Category: ArcGIS Online

What's new in ArcGIS Online (February 2012)

The February 2012 ArcGIS Online update has just been released. This latest update includes additions and enhancements as described below, as well as a number of bug fixes and behind-the-scenes improvements.

(Please note that at the time of this post the help has not yet been completely deployed, and as result some of the help topic links in this post may be broken until approximately 3:00 a.m. PST). Continue reading

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New Features for the ArcGIS Discussion Forums

Have a question?  Want to talk GIS? Looking for some good ideas?  Jump into the conversation!

A few weeks back we rolled out some features that we hope will improve the forums’ usefulness.  To be candid, we’re sure many would say that some of these features should have been there since day one, or at least long overdue, but we listened to what you wanted and found a way to get them in there for you to use.

Let’s start with the big one…

Community Voting
If you read something and you like it, give it a thumbs up!

Now any forum user can let the community know where the good information is. How you do it is simple. If you read a post or a reply and you think it contains some really good information, click the “up” arrow on the right. This is similar to the “Like” button in Facebook.

If we all do this, then the best posts will bubble to the top. If you want to read the entire thread you can, but if you need to most quickly find the good stuff, look at the posts that have a high score.

There is also a “down” arrow, but you can only use that to “Unlike” something you previously Liked.

If you find “The Answer”, give it a check!

If you started a thread with a question, then whichever reply you think is the best, give it a check. That will mark your thread as “answered” for all to see, and it will give some MVP points to the person who wrote it.

Two birds with one stone
Clicking the checks and arrows has two benefits:
1.    You are helping everyone find the best information.
2.    You are helping everyone recognize the best contributors.

One of the great things about any community is the trust earned by those folks who share their experience and help others. Some pros out there are always going to stick out, but these new voting tools are going to help find others who are just as helpful and useful who you might not yet know.

Discussions versus Q&A

When you start a new thread, you can let everyone know if you’re starting a discussion or if you’re asking a specific question. Discussions show up in the thread list with a yellow “D” icon and questions with a red “Q”.

When the original poster or a moderator identifies one of the replies as the best answer, the “Q” icon turns into a green “A”.

This helps you find answers more quickly, and if you want to jump in and let everyone know what you think, this helps you more quickly find questions that haven’t been answered yet.

Private Messages
Most of the time an open public discussion is a great way to get the best information, but sometimes you may want to take it off-line.

Up on the menu is a “Private Messages” link. Click that to see your Inbox or to send direct messages to other users. Also, clicking their name anywhere in the forums provides a pop-up you can use to send a message to them if they’ve activated it.

You can use the “Forum Actions > User Control Panel” menu to control who can send you messages.  You can turn it completely on, completely off, or limited to just those users in your Contacts list.

New Badges
Badges are a great way to find those folks who have been around the block a time or two. Anyone with more than 200 posts in the forums becomes a “Senior Member”, and of course anyone on the forums who works for Esri is badged as “esri” with a globe logo.

And when you see someone with a “Forums MVP” badge, you know you’re talking with someone the community has said has the best information and is most dedicated to your success. These are folks who have been voted by the community to be in the Top 10 of all contributors during any previous six-month MVP rating period. And once you’re an MVP, you’re always an MVP.

And more importantly, now that the new community voting tools have been included, it’s time to roll out the new MVP program. Watch this blog post next week for a description of the new rules, new standards, and a list of awards you can earn through all of your good effort. So jump in and help us figure out who the players are; maybe it’s you!

What’s Next?
The Advanced Search page gives you a lot of flexibility to build a complex search.  What we’re working on next is giving you the ability to save that search definition. This will be good for bookmarking and sharing. We’ve also heard that most users participate in some forums a lot, some forums a little and others not at all. We are going to improve your “What’s New” page so that it only includes those forums you want to browse. If there are any other improvements you’d like to see, reply here, or jump into the conversation on the Resource Center Site Feedback forum.

Content for this post provided by Jim Barry

Posted in 3D GIS, Analysis & Geoprocessing, ArcGIS Online, Developer, Editing, Geodata, Imagery, Mobile, Python, Services, Spatial Statistics, Web | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Using ArcGIS Online web maps in Community Analyst

The Esri Community Analyst is a software as a service (SaaS) mapping solution that offers GIS capabilities via a subscription Web application. Community Analyst includes thousands of of demographic, health, education, and business data variables that you can explore, and also includes tons of reports that help you gain a deeper understanding of any area. Community Analyst is especially useful to government agencies, policy makers, civic organzations, and NGOs, though just about anyone will find it of interest.

Support for ArcGIS Online web maps have been recently added, so now you can use Community Analyst with any of your maps, or publicly shared maps. In this example we’ll take a look at using Community Analyst to gain greater insight into high crime areas.

The map we’ll use shows crime density in Washington DC. Note the hot spots in the center of our map:

Crime Density map image Continue reading

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Using shapefiles as basemaps

Our previous post on using custom basemaps generated some additional questions which we’ll cover this week. One reader asked if it was possible to use a shapefile as the source of your custom basemap. The answer is: not directly, but you can apply a little trick and accomplish this by using transparency in your existing basemap. Note that Explorer Online currently does not allow you to adjust basemap transparency, so we’ll author the map using the map viewer. The map we author there with basemap transparency can be used in Explorer Online, and other applications.

First, zip the shapefile you want to use and add it to your map. Using the map viewer click Add, then Add Layer from File.

Add Layer from File Continue reading

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Using custom basemaps

Recently we’ve received some questions about custom basemaps, using a unique basemap of your own instead of one of the Esri options found in the basemap gallery. In this post we’ll review how to use your own basemap and a few options.

Using any map service as a basemap

One of the easiest ways to have a custom basemap is to use an existing map service that’s been shared on ArcGIS Online. Any map service will work, but exactly how you do this depends on whether you’re using the map viewer or Explorer Online. We’ll start with the map viewer.

Open the map viewer with the default basemap, and search for the layer you want to use as your custom basemap. In these examples, we’ll use the Commonwealth of Kentucky map.

Click Add, then Search for Layers, and enter the search keyword(s):

Search for layers to add Continue reading

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Data Appliance 5.0 for ArcGIS is shipping

The Data Appliance 5.0 for ArcGIS began shipping last

Data Appliance for ArcGIS storage device containing terabytes of ready-to-use maps

This version of the Data Appliance includes a lot of new data, similar to what was launched online last week. New levels of detail were added at 1:1,000 and 1:2,000 scales in many metropolitan areas around the world for World Street Map, World Topogaphic Map, World Transportation, and World Boundaries and Places. We also added nationwide coverage at 1:5,000 in the same countries outside of the metropolitan areas.

For imagery, the update also includes the latest Aerials Express and NAIP imagery for the United States.

For more details on what’s new in the Data Appliance 5.0 for ArcGIS, visit the ArcGIS Content Resource Center.

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ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map end of year updates

The ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map (World_Topo_Map) was recently updated with several more contributions from the user community.

Blank Park Zoo and Golf Course in Des Moines, Iowa, at 1:2K
Blank Park Zoo and Golf Course in Des Moines, Iowa, at 1:2K
View Web Map Continue reading

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ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map updated with user contributions

The ArcGIS Online World Topographic Map (World_Topo_Map) was recently updated with several more contributions from the user community.

Dedham, Massachusetts, at 1:9K

Dedham, Massachusetts, at 1:9K
View Web Map Continue reading

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National Geographic basemap added to gallery

With the most recent ArcGIS Online update the National Geographic basemap (announced in a previous post) can now be directly accessed from the basemap gallery in the map viewer and Explorer Online.

ArcGIS basemap gallery

Continue reading

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ArcGIS Online World Street Map updates

The World Street Map was updated a few days ago, and we encourage you to take a look, especially if you haven’t used this service recently. We already mentioned that we extended the coverage to include more detailed data in metropolitan areas around the world. This map also features new data from DeLorme and NAVTEQ. You’ll notice as well that the cartography has been updated. Continue reading

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