Frequently asked questions

What is a Hub community?

A Hub community is composed of members who are not affiliated with your organization and who are not paid contractors or part of your staff. Community members can include the general public, representatives from nonprofits and advocacy groups, business partners, and anyone who has a stake in contributing, reviewing, or updating content for an initiative.

What can community members do?

With a community account, community members can sign in to any public site or page or to a site or page that has been shared with them privately. By signing in, community members can access an instance of ArcGIS Online exclusively for their use. With the proper set of privileges, they can create and share their own content, be invited to join an initiative's core team group or supporting team group, and sign up to attend events and follow initiatives.

How can I get a community account?

If an organization wants to make community accounts available to the public, their staff can configure a public site or page to include sign-up options, so that anyone can create a community account. You can also receive an invitation on behalf of your organization to activate a community account.

How do I activate a Hub community?

To activate a community for your Hub, you must upgrade to ArcGIS Online Premium. The premium upgrade includes a community organization and a defined number of community accounts you choose at the time of licensing. You must also have an existing ArcGIS Online subscription for your staff and paid contractors (an employee organization) to securely manage your Hub's official content. For more information, see ArcGIS Hub Pricing or contact your customer sales representative.

Are community accounts free to the public?

Yes. Community accounts are free on behalf of the organization providing them. When an organization licenses ArcGIS Hub Premium, they determine how many community accounts and credits to purchase. Community administrators can track the number of community accounts created over time using the community's engagement dashboard. See Manage community accounts, content, and credits for more information.

What are the requirements for authenticating a community account?

This depends on how the organization has configured its Hub community settings. These settings allow community administrators to require new members to use an email address or a Facebook, Apple ID, Gmail, or GitHub account when creating a new account. Your organization can also configure the community sign-in prompt with their SAML providers, custom terms and conditions, and additional text, such as a welcome message or next steps.

Does my organization have to make community accounts available to the public?

No, an organization does not have to make community accounts available to the public. Instead, you can offer community accounts to partners, students, volunteers, and other stakeholders in your network. Administrators can create community accounts individually or upload a .csv file of all member details to add or invite multiple new members at one time.

How can new members be added or invited to the community organization?

A community administrator must have a valid email address for each person they want to add or invite. When adding new members, the administrator defines the user name and temporary password for each account. Each new member's information is immediately added to the Hub community, which allows staff to begin sharing content and messages with them. The administrator or a staff member is responsible for providing the community member with their user name and temporary password. When an administrator invites new members, an email is sent to each new member with an account activation link. This account must be activated by the new member before their information is made available to staff.

Where are community accounts administered?

Community accounts are ArcGIS accounts and are the same type of accounts that your organization's staff and contractors use. Community accounts are managed in a community organization, separate from the employee accounts that are managed in an employee organization. Both of these organizations are ArcGIS Online organizations, each with their own ArcGIS Online home page and administrators.

How can staff share content with community members?

Your staff can share content with community members through an initiative's groups. While all initiative groups are stored in the employee organization, the recommended account privilege Join external groups allows community members to become group members without providing them access to the rest of the employee organization's staff profiles or official content.

How can community members join an initiative's groups?

There are several ways that community members can become members of an initiative's groups. To join an initiative's core team or a supporting team, members must be added or invited. Community members join the initiative's followers group voluntarily when clicking a configured Follow Initiative button. They can also join an event's attendees groups when they sign up to attend an event. An initiaitive's core team member can also add or invite a community to a followers group or event attendees group.

What items can staff share with community members?

Staff can share any supported item type that belongs to the employee organization with community members. Staff can share the item to a core team or supporting team of which the community member belongs. With a community administrator account, staff can also add items to the community organization.

What can community members view?

Community members can view any public content or private content to which they have access. Private content includes items that have been shared with select individuals who belong to an initiative's groups. Community members cannot view content that hasn't been shared with them through a group or the whole community. They also cannot view staff member profiles, aside from the staff profiles of their fellow groups members.

What can community members edit?

Community members can edit the items they've created. If they are members of an initiative's core team, they can also edit items shared with the core team group, including the initiative's site and items owned by other core team members. To learn more about core teams, see What is a core team?

Where can community members sign in to view private content that has been shared with them?

Community members who have access to view a group's private content can sign in as they normally do on a public initiative site. Once signed in, they can view internal items that have been shared on the site using private rows, menu links, and pages. For example, a core team can set the visibility of a site's row to group members only. Any items shared with the group that are displayed in the row become visible to the group's members upon sign in. A core team member can also add pages to a public initiative site and display internal items on the page's layout. Using menu links, the core team member can attach the page to the initiative site's header. Menu links that link to private items, including pages, apps, and surveys, are not visible to the public and can only be used by those with whom the item is shared once they've signed in. If all initiative content is shared internally, the initiative's creator must use email to add the new group members and share relevant web address with them.

Can a community member share a URL to a private item?

Private items, including items shared only to a group or with their respective organization, require authentication when opening the item in a browser. Only those with whom the item has been shared can sign in to view the item, ensuring that the item remains inaccessible to anyone other than its intended audience.

Who can view community member profiles and content?

If a staff member belongs to an initiative’s core team group, they can view community member profiles when adding someone to one or more of the initiative’s groups. Core team members can also view community content that has been shared with the community organization or the public when selecting content to share to their initiative’s content library or to display on the initiative’s site or pages. Staff accounts are ArcGIS Online accounts that provide access to the Hub employee organization but do not grant access to the Hub community organization. Only community administrators can view all community accounts (both private and public) and content.

Can community members share their own content with the public?

Yes, depending on the privileges assigned to their account, community members can share the content they create with the public.

Can community members view other community members's profiles and content?

Community members can only view content created by other community members if it has been shared with them through a group, the community organization, or with the public. Community members who belong to a core team group can view each other’s profiles and the profiles of community members who are members of the initiative’s supporting teams or who have followed the initiative. If they are an event organizer, community members can also view who has signed up to attend the event.

Can community members contact staff and other community members?

Yes. If a community member belongs to an initiative’s core team group, they can send emails to other core team members, including staff and community members. All core team members are automatically listed as event organizers for events created for the initiative. This allows them to send emails to event attendees as well. Community members who belong to a supporting team group can also be elevated to group managers so that they can send emails to other supporting team members.

Can staff contact community members?

Yes. A community administrator can send emails individually or to all community members. Staff, including initiative managers, group managers, and event organizers, can also send emails to community members belonging to a group to which they have access. Messaging in Hub is done using notifications and email. Members of the initiative’s core team can send emails to fellow core team members, the initiative’s followers, supporting team members, and event attendees. Emails must be manually constructed by the staff member sending them and are sent to the email address listed in the member’s profile. In-app notifications alert members to new groups to which they’ve been added or invited to join.

Can community members create events?

Yes. If collaborative events are enabled for the initiative, community members who belong to the initiative's core team can create events. For more information, see How community members can add events to your initiatives.

Do I need a community account to respond to a survey?

No. You can participate in a public survey anonymously. However, surveys shared privately through groups require the respondent to authenticate their account before the surveys becomes visible.

Do I need an account to download open data?

No. You do not need an account to view, filter, or export open data that has been made available through a site. You can, however, sign in and save your favorite datasets to your user profile. You can also use your community account to configure your own items, such as maps and stories, using open data.

Do I need an account to share public initiative content (sites, pages, apps, surveys, and so on) through social media?

No. Anyone can help expand the reach of an initiative by sharing a link to the initiative’s public items. An initiative's core team can encourage this by enabling the share button, a mobile-friendly button that provides fast options for sharing initiative sites, pages, and views to several social media platforms.

Where can I find ideas and inspiration for using a Hub community?

View the Hub Gallery and browse examples by sectors such as local governments, nonprofits, and universities. You will find a range of Hubs, from those generating public input to others built by stakeholder contributions. For example, the Montana Forest Action Plan opened their Hub to public comments, providing access to surveys, open data, and research. Other Hubs, such as the Wyoming Business Council, rely on a network of internal community members to contribute to the public-facing side of their Hub with real-time data on broadband speeds.