Wines, vines and Arc GIS Online – doing more for organisations
It was a full house at the ArcGIS Online for Organisations: Essential Workflows workshop, with the latest features and capabilities of ArcGIS Online. The workshop aimed to help attendees get the most out of their ArcGIS Online organisation site from a configuration and security perspective, as well as providing best practice tips and tricks for publishing content in maps and apps.
During the first part of the workshop we were encouraged hearing how attendees from around the country were using ArcGIS Online to support business operations in a diverse range of fields, from agribusiness and local government through to water utilities and transportation logistics. Incorporating the ‘organic’ Ozri theme of this year’s conference, we employed a model organisation called VineCo to address each of the workshop objectives. It also gave us a chance to showcase the world renowned wine regions surrounding Adelaide, home of Ozri 2014.
We then explored ways to enhance the appearance and branding of an organisation home page using custom banners, logos and HTML rich descriptions, in order to provide viewers with a user friendly and informative interface. Beyond branding an organisation, it is also important for the site administrator to have a good understanding of member roles and privileges associated with each role. During this section we examined the custom role capability introduced earlier this year. This allows an administrator to assign privileges based on user friendly templates curated by Esri. During the workshop, attendees brainstormed what role template to assign and customise to enable a VineCo executive to view maps and apps, as well as geocode and perform geoenrichment using VineCo business data contained with a spreadsheet. We also explained how best to allow members of other ArcGIS Online organisations to contribute data, maps and apps using groups shared between organisations, using their own named user credentials for each organisation, respectively.
We discovered how the freely available Activity Dashboard application from the ArcGIS Marketplace can provide a more detailed understanding of site usage by item, member or group level. This is a powerful way to monitor an organisations credit usage, notify and review member privileges as well as educate members about best practice workflows explored in the Esri Australia ArcGIS Online training offerings. An executive can also use the Activity Dashboard application using a custom role by being invited to the items group, which can provide invaluable reporting metrics to illustrate the return on investment in the ArcGIS Platform.
We also looked at how the new ArcGIS Open Data capability is enabling organisations in Australia to open up access to data and services using their existing ArcGIS Platform and familiar workflows. While the types of data and services that can be shared to an ArcGIS Open Data site are growing, there is a long list of items that are supported and can be uploaded to an ArcGIS Online organisation site, including shapefiles, map services and even 3D web scenes. This section of the workshop focused on hosted feature services and how ArcGIS for Desktop provides members of an organisation with more capabilities, such as the ability to synchronise features for offline, using a new feature from 10.2 onwards. The attendees mentioned how taking the time to prepare your data to ensure metadata is populated, symbology is optimised and fields are formatted with aliases for use in feature popups were useful but often overlooked steps in the publishing workflow.
Using freely available data acquired from data.gov.au, we were able to symbolise the South Australia wine regions by total production and show a further breakdown of production by grape variety using popup charts contained within an ArcGIS Online web map. Attendees were then able to use the new searchable layer functionality to quickly search for and navigate to a wine region, show turn-by-turn directions for the wineries they wish to visit during the day, and quickly play a presentation of each winery using the Explorer for ArcGIS app on their smart device.
We showed how an executive could easily geocode using Esri Maps for Office within an Excel spreadsheet to identify the possible wine distributors outside of a specified drive time from existing locations and further enrich this layer with consumer spending nearby. The insights gained through this analysis were then shared to executive members during a board meeting, leveraging Esri Maps for Office within a PowerPoint presentation to support the business decision making process.
One of the liveliest sections of the workshop saw attendees publish an editable layer from ArcGIS for Desktop to their organisation site to be used in the Collector for ArcGIS app. We explained why editor tracking can be a useful option to enable on your editable feature services and discussed the types of attachments that can be added to features from a browser as well as on a smart device. In doing so, attendees became familiar with how to take their maps and data offline using the Collector for ArcGIS app as mentioned earlier.
While members will be able to access a map shared to the organisation for use in Collector, it might also be a requirement to crowd source information about damage after an event. Previously, if this same editable layer and map was shared publicly, a contributor would have had to populate fields within a web map popup. The good news is now there is a form based application template called GeoForm, released out of Beta last week, which allows members of the public to collect damage assessment from the field without the need for ArcGIS Online named user credentials. During the workshop, attendees collected features relating to vine damage for VineCo wineries and the results were brought through as a feed to Operations Dashboard in the browser. To see the GeoForm application used during the workshop, feel free to collect your own vine damage assessment.
The last section of the workshop looked at ways in which other parts of the VineCo organisation could utilise ArcGIS Online to support business plans. For example, an organisation’s marketing team could leverage configurable application templates from ArcGIS Online to create fast, focused and compelling Story Maps to showcase the location of cellar doors without any lines of code. One of our favourite application templates is the new Map Journal – ideal for creating multimedia rich stories that combine text, maps, images and video. Check out an example of the Map Journal in action below:
More often an organisation will want to communicate stories as they are unfolding. With this in mind, the Snap2Map app for iOS and Android supports your organisation’s roaming reporters by placing the power of a story map in the palm of their hands. The Snap2Map allows members to build a story map from their device and share it with members of the public using the Map Tour template.
So what are you waiting for? Download any of these apps and come chat to us about your ArcGIS Online queries – we’ll be at the ArcBar.
Seth G and Richard S