRAFT, DO NOT DISTRIBUTE, etc.) that will be visible on every page so it is not mistaken for a finished product.


Great idea!  We have a lot of public facing content that we don't want to be easily discoverable or searchable and this would be a great way to help to protect that content without having to protect it with a named user from our account.