A powerful new capacity is available in ArcGIS Online: hosting services. While users of ArcGIS Online have been able to push content up into individual maps, it has not been easy to get your content used beyond an individual map. With the arrival of ArcGIS Online for Organization subscriptions, this is very doable. Instead of many people needing to find your data and push it up into their own map, now you can publish content once, easily, for many people to use, by adding it directly inside ArcGIS Online.
You can publish basemaps (tile services), layers (feature services), and capacities (geoprocessing services). The easiest of these to understand is a feature service. Think of a lone shapefile in your map, and you want to let many people use it in their maps. A publisher in an organization can publish the content to their account and share it. Bang, done! Or, if you have several layers in an ArcMap 10.1 display, you can right click and choose to share. Zip, zap, zingo … up it goes! OK, yes, there are some steps to make sure it’s usable and findable, but it’s really easy!
Is it powerful? Try this: Open up our old reliable “USA Demographics for Schools” map – 10 layers of demographic data, all in scale dependent displays. Notice that, when you zoom in, you lose track of states and counties. Click the “Add” button and search in ArcGIS Online for “statecountyboundaries” (all one word). Click “add”, then click “Done adding layers”. Look over in the Contents … two new layers, which you can turn on and off, control their symbology, even click to identify. In 10 minutes, I created and published a layer that can now be used thousands of times, on desktops and iPads and smartphones. Think of the layers and maps you can share!
ArcGIS Online for Organizations offers capacities that will become more mind-blowing as you gain experience. You can share with your community editable services to support data collection, or host project content that you personally created, or even publish maps generated in Excel! To start, see these tutorials and videos. (The Organization account section is below the Personal account section.) Happy publishing!
- Charlie Fitzpatrick, Esri Education Manager