Skip To Content

Custom Data Setup

Custom Data Setup allows you to use an accessible feature layer in Community Analyst. An accessible feature layer is one that has been shared publicly, or shared with you by another user. It is a published feature layer along with some metadata of how to statistically apportion or calculate numeric data. The metadata file is stored in your ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise organization as an item type called a Data Collection.

To get started with adding custom data you can follow the Step-by-step guide below. You will see how to add data by browsing services hosted on ArcGIS Online. There is a section showing you how to enter a service url directly to add the custom data.

Step-by-step guide

This Custom data setup workflow allows you to easily add your own data and use them along with Esri Demographics data. The following step-by-step guide will help you to get started with adding feature layers that you can use in your projects and share with others in you organization. After you have added your layer you will create a color-coded map from one of the layer's variables.


To get started you will need to open the Maps tab.

  1. Navigate to Maps > Add Data > Custom Data Setup.
    Click Custom Data Setup to get started

    You may click on Data shared with me to see the data layers shared by other users.

    Data layers under My data

  2. Click Start Setup. Expand the Choose Layer drop-down menu. Select from the following options to add a layer:
    Choose Layer options
    • Browse for a layer allows you to select from available layers in ArcGIS Online.
    • Layer from Project will open the Select Layer dialog, which allows you to select a layer from the current project.

      This option will not appear if your current project does not have any layers that can be added.

    • Enter URL allows you to directly type in a layer URL in the Enter a URL for a layer field.
  3. Click Browse for a layer.

    The Select a Layer dialog opens and the My content tab is open by default, which shows all web maps and feature services created by you. You can also browse the content in the other tabs. This experience will be very similar to selecting a web map or layer in the Web Maps and Layers workflow.

    Public Gallery services and groups

  4. From the choices below you will perform the fourth option. In the search field, type Toys and click Search.
    • Click My groups to see the groups you have access to. This includes groups that other users invited you to, and you joined. You may select a layer to add. Groups in ArcGIS Online correspond to Projects in Community Analyst. See Shared Projects.
    • Click My content to view a list of your services and layers in ArcGIS Online. You may select a layer to add it.
    • Click My organization to view content created and shared by other users in your organization.
    • Click Living Atlas to see content from ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.
    • Click ArcGIS to see content publicly shared on ArcGIS Online.
    • Enter a search term in the Search for services by title or enter a URL or ID field, and click the Search button. You may then select a layer from the search results.
    Selecting HuffModel_CoffeeToys service

    You may move the pointer over the HuffModel_CoffeeToys service to view information and options for that feature service.

    HuffModel_CoffeeToys service info

  5. Click Add.

    The Select a layer dialog opens, displaying the available layers in the selected feature service.

    Select the ToySales layer

  6. Click ToySales.

    The layer will be imported in the workflow.

  7. Click Setup Custom Data.

    The Setup Custom Data dialog opens.

    Setup Custom Data button

  8. Click the Edit button Edit properties to edit the metadata for the category.
    Click the Edit icon to edit the metadata.

    The Edit Custom Category dialog opens.

    Icon options

    You can update the Title, Summary, Description, Tags and the Icon for the category. To update the icon image, you can use one of these options:

    • Shape or Icon—Select a shape or icon from the available list.
    • Browse for image—Browse for an image on your computer and upload it.
    • Image from URL—Provide a URL for an image.

  9. When done, click Apply and click Open. The layer is open for setup.

    Add subcategory and rename.
    The variables in the layer are listed on the left, and the categories on the right. The layer name ToySales will be the default category name.

  10. To rename the category, click the options icon Additional options icon and then click Rename.
  11. Click Add subcategory.

    The Add Subcategory dialog opens.

    Enter a name in the Subcategory name field.

  12. Enter a name for the subcategory and click Create.

    Create two subcategories: Toy Sales 1st half of Yr, Toy Sales 2nd half of Yr.

  13. In the Setup Custom Data window, click the Variable table link.
    Variable table

    The Variable table view is displayed.

    You can drag and drop the variables on the left into any category or subcategory, but first you will view and edit them in the Variable table tab.

    Variable table

    In the Variable column header, you can click Search to search for a variable by name. ClickEdit properties to configure properties all the variables together, except the names. Click Edit properties next to a variable to individually edit its name and properties in the Configure Variable dialog.

    Configure Variable dialog

    • Display Name—Set the variable name that is shown in the data browser.
    • Vintage—Set the vintage year that is shown in the info icon in the data browser.
    • Summary Type—Defines the way aggregated values are summarized.
      • Sum—Adds up aggregated values for the polygons that intersect the target area.
      • Average—Averages aggregated values for the polygons that intersect the target area.
    • Weight—An additional parameter for when Summary Type is Average that defines which field to use to get the weighted sum.
    • Apportionment Method—Defines how a variable is weighted to a portion of geography.
      • Population—Weight is based on the value representing the probability of a population at a certain point.
      • Area—Weight is based on the area of intersection between the target area and the data polygon.
    • Type—Drop-down change Double to Decimal.
    • Units—Defines the unit of the data value for its use in mapping, analysis, and reporting.
    • Category—Set the Data Browser category in which the variable will appear.
    • Subcategory—Set the Data Browser subcategory in which the variable will appear.

  14. When done, click Apply.
  15. Click the Customize Data Browser link.

    The Customize Data Browser view is displayed.

    Customize Data Browser link
    You can use Shift + click or Ctrl + click to select multiple variables and drag them from the left to any category, or subcategory, on the right. You can also drag them between categories and subcategories on the right.

    You can immediately launch one of the workflows where you can use the variables you just added, by finding them under the My Data tab in the Data Browser.

    Available workflows

  16. Click I'm Done.

    The data just added will be listed under My Data.

    My data options

  17. Click the options icon Additional options icon to access the following options:

    • Edit—open the custom data layer in the Setup Custom Data dialog. To edit it, move the pointer over the thumbnail and click the Edit button.
    • Share—use the Share Custom Data dialog to select other users in your Organization or Groups and share this custom data layer with them.
    • Disable—make the custom data layer unavailable for use. You will need to Enable it again.
    • Remove—Permanently remove the custom data layer. To use a custom data layer again, you will need to add it using the Custom Data Setup workflow
    • View metadata—view the metadata for the layer. You can edit the metadata using the Edit option.

Now that you have successfully added this custom data layer, you may access it via the Data Browser in Color-coded maps, Comparison reports, Smart map search and Suitability analysis.


  1. Variables may be applied for mapping or comparison only if they are associated with a polygon feature layer. Variables associated with a point layer are supported in Comparison reports, but not available for mapping.
  2. If the Disable option for a data layer is applied, as seen in the above screen, the layer will not be present in the Data Browser.

Create color-coded map from custom data layer

You may now access your custom data via the Data Browser for use in the Business Analyst Web app. Here, we will demonstrate using this custom data layer in Color-coded maps.

Navigate to Create Maps from Data > Color Coded Maps > Browse all variables to open the Data Browser. Click on the My data tab (this tab is available only when you have added custom data).

Data Browser

You may also browse data others in your organization have shared with you, which will be under the category Data shared with me.

  1. Click My data.

    The variables in your added Toy Sales data layer will be available here.

    Toy Sales feature layer with variable list

  2. Click Toy Sales Q1 to create a color-coded map for that variable.

    The resultant map is displayed.

    Color-Coded map showing Q1 Toy Sales

You may now access your custom data via the Data Browser for use in Community Analyst. Here, we will demonstrate using this custom data layer in Color-coded maps.

Add data by entering a URL

Let us now add data directly by entering a URL. As an example, we will use this feature service on ArcGIS Online that has data layers that can be added to the web app and setup.

  1. Click the Choose Layer drop-down menu, then click Enter URL.
    Choose Enter URL option

    A field appears in the dialog.

    Enter feature service URL

  2. Enter the URL in the field and click Go.

    The Select a Layer dialog opens.

    The available layers from the feature service.

  3. Click any layer that is shown.

    The layer is imported.

  4. To add the layer and set it up, click Setup Custom Data.

    The Setup Custom Data dialog opens, with the variables from the layer available and a default category created for them.

    Imported layer variables in the Custom Data Browser view.
    To set up your data you will follow the steps above starting from Step 7.

Create comparison report

You will now generate a comparison report for two sites, using your newly added data, which will be apportioned for use in the comparison report, in the same way that other variables in Community Analyst are apportioned.

  1. Go to Reports > Comparison Reports and select two sites in the carousel. Click Customize.
    Generate a comparison report
  2. Navigate to My data and select the custom data.
    Select your custom data
  3. You may also select addition variables. In the above image we have selected 2016 Median Household Income (Esri).
  4. Click View Table to generate the comparison report.
  5. You may view a side-by-side comparison of the Coffee and Toy Sales variables for two sites of your interest. The values in the table are calculated by apportioning the custom Coffee and Toy Sales data variables in the same way other variables are apportioned for use in reports.
    Comparison report

In this topic
  1. Step-by-step guide