ArcGIS Online Coaching Points for Higher Education

Jump to: navigation, search


How to use this wiki

ArcGIS Online is an evolving cloud-based GIS software as a service. It is updated several times a year. Educators and Esri staff need a dynamic medium to share problems and advice. This wiki supports the ArcGIS Online education community by providing such a medium.

We encourage education users to post the challenges they face as scenarios in the relevant sections of this wiki. Experienced ArcGIS Online users and Esri staff will respond with advice (i.e., "coaching points") that help users overcome challenges. To add your scenarios and coaching points to the wiki, simply create an account to gain editing privileges. The team that hosts provides plenty of online help.


  1. Audience: Faculty or staff members at higher education institutions who are positioned to champion the use of ArcGIS Online, particularly for teaching and learning.
  2. Goal: Increase champions' confidence and effectiveness in promoting and supporting usage.
  3. Contributors: Esri staff and early-adopting educators, including the University of Redlands Center for Spatial Studies. [Add your name and organization here!]
  4. Timeline: Launch a wiki version in time for the 2014 Education GIS Conference.
  5. Contents: The Coaching Points document will respond to the few most troublesome issues at three stages of adoption and use: the decision to use, implementation, and maximizing value. Our goal is to be as concise as possible while providing links to the Location Platform Administrators Guide, Champions Guide, and various other Esri training and video resources.

Deciding to use ArcGIS Online for Education

Why use ArcGIS Online

Prepare champions to articulate a value proposition.

Identify affordances including mobile mapping and field data collection, storymaps, basemaps, wealth of online data, and spatial analysis

  • Mobile mapping: For an environmental chemistry class held in California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Center for Spatial Studies at the University of Redlands set up an editable feature service that was included in maps of four lakes. Students used Esri's Collector app and disconnected editing of the feature service on iPads equipped with Bluetooth GPS receivers to gather georeferenced field data at the remote lakes. After each field trip, the data were synched to ArcGIS Online using a wireless Internet connection available at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory. The students then customized their maps and conducted spatial analyses with ArcGIS Online. More Information
  • Story maps: English Professor Sharon Oster is working with the Center for Spatial Studies at the University of Redlands to develop interactive, layered, and detailed Esri Story maps of individual Holocaust survivor journeys. The goal is to tell a geographically, historically, and narratively rich story of one person’s life, transformed by the violent upheavals of Nazi persecution. Students in Dr. Oster’s “Holocaust Memoirs: Reading, Writing, Mapping” course immerse themselves in adding new narrative data to the underlying ArcGIS Online map. By engaging in this project, Dr. Oster wants students to develop (1) a sense of contextual scope and scale of individual survivor narratives, while maintaining a sense of specificity and uniqueness; and (2) a practical reason to investigate the historical, geographical and other references made in individual testimonies.. More Information
  • Spatial analysis: ArcGIS Online provides a simple interface to a set of analysis tools that work cohesively to help you complete common workflows. These tools include buffer, overlay, query, hot spot analysis, surface creation, and data enrichment. Analysis results are created as web-enabled feature layers that can be universally shared. Because many datasets used in complex geoprocessing are hosted on Esri servers, analysis operations may be accomplished with greater ease in ArcGIS Online than ArcGIS for Desktop. This is true for such operations as creating drive-time (and now walk-time) areas, density surfaces, and hot spot surfaces. The ability to enrich user-defined areas with hundreds of Esri demographic variables is a powerful analysis function unique to ArcGIS Online. Several analysis case studies, many of which include steps for replicating the analysis in ArcGIS Online, are presented on the ArcGIS for Professionals website. The new Learn ArcGIS website also has a number of tutorial projects that use ArcGIS Online for analysis. Concise descriptions of the ArcGIS Online analysis tools can be found in the product documentation.

Case studies where ArcGIS Online is advantageous relative to current practice

  • Intro to map design: basic concepts of map symbolization in browser-based viewer rather than ArcGIS for Desktop
  • Intro urban geography course: accessing demographic data hosted by Esri vs downloading/processing/hosting your own
  • Midlevel geography course where students want to publish research project results as web maps: sharing map documents via hosted services rather than maintaining on-campus instance of AGS.

Practical advantages such as compatibility across devices without installation and cloud computing

  • ArcGIS Online permits cross-platform compatibility (Windows, Mac, IOS, and Android) for map viewing, editing, data collection, and analysis.
  • Example 1: For the GIS Day event held at the University of Redlands in 2013, an ArcGIS Online map of the campus was created that included an editable feature service. On GIS Day, students accessed the map the Esri ArcGIS app on IOS and Android smartphones to document the locations and photographs of favorite campus landmarks. Participants in the GIS Day showcase viewed and analyzed the live map with iPads and a Windows-powered touch table.
  • Example 2: ArcGIS Online has enabled bring-your-own-device (BYOD) field data collection at the University of Redlands. For biology, chemistry, environmental science, political science, and other courses, students are using their own handheld devices to gather georeferenced data. The new mapping capabilities have been popular with students, who like the ease of mobile data gathering and ability to access maps from their devices 24/7/365.[

Addressing perceived risks

Service credits and the consumption-based business model

Scenario: What happens if and when service credits are used up? Will users incur additional costs? Will personal content be lost?

Coaching point: If your Organization runs out of credits, you will have to contact Esri Customer Service to purchase more credits. While Administrators will be notified multiple times of credits getting low, if these messages are ignored it is possible to run out of credits. When this happens the Organization becomes suspended. None of your content will be removed or lost, but it will be unavailable until the Organization is re-activated.

Scenario: An administrator challenges a champion to explain why Esri has adopted a consumption-based business model for ArcGIS Online.

Coaching point: Esri has to pay cloud computing providers for the computing resources consumed by ArcGIS Online users. Unlike simple cloud services like file sharing, GIS in the cloud includes a variety of tools. Some tools - like geocoding and geoenrichment - are more computing-intensive than others. Furthermore, some ArcGIS Online content - such as basemaps - are wholly or partly owned by third parties that expect royalty payments for usage. Esri is committed to maximizing usage and minimizing costs of ArcGIS Online for education. In July 2014 it announced a five-fold increase in the allotment of service credits to education customers at no extra cost. No education customer has been penalized for accidentally exceeding his or her credit allocation, though temporary disruptions in service occur. The key to making the most of ArcGIS Online in education is to use it wisely, not to use it less. Educating students about value as well as the costs of cloud computing are worthwhile learning objectives.

Scenario: An academic unit (e.g., School of Business or College of Arts and Sciences) wishes to introduce all of its undergraduate students to online Esri tools such as Business Analyst Online (BAO) and Community Analyst Online (CAO), but the administrator of the ArcGIS Online organization account is concerned about how many credits will be used.

Coaching point: BAO and CAO are applications that use ArcGIS Online for mapping, geoprocessing, and analysis services. Accordingly, operations such as defining areas for reports and generating reports in BAO and CAO consume credits from an institution's ArcGIS Online organizational account. When dozens of students are conducting drive-time analyses and generating reports in BAO and CAO, credit consumption can be high. To anticipate such demand on the organizational account, the administrator must proactively work with the academic unit to predict how many credits will be used by a planned activity. Such a prediction may be accomplished by having a single student work through the activity ahead of time. The organizational account administrator can use the ArcGIS Online Dashboard application to monitor the student's credit usage. Once this per-student credit consumption estimate has been determined, the credit consumption for implementation of the entire activity may be predicted. If the predicted amount is too high, the activity may be revised to lower the anticipated credit consumption. The creator of the activity might consider reducing the number of reports generated by the activity, limiting drive-time analyses, and/or having students work in groups or teams. Providing students with clear guidelines for use of the applications is important, as well as impressing upon them that the applications are only to be used for the classroom activity.

What about the risk of wasting time learning and preparing content for a continuously evolving system?

One user writes: “In my experience, there hasn’t been wasted time. The platform and tools are evolving, so keeping up is a challenge, but it’s a challenge of new capabilities. I haven’t found that things I learned before became suddenly useless or that maps or layers I made are now obsolete.”

Implementing ArcGIS Online for Education at various scales, including projects, departments, and entire enterprises

Setting up and administering an AGOL organizational account

Who is / should be an account administrator?

Scenario: A champion wishes to serve as his or her campus or department ArcGIS Online account administrator.

Coaching point: By default, a campus' ArcGIS Online account administrator is the campus' site license coordinator. The coordinator can grant administrator privileges to others. If you don't know who the coordinator is, you can pose the question to ""

[Angie: add possibility of multiple accounts at a single campus].

Activating an organizational account

Scenario: I received the Activation email from Esri for my ArcGIS Online Subscription, what do I do?

Coaching point: The Organization will be initially setup by the recipient of the activation email, who is also the site license coordinator. During this time a name for the Organization, Language, and custom URL are defined. The custom URL will be an identity to your Organization and should be well thought out. Given the multitenant architecture of ArcGIS Online, your custom URL needs to be unique. (Eg. There is only 1 OSU, MSU, Etc..)

While these settings can be changed at a later date, they do need to be entered for the Organization setup to be complete. Most of the values can be changed by editing settings as an Administrator, except the URL which can be done using this application hosted in github. It's important to note that while this tool is available, this function was intentionally left out of the software, as it can break links you may have to web maps and apps to outdated URL's that were using the original urlkey.

As an Administrator of your Organization, it will be important to spend just a few minutes to apply some simple branding to your Organization such as logo's, banner images, and a description on the Homepage. If you want to get more advanced with the site setup you can, even opting to link your members to Esri resources they can use with ArcGIS Online such as Esri Maps for Office, Collector, or ArcGIS Online workflows such as how to create and save maps.

Implementing enterprise logins

Scenario: I want to students to be able to access ArcGIS Online, using their university domain credentials.

Coaching point: This can be accomplished by enabling Enterprise Logins ( As an Administrator you can enable this setting, and work with your IT Department to federate the logins with your Identity Provider. The identity providers need to support at least SAML 2.0, and there are a variety of free and open source solutions.

Once configured with ArcGIS Online, when a member of your organization attempts to log in, the authorization is deferred to your schools identity provider. If the credentials are valid in your system, they will be logged into their Online account. Enterprise logins can be configured on an invitation only basis, or open to anyone with an active account on your domain.

Special considerations for use in teaching labs?

Scenario: I have 20 students working on an assignment in an instructional computing lab. When they all try to load a basemap at once (using either ArcGIS Online or Desktop), computing performance suffers noticeably. I notice the same effect when I perform analysis.

Coaching point: This effect depends in part on the bandwidth of your lab's internet connection. Consult your local IT administrator. If slow performance interferes with students' ability to complete the assignment satisfactorily, consider having students work in pairs.

Where can an administrator go for help?

Scenario: ...

Coaching point: ...

Managing AGOL accounts

Managing users

Naming conventions; Assessing users' activities and content; Cleaning up after users move on - changing ownership versus deleting users

Scenario: An ArcGIS Online administrator needs to add named users as efficiently as possible.

Coaching points:

  • Implement enterprise logins. Administrators can configure ArcGIS Online so that users can sign in using the user names and passwords that are already in place within their organizations. This eliminates the need for multiple user credentials for separate applications and provides significant convenience to users in that they don't need to create and remember new user names and passwords. This type of authentication takes advantage of Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), an open standard for exchanging authentication and authorization data between end users, identity providers, and service providers. For example, an organization can set up ArcGIS Online accounts to leverage the enterprise Windows Active Directory users, which allows the users to sign in once (aka: single sign on [SSO]) to access many different software systems. More information about enterprise logins is available at
  • If single sign on is not an option, implement standardized account generation processes across the organization, including naming conventions for named user accounts and policies for the disposition of accounts after the end of a semester or after graduation. Consider how accounts are created for long-term versus short-term users.
  • The July 2014 update of ArcGIS Online introduced improved tools for administering organizations, including a way to add members automatically without sending invitations.
  • Work with a developer who can create custom scripts that provide administrative capabilities beyond what’s currently available as part of ArcGIS Online. For example, as of March 31, 2014, a set of administrative tools for AGOL were available at

Scenario: An administrator is unsure how to responsibly delete named users and their content at the end of a semester, when students graduate, or when faculty move on.

Coaching point: Administrator should educate users about what they need to preserve their content. They should also communicate that users and their content may be deleted after some period of inactivity.

Scenario: At the start of a new class, the instructor asks the class to sign-in to ArcGIS Online; however, many students have multiple ArcGIS Online accounts from previous classes or programs.

Coaching point: The instructor needs to work, ahead of time, with the ArcGIS Online administrator to ensure all students in the class have been invited to the department's or university's ArcGIS Online organization. Then, prior to the class's first meeting, the instructor should contact the students to set expectations for accepting the invitation, ensuring they can sign-in, and that this account is the only account to be used for this class. This way the students can get help with any issues prior to the start of the class.

Managing groups

Scenario: An instructor wants to share “authoritative” content with students in a course.

Coaching Point: Consider whether content sharing should be one-directional (instructor to students) or multi-directional (instructor to students, students to instructor, students to students). Also consider whether the content should be publicly accessible or limited to students in the course.

Groups can be used to manage access to content. If your goal is to share authoritative content and limit access to students in the course, create a Private group and invite your students to the Group. In this case, you can add members to the group immediately without requiring individual users to accept the invitation.

For one-directional sharing (instructor to students), limit Contributions to the group owner. However, if you want your students to share maps they have created with you, allow all members to be contributors.

Scenario: An instructor wishes to invite her students to another instructors’ group.

Coaching point: If the group is private, one way is to send account names to the second instructor, who in turn sends invitations. If the group is public, users can ask to be added. Another way is to share the group content with the entire organization, instead of just with the group.

Coaching point: A python script that enables administrators to add users to groups is available at

Managing credit consumption

Scenario: An administrator needs to prevent certain members from access credit-hungry tools in ArcGIS Online.

Coaching point: As of July 2014, administrators can configure custom roles and privileges.

Scenario: An instructor wants to teach the principles of geocoding.

Coaching point: How many addresses must students geocode to learn the principles – 100 each? 1,000 each? Knowing that data is never perfect, how many times should students re-match addresses? Is 100% match rate necessary? What level of data quality is necessary – i.e., Streetmap Premium or Streetmap North America?

Scenario: A researcher is using ArcGIS Online for field data collection and needs to know it will be available while they are in the field.

Coaching point: The researcher could use the subscription included with the Site License that is being used by other departments/classes (at no additional cost to them), or he/she could acquire a separate subscription (at additional cost) that is not shared with other users to reduce the risk that the account will be suspended due to credit overages by other users.

Scenario: An instructor wants to insert one simple mapping activity into a non-GIS course. Should they use the viewer, or create a custom app using one of the templates? (Example – submit a data observation for an ecology course)

Coaching point: Another tip for controlling credit use in analysis operations is to do the analysis only within the area displayed on the map. That’s the default setting (marked with a check box). Say you’re generating 5-minute drive-time polygons around hamburger stands. You don’t have to solve for all hamburger stands in the data set. Zoom in and solve for a handful.

Managing content

Scenario: An instructor assigns a cartography or mapping class a project to make a web map, and the instructor is providing the layers for the students to use.

Coaching point: Use a group to be the home-base for the project. This allows the instructor to share the layers and the students share their work. This works best with the following additional refinements:

  • Use these group settings:
    • Set to private. This creates a protected environment for the class. The instructor should explain that the student's work is only to be shared to this group, making the task of explaining sharing simple and practical.
    • Invite the students. The instructor can see that the students have started work once they have accepted the invitation because they will be in the list of the groups members.
    • Allow members to be contributors to the group. This way students can submit their work when it is complete, and while they are working, they can share to the group to do reviews and critiques.
    • Set the group's default sorting to be by Date, with the most recent on top. Often there are changes to the layers, that result in newer copies and this makes it easier for students to find these. Additionally, once the due date has passed, the submitted web maps will be on top, easily found for grading.
  • Here are some general practices that make things easier for everyone:
    • Name the group the same as the project appears in the syllabus.
    • Paste the project assignment text into the group's description.
    • The instructor should share the content items for the layers only to this group. It is likely confusing for students to find the layers elsewhere in the organization, or if others in the organization find the layers.
    • The instructor should manage the layers for the project in a separate folder in their "My Contents" section. That way sharing can be done from that location minimum risk for missing an item, or inadvertently sharing an extra item.
    • Item summaries and descriptions for each of the layers the Instructor provides should include the project name.
    • Tags for instructor's content items that are shared to a class should include a tag that identifies the course offering. This makes it possible for the instructor to easily use search, starting with the tag, and then the project name to easily find this content, particularly later when the instructor may have many projects.
    • Before the projects are due, ask the students to un-share all preliminary versions of their work.
    • The date of all content items is restricted to the day, so make projects due by end of that date. This way instructors know about late work.

Scenario: An instructor assigns a cartography or mapping class a project to make either a printed or a web map, and the instructor is providing the data.

Coaching point: Create a Map Package (.mpk) file using ArcMap and either upload that and share it to the students with ArcGIS Online, or use the college or university's content management system to distribute the map package file.

Realizing the value of ArcGIS Online in Higher Education

Preparing educators to use ArcGIS Online in class

Sharing layers and web maps in ways that are re-useable, or not

Scenario: An educator leading a class of 20 cartography students creates a features service enabling students to symbolize elements of a web map. She shares the service with the class, enabling students to mash up and save their own web maps within the class group.

Coaching point: To revise the service with new data or for a new class efficiently, the instructor should keep the service definition file and overwrite the existing service (this works as of 10.2.1).

Dos and don't of web map publishing

Including data analysis, geocoding, and geoenrichment

Scenario: An instructor assigns a class of 20 students to geoenrich 500 parcel polygons, consuming 8,000 credits in one week.

Coaching point: Start small. Modify the assignment to enrich fewer features with fewer variables.

Scenario: To maximize performance of a custom basemap on mobile devices, a user decides to publish a tile cache from ArcGIS Online. This consumes 1 credit per 1,000 tiles, which adds up to a large number for a geographically extensive map.

Coaching point: Consider options for managing credit consumption. Which is the best approach for your organization - generating the tile cache with ArcGIS Online, or generating it using ArcGIS for Desktop, or publishing a service from an instance of ArcGIS for Server administered locally or in the cloud (e.g. Amazon Web Services)? Considering the hassle of convincing the IT department to create and host a publicly exposed web site, or the additional expense of an AWS subscription, consuming credits may be preferable. Consider opportunity costs, not just credit costs.

Using ArcGIS Online for field data collection

Scenario: An instructor wishes to have students collect field data without smartphones and map the resulting data in ArcGIS Online.

Coaching point: Several easy and powerful methods exist to do this: (1) The students could go out, collect data (with probes, pencil and paper, measuring devices of various kinds, etc), recording the position with text references (10 meters west of intersection of Broadway and Pine Streets) or by marking a pre-printed paper map. Back in class, using tablets and/or laptops, they enter those data onto an ArcGIS Online map by clicking on the map on the location in which they were located in the field, and adding the data as map notes. (2) Students collect attribute data using a paper and pencil and locational data using a GPS unit. Back in class, using a text editor or a spreadsheet, they create a database with the locations and attributes. They save the database as a CSV file and upload it to ArcGIS Online. They symbolize and classify the data, and save and share their map. Alternatively, the location data could be automatically uploaded via a cable and the Minnesota DNR GPS program.

Scenario: An instructor wishes to assign students to capture point locations and attributes in the field and add them to a common web map.

Coaching point: Instead of collecting and processing GPS data, the instructor could have students use Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS app. This app enables mobile field data collection in "citizen science mode," where all students are collecting data that populates a single online map. Data collected could include feature types, such as trees, litter, power poles, invasive weeds, and so on, as well as attributes, such as water quality (pH, conductivity, etc), height, diameter, traffic counts, condition, and so on. The data also can include photographs as "attachments" to each point. This map runs one or more editable feature services. Beginning in March 2014, this app has the ability to work in disconnected mode, useful in cases where students do not have good connectivity or a smartphone data plan. The map shown below is a section of a map created by 83 educators in a 90 minute span of time. Using the Collector for ArcGIS app, these educators collected 1,939 features and attributes covering 6 themes.


Building and using Story Maps to create geo-narratives

Scenario: Faculty, Staff, or a student without GIS experience has learned of Story Maps and would like to try making one.

Coaching point: The Story Maps homepage has everything needed to help someone with or without GIS experience get started quickly:

  • Visit the Story Maps at and click the Apps link along the top of that page. The Apps page contains a list of the app types organized by narrative or story type. Find a matching narrative and look for a link to "Build a map ____" where the blank is the type of app. These links indicate no GIS knowledge is needed--you only need to follow prompts in the builder application to create a story map.
  • Visit the Story Maps at and click the Support link along the top of the page. The FAQ topics are the easiest way to learn about story maps and learn effective storytelling techniques.

Scenario: The campus GIS champion will be a focal point for information about story maps. They will be approached by students, faculty, and staff who have realized they should be making a story map. The campus GIS champion needs to determine the level of expertise and storytelling skill of each person.

Coaching point: It's good to have a set of questions, or even a questionnaire, to aid in helping others succeed with their first story map. Here are some questions that will need to be answered:

  • Do you have a named user account in the university's or their department's ArcGIS Online organization? Yes / No
  • Have you used ArcGIS Desktop? Yes / No

If both of the above answers are no, then getting them an account is step 1, and step 2 is showing the Story Maps homepage to show the kinds of story map applications and resources available.

If they have a named user account in the university's or their department's ArcGIS Online organization, then ask these questions:

  • Have you ever created an ArcGIS Online Web Map? Yes / No

If No, then they are limited, initially, to using the story map apps with the builder option. If Yes, then all of the Story Map apps are potentially usable.

Next, let's find out about their story, and how well prepare they are to tell it:

  • What question does the story answer?
  • Who needs the answer and why?
  • What form does the answer take?
  • Is geospatial analysis required and completed?
  • How widely will the story be shared?
    • Private ArcGIS Online Group, e.g., for a class
    • Publicly, but not promoted
    • Publicly, and promoted by a sponsor or the college/university
  • For publicly shared story maps, has the story been reviewed by independent credible experts?
  • Do you have a license and/or permission to use the data required to tell your story?

If all of these questions can be answered easily, then this person is ready to do the work of storytelling. They should review the types of story map apps and determine which one makes the most sense. Complex stories may require story-boarding to organize the content. Set expectations that while a draft can be completed in a few days, it typically takes 40-80 hours of production time to get a polished well-edited story map completed, tested, and shared.

One last consideration that often comes up later, is whether the story map apps can be customized? Many can, but this will require web hosting services to be provided, likely by the college or university; the way it works is the source code for the app is downloaded, customized by a web programmer, and then hosted.

Put the wealth of data available in the Living Atlas of the World to work in the classroom

Scenario: Explore and introduce geographic topics live using the Living Atlas of the World in class and for homework assignments.

Coaching point: Coaching Point: The Living Atlas of the World is vast collection of online spatial data available to ArcGIS users. The Living Atlas contains galleries of live online maps that can be used directly in the classroom. These maps are based on layers ArcGIS users can use for mapping and analysis throughout the ArcGIS platform. The Living Atlas contains content on the following topics (click the links to explore what is available):

  • Imagery – event, basemap, multispectral, and temporal
  • Basemaps – providing options to contextualize your work
  • Demographics – detailed information for over 120 countries
  • Boundaries and Places – Join your data tables to these datasets to bring your data to life in maps
  • Landscape – A rich collection of global and national data on nature, climate, and our environment
  • Transportation – Roads, rails, shipping, air travel, and more
  • Urban Systems – data for cities around the world
  • Earth Observations – sensor and satellite data and feeds
  • Historical Maps – Scanned map collections that provide historical context for your work.

Instructors should explore the Living Atlas ahead of time to learn which maps to explore. Instructors who already know how to make their own web maps or story maps may find it useful to create these resources ahead of time and share them so students can explore them afterward.

Scenario: Data Enrichment. Preparing data for classroom use is too often a limiting factor for many GIS courses. The Living Atlas contains a wealth of data instructors and students can assemble to fit their needs for spatial analysis and cartography for individual and group projects and even theses or dissertations. The most common scenario is topic data provide by the instructor needs to be joined to Living Atlas geographic data, and then contextualized with data about people, places, and business using the data enrichment tool.

Coaching point: For intermediate and advanced lessons, preparing data can be prohibitively time consuming. Data preparation is also a task students should be learning. There are two phases to using the Living Atlas of the World to make quick work of preparing data for GIS and cartography classrooms. The idea is the instructor or student has a table of data with place names and values, but needs to make that data useful in a GIS spatial analysis context.

  • Find the boundaries or places, using ArcGIS Online line to search the Living Atlas, that matches your topical data
    • Download this data and save it as a file geodatabase
    • Import the table or spreadsheet of topical data into the same file geodatabase
    • Use the Join Field tool to attach the topical data as new fields on the boundaries and places data.
    • Add the joined data to a new map document, fill out the map document and layer properties to document the data, and then save the map document.
    • While in ArcMap sign into ArcGIS Online, and share the joined data as a map service with feature access enabled (turn on feature access and turn off tiled mapping). This will upload your data to ArcGIS Online where you will be able to work with it.
  • Enrich the data with contextualizing demographic information
    • Add the new feature service to a new map.
    • Click the Analysis button, expand the Data enrichment section, and open the Enrich Layer tool.
    • Explore the Select Variables section, and choose from over 50,000 variables to add to your data.


  • Data Enrichment and storage of feature services uses credits, therefore, plan to do the analysis on a relatively small dataset, or have the students work in groups to minimize the number of credits used. Set credit usage limits for the students and show them how to use the Show Credits link at the bottom of the Enrich Layer tool.
  • The Enrich Layer tool uses data from census geographies from around the world. Use the enrich layer tool to enrich areas significantly larger than census geographies, because enriching small regions may reduce geographic integrity by distributing values without a geographically informed basis.

Scenario: Desktop Analysis using Online, Cloud-Based Data. One of the promises of cloud computing is not needing to download big data, and instead accessing that data from a shared point of access. The Living Atlas is that shared point, giving access to hundreds of ready-to-use big data layers that can plug into ArcGIS Desktop and be used for geoprocessing just like the data already on your computer. Students and instructors can access these layers in the classroom or for projects, saving time and resources (downloading and storage), and leverage server-side capabilities within the ArcGIS Cloud.

Coaching point: Web services are the basis for Layers in ArcGIS Online, and some of those services only offer mapping and visualization capabilities, while others such as feature services and image services additionally offer the ability to do spatial analysis. ArcGIS Desktop applications can use feature services and image services as inputs to geoprocessing tools whenever feature layers or image layers are the input type for the tool.

Typically map projection is an issue because ArcGIS Online’s primary projected coordinate system is Web Mercator (auxiliary sphere), which is inappropriate for most spatial analysis. Feature services can be projected using the Project tool no data loss. However, Image services work a little differently. Image services provide imagery in a unified context, which means projecting the source imagery data into Web Mercator, which usually means data is lost or errors introduced. Therefore it is necessary to connect to image services in a special way that allows server-side projection to be used to deliver the data with a minimum of error and loss, in a projection appropriate for analysis. Consult the ArcGIS blog called, Use Living Atlas Image Services in your Desktop Analysis to learn how to do this important step.

Showcasing users' work

Creating and managing your organization's ArcGIS Online website

Scenario: The ArcGIS Online Administrator wishes to configure the organization’s ArcGIS Online site to showcase content created by students and researchers.

Coaching point: Coaching Point: Your ArcGIS Online site can be configured to fit your organization’s brands and needs. Consider how you want the site to look; what content you want to feature on the “home page” and what content could be presented in Galleries; and what level of security you want for your organization’s content.

For example, if your goal is to showcase the work of students and researchers, you likely would want to allow anonymous access to your organization so that the general public can view the content. You can select specific maps and app to feature on the home page by creating a Group for featured content.

Review the Documentation for configuring your ArcGIS Online website.

Scenario: The ArcGIS Online Administrator wishes to configure the organizations’ ArcGIS Online site to support collaboration on a research project.

Coaching point:Your ArcGIS Online site can be configured for use by an internal workgroup rather than use by the general public. For example, you can configure the default map extent to a specific area, such as your state, rather than a global map. You also can configure the subscription to allow only members of the organization to access the “home page”.

If your goal is to support collaboration among internal users, you can use Groups to facilitate content sharing among group members while keeping the content secure. For example, private Groups can be created, and the account administration can configure the security settings to limit sharing to members of the organization only.

Review the Documentation for configuring your ArcGIS Online website.

AGOL and the ArcGIS platform

How AGOL relates to your existing GIS infrastructure

Scenario: We do not have a current version of ArcGIS installed, how can we use ArcGIS Online?

Coaching point: ArcGIS Online can be used through a web browser, and can publish your existing shapefiles as Hosted Features. With your data living in the cloud, you can access it from mobile devices or create web applications that others can use to interact with your data. In addition to that, there are a series of applications that are part of the platform that you can also use with ArcGIS Online. These applications provide a range of functions from landscape modeling and community reporting, to business analysis and demographic insights. These apps can be found free in the ArcGIS Marketplace, and leverage the ready-to-use services in ArcGIS Online.

Don't forget, you can also create and share maps with Esri Maps for Office!

Scenario: We have ArcGIS for Desktop, but do not have a server?

Coaching point: ArcGIS for Desktop will connect directly to ArcGIS Online allowing you to not only publish your maps, but also leverage ready-to-use services for geocoding and network analysis. These specialty services will use credits, but do not require you to administer and maintain your own servers.

Scenario: We have ArcGIS for Server installed, why should we use Online?

Coaching point: ArcGIS for Server can be managed locally, and provides a means to make GIS resources available as web services such as Map, Feature, Geocode, and Print services. When you share your Map Services in ArcGIS Online, you allow others in your organization to find layers and create their own maps. This puts the power of communicating with maps into the hands of your members, who can then share the maps they make in applications, blogs, or through social media.

Also with your own independently managed services, you can customize the behavior of ArcGIS Online. For example, you can use your own geocode services to find buildings, rooms, or assets on campus and export maps using custom layouts from your print service.

Using Esri Maps for Office to bring web mapping to other disciplines

Scenario: A school of business professor wants to use Maps for Office to display data from a spreadsheet. She is working with Community Connect, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, that wants to recruit more cities to support their growing 2-1-1 database by showing them the number of calls citizens make to 2-1-1 from their city.

Coaching point: Maps for Office can be used to convert an Excel spreadsheet that lists the calls, per city, to a web map that will be presented to elected officials, city managers, and County agencies to inform them about the calls to 2-1-1 from their area. You can create a map using an address, latitude/longitude values, a US City, State or Zip code, World City or Country.

Additional Resources


 (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
 ga('create', 'UA-36651772-2', 'auto');
 ga('send', 'pageview');