Geometry vs feature analysis

Client vs server-side

The main difference between geometry and feature analysis is geometry analysis is typically performed on the client-side using ArcGIS APIs and feature analysis is performed on the server-side using ArcGIS APIs that access the spatial analysis service. The other main difference is geometry analysis only evaluates geometries whereas feature analysis can evaluate both geometry and attribute values.


For geometry analysis, you typically use APIs such as the ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript or ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps to execute synchronous or asynchronous client-side operations in a client application on a device.

For feature analysis, you use APIs such as the ArcGIS API for Python, ArcGIS REST JS, or the ArcGIS REST API to execute the requests to the service. All transactions are job requests (long transactions) and require multiple transactions to the service to process the job, monitor the status, and then get the results.

Data size

Feature analysis with the spatial analysis service is designed to process large collections of features. The features can be input as feature collections (JSON) or hosted feature layers. Geometry analysis typically involves smaller collections of geometry data that you create from user input or other data sources.

Store results

Another important difference is that you can use feature analysis to persist the results as a hosted feature layer in ArcGIS. This makes it easy to access the data afterward with ArcGIS tools and software. Geometry analysis requires extra steps to create features and store the results in ArcGIS.


The table below provides a quick comparison between the two types of analyses:

Type of analysisExecution modeData sizeInput data typesOutput data typesAnalysis typeStore resultsSupporting APIs
Geometry analysisClient-sideSmaller datasetsGeometryGeometry, Boolean, NumberGeometryFalse*ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript
ArcGIS Maps SDKs for Native Apps
ArcGIS API for Python
Feature analysisServer-sideLarger datasetsFeature collections or hosted feature layersFeature collection or hosted feature layerGeometry and attributesTrue*ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript
ArcGIS API for Python

* See API support for more information.



Spatial analysis service

Process spatial datasets to discover relationships and patterns.

API support

Geometry analysis

Full supportPartial supportNo support

    Feature analysis

    Full supportPartial supportNo support
    • 1. Access with geoprocessing task
    • 2. Access via ArcGIS REST JS


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