Skip To Content

Work with stream layers

Stream layers are feature layers of live observations. You can adjust how and when those features are shown in a map and scene, and you can interact with their attributes.

Manage the display of streaming observations

In addition to the way you symbolize stream layers, you can control how the live observations are displayed. A stream layer is subscribed to its source stream service so any observations that are broadcast from that service are displayed as a live stream of information. You can start and stop the stream, and discard the observations to clear the map or scene until new observations are broadcast. You can limit the observations that are displayed by setting a definition query, and you can specify how long observations remain visible in the map or scene by setting observation expiration.

Start and stop streaming

To start or stop the live stream of observations, follow these steps.

  1. Select a stream layer in the Contents pane.
  2. Under Stream Layer on the Data tab in the Streaming Data group, click Start Stream Start Stream or Stop Stream Stop Stream.
  3. To discard the observations to clear the map or scene, click Discard Observations Discard Observations.

Set a definition query

You may want to limit the display of a stream layer to show only certain types of observations. You can filter the observations by setting a definition query. This is similar to setting a definition query on a standard feature layer, but there are a few additional considerations.

Setting a definition query makes a new connection to the stream service, so the display is refreshed and all observations are removed from the map before streaming begins again, based on the query.

When you set a definition query on a stream layer, the filter is applied to the stream service connection, so only observations that meet the query are passed through to the stream layer. This means that you cannot build a query from fields that the stream service is not aware of, such as OBJECTID andSYS_TIMESTAMP.

Valid definition queries are more limited for stream layers than for standard feature layers. Comparisons can be made between a field and a literal value (for example, field1 > 1) or between two fields of the same type (for example, field1 > field2). Parentheses can be added to make precedence explicitly enforced. The query must be an SQL where clause using only the following operations:

  • AND
  • OR
  • NOT
  • =
  • !=
  • <
  • <=
  • >
  • >=
  • IS NULL
  • IS NOT NULL
  • IN
  • LIKE

Follow these steps to set a definition query on a stream layer.

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click a stream layer and click Properties Properties.
  2. On the Layer Properties dialog box, on the Definition Query tab, click Add Clause to build a query.
  3. Click OK to apply the definition to the layer.

Set observation expiration

Streamed observations collect on the map or scene. If there are a lot of observations and they're streaming in quickly, the visual message of your map or scene can become obscured. You can control how many previous observations remain visible on your map by specifying their expiration. You can set a threshold of either the total number of observations you want to collect or the duration at which they'll display.

Follow these steps to set the expiration of observations for a stream layer that is not track-aware.

  1. Select a stream layer in the Contents pane.
  2. Under Stream Layer on the Data tab in the Streaming Data group under the Observations Expire After heading, choose one of the following options:
    • Max Observations—Specify the total number of observations that will accumulate on the map or scene for that layer.
    • Duration—Specify a duration where observations older than this duration are removed from the map or scene.

For a stream layer that is track-aware, you set observation expiry per track instead of for the whole map or scene. Follow these steps to set the expiration of observations on a track-aware stream layer.

  1. Select a stream layer in the Contents pane.
  2. Under Stream Layer on the Data tab in the Streaming Data group under the Observations Expire After heading, choose one of the following options:
    • Max Observations Per Track—Specify the total number of observations that will accumulate for each track.
    • Duration Per Track—Specify a duration where observations on each track older than this duration are removed from the map or scene.

Interact with the streaming observations

In addition to specifying how the stream layer is displayed, you can select and view observation features, and use them as inputs to geoprocessing.

Select observations

You can select observation features either interactively or using attributes the same way you do with standard feature layers, but you cannot create a selection layer from the resulting selection. Unlike standard feature layers, the selection is not persisted with the map or the layer when you save the map or project.

Work with the attribute table

The attribute table of a stream layer consists of the observations currently in memory based on the broadcast observations of the stream service, a definition query (if one is present), and observation expiration settings. You must stop the stream to see records in the attribute table. The attribute table shows a static snapshot of the observations as they were when the service was stopped. Discarding observations from the map or scene also clears these records from the attribute table.

Use stream layer in geoprocessing

Stream layer observations can be used as inputs to geoprocessing tools, but because the data is dynamic, it's strongly recommended that you stop the input stream as you open the geoprocessing tool, and restart it after processing is complete.

Share stream layers

You can create a layer file (.lyrx) from a stream layer, but you cannot create a layer package (.lpkx) from it. You can share a map containing stream layers as a web map, but you cannot share the map or the stream layer as a map image layer or web feature layer.

Maps or scenes with stream layers can be placed on layouts, but the stream layer cannot be properly printed or exported with the layout.

Related topics