Top 3 reasons to START using ArcGIS Pro now! Reason #2 revealed.

July 18, 2019 Carole Arseneau

TASKS. Have you heard of this new capability in ArcGIS Pro? Not sure what you would use it for or when you will have time to figure it out? Read this blog post to see why I think you are missing out and what kind of time-saving solutions you could implement with this simple but powerful functionality. It’s reason #2 for many good reasons!

Tasks used in ArcGIS Solutions Deployment Tool for ArcGIS Pro

I first had my “Ah!” moment when a colleague of mine showed us how to deploy a web application solution template from the ArcGIS Solutions Gallery into an ArcGIS Hub.

Before she even started the process, there was a list of solution templates she could choose from directly in ArcGIS Pro. Once she chose the one she was about to demonstrate step-by-step instructions and descriptions on what to do, 1st, 2nd and next, appeared in a task window. She started completing step 1 from the instructions provided, before she could progress to step 2 and so on. All steps were outlined clearly and at the end of the guided workflow, the web application was completed, using the data she was choosing along the way. This deployment tool was built with tasks.

That was my “Ah!” moment about tasks I wanted to share with you.

If you are not sure what the ArcGIS Solution Templates are, I encourage you to check them out for your industry. They could save you valuable time and provide the application framework you were looking for to disseminate the information you are maintaining quickly, to those who need it most and enable data-driven decision making in your organization.

It’s important to point out that the ArcGIS Solutions Deployment Tool for ArcGIS Pro is an Add-in that needs to be downloaded and installed, for free, within ArcGIS Pro. It’s supported by Esri for ArcGIS Pro version 2.2 to 2.3 (soon up to 2.4) at all license levels and can be used to deploy solution templates to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5 – 10.7 using Portal for ArcGIS (soon up to 10.7.1). You can get more details on this by using this link.

Tasks for quality control and project timeline estimation

In a recent webinar we delivered, I heard a colleague say:

  • “In GIS, there are always a hundred ways to do one thing”
  • “Every user does things differently”

So, how do you control the quality of the edits or the analysis results and the time it will take to complete the work?

It is typical within an organization to have different users achieve a similar goal using different tools and business workflows. Different levels of expertise, lack of short cut knowledge, etc. can be to blame.

Maybe your organization has identified standardized workflows, printed out cheat sheets and specific process to follow, etc. But how are you making sure the users are following them through, without skipping important steps that can be crucial to assure the results can be trusted for decision making?

No matter if you have created topology rules and implemented data reviewer filters, if the users do not perform them as prescribed in the written process, the results could create unclean databases or produce bad analysis results on which important and costly decisions could potentially be made.

Task in ArcGIS Pro can take away those risks by providing the ability to configure guided repeatable workflows that can be shared across users in the same organization or within an industry to complete specific repeatable business processes. And what you might not know is that task history, if enabled, can keep track of everything users did or did not complete and provide statistical metrics around the following items:

  • Which user used which task
  • Number of times the task was used by a user
  • Duration of each task (idle time is filtered out)
  • Adoption rate of a task over a period
  • Average time it takes to run a task for cost analysis purposes
  • Comparison of task efficiency when modifications are introduced

If you are a Manager out there, I bet you are interested now.

Tasks to share role specific tutorials

Another benefit of tasks, includes the ability to use your own business language in the description of each steps and use tasks to on-board new or seasonal employees, provide training on common or new workflows, complex analysis or implement new solutions. Tasks are easy to share to make it easy for each user to start the task on their own computer and perform their work, while learning the detailed steps required to achieve quality results. 

In some cases, you might consider replacing customized tools, made to simplify user’s experience, with a task. The immediate benefit would be to eliminate the needs for manual updates of the custom tools and the dependency to a specific ArcGIS version. That could save you time and money!

To evaluate the possibilities, keep in mind tasks can include:

  • Multiple steps, visible or not to the task user
  • Python scripts
  • Geoprocessing tools
  • Models built with ModelBuilder

These tasks do not come all configured out of the box, but the configuration process is simple. The time and energy required to identify the workflow needed will be well worth the effort from your end and will pay off in the long run.

Training solution to get started with tasks in ArcGIS Pro

To help you explore all task configuration options and prepare to implement them in your organization, we developed this 1-day course for users who wish to become “Task Administrators”.

If you have questions or comments, leave us a note below or email us at training@esri.ca.

About the Author

Carole Arseneau

Carole Arseneau is a Sales Representative at Esri Canada. She advises customers from all industries on how to use GIS technology to be more efficient in their daily workflows. Carole holds a GIS certificate from Florida State College in Jacksonville and a Bachelor degree in Kinesiology from Laval University in Québec City. Being by the water has always made her feel at home and has given her inspiration to keep a positive outlook in life.

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