GIS service sharing

ArcGIS services organize spatial data into functional GIS resources to run on a web server. In this way, services allow many users to simultaneously access and explore data hosted on central server machines and to include this data in their GIS products on the web and on mobile devices. All data you use in ArcGIS Enterprise is made available by GIS services.

A GIS service is not a map or layer, and it often does not serve as the end product for users. Instead, client apps query the service to receive information they can use in maps and other GIS products. Many types of geospatial services are available, representing different types of content such as maps, scenes, geoprocessing tools, geodatabases, and imagery. Each service type performs a unique set of workflows.

Service data sources

Because data is essential to GIS services, consider how and where the data in your services is stored. Many types of data and data stores work with ArcGIS Enterprise. It's important to understand the distinction between data that is referenced by ArcGIS Enterprise and data that is hosted by ArcGIS Enterprise.

You can register your data stores with ArcGIS Enterprise so that your services can reference the data in them without copying the data from the source. ArcGIS Enterprise can also host data, meaning the data is copied to ArcGIS Enterprise and is maintained by the system. Services that use ArcGIS-managed data are broadly called hosted services.

When you publish a service from ArcGIS Pro by sharing a web map or other item to your portal, you either use registered data in a user-managed store or copy the data into a store managed by ArcGIS Enterprise. In a user-managed data store, the database administrator is responsible for maintaining the data and organizing it for effective use.

Publishing services

You can publish services to ArcGIS Enterprise on Kubernetes in two ways: sharing from ArcGIS Pro or uploading certain items to publish hosted feature layers, hosted tile layers, or hosted vector tile layers in the ArcGIS Enterprise portal.

ArcGIS Enterprise can host many types of GIS services, as well as several service extensions and capabilities. The type of data you make available to others and what you want people to do with that data determine the type of service you publish.

Service types published from ArcGIS Pro

You can share several types of GIS resources from ArcGIS Pro to your ArcGIS Enterprise portal. Each item type is powered by a GIS service running in your organization. The following table shows the types of GIS resources you can share from ArcGIS Pro to the current version of ArcGIS Enterprise on Kubernetes, the type of GIS service that each resource publishes, and the resulting portal item.

Desktop GIS resource GIS serviceArcGIS Enterprise portal item

Feature class or raster dataset

Map service (dynamic or cached)

Map image layer

Feature class

Feature service

Feature layer

Feature class

Vector tile service

Vector tile layer

Image or raster dataset

Image service

Imagery layer


Geocode service


Model or script tool

Geoprocessing service

Web tool


When sharing imagery or raster data as image services from ArcGIS Pro, you must register the location of the data by creating a data store item in your ArcGIS Enterprise portal. To learn how to create a data store item, see Add Item.

Services published as hosted layers

You can also create hosted layers by uploading certain items to the ArcGIS Enterprise portal rather than sharing from ArcGIS Pro. Each hosted layer is powered by a GIS service and its underlying data is stored in a data store managed by ArcGIS.

GIS serviceHosted layer

Cached map service

Tile layer

Cached map service with feature service

Tile layer and feature layer

Feature service

Feature layer

Image service

Elevation layer

Scene service

Scene layer

WFS service

WFS layer

Vector tile service

Vector tile layer