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Manage hosted feature layers

You can alter some settings on the hosted feature layer, while others are set on individual layers within the hosted feature layer. The following sections describe how the owner of a hosted feature layer, or an administrator, can manage the settings for a hosted feature layer and the layers it contains.

Tip:

The settings that allow people to take data offline, add attachments to features, or export data apply to anyone who can access your hosted feature layer. Take this into consideration when you share your layer.

Manage editor settings

As the owner of a hosted feature layer, or an administrator, you can allow others to edit the hosted feature layer. If you allow others to edit, you can also record editors' logins and further restrict feature access based on those logins.

The owner of the hosted feature layer can edit the layer even if editing is not enabled on the layer.

Allow others to edit

As the owner of a hosted feature layer or an administrator in the organization, you control what edits can be made to a hosted feature layer, if any. You can configure the layer to keep track of when and by whom edits are made on each feature in the layer. If you choose to track edits on a hosted feature layer, edits will be tracked for all editable views you create from the hosted feature layer.

Follow these steps to enable editing and specify what types of edits can be made:

  1. Open the details page of the hosted feature layer that you want to allow others to edit.
  2. Click the Settings tab.
  3. Scroll to the Feature Layer (Hosted) Settings or Feature Layer (Hosted, View) Settings section and check Enable editing.
  4. Check Keep track of created and updated features to track changes made to the hosted feature layer's spatial and nonspatial attributes.

    Keep track of created and updated features allows applications to determine what features have been added, updated, or deleted.

    If you enable Keep track of created and updated features, you cannot subsequently overwrite the hosted feature layer.

    Also note that if you publish a hosted tile layer from a hosted feature layer with this set, and the hosted tile layer is configured to build tiles automatically, you cannot disable Keep track of created and updated features on the hosted feature layer.

  5. Check Keep track of who created and last updated features to track editors' logins and further control what editors can see and do with hosted feature layers.

    Hosted feature layer views inherit this setting from the hosted feature layer from which they are created and cannot be configured independently. To enable or disable editor tracking for a hosted feature layer view, change the editor tracking setting on the hosted feature layer from which the view was created.

  6. Choose one of the following options for the What kind of editing is allowed? setting:
    • Choose Add, update, and delete features to allow editors to add, update, and delete feature geometry and alter the attributes of features.
    • Choose Only update feature attributes if you want editors to enter attribute information without changing any feature geometry. For example, you may have a set of observation towers whose locations should not be allowed to change but whose attributes may be updated regularly.
    • Choose Only add new features if you want editors to report new features to you and define their attributes, but you don't want them to delete or update existing features. For example, a community app that uses your feature layer to allow constituents to report broken water lines or inoperable streetlights would fall into this category. You want the constituents to report and describe new incidents but not change or delete the information reported by other constituents.

      If you don't want editors to see any features, including those they add, choose Editors can't see any features, even those they add under the What features can editors see? setting. Enable this option when the data collector doesn't need to or shouldn't see newly added features. For example, if you have people collecting survey information from the public using apps such as Survey123 for ArcGIS, as well as GeoForm or Crowd Source Polling configurable apps, you may not want the survey collector to see the information the survey respondents provide, as it could be private or sensitive information such as the respondent's home address.

      When the owner of the hosted feature layer or a member of the default administrator role adds the layer to the map with full editing control, he or she will see all features in the layer even if Editors can't see any features, even those they add is enabled. Similarly, if you share the hosted feature layer with a group configured to allow editing of all contents, members of this group will also see all features.

      Caution:

      If you enable the Editors can't see any features, even those they add option, the layer cannot be used in Collector for ArcGIS.

  7. If you configured the hosted feature layer to track who creates and edits data, you can choose to apply the following additional restrictions to the hosted feature layer or its dependent feature layer views. These are useful if your hosted feature layer or feature layer view is going to be used in crowd-sourced apps in which you want to limit what contributors see or what control each contributor has over the data.
  8. If you want editors to only see the features they create, select Editors can only see their own features (requires tracking) under the What features can editors see? setting. Enable this option if the layer contains sensitive or proprietary information such as medical records or research data for which editors might only have clearance to work with the data they collect.
  9. If you want to restrict feature edits based on the creator of the feature, select Editors can only edit their own features (requires tracking) under the What features can editors edit? setting. This allows editors to delete or modify the features they created but not delete or modify others' features.
  10. If you want anonymous users (those who access the hosted feature layer without signing in to your organization) to only be allowed to add features, select Only add new features (requires tracking) under the What access do anonymous editors (not signed in) have? setting. This prevents anonymous users from editing existing features while still allowing such edits to be made by editors who are members of your organization.

    Note:

    This setting is only applicable if the layer is shared with everyone (public). If the layer is not public, anonymous users cannot access it.

  11. Click Save at the bottom of the Settings tab.

Full editing control for owners

You can open any hosted feature layer you own in Map Viewer with editing enabled. You can do this regardless of whether the feature layer is editable by other people. This allows you to use a single feature layer for both public display and internal edits.

To enable editing, open the hosted feature layer's details page, click the Open button, and click Add layer to new map with full editing control.

Further control of edits for layers

Sometimes you need to make a hosted feature layer available to the public or a group with a lot of members for viewing, but you only want a few members of your organization to edit it. If you enabled editing on a public hosted feature layer, anyone could edit it. Similarly, if you enabled editing on a hosted feature layer shared to a group, all members of the group could edit the hosted feature layer.

To allow the public or groups with a large number of users to see the layer but only allow a small group of people to edit it, an administrator in your organization can create a group that is configured to allow editing of all contents. Add or invite organization members to this group who you want to edit items. All items shared to this group can be updated by group members, including hosted feature layers that do not have editing enabled.

When members of the group need to edit the hosted feature layer, they must open the hosted feature layer's details and click Open > Add layer to new map with full editing control.

Full editing control for administrators

If you are a member of the default administrator role for your organization, you can open a hosted feature layer in Map Viewer with editing enabled. You can do this regardless of the editing level you have set for nonadministrators or whether the layer is editable by other people. This is useful if you need to curate or clean up a map that others are editing. It also allows you to use a single feature layer for both public display and internal edits.

To enable editing, open the hosted feature layer's details page, click the Open button, and click Add layer to new map with full editing control.

Full editing control for data curators

If you have the privilege to edit with full control, you can open an editable hosted feature layer in Map Viewer and add, update, and delete features. You can do this regardless of the editing level set on the layer. The layer must have editing enabled.

To edit, open the hosted feature layer's details page and click Open > Add layer to new map with full editing control. Note that the Add layer to new map with full editing control option is only present if the layer has editing enabled.

Allow offline editing

To work while disconnected from the network, editors need to check out data they can use while offline, make their edits, and synchronize with the hosted feature layer when they connect to the network again. To allow editors to do this, follow the steps to edit web layer details and check Enable Sync (disconnected editing with synchronization) on the Settings tab. This allows editors to get the latest updates to features at the time they connect. Any edits they made to features while disconnected will also be applied at the time they connect.

Consider the following when you enable synchronization on a layer:

  • Enabling synchronization may increase the feature storage size for the layer.
  • To enable synchronization on a hosted feature layer view, the hosted feature layer it was created from must have synchronization enabled.
  • To disable synchronization on a host feature layer that has dependent views, you must first disable synchronization on all the views.

Caution:

Do not disable synchronization until all offline users have synchronized their edits and, if they're using Collector for ArcGIS, removed the offline web maps containing the layer from their devices.

If you disable offline access to the layer data by unchecking Enable Sync (disconnected editing with synchronization), but the hosted feature layer or view participates in an offline web map, any edits made by offline users while disconnected from the network cannot be synchronized. These edits cannot be synchronized even if you enable sync again.

Also, if you disable synchronization on a hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view, open and save each map that contained the layer or view to ensure the maps reflect the state of the hosted feature layers they contain.

Allow data exports

As the owner of a hosted feature layer, or an administrator, you can export from any layer to a comma-separated values (CSV) file, Microsoft Excel file, shapefile, file geodatabase feature class, GeoJSON file, feature collection, or KML. You can also configure a hosted feature layer to allow others to export from it.

When users other than the owner or administrator export from a hosted feature layer view that has field or feature definitions applied, the exported file will only contain those fields or features that the definition allows. When the owner or administrator exports, the definitions are not applied and the exported file will contain all fields and features.

Follow these steps to allow others to export from a hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view:

  1. Sign in as the owner of the hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view, or sign in as an administrator.
  2. Open the item page for the layer you want to allow others to export.
  3. Click the Settings tab and scroll to the Feature Layer Settings section.
  4. Click Allow others to export to different formats and click Save.

Now other members of your organization can export from the hosted feature layer.

Allow attachments

You can allow editors to attach images and other files to individual features in a layer in a hosted feature layer. This is useful, as it allows you to associate documentation or photos to specific, relevant features. For example, a code compliance officer might attach a photo of the code violation for a specific address point, or a building inspector might include a PDF of a permit for a building feature.

Hosted feature layer views inherit the attachment setting of the hosted feature layer from which it was created; you cannot independently configure attachments on views. To allow or disallow attachments on views, change the setting of the hosted feature layer from which you created the view.

Each file you attach to a feature can be a maximum size of 10 MB. To attach files larger than 10 MB, you can use the Upload Part and Add Attachment operations from ArcGIS REST API to do a multipart upload.

For a list of supported file types you can attach, see Edit features.

Follow these steps to allow people to attach files to features in a layer in your hosted feature layer:

  1. Enable editing on the hosted feature layer.
  2. While still signed in to your ArcGIS Online account, open the feature layer's details page by clicking the layer in the My Content tab of the content page.
  3. Locate the Layers list on the Overview tab. Click the Enable attachments link under the layer for which you want to allow attachments.

Now, when people edit the layer, they can attach files to individual features.

If you decide you no longer want any files to be attached to your layer, click the Disable attachments link under the layer on the Overview tab of the hosted feature layer's details page. Be aware, though, that this will remove all existing attachments from the layer and prevent people from adding any more attachments.

Optimize drawing of complex lines and polygons

If your hosted feature layer includes line or polygon layers that contain a large number of vertices and is often viewed at small or medium scales, you can optimize these layers to improve drawing times in web clients. For example, a good candidate for optimization would be a layer that contains ZIP Code boundaries for a state or large region. You may want to view the ZIP Codes at smaller or medium scales to view all of the ZIP Codes at one time, and you also may want to zoom in to view detailed boundaries at large scales. Optimizing a layer such as this will increase performance at smaller and medium scales while maintaining the level of detail at larger scales.

Optimizing layers uses additional storage space, and layers cannot be edited until the layer optimization process completes. The feature storage required for optimized layers can increase by more than 100 percent; however, performance improvements can be substantial for web clients. If you decide you don't need the improved drawing times, you can disable the optimization. This immediately removes the extra storage (decreases the hosted feature layer size), and you will not incur further costs for the additional storage. You can see the size of the hosted feature layer on the Overview tab of the layer's item page.

Note:

Hosted feature layer views inherit the drawing optimization setting of the hosted feature layer from which it was created; you cannot configure this setting independently on views. To enable or disable drawing optimization on views that contain lines or polygons, change the setting of the hosted feature layer from which you created the view.

To get an idea of display performance improvements, use the following links to compare the same layer of all county boundaries in the United States. Open the layers in two different windows of the same browser, add each to Map Viewer, zoom in to the layers, and pan around. Although performance will vary by network, you will see that drawing performance is significantly better on the optimized layer.

Without drawing optimization on the layer, the hosted feature layer is 131 MB. After the layer is optimized, the hosted feature layer is 176 MB.

Optimization is most useful for line or polygon layers that include a large number of features that contain many vertices, are often viewed at smaller or medium scales, and are primarily used by web clients.

Keep in mind the following when editing or overwriting optimized layers:

  • If you edit or synchronize edits to the layer while optimization is enabled, the edits are automatically optimized.
  • When the feature layer is editable in the map, the layer is loaded without optimization to ensure the full level of data detail is present for editing. (If the feature layer is editable in Map Viewer, the Edit button will be available.)
  • If you don't need to edit the data in a specific map, disable editing for the layer in the web map. This allows you to take advantage of the drawing optimization in your view-only map, but the layer can still be edited as necessary in other maps or apps.
  • Overwriting the layer disables optimization. You'll need to follow the steps below to optimize drawing times on the layer again.

Note:

The basemap on which the feature layer is drawn must use the Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere projection (such as Esri default basemaps) to see improved drawing times. When the layer is added to basemaps with projections other than Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere, the layer is loaded without optimization.

Follow these steps to optimize drawing times for a line or polygon layer:

  1. Open the hosted feature layer's details page.
  2. Go to the Settings tab and scroll to the Optimize Layer Drawing section.
  3. Check the box next to the layer you want optimized for drawing.

    The optimization process can take several minutes to complete. Editing is temporarily disabled on the layer until optimization completes.

Enable time settings

If you have a hosted feature layer that records different information for the same location based on a date and time, you can enable time settings on layers in a hosted feature layer. Once time settings are configured and you add the hosted feature layer to a map, you can configure time settings on the map and see what happened at a specific time, or visualize patterns and trends that emerge as the data changes over time.

Overwrite hosted feature layers

To update the data in hosted feature layers published from a file geodatabase, shapefile, GeoJSON, or CSV file containing latitude and longitude information, replace the data with data from an updated source file using the Overwrite option available on the hosted feature layer's item page. For example, if your hosted feature layer is public and you don't want it to be editable, or if another department regularly sends you data updates in a shapefile, you can overwrite the data in the hosted feature layer. This maintains the URL, layer properties you set on the hosted feature layer's item page, symbology, and pop-up configurations.

Open the item page of a hosted feature layer that was published from an uploaded shapefile, file geodatabase, GeoJSON, or CSV file containing latitude and longitude information to overwrite the data in the hosted feature layer. When you overwrite the data, both the source file and the hosted feature layer data are replaced with the data from the updated source file.

If the Overwrite option isn't available, your hosted feature layer cannot be overwritten due to one of the following conditions:

  • It wasn't published from a file geodatabase, shapefile, GeoJSON file, or CSV file containing latitude and longitude information.
  • It was published from a client other than the ArcGIS Online website. For example, if you published the hosted feature layer from ArcMap, overwrite the service from ArcMap.
    Note:

    When you overwrite hosted feature layers from ArcMap, the service definition originally created with the web layer must exist in your ArcGIS Online organization.

  • It was published from a CSV file prior to March 2014.
  • Sync functionality is enabled on the hosted feature layer.
  • It's a hosted feature layer view rather than a primary hosted feature layer. To update the data in both the hosted feature layer view and hosted feature layer from which it was created, overwrite the hosted feature layer and the updates will be reflected in the view.
  • You enabled tracking created and updated features on the layer.

Caution:

  • If editing is enabled on the hosted feature layer, any edits that were made to the hosted feature layer data are replaced by the data from the updated source file.
  • The file, field, and feature class names must be the same as they were in the original file you uploaded.
  • The same fields and feature classes (in the case of file geodatabases) must be present in the updated file as were in the original file. For example, if you delete a feature class from the file geodatabase, or add a field to the shapefile or feature class, do not overwrite.
  • If you do overwrite and the fields and feature class names and schemas do not match, the feature layer and web maps that use the feature layer may not function as expected. If the source data schema has changed, or if you want to preserve the edits made through the hosted feature layer, load the shapefile, file geodatabase, or CSV file as a new item and publish a new feature layer instead.
  • The data source and hosted feature layer must be owned by the same account. If you change the owner of one, change the owner of the other. If you do not, you can't overwrite the hosted feature layer.

Sign in to the organization as the owner of the hosted feature layer or as an administrator.

  1. Sign in and click the My Content tab of the contents page (if you signed in as the hosted feature layer owner), or click the My Organization's Content tab of the contents page (if you signed in as an administrator).
  2. Click the hosted feature layer name to open its item page.
  3. Click Overwrite.
  4. Browse to the location of the source file on disk.
  5. Click Overwrite.

Define fields or features

To control what data users see, the owner of a hosted feature layer view, or an administrator, can define what fields or features are available in the view. These definitions are saved with the hosted feature layer view and allow you more control over what content people see.

For example, you might create multiple different views of a hosted feature layer containing customer information, and set different definitions for each view depending on the intended users. For a view you share with a group that will perform spatial analysis, you might hide the fields that store customer names, as the analysts don't need to know this information. For another view that you share with a group concerned with routing deliveries, you would define the view to show only features representing customers who purchased a product that had not yet been delivered.

You can set and save field or feature definitions from the Visualization tab of a hosted feature layer view's details page or add the layer or view to Map Viewer and set the definition in the Contents pane.

Be aware of the following when setting a field or feature definition for a hosted feature layer view:

  • You should only use field or feature definitions if your organization is configured to allow only standardized SQL queries. Check with the administrator of your organization to confirm that the organization has Allow only standard SQL queries enabled.
  • You cannot set a field or feature definition on a hosted feature layer if it has a dependent hosted tile layer.
  • Certain configurations are defined on individual fields. If you hide a field used to configure such things as symbology, labels, pop-ups, relationships, and time settings, those will no longer function in the layer.
  • When users other than the owner or administrator export from a hosted feature layer view that has field or feature definitions applied, the exported file will contain only those fields or features that the definition allows. When the owner or administrator exports, the definitions are not applied, and the exported file will contain all fields and features.

The following steps describe how to set a definition for a hosted feature layer view from the view's details page:

  1. Open the hosted feature layer view's details.
    • If you are the view's owner, open the details page from the My Content tab of the content page.
    • If you are an administrator, either use Search to find the view, or access the view from the My Organization's Content tab of the content page.
  2. Click the Visualization tab.
  3. Click More Options under the item and click Set View Definition.
  4. Choose the type of definition to set.
    • To restrict what features are available based on field values, click Define Features, choose a field, and define the expression that will return the features you want to make available in the view. You can apply multiple feature definitions for the same view. When you are done, click Apply Definition.
    • To define which fields are available in the view, click Define Fields and uncheck any fields you don't want people to access. Click OK when you finish defining available fields.

      Note:

      Some fields cannot be hidden using a field definition. For example, system fields required by ArcGIS Online or fields configured in a desktop client to be not nullable that do not have a default value set cannot be hidden through a field definition.

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