Introduction to feature services

Feature service with points showing thermal activity detected by NOAA/NASA (last 7 days)

What is a feature service?

A feature service is a data service that provides access to features. A feature is a single record in a dataset that typically represents a real-world geographic entity. A feature can contain attributes and/or a geometry such as a point, polyline, or polygon with attributes. Collections of features with the same geometry type and attributes are stored in the service as datasets. The datasets can be feature layers, feature layer views, or tables. To request data from a feature service, you use a SQL and/or spatial query to return features from a specific dataset. Features can be output in different formats such as JSON, GeoJSON, and PBF.

Feature services are typically used to access, edit, update, export, and display records of geographic data in mapping applications.

What can you do with a feature service?

You use feature services when you want to:

  • Import files such as CSV, XLS, Google Sheets or other files that contain coordinate information.
  • Access feature data in JSON, GeoJSON, or PBF format.
  • Securely store collections of geometry and attribute data as features.
  • Access and display features in maps and scenes.
  • Display features with data-driven visualization.
  • Securely share data with applications and users.
  • Optimize accessing and displaying large amounts of feature data.
  • Perform SQL or spatial queries.
  • Edit and synchronize data edits.
  • Replicate data.
  • Analyze features or feature layers.
  • Store and manage attachments to features.
  • Update feature data frequently.
  • Export the data.
  • Use features in offline applications.

What does a service URL look like?

When you publish a new feature layer in a feature service, the URL is created by the system. To find the URL, you can use the hosted feature layer item in the portal associated with your ArcGIS account.

The service URL format to access a feature service is:

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Add a feature layer

Add a vector tile layer

Access and display a vector tile layer in a map.

Add a map tile layer

Access and display a map tile layer in a map.

Query a feature layer (spatial)

Execute a spatial query to get features from a feature layer.

Query a feature layer (SQL)

Edit feature data

Add, update, and delete features in a feature service.

Display a popup

Format a popup to show attributes in a feature layer.



API support

Use data management tools or Client APIs to create, manage, and access data services. The table below outlines the level of support for each API.

ArcGIS Maps SDK for JavaScript1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Kotlin1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Swift1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Java1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for .NET1
ArcGIS Maps SDK for Qt1
ArcGIS API for Python
Esri Leaflet2
MapLibre GL JS23
Full supportPartial supportNo support
  • 1. Use portal class and direct REST API requests
  • 2. Access via ArcGIS REST JS
  • 3. Requires manually setting styles for renderers


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