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Publish hosted feature layers

You can publish feature layers from any of the following to be hosted on ArcGIS Online:

You can also create a hosted feature layer from a template or another feature layer. When created in this way, the hosted feature layer does not contain data but has the properties of the template or existing feature layer you use to create it. This allows you to duplicate properties such as the schema and extent, while allowing members of your organization to populate the new layer with new features.

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 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.

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 set for each field in the hosted feature layer. ArcGIS Online sets text fields to 256 characters. Subsequent rows that contain values that do not match the field data types and lengths of the first 10 rows are not included in the hosted layer.

In the following example, the first 10 rows of a published CSV file have the properties listed in the table; therefore, the data types and maximum lengths of the fields in the hosted feature layer are created with the same properties:

field namedata typemaximum length

address_num

integer

3

street

text

256

city

text

256

state

text

256

comments

text

256

If the address_num field of row 217 contains the value 1009 Apt B, it is excluded from the hosted feature layer because it doesn't match the data type set for the address_num field. Similarly, if the comments field for row 460 contains more than 256 characters, it is excluded from the hosted feature layer because the value exceeds the maximum length for the comments field.

Check your CSV file before you publish, and move the records with the longest field lengths to the top of the file before publishing. Similarly, if your file contains both text and integer data type values in the same field, move at least one of the text fields to the top of the file before publishing and ArcGIS Online creates a text field in the hosted layer. Since you can insert numbers into a text field, none of the records in your CSV file are excluded from the hosted layer due to mismatched data types.

  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. 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. Check the Publish this file as a hosted layer check box.

    If you leave the box unchecked, your data file is added to My Content, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can, however, publish the file later. See Add items for more information.

  9. 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.
    • If you want to create a nonspatial table layer, choose None, add as table.
  10. If you are locating features based on Addresses or Places and your organization has multiple locators configured, choose which locator to use.
  11. If your file contains addresses in a country other than the one set for your organization's region, select that country from the Country drop-down list. If your file contains addresses from multiple countries or from a country not in the list, select World.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

  14. 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, the hosted layer can only be accessed by the publisher or an administrator. You can 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.

  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. 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. Check the Publish this file as a hosted layer check box.

    If you leave the box unchecked, your data file is added to My Content, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can, however, publish the file later. See Add items for more information.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.
    • If you want to create a nonspatial table layer, choose None, add as table.

  10. If you are locating features based on Addresses or Places and your organization has multiple locators configured, choose which locator to use.
  11. 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.
  12. Review the location fields (if any exist). You can change them if necessary by clicking inside the cell. 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.
  13. 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.

  14. 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, the hosted layer can only be accessed by the publisher or an administrator. You can 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 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.

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, you receive an error, 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. Type a title.
  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. Check the Publish this file as a hosted layer check box.

    If you leave the box unchecked, your data file is added to My Content, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can, however, publish the file later. See Add items for more information.

  9. 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.

By default, the hosted layer can only be accessed by the publisher or an administrator. You can 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. 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.

  5. 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

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. 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. Check the box next to Publish this file as a hosted layer.

    If you leave the box unchecked, the file geodatabase is added to My Content, but no hosted feature layer is published. You can publish later if you want. See Add items for more information.

  8. 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.

By default, the hosted layer can only be accessed by the publisher or an administrator. You can 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 from ArcGIS Pro

From ArcGIS Pro, you can publish a feature layer to be hosted on ArcGIS Online. When you publish a hosted feature layer, data is copied from you 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 perform these steps. The speed and bandwidth of your connection affect the time it takes to publish.

By default, editing is not enabled on hosted feature layers, but you can enable editing from ArcGIS Pro when you initially publish or overwrite an existing feature layer.

Tip:

  • Web browsers cannot display some of the more complex cartographic symbols used when authoring the map in ArcMap. Most symbol types are available, but some symbols may be downgraded when you publish them. See Author feature services in the ArcGIS Server help for more details about what symbols are supported. Make any required changes to your map symbology prior to publishing.
  • To reproject the data used by the hosted feature layer, either apply a geographic transformation to the data when publishing or add a coordinate system transformation to your map before publishing.

Web browsers cannot display some of the more complex cartographic symbols you might have originally used when you authored the map. Most symbol types are available but, in some cases, the symbols may be downgraded when you publish them. See Author feature services in the ArcGIS Server help for details about what symbols are supported, and make any required changes to your map symbology prior to publishing.

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro and open the project that contains the map or scene with the data you want to publish.
  2. Sign in to your organization from ArcGIS Pro using an account that has privileges to create content and publish hosted feature layers.
  3. To publish a feature layer, do one of the following:
    • Select the layers in the Contents pane. Right-click the selection set and click Share As Web Layer. When you publish selected layers, only a hosted feature layer is created on ArcGIS Online.
      Tip:

      If the Share As Web Layer menu option is not active, it could be due to one of the following:

      • You are not signed in to ArcGIS Online with an organizational account.
      • The account you signed in with does not have privileges to publish hosted feature layers.
      • You're trying to publish a multipatch layer, which is not supported.

    • To share the map and publish all of its layers, click Web Map in the Share As group of the Share tab. When you share a map using ArcGIS Pro, the map layers are also published as hosted layers.

  4. Type a name for the feature layer. The layer is saved to My Content by default. You can save to a folder in My Content by either typing the folder name or browsing to an existing folder.
  5. Accept the default Layer Type option of Features.
  6. Provide a summary and tags for the feature layer.
  7. Specify who can access the feature layer. By default, all layers you publish are shared only to your personal workspace in your organization (My Content). Your content is inaccessible to others until you share it with one or more of the following:
    • The name of your organization—This option is available when you are signed in with an organizational account. Selecting this option makes the layer accessible to all authenticated users in the organization.
    • Everyone—Selecting this option makes the layer available to the public.
    • Groups—You can share the layer with members of groups to which you belong.
  8. By default, editing is not enabled on the feature layer, it cannot be taken offline, and the data it contains cannot be exported. To allow others to perform these operations on your feature layer, click the Configuration tab, click the Configure Layers button , and check the box next to the operations you want to allow:
    • Enable Editing—This operation enables members of your organization who have edit privileges to add, update, or delete features in your hosted feature layer.
    • Enable Sync—This allows people to download maps containing the hosted feature layer, edit the data, and synchronize their changes back to the hosted feature layer. It also allows you to share the hosted feature layer in a distributed collaboration.
    • Export Data—Enabling this operation allows other members to export data from the hosted feature layer. The hosted feature layer owner and organization administrator can always export data from a hosted feature layer even if this operation is not enabled.
  9. Under Properties, you can choose to insert a default number for z-values and replace m-values with NaN values.

    Caution:

    Only insert default z-values or replace m-values with NaN values if you do not need the existing values, as the default or NaN value is inserted for any feature whose geometry you edit using a client that does not let you provide a value for those properties, such as in Map Viewer.

  10. If your source data contains date fields that include time values stored in a local time zone, click the Configure Parameters button Properties on the Configuration tab and choose the time zone that applies to your time values.

    Specifying the correct time zone allows the hosted feature layer to correctly convert date and time values when you interact with it through ArcGIS clients. If you do not specify a time zone, the layer applies the UTC time zone.

    Note that if your data contains editor tracking date fields stored in a time zone other than UTC, you must specify a time zone when publishing.

  11. Click the Content tab to confirm your feature layer includes the data layers you intended.
  12. Click Analyze to check for any errors or issues.

    If any issues are discovered, they are listed on the Messages tab. Right-click each message to get more information, read help for the error or warning, and access suggested fixes. You must fix the errors before you can publish. You have the option to fix the warnings to further improve the performance and appearance of your hosted feature layer.

  13. Once you've fixed the errors and, optionally, any warnings, click Publish.
    Note:

    Your data is copied to ArcGIS Online at this point. The size of the data and your Internet connection speed and bandwidth affect the time it takes to publish.

When publishing completes, you can click Manage the web layer to open ArcGIS Online.

Publish from ArcMap

From ArcMap, you can publish a feature layer to be hosted on ArcGIS Online. When you publish a hosted feature layer, data is copied from you data source to ArcGIS Online. The published hosted feature layer references the data in ArcGIS Online.

An Internet connection is required to perform these steps. 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.

Tip:

  • Web browsers cannot display some of the more complex cartographic symbols used when authoring the map in ArcMap. Most symbol types are available, but some symbols may be downgraded when you publish them. See Author feature services in the ArcGIS Server help for more details about what 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 on-the-fly reprojections against ArcGIS Online basemaps.

  1. Start ArcMap and open the map you want to publish.
  2. Click File > Sign In.
  3. Type your name and password for ArcGIS Online and click Sign In.
  4. Click File > Share As > Service.
  5. Choose Publish a service and click Next.
  6. In the drop-down list of connection types, choose My Hosted Services. Type a name for your feature layer and click Continue.
  7. In the left pane of the Service Editor, click Capabilities and check Feature Access to expose your map as a feature layer. You can optionally also check Tiled Mapping, although in most scenarios, you would use a different set of layers and a different map document for publishing a tile layer.

    You can click the subitem Feature Access in the left pane of the Service Editor to set advanced properties relating to what clients can do with the hosted feature layer. To learn how to adjust the types of edits that end users can make to your hosted feature layer, see Editor permissions for feature services.

  8. Set other properties that you want for your hosted feature layer. You can choose what users can do with your feature layer and take fine-grained control of it.

    For information on how to best configure your hosted feature layer for deployment, see Tuning and configuring services. Some of the properties referenced in that topic apply only to ArcGIS Server and are not applicable when working with feature layers hosted on ArcGIS Online. For example, with ArcGIS Online hosted layers, there is no option to set the minimum and maximum number of instances of the service, because Esri handles the service scaling for you.

    Tip:

    If you close the Service Editor during this session, you'll be prompted to save your work as a draft service. Draft services allow you to come back to your service configuration work at a later time. By default, draft services are saved in the Drafts folder of your connection to My Hosted Services. For more information, see About draft services.

  9. There are a few additional properties you must set that are specific to hosted feature layers. These are detailed in the following steps.
  10. In the left pane of the Service Editor, click Item Description and enter a summary and tags for your layer. You'll need to enter this information before you can publish. For more information, see Set map service properties.
  11. In the left pane of the Service Editor, click ArcGIS Online and choose with whom the feature layer should be shared. By default, your hosted feature layer is private, meaning it is only accessible to you and organization administrators. You can share it with everyone, members of your organization, or members of certain ArcGIS Online groups.
  12. In the Service Editor, click Analyze Analyze.

    This examines your map to see if it can be published. You must fix the Errors Error in the Prepare window before you can publish. Optionally, you can fix the warnings and informational messages to further improve the performance and appearance of your hosted feature layer. For more information about resolving these issues, see Analyze your GIS resource.

  13. Optionally, in the Service Editor, click Preview Preview. This can give you an idea of how your feature layer will look when viewed on the web.
  14. Once you've fixed the errors and, optionally, any warnings and messages, click Publish Publish.
    Note:

    Your data is copied to ArcGIS Online at this point. The size of the data and your Internet connection speed and bandwidth affect the time it takes to publish.

Once your feature layer is published and hosted on ArcGIS Online, you'll see it when you expand the My Hosted Services node in the Catalog window.

By default, feature layers published from an ArcMap document only return 1,000 records. This limit is configurable in the publisher dialog box when publishing a new feature layer or overwriting an existing hosted feature layer.

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

Create from a template or existing feature layer

The website allows you to create a hosted feature layer that does not contain data. You can configure this feature layer to use the extent and schema of an existing feature layer. For example, you might 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 your new wildfire.

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 open 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.

    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 Record GPS metadata 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, and choose in which folder to store it. Click Done to publish the new layer.

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

  6. Caution:

    By default, editing is enabled on your new hosted feature layer. Disable editing if you don't want other people to edit it immediately.

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