An Introduction to Environmental Screening

The Environmental Screening solution enables interested parties to evaluate potential impacts to the natural environment based on proposed projects or development initiatives. The application uses Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS and a new widget, the Screening widget, to analyze your environmental data in a given geography and share those results via a printed report.  The solution also supports downloading the analyzed data to facilitate additional analytical workflows like Environmental Impact Analysis.

The Screening solution guides you through a sequence of steps to define your project boundary, explore the results of the analysis, configure or adjust the information presented in the application, and share your results.

To get started, define the project boundary:

Defining the Project Boundary

The Screening widget provides a selection of tools for defining the project boundary.  These tools can be enabled for your Environmental Screening application in the configuration settings.

  • Placename: define the area of interest by searching for a location in the map and then providing a buffer distance
  • Draw tools: define the area of interest by drawing a point, line, or polygon on the map
  • Shapefile: zip a shapefile up, then upload it into the widget to define the area of interest
  • Coordinate entry: specify a starting location, enter bearing and distance pairs representing a traverse, then enter a buffer distance to define the area of interest

Analyze the Results

Once the project boundary has been defined, click the Report button to view the analysis results.  When the Report button is clicked, the widget will analyze each layer to determine the amount of overlap with the project boundary.

In the Report panel, results are grouped for each layer and are summarized by each value configured in the application. The results are presented as a count of features along with detailed information about each geometry: length for line features and area for polygon features.

For example, the results below indicate the defined project area contains nine critical areas which are comprised of Resource Conservation Areas,  Corporate Limits, and Wetland Areas in both Harford and Cecil Counties.   Should you choose, the application supports adjusting the fields you’d like to report on:

Sharing Results

To share results with colleagues and stakeholders, you can print a report with all the details of the analysis presented in the panel along with a map of the area. Within this Report, you can update the title to represent the analysis completed.

Optionally, you can also download detailed data about each item impacted in CSV or in a GIS data format that can be used in further analyses.

The Environmental Screening solution can be used in  combination with other ArcGIS for State Government applications, such as environmental Impact Analysis, Environmental Impact Briefing and Public Comment.   The suite of applications comprises an end to end solution that supports an organization’s need to evaluate, assess, communicate and solicit feedback on project implications in their area.

To learn more, visit the Solutions Site.

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  1. maytenieves says:

    Great tool! Would I be able to change the look of the report? Where do I find that in the widget code?

    • Jess Neuner says:

      Hi! With the first release, there are limited configuration properties exposed for the report in the widget. We plan to expose the background color for the column headers in the tables as a configuration option at the upcoming release.

      With the Web AppBuilder Developer Edition, you can change the style of elements in the report in the ReportTemplate.html which can be found the templates folder (..\jimu.js\dijit\templates).

      • kipokipo says:

        Hi Jess,
        I am using WAB developer edition 2.5 & arcGIS server 10.5, and able to get the screening widget running. But I have the same questions about how to customize the report, eg remove some fields in the summary and layer descriptions, or remove the AOI picture stuff like that.
        If you could point me to the right direction that would be great. ( I wasn’t able to find the templates folder you identified above)

  2. says:

    Cool tool! Can we expect a widget for this in the Arcgis online WAB when ArcGIS 10.5.1 is released?

    • Jess Neuner says:

      The widget is currently available for use with Web AppBuilder Developer Edition with the download.

      And yes — we plan to release it as a part of ArcGIS Online with the up coming summer release.

  3. smacgregor_bcgov03 says:

    Is it possible to connect the Layer List Widget to the Screening Widget?
    We configured the Screening widget to include all of our layers in the “Select analysis layers” section.
    We’d like to have the option to run the Screening widget on only the layers that are turned on in the Layer List.
    Is this possible?

    • Jess Neuner says:


      Currently, the widget will analyze all configured layers whether they are visible or not.

      We have been looking at ways to exclude results from the printed report, which may address your need at a future release.

      Thanks for your question!

  4. a00847138 says:

    Is it possible to use related tables in the environmental screening widget?

  5. mercator007 says:

    I would like to use this widget with a parcel layer.
    I use the select tool and the results give me informations from the good parcel but for the parcels just near the selected too.
    I have set the buffer and the tolerance to 0 but the problem is still here.
    Is there a way to avoid this?

    Thanks in advance

  6. mercator007 says:

    Hi again,
    Thanks Jess for the reply. With 2 little modifications of the code I’m able to make a negative buffer and thus avoid the problem.

    Now I would like to use one and only one selectable layer to do the analyse. Is there someone that could help me to find where I must make modifications and witch one?

    Thanks in advance.

  7. Hi Jess – This Widget is very much like one we were looking at having developed, so I’m really pleased to see it in AGOL. My business is concerned with finding intersecting polygons from different layers (never lines and points) and calculating intersection areas. Sometimes our geometry is quite complex, and we’re finding issues with:

    1) Where an intersection is detected but it’s either just the boundary, or a very small sliver, the full area of the intersecting feature is being sometimes being reported rather than “>0.01″.

    2) We get some odd results when the AOI is a multpart polygon – sometimes intersection areas are way too small, other times way too big (in one case intersection areas were consistently 247 times greater then they should have been)

    Do you know what might be happening?

    • Jess Neuner says:

      HI Andrew —

      Thanks, for your questions.

      Regarding adjacent features reporting full area, this is an issue we have resolved for the upcoming release of ArcGIS Online (currently planned for later this week). I’ll be interested to know if that resolves your issue.

      For the multipart AOI scenario — this seems interesting, the behavior you’ve described is not something we’ve come across before. Is it possible your AOI is coming across adjacent features in the analysis layer, therefore running into the other issue? I’m curious about how you are defining those AOIs (with a shapefile?).

      It would be really helpful for us if you could submit this to Esri’s Technical Support so that we can properly document and track this issue.

      Thank you!

      • Thanks for your reply Jess,
        The factor of 247 I found looks suspiciously like the conversion between sq km and acres – that might explain that one. Nevertheless, there’s nearly always an issue with multipart polygons, especially where the AOI is completely contained within the overlapping feature. We’re using map services from our ArcGIS server, but we’re also trying the same thing with hosted data. For example we have a multipart polygon that with an area of 8138 sq km that is completely contained within a larger polygon. The reported overlap area is only 0.78 sq km. I’ll take your advice and have a word with Tech Support.

        Thanks again


  8. lrogers_papedawson says:

    I have been running into issues with the screening widget returning records from layers that are not inside and nowhere near the buffer created with the tool. Has anyone else run into this issue? Is there a possible fix for this?
    Thank you

    • Jess Neuner says:


      I have heard that your question may be related to how “Choose selectable layers” relates to the layers being analyzed.

      Right now, all layers configured for the Screening widget will be analyzed whether they are marked as selectable or not. The Choose selectable layers list controls which layers are selectable when using the Select tool for defining the location that will be analyzed, this list does not have any bearing on whether the layer will be analyzed when the Report button is clicked.

      If this doesn’t answer your question, please feel free to comment with further details about your use case or submit an issue to technical support so that we can properly track and address it.

      Thanks very much,

  9. michelle.oldfield_arcadis_uk says:

    Do you know when this will be available for use in Portal for ArcGIS please?