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Quick lesson: Create an app

Web apps are a great way to inform, educate, entertain, and inspire people about a wide variety of topics. With ArcGIS Online, it's easy to create a web app from a map without specialized development skills. In this lesson, you'll assume the role of a travel agency chain co-owner. In this scenario, you and your business partners want to expand your business to include luxury travel tours, and you were tasked with deciding which agency location is the best option for a first launch. To help you make this decision, you found a public web map and analyzed it visually in Map Viewer to compare the location options. Now you want to create a web app from the map and share the app, including your impressions and recommendations, with your business partners. As you work through the steps in this lesson, you'll use the following skills: choosing a web app template, creating and configuring your app, and editing the app's item details. This lesson is designed for beginners. You must have an organizational account with privileges to create and share content (or a public or trial account) to complete this lesson. Estimated time: 20 minutes.

View the finished app

You're a co-owner of a small chain of travel agencies, with locations in the Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Chicago areas. You and your business partners are interested in expanding your travel services this year to include luxury travel tours, and preliminary Internet research has convinced you that the baby boomer generation—people born between 1946 and 1964—is your most promising target market.

You were tasked with determining the best agency location to launch the new services and used Map Viewer to visually analyze a public web map you found to compare the three location options. Now you want to share the map and your findings with your partners to see whether their impressions match yours. You can do this with ArcGIS Online: turn the web map into an app, configure it to include text and other media, and email a link to the app to your business partners.

Sign in and create a web app

You'll start by signing in and opening the Predominant Generations in the United States web map you explored. The map is publicly available from ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, but you must be signed in to ArcGIS Online to create an app.

  1. Go to https://www.arcgis.com, click Sign In, and enter your ArcGIS Online credentials.

    If you don't have an account yet (or privileges to create and share content), you can sign up for a free trial.

  2. At the top of the site, click Content and click the Living Atlas tab. In the Search Living Atlas box, type Predominant Generations. In the Filters list, for Item Type, click Maps to narrow the results.

    Living Atlas search result filtered to show map of interest

    Tip:

    You can also search by the map ID value: 866f3ab5307240d49f62ba95c2f452ca.

  3. Click the map name to open its item page and review the description.

    This web map highlights the predominant generations that comprise the population of the United States. The predominant generation is the generation with the highest population compared to the other generations in a given area.

    Note:

    Demographic data is updated periodically, so the data values you see may differ from those specified in the lesson.

    In another lesson, you visually analyzed this map to compare the three location options for launching luxury travel services to baby boomers. Now you are ready to make a formal proposal to your business partners by creating a web app from the map and adding your impressions and recommendations. You want to present the Predominant Generations in the United States map to your business partners and walk them through your impressions of the three potential locations you analyzed. This will support your recommendation to launch luxury travel services in Chicago, Illinois. You also want to encourage your partners to explore the map themselves to determine whether their impressions match yours.

    One way to use a map to tell a story or share information with others is to create a web app from the map. Map-based apps provide a simplified interface that allows you to share a story or message in a focused way and allows others to explore the map with a specific purpose in mind. You'll create your map-based app using one of the many configurable app templates that are included with ArcGIS Online.

  4. On the item page, click Create Web App > Using a Template.
    Note:

    By default, the web app you create will be shared with the public.

    The Create a web app window appears. It includes a gallery of configurable apps organized into categories based on purpose and functionality.

    You want the map to be the primary focus of your app because it's the basis of your recommendation to your business partners.

  5. Click the Showcase a Map tab.

    You want the app to include the legend, bookmarks, and pop-ups that were configured for the map, as well as your impressions of the location options, while maximizing the screen real estate dedicated to the map. The Basic Viewer app is a good choice.

  6. Click the Basic Viewer app, read the description of the app, and click Create Web App.

    Basic Viewer app template selected and a green box surrounding the Create Web App button

  7. Accept the default title, tags, and folder. For Summary, copy and paste the following summary text:

    This app highlights the predominant generations that make up the population of the United States. The map forms the basis of an analysis of travel agency locations to determine the best one for launching luxury travel services to baby boomers.

    Tip:

    If you're signed in with an organizational account and your organization has set up content categories, you can click Assign Category and select up to 20 categories to make it easier to find your app later. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.

  8. Click Done.

    The app is now ready to be configured.

Configure the app

Next, you'll change elements of the app's presentation to better communicate the map's meaning.

  1. Review the settings on the General tab.

    General tab

    By default, your app is given the same title as that of the web map. You'll accept the default title.

    Next, you'll configure a splash screen to record your impressions of the map for your business partners. The splash screen will appear when they open the app and will include a button they can use to close the splash screen and explore the map themselves.

  2. Check the Splash Screen box.
  3. For Splash screen title, type Where are the Baby Boomers?
  4. For Splash screen content text, copy and paste the following paragraphs:

    This map highlights the predominant generations that make up the population of the United States. The predominant generation is the generation with the highest population compared to the other generations in a given area. As the legend shows, each generation is represented by a different colored symbol. The baby boomer generation, which is our target market, is purple. The millennial generation is teal. The color of a symbol on the map reflects the predominant generation in that area.

    At this zoom level, the millennial, baby boomer, and Generation Z generations dominate the map, but you can use the Bookmarks tool to zoom in to the cities where our agencies are located to get a clearer picture of these areas and more detailed information. These are my impressions from analyzing the map using these bookmarks and by clicking on different areas to see detailed pop-up information:

    • The Los Angeles area has a strong predominance of millennials over baby boomers and a relatively low population of baby boomers in areas near our travel agency.
    • Washington, D.C. has mostly millennial-dominated areas near the agency, but the baby boomer populations are higher in these areas than the baby boomer populations near our Los Angeles agency. Therefore, Washington, D.C. is a better candidate than Los Angeles for marketing luxury travel services to baby boomers.
    • Most of Chicago is dominated by millennials, but there are several predominantly baby boomer areas in Near North Side close to our D.C. agency. The total number of baby boomers in Near North Side is significant.

    Proposal: I recommend that we launch our luxury travel services in the Chicago agency due to the predominance and significant populations of baby boomers in the areas around our Chicago agency as compared to the other locations.

    Now, explore the map yourself and let me know if your impressions match mine.

  5. Select all the text in the text editor and click the Remove Format button.

    Text editor with pasted text highlighted and a green circle around the Remove Format button

  6. For Define custom button text, type Explore the map.
  7. Click the Theme tab.
  8. For Header color, choose a bright purple that closely matches the purple used in the map to represent baby boomers (such as #C500FF). For text and icon colors, accept the default white.
  9. For Custom Layout Options, keep Default selected.
  10. Click Save to save your configuration settings and preview the app.

    Preview of saved app

    Next, you'll specify the tools your app should include on the toolbar. You want to keep it simple and give your business partners only the tools they'll need to analyze the three locations of interest, so you'll include the map's legend, bookmarks, and details about the map.

  11. Click the Options tab.
  12. In the Toolbar Options section, uncheck all the boxes selected by default, except the Bookmarks box. Check the Legend and Map Details boxes.

    Toolbar Options section on the Options tab

    The legend will appear after the splash screen is closed and will also be available, along with the other specified tools, on the toolbar.

    Your partners won't need to print the map, and they can find the locations of interest using the Bookmarks tool, so the Print and Search tools won't be needed.

  13. Uncheck the Print Tool box.
  14. For Specify active tool at app startup, choose Legend.

    Remaining settings on the Options tab

  15. Click the Search tab and uncheck Enable search tool.

    Search tab settings

    Now you can save your configuration settings and test your app to make sure it meets your needs.

  16. Click Save.

    Updated toolbar in the app preview

    The toolbar updates to include the limited options that you configured.

  17. Click Launch to view your app in a new browser tab.
  18. Test your new app. For example, review your splash screen text and test the button. Click features on the map to display pop-ups. Zoom and pan the map, use the Bookmarks tool to zoom to the locations of interest, and click the Default extent button to return to the default extent of the map.

    Now that you have configured your app, you are almost ready to show it to your business partners. You just need to fill in a few details on the item page before presenting your app.

  19. Return to the app configuration tab and click Close.

    The app's item page appears.

Edit the item details

Some of the item details from the map, such as the tags, are added automatically to the web app. You'll add some other information for your app.

Tip:

You can use the Item Information bar to help you provide complete information for your app. The Item Information bar shows your progress toward providing high-quality information, and also indicates the most important improvement you can make.

  1. For Description, click Edit, copy and paste the following text, and click Save:

    This app highlights the predominant generations that make up the population of the United States, using country to block group geographies that vary according to zoom level. The map, which was featured in Esri's Living Atlas gallery, forms the basis of an analysis of travel agency locations to determine the best one for launching luxury travel services to baby boomers. Use the Bookmarks tool to see the predominant generations in the census tract areas in and around Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Click individual census tracts on the map to see pop-up information, including the population of each generation in a given census tract.

    This app was created for instructional purposes only and should not be used as an authoritative resource.

  2. For Terms of Use, click Edit, copy and paste the following text, and click Save:

    This app was created for instructional purposes using a publicly available web map featured in Esri's Living Atlas of the World.

  3. For Credits (Attribution), click Edit, type Esri, Living Atlas, and click Save.

    You've finished configuring your app and updating the item details. Now you can send your business partners an email with a link to your app.

  4. Under URL, click the Copy button to copy the app's URL to your computer's clipboard. Paste the URL into an email.

    URL setting with a green box surrounding the Copy button

Next steps

After only 20 minutes working in ArcGIS Online, you've created a configurable app to present your findings and recommendations to your business partners. What's next?

To find more scenario-based lessons, browse Learn ArcGIS. To start, try Oso Mudslide—Before and After to create an app using Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS.

Explore ArcGIS Online on your own and discover what else is possible. A few ideas are as follows: