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Problem: ArcGIS Pro and Cloud Storage Services

Description

ArcGIS Pro does not currently support the use of cloud storage services, such as OneDrive and Google Drive, unless otherwise stated in the ArcGIS Pro user interface or documentation about specific tools and functionality.

The ArcGIS Pro Software Development team is working toward providing more support for cloud storage in future releases. This article will be updated to reflect the latest support status.

Two other objectives of this article are to describe common problems encountered when working with ArcGIS Pro and cloud storage services and to give guidance, where possible, to avoid problems for those who cannot avoid using cloud storage.

Although there are many different cloud storage services available, this article is focused on OneDrive because it is the service most commonly used by ArcGIS Pro users. If you use another service, you may experience the same problems and take similar actions to avoid them. Note that files stored on SharePoint exhibit many of the same characteristics and behaviors as those stored on OneDrive.

Cause

Most problems surrounding cloud storage happen because of the following:

  • Files that are normally edited or accessed one at a time can be edited or modified simultaneously by multiple users. This causes filenames to change for one machine or user and be shared with another. Also, edits from multiple people can be synced to related files at the same time resulting in data loss or inconsistency.
  • Files that are expected to be locked, or temporarily immutable, can be altered.
  • Files that are always stored with other files (for example, files within a geodatabase) may not all be available locally—they may be split between cloud and local storage and slow performance or cause procedures to fail while the complete set of files are being assembled locally.
  • The cloud storage service may start syncing copies of modified local files to the cloud on its own timeline, preventing ArcGIS Pro from writing to the file when it expects to.

Solution or Workaround

Although not complete solutions, many problems can be avoided by taking these measures:

  • Use OneDrive to share files with colleagues and other computers outside of an ArcGIS Pro session. That is, use your operating system or browser to copy files, and copy them to a folder outside of OneDrive so they can be accessed through ArcGIS Pro.
  • If combining ArcGIS Pro and OneDrive is unavoidable:
    • Don’t allow multiple users access to files or simultaneous editing of files. This prevents multiple copies of the same file from being created and avoids confusion around whose edits are applied.
    • Turn off OneDrive syncing while working in ArcGIS Pro. For example, turn off syncing during the day and use ArcGIS Pro during the day only. Any confusion about which file was updated last is avoided.
    • When frequently accessing a folder, have OneDrive always make the folder available locally on your computer. This prevents delays and errors when accessing files that are only available online at the time they are accessed.
    • Don’t access files or perform actions that generate related .lock filetypes through ArcGIS Pro (for example, editing a feature class). This can create sync errors, and if multiple machines are synchronized, lock files are downloaded to each of them.
    • Access files in OneDrive directly from the location where they are synced to the local computer. For example, drag and drop the files onto ArcGIS Pro from File Explorer. Do not access and open the files from a web browser.

The subsequent sections describe some specific problems that have been identified.

Automatic synchronization of the Documents folder
Some organizations—larger ones in particular—configure all their members’ Documents folders to be synchronized with OneDrive to benefit from backup and other OneDrive features. ArcGIS Pro stores files, such as project files and their default geodatabases and toolboxes, in the user’s Documents folder by default, for example:  C:\Users\<username>\Documents. In these environments, you may experience problems. The cause may be difficult to detect because the OneDrive synchronization may be so seamless that it goes unnoticed by many members of the organization. Check with your IT department if you are not sure whether your Documents folder is automatically synchronized with OneDrive.

Suggestion: Configure ArcGIS Pro to create projects, geodatabases, and toolboxes in another folder that is not synchronized with OneDrive.

Data from path using SharePoint or OneDrive URLs
Files and folders stored in OneDrive are assigned URLs that can be shared and used by others to access the data through HTTP. ArcGIS Pro has an option to Add data from a path, which is used to add data from local paths or URLs. However, attempting to add a URL from OneDrive or SharePoint causes errors.

Suggestion: Copy the data to a folder outside of SharePoint or OneDrive and connect to it from there. For instance, copy it to a network drive that is not synchronized with OneDrive and use the folder path to connect with ArcGIS Pro.

Related Information

Last Published: 5/12/2021

Article ID: 000025605

Software: ArcGIS Pro 2.8, 2.7.3, 2.7.2, 2.7.1, 2.7, 2.6.5, 2.6.4, 2.6.3, 2.6.2, 2.6.1, 2.6, 2.5.2, 2.5.1, 2.5, 2.4.3, 2.4.2, 2.4.1, 2.4, 2.3.3, 2.3.2, 2.3.1, 2.3, 2.2.4, 2.2.3, 2.2.2, 2.2.1, 2.2, 2.1.3, 2.1.2, 2.1.1, 2.1, 2.0.1, 2.0, 1.4.1, 1.4, 1.3.1, 1.3, 1.2