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What is a dashboard

A dashboard is a view of geographic information that helps you monitor events or activities. Dashboards are designed to display multiple visualizations that work together on a single screen. They offer a comprehensive and engaging view of your data, to provide key insights for at-a-glance decision making. Like web maps and web layers, dashboards are part of the ArcGIS geoinformation model. They are items within your ArcGIS organization. You can identify dashboards by their icon Dashboard icon when browsing and searching for content.

Complete dashboard

There are many reasons to create a dashboard, and many types of dashboards you can create. Reasons to create a dashboard include to:

  • See -in one view- all the information needed to make decisions
  • Monitor the most important information about your day-to-day operations
  • Ensure all your colleagues are on the same page, through viewing and using the same information
  • Monitor the health of a business, product, organizational team, or campaign
  • Create a personalized view of a larger set of data, to show all the metrics that matter to you

Some dashboards are purely operational in nature. They are designed to tell you what is happening now and match the quickly changing nature of incidents, events, and other activities. Other dashboards are more strategic. They track key performance indicators, and are ideal for executives and other senior managers interested in monitoring their organization's KPIs and metrics. Last, some dashboards are analytical, and used to identify data trends or other interesting data characteristics.

Each type of dashboard gets used by different teams and people within and outside an organization. Example users include command chiefs, operations managers, senior executives, GIS managers, GIS analysts, and even community members.

Dashboards are composed of elements, such as maps, lists, charts, gauges, and indicators. A dashboard occupies 100% of the application browser window. Elements can be stacked or grouped together in various ways.

The following are characteristics of an effective dashboard:

  • Draws your attention to where it's needed
  • Shows what's most important on a screen full of data
  • Provides its audience the ability to understand what's happening and respond quickly
  • Expresses performance measures clearly, accurately, directly, and without distraction

Most elements are data-driven. That is, they represent the information you want to present to the intended audience. As such, dashboards offer robust filtering capabilities, which enables a refined set of data to be presented to the intended audience. These filters can be applied at design time by the dashboard author or at runtime by users.

Dashboards can be designed for use in both 'unattended' and 'attended' scenarios. Unattended dashboards are often displayed on a large screen in environments such as operations centers, and provide a more passive user experience. In contrast, attended dashboards are generally viewed on desktop monitors or tablet devices, and tend to offer a more interactive user experience.

Once assembled, a dashboard gets shared with its intended audience. You can share dashboards publicly with everyone or only people in your organization. You can promote your dashboard by providing a link to it or embedding it in another website.

To get started making your own dashboard, see Create a dashboard.