I have two wetland layers. One file downloaded from the National Wetland Inventory and one from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services. Both layers were downloaded through MassGIS's Online Mapping Tool, OLIVER.

When the layers are loaded into ArcMAP I right click the layers but do not see the editing option as I usually do.

When viewing the Source Tab in the layer properties I notice a few things different from layers that I usually work with.

1.)Data Type is: ArcGIS Map Service (usually this field says: File Geodatabase Feature Class)

2.) Connection is: Internet (Usually this field is absent, may be the source of the problem)

3.)Map Service Type: Not cached (Again this field is usually not here)

Is there any way I can enable these layers to edit?

I'm thinking creating a copy of the file that does not have a connection to the internet but when i try copying a layer it also has an internet connection.

  • So I can download these layers straight from MassGIS instead of through OLIVER and I would be able to edit them. However it would still be great if someone had a solution to this problem in case I or someone else runs into a similar problem and there is no alternative way to download the layers
    – Rob
    Nov 20, 2014 at 15:02
  • As @Conor states, this is not a problem, it's by design. So there is no solution. It's not your data, so you can't edit it, anymore than someone outside your organization can edit your data.
    – recurvata
    Nov 20, 2014 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


The reason you cannot edit these layers is because it is not a file. It is a map service.

What you are seeing is a web service. A web service is data that is hosted on a server elsewhere, that is not your computer. Your computer is going out and getting the data live from OLIVER when you look at it in ArcMap. In this case the data you want to edit is still hosted on OLIVER's server. Any changes that you hypothetically make if you could edit would be changing OLIVER's data, not yours. ArcMap is only acting as a display/browse tool in this case.

It is possible to edit data from a server by enabling Feature Access to your map service, but I suspect that OLIVER has this disabled so that random people on the internet do not have the power to edit/delete their data. You can also do so through ArcSDE but these are things that are normally available to internal MassGIS users only, such as employees. Generally it is not possible to "copy" the underlying data of a web service layer to your local machine unless the service host specifically makes it possible. In this case MassGIS has done so for you by making the layers available as a separate download.

The reason you could edit the downloaded layers is because you are saving a copy of the data to your local machine.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.