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“The New ArcGIS Dashboards in Town” Webinar Q&A

Dashboards are everywhere! And now that the latest version of ArcGIS Dashboards is out of beta, you can take your interactive data visualizations to a new frontier. Let’s answer your questions about the new capabilities and enhanced features of the next generation of dashboards.

Howdy pardners! Sheriff Sumaiya “The Kid” Siddiqi and I (Deputy Mark) thank you for tuning in to “The New ArcGIS Dashboards in Town” webinar on April 29. We had a gunslinging good time putting it together, and we appreciate all the positive feedback we received!

If you missed Sumaiya and I dressed up in western gear while dropping knowledge about the latest release of ArcGIS Dashboards, you can watch the webinar recording or read the presentation slides at your leisure.

Like a showdown at high noon, you fired a ton of questions at us.  Let’s saddle up as we lasso a bunch of answers for you. Giddy Up!

Cartoon of a “Wanted” poster seeking dashboard answers.

Q: When will the new dashboard be available for Enterprise?

A: Hold your horses Enterprise fans! You’ll need to wait a little longer. The new ArcGIS Dashboards will make it into the ArcGIS Enterprise 10.9.1 release, slated for Q4 2021. But it will be worth it.

Q: ­Is there a resource for sample data expressions? ­

A: Affirmative! Esri has setup a GitHub page dedicated to sample data expressions for ArcGIS Dashboards.

Q: Can we export data right from the dashboard?

A: The ability to export data directly from ArcGIS Dashboards is not available. As an alternative, you could embed a web app into a dashboard to perform this task. Or you could embed a dashboard within an ArcGIS Hub site that supports the sharing of open data.

Q: Can you apply a map rotation in this app?

A: Yes! In the new map viewer, you can save a rotated map in the web map and it will appear as rotated in the dashboard’s map element. You can also interactively rotate the map in the map element in the new dashboard.

Q: ­If I have many web maps embedded in my dashboard, can I create a category selector for them?

A: Category selectors are not able to do that. You may want to stack the multiple map elements on top of each other so they can be “selected” through tabs at the bottom.

Q: ­For resizing elements, can you type the percent you want and have it adjusted to that percentage? ­

A: As you saw in one of the demos, you can now see the percentage of the screen that is being occupied by the element when you resize the element. Unfortunately, you are not able to type in that percentage value. This is a perfect suggestion to add to the ArcGIS Dashboards Ideas site.

Q: When updating your dashboards, will it fail if it encounters unsupported data?

A: Haven’t tested this, but my spidey sense suggests that the dashboard won’t fail. It will just not draw the content from the unsupported data layer.

Q: ­I'm looking for a collaborative dashboard functionality. e.g. multiple users clicking on any arbitrary map cell to assign a score (value). The dashboard would ideally aggregate the values (e.g. calculate the mean) if more than one user scores the same map cell. Do you have anything like this? ­

A: This is likely beyond the ability of ArcGIS Dashboards out-of-the-box. You probably need to explore customization to get this done. May I suggest the ArcGIS API for JavaScript?

Q: ­Do you need to upgrade the web map using the new map viewer if you're upgrading a dashboard? ­

A: No! You can use web maps in ArcGIS Dashboards whether they are created in the Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic.

Q: ­Can you edit your pop-ups using HTML coding in the new map viewer like you could in the classic map viewer? ­

A: Not yet. Viewing and editing the HTML source in the custom attribute display is a popular feature of Map Viewer Classic – giving you even more powerful ways to modify the look of your pop-up. This feature isn’t in the current release of the Map Viewer, but it is something that will hopefully be added as an enhancement down the road.

Q: ­Can we name a custom expression in Arcade?

A: Absolutely! You should rename your saved Arcade expression with an appropriate name instead of using the default “Custom” name. Ignore the lazy demo guy who failed to show this during the webinar.

Q: Will there be an interactive time slider in the dashboard?

A: Unfortunately, this was not added to this release of ArcGIS Dashboards. But this is a popular suggestion in the ArcGIS Dashboards Ideas forum within the Esri Community. Add your voice and hopefully this enhancement can be added in the future.

Q: ­When there were over 10,000 records, the previous version of Dashboard showed a warning “Too many records to be displayed”. Has that been improved?

A: Chef’s kiss! Those messages should not appear anymore.

Q: ­I would like to be able to combine data from three different Survey123 hosted feature layers into one serial chart. Is there a way to do this? ­

A: For sure! As seen in one of the demos, data expressions now enable you to manipulate data from different sources to create a new FeatureSet. From that, you can assemble that data into a single serial chart.

Q: ­Is there a way to first use a rectangle selector to select data in the map and see the selection reflected in the details panel?

A: As shown in the selection-based display demo, the default selection tool in the map is by point. There is no setting to change the initial shape for selecting features on a map. I heard there’s a cool website where you can post your Ideas.

Q: ­Do Arcade expressions in the pop-ups carry over to the details pane now? ­

A: Indeed! Pop-ups created in the Map Viewer will appear in the Details element of your dashboard, including any Arcade expressions used to define the pop-up.

Dashboard showing pop-up content inside the Details element

Our demo dashboard features content from the pop-up inside of the Details element on the right

Q: ­Is there a way to have charts/graphs in the dashboard inherit the same colour symbology that the layers have in the web map? ­

A: Sorry, there is no automated way of doing this.  Did I mention the ArcGIS Dashboards Ideas page within the Esri Community?

Q: ­Are there recommendations/best practices in place with respect to when to calculate on the fly and when to pre-process?

A: It’s all about situation and circumstance. For example, in our demo scenarios, the underlying data we used was not owned by us – so we used Arcade to calculate data on-the-fly for our purposes. There was no apparent impact on performance due to the small number of records in the dataset. But if you own a large dataset and it makes sense to calculate a new field with the values you need – this will likely be beneficial instead of using Arcade expressions. Experiment and test to see what works best for you.

Q: ­Is there a limit to the number of maps you can add to a dashboard? Limit to the number of elements? ­

A: In theory, no. You can add any number of maps and other elements into a dashboard. But you should be mindful that the screen size is only so big, and good dashboards convey critical information quickly and concisely. Perhaps stacking or grouping elements can help organize your layout. Bottom line: be smart and be focused when designing an effective dashboard.

Q: ­Can you apply expressions to filter through "last month" for a date picker category selector? ­

A: Data expressions are used in elements that are “data-driven” such as:

  • List
  • Indicator
  • Serial chart
  • Pie chart
  • Gauge

You’ll know when you create one of these elements for the first time, you are prompted to point to a data source – and “new data expression” is one of the options. Category selector is not data-driven, so you are not able to tie data expressions with this element.

Q: ­Do the new Dashboards change anything about how they interact with an embedded Survey123 form? ­

A: Embedded content is an element that continues to be supported with the new dashboard. These elements should not change in behaviour – you should be good to go.

Q: ­Can dashboards be packaged and shared for others to modify as required? ­

Dashboards reside as items in ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. Although they can’t be packaged into a physical file, you can certainly share a dashboard item within your organization, to the entire public, or to a specific group of users. If you want to share items between different organizations, please consider using collaborations to share content.

Yeehaw! You made it to the end. But the rodeo isn’t over yet. Sumaiya and I promise to make YouTube videos of our webinar demos – but slowing them down so we can explain the Arcade code more thoroughly. Stay tuned – they are coming soon!

Until then, it’s time to ride off into the sunset. Happy trails to you, until we meet again!

Cartoon of a western scene with The End in the sunset. There are two cartoon horses with the hosts of the webinar photoshopped on as the horseback riders.

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

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.

Profile Photo of Mark Ho