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3 tips every ArcGIS system administrator should know

If youre administering an ArcGIS portal, either via an ArcGIS Online organizational account or an ArcGIS Enterprise portal deployment (Portal for ArcGIS), or both, chances are you could use some help understanding what it involves. In this blog post, learn three useful tips and resources for better managing your ArcGIS portal. 

ArcGIS portals, often referred to as Web GIS interfaces, are content management systems. With ArcGIS Online, all components of the portal run in Esri’s cloud-based service. The computing and data storage resources, the website and every other aspect of the system is hosted by Esri in a highly scalable environment. You can use ArcGIS Online to create, use and share maps and apps with your organization and the public. 

Portal for ArcGIS, which gets deployed as part of ArcGIS Enterprise, provides similar capabilities as ArcGIS Online portals, but it runs on your own infrastructure. This infrastructure can be owned and operated by you or hosted by other cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. You use ArcGIS Enterprise to create, use and share maps and apps within your enterprise.  

As a system administrator, it’s important to understand the possibilities these systems offer and how to leverage them to the fullest for your organization’s benefit. So, here are three tips. 

Tip #1Manage users by identity. 

Managing licenses via ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS deployments is easier than ever with the Esri identity model. From the Licenses tab, you can assign or remove licenses and extensions for any user, in only a few clicks. There’s no more deactivation and activation required on each machine! The user’s identity, which they use when they log in with their credentials, defines the licenses to which they have access.  

You might say, “But were not all on ArcGIS Pro yet, so we cant manage licenses from a portal.” That’s a fair and very important point. Tip #1 applies only if you are using ArcGIS Pro as the GIS desktop application of choice in your organization.  

Licensing Dashboard in ArcGIS Online 

This tip also doesn’t apply if you’re still using ArcMap or a combination of ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro, managing single use licenses by CPUs or activation codes, or managing concurrent use licenses via license manager(s) 

Just imagine, if everyone in your organization had a single use license and every license was managed within a portal, with one unique identity per userwouldn’t your life as an administrator be a whole lot easier? Now, you get the idea of a simplified workflow. If you feel like you need more information to make such a decision, let us know and we will be happy to help you. 

Tip #2Leverage custom roles to match your organization’s specific requirements, instead of working around Esri’s default roles. 

Late in 2018, Esri introduced new user types as additional licensing options. Within these types, default roles (Viewer, Editor, User, Publisher and Administrator) were introduced to match the most common business needs. If these roles don’t quite fit your users, you can create custom roles from the multiple privileges available to match perfectly the requirements for each user or each team of users in your organization. Configure your own role! 

List of available privileges to choose from to build custom roles. 

Tip #3Use ArcGIS API for Python to manage groups, users and content.  

If you are already familiar with the Python language, youll most likely be able to leverage ArcGIS API for Python without trouble. Use the API to create groups in batches, clone a portal user, move existing content to a new user or modify thumbnail images in your organization’s gallery. You can use the sample notebooks under the Organization Administrators menu to get started quicklyYou can also refer to the ArcGIS API for Python resource page for more details. 

If you want more tips, consider taking the instructor-led course, ArcGIS Online for Administrators. It’s packed with practical tips for managing users, content and galleries. It will also help you understand the various portal deployment options.

For questions, contact or leave us a comment below. 

About the Author

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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