Scenario: You have a polygon dataset showing the location of historic cemeteries. The historic cemetery commission would like to add attributes to this dataset. The commission does not have an ArcGIS Desktop license; however they do have an internet connection. Using ArcGIS Online the commission can add attributes to the shapefile and then you can bring it back into ArcMap.
How-to (ArcGIS.com & ArcMap): The first step is to save the cemetery dataset as a shapefile and then create a zip file from it. NOTE: the shapefile may not contain more than 1000 features. Using an ArcGIS Online Public Account you can create a web map and add the zipped shapefile as a layer to your map.
Add Layer from File and browse to the location of your zip file on the hard drive. The layer is added to the contents panel and the features are drawn in the map. Editing must be enabled to in order to access the attributes and edit the feature geography if necessary.
To begin editing, click the arrow next to your imported shapefile layer and select Enable Editing from the popout window. Once enabled, the Edit button appears along the ribbon interface.
Click on a feature. The pop-up bubble will be exposed and will contain any existing attribute information. Click Edit and the user will be able to change or add information to the existing fields.
Additionally, edits may be made to the feature shape, location or new cemetery features can be added. Click on the New Feature template in the table of contents, click within the map and begin defining the polygon shape. When completed, populate the attributes using the current attribute fields.
Bringing the edits to the shapefile into ArcGIS Desktop: View the My Contents list in ArcGIS.com and find the saved web map. Click on the map title, ex: Zip shapefile – public input features. A webpage with the web map details will be opened. Click the Open button and choose to open your map in ArcGIS for Desktop.
ArcGIS Online will package the web map and create a file called item.pkinfo. This file will be opened with the ArcGIS File Handler which automatically un-packages the file and launches the ArcMap application within ArcGIS Desktop.
When the package is opened, you will have an ArcMap document containing pointers to any basemap layers or other map services used in the web map and the cemetery layer, cemetery condition, saved as a feature class.
The imported shapefile layer is extracted as a feature class inside of a file geodatabase. The feature class contains the feature id, shape, and all the attribute items that were in the original shapefile.
This data is a feature class and can be used as such. It can be saved to another workspace, exported out to a shapefile. The feature class can be edited. Features can be added, deleted and/or attributes updated.
Notes: The Zipped shapefile is an easy way to obtain defined input from others who may not have ArcGIS Desktop. There is no link to the shapefile sitting in the web map and the Feature Class sitting on your hard drive. Any edits made to the feature class will not be reflected in the web map and vice versa. The edited feature class would need to be saved as a shapefile, zipped and added back into the web map.
You may try using the example web map created for this article. http://bit.ly/18NSCMu The Layer named Cemetery Condition can be edited. Notice if you try to save the map, you will be prompted to login to ArcGIS.com and the map will be saved in your area on ArcGIS.com.