What is the Feature Manager?
When editing in Production Mapping, the Feature Manager windows are used for managing all your attributions. Feature Manager is a collection of two windows that are dockable. The Manage Features window allows you to choose a feature or a template to work with and is tied to either the Create Attributes, Update Attributes, or Metadata Attributes window, which displays the attributes of the chosen item. By using the Feature Manager and Create Attribute, Update Attributes, and Metadata Attributes windows, you have quick access to manage the attributes of features that will be created and for updating attributes of existing features.
When creating features, feature templates define the information required: the layer where a feature will be stored, the attributes a feature is created with, and the default tool used to create that feature. The Create tab in the Feature Manager displays templates and allows you to interact with feature templates attributes in the Create Attributes window.
Because feature templates store the attributes that will be used when a feature is created, dynamic attributes, such as the name of a feature, are not typically stored in a template. This means some of the attributes are populated when a feature is created but requires that you update other attributes after it is created. However, Feature Manager supports the idea of a temporary feature template. A temporary template provides the ability to set all the attributes up-front without storing new feature templates in your layer. Temporary templates also provide the ability to select an existing feature and use the attributes of that feature to create new features.
Feature Manager introduces a new type of feature template called a composite template. A composite template is composed of multiple feature templates. A unique set of construction tools will create features for all the templates in a composite template with one edit sketch. For example, in nautical data, an aid to navigation feature is composed of a buoy with multiple types of beacons such as a light and a fog signal. All three features are modeled as point features that exist in the same location. You can create a composite template consisting of three templates (buoy, light, and fog signal), then, using the composite construction tools, create all three features with one click in the map at the location where the features exist. Other composite template construction tools allow you to create lines as the boundary of a polygon, points at the beginning of a line, points at the end of a line, and so on.
The Create tab can also be used to create records in tables or event layers. While templates cannot be created for tables or event layers, you can enter the values for the new record in the Create Attributes window. For tables, when you click Apply in the Create Attributes window, a new record with the specified attributes will be created in the table. For event layers, the attributes in the Create Attributes window will be used when events are created using the construct tools to create point or line events.
Distributing templates with Production Mapping
Feature templates are stored in a layer, which allows them to be distributed in many ways including layer files, MXDs, and layer or schema packages. Some organizations want the ability to store templates separately from the data, which allows them to distribute just the templates, making it easy to apply templates to other databases with the same schema. Production Mapping includes views, which allow you to apply selected properties from a layer such as feature templates or definition queries. The Create tab on the Manage Features window has the option to create and apply views. Advanced users in your organization can save templates to a view so other users can apply the view to ensure everyone has access to the same feature templates for a schema. Views are typically stored in a central database, such as the product library, for use across an organization; however, users also have the option to store their own set of templates by storing their views in a local database.
The Update tab in the Feature Manager is used to update attributes on existing features. The Update tab shows the layer to which the selected feature or features belong, while the Update Attributes window shows the attribute values of that feature including any joined information.
When features or table records are selected, the selection set is displayed in the Update tab tree. You have the option to display the tree using either the layer view depicting the layers loaded into your table of contents or a schema view that allows you to see the feature classes and subtypes your layers are from. Regardless of which view you choose, the selected features will be displayed as well as any related features. You can use the tree to navigate from a feature through its relationship to other features or objects. If the relationship class between the feature and the related object has attributes, like a many-to-many relationship, a node will appear in the tree to represent the relationship. When you select the relationship node, the Update Attributes window will display the record that relates the feature to its related object, and you can edit the attributes of that record.
The Update tab is the only Feature Manager tab that can be used outside an edit session. The Update tab allows you to view and manage your selection set when not editing. You can remove features from the selection set and navigate to each selected feature. While the grid on the Create Attributes, Update Attributes, and Metadata Attributes windows display the attributes of features on the Update tab, you will not be able to edit the attributes until you start an edit session. If you are using the Feature Manager with Data Reviewer to validate the attributes of features, you can commit all or individual selected features by right-clicking the feature(s) on the Update tab.
When in an edit session, you can update and delete the attributes of features and selected table records. Edits can be made to features either individually or in batch. If you select a single feature record in the Update tab tree, the attributes of the feature are displayed in the Update Attributes window. When you change the attributes of the feature, the individual feature is updated. If you select a parent node in the Update tab tree, such as a layer or subtype, the default attributes of that layer or subtype are displayed. When you change the attributes of the layer or subtype, all the selected features below that node will be updated with the changes.
Feature Manager also uses the concept of feature-level metadata, where attributes on a feature can be used to store metadata about the individual feature. This allows you to automatically populate specified attributes such as source, created by, and last modified date when you create or modify features. Feature-level metadata is configured using the Field Configuration Manager, where you choose what fields contain metadata attributes, if the fields will automatically be populated with the date or user name, and if the field will be populated when you create and\or modify a feature.
The Metadata tab in the Feature Manager is used to specify what values will be populated in feature-level metadata fields. Metadata favorites are created in the Metadata tab to specify the combination of values that will be populated in the feature-level metadata fields. One metadata favorite should be created for each combination of feature-level metadata attributes. For example, if you have three metadata fields—source, created by, and last modified date—the created by and last modified date fields will be automatically populated, but you need to specify the source values. If you have two sources that you are editing from, such as an aerial photo and a satellite image, you will want to create two metadata favorites.
Metadata favorites are stored in your data so they only need to be set up once to be reused throughout your data collection and maintenance process. It is important to turn to the Metadata tab when you start an edit session to ensure that the selected metadata favorite has the attributes you want to use. You can easily change between metadata favorites while you are editing if you need to. Using this example, if you start editing features using the aerial photo as the source, ensure that the metadata favorite for the aerial photo is selected. When you change to using the satellite image as the source, change the metadata favorite to match.
Create Attributes, Update Attributes, and Metadata Attributes windows
The Create Attributes, Update Attributes, and Metadata Attributes windows are tied to the Feature Manager and display the attributes of the currently selected item in the active Feature Manager tab. When in an edit session, the Update Attributes window can be used to update the attributes of the currently selected item and perform validation of the item before the change is committed. How the attributes are displayed and what controls are used to edit the attribute can be customized for your data.
The display properties used on the Create Attributes and Update Attributes windows are created with the Field Configuration Manager. You can sort the attributes alphabetically or arrange them to display in the order you want them to appear. You can set the field to be visible but disabled, which means that you can view but not edit that field, regardless of the file or database permissions. You can also set the visibility property to bold or hidden, which allows you to emphasize that the field should be populated or hide it so it is not displayed. You also have the ability to decide the type of control that will be used when a field is edited. The Create Attributes, Update Attributes, and Metadata Attributes windows have controls that allow you to override the domain set in the schema definition or choose multiple values from a pick list. For users that are unfamiliar with your data model, you can provide additional help through the use of text you enter to describe a field or a document that you link to the field.
Any time you update attributes in the Feature Manager, changes are validated against enhanced validation rules before the changes are committed. Validation rules are configured for the data using Data Reviewer batch jobs, which contain various checks for validating the attributes of your data. Batch jobs can include checking the value of one attribute when it depends on the value of another attribute. For example, in a road feature class, you can compare the location attribute to the pavement type to ensure that if a road is elevated (such as an overpass), it has a pavement type that is not loose gravel. Validation rules are used by both features on the Update tab and templates on the Create tab. Changes to features will not be committed until the attribute combination of the feature passes validation. Templates cannot be created unless the attribute combination passes validation, and if templates have invalid attributes, they will be displayed as invalid templates that cannot be used to create new features.