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Edit features (Map Viewer Classic)

Map authors build their maps to include the layers and configurations needed to achieve the purpose of the map. When one of the purposes of a map is to gather community or organizational input, the map author includes editable feature layers in the map. For example, an author can include an editable feature layer that allows the birding community to post their bird sightings directly on the map and attach media files—such as photographs, audio files, and video files—to the specific observation points. Because these features are part of the layer, any changes made to the layer in the map are immediately viewable by everybody who has access to the layer, even when the layer is part of a different map.

The owner of the feature layer or the administrator in your organization decides whether a feature layer is editable and sets an editing level. Editing levels determine whether you can add features, delete features, update feature attributes only, or update feature geometry.

If the feature layer is editable and you are a member of a role that has the privilege to edit features, you can open a map containing editable features in Map Viewer Classic (formerly known as Map Viewer) or add an editable feature layer to Map Viewer Classic to edit the features.

Feature layer edits include adding, altering, or deleting the features on the map, as well as adding, altering, or deleting the information (attribute values) associated with the features. The edits you make to the feature layer in Map Viewer Classic are automatically saved to the layer; there is no Save button to click. When you add, delete, or edit a feature or attribute and realize you made a mistake, you can click Undo to delete your edit.

The following steps describe how to edit a feature layer in Map Viewer Classic. For instructions on editing tables in Map Viewer Classic, see Edit tables.

  1. Open the map that contains the feature layer you want to edit in Map Viewer Classic, or open the feature layer in a new map.
  2. If necessary, check the box beside the layer you want to edit, and click Edit.

    The editor settings on the layer determine the type of edits you can perform. If the layer supports adding features, an editing template appears in the Add Features pane on the left side of the map. Templates are shown for each feature layer in the map that supports adding features. The layer publisher defines the templates, which provide predefined styling and other settings based on feature categories. Using bird sightings as an example, a layer owner might create different templates for broad categories of birds such as raptors, songbirds, or shorebirds.

  3. Follow these steps to add a feature:
    1. Choose a feature template for the layer from Add Features.
    2. When adding a polygon or line feature that needs to align with or join to existing features, press the Ctrl key to enable snapping.
    3. Click the location on the map where you want to add or draw a feature. If you are using snapping, continue to press the Ctrl key while drawing the new feature to keep snapping to the nearest existing feature.

      When you finish adding the feature, a pop-up appears that allows you to populate the attributes for the new feature. The fields available are unique to the layer.

    4. For each attribute, type a value that is relevant to the new feature or, if a drop-down list of values exists for the attribute, choose the relevant value from the list.

      For the bird sightings map example, you might type the bird species, whether it was male or female, its approximate age (fledgling, juvenile, or adult), and the date and time you saw the bird.

    5. If the layer is enabled to allow attachments, you can attach an image or other files relevant to the feature. To do this, click Browse in the Attachments section of the pop-up and choose the file from your computer. See Edit tables for a list of file types that are supported as attachments.

      For the new bird sightings feature example, you might add a photo you took of the bird.

    6. Click off the feature to save your edit.
  4. To edit the attributes of an existing feature, click it on the map to select it and open the pop-up. Change the necessary information, and click Close in the pop-up when you finish editing.
  5. To move an existing feature, click the feature on the map to select it, and drag it to the new location on the map. Once you click off the feature, the edit is saved.
  6. Though rare, you may need to reshape an existing line or polygon feature. To do this, double-click the feature to display its vertices. Choose the vertex needed to reshape the feature and drag it to its new position. Once you click off the feature, the edit is saved.
  7. To remove a feature, click it on the map to open its pop-up and click Delete.

Add layer to new map with full editing control

There are cases when you have full editing control on hosted feature layers regardless of the editing level set by the owner of the layer. To access full editing, open the layer in Map Viewer Classic from the item page.


This functionality is currently only supported in Map Viewer Classic (formerly known as Map Viewer). It will be available in a future release of the new Map Viewer.

The following are considerations when using full editing control:

  • Members of a shared update group have full editing control even if the hosted feature layer is not editable and even if they do not have feature editing privileges.
  • Default administrators and layer owners can open with full editing control regardless of the editing level set for nonadministrators or whether the hosted feature layer is editable by other people. This is a privilege reserved for the administrator role.
  • Members with the privilege to edit with full control can open an editable hosted feature layer in Map Viewer Classic and add, update, and delete features. Members can do this regardless of the editing level set on the layer, but the layer must have editing enabled.

Follow the steps below to edit these layers:

  1. Verify that you meet one of the requirements outlined above.
  2. Open the item page of the hosted feature layer.
  3. Click Open in Map Viewer > Add layer to new map with full editing control.