What is editing in Production Mapping?

Data editing is the process of creating or updating features in your database. When using ESRI Production Mapping for editing data, you have access to all the editing tools and processes that you would use when editing with ArcGIS Desktop. Production Mapping contains functionality that builds on the desktop editing environment to make collecting and updating features faster and more accurate.

For more information on how to edit features within ArcMap, see What is editing?

Configuring data for editing in Production Mapping

Production Mapping offers enhanced validation through ArcGIS Data Reviewer checks that are configured to verify your data. The geodatabase offers basic data validation through the use of domains and subtypes to ensure appropriate attribution and the use of topologies and networks to ensure appropriate geometric relationships between features. Production Mapping allows you to build rules that check other aspects of attribution and geometry, such as ensuring the value in one field is correct based on the value in another field or verifying features have the appropriate size.

To take advantage of the enhanced data validation and field configuration available with Production Mapping, you need to create a product library. Once a product library is configured for your data, it should be placed in a central location to be used by everyone in your organization editing the same type of data. If you support multiple data models—perhaps some in your organization manage parcel data while others manage street data—you need to create validation rules and field configurations for each unique data model that can either be stored in the same product library or in different product libraries.


Production Mapping editing tools are designed to only work in the feature template editing environment. ArcMap provides an option available to revert to the ArcGIS 9 editing environment. However, if the Create features using templates check box is unchecked on the ArcMap Advanced Settings Utility dialog box, the Production Mapping editing tools cannot be used.


When taking advantage of the enhanced validation and field configuration capabilities within Production Mapping, only Feature Manager should be used for editing attributes of templates or features. The Create Features and Attributes windows available in ArcMap do not honor the Production Mapping rules.

Editing attributes with Feature Manager

Attributes are descriptions of a geographic feature in a GIS, usually stored as a row in a table. For example, attributes of a river might include its name, length, and average depth. You can enter new attribute values when you create features, and you can edit existing values. Feature Manager is the tool used by Production Mapping to update the attributes of templates and existing features.

Feature Manager combines the functionality of the Create Features and Attributes windows to make creating and updating features more efficient. Feature Manager offers many functions such as the ability to create records in tables, create new templates with the attributes of an existing feature, and manage the selection set through the same interface where you edit features. Any edit that you make to attributes through Feature Manager is verified against your enhanced validation rules before changes are committed to features.

Creating and editing features

Production Mapping provides many additional edit tools designed to efficiently create and modify features. New types of templates and construction tools available only with Production Mapping make creating new features fast and simple. Many of the Production Mapping editing tools work with any data to perform batch processes such as logically dissolving features based on their attribution or changing the direction for a selected set of features. Other Production Mapping editing tools are designed for specific industries, such as utilities or transportation, and some are designed for certain types of data like contours or z-enabled data.

Contouring tools

Contours are a unique type of data layer used to represent terrain in a two-dimensional environment. Production Mapping provides the ability to create, validate, and refine contour lines and elevation points. Contour lines and elevation points can be automatically extracted from a digital elevation model (DEM) while ensuring that attributes and z-values of the geometry are populated with the appropriate elevation. Production Mapping provides tools for validating your contours by symbolizing them in a set pattern that allows you to quickly notice if contour lines are skipped or repeated. Elevation points can be validated against contour lines to ensure that the points fall within the correct contour lines. Contour lines can also be processed with a combination of generalization and smoothing operations to ensure they look cartographically pleasing.

Linear referencing

Many industries use linear referencing to model their data such as the transportation industry. With transportation, a road can be modeled as a line feature with measures, and events such as road signs or pavement condition can be stored in a table without geometry and referenced as occurring at or between specific measure values. By using linear referencing, you do not need to store duplicate copies of the line; however, the events are stored in a table, which requires that you adjust the values in the table to modify the location or geometry of the event. Production Mapping provides a number of editing tools that allow you to edit events in a way that is visually similar to editing features in the geodatabase. Production Mapping also provides the ability to create straight line diagrams, which are a valuable tool for displaying a large number of events for a route or portion of the route.


The utilities industries, such as water and wastewater or electric, tend to model their data using geometric networks. Production Mapping provides a number of tools to work with data in a geometric network. The Snap Points and Split Lines tool allows you to ensure the connectivity of points to your line features, such as making sure meters are snapped to service lines, and also offers the ability to split line features at points. Production Mapping also provides a geoprocessing tool that allows you to perform a trace of your network and update the attributes of features based on the result of the trace.

Z management

When you choose to store z-values in your feature geometry, it is important to understand how the z-value is populated when working inside a two-dimensional editing environment such as ArcMap. When creating features, the z-value of a vertex is populated from the current z-value unless it can be interpolated from other features. The Production Z Management toolbar displays the current z-value and allows you to manually update the value as you are collecting features. The current z-value may be automatically updated if you are using z snapping or a three-dimensional viewer in conjunction with ArcMap. The current z-value is not used if you are tracing an existing feature or creating a feature using a coincident edge. In this case, the z-value for each shared vertex is obtained from the existing feature to ensure coincidence in all three dimensions. Production Mapping also offers you the ability to choose whether the z-value remains the same or is updated with the current z-value when a vertex is moved.

Production Mapping provides the Populate Z For Selected Feature(s) tool, which allows you to update the z-values on features after they are created. You can choose to populate the z-value based on a surface, a fixed value, or a value in a field on the feature or adjust each value by a bias, either adding or subtracting from the current value.

Constructing complex features

Some features, such as parcel boundaries or airspaces, cannot be extracted from imagery because they are not represented by physical features. Instead, these features are often represented by coordinates or formulas. Production Mapping includes Feature Builder, which allows you to create complex geodetic and ellipsoid features based on descriptive information such as bearings and distances.

Data conversion

Creating data is often a costly and time-consuming process. Sometimes existing data may already be available that can be incorporated into your dataset. When converting large amounts of data from shapefiles, coverages, or other geodatabases into your database, Production Mapping provides a set of data load automation tools that ensure data loading is consistent and efficient. The data load automation tools use a cross-reference database that allows you to specify what feature class each source will be imported into as well as mapping fields and values. The Pre-load Validate tool allows you to check your data before it is imported to identify potential problems before loading the data. Once the mapping is defined and validated, the source data can be imported into your geodatabase.

Once data is collected, it may need to be converted to other data formats for delivery or use in a different system. Production Mapping also provides tools for systematically converting feature classes in your database to other formats such as shapefiles and coverages. The Geodatabase to Coverage command allows you to map multiple line and polygon feature classes into a single coverage, and the Production Geodatabase To Shapefiles tool allows you to create shapefiles and choose whether fields with domains export the value or description.