Prepare basemaps for offline use

01-05-2016 07:13 PM
Esri Regular Contributor
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Survey123 supports the use of offline basemaps. These basemaps must be of the Esri file type of tile package and web mercator projection. Tile packages can be created using ArcGIS Pro.

NOTE: Currently there are many manual steps required to use basemaps in your survey. It is expected that a more streamlined process will be added, but we wanted to make the functionality available as soon as possible. This topic will be updated as the user experience of including basemaps in your survey, evolves.

Create a map tile package

You can create a map tile package using ArcGIS Pro. Once created you can copy it directly to your device for use in Survey123 or share it in ArcGIS for others to use.

To create a map tile package:

  1. Launch ArcGIS Pro.
  2. Open an existing map or create a new map. Ensure your map has a suitable name and description. To edit these, right click the map in the table of contents, and choose properties.
  3. In Toolbox, choose the Create Map Tile Package tool and enter the input map name and the output file name. Input map name and output file name are the minimum requirements for this tool. You can optionally enter other properties.
  4. Run the Create Map Tile Package tool.

      A new .tpk will be created in your chosen output location. To use this file in Survey123 you can upload it to ArcGIS to share with others, or manually copy it to your device.

Copy your tile package directly to your device

If you do not have internet connectivity or are unable to connect to ArcGIS, you can copy your tile package directly to your device, or use it from an external storage card.

To copy your tile package directly to your device:

  1. Connect to your device. If you are using an iOS device, you will need to use iTunes.
  2. Copy you .tpk to your ~\ArcGIS\My Surveys\Maps folder. For example, on Windows this would be C:\Users\UserName\ArcGIS\My Surveys\Maps.
  3. If you already had Survey123 open before copying, restart Survey123.

To use your tile package from an external storage card:

  1. Copy your tile package to your storage card and place the card in your device.
  2. Launch Survey123 on your device and on the My Surveys menu, choose Settings.
  3. Nominate an additional Map Library Folder that represents your storage card. The default path of ~/ArcGIS/My Surveys/Maps will already be shown. You can add additional paths by
    • Typing the additional path directly into the edit box (use a semi colon to separate paths).
    • Use the folder browser to select an additional path. Any path selected will be appended to your Map Library Folder.

     When you next open a survey that has the map append property set to true, tile packages on your storage card will be appended to the list of available basemaps.

Currently no checking is performed to ensure that Map Library Folders are valid. the first path in the list will used when you choose to download tile packages from ArcGIS Online. The Map Library Folder path will not appear on iOS as external storage is not supported on this platform.

Share your tile package

You can share a map tile package in ArcGIS so that you can download it on different devices, or share with other people to use.

NOTE: The maximum file size that can be uploaded to ArcGIS Online is 1GB.

To share a tile package:

  1. Sign in to or your Portal for ArcGIS.
  2. Browse to My Contents.
  3. Select Create a new item.
  4. Select From My Computer.
  5. Browse to your tile package and choose to Upload. Be sure not to check the create tile service check-box when uploading your tile package.

     After your tile package has been uploaded to ArcGIS online, be sure to copy the URL of this package. An example tile package URL is

Associate a shared tile package to a survey

In order to be able make shared tile packages available to users of a survey, the survey itself needs to know where to download the survey from. This information is stored in the surveys .info file. Currently there is no user interface for this and you must enter text directly into this file. If you already have uploaded your survey to ArcGIS, you will already have a .info file that you can edit. If you have not already uploaded your survey to ArcGIS, you can create a new .info file with the following information.

To associate a shared tile package to your survey:

  1. Browse to your survey folder on your computer.
  2. Open the file in a text editor. If you have not already uploaded this survey to ArcGIS, this file will not exist. You can create a new file called, where MySurvey is the name of your survey.
  3. Copy the follow code snippet into this file and save.
  4. Upload your survey to ArcGIS.

     "displayInfo": {
       "map": {
         "mapTypes": {
            "append": false,
            "includeLibrary": false,
            "mapSources": [
                 "url": "
                 "storeInMapLibrary": false
                 "url": ""

The following lists the optional properties you can define when managing tile packages in your surveys:

  • append—When you set the append property to equal true, the user will see the list of default online basemaps with your tile package appended at the bottom. When set to false, users will only be able to see the tile packages defined in your file. The default value is true.
  • includeLibrary—When you set the includeLibrary property to equal true, all tile packages stored on the device will appear in the list of basemaps of the current survey. When set to false, only the basemaps (online or tile packages) defined in the file will be listed. The default value is true.
  • storeInMapLibrary - Only relevant to tile package map sources. Specifies if the tile package will be stored in the map library or is private to the survey. If includeLibrary is set to false, then tile packages are automatically stored privately and this property will be ignored. The default value is true.

Download a shared tile package in Survey123

You can download tile packages for later offline use. Tile packages need to be associated to a survey for you to be able to find them and download.

To download a shared tile package:

  1. Launch Survey123 and sign in with your ArcGIS named user account.
  2. Select the survey that you associated a tile package too.
  3. Select the menu and choose Download Maps.
  4. Choose the tile package from the list to download.

     Once successfully downloaded, you will see the tile package in the list of maps on the location page of your survey.

Use a tile package in Survey123

You can use either manually copied tile packages or downloaded shared tile packages in your survey.

To use a tile package:

  1. Launch Survey123 and sign in with your ArcGIS named user account.
  2. Select the survey that you associated a tile package to.
  3. Choose Collect.
  4. Select the location question and display the full screen map.
  5. Select the menu and choose the tile package.