Use web feature layers

Web feature layers (also known as feature services) are layers that are shared to support displaying, querying, and editing data on the web. As a service editor, ArcGIS Pro supports a wide range of geodatabase datasets and capabilities from supported databases. The following sections include common tasks for working with feature layers from the web in ArcGIS Pro.

For more information on the sharing process, see Share a web feature layer.

Web feature layer information model

In ArcGIS Pro, web feature layers support the following geodatabase functionality:

  • Simple geometry—points, lines, and polygons
  • Relationship classes
  • Attachments
  • Domains
  • Subtypes
  • Multipatches
  • Multipoints

For web feature layers on ArcGIS Enterprise that reference data from a registered data store, the following datasets are supported in addition to the datasets listed above:

  • Utility networks
  • Parcel fabrics
  • Topology
  • Annotations
  • Dimensions

Datasets such as feature datasets and transportation networks are not currently supported.

Web feature layers that reference database data support simple points, lines, and polygon features.

View web feature layers in the Contents pane

You can add a web feature layer to a map or scene from your active portal connection, from an ArcGIS Server user connection, by opening a web map, or by specifying a URL when adding data from a path. Web feature layers can contain sublayers. You can add the entire layer or browse into the layer to add individual sublayers. When you add a web feature layer to a map, the layer is also added to the Contents pane as a group layer containing all of the sublayers. You can rearrange these sublayers in the group layer or move them out of the group layer to stand on their own. The group layer is used for organizational purposes and does not affect layer functionality. If you add individual sublayers to a map, they are represented individually in the Contents pane.

Learn more about how to add a web feature layer

Work with feature layers from the web

Once a web feature layer is added to ArcGIS Pro, it behaves in the same way as any other feature layer from a geodatabase. To get information about the layer, access the Layer Properties dialog box. Right-click the layer in the Contents pane and click Properties or double-click the layer name. On the Layer Properties dialog box, you can set definition queries and find information about extent, data source (URL), coordinate system, and other layer properties.

When using hosted web feature layers, the owner of the layer in the portal can add and delete fields and indexes for the layer. These are the only data definition language (DDL) operations currently supported for web feature layers in ArcGIS Pro.

The labeling, visibility range, and symbology for the layer are set automatically based on the settings from the portal or ArcGIS Server site where it resides. You can override these settings using the Appearance and Labeling tabs or the Layer Properties dialog box.

Learn more about how to set layer properties

To help ensure good performance with data from the web, ArcGIS Pro maintains a local cache for display, query, and edit operations.

Learn more about how caching works

Edit web feature layers

Typically, editing web feature layers is the same as editing other vector data. The types of edits you can make to a web feature layer are controlled by the feature service properties. There are different editing patterns that are dependent on the data being published, the editor permissions, and which capabilities are enabled on the service. One such capability that affects editing patterns is the version management capability. When publishers enable this capability when they publish branch versioned data, it changes how editors can edit the web layer in ArcGIS Pro

Learn more about editing web feature layers

Use ArcPy to work with data

ArcPy can be used to access web feature layers. You can open individual layers and tables by providing the URL to the feature service sub layer referenced by the layer.

Learn more about how to access web feature layers through ArcPy

Optimize web feature layer workflows

When working with web feature layers, you can optimize one of the following workflows to help improve performance or minimize the amount of work necessary to complete a task.

Append data

When possible, it is recommended that you use workflows that execute the append process on the backend data store, server, or database. This ensures optimal performance when appending a large volume of data to a web feature layer.

For example, for feature services that reference a geodatabase, it is recommended that you perform large data loading operations directly to the underlying database using the Append geoprocessing tool with a database connection. For hosted services in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise, you can use Append operations available from the feature layer item page or ArcGIS REST API.

Calculate fields

To improve performance with field calculations, use the Calculate Field geoprocessing tool to calculate using an SQL expression when possible. The SQL option, when available, executes the calculation on the server, which improves performance.

Enforce standardized SQL queries

When you write an SQL query for a web feature layer in ArcGIS Pro, the queries are often validated using standardized SQL. For this reason, the ArcGIS Server site on which the feature layer is running should enforce standardized SQL if possible. This can be important when performing certain time-based SQL queries, as many supported database implementations use slightly different SQL syntax for working with time.

Only an administrator can change the standardized SQL setting for an ArcGIS Server site. ArcGIS Online uses standardized SQL queries only.

Query only feature layers from map image layers

If you have published map image layers (map services) but want to enable feature access to the data for analysis or query, you can add individual sublayers from the map image layer to your ArcGIS Pro map. You can add these layers the same way you add a sublayer from a web feature layer (feature service); however, when you add map image layer sublayers, the data is not editable. This allows read-only feature access to the data without the need to publish a noneditable feature service.


To add individual sublayers, double-click to expand and browse the map image layer.

Work with date fields

For a layer to be considered time enabled for use in ArcGIS Pro (for example, the time slider is available), time properties for your temporal layer must be time enabled on the feature service layer during or after publishing.

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is nearly equivalent with the current time at Earth's prime meridian (zero degrees longitude), located near Greenwich, England, and is a more precise successor of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

When you publish hosted feature layers, you must specify if the date fields contain local time zone information when you publish the layer. This enables the publishing process to transform the local time data into UTC for storage in the database. When working with date and time fields in feature services, these are generally assumed to be in UTC. When publishing feature layers referencing data in an enterprise geodatabase, if any date fields are stored in local time, a time zone can be specified for the date fields. This information is used by the feature service to convert and return date information in UTC time.

When working with web feature layers, there are no conversions applied to date fields for query or display purposes in ArcGIS Pro. Date values returned by queries in ArcGIS Pro are displayed in UTC time, which contrasts with other applications such as web browsers that use the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. These web applications will usually convert date values into the local time used on the device used to view the data. With feature layers published by reference date queries, calculations or edits may return unexpected values if the time zone of the data is not taken into account.