Mobile data services

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A mobile data service allows a mobile application to gain access to the contents of a map document through a Web service. To create a mobile data service, you first need to create a map document containing the data you want to be accessible. Then, publish the map document with the Mobile Data Access capability enabled.

Preparing the map document

ArcMap provides a full range of tools for you to author a map document with desirable layers rendered appropriately to serve your specific purpose. However, mobile Web services are designed to be consumed by mobile applications running on field devices such as Tablet PCs and Windows CE/Windows Mobile devices. Some of these devices have hardware limitations in display, memory, and processing power. As a result, there are guidelines that you may want to observe to make the map document suitable for mobile applications. A general principle to follow for creating a map document is to make it simple. For example, you should consider data generalization, such as polygon smoothing and reduced raster resolution, for background or reference layers. This will allow your maps to draw faster. Also, it's recommended to simplify the map symbology, since the display sizes of the devices are normally limited.

Although a wide variety of data formats are supported for display in your mobile applications, only ArcSDE data will give your mobile applications the ability to post updates back to the server.

For more information about preparing the map document for mobile data access, see the ArcGIS Desktop Help topic Design and create Mobile Maps.

Publishing the map document as a mobile data service

Creating a map service for mobile applications is no different from creating any other map services in ArcGIS except that you need to enable the Mobile Data Access capability.

To publish the map document as a mobile data service, follow the steps in Publishing a GIS resource to the server, keeping in mind the following:

For more information on configuring advanced properties for the service see Tuning and Configuring Services.

Consuming a mobile data service

There are two primary ways to consume a mobile data service:

The URL of a mobile data service takes the following format:

http://<servername>/<instancename>/services/<foldername (if applicable)>/<servicename>/<servicetype>/<capabilitytype>

For example, if you publish a mobile Web service LandUse under a folder CityFolder (which is optional) in your ArcGIS Server myServer running an instance arcgis, the URL for mobile applications would be as follows:


You can connect to and preview this mobile Web service in ArcCatalog or preview the XML file returned from this server by typing the following URL in the Web browser:


In a typical scenario, you create a map document and publish it to ArcGIS Server as a mobile data service. The service URL is then used by your mobile application to connect to and retrieve data from ArcGIS Server. You can then use the handheld device running this mobile application in field work, either in connected mode or disconnected mode. Both modes allow you to retrieve and update spatial and attribute information in your local cache. These updates will be posted back to server inventory when the field work is completed.

If you intend to synchronize map data from the field to the office, it is important to define the server host name so that field access can be achieved by the device. For example, if the server is located on your DMZ, ensure that you use an internet connection to the external facing server name when specifying the URL in the Manager or your mobile application (

For more information about consuming mobile data services and building mobile applications, see the ArcGIS Mobile Developer Help or read the Creating mobile applications book in the ArcGIS Server Help.