What is a tiled layer?
ArcGIS for Server provides a map cache service, which is a regular map service that has been enhanced to serve maps very quickly using a cache of static images. The map cache is a directory that contains image tiles of a map extent at specific scale levels. ArcGIS Runtime applications can use a map service to access this tile cache through virtual directories. A complete cached map service uses the following components to do its work:
- Cache—Composed of a map service cache directory that contains a hierarchical collection of cached tiles (images) and a file (conf.xml) that contains a description of the cache called a tiling scheme.
- Web server—Hosts the actual map service, a web virtual cache directory referencing the actual cache directory, and a tile handler service used when the virtual cache directory is not directly accessible.
- ArcGIS for Server—Hosts map service instances that provide information about the map cache, serve query and data operations, and in some cases, provide map tiles when the cache is unavailable.
A tiled layer is also the target layer for local tile package (.tpk) files. With the path to a local tile package, you can create a local tiled layer, which is a kind of tiled layer where instead of the tiles being stored online, as is the case for a tiled layer from a map service, they are all available locally on your machine. Tile packages are thus ideal in a disconnected environment or when network connectivity is limited, and are also great for sharing cached maps between colleages in a work group, across departments in an organization, or with any other ArcGIS user with ArcGIS Online. For more information on tile packages, please see About tile packages.