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How to manage continuously updated services

Question asked by Cep86 on Mar 23, 2016
Latest reply on Jun 22, 2016 by Cep86

My organization is trying move our sharing capabilities to ArcGIS Online.  I have fumbled through figuring out how to publish the services, edit the feature layer, configure and create web maps from those feature layers, and then attach them to a custom web application created in Web App Builder.  This all works just fine, but my question lays in how to handle situations where a revision needs to be applied to that published service.  I have been handling it by way of simply overwriting the existing published service, but I have found that when doing so, I believe I have to then go through the entire process again to set the feature layer settings, reconfigure/recreate a new web map, and then tell the previous web application to reference the new web map, which in turn creates further configuration since I use the edit widget and it gets reset once you change the web map. 



When we perform revisions, we have a system of version attributes that we use to retain iterations, so I can't simply make the changes through the web application.  I have to do them in ArcMap (so I think, anyway).  We copy/paste the existing features, and then incrementally increase the version numbers that we use, while subsequently querying out the old version.  Then all changes are applied to the newest version.


We found out early on that we had to publish the services as hosted services due to our basic Server license.  We were having issues with others not being able to see services in Collector when we published to our server itself, and we were told by a technician that we had to publish them as hosted services for others to see them.  Not sure if that matters, but I want to include as much information as possible.


A GIS user here may typically complete 3-5 projects each day, and may subsequently be required to edit any of those projects once or more times within the following days.  That being said, you can see the dilemma that we face if we are going to have to go through the entire workflow of going from ArcMap to web application described above each time a project is completed and/or revised.


Additional Question:

If an edit is performed in the web map and/or app, how do those edits get sent back to the geodatabase?  Does the fact that we are hosting these maps through ESRI prevent us from editing the geodatabase itself when we are viewing via an online interface?  I was hoping that once we shared the web maps, any edits done through the web maps/apps would replace the existing attributes in the database so that I could see that change when looking at the data in ArcMap.  I have toyed with adding the services to ArcMap via the Add Data button and editing/syncing those edits back to the server, but that is not ideal.


That is likely a pretty convoluted set of information and questions, as I don't fully understand the processes and implications of each therein, so please ask anything that may help you better answer what I have asked.