Using ArcGIS Online to share content with other people in your organization or with the public is powerful if you apply a few simple best practices. In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of sharing in ArcGIS Online as you assume the role of a web content creator for the City of Red Deer, Alberta. In this scenario, you want to share a web map of recreation facilities, first internally to get approval from the GIS manager, and then publicly on the City of Red Deer website. As you work through the steps, you will use the following skills: opening and saving a copy of a map; filling in the item details, including a description, some tags, and proper attribution; sharing your map privately with specific users in your organization; and sharing the map with the public. This lesson is designed for beginners, as well as those interested in best practices for sharing content. You must have an organizational or a trial account and have privileges to share outside the organization to complete this lesson. Estimated time: 20 minutes.
Red Deer, Alberta will soon be hosting a large national multisport event. You work for the City of Red Deer's website content team and were tasked with gathering resources and information about the event to feature on the site. You want to include an interactive web map showing sporting event venues, accommodations, and other points of interest in Red Deer, which will be useful to athletes, coaches, volunteers, and visitors attending the event.
With the help of a colleague from the GIS group, you used ArcGIS Online to create a map showing recreation facilities in Red Deer—the first step to building a comprehensive map for the sporting event. To create this map, you used a .csv file containing facility locations and other facility information you found on the City's website and open data site. You and your colleague are thrilled with the results. In fact, your colleague thinks this map could be featured on the website now, as a resource for Red Deer residents and tourists to the area; it just needs to be approved by the GIS manager first. Fortunately, it's easy to share your work with others; simply save the map as an item in the City's ArcGIS Online organization, fill in the item details, and share your map.
Sign in and open the map
You'll start by opening the map of recreation facilities in Red Deer, Alberta.
- Go to the ArcGIS Online group called ArcGIS Online Quick Lessons.
One of the items in the group is a web map called Red Deer Recreation Facilities. This is the map that your colleague helped you create, which you now want to share with the GIS manager.
- Click the thumbnail for Red Deer Recreation Facilities to open the map.
The map shows the locations of Red Deer recreation facilities styled by facility type: indoor, multipurpose, and so on. The legend to the left of the map shows what each color represents. By clicking the locations on the map, you can see pop-ups with information about the facilities, such as the facility name and a list of amenities. This map is a great start to building a more comprehensive web map for the upcoming sporting event.
- In Map Viewer, click Sign In and enter your ArcGIS Online credentials.
- On the ribbon above the map, click the Save button and choose Save As.
- In the Save Map window, complete the following steps:
- Append your initials to the title (for example, Red Deer Recreation Facilities-JS).
- Leave the tags unchanged.
- For Summary, replace the current text with This map shows recreation facilities by type in Red Deer, Alberta.
- Click Save Map.
Share the map privately
Your map of recreation facilities in Red Deer is now saved as an item in My Content. Currently, only you can access and view the map, but you want the GIS manager—and only her—to review it and give you approval to feature it on the City's website. Your colleague tells you the best way to do this is by sharing the map privately using a group. Once you create a group, you'll add your map to it, and invite the GIS manager to the group as a member.
- Click Home > Groups. On the Groups page, click Create group.
- Type Red Deer Recreation Facilities for the name, enter a brief summary, and add some tags. For Who can view this group?, choose Only group members and click Create Group.
- On the Overview tab of the group page, click Add an in-depth description of the group., enter a brief description, and click Save.
The group has been created but it doesn't have any content or members yet. You'll start by sharing your map with the group.
- At the bottom of the Overview tab, click View My Content.
- On the My Content tab, check the box next to your Red Deer Recreation Facilities map, click Share, and click Access.
- In the Share window, check the Red Deer Recreation Facilities group box and click OK.
Your map has been shared with the group. The next step is to invite the GIS manager to the group so that she can review your map. You also decide to invite your colleague to the group in case he has feedback too.
For the purpose of this lesson, you'll invite any two members of your organization who have an ArcGIS Online organizational account.
- In the top banner, click Groups. Click Red Deer Recreation Facilities to open the group page.
- Click Invite Users.
- Click a name in the Users list to add the name to the invitation list. Click another name in the Users list to add it. Click Send Invitation.
The users you invited to the group will receive a message in their Notification pop-up. If the invitation is accepted, the users will be automatically added to the group.
Open the item page and change the title
While you wait for the GIS manager to review your map, your colleague recommends that you work on the map's item page. Every item in ArcGIS Online has an item page that contains a variety of information, actions, options, and settings. The item page helps other people find your content, as well as understand its purpose, the data it contains, and whether there are restrictions on its use.
- On the Red Deer Recreation Facilities group page, click the Content tab, and click the name of your map to open its item page.
The item page for your web map already includes some information; the item summary and tags were filled in when the map was saved. Additional information was generated automatically. For example, you can see that your web map has two layers—a topographic basemap and a layer with Red Deer recreation facility locations.
When you made a copy of the map earlier in the lesson, you added your initials to the title to differentiate it from the original map. You don't want your initials in the title when you share the map publicly so you'll remove them now.
- To the right of the title, click Edit, select and delete the initials, and click Save.
The item page for your web map is still a bit sparse. For example, you're missing an in-depth description of the map and have not credited the source of the data. To make your content stand out as compelling and authoritative, it's important that the item page be as complete and informative as possible. The Item Information bar assists with this. It shows your progress toward providing complete item information and also indicates the most important improvement you can make.
It's also helpful to view examples of items that have been documented with complete and compelling item details.
You'll start by including an in-depth description of the map.
- Under Item Information, for Top Improvement,
click Add a longer description.
- Enter the following text and click Save:
This map shows recreation facilities in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. The map was created using a modified version of a CSV data file downloaded from the City of Red Deer Open Data Catalogue. The map and pop-ups reference information from the City of Red Deer website, the City of Red Deer Open Data Catalogue, and a Tourism Red Deer brochure. The facilities are categorized as indoor, multipurpose, outdoor, or outdoor gym, and are shown using a different color for each category. Pop-ups include information about each facility, such as the name, the address, and a list of amenities. The map also features Esri's World Topographic basemap. This map was created for instructional purposes only and should not be used as an authoritative resource.
enter the following text, and click Save:
This map was created for instructional purposes using a modified version of a CSV data file downloaded from the City of Red Deer Open Data Catalogue and using information from the City of Red Deer website and a Tourism Red Deer brochure.
The Item Information bar indicates that you've completed enough details, but it's also a good idea to give credit to the data providers.
- For Credits
(Attribution), click Edit,
enter the following text, and click Save:
Esri, City of Red Deer, Tourism Red Deer.
If you're signed in with an organizational account and your organization has set up content categories, you can click Edit next to Categories and select up to 20 categories to help others find your map. You can also use the Filter categories box to narrow the list of categories.
Add a custom thumbnail
A thumbnail image is created by default when you add an item to ArcGIS Online. A beautiful thumbnail image helps your item stand out in galleries and search results.
The thumbnail image that was automatically generated for your map is fine, but your colleague thinks you should include a custom image that highlights your map. In fact, he created one for you to use, and he added the image file as an item in ArcGIS Online so that you can access it.
For the purpose of this lesson, the thumbnail image has been shared with the ArcGIS Online Quick Exercises group.
- Go to the ArcGIS Online Quick Lessons group.
- Click the Content tab. Click the options button for the RedDeerFacilitiesMapThumbnail and choose Download. Save the image to a folder on your computer.
Your colleague created this thumbnail image according to the recommended specifications. It's now ready to upload to the item page for your web map.
- Return to the item page for your map. (If necessary, go to the Groups page, click the Red Deer Recreation Facilities group, and click the name of your map.)
- Above the default thumbnail, click Edit Thumbnail. Click Choose File, browse to the thumbnail image you downloaded, and select it. Click OK to upload the new thumbnail.
Share the map publicly
The item details are now complete, and you've just received an email notification indicating that the GIS manager has provided feedback on your map using the Comments section of the item page. According to her comment, the GIS manager thinks your map is an excellent resource for Red Deer residents and visitors to the area, and she says to go ahead and share it with everyone (public).
- On your Red Deer Recreation Facilities map item page, click Share.
- In the Share window, check the Everyone (public) box.
If you were sharing a real-world map outside of this lesson, you would delete the GIS manager's comment from the item page Overview tab before sharing the map with everyone.
- Click OK.
Now anyone can find and view your map. When you're ready, you can feature it on the City of Red Deer website by embedding the map in the site. If your organization is verified and you have privileges to update items, you can designate your item as authoritative to boost it in search results and make it easy to find using the Status filter.
In the time leading up to the sporting event, you can collect new data to add to your map—for example, add a layer showing Red Deer accommodations and another layer showing restaurants.
It only took 20 minutes to get your map of recreation facilities in Red Deer clearly documented, approved, and shared with the public. What's next?
You can also explore ArcGIS Online on your own and discover what else is possible. A few ideas are listed below. Some require an organizational account with publishing or administrative privileges and may consume credits.
- Make your profile more descriptive to establish your authority in your area of expertise.
- Add the .csv source file to your content and share it with others in your organization.
- Modify the settings for your map, including selecting the tools and capabilities that are enabled.
- Collect images of the recreation facilities and add them as items to include in pop-ups.
- Monitor usage of your web map to see how popular it is.
- Create a web app with your map, such as a story map with additional text, videos, images, and web pages.
- Learn more about sharing and groups using the following resources: Get started with sharing, Get started with groups, Best practices for sharing, and Put your best thumbnail forward.