Feature Layers are an important part of ArcGIS Online. Other than ArcGIS Feature Server endpoints, data published to ArcGIS Online is converted to a Feature Layer. So add your shapefiles and csv’s to a web map you are about to publish and on the fly they are converted. What’s actually going on in the background is a call to a new ArcGIS services which does this conversion. Now Feature Layers are very powerful; they resemble closely Web Feature Services (WFS) in the open source world. In Feature Layers actual features interactive objects, so users can style them in ArcGIS Online, and interactive with them to view attributes. Importantly they are also editable.
ArcGIS Online Editable Feature Layers
When logged into ArcGIS Online with a web map open, there is an option to add a layer from file. From here you can select, for example, a zipped shapefile. Once added to the map it will appear as a new Feature Layer. In the map below we have added two layers from a local shapefiles; OilGasPipelines and OilGasfFields.
These layers can be made editable by selecting the layer name in the left side list and from the drop down selecting ‘enable editing’. Below you can see we have our layer already set to ‘edit enabled’:
It is now possible to edit the layers directly in the viewer.
ArcGIS Online Editable Hosted Feature Layers
Let’s quickly take a look at the details of our web map shown above.
We next want to use this web map in a Web application. So following the steps (using the share option) we select the edit Web App from the templates gallery included with ArcGIS Online. But, in our case using this web map, we find ‘No Editable Layers’ appears in the right panel of the published web app. Why?
This web map has no hosted Feature Layer present. Now this is a little confusing. But a hosted Feature Layer is part of a Feature Server; a server which can process add, edit and delete feature requests. There are a number of ways to add hosted Feature Layers to your web map.
1) Add a Feature Server endpoint to the web map from your own instance of ArcGIS.
2) Use ArcMap 10.1 to publish hosted Feature Layers
3) Within ArcGIS Online create a hosted Feature Layer and add this to the web map.
Let’s walk through the third option in this list. Below is the details page of a hosted Feature Service we have set up in ArcGIS Online.
The counties link shown gives the following, notice it is Feature Server hosted inside ArcGIS Online:
Creating a Hosted Feature Layer
To create a hosted Feature Layer within ArcGIS Online simply select ‘My Content’ then ‘Add Item’, in our case (below) we selected a zipped shapefile. Make sure the ‘Publish this file as a feature service’ checkbox is selected.
Now you can add this hosted Feature Layer to your web map, and edit away to your hearts content.