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Best practices for organization maintenance

As an administrator, you're responsible for configuring ArcGIS Online to meet your organization’s needs and structure during setup, as your requirements change, and to take advantage of new capabilities. It's equally important to regularly maintain members, items, and groups to keep your organization uncluttered and optimally useful for its members. Some of these maintenance tasks, including monitoring use, can help you get the most value from ArcGIS Online.

Tip:

Search partner solutions in ArcGIS Marketplace for apps to help with maintenance tasks, if needed.

Member strategies

The members of your organization are likely to change over time. Strategies for the following common member maintenance tasks are described below:

Invite members

As you roll out or expand access to ArcGIS Online to new members or groups of members, you will need to use the invite members workflow. You can invite and configure user settings individually or in a batch by uploading a CSV file.

When inviting and adding members, take advantage of the following options:

  1. During the invitation process, assign a role with privileges that provide the member access to relevant capabilities. For example, if the member needs to create content, ensure that they have create capabilities.
  2. Add members to an initial set of baseline groups so they have immediate access to relevant content without having to request it.
  3. If credit budgeting is enabled for the organization, save time by specifying a default allocation for all new members. This provides some initial credits to new users without requiring you to manage each user's credits individually. You can adjust the default credits for specific members as needed.
Tip:

If you invite members via email, their names will appear under Pending Members until they accept the invitation. You can resend invitations as reminders if necessary.

Remove members

When members leave your organization, you'll need to remove their account and decide what to do with any content or groups that they own. You cannot delete the member until all items and groups are deleted or transferred to another member.

Ideally, the departing member can help transfer and delete their content and groups prior to leaving. If a member leaves the organization without transferring content, you can disable the member so they can't sign in while you transfer their groups or items.

Transition to enterprise logins

If your organization decides to use enterprise logins after initially setting up built-in accounts, you must migrate members' items and groups from their original account to their new enterprise account.

Item strategies

The items in your organization will change over time. Item information, status, and currency may need to be updated over its lifecycle. Methods for the following common item maintenance tasks are described below:

Identify old or unused items

Old and unused items consume storage space and can clutter search results. It’s recommended that you periodically review items. Unused and unneeded items can be deleted from the organization. Out-of-date items that are still relevant can be designated as deprecated.

To find the oldest, least frequently modified, or least viewed items in your content, groups, and organization, sort or filter items on the respective tab of the Content page.

Find large hosted feature layers

ArcGIS Online charges storage credits based on the amount of feature data stored. As an administrator, it's important that you monitor your stored content to ensure that storage is used effectively.

To view a list of your organization’s hosted feature layers by size, complete the following steps:

  1. Open the organization's Status page.
  2. On the Credits tab, in the Credit Utilization Chart, click Storage. In the Storage Usage Chart, click Feature Storage.
  3. In the report that appears, select the storage type and click View item details.

    The Database Storage Details window appears with a list of items. Layers are listed from largest to smallest size, but you can also sort the report by title, owner, date created, or date modified. Clicking a row in the report opens the item page so you can learn more about the layer. You can also download the full report as a CSV file.

Update service URLs in a web map

Web service URLs that are included in live web maps can change over time. During server migrations, the server name may change. Servers will be migrated to HTTPS as it becomes a web standard. You can update the URL referenced by web map layers using the Update References utility on the Settings tab of the map's item page.

Note:

You can avoid having to update service URLs in web maps using CNAMEs for your GIS server machines. CNAMEs are basically server name aliases that are added to your DNS by your IT department (such as myGISserver.m.com for 50.12.234.12). When a server is migrated to new hardware, you can update the CNAME reference to point to the new server; all service URLs will remain the same, so web map and other service references do not need updating.

Update URLs for service or app items

URLs for services hosted in ArcGIS Server and locally hosted web apps may change when servers are retired or renamed. You can update a URL reference to layer and web app items by updating the URL in the Data Source utility on the Settings tab of the item page.

Migrate items between accounts

Many users will never need to think about using more than one ArcGIS account. However, as an administrator, there are situations where you may need to copy maps or other items from one account to another.

You can use Change Owner to transfer existing items from one account to another or adjust group ownership. The items remain in the same organization, which means all references and links between layers, maps, and apps are preserved, and everything continues to work as expected. Group membership can also be adjusted.

Tip:

When migrating accounts with a lot of folders or groups, you can also use ArcGIS API for Python to expedite and maintain the folder structure in My Content. Download the sample script.

Group strategies

Curate featured content using groups and promote a set of groups as the organization’s Featured Groups. (Assign this task to other staff if possible.) If your organization decides to use basemaps other than the default Esri basemaps, create and maintain a group for the basemap gallery.

Groups do not consume credits, so group maintenance is simply good housekeeping; however, cleaning up groups may also help you clean up old content items that are consuming storage credits.

Identify stagnant groups or groups that are no longer in use, especially public and organizational groups.

  1. View your organization’s groups (click Groups > My Organization's Groups) and reverse the sort order to list oldest groups first.
  2. For each group, view its Content tab to determine the most recently modified items.
  3. Open item pages for the group content and review the Usage tab for activity statistics.

Monitor and report activity

It's also important to monitor metrics of your organization’s users and content. Some strategies to monitor and control your organization’s activities are described below.

System usage

Administrators may find it useful to monitor some of the following basic statistics:

  • Number of members, groups, and items (total and new)
  • Most active users and most viewed items
  • Users and groups with the most items

Use the organization's Status page for activity-based metrics and real-time use reports. Item reports illustrate how users are creating, using, and sharing geographic content. Member reports reveal how users are contributing to the organization. Group reports provide a sense of active collaborations across and within organizations.

Credit usage

Each organization uses cloud resources differently and thus uses credits differently. Even heavy use of a cloud service often offers the best value. Rather than targeting all instances of heavy credit use as excessive, carefully evaluate reasons for usage. For example, identify duplicate efforts, redundant data, and the use of services or data that are also available locally.

  • Monitor credit usage weekly or monthly. On the Status page, the Credits tab has a button to download a report of daily credit usage for multiple usage categories (from the selected time period). On the Members tab, you can also download credit usage for a selected user.
  • Determine when additional credits are needed. For credit budgeting strategies, see Five strategies and tools for managing credits.

Identify and investigate unintended use of credits and suggest alternative solutions such as the following examples:

  • Unnecessarily generated tile services—Use the option to generate tiles automatically only to generate tiles when they are first viewed by a viewer so you'll only be charged for generating tiles that are requested. If you'd rather generate your own tiles, build the tile cache in ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap (as a tile package), and then upload and publish the tile package in ArcGIS Online.
  • Large hosted feature services—Simplify geometries, reduce the number of attributes, or use a tile service to reduce the amount of hosted data that's stored. If you can support large datasets on your own infrastructure, consider publishing feature data to an ArcGIS Enterprise deployment.
  • Duplicate layers—Search for layers to see if they are already available before publishing. Use a hosted feature layer view to provide a different view of the data (fewer fields, specific features), without needing to store a duplicate set of data in ArcGIS Online.
  • Large or repeated geocoding, routing, or geoenrichment jobs within the same organization—Discourage regeocoding of the same data. If a dataset has been created from an ArcGIS Online tool, encourage users to share the data instead of running duplicate jobs. You can also encourage the use of locators running on ArcGIS Server for repetitive jobs. Publish commonly used layers to the system and publicize them.