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Work with binned feature layers

Bin-enabled feature layers are aggregated visualizations of point features. When a point feature class includes so many features that it is difficult to interpret meaning from drawing each feature individually at smaller scales, you can aggregate them into equally sized polygonal bins. Each bin can be symbolized to represent the number of features contained within (the feature count) or another summary statistic. Drawing the point feature information as bins at smaller scales makes the data easy to understand and fast to draw. As you zoom in, the individual points are drawn in place of the bins at a defined threshold, revealing the full complexity of the data at larger scales. The changes in bin size as you zoom in or out are referred to as levels of detail, or LODs.

To draw point features with bins at small scales, the source feature class must first be enabled for binning. Use the Enable Feature Binning tool to do this. Only point and multipoint feature classes stored in an enterprise geodatabase or database can be enabled for binning. You specify the coordinate system of the bins when you enable binning. Because you are comparing equally sized containers, an equal-area coordinate system is strongly encouraged.

Once binning is enabled, you can turn the appearance of bins on and off, adjust the way the aggregation into bins is calculated, and modify the way the bins (and the underlying point features) are symbolized. In addition to the summary statistics that were defined when binning was enabled, you can specify additional summary statistics to aggregate in bins. Once the bins are displayed appropriately, you can optionally share the bin-enabled feature layer as a map image layer with others.

To learn more about when it is appropriate to use feature binning, see Visualize features through aggregation. To learn how to symbolize the bins, see Symbolize binned feature layers. To learn how to create summary statistics for your bin-enabled feature layer, see Calculate summary statistics for bins.

Determine if a layer is enabled for binning

The Binning contextual tab is available when a bin-enabled feature layer is highlighted in the Contents pane. The Bin tab contains functionality available for managing, editing, and updating your binned features. You can also view the properties of the layer to check whether feature aggregation (feature binning) is enabled on the Source tab.

Tip:

The bins are not their own feature layer but a capability on a feature layer. This is why you see independent contextual tabs for feature layers and binning in the ribbon when a bin-enabled feature layer is selected.

Manage the display of bins

The way bin-enabled feature layers display on a map or scene depends on the map scale (or distance), the bin size, and the coordinate system. You can change how bins display by using the tools on the Bin tab. In a local or global scene, only point features can be displayed in the 3D Layers category.

Turn bins on and off

Binning is turned on by default for feature classes that are enabled for binning. You can turn binning on and off from the Bin tab to view differences between bins and individual features. The symbology and display settings of the bins are maintained even when bin drawing is off.

To turn the display of bins on and off for a bin-enabled feature class, follow these steps:

  1. Highlight a bin-enabled feature layer from the Contents pane.
  2. Under Binning, on the Bin tab, in the Layer group, click the Binning button Enable Binning.

When bins are drawn on the map, you can click them to open a pop-up that displays that calculated summary statistics for that bin at the given level of detail. Bins cannot be selected, but you can turn bins off to select point features.

Note:

Bin pop-ups are not viewable for feature layers from SAP HANA or spatiotemporal databases.

Adjust the bin size and scale threshold

There is a direct relationship between the size of the bins and the scale of the map. For example, when zooming in and out on the map, the map attempts to draw the same number of bins in each extent by dynamically changing the LOD. You can set a binning threshold to specify when bins are drawn. This prevents drawing bins at large scales where there is not enough data on the map.

The size of the bin (LOD) can be increased or decreased. You can also lock the bin size so that the area of the bin does not change at different scales and extents. Under Binning, on the Bin tab, you can view the bin scale, size, appearance, and symbology settings.

  • In the Binning Threshold group, click the Scale drop-down list and choose a preset scale or the current scale, or enter a custom scale. The map only draws features if you are zoomed in further than the binning threshold scale. If your data is stored in a spatiotemporal database and consumed via a feature service, you can set the binning threshold using the number of features instead of specifying a scale.
  • In the Size group, click the Increase Bin Size or Decrease Bin Size arrows to increase or decrease the bin size. Hover over the arrows to view the current bin LOD. A smaller LOD means the bin size is larger.
  • Click the Lock bin size control Lock to lock the bin size at its current LOD. This keeps the bin polygon size consistent when zooming in or out on the map, as polygons appear larger or smaller on the screen but represent the same area in each map extent. This is similar to setting a reference scale, but bin symbol markers and outlines will continue to change at different scales. If your layer is in a local or global scene, it is recommended that you lock the bin size so that the LOD is fixed at all distances in the 3D view.
Note:

The size of the bin depends on the bin type. For more information, see Symbolize binned feature layers.

Change the bin type

If the bin-enabled feature layer is stored in a spatiotemporal big data store, you can change the type of bin after binning is enabled. This option is otherwise unavailable for bin-enabled feature layers.

  1. Under Binning, on the Bin tab, in the Appearance group, click the Bin type drop-down menu.
  2. Choose a new bin type.

    GeoHash

    Geohash bin type

    Hexagon (flat-topped)

    Flat hexagon bin type

    Hexagon (pointy-topped)

    Pointy hexagon bin type

    Square

    Square hexagon bin type

Change the bins' coordinate system

Bins are drawn using the same coordinate system as the map. Bin-enabled feature layers can have bins generated into different coordinate systems. This is an important concept of feature aggregation, because drawing bins in certain coordinate systems can change the statistics of each bin. For example, in a Web Mercator projection, the bin's shape and size stay constant, but because the map is distorted near the poles, bins over Greenland or Antarctica represent a smaller area than bins on the same projection near the equator. Because of this, it is recommended to change the projected coordinate system of the bins to a projection that preserves area instead.

When feature binning is first enabled on your data, one or two coordinate systems can be defined to visualize the aggregated output feature layer. Other coordinate systems cannot be added unless binning is disabled and reenabled. Custom coordinate systems are not supported.

You can change the projected coordinate system of the bins from the Bin tab. To change the coordinate system, follow these steps:

  1. Under Binning, on the Bin tab, in the Appearance group, open the Coordinate System drop-down menu.
  2. Choose a new coordinate system. The map redraws the bins using the selected projection.

If the feature class is the first layer added to the project, the map's projection changes to any available equal-area projection from the list of defined coordinate systems for the bins. If an equal-area projection is not available, the first projection in the list is chosen.

Set a definition query

You may want to limit the display of a bin-enabled feature layer to show only certain features. If you filter features with definition queries, the bins display only these features. This is similar to setting a definition query on a standard feature layer.

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click a bin-enabled feature layer and click Properties.
  2. On the Layer Properties dialog box, on the Definition Query tab, click New definition query to create a query.
  3. After setting the parameters of the query, click Apply and click OK to apply the definition query to the layer.
Note:

If a definition query is applied to the bin-enabled feature layer, the bins' symbology does not reflect changes set by the query. In the Symbology pane Symbology, under the Bins tab, on the Primary symbology tab Primary symbology, click the More drop-down menu and click Refresh values to recompute the symbology based on the query.

Filter by time or range

You can filter bins by setting time properties or adding a range slider on the feature layer on the Layer Properties dialog box. Time and range settings are preserved when you switch the display between bins and individual features.

Note:

If static bins are generated on the feature class and you set a definition query or use a time or range slider on the current map view, the layer does not use the cached statistics. Instead, it generates summary statistics dynamically by taking the definition query, current time, or current range into consideration.

Manage the binning cache

If a static binning cache was generated when feature binning was first enabled, when you edit, create, or update point features in ArcGIS Pro, you must update the binning cache to reflect these changes. The option to generate a binning cache is checked by default when binning is enabled, as this improves drawing performance for very large datasets.

Run the Manage Feature Bin Cache tool to reflect updates from the database in your binning cache. If your data is frequently updated, it is highly encouraged that you run this tool periodically. If the feature class was enabled with the option to generate a static cache unchecked, a static cache is created automatically when this tool is run.

Depending on the data or the layer's full extent, not all LODs are cached at once. When you zoom past the last cached LOD, the layer dynamically generates the bins, which reflect the latest updates made within ArcGIS Pro. The Max cached level property on a bin-enabled layer's Layer Properties dialog box lists the maximum level of detail of the static cache.

Note:

If your data is managed outside of ArcGIS Pro and a binning cache is not created, you will need to disable and reenable binning for any updates to be reflected.

Share bin-enabled feature layers

You can share a bin-enabled feature layer as a map image layer to ArcGIS Enterprise and consume the web layer in ArcGIS Pro. Prior to publishing, the source database of the bin-enabled feature layer must be registered to a server federated with the portal. In the Sharing pane, under Data, select Reference registered data. Optionally, under Layer Type, check the Feature check box to include a feature layer.

Note:

There are some situations in which sharing a map with a bin-enabled feature layer is not supported. For more information, see 20055: Feature binning functionality will be dropped.

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