A quick skills background... Not a full time programmer, proficient enough in Python to get by but VERY new to REST API scripting. So forgive me if there is an easy answer, I am missing something simple or a different approach is warranted.

I am trying to update an existing hosted feature service by using the 'Publish Item' operation using the overwrite=true parameter. (API Reference: ArcGIS REST API - Publish Item).

The following function (minus overwrite param) works perfectly to publish the feature service from an existing geojson item I have already added to Portal. When I add the overwrite parameter, I get the message that a service with that name already exists. Seems like it checks the service name before recognizing the overwrite parameter. Service is not delete protected. Seems simple and straightforward adding of a parameter to the REST call. Resulting URLs from the original publishing POST call and the update call are the same except for '&overwrite=true' is added to the URL.

What am I missing?

Response Message: "Publish error for item 'CMT_Test3.geojson'. Service name 'CMT_Test3' already exists"

def PublishService(Short, itemID, username, token, itemName, publishParams):
    publishURL =   'http://{}/portal/sharing/rest/content/users/{}/publish'.format(Short, username)
    query_dict = {
        'itemID': itemID,
        'filetype': 'GeoJson',
        'f': 'json',
        'token': token,
        'overwrite': 'true',

    query_dict['publishParameters'] = json.dumps(query_dict['publishParameters'], sort_keys=False)
    request = requests.post(publishURL, data=query_dict)
    return request.json()
  • Have you tried passing 'overwrite': True instead of 'true'?
    – Evan
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 1:36
  • Thanks for the response. Yes I have tried every combination of upper or lower case, single quotes and double quotes. The correct value for JSON Boolean data type is 'true' and I have found examples on the web matching my use of 'overwrite' : 'true' in the dictionary. See line 216 in the following code: link
    – ggalliga
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


According to ESRI this is a bug in the documentation. Hosted feature services cannot be overwritten. A documentation bug has been logged to remove the 'overwrite' parameter.

Doc Bug number is: BUG-000100370

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