Binned feature layers are aggregated visualizations of point feature datasets. When the dataset 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 easier to understand and faster to draw compared to drawing the individual features. 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 (LODs).
Once binning is applied, you can turn the bins on and off, adjust the way the aggregation is computed, and modify the way the bins and the underlying point features are symbolized.You can also specify summary statistics to aggregate in bins. Once the bins are displayed appropriately, you can optionally share the binned feature layer as a map image layer.
Optionally, point and multipoint feature classes stored in an enterprise geodatabase or RDBMS can use database computation to generate bins, which can improve draw speed and performance. To do this run the Enable Feature Binning tool to store the bins in the database.
To learn more about when it is appropriate to use feature binning or consider other types of feature aggregation, see Visualize features through aggregation.
Apply feature binning to a layer
The Binning contextual tab becomes available when a binned feature layer is selected in the Contents pane. This tab contains functionality for managing, editing, and updating binned feature layers. You can also view the layer's properties to determine whether database driven feature binning is enabled on the Source tab.
The bins are not a feature layer but a capability on a feature layer. This is why the ArcGIS Pro ribbon shows independent contextual tabs for feature layers and binning when a binned feature layer is selected.
Manage the display of bins
The way binned 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 using the tools on the Binning tab. In a local or global scene, only point features can be displayed in the 3D Layers category.
Turn bins on and off
You can turn bin drawing on and off from the Binning tab to view differences between bins and individual features. The symbology and display settings of the bins are maintained even when bin drawing is turned off. Bins cannot be selected, but you can turn them off to select point features.
When bins are drawn on the map, you can click them to view a pop-up that displays calculated summary statistics for that bin at the given level of detail. You can also configure pop-ups for bins from the Configure Pop-ups pane by clicking the Bins subtab.
Bin pop-ups are not viewable or configurable for feature layers from SAP HANA or spatiotemporal databases.
To turn the display of bins on and off for a binned feature layer, follow these steps:
- Select a binned feature layer in the Contents pane.
- On the Binning tab, in the Layer group, click the Binning button .
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 draws 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 bins from being drawn 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. On the Binning 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 provide a custom scale. The map only draws point features if you are zoomed in farther than the binning threshold scale. If your layer is configured to compute bins at the application level, or the data is stored in a spatiotemporal database and consumed via a feature service, you can alternatively click the Features button and 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 to lock the bin size at its current LOD. This keeps the bin polygon size consistent when zooming in and 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.
The size of the bin depends on the bin type. For more information, see Symbolize binned feature layers.
Change the bin type
In most situations, you can change the type of bin, which determines the shape and style of the bin. With database-driven feature binning unless your data is in a spatiotemporal big data store, only one bin type is supported per layer.
- On the Binning tab, in the Appearance group, click the Bin Type drop-down menu.
- Choose a new bin type.
The bins are a tessellation of rectangles. Geohashes bisect the earth into a series of rectangles with unique alphanumeric string IDs. The string IDs are precise and predictable, which makes them systematically easier to interpret. This bin type is only available when WGS 1984 is set as the coordinate system.
Also called flat geohex or flat hexbinning, the bins are a tessellation of hexagons. The flat edge of the hexagon is oriented on top. Hexagons are efficient for binning because the distance from the center of the hexagon to each edge is equal.
Also called pointy geohex or pointy hexbinning, the bins are a tessellation of hexagons. The point of the hexagon is oriented on top. Hexagons are efficient for binning because the distance from the center of the hexagon to each edge is equal.
The tiles are a tessellation of squares, also known as geosquare or squarebinning. Binning into squares is the least mathematically complex option, so this bin type is best for basic pattern analysis.
Change the bins' coordinate system
Bins are drawn using the same coordinate system as the map. Binned 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 Mercator projection, the bin's shape and size stay constant, but because the map is distorted near the poles, bins over Greenland and Antarctica represent a smaller area than bins on the same projection near the equator. Because of this, it is recommended that you change the projected coordinate system of the bins to a projection that preserves area instead.
If database-driven feature binning is enabled, up to 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.
Note:Custom coordinate systems are not supported in database-driven feature binning.
You can change the projected coordinate system of the bins on the Binning tab. To change the coordinate system, follow these steps:
- On the Binning tab, in the Appearance group, open the Coordinate System drop-down menu.
- Choose a new coordinate system.
The map redraws the bins using the selected projection.
If the feature layer is the first layer added to the project, the map's projection changes to an 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 used.
Set a definition query
You can limit the display of a binned 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.
Display filters applied to the point features do not affect the drawing of bins.
- In the Contents pane, right-click a binned feature layer and click Properties .
- On the Layer Properties dialog box, on the Definition Query tab, click New definition query to add and edit a new query.
- Click Apply, and click OK to apply the definition query to the layer.
If a definition query is applied to the binned feature layer, the bins' symbology does not reflect changes set by the query. In the Symbology pane , under the Bins tab, on the Primary symbology tab , 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.
If static bins are generated on the feature layer 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 using the definition query, current time, or current range.
Manage the binning cache
If working with a database, and a static binning cache was generated when feature binning was enabled, you must update the binning cache when you edit, create, or update point features to reflect these changes. The option to generate a binning cache is checked by default when the Enable Feature Binning tool is run, 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 recommended that you run this tool periodically. If the feature layer 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 in ArcGIS Pro. The Max cached level property on a binned layer's Layer Properties dialog box lists the maximum level of detail of the static cache.
If your data is managed outside of ArcGIS Pro and a binning cache is not created, you must disable and reenable database binning for updates to be reflected.
Share binned feature layers
You can share a binned feature layer as a map image layer to ArcGIS Enterprise and consume the web layer in ArcGIS Pro. Prior to publishing database-driven feature bins, the source database of the binned feature layer must be registered to a server federated with the portal. In the Share As Web Layer pane, under Data and Layer Type, click Map Image under Reference registered data. Optionally, check the Feature check box to include a feature layer.
Beginning with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9, when you publish a binned feature layer to a feature service, you can consume the service in ArcGIS Pro and change certain layer properties such as the bin's symbology or bin size.
There are some situations in which sharing a map with a binned feature layer is not supported. For more information, see 20055: Feature binning functionality will be dropped.