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Dashboard tips that will make you say, “I didn’t know I could do that!”

Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS is a powerful tool that can support or administer solutions in any industry. There are endless possibilities for making your dashboard dynamic, functional, and even a little fun! Here are some interesting Dashboard capabilities you may not know about.

If you’re going to tell me that you sat down and read all the Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS help documentation out there, I’d be shocked. And if you haven’t… don’t you worry, because I did. While I was on my quest to master Operations Dashboard, I discovered a lot of functionality that I was never aware of – that led me to create this blog post about Dashboard secrets that aren’t really secrets.

Creating a copy of your dashboard

Let’s start simple. You can click on the dropdown menu beside the Save button in editing mode and select Save As; this will create a copy of your dashboard. You’ll be able to rename your copy and add a summary or tags. This copy gets saved in your Content’s root folder.

Converting values within a dashboard

Did you ever imagine a world where you wouldn’t need to create that extra field and field calculate it to have the option of displaying a converted value? Well, Operations Dashboard gives you the opportunity to configure a conversion within the dashboard itself and display it there. Below is an example of how the gauge and indicator elements can use this capability to show a converted unit.

The following table provides some examples of numbers to enter in the Factor and Offset settings to perform value conversions.

For more information, view the Convert values help documentation.

Grouping elements

Here’s a quick tip! If you hold down the shift key and drag an element to position it with another, you can group two or more elements together. This allows you to give users the option to expand your grouped elements together. When holding down the shift key and dragging your element, the colour of the “Drag to new position” box will be green instead of the usual blue.

Configuring elements to a feature layer from your contents

No. 1 on users’ wish lists for Operations Dashboard is the ability for a dashboard to not include a map. Now, as a map maker/lover, this could be considered an absolute atrocity. But in reality, a map is not always necessary when designing a functional dashboard. Now, you can link your elements to a feature layer in your contents instead of a layer in your web map.

This will allow you to create a dashboard that’s still able to be dynamically linked without a map component.

In the City of Edmonton – Programs, Courses and Camps dashboard, see how removing the map still gives you the ability to interact with other dashboard elements.

This dashboard:

  1. Essentially is a Program selection application
  2. Allows you to input a bunch of requirements you may have (day of availability, budget, etc.)
  3. Uses Operations Dashboard’s dynamic element-linking capability to filter the Available Programs list in the middle
  4. Gives you a few choices of programs that are suited to your needs

Grouping your pie chart

Now, it’s not out of the ordinary that you may have a bajillion values used to categorize your data in one field. You may also want to show those categories in the form of a pie chart.

Here we have a chart with 35 different food categories all being displayed.

If you need to clean up your pie chart, you can group values by a percentage threshold. By inputting a figure in the Grouping (%) box, your field values with a percentage below that number will be grouped into an “Other” category.

Custom Icons

When configuring an indicator element, you are able to add a provided icon or a custom SVG icon. I took a look at the custom icon help documentation on how to create one, and it was as simple as just adding an SVG code. So, I did what I usually do and tried to figure out how I could have some fun with it… 

This is what I came up with:

This is an indicator card with my face as an icon outlining my heavy cheese consumption. And it’s not as complicated as you may think.

  1.  I used a free online PNG to SVG converter
  2. I copied the SVG code in Google Chrome
  3. I pasted the very long code into the custom icon box

Now, obviously having my face on an indicator card may not be the most useful or functional thing. But you can probably imagine the possibilities, like being able to use your organization’s logo as an icon.

Integrating other ArcGIS products into your dashboard

Something cool you can also do is use the Embedded Content element to integrate other ArcGIS products for a more engaging or visual dashboard.

The Halton School Region Trip Counter dashboard app has a Survey123 form that allows students to input their school, method of getting there and meters travelled. Once a student enters their information, all other elements are dynamically updated and displayed. This dashboard collects data, engages students and provides insight into activity levels for the entire region or individual schools.

We can also take a look at the City of Baton Rouge 311 Citizen Request dashboard. You can witness “dashception” as multiple dashboards are embedded within a dashboard. By selecting an option from the dropdown menu on the header, all embedded dashboards are filtered at once.

Solutions site

Something I really want to bring into the spotlight is the ArcGIS Solutions site. It provides the Esri community with free industry-specific configurations for ArcGIS. I recommend everyone visit the Gallery, where you can filter by industry, products/applications and implementation patterns. If you filter by Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS, you can go through a bunch of options for ready-to-use maps and Dashboard applications to jumpstart your work.  By selecting a solution, you can see the software and application requirements. You can also see what you get, like surveys, preconfigured applications, maps and feature layers


I hope you picked up a few useful tips and tricks. Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS is a powerful product that can be used for collecting data, and for engaging and providing insight to your audience. I really look forward to seeing your awesome dashboards, but until then… Happy Dashboarding!

About the Author

Sumaiya Siddiqi is a Technical Solutions Specialist at Esri Canada. She discovered her love for GIS while completing a Life Sciences degree at McMaster University. Making a swift decision, she applied to Fleming College pursuing a postgraduate certificate as a GIS Applications Specialist. In her current role, Sumaiya develops and delivers demonstrations showcasing Esri’s latest technology, while simultaneously satisfying her passion for using the power of GIS to create inspiring mapping solutions.

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