“Online Bling: 6ix Headlines from ArcGIS Online” Webinar Q&A

June 26, 2020 Mark Ho

Let's right foot up and left foot slide into answering your questions about what's new and what's cool in ArcGIS Online.

Thanks to everyone for tuning into the Online Bling: 6ix Headlines from ArcGIS Online webinar on June 20th, 2020.  Andrea Zagar and I really appreciate your interest and your time.  We had a blast putting it together and presenting our corny Drake-inspired content. Hopefully you got to learn more about what’s new with Online’s Various Operations (OVO!).

If you missed the live presentation (or want to relive it again), you can access the webinar recording and the slides at your convenience.

We received lots of interesting feedback over the 6ixty minutes. This is a great chance to revisit some of our 6ix headlines and for us to answer your questions along the way.  Let’s goooooooo!


App Me on my Cell Phone

Andrea took a deep dive into the Minimalist app, a new configurable app designed to make the map the star (hence its name).  This makes it the perfect app to embed within websites or for mobile devices (hence the clever headline).  Especially noteworthy is the new instant configuration experience where you take advantage of an express setup and you can see changes to the app as you make them.

The Minimalist app configuration features draft and publish modes and mobile device previews

Q: Can we add widgets to the Minimalist app?

A: You can’t add extra widgets to the Minimalist app because it is already a template.  But you can create a custom app using Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS or ArcGIS Experience Builder.  Another alternative is to download the Minimalist app source code from GitHub.  You can always write code to make the application look and behave exactly the way you want.

­Q: Will portrait or landscape view switch as they tilt a smart device? Can you set it to only one or the other? ­

A: As you switch the orientation of your smart device between landscape and portrait, the layout of the Minimalist app will readjust accordingly. There is no setting in the configuration to lock the orientation.  This might be the perfect opportunity to post this on ArcGIS Ideas, the GeoNet forum where you can make suggestions to improve our products.

Q: Is the Minimalist app AODA compliant?

A: The latest batch of ArcGIS Online configurable apps, including the Minimalist app, is written using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript 4.x platform.  The is significant as accessibility work is prioritized for the components and widgets in this version of the API.  Although we can’t say for certain if the Minimalist app is AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) compliant, we can say that accessibility is front and center as Esri continues to modernize its applications for everyone to use. Esri has published some information on accessibility of each of their products.


Kiki, do you 3D?

The goal of this demo is to remind everyone that ArcGIS Online is a great vehicle to showcase 3D content.  Interestingly, the biggest reactions came from my simple example of displaying a Revit model as a building scene layer and using the Building Explorer tool in the Scene Viewer to examine the outer and inner workings of an architectural model.

Because Esri Canada cares and shares, this Building Scene Layer Example is public for you to give it a 3D spin!

Example of a building scene layer, dropped on a soccer field in my hometown of Prince Rupert, BC

Much of your feedback about this example can be consolidated into one complex umbrella statement.

Q: How’d you do that?

A: Excellent question.  Allow me to break down the steps as we delve into “behind the demo”.

  1. I downloaded a Revit sample project file directly from the Autodesk website.  Even though I don’t have access to Revit itself, I chose the Revit format because it is easy to bring into ArcGIS.  Here’s a list of other supported CAD formats in ArcGIS.
  2. Launch ArcGIS Pro, create a new Local Scene, and add the RVT file into the scene.
  3. As noted in some of your comments, Revit projects do not contain any coordinate system information.  ArcGIS Pro provides tools and a workflow to georeference the Revit model to a specific coordinate system and location.  In my case, I used Web Mercator as my coordinate system (not ideal, but it will match with the default basemaps in ArcGIS Online).  You can choose any local coordinate system you want if you also have a basemap using the same projection.  I used the Move to Display, Move and Rotate tools to place and orient the building to the correct location.  Check out this Esri blog post and video that walks through how to georeference Revit data in ArcGIS Pro in much greater detail.
  4. You are now ready to bundle up your building using the Create Building Scene Layer Package geoprocessing tool, creating a scene layer package (an SLPK file, of course) from your work.
  5. Publish Time!  You can upload and publish from a scene layer package directly to ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS as a hosted building scene layer (yes, Revit models are supported in Enterprise).
  6. Launch the Scene Viewer using the published building scene layer.  This auto-magically adds the Building Explorer tool to the bottom of the Scene Viewer tools.  Explore away!

Tools-ie Slide into Notebooks

Andrea channeled her inner programming nerd to introduce the ArcGIS Notebooks environment within ArcGIS Online.  You can use build and execute notebooks to perform analysis and automate the administration of your organization.  Notebooks will be generally available in ArcGIS Online with the June 2020 release.

ArcGIS Notebooks within ArcGIS Online takes spatial data science to the next level

Q: Are notebooks available in Enterprise portal?

A: You betcha!  ArcGIS Notebook Server allows you to leverage Python to perform geospatial analysis and administrative tasks within your enterprise.

Q: Is it possible to automate analysis with notebooks?

A: Yes, for sure! If you develop an analysis workflow in your notebook, you can run the notebook and its code will be executed step-by-step (i.e. you can run the same code over and over again if needed, like a regular Python script).

Q: Is it possible to set triggers to execute a notebook automatically?

A: At the moment, scheduling is not available for notebooks in ArcGIS Online. But that is something the development team is working on and should be coming down the road. For ArcGIS Notebook Server in enterprise, you can automate notebook execution.

Q: ­GIS module in ArcGIS API is not working with Enterprise login credentials. Do you have any links for reference?

A: Here is a reference for using different enterprise logins in the ArcGIS API for Python.


Map Viewer Beta is Too Good

The Map Viewer Beta is beyond exciting and you can start using it now.  The next generation map viewer features a new modern user experience, more smart mapping styles, better labeling and filtering options and lightning-fast client-side performance.  Map rotation has me in my feelings!

The next generation map viewer has a fresh look and more powerful capabilities

Q: Do the features in the Map Viewer Beta require the use of credits? 

A: Everything we showed in the map viewer demos, including cluster labels in the June 2020 release, do not require credits. Golden rule of thumb: credits are only consumed when you are running several analysis tools leveraging Esri-hosted services, storing content on our servers, or accessing premium content.

Q: ­Is it possible to use CSV data in the new map viewer or does the data have to be feature layers? ­

A: Currently you cannot add files from your computer into Map Viewer Beta.  But it is certainly on the to-do list for the ArcGIS Online team.  They are working to make it happen – look for it in an upcoming release.


Breaking News

Beyond the 6ix headlines, we also gave you a sneak preview of the June 2020 release of ArcGIS Online. Lots of love all around, especially for group layers in the Map Viewer Beta (+1 from me too)!  Don’t forget about the new home page editor, reports for administrators and sub-layer pages for feature services.

The June 2020 release of Map Viewer Beta includes group layers and cluster labelling

Q: Do the layers have to be in a single GDB to create a group layer?

A: Nope!  You can add a single layer to the new map viewer. You can then choose an option to add that layer into a new group.  Once the group layer is set, you can drag-and-drop additional layers into the group layer.

Q: Can reports be emailed to a specified user?

A: Administrators will be able to create detailed reports for their organization’s members and content. These reports are asynchronous reports and are saved as items in your account.  Hence, you can download the CSV report and share that file via email with other users.

Q: Will that hub look and feel also be available on Enterprise? ­

A: I assume you are referring to the new home page editor in the June 2020 release, where you can design an immersive and modern entry point for your organization.  At the time I am writing this, the home page editor is not expected to be included in the upcoming ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1 release. But as all Enterprise users know, once a new feature is added in ArcGIS Online, it will also be added to ArcGIS Enterprise in due time.  Be patient – your portal home page will get a fresh look soon.


Other Random Views

Q: Can you communicate if the bling being shown is available in Portal?

A: First, thanks for playing along with the “bling” reference.  The answer is a mix of yes and no.  As mentioned in the last question above, many new enhancements in ArcGIS Online will appear later in ArcGIS Enterprise. 

To illustrate this, the upcoming release of ArcGIS Enterprise 10.8.1 will be the first to include Map Viewer Beta.  Will you be able to access the core functionality of the Map Viewer Beta like in ArcGIS Online?  Yes.  Will new advancements featured in the June 2020 online release be included in this enterprise version?  Not yet.

Here’s more on the differences between ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Online. By the way, it works the other way too – ArcGIS Notebook Server arrived before notebooks in ArcGIS Online, for example.

Q: ­Storyteller is not an option for our member roles in our organization. Did you create that for your organization, or how does it get added to our list? ­

In the administration demo, I mentioned the new Storyteller user type, designed for those who want to make ArcGIS StoryMaps.  This provides members in your organization an affordable way to create beautiful narrative-driven mapping applications without getting too deep into the GIS stuff.  As with all user types, you will need to purchase these licenses for your organization.  Contact your organization’s administrator or your Esri Canada representative to hook you up.

Q: Is there going to be an Esri Conference this year?

A: There’s good news and bad news. 

  • Bad news – Sadly, Esri Canada will not be holding in-person user conferences for the rest of 2020.  We already miss you!  And we can’t wait to get back on the road when it’s time. 
  • Good news – We will be hosting more online webinars - review the upcoming schedule and register.
  • Big news – The Esri International User Conference is going to be virtual (and free) this year!  San Diego is coming to you on the week of July 13th.  Enjoy exciting plenary sessions and informative technical workshops from the comfort of your own backyard patio.  Be sure to check out the agenda and sign up for the big show!

Q: “Bitter old man”? This isn’t Mark!

A:  Wrong!  Now get off my lawn (as I angrily shake my fist at a cloud)!


That’s it! You made it to the finish line. On behalf of Andrea (who did an outstanding job!) and me, we’d like to send best wishes from the west coast to all of you during this weird and crazy time. Have a great summer!  And in the words of BC’s Dr. Bonnie Henry: “Be Kind, Be Calm, And Keep Loving ArcGIS Online!” (I think that’s how it goes, right?)

Worst. Drake. Ever!

About the Author

Mark Ho

Mark Ho is a Technology Solutions Specialist with Esri Canada in Vancouver. His mission statement is simple: to share his serious love of mapping (without being too serious). Mark nurtured his passion with a civil engineering degree from University of British Columbia and a GIS diploma from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He then spent 13+ years as an instructor with Esri Inc., travelling across America and teaching everything from attributes to z-coordinates. In 2011, Mark returned north, where you may have seen him at our user conferences and webinars. Between demos, you can find him collecting maps, exploring the world, listening to Coldplay—and collecting more maps.

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