5 Reasons to attend the Esri South Africa Business Summit 2017

BusinessSummit

Have you heard? Esri South Africa is hosting its first ever Business Summit on the 5th of May 2017 in Midrand, Johannesburg.

The main aim of the event is to bring together industry experts, potential GIS users and implementers, Esri SA visionaries for an interactive experience to exchange proven practices and gain actionable intelligence.

This event is the ideal setting for you to gain insights into industry trends and opportunities, realize the greatest value from your GIS technology investment and map GIS into your go-to market strategy for growth.

So as we are getting ready for the 2017 Esri SA Business Summit, we would like to share with you some reasons we think you should join us

  1. Network and build business relationships.
  1. Discover industry best practices from the best in the business.
  1. Gain valuable Industry knowledge, tips and tricks from other GIS implementer’s in the commercial space.
  1. Spend one-on-one time with Esri SA’s professionals and specialists. You will get a chance to talk about opportunities and business needs with our sales team.
  1. Cocktails!

I hope to you see you there ūüėä

If you are in interested in attending the summit or would like to send a query, please feel free to contact our marketing team: marketing@esri-southafrica.com

Insights for ArcGIS ‚Äď A new spatial Business Intelligence (BI) tool in ArcGIS 10.5

ArcGIS 10.5 is on its way, with the planned release scheduled for mid-December 2016. One of the big changes coming is a new product being unveiled called Insights for ArcGIS.

So, what exactly is Insights for ArcGIS? I would like to look at it as a map centric BI tool. It allows you to perform analytics which helps you uncover secrets about your data. The data in this app is displayed on ‚Äúcards‚ÄĚ. On each card a user can display a map, chart or table with data.

I have played around with the app at pre‚Äďrelease stage and thought it would be nice to give you a preview before the app is released officially. I summarised some important things to know about insights as well as of my favourite things about the app.

The important things about Insights for ArcGIS:

  • It is only available with ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5.
  • It is a premium extension to Portal for ArcGIS with an additional cost.
  • It is a web application and can be accessed through a web browser.
  • You need to have an identity (Username and password) to use it.

Now for some of my favourite features about the app

1. Location is key

In most BI systems, the map card is there just to visualise data. With Insights, you have similar ‚Äúmapping & visualisation‚ÄĚ power as you would in your ArcGIS Online map viewer. This means you can create heatmaps, change symbology, set transparency etc.

In the example below I have added a card that has carjacking data collected at police stations in Gauteng over 10 years. You will note that smart mapping options included in Insights.

picture1

Within the card, I could change several things. The attribute field I choose to style my data by, the symbol type as well as the symbol style. With points data, you can also easily create a heatmap.

2. Multiple data sources

The real power of Insights for ArcGIS is that it allows you to pull data from multiple data sources into one dashboard view.

Currently supported data sources are:

  • Web maps and feature services from your organisation portal.
  • The Esri living atlas
  • Databases (SAP HANA, MS SQL, Teradata …tbc)
  • Excel spreadsheets

Insights is only available on Portal for ArcGIS. One of the limitations for now is that you cannot pull data from your ArcGIS Online organisational account into a card. This may well be on the future development path of the product. We will have to wait and see.

3. Document, share and re-run workflows

This is one of my favourite features on this app. Insights gives you the ability to document and share your analysis workflow with other users.

Remember model builder from ArcGIS Desktop? Insights has a similar tool. The only difference is that the workflow gets created for you. Below are 4 cards with different visualisations, analysing crime in September 2016 around the Johannesburg area.

As you create your visualisations, all your steps are being recorded in the background. You can switch to workflow view to see your workflows. The workflows can be shared and re-run. There is an update button that gives you the option to update the model. Here you can replace data and click update. When you switch to Page view this will then update the graphs and chart on your cards.

picture2

 4. Questions that guide your spatial analysis workflows

As I was doing my analysis, I noticed a button at the bottom of my active card. It’s called an action button, circled in red in the image below this tool makes spatial analysis easy. The tool asks a geographical question, and uses geoprocessing tools to then answer the questions. This puts geoprocessing tools in easy to understand everyday language.

Picture3.png5. Easy to use

What I love the most about Insights is the ease of use. I love the fact that tools and functionality are contextual. It’s very modern and uncluttered and has this drag and drop functionality that makes all analysis easy because it suggests tools as you pick data.

In conclusion, we live in an era where timely business information is critical to success. For a lot of our clients, ArcGIS is the system of record and business critical to their operations. Insights for ArcGIS offers a configurable BI tool specifically adapted to combine Esri’s spatial analysis platform with other record systems in your operation.

How does one get access to Insights for ArcGIS? You will need to have ArcGIS Enterprise licensed and installed on your premises. For more information regarding licensing and prices do not hesitate to contact your account manager.

 

 

ArcGIS Open Data

OpenData

The need to share GIS data with the public or internally in an organisation has grown markedly over the past years. Until recently, sharing data was often a manual, tedious task. Governments in South Africa have the e-government initiative requiring them to share data online. Online data sharing was achieved with the development of custom websites. If data on a custom website had to be downloaded in various different formats, it required the development of data conversion tools. This era has now, thankfully ended.

Since its release in 2014, the Open Data functionality in ArcGIS Online has made it very easy to share data and items online. Open Data allows organisations to configure a website, with their own look and feel, on which people can search by topic or location ‚Äď using an interactive map- for data. This data can be downloaded in multiple formats. No coding required. It is even possible to specify who the data is shared with – specific groups in your organisation or the public at large.
Open data is a site you create using ArcGIS Online capabilities. As an administrator, all you need is some data and an ArcGIS Online organisational account. You can now also create a web portal that allows the public to access your data in 5 easy steps:

Step 1: Enable Open Data Capabilities

Open Data can be enabled within your My Organization page on ArcGIS Online. Open Data must be enabled first before the site can be configured and items shared on your Open Data site.
Sign in to your ArcGIS Online account as an administrator. Click on the¬†‚ÄúMy organisation‚Ä̬†tab, click on edit setting and in here you will click on the open data tab to enable open data.
Remember, your organisations administrator is responsible for enabling open data capabilities.

EnableOpen Data

Step 2: Publish Feature Services to AGOL

ArcGIS Open Data currently works with data from hosted feature layers. Publish all the data you would like to share on your Open Data Site to ArcGIS Online as a feature service. When shared, each layer in the service will appear as an individual dataset.The following data is supported by Open Data Feature Layers, Tables, CSV files, Image Services and Documents like PDF’s or Microsoft office document. Documents will appear in the search results but cannot be previewed on an open data site. The most important thing to remember is that you are sharing your data on a public platform, therefore all data being hosted on ArcGIS Online must be publicly shared.

Step 3: Enable groups for Open Data Access

Publish all data for the Open Data Site to groups within your ArcGIS Online Organisational account. You can either create a new group specifically for ArcGIS Online or you can edit an existing group which you own. Make your groups available to Open Data. Make sure that Designate as available for use in Open Data sites option is checked on.

GroupsShare

Step 4: Configure your open data site.

This is the fun part. In step 4 you will configure your open data site to suite your organisations needs. Only administrators can do this but everyone in the organisation can get involved in creating a beautiful site for your organisation. You can contribute by choosing pictures, logos or any text you would like to be featured on your site.

Going through these five tabs will help you be on your way to deploying your site.

  • Site Configuration

In the site configuration tab, the administrator is responsible for setting up the name of the site, description and a URL for the site. In the latest release, users are now given the option to track and report your sites traffic using Google Analytics. In this tab, admins can also set the security of the site. Either your site can be set to private or public.

Private

  • Capabilities

In the capabilities tab, admins can specify what capabilities should be enabled on their open data site. There are two standard capabilities. Enabling Charts and enhanced search.In the latest release, Esri offers users the ability to take part in their BETA program. Seven new capabilities are set to be released soon. Administrators are encouraged to enable these capabilities for testing purposes.

If you are a user, I encourage you to explore these new capabilities. Rate them and send any ideas or errors you come across to the esri ideas portal:  http://ideas.arcgis.com

Capabilities

  • Groups Manager

Choose Open Data groups to make accessible in your site. These could be groups within your organisation or you could choose public open data groups.

  • Data Manager

Data reports and management tools are provided to help Open Data Administrators identify issues with problematic datasets on your Open Data site, disable automatic download caching, and allow manual resyncing. You can see your site’s datasets by clicking the¬†Data Manager¬†tab from the¬†Site Builder. Issues in your data report will be categorized into warnings or errors. When viewing your datasets, you can filter by warnings or errors and search for specific datasets.

  • Site Editor

The site editor allows users to design the layout of your open data site. You can design your site using the provided widgets or a custom HTML.Users simply click on the add widget button to add a new widget. The widgets can be either text, Images, RSS Feeds or Data Listings. You can change the size and location of each widget. You can delete a widget by clicking the dustbin icon.

While the design wizard experience will be sufficient for most organizations, the system also allows organizations with specific web design requirements to leverage the full power of HTML5 and CSS. The header, footer, and home page all have the option to switch to Custom HTML mode by choosing the Codetab on the correlating element, which allows web developers complete control over the content.

Widgets

Step 5: Save and Share

The last step is to click on the share button and within a matter of minutes you have created your organisation very own data portal. Congratulations.

But, what about the consumer?

As a consumer of Open data, you can find data within an Open Data site by typing text into a search box or by searching the map. From the search results list, each dataset contains a summary of information about the dataset including who shared the dataset and when, when it was last updated, the number of attributes and rows in the dataset, and the first few lines of the dataset description.

FinalOpenData

There are hundreds of open data sites and datasets across the world that have been shared for public use. To explore some of these click here: http://opendata.arcgis.com/

Go forth and explore!