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Publish hosted feature layers

As a publisher in your organization, you can host feature data in ArcGIS Online by publishing hosted feature layers. ArcGIS Online supports multiple sources to allow you to accomplish this. Use any of the following to publish a hosted feature layer:

Feature layers are useful when you need to expose vector data for display, query, and editing on the web or when you want to share a table of nonspatial attributes. Hosting a feature layer on ArcGIS Online is one way to share data with an Internet audience if your own ArcGIS Server site cannot be made public. Maps, apps, and desktop map viewers can access your services from anywhere on the Internet if you choose to allow it.

Feature layers are most appropriate for operational layers that go on top of reference layers, such as a basemap. For example, a feature layer might contain information about the street signs in your neighborhood. Each feature (street sign) might include the sign name, date installed, and a website URL for reporting problems to your local street department.

When publishing a CSV file, shapefile, GeoJSON file, feature collection, or file geodatabase, ArcGIS Online automatically sets the optimal visible range based on the data. When publishing a map from ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online honors the existing scale range configured during the authoring process. When you create an empty hosted feature layer, it inherits the visible range of the feature layer or template you used to create it. To change the scale visibility of the hosted feature layer, open the layer in Map Viewer and set the visible range.

To complete the steps in the following sections, you must have privileges to publish hosted feature layers and create content.

Publish a CSV file

To web enable feature layers from CSV files, you upload them to ArcGIS Online and have them hosted as services. These services are referred to as hosted feature layers. This is a useful workflow if you do not have any ArcGIS products installed locally.

The steps below outline how to publish features or tables from ArcGIS Online using a CSV file. Features are published in the WGS 1984 Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere) coordinate system.

Note:

To increase loading and publishing performance, ArcGIS Online reads the values in the first 10 rows of the CSV file to determine the data type and length to display for each field in the Add an item from my computer window. Any string fields with a length less than 256 will be increased to a length of 256 in the hosted feature layer. If any values on the field exceed 256, the length of the field in the hosted feature layer is increased.

The following steps explain how to add a CSV file from your local drive and publish. For instructions on accessing and publishing a file from a cloud drive, see Add items.

  1. Verify that you are signed in and that you have privileges to create content and publish hosted feature layers.
  2. Open Content > My Content, click Add Item, and click From my computer.
  3. Click Choose File or Browse (the button name varies by web browser) and find the file on your computer.
  4. Select the file and click Open.
  5. CSV files must be formatted and saved as .csv.

  6. Type a title.
  7. If your organization has set up content categories, click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to help people find your item. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
  8. Type tag terms separated by commas.

    Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item and help people find your item when searching. Federal land is considered one tag, while Federal,land is considered two tags.

  9. Leave the Publish this file as a hosted layer box checked.
    Note:

    If you uncheck this box, your data file is added to My Content, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can, however, publish the file later by clicking Publish on its item page.

  10. Choose which information in your file ArcGIS Online should use to locate features.
    • Choose Coordinates if your file contains latitude/longitude, Military Grid Reference System (MGRS), or United States National Grid (USNG) coordinates.
    • Choose Addresses or Places if your file contains place names—for example, Westminster Abbey or Panama Canal—or addresses. By default, ArcGIS Online locates addresses based on your organization's region.
    • To create a nonspatial table layer, choose None, add as table.
  11. If you are locating features based on Addresses or Places and your organization has multiple locators configured, choose the locator to use.
  12. If your file contains addresses or places in a country other than the one set for your organization's region, select that country from the In drop-down list. If your file contains addresses from multiple countries or from a country not in the list, select World.
  13. Review the field types and location fields (if any exist). If ArcGIS Online can identify which fields contain location information, location fields are automatically set. Field types are also set automatically. However, you can change either of these if necessary by clicking inside the cell.
    1. Click a Field Type cell to choose a different type.
    2. Click a Location Field cell to choose a different field.
  14. Choose a Time Zone for the date fields in your CSV file.

    By default, date fields are assumed to contain UTC date and time. If your date fields store values that use a different time zone, choose that time zone. Note that the time zone you select is applied to all date fields in the CSV file. If you later overwrite the hosted feature layer using updated data, the time zone specified when you initially published is used.

    See CSV, TXT, and GPX files for information on time zone considerations and supported date and time formats.

    Tip:

    You can configure pop-ups to display time.

  15. Click Add Item.

The data file and the feature layer are separately added to My Content. One way to test the new hosted feature layer once publishing completes is to view it in Map Viewer.

If you published a CSV file containing addresses or places, you can review and correct any records that were not placed on the map or were placed incorrectly. You can immediately review the locations in Map Viewer, or choose to review them at a later time. See Review locations for more information.

By default, only you and the administrator can access the hosted feature layer. To allow others to access it, share the layer and file with everyone (the public), your organization, or members of specific groups. You can edit item details and change feature layer settings.

If you want to share the hosted feature layer as a copy in a distributed collaboration, you must enable synchronization.

Publish an Excel file

You can upload an Excel file (.xlsx or .xls) to ArcGIS Online and publish a hosted layer from one of the worksheets. If the worksheet contains latitude and longitude information, coordinates, place names, or addresses, you can publish a hosted feature layer from the worksheet. Features are published in the WGS 1984 Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere) coordinate system. If no spatial information is present in the worksheet, you can publish a table layer.

The following steps explain how to add an Excel file from your local drive and publish. For instructions on accessing and publishing a file from a cloud drive, see Add items.

  1. Verify that you are signed in and that you have privileges to create content and publish hosted feature layers.
  2. Open Content > My Content, click Add Item, and click From my computer.
  3. Click Choose File or Browse (the button name varies by web browser) and find the file on your computer.
  4. Select the file and click Open.
  5. Type a title.
  6. If your organization has set up content categories, click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to help people find your item. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
  7. Type tag terms separated by commas.

    Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item and help people find your item when searching. Federal land is considered one tag, while Federal,land is considered two tags.

  8. Leave the Publish this file as a hosted layer box checked.
    Note:

    If you uncheck this box, your data file is added to My Content, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can, however, publish the file later by clicking Publish on its item page.

  9. If your file contains multiple worksheets, choose the one you want to publish from the Publish this Excel sheet drop-down list.

    By default, the first sheet in the spreadsheet is published.

  10. Choose which information in your file ArcGIS Online should use to locate features.
    • Choose Coordinates if your file contains latitude/longitude, Military Grid Reference System (MGRS), or United States National Grid (USNG) coordinates.
    • Choose Addresses or Places if your file contains place names—for example, Westminster Abbey or Panama Canal—or addresses. By default, ArcGIS Online locates addresses based on your organization's region.
    • To create a nonspatial table layer, choose None, add as table.

  11. If you are locating features based on Addresses or Places and your organization has multiple locators configured, choose the locator to use.
  12. If your file contains addresses, use the Country drop-down list to specify the country in which the addresses are located. If your file contains addresses from multiple countries or from a country not in the list, select World.
  13. Review the location fields (if any exist). If ArcGIS Online can identify which fields contain location information, it sets them automatically. However, you can change location fields if necessary by clicking inside the cell.
  14. Choose a Time Zone for the date fields in the file.

    By default, date fields are assumed to contain UTC date and time. If your date fields store values that use a different time zone, choose that time zone. Note that the time zone you select is applied to all date fields in the file. If you later overwrite the hosted feature layer using updated data, the time zone specified when you initially published is used.

    Tip:

    You can configure pop-ups to display time.

  15. Click Add Item.

The data file and the feature layer are separately added to My Content. One way to test the new hosted feature layer once publishing completes is to view it in Map Viewer.

If you published an Excel file containing addresses or places, you can review and correct any records that were not placed on the map or were placed incorrectly. You can immediately review the layer in Map Viewer, or choose to review it at a later time. See Review locations for more information.

By default, only you and the administrator can access the hosted feature layer. To allow others to access it, share the layer and file with everyone (the public), your organization, or members of specific groups. You can edit item details and change feature layer settings.

If you want to share the hosted feature layer as a copy in a distributed collaboration, you must enable synchronization.

Publish a Google Sheet

You can access Google Driveto publish content from a Google Sheet. Features are published in the WGS 1984 Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere) coordinate system. If no spatial information is present in the worksheet, you can publish a table layer.

  1. From the My Content tab of the content page, click Add Item and click From cloud drive.
  2. Click Google Drive and sign in to your Google account.
  3. Search for or browse to the file you want to publish.

    You can filter by file type to narrow the search results.

  4. Click the file you want to publish.
  5. Type a title.
  6. Type tag terms separated by commas.

    Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item and help people find your item when searching. Federal land is considered one tag, while Federal,land is considered two tags.

  7. Type a summary that describes the data.
  8. If your organization has set up content categories, click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to help people find your item. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
  9. If you are publishing a Google Sheet that contains multiple sheets, choose the one you want to publish from the Publish this sheet drop-down list.

    By default, the first sheet is published.

  10. Choose which information in your file ArcGIS Online should use to locate features.
    • Choose Coordinates if your file contains latitude/longitude, Military Grid Reference System (MGRS), or United States National Grid (USNG) coordinates.
    • Choose Addresses or Places if your file contains place names—for example, Westminster Abbey or Panama Canal—or addresses. By default, ArcGIS Online locates addresses based on your organization's region.
    • To create a nonspatial table layer, choose None, add as table.
  11. If you are locating features based on Addresses or Places and your organization has multiple locators configured, choose the locator to use.
  12. If your file contains addresses, use the Country drop-down list to specify the country in which the addresses are located. If your file contains addresses from multiple countries or from a country not in the list, select World.
  13. Review the location fields (if any exist). If ArcGIS Online can identify which fields contain location information, it sets them automatically. However, you can change location fields if necessary by clicking inside the cell.
  14. Choose a Time Zone for the date fields in the file.

    By default, date fields are assumed to contain UTC date and time. If your date fields store values that use a different time zone, choose that time zone. Note that the time zone you select is applied to all date fields in the file. If you later overwrite the hosted feature layer using updated data, the time zone specified when you initially published is used.

    Tip:

    You can configure pop-ups to display time.

  15. Click Publish.

The feature layer is added to My Content. One way to test the new hosted feature layer once publishing completes is to view it in Map Viewer.

By default, only you and the administrator can access the hosted feature layer. To allow others to access it, share the layer with specific groups, your organization, or the public. You can edit item details and change feature layer settings.

If you want to share the hosted feature layer as a copy in a distributed collaboration, you must enable synchronization.

Publish a shapefile or GeoJSON file

To web enable feature layers from shapefiles (packaged in a .zip file) or GeoJSON files (.geojson or .json), upload your files to Esri's cloud and have them hosted as services. These services are referred to as hosted feature layers. This is a useful workflow if you do not have any ArcGIS products installed locally.

To publish a GeoJSON file, the file must be smaller than 100 MB.

The steps below outline how to publish features from ArcGIS Online using a shapefile or GeoJSON file. The features are published in the WGS 1984 Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere) coordinate system.

  1. Verify that you are signed in and that you have privileges to create content and publish hosted feature layers.
  2. Open Content > My Content, click Add Item, and click From my computer.
  3. Click Choose File or Browse (the button name varies by web browser) and find the file on your computer.
  4. Select the file and click Open.
  5. Shapefiles must be compressed as a .zip file containing at least the .shp, .shx, and .dbf files. If your shapefile does not include a .prj file and the x,y domain extent is between -180 and 180 degrees, the features are published in the GCS_WGS_1984 coordinate system. If the data is not within this extent, an error occurs, and you must delete the feature layer.

    If there are multiple shapefiles in the .zip file, they are all included in the feature layer.

  6. When you add a .zip file, you must specify the type of content in the file. Choose the data format from the Contents drop-down menu.

    You cannot upload the file if the wrong content type is specified.

  7. Type a title.
  8. If your organization has set up content categories, click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to help people find your item. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
  9. Type tag terms separated by commas.

    Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item and help people find your item when searching. Federal land is considered one tag, while Federal,land is considered two tags.

  10. Leave the Publish this file as a hosted layer box checked.
    Note:

    If you uncheck this box, your data file is added to My Content, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can, however, publish the file later by clicking Publish on its item page.

  11. Click Add Item.

The data file and the feature layer are separately added to My Content. One way to test the new hosted feature layer once publishing completes is to view it in Map Viewer.

If you publish a shapefile or shapefiles that contain metadata, that metadata is included in the layers in the hosted feature layer. When viewed from ArcGIS Online, the metadata is displayed in the metadata style configured for the organization.

By default, only you and the administrator can access the hosted feature layer. To allow others to access it, share the layer and file with everyone (the public), your organization, or members of specific groups. You can edit item details and change feature layer settings.

If you want to share the hosted feature layer as a copy in a distributed collaboration, you must enable synchronization.

Tip:

If you edit features in the shapefile from a desktop application, you can upload the edited shapefile and replace the data in the hosted feature layer.

Publish a feature collection

If your data needs to be edited by multiple people, you can publish your feature collection as a hosted feature layer, share the layer, enable editing on it, and use the feature layer in your map.

Note:

If you alter symbology for individual points in the feature collection, that symbology change is not preserved when you publish the feature collection as a hosted feature layer.

  1. Open the item details of the feature collection you want to publish as a hosted feature layer.
  2. Click Publish.
  3. Use the default title for the hosted feature layer or type a new one.
  4. If your organization has set up content categories, click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to help people find your item. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
  5. Type tag terms separated by commas.

    Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item and help people find your item when searching. public buildings is considered one tag, while public,buildings is considered two tags.

  6. Click Publish to create the hosted feature layer.

A hosted feature layer is created and added to your content.

Now you can share the hosted layer, enable editing, and add the feature layer to your map.

Publish the contents of a file geodatabase

To web enable a feature layer from a file geodatabase (packaged in a .zip file), you can upload the zipped file geodatabase to Esri's cloud and have its contents hosted as a service. This service is referred to as a hosted feature layer.

Publishing file geodatabase contents is a useful workflow if the geodatabase contains only a few datasets.

You can publish the following data types from a file geodatabase to a hosted feature layer:

  • Feature classes (x- and y-coordinates; m- and z-coordinates are dropped)
  • Tables
  • Attachments
  • Relationship classes

The features are published in the WGS 1984 Web Mercator (Auxiliary Sphere) coordinate system.

Other data types—such as rasters, networks, and parcel fabrics—remain in the geodatabase but are not included in the published hosted feature layer. Domains also remain in the geodatabase but are not accessible from the hosted feature layer.

Hosted feature layers created from file geodatabases cannot be shared in distributed collaborations.

Follow these steps to add a file geodatabase to the website and publish its contents as a hosted feature layer.

  1. Verify that you are signed in and that you have privileges to create content and publish hosted feature layers.
  2. Open Content > My Content, click Add Item, and click From my computer.
  3. Click Choose File or Browse (the button name varies by web browser), and find the file on your computer.

    The file geodatabase must be in a .zip file.

  4. Select the file and click Open.
  5. When you add a .zip file, you must specify the type of content in the file. Choose the data format from the Contents drop-down menu.

    You cannot upload the file if the wrong content type is specified.

  6. Type a title.
  7. If your organization has set up content categories, click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to help people find your item. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
  8. Type tag terms separated by commas.

    Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item and help people find your item when searching. Federal land is considered one tag, while Federal,land is considered two tags.

  9. Leave the Publish this file as a hosted layer box checked.
    Note:

    If you uncheck this box, the file geodatabase is added to My Content, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can publish it later by clicking Publish on its item page.

  10. Click Add Item.

The supported data in your file geodatabase is published as a hosted feature layer. It may take some time to upload the file and publish. Once publishing completes, you can test the new feature layer by viewing it in Map Viewer.

If the feature classes in the file geodatabase contain metadata, that metadata is included in the layers in the hosted feature layer. For each layer that has metadata, you can view and edit the metadata from ArcGIS Online, and the metadata is displayed in the metadata style configured for the organization.

By default, only you and the administrator can access the hosted feature layer. To allow others to access it, share the layer and file with everyone (the public), your organization, or members of specific groups. You can edit item details and change feature layer settings.

Tip:

If you edit features in the feature classes in your file geodatabase from a desktop application, you can upload the edited file geodatabase and replace the data in the hosted feature layer.

Publish photos with locations

You can upload a compressed file (.zip file) containing photos that have geotags, and publish a hosted feature layer. ArcGIS Online creates points in the hosted feature layer based on the GPS information in each photo's geotag. The photos are stored as attachments to these points. No point is created for any photo in the file that does not include GPS information.

You can upload a .zip file that contains JPEG image files that are tagged using standard Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) GPS information only.

Follow these steps to add a collection of images to ArcGIS Online and publish a point hosted feature layer with the images stored as attachments.

  1. Verify that you are signed in and that you have privileges to create content and publish hosted feature layers.
  2. Open Content > My Content, click Add Item, and click From my computer.
  3. Click Choose File or Browse (the button name varies by web browser), and find the file on your computer.

    The images must be in a .zip file.

  4. When you add a .zip file, you must specify the type of content in the file. Choose the data format from the Contents drop-down menu.

    You cannot upload the file if the wrong content type is specified.

  5. Select the file and click Open.
  6. Type a title.
  7. If your organization has set up content categories, click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to help people find your item. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
  8. Type tag terms separated by commas.

    Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item and help people find your item when searching. Federal land is considered one tag, while Federal,land is considered two tags.

  9. Leave the Publish a hosted feature layer from photos with locations box checked.
    Note:

    If you uncheck this box, the file is added to My Content as an image collection, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can publish later by clicking Publish on the image collection item's page.

  10. Click Add Item.

A point for each geotagged photo is created in the hosted feature layer. Once publishing completes, you can test the new feature layer by viewing it in Map Viewer.

By default, only you and the administrator can access the hosted feature layer. To allow others to access it, share the layer and file with everyone (the public), your organization, or members of specific groups. You can edit item details and change feature layer settings.

Publish from ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap

You can publish a feature layer from ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap to be hosted on ArcGIS Online. When you publish a hosted feature layer, data is copied from your data source to ArcGIS Online. The published hosted feature layer references the data in ArcGIS Online, not the data source.

An Internet connection is required to publish from ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap to ArcGIS Online. The speed and bandwidth of your connection affect the time it takes to publish the feature layer.

By default, editing is not enabled on hosted feature layers. You can enable editing from ArcMap when you initially publish or overwrite an existing feature layer. Alternatively, you can enable editing on the hosted feature layer after publishing.

Beginning with ArcGIS Pro 2.2, metadata that you define on the feature classes in the map is included in the layers in the hosted feature layer. For each layer that has metadata, you can view and edit the metadata in ArcGIS Online, and the metadata is displayed in the metadata style configured for the organization.

Note:

  • If the layers in the ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro map have definition queries applied to them, ArcGIS applies the definition queries to the published hosted feature layer. However, all data is uploaded to ArcGIS Online. If you want only a subset of the data to be published to and stored in ArcGIS Online, you must export the subset of the data to another feature class and publish that.
  • Web browsers cannot display some of the more complex cartographic symbols used when authoring a map in ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap. Most symbol types are available, but some symbols may be downgraded when you publish them. See Author maps to publish feature services in the ArcGIS Server help for more details about which symbols are supported. Make any required changes to your map symbology prior to publishing.
  • You can define a geographic transformation for the hosted feature layer to use for real-time reprojections with ArcGIS Online basemaps.

Follow the steps in the ArcGIS Pro help or ArcMap help to publish a hosted feature layer from these applications.

Create from a template or existing feature layer

To duplicate layer properties while allowing members of your organization to populate the new layer with new features, create a hosted feature layer from an existing feature layer or template.

For example, you may have a feature layer displaying the perimeter of an existing wildfire. When a new wildfire occurs, you can create an empty feature layer from your existing one. You can then populate the new layer with the boundary and attributes of the new wildfire.

Alternatively, you can use a template in the Build a layer category to create an empty hosted feature layer without using the schema of an existing layer. In this scenario, you add fields, define attribute lists and ranges, define feature templates, and configure other settings that you require after you create the hosted feature layer.

Follow these steps to create a hosted feature layer from a template or another feature layer.

  1. Verify that you are signed in with an account that has privileges to create content and publish hosted feature layers, and click the My Content tab of the content page.
  2. Click Create and choose Feature Layer.
  3. Choose an existing feature layer that contains the layers and schema you want to apply to the new feature layer. This step doesn't add or copy any features to your new hosted feature layer; you're only defining the layers and schema of the new hosted feature layer.

    There are several approaches you can take:

    • Click the From Template tab, select one of the template feature layers provided by Esri, and click Create.
    • Click the Existing Layer tab to use a hosted feature layer from your organization. Search for or browse to the existing feature layer you want to use, select it, and click Create.
    • Click the From URL tab, type the URL of an existing feature layer, and click Next.

    No matter which approach you take, check the box next to each layer you want to include in your new feature layer. You must choose at least one layer. To rename a layer, click it and type a new name.

    Click Capture GPS receiver information to add GPS metadata fields to point layers and store GPS information such as receiver name, accuracy, and fix type. When you edit the layer in Collector for ArcGIS, GPS metadata is recorded automatically. For more information about GPS metadata, see Prepare for high-accuracy data collection in the Collector for ArcGIS help.

    When you finish choosing layers, click Next.

  4. Define the default extent you want for your new feature layer by panning and zooming on the map presented on the New Hosted Feature Layer dialog box, or type the latitude and longitude coordinates. When you finish, click Next.

    This step helps you narrow the scope of the layer when it is first edited.

  5. Type a title, tags, and summary for the new hosted feature layer.
  6. If your organization has set up content categories, click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to help people find your item. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
  7. Choose the folder in which to store the new hosted feature layer. Click Done to publish the new layer.

    The item details page of your new hosted feature layer appears.

  8. Note:

    By default, editing, synchronization, and editor tracking are enabled on your new hosted feature layer, making it ready for data collection. If you don't want other people to edit it immediately, disable editing by unchecking the Enable editing check box on the Settings tab of the hosted feature layer's item page.

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