Frequently asked question

What are the best practices to add data in ArcGIS Business Analyst and Community Analyst?

Last Published: August 29, 2023


ArcGIS Business Analyst and ArcGIS Community Analyst are very similar in terms of features and data. However, the features and data of the two products are organized differently to better serve the different audiences and intended analysis goals of the products. Business Analyst is intended for a commercial audience focused primarily on site selection, whereas Community Analyst is focused on policy issues and enabling the understanding of communities from a social perspective.

Projects created in Business Analyst or Community Analyst can become corrupted and unusable. This can be caused by importing data files (Excel, CSV, or shapefiles) with incorrectly formatted records or fields. Additionally, editing feature services of web maps and layers added from ArcGIS Online can also cause corruption in the Business Analyst and Community Analyst projects as well.

Described below are the best practices when adding data in Business Analyst and Community Analyst according to data type.


  • Inspect for geometry problems in shapefiles. These can be identified and repaired using the Check Geometry and Repair Geometry tools in ArcGIS Pro.
  • Compress the shapefile components into a zipped folder before moving them across folders or machines. Avoid moving individual components to different locations.
  • While editing shapefiles, do not create attributes without creating features.

Excel or CSV files

  • Ensure field names start with a letter and not a number.
  • Ensure no spaces are present in the field name.
  • Ensure no special characters are present in the field name. Special characters include ~, !, @, #, $, %, ^, &, and *.
  • Ensure no special characters are present in the records.

Web maps and layers from ArcGIS Online

  • Do not edit feature services pertaining to the projects created in Business Analyst and Community Analyst.
  • Do not delete the project data folder or the groups created for Business Analyst and Community Analyst projects.

Article ID:000016915

  • ArcGIS Community Analyst Web App
  • ArcGIS Online
  • ArcGIS Business Analyst Web App

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