Geospatial Experience: The ArcGIS Platform Inside and Out

May 24, 2016 — Skye Perry  [10:40]

By preconfiguring your ArcGIS portal to expose targeted Esri Web Maps to specific user groups, we can accelerate adoption of Web GIS throughout your organization by creating an exceptional geospatial experience. Role based content exposure allows a user to log in to the portal and immediately access targeted content based on their job or role in the business. This video explores the geospatial experience concept which can completely change the way you proactively expose Web GIS to your users.

Is your utility, telecommunications company, or pipeline operation interested in getting up and running on ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Enterprise, and/or Portal for ArcGIS? Learn about the ArcGIS Online Jumpstart option from SSP on our GIS Jumpstarts overview page here. We’ll get your team up and running quickly on the leading Esri web GIS platform.

Video Transcript

Hi my name is Skye Perry and I’m with SSP Innovations and I’m here to talk today about another Esri platform-based concept that we call geospatial experience and I’ll explain that term a little bit later in the video but I wanted to kind of set it up here early. So we're going to start off with a diagram that we often talk about now. I tend to draw this on the whiteboard about 3, 4, 5 times a week. I'm sure many of you have seen it many times in a similar presentation.

We start off with your authoritative data stored in your geodatabase in the back office. This data within the concept of platform and Web GIS is exposed via Esri ArcGIS for Server and broken out to a portal. And as always I say that the portal can be Esri ArcGIS Online or it could be Esri Potal for ArcGIS hosted fully on premise. Next aspect is other services, these would be web services, geo-enabled web services within your organization, potentially outside of your organization, also brokered through Portal. And finally the online content, there’s a lot of online content freely available to build or bring into our maps, once again can be brokered through Portal.

So this sets up the foundation of Web GIS, we've got another great video on that if you want to check that out, but know that this is the foundation of what we're talking about today. So next step as we take a step back from the data side of the portal, the input to the portal, we look at the way that we expose that data out to the organization. Now these services are indexed, they're searchable, they're very exposed and readily available for end users to build their own maps, but we also often and almost every time create a set of what we call web maps. So this is a key term in the new industry, the new platform based concepts, and a web map is effectively a group of different services that we've pulled together to create a meaningful informational product that means something to a group or user within the organization.

So we will often target a number of these to start with within an organization that provide key content and the goal is of course that this list will grow. Grow through the publishing of the administrators of the portal, but also grow through the users who will be embracing and creating derivative works and publishing those back out. So I've got a handful listed here for maybe a typical electric company, but if you imagine this list of maybe 10 will grow to 20, maybe to hundreds of these web maps over time in your organization as we create new informational products that help us make decisions within our business. So again, let's talk a little bit about these. In our electric organization here, start off with the distribution map. That might be just a map that shows the entire network, kind of our base viewing map. We can click on features and see attributes and get information in general.

A circuit query map, a little more fine-tuned toward actually querying on to a circuit number to see the extent of a circuit. A switching map highlights the specific switching locations within the network and calls our attention to those very quickly and easily, maybe colors the circuits differently based on the feeder ids which it shows between those switching locations. Storm vulnerability really toward planning against areas that we believe storms could hit hard, if a storm came through where we might have to do extra work. Outage map, stands on its own; this is really managing outages and current incidents within a system. Crew locations, maybe an automatic feed from a vehicle locating system so we can see real time information of the crews on the map. Damage collection and inspections, really around collecting data from the field. Perhaps after a storm or inspections on a proactive basis.

So these are just an example. Again, the dots represent that these could go on endlessly I'm sure you're already thinking "Ah, he didn't mention this one or that one" but the point is you're going to set these up to start with and then it’s going to grow over time. These are all fundamentally exposed via your portal, and that's again providing the platform. So that's pretty standard, I hope you get that concept but I think you probably do by now. As we abstract one level further for how are we going to make this really work it's an area that I think is talked about but has often been overlooked around the adoption of your portal of your Web GIS to the larger organization and the concepts I'm going to talk about are simple but so important and if you embrace them it will really increase, accelerate the adoption of your portal within your organization. And that concept is groups.

So groups in general are representative not from some aspect of GIS, not from your IT organization. Let me say that again, not GIS, not IT. The groups are representative of your organization. The business units within your organization, how your organization does business. So these are going to be driven by how you do business, and if you have trouble getting your head around that to start with and analyzing your business, one of the great areas that Esri provides for us is what we call solution templates. And whether you're telecom, water, electric, gas; they've got what they call a model structure a model organization based on the research they've done over time, and what do I mean by that. They've talked to many utilities, many telecoms, and come up with the most standard different groups that make up a structure an organizational structure within that type of business. So they've got that, you can download that, you can implement it in just a handful of minutes, you can delete the groups that you don’t apply to your organization, add the groups that are missing. So they've really enhanced our ability to do work in that way by giving us a starting point.

So over here I've listed only 4 groups, and that's just really to simplify this for the whiteboard, but hopefully this will ring true. Our goal in setting up the portal, where we have this vast amount of content in web maps, we also have a vast number of services, everything is indexed and searchable and that's a very important part about the system of engagement aspect of being able to get to the data we want and utilize it and create new content. But with our groups we're really honing in on creating targeted content, a targeted experience if you will, for the individual groups. So let's kind of just run through this, we'll start up here with our planning group. A group that's planning around an expansion of the network, assessing their current network. They're certainly going to want access to that base map the distribution map. They're definitely going to want to be looking at circuit queries, because they're interested in where the circuit extents are. And as an example they're definitely going to want to know about storm vulnerability. Where might they plan and enhance the system moving forward to build a stronger network.

So that makes a lot of sense, let's move on to the engineering group. Engineering group of course is doing also some related to planning, but actual engineering of the network. So they certainly are going to want that base map, they're going to want to query everybody's circuits, they're going to care a lot about switching, they may care about storm vulnerability as well but we'll keep it to those 3 for now. Note, by the way, I'm creating a many to many relationship meaning one web map can be consumed by many groups, one group can consume many web maps. So let’s continue on the with the exercise here. Damage assessment, these are our folks in the field who are collecting damage after a storm. They probably definitely want to see that base map, that's our foundational element. They're definitely going to want to see the outage maps, showing them where current outages are if there still are still in an outage scenario. They're going to want to know where all the crews are in the field, and they're certainly going to want to know where damage assessment and inspections are occurring.

So they've got yet a different experience based on the web map content that they are utilizing. And finally, certainly not an undervalued group, our executives. We want to get them into the system as well and again we can fine tune the experience they have. Once again, they might have extended usage of the distribution map at the base level, they're going to want to watch those outages, it might be a slightly different variation on the outage map for the executive but they want to see certainly where outages are. And they might after a storm want to be watching damage collection come in. So what we can see here is kind of a crazy drawing with all these colored lines, but what we're doing by spending some time in creating this mapping, creating this matrix of content to role is providing a set of simple tools to these users that allow them to do their job, to make decisions based on their role, their group within the company. And that's so important, I know it sounds simple but if you drive this way, you're going to increase adoption. And why do I say that? Because if I'm coming in as a planning user and I see exactly what I need to do my job, it's going to increase my adoption of this system.

If I come in as an engineer, I don't have to go find the data that I want to utilize, it is set up and exposed to me in a proactive way. And you see how this goes on, imagine that you have 15 groups with targeted content. Now take this one level further, and I won't go too many levels I promise, out to the users. A given user can be authorized in multiple groups. An engineer often in a large storm scenario is assigned to damage assessment so they might have those two different roles assigned to them, but all of the applications, and I mean every one (Arcgis.com, Collector, Explorer, Survey123), all the new applications coming out from Esri that utilize platform, are group based. And that means that if I come in and I have 2 roles, I can go in through engineering and see what I need to do my job in engineering. I can come in through damage assessment and see what I need to do my job as a damage assessment person.

So this matrix again drives the experience of each user based on role within the company, it drives adoption, and it further drives adoption because as we talk about derivative work, talk about consuming data, these roles that are pre set up allow a given user to expose those new derivative works to the organization appropriately and in a way that we've established for them. So this hierarchy really makes a lot of sense, if you set this up and spend just a little bit of time early on in your platform or Web GIS deployment, it will make all the difference later on. And it drives down to what we are calling now "Geospatial experience". That Geospatial experience will change the way that you utilize Web GIS, and you'll have your organization adopting it, proactively engaging with it, and utilizing it in ways that you never imagined much quicker. Thanks for your time.

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Skye Perry is the CEO for SSP Innovations and has provided technical architecture, development, and management solutions for GIS-centered implementations since 2000. Skye’s roots tie back to Convergent Group, Miner & Miner, and Enspiria Solutions where he has focused on implementing Esri GIS customizations and system integrations. Today Skye is Read more

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