ArcNews Online

Summer 2009
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Discover and Share Geographic Information

Join the ArcGIS Online Community

With the ArcGIS 9.3.1 release, ArcGIS Online now includes a Web application that serves as a central online repository for users to easily share and find GIS data, maps, layers, services, and tools. ArcGIS users can now easily upload and share their geographic information and find content published by other users as well as content published by Esri.

Joining ArcGIS Online

Search for content by keyword and view the results, which include file type, a description, and file opening instructions.

ArcGIS users can join the ArcGIS Online community by using their existing Esri Global Account login or creating a new Global Account. ArcGIS Online membership is free and allows users to control access to items they want to share. It allows users to create groups and grant access to others who want to join their group. ArcGIS Online can also be accessed anonymously without creating an account, although registering with an account gives users access to more functionality, such as creating and joining groups and uploading items.

Groups are a great way to collaborate with other ArcGIS users who share a common interest in a particular topic, for example, sustainable development or wildfire mitigation. Users can join groups they are interested in by entering keywords into the search dialog box. Once a group has been joined, members can easily view and access content published by other group members and share their own content with the group.

Adding and Sharing Content

Content that can be uploaded and shared in ArcGIS Online includes maps created with ArcGIS Desktop, for instance, ArcMap documents (.mxd) and ArcGlobe documents (.3dd); layer files (.lyr) and ArcGIS Server map, globe, and image services; and tools such as ArcGIS Server geoprocessing and location services. Uploaded content can be tagged with keywords.

To simplify the sharing of layers, Esri has introduced layer packages (.lpk) with the ArcGIS 9.3.1 release. ArcGIS Desktop users can automatically create layer packages, which are ZIP files that contain intrinsic properties such as item type, thumbnail, extent, and spatial reference. After saving a layer package locally, users can then upload it to ArcGIS Online and share it. Once the layer package is uploaded, users can add more information, such as tags, that makes the layer package easier to find. Layer packages can also be shared via e-mail or as a file over the network.

Users can also share Web maps created with the ArcGIS Online map viewer application. Users can combine their own shared GIS services with services shared by others to create a Web map that includes multiple map services "mashed up" onto any of the basemaps published by Esri, choosing from imagery, streets, topography, or shaded relief. All of this is accomplished with no programming.

More Information

To join ArcGIS Online today, visit ArcGIS Online.

Also see "New and Updated Content in ArcGIS Online 9.3.1."

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