ArcGIS Configurable Apps

Introducing Nearby, a new Configurable App

The new Nearby app (introduced with the October 2019 update of ArcGIS Online) discovers what’s nearby and reveals the directions to get there. Community members can explore neighbor resources; for example, they can find the closest library or identify all available medical facilities within a specified distance. And…what’s more, the app can generate directions.  Viewers can select a location on-screen or enter an address, and then get results for a given radius. To expand the exploration, all that’s needed is a simple adjustment to the search radius.  Nearby automatically responds to a variety of screen sizes and includes directions for different modes, such as driving or walking. This blog walks you through the configuration of the Nearby app so you can help viewers better explore their desired locations.


Nearby configurable app

How does Nearby work?

The Nearby app requires users to input a location through one of three options:

Once selected, the user specifies a search distance and a minimum and maximum search radius.  The app reveals all results within the default search radius. Viewers then have the option to adjust the search radius using a slider to explore results within different distances. Grouping results into a layer further expands a viewer’s ability to review results for specific features of interest.

Now let’s look at how to configure Nearby!

Step 1: Create your map

Nearby includes features that intersect the search radius around either point, line or polygon features. In the following example, multiple layers have been used to show community resources in Juarez, Mexico.

Take time to configure the pop-up information. Like the Zone Lookup app, the pop-up drives results.  Configure your pop-up to display relevant information in an easy-to-understand way. Nearby offers a configuration option to reveal the pop-up title as a label for map features as you mouse over the results portion in the app.

Features labeled on a map while hovering or selecting a result.

Choose an appropriate basemap that complements your symbology. Be sure to test at different scales. Set your map extent to determine a starting point. When the app searches an address, it zooms to the searched area, changing the scale to show only the searched area.

Step 2: Share your map to a template

Once you create the map and save it, click the Share button in Map Viewer and click Create a Web App.  Select Nearby as your app.

Configurable app gallery with Nearby app thumbnail displayed

Step 3: Configure the app

Configure your app with the available options, as follows:

On the General tab you have the option to enable routing services.  Check this option to include directions in your app. This option enables public users to consume organization credits to route directions; otherwise the app prompts users to sign in when generating directions.

Options to enable public-facing apps to use organization credits to route directions.

Customize your title and welcome text.  Use the details portion of the welcome text to introduce the app to your users and include any needed instructions.

Title and welcome text configuration options

Customize the header and app buttons with the theme option.  Button colors include the Clear Results button and the Map and Results button on mobile devices.

Nearby app on a mobile device

The search settings control the search slider and search dialog options.  These settings define the minimum, maximum and default search distance in the slider.

Search settings for the Nearby app

These settings correlate to the search slider in the application. In addition to setting the defaults, there is an option to enable users of the app to edit these distances by clicking on the numeric values and entering new ones.

Slider in app with search radius being edited

The Results tab provides options to configure the way results are returned.  By default, all layers are returned in the results. However, you can refine the list with this setting. If you have results from multiple layers, selecting Group results by layer, will group the results by layer name.  You can choose to add Directions to each result (if this selected, verify Routing proxy is checked on in the General tab).  Limit the polygons returned in the results to only the polygon feature containing the searched location with the Find intersecting polygon data option. All other features within the searched radius will be returned.

Options included with results

You have the option to include custom text before and after the app returns results to provide context for the search and next steps. Configure a message to indicate when the app returns no results so users know no results meet the search criteria.

Map options enable you to add mapping tools to the map. The app can add a pin and label to the map. In addition, you can add a home button, zoom controls, legend, scale bar and basemap toggle.

Step 4: Test and share your app

Once you like your app configuration, save it and test it. If you’ve enabled directions, you can easily test your proxy settings by either using your app in an incognito window or once you’ve logged out of your window.  Once testing is complete, share your app with your audience!

About the author

Beth is a Product Engineer on the ArcGIS Online team.


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