Bug with edit_features function? - Python ArcGIS API (1.8.2)

11-10-2020 02:55 PM
New Contributor II

I am currently writing a routine to add features from a local feature class to a hosted feature layer using the FeatureLayer class edit_features() function. The routine adds data in "chunks" (e.g., 500, 1000 or 5000 features at a time). I've encountered a consistent issue when adding chunks from polygon feature classes, and have narrowed down the cause to a limitation with the number of vertices that exist in each chunk (i.e., the summation of all vertices from all polygons in the chunk). There appears to be a cap somewhere between 406,500 vertices (edits work) and 438,190 vertices (edits fail). I have run dozens of tests on chunks of varying sizes, and this threshold is consistent across the range of sizes - I can predict which chunks will fail based on the total number of vertices in the chunk.

I'm wondering if this is a known limitation with the edit_features function? If so, what is the exact threshold for polygon vertices? I'd like to know so I can programmatically choose the appropriate chunk size to speed up the editing process - larger chunks equate to quicker processing times.

Affected datasets:

Polygon feature classes with very large polygons (i.e., up to 1/3 the size of British Columbia) and intricate boundaries (i.e.,  lots of vertices). These feature classes have very few features (e.g., <100), and are relatively small file sizes (e.g., ~13 MB).


> Select number of features in feature class based on chunk size

> Export selected features to JSON file

> Create a feature set from the JSON file

> Add feature set to hosted feature layer using edit_features(adds = featSET)

> Iterate process until all features are added

The code works fine, so this is not a coding issue. This is a limitation on the portal/API side.

I've attached a feature class that can be used for testing. With this dataset edit_features(adds=) works for chunk sizes <=5 features, but anything larger and edits fail for at least one of the chunks. For example, with a chunk size of 7 and with features grouped into chunks sequentially, chunk #4 will fail. This chunk has 552,469 vertices, whereas the next largest chunk only has 337,324 vertices, and does not fail.

0 Kudos
5 Replies
Esri Contributor

Hi Gregory Greene‌,

I checked the ArcGIS API for Python reference, there is nowhere mentioning about the vertices limitation for polygon or polyline feature classes.

I can recommend implementing Repair Geometry on the polygon feature class in ArcGIS Pro. This will fix the geometry issues you might have in the polygon feature class before running edit_features().

Hope that helps.


Please mark as helpful if you find it helpful. If it answered your question please mark it as answered.

0 Kudos
New Contributor II

Hi Mehdi Pira,

I can't believe it, but that seems to have solved the problem. I would never have considered the geometry to be flawed, as the data came straight from the government website. Unfortunately I download the data regularly with a Python script, so I'll have to incorporate a repair geometry function to post-process all the downloaded datasets. I'll be sure to get a message out to the provincial data managers to fix the geometry errors.

Thanks for the suggestion! I'm glad this issue wasn't attributable to the API after all.

Esri Contributor

Gregory Greene‌,

Glad to hear that.

0 Kudos
New Contributor II

Unfortunately, I've had to reopen this issue. The error has reappeared, and no number of geometry repairs can fix the problem. There remains an upload limit of ~410,000 vertices per chunk.

I am guessing the problem stems from one of four sources: (1) there's some other major issue with the dataset that I'm overlooking; (2)  the conversion from a selection of features, to JSON, then back to a Feature Set builds in some kind of geometry issue; (3) there's something on the AGOL portal side I'm overlooking, like a setting; or (4) there is a bug with the ArcGIS API.

If anyone's interested, here's some code to use for testing...



import arcpy
import arcgis
from arcgis.gis import GIS
from arcgis.features import FeatureSet
import os, sys, time

def getChunks(srcLyr, oidLst):
    chnkSize = 8 # Change this number to vary the chunk size (<=5 works, >5 does not)
    chnks = [oidLst[x:x+chnkSize] for x in range(0, len(oidLst), chnkSize)]
    ptCnt = [row[0].pointCount for row in arcpy.da.SearchCursor(srcLyr, ['SHAPE@'])]
    chnkVerts = [sum(ptCnt[i:i + chnkSize]) for i in range(0, len(ptCnt), chnkSize)]
    print(f'\nTesting with chunk size of {chnkSize} features')
    print(f'# Vertices per chunk:\n{chnkVerts}')
    return chnkSize, chnks, chnkVerts

def addData(srcLyr, updLyr, oid, chnks, chnkVerts):
    counter = 0
    startUpload = time.clock() # Start a timer for the upload process
    for index, chunk in enumerate(chnks):
            print(f'Processing chunk #{index+1} with {len(chunk)} features')
            tic = time.clock()
            counter += len(chunk)
            # Generate a query statement to isolate elements represented by the chunk
            query = f'"{oid}" IN ({", ".join(map(str,chunk))})'
            # Select subset of data based on chunk index and chunk size
            selection = arcpy.SelectLayerByAttribute_management(srcLyr,"NEW_SELECTION",query)
            # Convert selected features to JSON file, then import the JSON file as an ArcGIS API FeatureSet
            tempJSON = os.path.join(sys.path[0], 'temp.json') # Create path to temp JSON file
            if os.path.exists(tempJSON):
            arcpy.FeaturesToJSON_conversion(selection, tempJSON)
            fs = FeatureSet.from_json(open(tempJSON).read())
                # Add chunk of data to the AGOL dataset
                print(f'\tAdding {chnkVerts[index]} vertices to hosted feature layer')
                results = updLyr.edit_features(adds = fs)
                print(f'\tCompleted in {int(round(time.clock()-tic,0))} seconds')
                tb = sys.exc_info()
                print(f'>>>>>>>> Error adding chunk: {index+1}\n{tb}')
            tb = sys.exc_info()
            print(f'Error generating data in chunk {index+1} for the update\n{tb}')
    print(f'Dataset added in {round((time.clock() - startUpload)/60,2)} minutes')
    # Delete temporary data
        if os.path.exists(tempJSON):

def main():
    arcpy.env.workspace = 'in_memory'
    arcpy.ClearWorkspaceCache_management() # Remove lock files

    # Connect to AGOL portal
    portal = 'https://www.arcgis.com'
    username = 'username'
    password = 'password'
    print(f'Connecting to {portal}')
    gis = GIS(portal, username, password)
    # Path to test dataset
    ### Also upload the test dataset to ArcGIS Online as a hosted feature layer ###
    repLayer = arcpy.RepairGeometry_management(dsPath) # Attempt to repair geometry
    srcLayer = arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(repLayer) # Make feature layer from test data
    srcName = arcpy.Describe(srcLayer).baseName # Get name of test dataset
    srcOID = arcpy.Describe(srcLayer).OIDFieldName # Get name of OID field
    # Get list of hosted feature layers
    featLayers = gis.content.search('', 'Feature Layer')
    print(f'\nPROCESSING: [{srcName}]')
    startProcess = time.clock() # Start a timer for the entire update process
    # Find matching AGOL layer, delete existing features, then add new data
    for featLayer in featLayers:
        for lyr in featLayer.layers:
            if lyr.properties.name == srcName:
                    print(f'Deleting features from {srcName}')
                    lyr.delete_features(where=f"{srcOID}>0", return_delete_results=False)
                    print('Successfully deleted features')
                    print(f'Error deleting features from {srcName}')
                # Create list of ObjectIDs from the sourceLayer
                oidList = list(set(r[0] for r in arcpy.da.SearchCursor(srcLayer, [srcOID])))
                # Get chunks of data from source layer as list
                chunkSize, chunks, chunkVerts = getChunks(srcLayer, oidList)
                print(f'\nNumber of features to add: {len(oidList)} ({int(len(oidList)/chunkSize) + (len(oidList)%chunkSize > 0)} chunk(s))')
                addData(srcLayer, lyr, srcOID, chunks, chunkVerts)
    print(f'Dataset processed in {round((time.clock() - startProcess)/60,2)} minutes\n\n')
    #Delete temporary data
    del repLayer, srcLayer
    arcpy.ClearWorkspaceCache_management() # Remove lock files

if __name__ == "__main__":



The dataset I originally posted should work for testing purposes. I've added the repair geometry function to the code, so there's no need to worry about that aspect.

For anyone running this code, note that switching the chunk size to anything greater than 5 will produce at least one chunk that fails to get added to the AGOL dataset. I initially thought this could be an issue with a single polygon feature that screws up the entire chunk. However, when using chunk sizes of 8 or 10, two chunks fail for each (chunks 4 & 10 and 3 & 8, respectively), suggesting it is not a problem with a single feature. The common link between all failing chunks is the high number of vertices (> ca.410,000).

Also note that without the system traceback in the try/except block, Error Code 405 would be generated by each failing chunk. I've noticed that people who had issues updating hosted feature layers through either ArcGIS REST API or Python API often report this error code. Could this be related?

I think my next step will be to check/repair the geometry of the Feature Set that gets created from the JSON file. That should rule out a conversion issue. Any other suggestions to troubleshoot? 



New Contributor

Hi Gregory,

I have had the same problem last year an dI also developed a routine to update by chunks of 100 features.

I have to do a similar job now and I was wondering if the problem was solved. 

Do you know if the edit_features(updates=....) function still has the limitation now (June 2021) ?


0 Kudos