ArcGIS Online Backups Support

Desktop Users: Read This First

Please read this section as it contains essential information for getting the most from the application. If you have questions not covered here or in the FAQs and User Guide further down, please click here for support.

Important things to be aware of when using the desktop application:

  • The application will take 30-60 seconds or more to load once you double-click, depending on the speed of your machine, because several large modules have to be extracted. See FAQs.

  • Besides the number and size of items included in your backup, the speed of your internet connection greatly affects backup time.

  • If you lose your internet connection during the backup, the backup will be interrupted and will need to be restarted. A folder with backups completed up to that point will be left in your chosen directory.

  • Since the application accesses data on the world wide web, its performance can be impacted by factors outside its control (for example, the server does not return a valid response). Multiple attempts will be made for any item that fails.

  • Rarely, some feature services simply cannot be backed up due to internal issues with the service, even if that service functions normally in your maps and apps. If feasible, you can usually resolve this by republishing the service. The application console will notify you of any items that fail, both as it runs as well as in a list provided at the end of the run.

  • If a feature service backup hangs for any reason, it will eventually time out, and the backup process will continue. Timeouts are rare and are usually (but not always) caused by exceptionally large services with lots of attachments or with several layers in a single service. If you find that certain services are taking a long time, you can exclude them by tag and run them separately if desired. Let us know if you are experiencing regular timeouts on a particular service and we can adjust some parameters in your application to reduce total backup time.

  • If you need to cancel a backup, use the Stop button before you close the window. A folder with backups completed up to that point will be left in your chosen directory.


Desktop FAQ and Troubleshooting

Q: Why does the application take so long to load?

A: The application has to extract and load several modules before it can start. This is necessary to avoid having to install anything on your machine.

Q: Why does my feature service keep failing?

A: Rarely, there are feature services that simply cannot be backed up due to internal issues with the service itself, even if the service works fine in your maps and apps. Although not always practical to do so, this can be resolved by republishing the service, or you can use the Exclude feature to skip these services.

Q: Why is my backup taking so long?

A: Backup times are dependent on the number and size of items in your org and your internet connection speed. Very large services (e.g., those with a high number of attachments, complex geometries, or a high number of layers) will take a while. Please reach out to us if you experience problems with a particular service and we can help you look into it.

Q: What item types are included in backups?
A: Almost every item type is included in Time Machine backups (even non-GIS items like images, PDFs, spreadsheets, etc.). The only common exception is service definition files and a few uncommon item types. If you have item types that are not being backed up, let us know and we can easily configure your application to grab them.


Managed Service User Guide

  • Working with our scheduled managed service is easy - except for minor tasks at initial implementation, users only need to interact with the system when retrieving backups.

  • Backups are stored in secure, direct-access buckets on Amazon Web Services Simple Storage Service (AWS S3) and are typically retained for a rolling 120-day period unless a longer retention period has been included in your organization's contract.

  • CivicLens will provide you with an AWS login, or you may choose to create your own AWS account and provide your information (AWS Account ID and username) so we can share your bucket with you. 

  • Daily backups will be retained in the frequent-access storage class (available for immediate download) for a rolling 15-day period, after which they will be transitioned to the Glacier Deep Storage class for an additional rolling 105-day period. Initiating downloads for backups that have been moved to the Glacier Deep Storage class can take up to 12 hours. At the base price of $1,500/year, total storage consumption must not exceed 2 terabytes per month on a rolling basis. This is equivalent to an average 50 gigabyte daily backup (more than most organizations will ever need).

Accessing your backups

  • Go to https://s3.console.aws.amazon.com/s3/buckets/<your-org-name>-agol-backup/ and sign in with your AWS credentials.

  • Your bucket will open with a list of backups in chronological order. For backups less than 30 days old, simply click on the backup you wish to access, then click the Download button in the upper left of the Overview pane. A zip file containing your backup will download to your browser’s default download folder.

  • Navigate to the download location, right-click on the zip file, and extract. 7-Zip is highly recommended.

  • Within your backup folder are subfolders which split out your backup items by item type. Folders for item types that do not exist in your organization or for which the script has not been configured to download will be empty. 

  • Also within this folder is a CSV file titled AllItems.csv, a spreadsheet with a list of all items contained in the backup, with several item attributes (Item ID, owner, sharing, etc.). The last column shows the backup result for that item.

  • Backups older than 30 days must be restored before they can be downloaded. To restore, check the box next to the backup(s) you wish to restore, select Actions, and select Restore as shown below. Once backups are restored, they may be downloaded as described above. When restoring, don’t worry about the “Retrieval Fees Apply” warning – this nominal charge goes to CivicLens and is included in your subscription cost.


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