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Introduction to sharing web layers

You can share your map or selected layers as a web layer. There are seven layer types that can be shared from ArcGIS Pro: feature, tile, vector tile, map image, imagery, scene, and elevation. Feature, tile, vector tile, map image, and imagery layers share 2D data, while scene and elevation layers share 3D data.

When you share a web layer, a service is published and exposed through the web layer. Depending on the layer type and how it is configured, an ArcGIS Server service or a hosted service is published.

To share any content from ArcGIS Pro, you must have an account that is part of an ArcGIS organization that has the privilege to create, update, and delete content. The sharing of web layers requires additional privileges that vary depending on the layer type and how it's configured. If an ArcGIS Server service will be published, the privilege to publish a server-based layer is required. If a hosted service will be published, the privilege to publish the corresponding hosted layer is required.

When an ArcGIS Server service will be published, you can specify the federated server where the service will be published. To publish an ArcGIS Server service, access to the admin API must be possible through either the federated server's administration URL or services URL.

Before sharing a web layer, analyze your GIS resource to identify potential performance delays and errors. For more information, see Analyze your GIS resource.

You can continue to work with ArcGIS Pro while your sharing job is processing. You can even close ArcGIS Pro. You can monitor the status of your sharing jobs from the Job Status pane.

Layer types

A number of factors should be considered when determining the layer type to share, including how the layer will be used and whether your source data is accessible to the server.

Layer typeDescription

Feature layer

Supports feature querying, visualization, and editing. Feature layers are appropriate for visualizing vector data on top of your basemaps. When sharing a feature layer to ArcGIS Enterprise with the Copy all data data option, the service will always be published to your hosting server. When sharing a feature layer to ArcGIS Enterprise with the Reference registered data data option, it's shared as a dependent layer to a map image layer.

A feature layer exposes a feature service.

Tile layer

Supports fast map visualization using a collection of predrawn map images or tiles. These tiles are created and stored on the server after you upload your data. Web tile layers are appropriate for basemaps. When sharing a tile layer to ArcGIS Enterprise, the service will always be published to your hosting server.

A tile layer exposes a hosted, cached map service.

Vector tile layer

Supports fast map visualization using a collection of predrawn vector tiles. Although these tiles do not support raster data, they can adapt to the resolution of their display device and be restyled for multiple uses. When sharing a vector tile layer to ArcGIS Enterprise, the service will always be published to your hosting server.

A vector tile layer exposes a vector tile service.

Map image layer

Supports map visualization and feature querying. Map image layers can be drawn dynamically by the server or from tiles. Map image layers can only be shared to ArcGIS Enterprise. Map image layers can reference datasets in workspaces that have been registered with your federated server. When sharing a map image layer, the service can be published to any server that has been federated with the portal to which you have access. Additional layers and capabilities can be enabled; for more information, see Additional layers and capabilities.

A map image layer exposes a dynamic or cached map service.

Scene layer

Supports querying, visualization, and editing of 3D multipatch objects, point features, and LiDAR datasets. When sharing a scene layer to ArcGIS Enterprise, the service will always be published to your hosting server.

A scene layer exposes a cached scene service.

Imagery layer

Supports visualization, metadata, mensuration, and image processing to display data as a basemap or the results of analysis. Imagery layers can be shared to any server federated with ArcGIS Enterprise.

An imagery layer exposes a dynamic image service.

Elevation layer

Supports visualization, metadata, mensuration, and image processing of elevation data sources in the ground surface of a scene. The elevation layer is used in web scenes to display 3D content on a custom elevation surface. When sharing an elevation layer to ArcGIS Enterprise that is cached locally, the service will always be published to your hosting server. When cached on the server, the service can be published to any server federated with ArcGIS Enterprise.

An elevation layer exposes a cached image service that uses a LERC compression tiling scheme.

Depending on your active portal, different layer types are available to share. Some layer types require packages to be created and uploaded depending on the active portal and the type of data being shared.

Layer types by active portal

Active portalFeature layerTile layerVector tile layerMap image layerScene layer—MultipatchScene layer—PointsScene layer—Point cloudImagery layerElevation layer

ArcGIS Online

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5 or later

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Portal for ArcGIS 10.4 and 10.4.1

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Supported

Portal for ArcGIS 10.3.1

Supported

Supported

Supported

Portal for ArcGIS 10.3 or earlier

Supported

Supported

Select the layer type

When selecting the layer type, consider the following:

  • If the layer will be used for editing workflows, select feature layer.
  • If the data changes regularly and will not be used for editing workflows, select map image layer.
  • If the data changes semiregularly, select map image layer and configure it to display using tiles from a cache.
  • If the data is static vector data and will only be used for visualization, select vector tile layer.
  • If the data is static raster data and will only be used for visualization, select tile layer.
  • If you will be changing the visualization of your raster dataset dynamically on the client, share an imagery layer.
  • If you need open source formats, select map image layer and include an associated WMS layer.

Reference registered data sources

When sharing to ArcGIS Enterprise, you can choose to reference registered data or copy all data. Sharing to Portal for ArcGIS 10.4 and later also has these data options. To reference data from data sources that are registered with your federated server, choose the Reference registered data option. For more information on data registration, see About registering your data with ArcGIS Server.

If you do not want the web layer to have access to the registered data source, choose Copy all data. When using Copy all data, ArcGIS Pro copies all layers in the map to the server. This includes registered data. The web layer will use the data copied to the server.

Referencing registered data requires a map image layer to be included. Choosing Reference registered data automatically turns on and disables map image layers.

  • Map image layers and registered data
    • When sharing a map image layer with the Reference registered data option, any registered data sources will be referenced by the map image layer. Layers with unregistered data sources will be copied as a file geodatabase onto the server.
    • When sharing a map image layer with the Copy all data option, all data will be copied as a file geodatabase onto the server, including data from registered data sources.
  • Feature layers and registered data
    • When sharing a feature layer with the Reference registered data option, all layers must have the same enterprise database as their data source. The database must be registered with the selected federated server. Edits made to your web feature layer and to your source data will be reflected in the source data and the web layer.
    • When sharing a feature layer with the Copy all data option, all layers will be copied into your hosting server's managed database.

Legacy:

The following applies when sharing to Portal for ArcGIS 10.4.1 and earlier:

When the publisher's machine and the server are working with different geodatabases as the registered data source, referencing the registered data is not supported. If the publisher's machine and the server are working with different folders as the registered data source, referencing the registered data is supported.

Data sources can be registered with the portal's federated server before sharing; this can be done through the Manage registered data stores pane. For more information, see Manage registered data stores. Data sources can also be registered in the sharing pane by resolving analyzer warnings 24011 and 24012 or by resolving analyzer errors 00231 and 00232.

Select whether to reference registered data

  • Choose Reference registered data if you want edits to your web layer or enterprise data to be dynamically displayed in the web layer and the source data.
  • If your data source is registered with the federated server but you don't want the layer to reference your source data, choose Copy all data. Your data will be copied to the server.
  • If your active portal is ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5 or Portal for ArcGIS 10.4.1 or earlier and you will be using Collector or other sync-based workflows, choose Copy all data. Feature layers that reference registered data sources do not support sync or export.

Preserve layer and table IDs

By default, the layer and table IDs of a service are not preserved when its web layer is overwritten. If you changed the ordering of the layers or added or removed layers, you must update any client applications, such as web maps, consuming the service to use the updated IDs. To avoid updating client applications, it is recommended that you author the map to preserve the layer and table IDs before sharing a map image layer or web feature layer.

To preserve layer and table IDs, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the map in the Contents pane and click Properties Properties.
  2. On the Map Properties dialog box, on the General tab, check Allow assignment of unique numeric IDs for sharing web layers and click OK.

    Sequential IDs are assigned to each layer and table in the map.

  3. Optionally, you can choose to assign custom IDs to layers and tables in the map.
    1. Right-click a layer or table in the Contents pane and click Properties Properties.
    2. On the Layer Properties dialog box, on the General tab, type a custom integer ID in the Layer ID box. This ID can be any arbitrary integer. The IDs you specify do not have to be sequential.
    3. Repeat the previous two steps for each layer or table as necessary.
  4. Share the map as a map image layer or web feature layer. The IDs are preserved after publishing, eliminating the need to update client applications if the web layer is overwritten in the future.

Metadata

You can share an entire map, a selection of layers, a group layer, or a single layer as a web layer from ArcGIS Pro. Both the web layer and the sublayers of the service exposed by the web layer can store metadata. The type of web layer selected will determine if only the web layer or both the web layer and the sublayers store metadata.

All web layers store the metadata of what was shared (entire map, group layer, and so forth) with the web layer item. A selection of layers does not have a single source for metadata, so only the summary and tags specified in the sharing pane will be stored with the web layer. Web layers that are cached locally will contain only the metadata content displayed by the Item Description style; all others will store the full metadata of the shared item.

What is sharedMetadata source

Entire map

Map's metadata

Selection of layers

Not applicable. Only the summary and tags specified in the sharing pane are stored with the web layer.

Group layer

Group layer's metadata

Single layer

Layer's metadata

Map image and feature layers also store metadata with the sublayers of the service. Each sublayer exposes the full metadata of its corresponding ArcGIS Pro layer or table as it was authored in ArcGIS Pro. Layers and tables can be authored in the following two ways:

  • Show metadata from data source (read-only)—References the dataset's metadata.
  • Layer has its own metadata or Table has its own metadata—Uses metadata stored in the project that describes the layer or table.
Note:

The data option selected when sharing to Enterprise, Reference registered data or Copy all data, will be honored for the layer's metadata in addition to the actual data. This means if you authored a layer to Show metadata from data source (read-only) and selected Reference registered data when sharing, changes to the dataset's metadata will automatically display in the sublayer's metadata.

As an example, an organization that manages information about trees maintained by the city is planning to use web maps to collect information from the public about trees that need attention. Volunteers regularly check and verify the crowdsourced information before delivering it to the city's tree maintenance department. They have two maps in ArcGIS Pro, one will be shared as a map image layer to be used as a basemap. The other map contains a tree layer that will be shared as a web feature layer to be used as an editable operational layer in the web map.

The basemap map's metadata contains general information about the tree maintenance program. The map contains multiple layers including building footprints, streets, and the city boundaries. Each of these layers shows metadata from its data source. By sharing the entire map as a map image layer that references registered data, the web layer item will display the map's metadata (the general information about the tree maintenance program), and the sublayers will display the metadata from their original data sources. Any updates made to the data sources' metadata will automatically be reflected in the sublayers.

The tree layer has its own metadata. The data source's metadata was copied to the layer and modified to include information about how often the web layer will be updated and checked for accuracy. By sharing only the tree layer, both the web layer item and the sublayer of the service will contain the layer's metadata including the modifications made to it. Any updates made to the layer's metadata will not be reflected in the web layer or sublayer until the web feature layer is overwritten.

For more information about authoring metadata, see View and edit metadata.

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