Limitations in ArcGIS Online

04-12-2016 06:49 AM
New Contributor


I would like to know what are the limitations in ArcGIS Online web maps compared to ArcGIS Desktop maps(MXD) or ArcGIS Server map services. Some limitations which come across to me are the following -

1. ArcGIS Online web maps don't support group layers. We need to add individual layers?

2. There is limited support for symbology. Complex symbols cannot be set for point features?

I am not 100% sure of these limitations, these may not be limitations currently. Are these still valid? Are there any more limitations in terms of web maps in ArcGIS Online?



Tags (1)
0 Kudos
3 Replies
MVP Notable Contributor

Hi Apurv,

This is a really big question without a really good answer. Esri is not going to list what their online site does not have. Though, it is very safe to assume that AGOL is severely limited compared to its desktop counterpart.

There are always improvements being made with more and more features being made available, which is very promising. But, it will not be able to do all the same things as desktop can do. Here is a list of 'what is new':

What's new—ArcGIS Online Help | ArcGIS

To answer your questions, AGOL does not support group layers (hopefully in the future they will). And there is limited support for symbology. The amount of functionality you get, in terms of symbology, is related to the layer (map service offers more symbology options than a feature service, etc).

This page has a good amount of questions answered regarding AGOL:

Frequently asked questions—ArcGIS Online Help | ArcGIS

But, there has to be a trade-off. Greater functionality means more difficult usability. We want the web maps to be accessible to anyone and everyone and not scare people away. We want desktop maps to be able to do everything we want them to do, and somewhat require 'professional' people working on them, etc. 

0 Kudos
Esri Frequent Contributor

Thanks for all the great information Adrian,

If there are limitations that you want to be considered for implementation in future releases of the software, please submit and promote them through the ideas site. There is currently an idea about group layers that is being considered: ArcGIS Idea - Group layers for ArcGIS online and I would like to hear more about the specific complex symbols that you would like to see. Please submit an idea and outline what you would like to see in the future. It's great to hear feedback from our customers!!


Occasional Contributor III

Kelly, this is one related enhancement related to complex symbology

#ENH-000088674   [Enhancement] Enable the ability for an index layer from a ArcGIS Server Service to have the ability to draw multilayer line symbols.

I have many layers that I do not always need to show and would like to be able to add my index layers as necessary, while preserving the symbology that we have created with custom line types. I currently have delete each layer I do not want to show and while that is a way around, it creates the whole nested legend/description which is pretty annoying and somewhat confusing to users.

Ditto with having a layer shown with dot density symbology...currently the AGOL legend has the all dots the same color and does not allow the user to change the style as with other symbology types. And this is only if you bring in the entire map service too- dots are 'complex' i suppose and I cannot just add the index layer where the dot density is used. 

This and the fact the 'one dot = xx' constantly changes is very limiting in being able to use dot density.

ideas? bugs? any update on whether we will able to show maps as they are intended?


0 Kudos