Hosted layers

You can publish your maps and data as hosted layers to ArcGIS Online. When you do this, ArcGIS Online takes care of hosting your layers and the data that populates them. Hence, these are called hosted layers. Web, desktop, and mobile apps can access your ArcGIS Online hosted layers from anywhere on the internet if you choose to allow it.

ArcGIS Online hosted layers are useful when you need to expose a map or dataset on the web but do not have your own ArcGIS Server site. It's also an easy way to share certain maps with an internet audience if your own ArcGIS Server site cannot be made public.

Prerequisites to publish hosted layers

You must have the following to publish hosted layers:

  • An account that is part of an ArcGIS Online organization
  • Privileges to create content and publish hosted layers

Types of hosted layers

You can publish the following types of hosted layers:

Feature layers

Hosted feature layers support vector feature querying, visualization, and editing. Hosted feature layers are most appropriate for visualizing data on top of your basemaps. In web apps, hosted feature layers are drawn by the browser and support interactive highlighting, queries, and pop-ups.

See Publish hosted feature layers for more information.

Once you publish a hosted feature layer, you can create views of the data in the feature layer. Hosted feature layer views reference the same data as the hosted feature layer used to create the view, but you can apply different editing, sharing, and other settings to the view. See Create hosted feature layer views for more information.

Feature layer views

If you have publishing privileges and need a different view of your hosted feature layer beyond changing its style and presentation—for example, you want to apply different editing capabilities or share the data with different groups—you can create a hosted feature layer view from your hosted feature layer. A hosted feature layer view is similar to a copy of a layer but is more powerful because it allows you to control more than how the layer is displayed. For example, you can create a hosted feature layer view when you need to support different editing capabilities for different groups of people. Many organizations need to share data with the public and simultaneously allow members in the organization to keep that data up to date. Hosted feature layer views provide a direct way to do this. When you publish your hosted feature layer, you can share it with particular members of your organization who need to edit it. Then, for the general public, you can create a hosted feature layer view that references the original hosted feature layer but with editing disabled. Because the two layers share the same data, as members edit the original hosted feature layer, the general public will see those changes immediately.

WFS layers

Hosted WFS layers are read-only views of hosted feature layers. WFS layers follow the OGC WFS specification. A hosted WFS layer and the hosted feature layer from which you publish it share the same data and initial metadata.

See Publish hosted OGC layers for more information.

OGC feature layers

Hosted OGC feature layers are read-only views of hosted feature layers. OGC feature layers follow the OGC API feature specification.

See Publish hosted OGC layers for more information.

Tile layers

Hosted tile layers support fast map visualization using a collection of predrawn map images, or tiles. These tiles are created and stored on the server after you upload your data. Hosted tile layers are appropriate for basemaps that give your maps geographic context. You can use tile layers published from hosted feature layers to visualize a large number of features at one time, and you can keep the tile layer in sync with changes to the feature data.

See Publish hosted tile layers from features for information on publishing tile layers from your hosted feature layers. See Publish hosted tile layers for information on publishing tile layers from files.

Vector tile layers

A vector tile layer references a set of web-accessible tiles containing 2D and 3D content and the corresponding style for how those tiles should be drawn. The combination of tile access performance and vector drawing allows the tiles to adapt to any resolution of the display, which may vary across devices.

See Publish hosted vector tile layers to learn more.

WMTS layers

Hosted WMTS are OGC-compliant views of hosted tile layers. All hosted tile layers on ArcGIS Online that are shared with the public can be accessed using the OGC WMTS protocol. The publisher of the hosted tile layer does not have to perform any special operations to enable WMTS. To access a hosted tile layer using the WMTS protocol, open the layer's details page and open the URL for the tile layer. The page that opens contains a WMTS URL link to the WMTS capabilities document that can be used to access layer tiles in apps that support WMTS.

Scene layers

Hosted scene layers support fast map visualization of three-dimensional data using a collection of cached tiles as well as an associated hosted feature layer. The tiles and feature layers are created when you publish 3D data from ArcGIS Pro, or you can publish a scene layer from an existing hosted feature layer in ArcGIS Online.

See Publish hosted scene layers for more information.

Imagery layers

Hosted imagery layers are image services that are hosted in ArcGIS Online. They support a large number of raster types and image products so you can create, share, and analyze your remote sensing imagery and raster data.

See Publish hosted imagery layers for more information.

Elevation layers

Hosted elevation layers are imagery layers that have been rendered as cached image tiles in the Limited Error Raster Compression (LERC) format. They provide customized elevation surfaces in your scenes to provide heights for the 3D layers in your scenes.

See Publish hosted elevation layers for more information.

Hosted layer dependencies

Hosted layers have dependencies on the items from which you create them. For example, if you publish a hosted feature layer from a shapefile you uploaded, deleting the shapefile will prevent you from performing such operations as overwriting the hosted feature layer. If you publish a hosted feature layer from ArcGIS Pro, a service definition file is created and added to My Content. If you delete the service definition file, you cannot overwrite the service by republishing from ArcGIS Pro.

Similarly, if you publish other hosted layers from a hosted feature layer, you create a dependency between the layers. You can publish all of the following hosted layers from a primary hosted feature layer:

  • Tile layer
  • Vector tile layer
  • OGC feature layer
  • WFS layer
  • Scene layer
  • Feature layer view

These dependent hosted layers have a relationship with the hosted feature layer from which you create them.

  • Hosted OGC feature, WFS, and feature layer views reference the data in the hosted feature layer used to publish them; therefore, they are entirely dependent on the hosted feature layer for access to the data.
  • Hosted tile layers (raster tiles) are dependent on the hosted feature layer to populate pop-ups.
  • Dependent layers and their primary hosted feature layer must have the same owner. As an administrator, reassign ownership of the primary hosted feature layer first. When you do that, ownership of all dependent layers (and the file used to generate the primary hosted feature layer) will be owned by the same member.
  • You must delete all dependent layers before you can delete the hosted feature layer from which you created them.

These dependencies extend to layers you publish from hosted feature layer views. The hosted layers you publish from a hosted feature layer view are related to both the view and the hosted feature layer from which the view was created. You must delete the dependent layers before you can delete the hosted feature layer view.

The Created from value under Details on the hosted layer's item page tells you which layer or file was used to publish the hosted layer. The Published as and Other Views values indicate which other hosted layers have been published or views created from the hosted feature layer.

Clients that can use hosted layers

Hosted layers communicate through the well-known GeoServices REST Specification and can consequently be used by Esri and third-party apps. You can view your services in Map Viewer, and you can also make your own app using ArcGIS Runtime SDK, ArcGIS Configurable Apps templates, or ArcGIS Web AppBuilder. Other supported client apps include ArcGIS Field Maps, ArcMap, and ArcGIS Pro.

Access to hosted layers

By default, hosted layers are private when published and are only accessible to the person who published them. Hosted layers do not appear in search results and aren't part of any group by default. You can make your hosted layers available to specific groups on ArcGIS Online, all members of your organization, or to the general public. See Share items for more information.