GEOG 865
Cloud and Server GIS

Publishing feature services for web editing


In order to get your maps into a web editing app, you need to publish them as services. Specifically, in ArcGIS, you publish your map as a map service, with the Feature Access capability enabled. This creates a feature service that can be used for web editing.

The terminology here can be confusing. Is it a map service or a feature service? The answer is...both. When you look at your GIS server as an administrator, you'll only see one service, a map service with the Feature Access capability enabled. However when you look at the GIS server as a consumer of the service, for example when you are developing a web app with the service, you will see two ways that you can access the service. You'll see the map service URL and the feature service URL. You need to use the feature service URL in order to access web editing functions. The feature service provides methods (or REST "operations") for editing. These operations include Add Features, Update Features, Delete Features, and Apply Edits. You have to enable the Feature Access capability and use the feature service URL (it ends with "FeatureServer") in order to get these methods. They don't come with a regular old map service.

In the previous section, you created two maps: BighornHabitat and BighornReferenceLayers. You'll publish the BighornHabitat map as a feature service. The reference layers map also needs to be published, but it doesn't need to have the Feature Access capability enabled.

Try these steps:

  1. If necessary, start your ArcGIS Server site and log in to your EC2 instance through Windows Remote Desktop.
  2. On your EC2 instance, start ArcGIS Pro and open BighornHabitat project that you saved in the previous lesson.
  3. Open the BighornHabitat map that contains the editable layers.
  4. Click the Share tab and choose Web Layer - Publish Web Layer.

    You went through this process in the previous lesson, but we'll review the steps here once and then give you a chance to publish another service in your own.
  5. In the Share As Web Layer pane, give your data the name "BighornHabitat", a summary, and a tag.
  6. As before, select the radio button to specify Map Image under Reference Registered Data. This specifies that we want to create a regular image map services (nothing with vector tiles, for example).
  7. This time, however, also check the box for the Feature option. This specifies that we also want to publish our data as a feature service, that enables editing and other functionality.
  8. If you click the Configuration tab at the top, you should see both Map Image and Feature listed under the Layer(s) section. This confirms that we will be publishing our data in both ways.
  9. Confirm that your ArcGIS Server url (not the Penn state one) is shown in the Server and Folder box.
  10. Check the box to Share With Everyone and click Publish. (If you get an error able Allow Assignment of Unique IDs, click the error message to open the configuration page and check the box to allow.)
  11. Repeat the above steps to publish your other map, Carbon County Reference Layers, as a service named "CarbonCountyReferenceLayers;" however, do not enable Feature Access on the service.
  12. Recall that, by default, services are published without public access. To be sure that all clients are able to view your new services, visit the Server Manager page (, view the list of services, click the Sharing icons, and confirm that "Everyone" is selected.

Taking into account the service you published in the previous lesson, your Services Directory should now contain the following services:

  • AppalachianTrailShelters (MapServer)
  • BighornHabitat (MapServer)
  • BighornHabitat (FeatureServer)
  • CarbonCountyReferenceLayers (MapServer)
  • SampleWorldCities (MapServer)