Friday, December 16, 2011

The 15-Minute ArcGIS Geoportal

You can use MS Excel and a URL parameter to create a geoportal in 15 minutes.  No programming.

The 15-Minute ArcGIS Geoportal is a web page that

  • Serves as a catalog of your ArcGIS Server map services
  • Shows each of your services in two different online webmaps;
  • Provides a link to your map service description. *

(* See my article about publishing Metadata Lite to your ArcGIS Server REST catalog.)

It's a very fast and simple way to give your stakeholders a look at all of your map services.

Built on the "Map Service" URL Parameter

Kenneth Field blogged for Esri about adding URL location parameters for sharing ArcGIS online webmaps.  His article also points to the Esri Help on URL parameters.  I followed up with a note specifically about variations in the Map ID parameter sent to different online webmaps.

Now I focus on the URL parameter that accepts a single ArcGIS Server map service URL. This example from Esri Help shows a map service URL sent to the ArcGIS.com (Javascript) map:

http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?url=http://services.arcgisonline.com/ArcGIS/rest/services/Demographics/USA_Daytime_Population/MapServer

Here is one of my own map services hosted on the Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) GIS server, sent to the same ArcGIS.com map:

http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?url=http://data1.commons.psu.edu/ArcGIS/rest/services/pasda/CRH_2011_v03/MapServer

Here is the same service sent to the ArcGIS Explorer (Silverlight) map:

http://explorer.arcgis.com/?url=http://data1.commons.psu.edu/ArcGIS/rest/services/pasda/CRH_2011_v03/MapServer

One thing you have to remember with these maps:   Their default settings may not show the layers and popups the way you want them.  You have to find the Contents toggle and check on the map layers.  But this is a fast, low-cost way to show your map data to stakeholders.

Use Excel to Create the Geoportal Page

You can use Excel's simple Concatenate and Autofill functions to create a Geoportal page like this:

15-Minute Geoportal.
Use my simple Excel template to:

  1. Change one cell to show your ArcGIS Server base URL.
  2. Use Excel autofill to create similar HTML table rows for every map service.
  3. Paste the HTML table tags and text into a web page.
  4. In the web page, style the HTML table with CSS.

I hope this helps you and your GIS.

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