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Feature services

Feature services allow you to serve feature data and nonspatial tables over the Internet or your intranet. This makes your data available for use in web clients, desktop apps, and field apps.

As the publisher of a feature service, you determine what functionality is available to the people who use the feature service, define the styling used when displaying the features, and define templates for editing data. When people access your feature service, they can view your data and the data associated with it through relationship classes. They can use your feature service in the maps and apps they create and, if you allow it, they can edit the data in the feature service.

Feature services run on ArcGIS GIS Server sites.

License:

For information on what functionality is available in feature services based on yourArcGIS Enterprise license or server role, see the functionality matrix.

How do I create a feature service?

To publish a feature service, you need to prepare your data and publish it. The specific steps you take to do this depend on what functionality you require for your feature service.

Required functionalitySummary of steps to createWhat you get

  • I need my data to remain in my source enterprise geodatabase or database because it is my system of record that other applications access.
  • I want to quickly share all the feature classes and tables accessed through a database connection file to allow other members of my ArcGIS Enterprise portal to view the data.
  • Custom settings such as editing, offline use, symbology, and extents are not immediately required in the layers.

If you are using one of the databases listed in User-managed data stores in ArcGIS Enterprise portals, do the following to create a database data store item in a portal and bulk publish ArcGIS Server map and feature services (map services with feature access enabled):

  1. Grant access to a single database user on the feature classes and tables you want to publish. See Controlling access to data published from data store items for more information.
  2. Create a database connection as the user who has access to the data to be published.
  3. Add a database data store item to the portal. When you add the data store, specify the federated ArcGIS GIS Server sites with which the database will be registered.
  4. As the owner of the data store item, publish all the accessible layers to one of the federated ArcGIS GIS Server sites.

  • I need my data to remain in my source enterprise geodatabase or database because it is my system of record that other applications access.
  • Editors will update data directly in the data source, and I want the changes to be reflected in the feature service.

Tip:

If you want to access the data in your enterprise geodatabase or database as read-only features, you can alternatively publish just a map service.

  1. Prepare your source data.
  2. Author a map in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro that contains the feature classes and tables you want in the feature service.
  3. Publish to a federated server or stand-alone ArcGIS GIS Server site.

In addition to the previous requirements, I also want people to edit data through the feature service, and I want to see the changes in the data source when accessed through other clients.

Complete the previous three steps, plus enable editing capabilities on the feature service when you publish.

Tip:

See Tutorial: Perform web editing using data from an enterprise geodatabase or Tutorial: Perform web editing using data from a database for a detailed walk-through of creating a feature service that references the data in your enterprise geodatabase or database data source.

People need to edit the feature service when disconnected from the network, but I want the edits they make while offline to be synchronized with my system of record.

  1. Prepare your source data for use in a feature service.
  2. Perform additional preparatory steps needed for data to be taken offline.
  3. Author a map in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro that contains the feature classes and tables you want in the feature service.
  4. Publish to a federated server or stand-alone ArcGIS GIS Server site (publishing to stand-alone sites is supported in ArcGIS Server Manager and ArcMap only).
  5. Enable editing and sync when you publish.

To complete the workflow, create a web map containing the feature layer and configure styling and other settings. Configure the web map so it has the same sharing settings as the feature layer.

If people will use the web map offline in ArcGIS Collector, you also need to configure the basemap in the web map so it can be taken offline.

I have file data sources—such as CSV, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and shapefiles—from which I want to create feature services.

  1. Prepare the file for publishing. For example, define the data types for columns in the spreadsheet or compress the shapefile or file geodatabase in a .zip file.
  2. Upload the file to an ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Online portal and publish a hosted feature layer.
  3. Configure styles and settings on the hosted feature layer.
  4. Share the hosted feature layer to specific groups, your organization, or the public.

  • A file (CSV, Excel, shapefile, geoJSON, or file geodatabase).
  • A hosted feature layer in the portal.
  • If you published to an ArcGIS Enterprise portal, the hosted feature layer data is stored in the portal's relational data store. If you published to ArcGIS Online, the hosted feature layer data is stored in ArcGIS Online.
  • If you published to an ArcGIS Enterprise portal, there's a feature service running on the portal's hosting server.

I have data in a geodatabase or database, but I want to create a copy of the data to share with the public for community input.

  1. Prepare your source data.
  2. Author a map in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro that contains the feature classes and tables you want copied and accessible through the feature service.
  3. Publish to ArcGIS Online. (You can also publish to an ArcGIS Enterprise portal; however, most Enterprise portal's are inside firewalls that prevent public input.)
  4. Enable editing and share the layer with everyone (public) to allow community input.

  • An editable hosted feature layer on ArcGIS Online that is shared with the public.
  • The data for the hosted feature layer is stored in ArcGIS Online.
  • A service definition file that is shared with the public. You may want to change the sharing setting on this file so it is only available to you and the administrators in your organization.

To complete the workflow, create a web map containing the hosted feature layer and configure styling and other settings. Share the web map with everyone (public). Add the web map to a web app and configure the app with the tools the public will need to provide input. Share the web app with everyone (public).

I have data in a geodatabase or database, but I want to create a copy of the data to share with my organization or a subset of the members of my organization.

  1. Author a map in ArcMap or ArcGIS Pro that contains the feature classes and tables you want copied and accessible through the feature service.
  2. Publish to your Enterprise portal or ArcGIS Online.
  3. Configure styling and other settings on the hosted feature layer.
  4. Share the layer with your organization or specific groups.

  • A hosted feature layer on your Enterprise portal or ArcGIS Online that is shared with your target users.
  • The data for the hosted feature layer is stored in the relational data store of the Enterprise portal's hosting server or in ArcGIS Online.
  • A service definition file that is shared with the same people as the hosted feature layer. You may want to change the sharing setting on this file so it is only available to you and the administrators in your organization.
  • If you published to an Enterprise portal, there's a feature service running on the portal's hosting server.

I use ArcGIS GeoEvent Server to stream live data, but I want to archive some of that data locally.

  1. Configure an input connector for the streaming data.
  2. Configure a spatiotemporal big data store output connector to archive the data.

  • Connectors in ArcGIS GeoEvent Server.
  • A feature layer in the Enterprise portal.
  • A feature service running on the portal's hosting server.
  • The feature layer data is stored in the portal's spatiotemporal big data store.

Feature services created as a result of running a tool or app

You also create hosted feature layers as a result of running certain tools or apps.

  • Certain standard feature analysis tools in an Enterprise or ArcGIS Online portal create hosted feature layers as output.
  • Some of the GeoAnalytics Tools you run in an Enterprise portal or ArcGIS Pro create hosted feature layers or hosted spatiotemporal feature layers as output.
  • The analyses you run in ArcGIS Insights may result in new hosted feature layers in your portal.
  • When you create a ArcGIS GeoPlanner project, an editable hosted feature layer is created to store project feature data.
  • When you create a survey in ArcGIS Survey123, an editable hosted feature layer is created to record survey input.
  • When you create a ArcGIS Workforce project, a hosted feature layer is created for data collection.
  • ArcGIS Tracker creates a hosted spatiotemporal feature layer to track locations. The portal administrator can create hosted feature layer views from this feature layer.