How to add data for existing indicators to a new core layer in a data catalog

Related posts:

This article is particularly aimed at clients that use the InstantAtlas National Data Service.

Before carrying out any of the steps described below, we recommend that you read the full article to make sure that you have a clear understanding of the entire process. You should make a plan of what you need to do and note down the names that you want your geodatabases, hosted layers and fields to have. Think carefully about these and be consistent, as it may be difficult to change them later once you have created outputs (reports or dashboards) based on the new core layers and data. Contact if you are unsure about anything before you start.

Let’s assume you previously loaded Fuel Poverty indicators into your data catalog and would now like to add data for these indicators for a layer that does not yet exist as a core layer in your data catalog, e.g. for MSOA.  This article will explain the necessary steps to achieve this.

Please note that if you use one of the InstantAtlas National Data Services , you will not be able to add data to indicators managed by the data service. You can only add data to indicators you previously loaded yourself.

To add data into your data catalog, it needs to be saved in your ArcGIS Online account in one or more feature layers . If you want to use the data in either the Report Builder or Dashboard Builder apps, and you wish to see comparison values in the outputs, it is essential that the feature layers contain relationship classes between the core layers and also between the data layers. The Comparison Areas and Relationships page provides further information on this topic. At time of writing it is not possible to create relationship classes within ArcGIS Online so you will need to use either ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap to create the feature layer(s).

As you wish to add data for a new core layer you will need to have a shapefile containing the geometry (polygons, points or lines) for this layer. The shapefile must contain unique feature codes and names for the geography features in its attribute table. If you want to add relationship classes to use comparisons in Report Builder or Dashboard Builder, you will also need columns with lookups to the related layers in the attribute table of the shapefile.

To add data for new core layers to existing indicators you need to first locate the feature layer that the existing instances of this indicator are stored in. Data for all data layers of the same indicator must be saved in the same feature layer to be able to create the necessary relationship classes. The easiest way to find the feature layer is to open your data catalog in the Data Catalog Manager, find the indicator and click on the icon. At the top of the dialog you will see the link to the feature service.

Follow this link and you will see the layer description of the feature service. In the bread crumb at the top click on the item one level above. It will be called ‘something (FeatureServer)’.

On the feature server page, find the Service ItemId. Copy it to your clipboard.

Now sign in to your ArcGIS Online account and click on the magnifying glass in the main menu at the top to search for items. Paste the ID from your clipboard into the search field. As a result, you will see the feature layer that contains the fuel poverty indicators.

You can now either export the feature layer to a file geodatabase (open the item’s details page and click Export DataExport to FGDB) or you can look for the file geodatabase that was used to originally create the feature layer. The latter would save the step of exporting but should only be done, if you are confident that the feature layer has not been changed since it was uploaded.

To find the file geodatabase from which the feature layer was originally created, open the details page of the feature layer and have a look at the Details section on the right underneath the buttons. Follow the link to the file geodatabase listed behind Created from.

From the details page of the File Geodatabase you can download the database using the Download button on the top right-hand side. Browse to the location you downloaded the database to and extract the zip archive.

When you received your master table and metadata table from the Geowise Support Team you would have also been sent a zip archive containing a file geodatabase with the core layers of your data catalog likely called <MyOrganisation> If you have not received this, please contact This file geodatabase is a good starting point as it already contains the current core layers with their relationship classes. You should extract the zip archive and take a copy of the file geodatabase. Keep the original one as a reference and rename the copy to for example <MyOrganisation>_CoreLayers_plusCustom.gdb

Please note: We suggest that you add all of your custom core layers into the same file geodatabase, so if you are already using a feature layer called <MyOrganisation>_CoreLayers_plusCustom.gdb (or similar) in your data catalog you should find it in ArcGIS Online and download the respective file geodatabase.

Now open ArcGIS Pro and connect both file geodatabases (the one with the existing fuel poverty indicators and the one with the core layers) to your project. To do this, right-click on Databases in the Catalog Project pane and select Add Database. Then browse to the file geodatabase.

Firstly, you need to add the shapefile for your new core layer to the database with your core layers. To do this, right-click on the database name in the Catalog Project pane and select ImportFeature Class.

For the Input Features browse to the shapefile containing the new layer, enter a suitable Output Feature Class name and click Run.

Now add the relationship classes between the new layer and any other layers that apply. It is assumed that your shapefile contains the necessary lookup fields i.e. a column with the matching codes for each core layer that you want it to relate to. To create relationship classes, find the Geoprocessing Tool Create Relationship Class. Select the higher geography layer as Origin Table (e.g. UTLA) and lower geography layer as Destination Table (e.g. MSOA). You can drag and drop the layers from the database in the Catalog Project pane. The remaining properties will automatically get filled with default values. The ones you should change are:

Output Relationship Class: change the name to follow this pattern ‘<destination layer>_<origin layer>’ e.g. MSOA_UTLA. Please note that this is contrary to what ArcGIS Pro suggests by default!

Cardinality: change this to be One to many (1:M).

Origin Primary Key: Select the feature code field in the origin table.

Origin Foreign Key: Select the field in the destination table containing the matching codes from the origin table code field.

Leave all other settings on their default values and click Run. The relationship class will appear in your database. Create the relationship classes to other core layers in the same way.

If you want to use the new layer as comparison features for a lower-level geography, for example if you want to create a relationship between LSOA and MSOA, you will first need to add a column with the correct MSOA codes for each LSOA into the attribute table of the LSOA layer.

If you wish to add more than one new core layer to your data catalog, simply repeat the steps of importing a shapefile and creating the relevant relationship classes.

Now add the same layer and relationship classes to the fuel poverty database. As you want to add data to the layer within the fuel poverty database, you no longer call it core layer but data layer.

If you right-click on one of the data layers in your fuel poverty database (any except the new MSOA layer) and click on Design Fields you will see the fields that are currently part of this layer. You can see the required field format for indicators with multiple dates in the Alias column: the indicator name needs to be followed by a pipe character ‘|’ and the date.

Before you can add the data for MSOA, you should ensure that it is correctly formatted. You will need one CSV file per data layer (in this example it would be just one file for the MSOA layer), containing a column with the geography feature codes. These codes need to match the code column in the respective data layer in the file geodatabase so that you can connect the data to the data layers. The first row needs to contain the column headers. The column headers of the indicator columns need to match those of the existing fields of the other layers, so that the Data Catalog Manager will understand that these are the same indicators, just for different layers.

If you wish to add data for multiple new core layers at the same time, you can do this in additional CSV files, applying the same rules.

Now you can load the CSV file into your File Geodatabase as a table. To do this, right-click on the database and select Import Table.

The Geoprocessing Tool Table To Table opens. Select the CSV file as Input Rows and give it a suitable Output Name (this table is just a temporary item in the database so the name does not matter).

It is now important to check that all output fields are loaded in the Field Map with their correct data type. Click on the first field and select Properties. The Type property is derived from the first value of the field so you should check that it is correct for each field and adjust if necessary. For example, if you add a rate indicator and the first value of the column happens to be an integer value, the whole field will be imported as Long Integer, stripping the decimal places from all other values of the column.

Click Run to import the data. When complete, the table will appear within your database in the Catalog Project pane. To check whether the import was successful you can add the table to a map. You can open the table and see the values if you right-click on the entry in the Content pane and select Open.

Repeat the data loading steps for each of the CSV files if you are loading data for multiple data layers at a time.

The next step is to join the data from the imported table to the data layer. In the Geoprocessing pane, click the Back icon and find the tool called Join Field. Choose your data layer as the Input Table (you can drag and drop it from the Catalog Project pane) and the imported table as the Join Table. Select the matching code fields as Input and Output Join Field.

Open the Join Fields drop down and toggle all checkboxes to select all fields. There is a button at the bottom of the drop-down list that does this for you. You may wish to uncheck the columns containing the feature code and names as they will already exist in the data layer.

Then click Add and Run to join the selected fields to the data layer. The layer will automatically be added to your map if you have one open. You should check that the join was successful by opening the attribute table of the layer (right-click on the entry in the Content pane and select Attribute Table).

Once the join is complete you can delete the temporary table you imported from the CSV file from the database (right-click on the item in the Catalog Project pane and select Delete).

Now close ArcGIS Pro and browse to your file geodatabases in Windows explorer. Create a zip archive of the one containing the core layers including your new geography. You may wish to delete the ‘.gdb’ from the zip file name as this name will be the default name for the feature layer in ArcGIS Online.

Create another zip archive out of the file geodatabase containing the fuel poverty data. Ensure that the file name is the same as the zip archive you downloaded earlier from ArcGIS Online (if the original zip file is saved in the same folder and you want to keep it as a backup, you may wish to rename it first).

Back in ArcGIS Online, click on Content in the main menu and ensure the correct folder is selected. Then click on Add ItemFrom my computer and browse to the zipped file geodatabase containing the core layers including your new layer.

In the Contents drop down select File Geodatabase and keep the box for Publish this file as a hosted layer checked. You will have to add at least one tag called ia-item-type=CatalogFeatureService; this is essential for the comparsion areas to show in Dashbaord Builder and Report Builder. Feel free to add further tags  (tags can help you find the item later through searches), then click Add Item.

Your file geodatabase is converted to a feature layer and you will be redirected to its details page. Share the item with the Everyone (public) or with a specific group if you don’t want the data to be publicly visible. Please be aware that if you do not set it to be public, users will be asked to sign in to ArcGIS Online to see the data or any outputs that use it.

Now open the details page for the Fuel Poverty feature layer (note: not the related file geodatabase item!) and click on the Update Data button on the right. Then select the option Overwrite Entire Layer.

Browse to your zipped file geodatabase (the one you just added the MSOA data to) and click Overwrite. This will update the feature layer as well as the related file geodatabase.

Now you should sign in to and click on the Manage Catalog button. You should see your Data Catalog with Core Layers and Data Model for each layer.

Click on the icon to the right of the core layers box to add further layers. Select the feature service you just added to ArcGIS Online containing your core layers. Select only the new layer you added (in this case the MSOA layer)

The MSOA layer will now appear at the bottom of your core layers list. Select the MOSA layer and expand the data model tree to the theme that contains the fuel poverty indicators in the other layers. Then click on the Add Indicator Connection button.

In the dialog that opens, select the feature layer with the fuel poverty data you updated in ArcGIS Online. If there are many feature layers in your organisation’s account you can use the search field or sort options at the bottom of the dialog to help you find the right one. Click Choose. Now select the correct data layer that corresponds to the active core layer in your data catalog and click OK. You will see a dialog with the fields you can add as indicators. Fields that have been formatted with a pipe character followed by a date are automatically recognised as different dates for the same indicator and will be pre-selected.

Select the indicator(s) you wish to add and click Save. The indicators should then appear in your data model.

To check that the import was successful you can click on the icon to see the instances (dates) that are connected to the indicator.

If you are adding data for multiple new core layers at a time you can now import the indicators for the other core layers in the same way.

You may wish to update the ‘Spatial’ metadata key (and maybe others) for the indicators to add the new core layer to the list. You can do this by clicking the icon and then clicking on the Edit button.

If you have a large number of indicators, adding metadata through the Data Catalog Manager interface may not be the most efficient method. As an alternative, you can create a CSV file containing the metadata for your new indicators and append it to your metadata table. Please contact for information on how to do this.