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Understanding services, layers, and maps

Layers, maps, and scenes shared from ArcGIS Pro are stored as items in your content in your active portal. These items can be consumed across the ArcGIS platform, including ArcGIS Pro and the map and scene viewers.

Web layers

Web layers shared from ArcGIS Pro are portal items that expose a service or service layer to be easily shared and consumed. Depending on the type of service being exposed, a different layer type is created.

Web layers and their corresponding services

Web layerWeb service

Feature layer

Feature service

Tile layer

Cached map service, hosted

Vector tile layer

Vector tile service

Map image layer

Dynamic or cached map service

Scene layer

Cached scene service

Imagery layer

Dynamic image service

Elevation layer

Cached image service

Web layers can store configured settings such as symbology, pop-up information, and permissions for who can access the layer. Because these settings are stored with the layer instead of the service, you can have multiple layer items referencing the same service with different configurations. See the Configured settings section for more information on where these settings are stored.

Learn more about sharing web layers

Web maps and scenes

Web maps and web scenes are composed of web layers. Web maps are used to visualize 2D data, while web scenes are used with 3D data. When existing web layers are shared as part of a new map or scene, any changes in the configuration of the layer are stored with the new web map—the original web layer is not modified.

Learn more about sharing web maps

Learn more about sharing web scenes

Configured settings

When sharing from ArcGIS Pro, layer configurations (such as labels, symbology, and pop-ups) are stored at the lowest possible level. From lowest to highest, configurations can be stored at the service, web layer, and then web map or web scene level. Basic settings, such as visibility range, that are supported by the service will be stored there. If the setting is not supported by the service, it will be saved with the layer, and if the setting is not supported by the layer, it will be saved with the map or scene.

The following are examples of when configured settings may appear differently between services, layers, and maps:

  • When sharing a point layer with labels as a web feature layer, the labeling settings will be saved to the web layer because labels are not supported by the service. In this case, the labels are maintained when interacting with the feature layer but not the service.

  • When sharing a scene with points symbolized as 3D model markers to ArcGIS Online, the symbology is stored with the web scene because 3D model markers cannot be stored with the service or layer. When the shared scene is opened in the scene viewer, it will look the same as the scene shared from ArcGIS Pro. Conversely, if you add the service or web layer to a new scene, the 3D model markers will not be present.