Introduction to data layers

A data layer, also known as an operational layer, is a client-side layer that can access geographic data from a data source. The data source for the layer can be a data service or a file such as GeoJSON.

The data for a data layer is typically stored in ArcGIS as a data service using ArcGIS tools. You can use data layers to display feature or tile data from feature, vector tile, or image tile services in your application.

Feature layers

If you have feature data containing geometry and attributes, you can import and publish it as feature layer in a feature service. To access the data, use the service URL to query the feature layer and return the features as GeoJSON. To display the features, you have to style the features on the client. It is important to note that feature layers may also contain styling information, which can be used to help style the layer.

To learn how to publish your data as a feature layer, go to the Import data as a feature layer tutorial in the Mapping APIs and location services guide.

How to access a feature service

You can use Esri Leaflet to access a hosted feature layer with the L.esri.FeatureLayer class, which extends L.Layer. To access the class, reference the main Esri Leaflet plugin.

  1. Import your data from a CSV, XLS, GeoJSON, or Shapefile file to create a hosted feature layer.
  2. Get the URL for the feature layer.
  3. Reference the Esri Leaflet plugin.
  4. Create the L.esri.featureLayer class and set the URL with the layer ID.
  5. Add the layer to the map.

Example

Display a feature layer

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<script src="https://unpkg.com/esri-leaflet@3.0.8/dist/esri-leaflet.js"
    integrity="sha512-oUArlxr7VpoY7f/dd3ZdUL7FGOvS79nXVVQhxlg6ij4Fhdc4QID43LUFRs7abwHNJ0EYWijiN5LP2ZRR2PY4hQ=="
    crossorigin=""></script>

<script>
  const trailheads = L.esri.featureLayer({
    url: "https://services3.arcgis.com/GVgbJbqm8hXASVYi/arcgis/rest/services/Trailheads_Styled/FeatureServer/0"
  }).addTo(map);
</script>

To learn more, go to the Import data as a feature layer and access and Add a feature layer tutorials.

Vector tile layers

To access and display a vector tile layer, you use the L.esri.Vector.vectorTileLayer plugin, which extends L.Layer.

If you want to access and display your data as vector tile data, you can publish a vector tile layer from a feature layer, and then display it in a map using the plugin.

How to access the vector tile service

  1. Import your data from a CSV, XLS, GeoJSON, or Shapefile file to create a hosted feature layer.
  2. Create a vector tile service by publishing the feature layer as a vector tile layer in ArcGIS Online.
  3. Get the URL.
  4. Reference the Esri Leaflet and the vector plugins.
  5. Create the L.esri.Vector.vectorTileLayer class and set the service URL.

Example

Display a vector tile layer

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<script src="https://unpkg.com/esri-leaflet@3.0.8/dist/esri-leaflet.js"
    integrity="sha512-oUArlxr7VpoY7f/dd3ZdUL7FGOvS79nXVVQhxlg6ij4Fhdc4QID43LUFRs7abwHNJ0EYWijiN5LP2ZRR2PY4hQ=="
    crossorigin=""></script>

<script src="https://unpkg.com/esri-leaflet-vector@4.0.0/dist/esri-leaflet-vector.js"
    integrity="sha512-7rLAors9em7cR3/583gZSvu1mxwPBUjWjdFJ000pc4Wpu+fq84lXF1l4dbG4ShiPQ4pSBUTb4e9xaO6xtMZIlA=="
    crossorigin=""></script>

<script>
L.esri.Vector.vectorTileLayer(
  "https://vectortileservices3.arcgis.com/GVgbJbqm8hXASVYi/arcgis/rest/services/Santa_Monica_Mountains_Parcels_VTL/VectorTileServer"
).addTo(map);
</script>

To learn more, go to the Publish a vector tile layer and Add a vector tile layer tutorials.

Image tile layers

To display an image tile layer, you use the L.esri.tiledMapLayer class.

How to access the image tile service

  1. Import your data from a CSV, XLS, GeoJSON, or Shapefile file to create a hosted feature layer.
  2. Create a tile layer in ArcGIS Online by navigating to its item page > Publish > Tile layer.
  3. Get the URL.
  4. Reference the Esri Leaflet plugin.
  5. Create the L.esri.tiledMapLayer class and set the service URL in your application.

Example

Display an image tile layer

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<script src="https://unpkg.com/esri-leaflet@3.0.8/dist/esri-leaflet.js"
    integrity="sha512-oUArlxr7VpoY7f/dd3ZdUL7FGOvS79nXVVQhxlg6ij4Fhdc4QID43LUFRs7abwHNJ0EYWijiN5LP2ZRR2PY4hQ=="
    crossorigin=""></script>

<script>
  L.esri
    .tiledMapLayer({
      url: "https://services.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/USA_Topo_Maps/MapServer"
    })
    .addTo(map);
</script>

To learn more, go to the Add an image tile layer tutorial.

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