Manage hosted tile layers

Owners of hosted tile layers and administrators can manage settings and content for existing hosted tile layers. Management options vary depending on whether your layer contains raster tiles or vector tiles. The following table indicates what management options you have per layer type.

Raster tiles Hosted tile layersVector tiles Hosted vector tile layers

Set the minimum and maximum scales at which a hosted tile layer draws when added to a map.

Yes

No

Configure a hosted tile layer for use in offline maps and apps.

Yes

Yes

Define how tile updates are managed: manually or automatically to reflect changes to feature data.

Yes

No

Replace the contents of the layer using a second layer.

No*

*You can use Python API or the Replace Web Layer geoprocessing tool starting with ArcGIS Pro 2.5.

Yes

This is supported for layers published from a vector tile package or ArcGIS Pro.

Rebuild layer cache to receive updates from the associated feature layer

Yes

This is supported if you published the layer from a hosted feature layer.

No

Manage hosted raster tile layer settings

To manage minimum and maximum scales or the offline mode on hosted tile layers, the source data or the layer you published it from must be accessible. When you publish a hosted tile layer from a hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view, the tile layers inherit the visible range of the source layer. You cannot build tiles for areas that fall outside that inherited visible range.

Follow these steps to build tiles, change the visible range, allow tiles to be rebuilt for edited areas, and manage the offline mode of a hosted tile layer Raster tiles:

  1. Sign in as the owner of the web layer, an administrator, or with an account that has privileges to update all members' items.
  2. Open the hosted tile layer's item page.
  3. Click the Settings tab.
  4. Scroll to the Tile Layer (hosted) Settings section.
  5. Click Show Details to see the current status of existing tiles.
  6. Make any of the following changes:
    • Set the Visible Range option using the slider or drop-down lists to choose the minimum and maximum scales at which a hosted tile layer draws when added to a map.
    • Click Build Tiles to build tiles for the layer. When the dialog box appears, check the boxes next to the levels (scales) at which you want to generate tiles. You must choose at least one level. When you finish choosing levels, click Create Tiles.

      See the next section for more information on tile creation.

    • Check Allow this layer to be downloaded and used in an offline map to allow others to include a hosted tile layer in a map that will be taken offline. Note that you can only do this if you've created tiles for the data you want to take offline.
  7. Click Save when you finish.

Settings specific to hosted tile layers published from hosted feature layers

When you publish a hosted (raster) tile layer from a hosted feature layer or hosted feature layer view, tiles are created automatically the first time they are needed. In other words, tiles are built for a specific scale and extent the first time someone views the hosted tile layer at that scale and extent. Once tiles are generated, they are cached and immediately available to you or anyone else who views the tile layer at that scale and extent. Additionally, changes made to your feature data are automatically reflected in the hosted tile layer within a couple minutes.

Although tiles are created automatically by default, you can choose to manually build tiles for specific scales and extents. This improves display performance for the first person to view the tile layer at that scale and extent and is required if users will take the tile layer offline.

In some rare cases, you may decide to disable automatic tile creation and build tiles manually for the entire hosted tile layer. When you do this, edits made to the data in the hosted feature layer used to publish the tile layer are not reflected in the hosted tile layer.

Note:

If you published your hosted tile layer prior to June 2017, the layer is configured for building tiles manually. If you want updates in the primary hosted feature layer to appear in the dependent hosted tile layer, switch the hosted tile layer's settings to create tiles automatically.

When you publish a hosted tile layer from a hosted feature layer, you can rename the layers in the hosted tile layer.

Create tiles automatically

When you configure a hosted tile layer to create tiles automatically, ArcGIS Online creates tiles on demand as they are needed. Once created, tiles are cached and available for all subsequent views. When the primary hosted feature layer or feature layer view is edited, changes are reflected in the hosted tile layer within a couple minutes.

Tiles at smaller scales

The time it takes to generate tiles automatically depends on the feature data, specifically the amount of vertices in the feature data. The denser the feature vertices, the more it impacts tile generation time. As scales become smaller (zoomed out), more features are included in each tile, which can increase the time it takes to generate a tile. If you see delays in the time it takes to generate tiles, precreate tiles for that scale and other scales where there is a delay. Precreated tiles in automatic mode also reflect the latest feature data edits.

Build tiles for specific scales and extents

Even if your hosted tile layer is configured to create tiles automatically, you can build tiles for specific levels (scales) and extents. This workflow is ideal for generating tiles for areas you know users need or in specific areas where you expect tiles to be taken offline.

Follow these steps to build tiles for specific scales and extents:

  1. Sign in as the owner of the hosted tile layer, an administrator, or with an account that has privileges to update all members' items.
  2. Open the hosted tile layer's item page.
  3. Click the Settings tab.
  4. Scroll to the Tile Layer (Hosted) Settings section.
  5. Click Build Tiles.
  6. On the Levels tab, check the box next to the scale or scales at which you want tiles created.
  7. If you also want to limit the extent for which tiles are built, click the Define Extent tab and set the area in which tiles will be built by doing one of the following:
    • Click Draw Extent and draw a box indicating the area where tiles will be built.
    • Type the coordinates for the extent (in decimal degrees) in the Left, Right, Top, and Bottom fields.
  8. Click Create Tiles when you finish choosing levels and setting the extent.

Manually manage tiles

In most cases, you won't create tiles manually because this option prevents the hosted tile layer from automatically reflecting changes made to the data in the primary hosted feature layer. However, you may manually create tiles from a read-only feature layer that has labels saved to it, as you cannot publish a hosted tile layer in automatic mode if the primary hosted feature layer has labels saved.

To manually create tiles, click Build Tiles in Tile Layer (Hosted) Settings and select the levels and the extent needed for offline use.

Tip:

If you set your hosted tile layer to create tiles manually then change your mind, or if you published the hosted tile layer prior to June 2017, you can switch the layer to create tiles automatically. When you do this, you must choose to either delete or keep your existing tiles.

  • Delete the existing tiles if any updates have been made to the primary hosted feature layer, as those updates are not currently reflected in the hosted tile layer. Note that credits are charged when tiles are re-created.
  • Keep your existing tiles if no changes have been made to the data in the primary hosted feature layer.

Rename layers

If you publish a hosted tile layer from a hosted feature layer, you can change the name of a hosted tile layer item and the layers within the hosted tile layer.

Changing the item name or layer names in a hosted tile layer does not affect the names in the source hosted feature layer.

  1. Sign in to your organization and open the item page for the hosted tile layer.
  2. On the Overview tab, click Edit next to the item or layer name you want to change.
  3. Type a new name for the layer or item and click Save.

Manage hosted vector tile layer settings

Currently, you can enable your hosted vector tile layer for use in offline maps. Follow these steps to manage the offline mode of a hosted vector tile layer Vector tiles:

  1. Sign in as the owner of the web layer, an administrator, or with an account that has privileges to update all members' items.
  2. Open the hosted vector tile layer's item page.
  3. Click the Settings tab.
  4. Scroll to the Tile Layer (hosted) Settings section.
  5. Check Allow this layer to be downloaded and used in an offline map to allow others to include a hosted tile layer in offline apps.
  6. Click Save when you finish.

You can now add this layer to a map that is enabled for offline use.

Replace a hosted vector tile layer

Vector tile layers deliver map data as vector files and include one or more layers that are rendered on the client based on a style delivered with the layer. To update the content of a hosted vector tile layer that you published from a vector tile package or ArcGIS Pro, replace it with the content from a second layer.

The Replace Layer option allows you to replace a hosted vector tile layer in your organization with content from a second hosted vector tile layer owned by the same portal member. When you replace a hosted vector tile layer, the content of the layer is replaced with the content of the second layer. Because the item ID and URL of your layer don't change, the maps and apps that use your layer do not need to be updated to reference a new layer.

To replace a hosted vector tile layer, you must own the current hosted vector tile layer and the replacement layer. Organization administrators can also replace hosted vector tile layers, but both the replacement layer and the current layer must be owned by the same organization member.

Replacing the layer provides the following benefits:

  • You can create a replacement layer and perform quality control testing on this replacement layer without impacting users of the current hosted vector tile layer.
  • If you defined multiple styles for your current hosted vector tile layer, you can preview how each style will look with the replacement layer.
  • Replacing the contents of the current layer does not generate new tiles. Therefore, no one has to wait for the tiles to be extracted and rebuilt. Maps and apps that use the current layer will continue to work as expected after you replace the layer's contents. If your current layer is shared with the public, updates may take up to an hour to display due to caching. Otherwise, updates are immediately reflected in the current layer.
  • You can archive the old content, which allows you to revert to this content if necessary.

Note:

Before you publish or package the replacement vector tile layer in ArcGIS Pro, be sure you use the same coordinate system and tiling scheme for the replacement vector tile layer as you did for the current vector tile layer. These settings must match.

See Changes in the replacement layer that can adversely affect the current layer for information on other configuration changes you should be aware of when generating a replacement layer in ArcGIS Pro.

When you replace the layer, you can either move the current layer's contents into a new layer or swap the contents of the current layer and the replacement layer, thereby using the existing replacement layer as an archive.

  • If you want to archive the current hosted vector tile layer's content each time you replace the layer, create an archive of the current layer. You can use any of the layers that contain archived content to revert to an older version of the content if necessary. To revert to the contents of an archive, use the Replace Layer option and select the specific layer that contains the archived content you want to put back in the current layer.

    Use this option if you intend to create multiple layers with archived content that reflect changes in the hosted vector tile layer content over time. For example, if you perform quarterly updates, you can create archives such as 2019Q4 and 2020Q1, thereby creating an archive for each update.

  • When you use the replacement layer as the archive, no separate layer is created for archived content. The content from the replacement layer moves into the current layer. The content from the current layer moves into the replacement layer. Use this option if you don't need a separate layer for archived content.

In addition to deciding how to archive, choose whether you want to update the following item information in the current production layer or import changes from the replacement layer: thumbnail, summary, description, and tags. By default, the information is not updated. To import information from the replacement layer, enable the Replace item information option.

  1. Sign in as the owner of the web layer, an administrator of the organization, or with an account that has privileges to update all members' items.
  2. Open the hosted vector tile layer's item page.
  3. Click Replace Layer.
  4. Click Select layer.

    In the panel that appears, you can search, browse, filter, and sort available layers to find your replacement tile layer. You can also view the item details for each layer by clicking View details.

  5. When you've located the vector tile layer you want to use, click Select.

    If you see a warning message about incompatible styles, it means the style on the replacement layer is different than the style on the current layer. This difference can potentially break any other styles that reference the current layer. Similarly, if the tiling scheme of the replacement layer is different than that of the current layer, you'll see this message. If you do not want to use this replacement layer, click Change layer and choose a layer that does have a matching style. You can proceed with replacing the current layer with a layer that has different styles.

  6. Click Next to choose how you want to archive the current vector tiles. Choose one of the following options:
    • Archive the current layer—Use this option if you want to maintain a snapshot of the current hosted vector tile layer content as it existed prior to updating it. By default, the new layer's name consists of the current layer name with _archive_<current date_and_time> appended to it. To specify a different name, click the edit button and type a new name.
    • Use the replacement layer—Use this option if you don't need a new layer to store archived content, and you want to retain the replacement layer for future updates.
  7. If you want to import an updated thumbnail, summary, description, and tags from the replacement layer, scroll down and enable Replace item information.
  8. Click Next to preview the styles associated with the replacement layer.

    Note:

    The option to preview styles is only available if you created other styles for the current layer in the vector tile style editor.

  9. Use the Other styles drop-down menu to preview what each style will look like in the current layer once you've updated it with the content in the replacement layer. If you want to proceed, click Next. If you do not, click Cancel.
  10. The summary page shows your current hosted vector tile layer, the layer that will replace the content in the current layer, and the archive option you chose.
    • If the replacement layer is not completely compatible, you can click Select replacement layer and choose a new layer.
    • If you want to change archive options, click Choose archive option and change your settings.
  11. Once you are satisfied with your layer and archive choices, click Replace to perform the replacement operation.

Common workflows for replacing a hosted vector tile layer

There are a few different ways to make use of the Replace Layer option to replace the contents of hosted vector tile layers. Because the terms current layer and replacement layer are relative, it may help you to read some example workflows for replacing hosted vector tile layer contents.

The next three sections describe workflows that make use of two or more hosted vector tile layers to maintain hosted vector tile data. These workflows use example layers to help you follow along with how content moves through each workflow. In all these examples, you have the current hosted vector tile layer that people use in their maps and apps and at least one replacement hosted vector tile layer. When you perform a similar workflow, you may have a different number of replacement layers or layers that contain archived content. You or other people who access the current hosted vector tile layer may also have other styles defined for the layers.

Archive current content in a new layer

In this example scenario, you have a hosted vector tile layer that stores service area boundaries. This is the production layer that people use in their maps. To update the contents of this layer, you publish a second hosted vector tile layer that contains updated service area data. This is the replacement layer.

You also want to keep an archive of the content from the production hosted vector tile layer each time you update it. That way, if you find an issue with the replacement content, you can revert the hosted vector tile layer's content to the state it was in before you updated it. To allow for this, you'll choose to archive the existing content of the current hosted vector tile layer in a new hosted vector tile layer.

In the following example, you update your current hosted vector tile layer, ServiceAreas, to reflect changes to service areas and attributes.

  1. Publish a hosted vector tile layer that contains updated data. This is the layer that you'll use to replace the content in the current hosted vector tile layer.

    For example, several new customers were added to two of your service areas in September 2019, which altered the boundaries of those two areas. You update the source data to reflect the change in the areas and publish a hosted vector tile layer named ServiceAreasUpdateSept. Because the boundary areas changed, you also configure a new thumbnail for this layer. You set the description, summary, and tags to be the same as the current layer, however, as there's no need to change those.

  2. Open the item page of the ServiceAreas layer (the current layer) and replace its content with that of ServiceAreasUpdateSept (the replacement layer). Choose the Archive the current layer option to create a third hosted vector tile layer to store the old content of the production hosted vector tile layer. Specify a name for this layer that is meaningful to your organization.

    For example, the content of the production hosted vector tile layer reflects district area data current to August 2019. Therefore, you name the new layer ServiceAreasAug2019_arch because it is an archive of the service area boundaries as they existed in August 2019.

  3. Because you updated the thumbnail to reflect the change to the boundaries, enable Replace item information to update the thumbnail on the current hosted vector tile layer with the one in the replacement layer.
  4. When you archive the current layer's contents, the replacement layer is deleted. Therefore, after you replace the current hosted vector tile layer's contents for the first time in this specific example, you have the following two hosted vector tile layers:

    • ServiceAreas—This is your production hosted vector tile layer that now contains service area updates current to September 30, 2019.
    • ServiceAreasAug2019_arch—This hosted vector tile layer contains the state of your service areas as of August 2019.

    The replacement hosted vector tile layer (ServiceAreasUpdateSept) has been deleted.

  5. In October, one of your service representatives goes on extended leave, and you hire a temporary worker who starts work on October 7. You update the service representative attribute information for that area and publish a replacement layer named ServiceAreasUpdateOct.
  6. You replace the content of ServiceAreas with that of ServiceAreasUpdateOct and create a layer named ServiceAreasOct62019_arch to store archived content.

    At the end of this process for this specific example, you have the following three hosted vector tile layers:

    • ServiceAreas—This is your production hosted vector tile layer that now contains service area updates current to October 7, 2019.
    • ServiceAreasOct62019_arch—This hosted vector tile layer contains the state of your service areas as of October 6, 2019.
    • ServiceAreasAug2019_arch—This hosted vector tile layer contains the state of your service areas as of August 2019.

  7. There are no changes to the service areas for the rest of October. The service representative returns to work on November 4. Because the service representative information was the only change made to the layer between October 6 and November 4, you can use the ServiceAreasOct62019_arch layer to return your production layer to the state it was in before the service representative went on leave. When you replace the contents of the ServiceAreas layer with ServiceAreasOct62019_arch, you can archive the state of the layer from October 7 to November 3 in a new layer, ServiceAreasOct7toNov32019_arch.

    You now have the following three hosted vector tile layers:

    • ServiceAreas—This is your production hosted vector tile layer that contains service area updates current to November 4, 2019.
    • ServiceAreasAug2019_arch—This hosted vector tile layer contains the state of your service areas as of August 2019.
    • ServiceAreasOct7toNov32019_arch—This hosted vector tile layer contains the state of your service areas while you employed the temporary worker.

You continue to create layers that you'll use to replace content, update your current hosted vector tile layer, and create layers to archive layer content as changes are required to your service areas. You can keep the layers that store archived content as long as needed and use them to revert to any previous update.

Keep the following in mind when you use this workflow:

  • To help organize the layers that store archived content, create a folder specifically for these layers and move the layers into it.
  • Because you create layers that archive older content in case you need to restore the production hosted vector tile layer to an older state, and only you or an administrator can restore the data using these layers, there is likely no need for you to share them.
  • The replacement layer is deleted. If you created multiple styles for the replacement layer, they will no longer function. You can delete them manually.

If your workflow requires you to maintain your replacement layer for future use—such as when you have styles you want to maintain on the replacement layer or you need to use the replacement layer in maps and apps for testing purposes—use one of the next two workflows instead.

Maintain the replacement layer

You can keep your replacement layer for testing or other uses. If you need to maintain the replacement layer, and you don't need to keep multiple layers that contain snapshots of the state of the current hosted vector tile layer before each update, you can swap content between the current layer and the replacement layer. One example of why you might keep your replacement layer is if you want to use it to test updates before you push the changes into the current layer. This quality control workflow is summarized in this section.

To continue with the service area example, perhaps you decide you don't need to archive content in new layers and, instead, you want to have a layer you can use for quality control testing. You can use the replacement layer for this testing. You can open maps and apps that contain the replacement layer to ensure styles still function, the correct data shows up and at the right extent, and that the layer still functions in offline maps if you require that.

In this specific example, you would use the following three hosted vector tile layers, two of which you keep and one you delete:

  • ServiceAreas—This is the production hosted vector tile layer that organization members use in their maps.
  • ServiceAreasQC—You use this layer to review contents and styles before pushing updates into the ServiceAreas layer. This is the replacement layer, but you don't want to delete it because you've created web maps and apps that reference this layer as part of testing layer updates.
  • ServiceAreaUpdates—Each time you update the source service area data, you publish a hosted vector tile layer that contains the data updates. You use this layer to update the content in your quality control layer. After you replace the content in ServiceAreasQC with the content in ServiceAreaUpdates, you delete ServiceAreaUpdates.

A summary of this workflow is as follows:

  1. Update the service area source data and publish the ServiceAreaUpdates hosted vector tile layer.

    For example, after the boundary of two service areas changed as a result of new customers, you update the source data and publish the ServiceAreaUpdates hosted vector tile layer.

  2. Open the item page for ServiceAreasQC and replace its content with the content in ServiceAreaUpdates. In this step, ServiceAreasQC is considered the current layer and ServiceAreaUpdates is the replacement layer. Choose the Use the replacement layer as the archive option. This moves the contents from ServiceAreaUpdates into ServiceAreasQC and the current contents of ServiceAreasQC into ServiceAreaUpdates.
  3. Test the updated ServiceAreasQC layer in the maps and apps you created for this purpose. Once you determine the updates do not cause any problems, update the content of the ServiceAreas layer with that of ServiceAreasQC. Again choose Use the replacement layer as the archive so that the ServiceAreasQC layer is not deleted.

    In this step, ServiceAreas is the current layer and ServiceAreasQC is the replacement layer.

  4. Now that you finished the process of testing updates and updating the content in your production layer, you can delete the ServiceAreaUpdates layer from My Content.

Repeat these steps whenever there are changes to the service area source data.

Keep the following in mind when you use this workflow:

  • You don't create separate hosted vector tile layers to store archived data. However, the replacement layer you use for testing (ServiceAreasQC in this example) contains the content of the current layer in the state it was in before you updated it. That means you can use this testing layer to restore the old content to the current layer if you need to.
  • If you need other people to test the updates before you replace the content of the current layer, share the replacement layer with a group that contains these members.

Maintain the replacement layer and archive content to a new layer

What if you want a quality control layer and layers of archived content? You can use the two workflows described above in combination to update the current layer's content, maintain the replacement layer, and create layers to archive changes.

  1. Complete steps 1 through 3 in the previous section. The first time you complete these steps for this example, you have the following three hosted vector tile layers:

    • ServiceAreas—This layer contains the latest updates.
    • ServiceAreasQC—This layer contains the contents from the ServiceAreas layer before you updated it. Therefore, it is temporarily an archive of the old ServiceAreas content.
    • ServiceAreaUpdates—This layer contains the contents from ServiceAreasQC before you replaced its contents.

  2. Next, use the ServiceAreaUpdates layer to replace the contents of ServiceAreasQC a second time. In this scenario, ServiceAreasQC is the current layer and ServiceAreaUpdates is the replacement layer. This time, though, choose the Archive the current layer option to create a hosted vector tile layer to archive the contents of ServiceAreasQC. This process results in the following:

    • A hosted vector tile layer that serves as an archive of the old ServiceAreas content—Because ServiceAreasQC contained the archived ServiceAreas content, you've now moved that content into a separate hosted vector tile layer. Be sure to name this layer appropriately to reflect its contents.
    • The ServiceAreasQC layer is restored to the state it was in before you replaced it with updated content from the ServiceAreaUpdates layer.
    • The ServiceAreaUpdates layer is deleted.

For example, if you use this workflow with the service area boundary updates from September 2019, ServiceAreas contains the September 2019 updates. The layer that stores the last batch of archived service area content contains service areas from August 2019, so you might have named this layer ServiceAreasAug2019_arch and moved it to your archive folder. ServiceAreasQC also contains the August 2019 contents.

When you complete this workflow again to propagate the October 7 edits from the source service area data to the ServiceAreas layer, you'll have the ServiceAreas layer with October 7 content, a layer of archived data that reflects the previous state of the service areas (ServiceAreasOct62019_arch), and the layer that contains contents archived from August 2019 (ServiceAreasAug2019_arch). ServiceAreasQC still contains the August contents as well.

When the service area representative returns from leave on November 4, you could use the ServiceAreasOct62019_arch layer to return your production layer to the state it was in before the service representative went on leave. Use the ServiceAreasOct62019_arch layer in place of the ServiceAreaUpdates layer in the steps listed in this section.

Keep the following in mind when you use this workflow:

  • Just as with the first workflow, you can create a folder and move the layers that store archived content into it to help organize these layers.
  • Because archive content in separate layers in case you need to restore the production hosted vector tile layer to an older state, and only you or an administrator can restore the data using these layers, there is likely no need for you to share these layers.
  • The ServiceAreasQC replacement layer remains in My Content to make it easier for you to replicate your quality control tests. As a result, this layer's content is only relevant in the context of this testing workflow. The only reason you might share this layer is if you need other people to test the updates before you use the content to update the production layer.

Changes in the replacement that can adversely affect the current layer

The following changes in the replacement layer can result in unexpected behavior in the hosted vector tile layer you replace, especially if you authored other styles for the layer:

  • Removing a layer from the map in ArcGIS Pro before publishing the replacement hosted vector tile layer or package.
  • Adding a layer to the map in ArcGIS Pro before publishing the replacement hosted vector tile layer or package.
  • Renaming one or more of the layers in the map in ArcGIS Pro before publishing the replacement hosted vector tile layer or package.
  • Changing symbology on the layers in the map in ArcGIS Pro before publishing the replacement hosted vector tile layer or package.
  • If the current hosted vector tile layer is enabled for offline use, be sure the replacement layer is also enabled for offline use. If the replacement layer does not have the offline mode enabled, the current layer will no longer be enabled for offline use after you replace its contents.

If you make any of the changes listed above in the replacement layer, be sure to preview styles to confirm you're okay with the changes before you complete the process of completing the current layer with the replacement layer.

The behavior may vary depending on the exact change. For example, when you add a layer, other styles continue to display the layers that were defined before the replacement, but they might not display the added layer unless the style owner re-creates the style.

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