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

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This article is particularly aimed at clients that use the InstantAtlas National Data Service and wish to add their own new indicators and core layers to their existing Data Catalog. It is assumed that you have already followed the instructions on the Data Catalog | National Data Service Integration page.

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.

For this example, let’s assume that you would like to load data about licenced homes of multiple occupancy. You have a shapefile containing the point locations of these homes and you have a CSV file with the related indicators. Neither the indicators nor the layer exists in your data catalog yet.

To load new indicators into your data catalog, the data needs to be saved in your ArcGIS Online account as 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).

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 relationship classes between the core layers. 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 connect this file geodatabase to your ArcGIS Pro project. To do this, right-click on Databases in the Catalog Project pane and select Add Database. Then browse to the file geodatabase.

Expand the contents of the database and you will see the core layers of your data catalog and the relationship classes between them.

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, then enter a suitable Output Feature Class name (e.g. HMO) and click Run.

Now add the relationship classes between the new layer and any other layers that you may wish to see as comparison values in Dashboard Builder or Report Builder outputs. You will have to provide/calculate the indicator values for these comparison layers yourself as the apps do not automatically aggregate the data for you.  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. Ward) and lower geography layer as Destination Table (e.g. HMO). 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. HMO_Ward. 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 at 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 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.

Once the new core layer and all relationship classes have been added, browse to your file geodatabase in Windows explorer and take a copy of it. Rename the copy so that the name describes the data you wish to load; for this example, this could be HMO_indicators.gdb. Now connect this file geodatabase to your ArcGIS Pro project.

You will see the same layers and relationship classes as in your core layers database. Delete any layers that you do not have data for to simplify the database. For this example, the HMO indicators only exist for the HMO layer and can be aggregated to Ward and UTLA level. Therefore, you can delete the LSOA, Rgn and Ctry layers. This will automatically delete all related relationship classes as well. The database now only contains the three layers you would like to load data for, as well as their relationship classes. As you want to add data to these layers, you no longer call them core layers but data layers.

Now let’s have a look at the required format of the data you wish to load. The data needs to be in CSV format, one file per data layer. The first row needs to contain the column headers and each file needs to contain a column with the 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 column headers should be specific enough to be unique and identifiable. To save having to rename the indicators later, it is advisable to enter the full indicator names into the column headers. You should also include the dates in the column headers, separated from the indicator name by a pipe character ‘|’. The dates should be sorted in ascending order. The image below shows the CSV file for the HMO data layer.

Now you can load the CSV files into your file geodatabase as tables. To do this, right-click on the database and select Import Table.

The Geoprocessing Tool Table To Table opens. Select one of the CSV files 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 of the 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.

The next step is to join the data from the imported tables to the data layers. 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 layer in the Content pane and select Attribute Table).

Once the joins are complete, you can delete the temporary tables you imported from the CSV files 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 HMO indicators.  Zip it and delete the ‘.gdb’ from the zip file name.

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 being 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.

In the same way, upload and share the file geodatabase containing the indicator data as well.

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 HMO layer)

Select the HMO layer which will now appear at the bottom of your core layers list. You may wish to add a new theme and/or subtheme using the  icon to the right of the data model. The theme hierarchy is the same for each core layer so you only need create a new theme once. Select the theme you wish to load the indicators into and click on the Add Indicator Connection button.

In the dialog that opens, select the feature layer with the indicator data you added to 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 layer that corresponds to the active core layer in your data catalog and click Choose. 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.

Now import the indicators for the other core layers in the same way.

You can add metadata for the new indicators 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.