ESRI Restricts Public Sharing for ArcGIS Developer Accounts: Implications and Alternative Solutions

In a surprising move, ESRI, a leading provider of GIS software and services, has recently removed the ability to share content, maps, and data with the public for users of ArcGIS Developer accounts. This decision has significant implications for developers and individuals who have been utilizing developer accounts to share public tools and apps for free.

This article aims to explore the impact of this change, discuss the consequences for developers and users, and provide alternative solutions to continue their GIS work, such as the Africa Geoportal.

What it means for Developers:

For developers relying on ArcGIS Developer accounts, the removal of public sharing capabilities poses several challenges. Previously, developers could create and share interactive maps, applications, and data with the public, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing.

This unrestricted access allowed developers to showcase their work, receive feedback, and contribute to the GIS community. With this change, developers will need to seek alternative platforms or solutions to continue their public sharing endeavours.

Implications for Users

The removal of public sharing options from ArcGIS Developer accounts also impacts individuals who have been utilizing these accounts to access and benefit from the tools and apps created by developers or developing their own tools and apps for free without creating or joining Organisational accounts. Users who rely on publicly shared content will now face limitations in accessing valuable resources and applications.

This change restricts their ability to explore and interact with GIS data and diminishes opportunities for learning and engagement.

Exploring Alternative Solutions – The Africa Geoportal:

Source: Africa Geoportal

Amidst these changes, it is crucial for developers and users to explore alternative options to continue their GIS work effectively. One such alternative is the Africa Geoportal, an emerging platform that offers a range of GIS services, data, and applications tailored specifically for Africa.

The Africa Geoportal serves as a hub for accessing geospatial information, maps, and tools that are supported and provided by various organizations across the continent.

The Africa Geoportal provides numerous benefits, including:

  1. Access to Diverse Geospatial Data: The platform offers an extensive collection of geospatial data specific to African regions, covering various themes such as agriculture, environment, infrastructure, and demographics. This data serves as a valuable resource for research, analysis, and decision-making.
  2. Collaborative Environment: The Africa Geoportal encourages collaboration among GIS professionals, researchers, and policymakers. It enables users to share their work, exchange knowledge, and engage in discussions related to geospatial topics, fostering a vibrant community.
  3. Customized Applications and Tools: The platform offers a wide range of applications and tools tailored to address specific challenges faced by African countries. These applications facilitate efficient data analysis, mapping, and visualization, empowering users to derive meaningful insights.
  4. Support for Open Standards: The Africa Geoportal adheres to open standards, promoting interoperability and seamless integration with various GIS software and services. This ensures compatibility and ease of use for users with different GIS backgrounds.


ESRI’s decision to remove public sharing capabilities from ArcGIS Developer accounts has significant consequences for developers and users alike. While this change presents challenges, it also encourages the exploration of alternative platforms such as the Africa Geoportal.

By leveraging Africa Geoportal’s diverse data, collaborative environment, customized applications, and support for open standards, developers and users can continue their GIS work, foster collaboration, and contribute to the geospatial community.

As the GIS landscape evolves, it becomes increasingly vital to adapt to new opportunities and embrace alternative solutions for achieving our geospatial goals.

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About the Author


Kumbirai is a freelance GIS Analyst and GIS Developer with innovative skills and interests in spatial epidemiology, Web-based GIS applications for sustainability, Space technology, Exploration, and Inclusive and Digital Land Information Systems all towards the attainment and achievement of the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

He is also a true believer of the power of location and geospatial intelligence to CHANGE THE WORLD in making it better for us ALL.

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