Share a map image layer

A map image layer is a type of web layer that can include both feature and non-feature layers as sublayers. All sublayers in a map image layer can be visualized; feature sublayers can be queried. Map image layers can be drawn dynamically by the server or from cached tiles.

Map image layers do not support web-based editing; however, you can optionally share an editable feature layer when you share the map image layer.

The map image layer type is available only if you are sharing to an ArcGIS Enterprise portal. You must also have the privilege to publish server-based layers.

When you prepare map layers in ArcGIS Pro to share as a map image layer, follow the guidelines in Author a multiscaled map for optimal performance. Maps created in ArcGIS Desktop and imported to ArcGIS Pro should also follow these guidelines.

While in the process of sharing a map image layer, you may decide to save a service definition instead. A service definition compiles information into a single file, allowing you to share the map image layer at a later time. Information about saving a service definition is included in the workflow below. To learn more, see Introduction to saving service definitions.

Share a map image layer using the default configuration

This workflow explains how to share a map image layer using default settings. To change the default configuration, see Configure a map image layer. You can also use ArcPy to share a map image layer to a portal. To learn more, see Introduction to arcpy.sharing.

  1. To share a map image layer, do one of the following:
    • Share all usable layers in the map as a web layer. On the Share tab, in the Share As group, click the Web Layer drop-down arrow and click Publish Web Layer Publish Web Layer.
    • Share selected layers in the map as a web layer. Select the layers in the Contents pane. Right-click any selected layer, point to Sharing, and click Share As Web Layer Publish Web Layer.

    The Share As Web Layer pane appears.

  2. Provide a name for the web layer.
  3. Complete the Summary and Tags fields.
  4. Under Data and Layer Type, click Map Image under one of the two data types:
    • Reference registered data—data that is registered with the server is referenced rather than copied to the server.
    • Copy all data—all data is copied to the server.

    For information about registering data with a server, see Introduction to sharing web layers.

  5. If you click Map Image under Reference registered data, you can optionally check the Feature check box to share a web feature layer in addition to the map image layer.

    If you share a feature layer in addition to the map image layer, see Share a web feature layer for information about configuring its properties.

  6. Under Location, use the Folder menu to choose a folder in your portal content in which to store the web layer. Optionally create a folder.

    By default, the web layer is stored at the root level of your portal content.


    Click the Browse button Browse to browse to a folder in your portal content. You can also type a folder name in the text box.

  7. Use the Server and Folder drop-down menus to specify the federated server where the service is published and the folder where it is stored. Optionally, create a folder.

    By default, the service is stored in the root folder of the server.


    You can click the Data Stores button Data Stores to open the Manage Registered Data Stores pane. Use this pane to register geodatabases and folders with federated servers.

  8. Under Share with, specify how the web layer will be shared:
    • Everyone—This option makes your content public. Anyone can access and see it.
    • My Organization—This option allows your content to be shared with all authenticated users in your organization.
    • Groups—You can share your content with groups to which you belong and their members.
  9. Optionally click the Content tab to see the folder structure and sublayers of the web layer.
  10. Under Finish Sharing, click Analyze to check for problems.

    Errors and warnings are listed on the Messages tab. Right-click a message to open its help topic or take corrective action in the software. Errors Error must be resolved before you can share the web layer. Resolving warnings Warning is recommended but not required.

    Learn more about analyzing GIS resources.

  11. After you have resolved errors, and optionally, resolved warnings, click Publish to share the web layer.

    If you want to save a service definition for the web layer instead, click the Publish drop-down arrow and click Save As SD. To learn more, see Save a service definition for a web layer.

  12. When the web layer is successfully published, click the Manage the web layer link at the bottom of the pane.

    A browser page opens. If necessary, sign in to your portal to open the web layer's item page.

Considerations when sharing to older portals

Map image layers can be shared to earlier versions of ArcGIS Enterprise and Portal for ArcGIS, starting with Portal for ArcGIS 10.4. However, not all functionality is supported by earlier versions. Limitations are listed below.

ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1 and earlier

ArcGIS Enterprise 10.7 and earlier

  • Shared instance pooling is not available from ArcGIS Pro.

ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6.1 and earlier

  • The WFS layer is not available.
  • The WCS, KML, and validation capabilities are not available.

ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5.1 and earlier and Portal for ArcGIS 10.4.1 and earlier

  • The linear referencing capability is not available.
  • The network analysis capability is not available.
  • The version management capability is not available.

Portal for ArcGIS 10.4.1 and earlier

  • Map image layers cannot be drawn using tile from a cache.

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