Have you ever wanted to share quite a number of web-based or mobile GIS applications, data or resources with a large group of people be it the general public or a specified target audience? If those applications are quite a lot say more than three then sending a link for the location of each package then becomes a tedious job isn’t it?
In this tutorial guide, we are going to be teaching you how to share your GIS Applications as just one bundle and save yourself from the marketing and distribution pain. This guide will be mainly dealing with the concept of sharing applications and data under the #OpenData initiative.
- You already have an ArcGIS Online account with publishing capabilities
- Have developed and worked on some GIS Applications within your account or at least have feature(hosted) layers within your account.
- Ready to share your applications with a larger audience.
Let’s get started!
First step always when dealing with ESRI’s platform’s is to login to your account. As mentioned above we assume that you already have an ArcGIS Online account with publishing permissions. Login to your account. The quickest way to get to your Organizational account is by typing in this syntax within your browser:
<organization_name> is the name of your organization that your typed in when you created the account. In our case ours is: https://africansurveyors.maps.arcgis.com
Within your ArcGIS Online account on the Top navigational menu, click on Groups
If you are already in some groups, they will appear here. So let’s create a new group in which we are going to store all our applications that we would like to share with the certain audience under our Open Data initiative. Click on the Create Group button which is to your left.
A new page with a form to fill in the details of the group will appear like the one below:
Fill in all the details especially the form fields with the asterisk (*) symbol which basically means those fields cannot be left empty.
At the bottom of the form, there are some radio button options which select the group configurations upon creation but these can be changed later after creation depending on your needs and requirements. We have specified some of the configurations which help us get our work a lot easier in our Open Data case:
- Who can view this group – Everyone
- Who can join this group – Everyone
- Who can contribute to this group – Group Members
- What items can members update – Only their own items (unless your members are all professionals you can allow anyone to update content)
- Open Data – Allow this group to be accessed in Open Data sites ( most essential for Open Data initiatives)
For all other options we did not mention just leave them as default.
When you are done click on the Create Group button located at the end of the form.
Great! Your group has been created now its time to add some items to the group. Remember you can all entirely everything that is within your Organizational account be it Maps, Data packages, Layer Packages, Web Mapping Applications, etc.
Click the Add Items to Group button and a selection window with the list of all your items within your account appears like the one below.
Use the Checkbox to select the items you want to add and finally click the Add Items button when you are done.
We are almost there now with one more final step to go.
Clicking the Add Items button will return us to our Group Home page and we can see all the items that we have recently added to the group.
Now we are going to create a web-application which will be responsible for holding all our applications in one piece so that whenever we need the public to use thee apps, we just need to share one public URL with them instead of three or more URL’s which is a bit boring and annoying too.
Within our Group Home page, click the Create A Web App button which is just underneath the Add items button.
A set of applications that require group related items will appear and within the block of applications select the Minimal Gallery application.
A side bar will appear, just click on Create… There are also applications to download, we will talk about this later on in another tutorial. Fill in the form with the required details by naming your application and assigning tags to it.
Why tags? Tags help you search and find your applications within the ArcGIS Online platform. It is a form of meta-data that helps make querying and searching easier
Click the create button again.
Its time to configure the application and get it to work the way we want. You will notice that the set of applications contained in your group is already loaded for you.
Here is a list of a couples of changes we need to make to set the ball rolling.
- give the application a title
- give it an appearance by editing the theme setting
- assign a logo if applicable for people to know who created and where its coming from
- configure some gallery settings under the options tab.
Once all this is configured, we just need to make our application public and accessible to everyone now. Navigate to your Minimal gallery web application within your ArcGIS Online Organization account and enable public sharing so that people will not need to be signed in with an arcgis account in order to view nd use your application.
There is also another another interesting feature for people with their own websites that allows you to embed the Gallery Application within your site. Watch the last part of the video below to know how you can do that.
You can also view our own Public Applications Gallery that we have made available on this site.
We hope the Open Data initiatives can be advanced through sharing of data and collaboration through the use of such wonderful tools.
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