Platte River had the privilege of presenting at the 2021 Elevations Geospatial Conference this week. A few highlights of the ArcGIS Online demonstration are below.
The overall theme of the presentation at the virtual GIS conference was the collaborative and interactive environment that ArcGIS Online affords companies. The user friendly interface of AGOL allows a single GIS analyst, or small GIS team, to serve and distribute data to multiple teams within an organization. There are a few take aways from the presentation that we wanted to highlight.
Takeaway #1: Hosted feature layers are a game changer
ArcGIS Online hosted features layers are layers that can be controlled and accessed from your organizational account without the need for a server environment. Hosted feature layers can be edited both internally and externally depending on the audience. They are also a great way to share data with an external audience if your own ArcGIS Server site cannot be made public.
Feature layers can be created in AGOL with the Create option in your content. ESRI has dozens of various stocked feature layers ranging from manhole inspections to road closures. It is also possible to create a feature layer from scratch, which is the route that we took for this presentation.
After choosing one of the prebuilt layers, or the "build a layer" option, an user can then populate the layer with various fields like site name, status, notes, etc. An important factor to keep in mind for these hosted feature layers is each field can also contain lists. A list is important for symbology and search reasons, and ensures important statuses or titles are entered correctly.
Takeaway #2: Web AppBuilder makes "building" an app easy and quick
Web AppBuilder makes it extremely easy for non-developers to build quick and user-friendly mapping applications utilizing internal data. Long gone are the days when only an analyst with coding skills could build useful web apps. Instead, ESRI has utilized a "drag and drop" technology that simplifies app building.
As you can see above, there are dozens of different widgets to add to a mapping application. In the Elevations presentation, we added a few simple widgets. The edit widget was used in conjunction with the hosted feature layer and allows users to update and attach notes, site plans and statuses. The info summary widget shows a list of projects along with important details and symbology.
Takeaway #3: Users can edit, update and attach within the application
The presentation highlighted the fact that multiple users, across multiple offices, could access the same interactive, dynamic data. Allowing for an interactive environment ensured data was dynamic and not stale.
During the presentation, we spoke of a national company that used multiple platforms such as Google Earth, email, handwritten notes, etc to relay important notes and statuses. ArcGIS online helped them to alleviate the pains of static and out of date data.
Our profiled home building company used the hosted feature layer and the attachments feature to attach site plans like the one shown here. Think of a scenario where the site engineer uploads a site plan, the project manager adds notes and statuses, and the project financial analyst uploads a cost table. This type of collaborative environment has been essential to their thriving company.
Here is a Link to the online map hosted by ArcGIS Online.
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