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Publishing GIS Content: A Fundamental GIS Skill

In my previous blog post, I mentioned how publishing GIS content is now a must for GIS professionals and frequent GIS users. While this might have resonated with many of you who already use Web GIS, some of you might not know what this means or why this skill is important for an organization. In this blog post, I’ll explain why using Web GIS to share your work will bring value to your organization.

Traditionally, we shared maps we created by manipulating data in ArcMap (the previous generation of ArcGIS desktop application), then using .pdf format or paper maps to provide access to the information to those without an ArcGIS license. We also shared map documents to allow other ArcGIS desktop application users to work on the same maps and adjust them for their own business needs.

While these traditional methods are still used today, Web GIS solutions are becoming the preferred way to share GIS content.

Why is that?

While .pdf maps have always been easy to share, they only include a static version of the data they represent at the moment the map was created. If your data change frequently, then your .pdf maps will quickly become obsolete—often right after sharing.

Web GIS solutions, on the other hand, let you make maps that stay alive. Let me explain.

When sharing is enabled and workers are working in a connected environment, as field workers and GIS users update the data used to create the web maps, the maps get updated in near-real time. This new type of sharing creates a trusted source of information that stakeholders and decision makers can rely on and access anytime, on any type of device with Internet access.

Sound complicated? It’s not that hard to learn. Trust me. There are even templates you can use now that will help you create a web app to meet your needs in only a few minutes. We call them “Instant Apps”. Check them out in this blog post.

How cool is that? No wonder organizations are recognizing the value of Web GIS solutions more than ever before!

No time to waste: learn how to publish GIS content now. You’ll notice we don’t have a separate category for publishing on the Esri Canada Learning Pathways. We consider the basic concepts of Web GIS to be a fundamental skill and have included two subsections about this on the Fundamental Skills for GIS Professionals page.

As you scroll down and see the different subsections, choose “Introduction to Web GIS with ArcGIS Online” if your organization has an ArcGIS Online organization account, or “Best Practices for Sharing Web GIS Content in ArcGIS Enterprise” if you have an ArcGIS Enterprise deployment.

For an ArcGIS Online deployment, if the account does not currently have an experienced administrator, you might need to take on this role to get the ball rolling. This mean activating the account if needed, assigning roles to users, managing permissions and content, and eventually creating a gallery of content to make the most popular items easy to find. You can start simple with one web map, then grow as you learn and as the need for more solutions arises. In this case, refer to the Specialty Skills page and go to the “Administration of ArcGIS Online” subsection for the resources you’ll need.

In addition, as you explore the possibilities with either type of deployment mentioned above, there are other types of web applications you can configure yourself that might become interesting to use. In the Share Information category, pick the app you want to learn more about to find useful resources to review. Your options include:

Web GIS is completely different from desktop GIS, so give yourself some time to get familiar with it. It will open up a brand-new world of possibilities for you and your organization.

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

About the Author

Carole Arseneau is a Market Research Specialist at Esri Canada. Over the years, she has advised customers from all industries on how to leverage GIS in their organizations. More recently, she’s been conducting market research to uncover details about the various jobs our customers do each day in various industries. This will help inform Esri Canada’s corporate strategy and better support our customers. Carole holds a Market Research certificate from the University of California, Davis, a GIS certificate from Florida State College in Jacksonville and a bachelor’s 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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