Editing means that you can add, update, and delete features. For more information on features see Features and graphics. Updating features includes modifying feature attributes (changing the value of a feature's fields according to the type and range of values allowed); modifying feature geometry (such as moving a point feature or reshaping a polygon or polyline feature); and if available adding, updating, and deleting feature attachments (related files such as pictures, documents or videos). Feature layers inside your map's operational layers collection provide the basis for editing. Feature layers store and edit their data using database tables called feature tables.
Editing features is supported in a number of workflows, described below:
- Online feature service editing, where a table is created from the service, edits are made, and the changes are applied back to the service as soon as the user has finished the edit operation. Suitable for multi-user editing scenarios.
- Offline feature service editing and sync, where a local geodatabase is created from a sync-enabled feature service before going offline, tables are retrieved from the geodatabase while offline, edits are made, then changes are applied back to the service when the device is back online again (and server changes are optionally synchronized back). Suitable for multi-user offline workflows. See Create an offline map for more information on offline workflows.
- Static feature collection editing, where tables are created from the features in the map or a portal item, edits are made and changes are saved back into the map or portal item. This is a suitable workflow for sharing static data to lots of clients, but should not be used to edit data across a number of clients or to share data that changes frequently.
See Perform edits for more information.
Creating feature services for your data
Feature services provide the symbology, feature geometry, and set of attribute fields (schema) for your features. Feature services contain service layers (feature data) and tables (nonspatial, tabular data) that you edit via a feature table for both online and offline feature service workflows. Feature services allow for scalable multi-client editing for data which changes over time. For more information about feature services, see What is a feature service?
Before you build an app that performs feature service editing, you need a feature service that exposes the layers you want to edit. There are various ways to publish a feature service.
- You can login to your organization's portal and publish features from a variety of data sources such as CSV files, GeoJSON, shapefiles, feature collections, or file geodatabases. All of these options and their steps are outlined in the publish hosted feature services topic.
- You can publish feature services using ArcGIS Desktop. This involves setting up a map document, and defining a feature class schema or importing an existing feature class. Optionally, you can define feature templates to make it easy for the app's end user to create common features. You can then publish the map as a service to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. For offline workflows, you must enable the Feature Access capability and ensure that the service is sync-enabled.
- You can create a feature layer using the ArcGIS for Developers site. Log in to the site using your organization account or your free developers subscription. Access the Layers tab and click the Create New Layer button. For offline workflows, follow the instructions to create the new feature layer ensuring that you have checked the box to enable the layer to be taken offline to allow it to be viewed, edited, and synchronized. After creating a layer you can add data to it in the ArcGIS Online Map Viewer.
However you publish your service, REST URLs (endpoints) are created to both a map service and a feature service. Use these URLs to reference the services in your app. The map service endpoint can be used for read-only access to features (viewing only), so make sure to reference the feature service endpoint for editing. Offline editing workflows require sync-enabled feature services. A sync-enabled feature service allows you to generate a geodatabase for offline use, and gives you the ability to sync your local edits back to the service.
ArcGIS 10.2.2 for Server or later, or hosted services in ArcGIS Online, are required to publish sync-enabled feature services.
Feature collections are static collections of features stored as JSON inside the map or a referenced portal item. Many ArcGIS Online operations create feature collections, such as adding Map Notes to your map, importing shapefiles, importing GPX files or sharing analysis results as items. There are two representations of feature collections which are important to understand when it comes to editing and saving features.
- Feature collections in a map - this is where the feature JSON is saved in a single map as a feature collection layer.
- Feature collections as portal items - this is where the feature JSON is saved as a portal item. These feature collections can be referenced in multiple maps.
Feature collections should not be used for multi-user editing scenarios, as clients could easily hold on to older versions of the feature collection and overwrite each others changes. Use feature services for these types of workflows.
Fine grained control over editing operations is available by using the editing API, allowing you to create and edit features, add, edit or remove feature attachments, and edit the geometry of features.
For some feature service editing workflows, it's a good idea to have an analyst using ArcGIS Desktop periodically review the edits to verify data integrity. Although components in the API can perform some data validation, other tasks such as validating topologies cannot be performed using ArcGIS Runtime SDK alone.
The editing framework supports the tracking of specific edits to features. This happens by tracking the following feature properties:
- Which user created the feature
- Date and time the feature was created
- Which user last edited the feature
- Date and time the feature was last edited