Manage hosted feature layer editing

Who can edit the contents of a hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view depends on multiple factors.

Some of these factors work in combination to produce the desired editing access.

Tip:

The term editor here refers to any member who can edit data in the layer. This is not restricted to members with the Editor user type.

Settings that control editing access

As the owner of a hosted feature layer, or an administrator, you can change the settings on the hosted feature layer or view to control whether editing is allowed and what types of edits can be made.

The settings described in this section apply only to users who are not the layer owner, not an administrator, or not a data curator. To perform the editing operations enabled on the layer, these users must be members of a default or custom role that has the privilege to edit features.

If you enable editing on the layer, you can further control editing through the following configurations:

In addition to these editing settings, you can configure the feature layer to allow people to take the feature layer offline or share it in a collaboration. Feature layers are usually taken offline or shared in a collaboration for editing purposes, but editing is not required.

Enable editing and configure the types of edits that are allowed

On the Settings tab of the hosted feature layer's item details page, layer owners or organization administrators enable editing and choose the type of editing that is allowed.

  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.

    Note:

    You cannot enable editing or synchronization on hosted feature layer views created as a result of running the Join Features tool.

  4. Check Keep track of changes to the data (add, update, delete features) to track changes made to the hosted feature layer's spatial and nonspatial attributes.

    The Keep track of changes to the data (add, update, delete features) option allows custom applications to identify which features have been added, updated, or deleted. This setting is also enabled automatically when you publish a tile layer from the hosted feature layer, because it is necessary to keep the two layers in sync.

    When this setting is enabled, changes to the feature layer are recorded in a system change log. As the size of the log increases over time, it takes up more space and uses more credits. You can periodically trim this change log to reduce its size.

    If you enable Keep track of changes to the data (add, update, delete features), you cannot subsequently overwrite the hosted feature layer.

    Also, if you publish a hosted tile layer from the hosted feature layer, and the hosted tile layer is configured to build tiles automatically, you cannot disable the Keep track of changes to the data (add, update, delete features) option on the hosted feature layer.

  5. Choose one of the following options for the What kind of editing is allowed? setting:
    • Add—Allow editors to add feature geometry. Editors can also provide attribute values when they create the feature. Once it's created, editors must have the Update privilege to change the feature or its attributes.
    • Delete—Allow editors to delete features.
    • Update—Allow editors to update feature geometry and attributes. To allow editors to update attributes only and not update feature geometry—in other words, you don't want them to move features—choose Attributes only.

      If the hosted feature layer contains multiple layers, follow these steps to allow editors to update feature geometry and attributes on some layers and update attributes only on others:

    1. Choose Attributes and geometry under the Update option.
    2. Click Manage geometry updates.
    3. Uncheck layers to restrict editors to only updating attributes for those layers. Editors can edit geometry and attributes for any layers that are checked.
    4. Click OK when you finish.
  6. Click Save at the bottom of the Settings tab.

Control edit access based on an editor's username

As the layer owner or an organization administrator, you can configure the hosted feature layer to record the username of the user who creates or updates data in the feature layer. This is useful if you need to contact editors when you have questions.

Keeping track of the username of a feature creator or an editor also allows you to restrict which features users can see or update.

  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 Keep track of who edited the data (editor name, date and time) to track editors' usernames 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.

    Now you can apply the following additional restrictions to the hosted feature layer or its dependent feature layer views. These are useful if the hosted feature layer or feature layer view is going to be used in crowdsourcing apps in which you want to limit what contributors see or what control each contributor has over the data.

  4. If you want editors to only see the features they create, select Editors can only see their own features (requires editor 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 may only have clearance to work with the data they collect.

  5. 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 editor 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 ArcGIS Survey123, you may not want the editor 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, that person sees all features in the layer even if the Editors can't see any features, even those they add option is enabled. Similarly, if you share the hosted feature layer with a group configured to allow editing of all contents (a shared update group), members of this group also see all features.

  6. To restrict feature edits based on the creator of the feature, select Editors can only edit their own features (requires editor tracking) under the What features can editors edit? setting.

    This allows editors to delete or modify the features they create but not delete or modify others' features.

  7. 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, if allowed above (requires editor tracking) under the What access do anonymous editors (not signed in) have? setting.

    This prevents anonymous users from editing existing features while still allowing these 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.

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

Control edits on a per-field basis

If you enable attribute updates on a hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view, you can further control which fields others can edit.

This field setting is configured separately for a hosted feature layer and its related hosted feature layer views.

Note:

When you configure a field so that it cannot be edited, no one can edit its contents, including you (the owner) and the organization administrator, until you enable editing again. This means that you also cannot calculate values for that field.

Because no one can edit the field, it is recommended that you create a hosted feature layer view, enable editing on it, disable field edits on specific fields for layers in the view (explained below), and share the view with groups who should edit it.

You cannot disable edits for system fields such as the object ID or shape field.

Follow these steps to disable editing for a field in a layer in a hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view:

  1. Open the details page of the editable layer that contains fields that you don't want anyone to edit.
  2. Click the Data tab and click Fields to switch to the fields view.
  3. Choose the layer you want to configure from the Layer drop-down list and click the name of the field for which you want to alter edit settings.
  4. In the Editable row of the Settings table, click Edit, uncheck Allow attribute edits to disable editing, and click Save.

    If you later decide to allow edits to this field through this hosted layer, repeat these steps but check Allow attribute edits to enable editing instead.

If you disabled editing, no one can edit the values in the specified field using this layer item.

Note:

When you change the editing setting on a field in a hosted feature layer view, the field property in the view shows that it overrides the setting from the source hosted feature layer. You can revert this and other settings to those inherited from the hosted feature layer by clicking Reset to source.

Allow or prevent editing on public layers

When you enable editing on a layer that is shared with everyone (public), anyone with access to the layer can edit it. This includes people not signed in to the organization and all organization members, even those without privileges to edit. You must decide whether to allow editing on these layers to ensure data isn't lost or corrupted. For example, you may share with the public a map that contains a feature layer showing evacuation areas, because this is important information for the public to see. But you don't want a member of the public to alter the extent of an evacuation area or delete it.

If you try to enable editing on a layer that is shared with the public or if you try to share an editable layer with the public, you will be prevented from doing so unless you enable public data collection. This helps avoid accidentally sharing an editable layer with everyone.

When you enable the Public Data Collection setting on a hosted feature layer, you essentially approve that layer to be used for public editing.

When you publish a hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view with the express purpose of using it to collect data in a public map or app, enable Public Data Collection from a hosted feature layer's Settings tab.

  1. Sign in to your organization as the layer owner or an administrator.
  2. Open the details page for the hosted feature layer for which you want to allow public editing.
  3. Click the Settings tab and scroll to the Public Data Collection section.
  4. Check Approve this layer to be shared with the public when editing is enabled and click Save.

To disable public data collection, you must either stop sharing the layer with the public or disable editing, and then you can uncheck Approve this layer to be shared with the public when editing is enabled on the layer's Settings tab.

Allow offline editing or collaboration

To allow others to take the hosted feature layer offline and work with it while disconnected from the network, or to share hosted feature layer data as a copy in a distributed collaboration, you must enable synchronization on the hosted feature layer.

When you enable synchronization, it allows offline editors to get the latest updates to features at the time they connect. Any edits they made to features while disconnected are also applied at the time they connect. It also allows changes made to the layer in the sending organization of a collaboration to be synchronized to the feature layer in the participating organizations.

  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 Sync (required for offline use and collaboration).
  4. Click Save at the bottom of the Settings tab.

Consider the following when you enable synchronization on a layer:

  • Enabling synchronization may increase the feature storage size for the layer.
  • If synchronization is enabled, you can append new features to the hosted feature layer but not update existing features using the Update Data option on the layer's details page.
  • To enable synchronization on a hosted feature layer view, the hosted feature layer it was created from must have synchronization enabled.
  • If you have multiple areas of interest defined on any layer in a hosted feature layer view, you cannot enable synchronization.
  • To disable synchronization on a hosted feature layer that has dependent views, you must first disable synchronization on all the views.
  • You cannot enable synchronization on hosted feature layer views that you created as a result of running the Join Features tool.

Caution:

Do not disable synchronization until all offline users and collaborations synchronize their edits. If the layer is used in an offline map in ArcGIS Field Maps, offline users must also remove the offline web maps containing the layer from their devices before you disable synchronization.

If you disable synchronization by unchecking the Enable Sync (required for offline use and collaboration) option, but the hosted feature layer or view participates in an offline web map or collaboration, any edits made by offline users while disconnected from the network cannot be synchronized and collaborations cannot be synchronized. These edits cannot be synchronized even if you enable sync again.

Map areas stop functioning when you disable synchronization and you must delete them. If you enable sync again and require map areas, re-create them.

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 that the maps reflect the state of the hosted feature layers they contain.

Access editing capabilities depending on role

The owner of the hosted feature layer and members of the default administrator role can edit hosted feature layers in Map Viewer Classic even if editing is not enabled on the hosted feature layer.This allows you to use a single feature layer for both public display and internal edits if only the owner or administrator need to perform edits. This is not supported in Map Viewer.

If you belong to a custom role that has the privilege to edit with full control, you're considered a data curator. A data curator can perform all editing functions (add, update, and delete features and attributes) on editable hosted feature layers no matter what level of editing is allowed on the feature layer. For example, if the hosted feature layer is configured to allow updates to attributes only, a data curator is not limited to performing only attribute updates but can also add, delete, and update features and attributes.

In all cases, owners, default administrators, and data curators must follow these steps to access full editing capabilities for a hosted feature layer:

  1. Sign in to the organization and open the hosted feature layer's details page.
  2. The options available on the Overview tab depend on which viewer is set as the default for the organization or in your profile; use the applicable option.
    • If Map Viewer is the default viewer, click Open in Map Viewer and select Open in Map Viewer Classic with full editing control.
    • If Map Viewer Classic is the default viewer, click Open in Map Viewer Classic and select Add layer to new map with full editing control.

A map opens with the layer present.

You can edit the feature layer.

Group settings that affect editing access

Sometimes you need to make a hosted feature layer available to the public or a group with many members for viewing, but you only want a few members of your organization to edit it. If you enable editing on a public hosted feature layer, anyone can edit it. Similarly, if you enable editing on a hosted feature layer shared to a group, all members of the group can edit the hosted feature layer. In most of these cases, the best practice is to create a hosted feature layer view on which you do not enable editing. You can share the read-only hosted feature layer view with the public or the group with a large number of members. Share the editable source hosted feature layer with a group that contains the few members who should edit the data.

Another alternative is for an administrator in your organization to create a group that is configured to allow editing of all content. 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.

Caution:

These shared update groups allow members to do more than edit features. Be sure you understand the extent of the functionality that members of these types of groups can access before you implement them.

When members of the group need to edit the hosted feature layer, they must open the Overview tab of the hosted feature layer's details page and click Open in Map Viewer > Open in Map Viewer Classic with full editing control or click Open in Map Viewer Classic > Add layer to new map with full editing control. The available option varies depending on which viewer is set as the default.

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