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With the uptake in aerial mapping using drones and other imagery services in recent years, there has been an increased demand for custom basemaps for viewing during field data collection. Viewing imagery in areas with cellular connection can be simple, but how do you view your imagery in areas with unreliable or no cellular coverage?

Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS app will allow custom basemaps to be stored locally on the mobile data collection device, a process called sideloading, by creating a tile package (.tpk) and referencing this tile package in the map settings of ArcGIS Online. A tile package is a process of creating layers of the same map image at several different scale levels. These layers help to optimize drawing speed and visibility at different zoom levels.

I used the Create Map Tile Package tool within ArcGIS Pro to create a custom basemap from a shapefiles layer. The Create Vector Tile Package can be used instead to create a vector tile package (.vtpk) that can be used in the sideloading process.

Check out this tech video for a quick how to on creating, configuring, and sideloading basemaps.

For more information on sideloading basemaps in Collector, please check out Esri’s help resources here.

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