Real-Time Dashboards: How Are They Used?

A vast amount of data is created every day from sensors and devices: GPS devices on vehicles, objects, and people; sensors monitoring the environment; live video feeds; speed sensors in roadways; social media feeds. What it means is that we have an emerging source of valuable data. It’s called “real-time” data. Only recently has the technology emerged to enable this real-time data to be incorporated into GIS applications.
The real-time GIS capabilities of the ArcGIS platform have transformed how information is utilized during any given situation. Real-time dashboards provide actionable views into the daily operations of organizations, empowering decision makers and stakeholders with the latest information they need to drive current and future ideas and strategies.
Dashboards answer questions like:

The Redlands Incident Management operations view provides a way to monitor vehicle locations, shelter capacity, and incidents in real time using dynamically changing data sources and information displays.
Some applications of real-time dashboards include:

The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation uses dashboards to track and monitor sanitation trucks throughout the city.
A real-time dashboard tracks athletes and incidents throughout the IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii.
Real-time dashboards provide a way to absorb and make meaning from the torrent of real-time information that is used to drive so many decisions. Dashboards are your secret weapon for visualizing and putting meaning behind all of these real-time feeds.

Learn ArcGIS Lesson: Explore then recreate a dashboard

In an emergency, a coordinated effort saves time, which can save lives.
For this lesson, assume you are a GIS coordinator at an emergency response agency that is responsible for managing local emergency vehicles for the City of Redlands, California. You have at your disposal a lot of information and data sources to track. You need a way to bring all of this information together into a dashboard that will enable police and fire supervisors to know where all their assets are in relation to actual incidents happening on the streets.

In this lesson, you explore an existing real-time dashboard that has been configured around this response effort. Then you will create an instance of the dashboard. (The scenario and the data you work with in this lesson are simulated and not based on actual events.)
In this lesson, you’ll build skills in these areas:

What you need:

Start the lesson.


This post is excerpted from the new book, The ArcGIS Book: 10 Big Ideas about Applying Geography to Your World. The twin goals of this book are to open your eyes to what is now possible with Web GIS, and then spur you into action by putting the technology and deep data resources in your hands. The book is available through and other booksellers, and is also available at for free.

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