ArcGIS Instant Apps

Using the Portfolio App to support your briefing workflows

Conducting briefings for situational awareness is a standard workflow for emergency management agencies and any organization with a command center or watch center function. Often these are multiple-page PDFs or PowerPoint presentations are static, time-consuming to put together, and out of date as soon as they are finished. Over recent years, agencies and organizations are moving toward dynamic, digital versions of their briefings. Many users have taken advantage of classic tabbed Story Maps stories for their work. The classic Story Maps app is being deprecated and will enter mature support in October 2023. For more details on the transition timeline, see the Classic story map transition timeline. Much of the classic tabbed Story Maps story functionality has been transitioned to the Portfolio Instant Apps app. This blog article will discuss the features of the Portfolio app that are important for situational awareness for briefings as well as walk you through the steps to create an app like this for your organization.

See an example of a Portfolio app for a daily operations weather briefing workflow:

Portfolio app for briefings showing day 1 convective outlook

There are a few features of note for this particular application, such as Autoplay functionality. Click the Play button in the top right, and this application will automatically cycle through the content. This allows you to display unattended dynamic mapping content at your command center. Also, you can click the Location button, the left-most button in the top right set of controls, to search for a location on the map and set all of the web maps in the briefing portfolio app to lock to the same extent. For example, search for Tennessee:

Search for a geographic location in the Portfolio app

Also, this app is built on our modern JavaScript API and works well on mobile devices.

Portfolio app on a mobile device

Consider the following before you create a Portfolio app:

The Portfolio app is a part of the Instant Apps collection. There are several ways to create a Portfolio app. One way is from the Content view, click Create app and click Instant Apps.

Create an Instant App

Next, search or browse for the Portfolio app and select Choose.

Choose the Portfolio app from the list

Give the app a title, such as My Briefing App; select or type in tags; and choose a folder for where to store the app, such as the folder where you store other content and web maps for use in the Portfolio app.

Give the app a name such as my briefing app

You are now presented with the four main steps to create a Portfolio app. This is known as Express mode and is the default experience for creating an app in Instant Apps.

You are now presented with the express mode options

In Step 1. Portfolio, the first choice to make is the app layout. There are three options:

For the purposes of this blog tutorial, select Tabbed mode.

Pick Tabbed mode

The Portfolio app supports various content types, including the following:

To create a custom version of this daily weather briefing app, the table below lists the tabs and ArcGIS Online items for each page, with items from both ArcGIS Living Atlas and NOAA National Weather Service’s Cloud GIS layers. You can use this as the source for your daily briefing app. You can either use the web map items directly or save a copy into your ArcGIS Online organization and modify them. For example, you can modify the extent of the web map to focus on your jurisdiction, or you may want to add additional content to the map, such as critical infrastructure or assets.


Layer ArcGIS Online Item (Web Map)
Weather Watches and Warnings 4372a0f4a22642f69bd215d10890098d
Weather Radar 10ffa62b976e479ba7252578898780b4
Quantitative Precipitation Estimates – Last 24 Hours Observed e0ab9de3bf574c8ba296e11cc4f0dfe9
Forecast Precipitation 36043d67f6ce4764aa1d61a9e303cf75
Tropical Cyclone Probability Outlook 3534ff0ccd1a475aac860098c09e253e
Storm Prediction Center Weather Outlooks Day 1 d74849f6950146e58b7b921e741d1220
Storm Prediction Center Weather Outlooks Day 2 18a68036ace0461783c4f49c55f5c0af
Storm Prediction Center Weather Outlooks Day 3 74bfbdaa500d480a9ad896801a0ff144
SPC Day 1 Tornado Outlook ea843cbda84345b79d582e960f5f83c8
SPC Day 1 Hail Outlook afd20c3a506541bd8c92e7ef5b0587e2
SPC Day 1 Wind Outlook 2571175dc82a47ea8eccfd3d46c2342c
SPC Day 1 Fire Weather Outlook 8336fb30b7b647609dc3f9452a85b0e9
National Forecast Charts Day 1 576cb952925d4e52b1a20b16e60ca7ec
National Forecast Charts Day 2 d5291127acac465ab3d6d601fabf226f
National Forecast Charts Day 3 dd0d83b99697479b9eca98cf9ea7c717
6-10 Day Temperature Outlook 64faec224fa74596ac3f87b9fac19c3c
6-10 Day Precipitation Outlook 7b23250f8748491e9cc4338e44499c3f
Excessive Rainfall Outlook (ERO) d05cbe8bbe2843a091033989b56a7b88

To create a weather daily briefing app, click ArcGIS and click Browse for content.

Browse for content

You can now use the table above to add in the content. Click ArcGIS Online, paste in the item ID, and then click Select section.

Select section

Once this has been added, there are more items to configure in the Section info pane. The Section name text is inherited from the web map. You can change this, for example, to shorten for display on the tabs or section headings. Also turn on Open links in app and Use item details to have the ArcGIS Online items details page be used for the information panel and allow hyperlinks to the content. Click Done when you’re finished.

Make the right choices within the section info

Repeat these steps to add all the sections to the Portfolio app for the content that you want to use. Once you’re finished, click Next in the top right of the Express configuration pane to go to Step 2. In Step 2, you can configure the App title text as well as include an introduction panel. Optionally, edit the content of the introduction panel by clicking the Edit button.

Configure title

Click Next again, and turn on Play button in Step 3.

Turn on the play button

In Step 4, you can select the mode, select a theme, or change the colors to match your organization’s branding. Click the Publish button, and you can view the briefing Portfolio app.

Publish the portfolio app

There are other options to consider setting, but these will take you out of Express mode and expose all of the app settings.

Under Express, click Search settings, search for Location, and click Search location.

Turn on Search

Click Continue if the Turn off express mode dialog box appears.

Turn off Express Mode

Now turn on Search Location in the Interactivity pane.

Turn on search location

Additionally, you can add a logo to the app using the Search settings again. Search for Logo in the Theme & Layout pane. You can upload an image for branding purposes, choose a size, and add a link.

Add your logo

This completes the steps to create a Portfolio app for your briefing workflow. Now you can start modernizing your approach to situational awareness briefings and sharing dynamic content to your agency, organization, or jurisdiction. The many potential uses of this application include viewing multiple web maps from FEMA’s National Risk Index, using demographic and equity data, or having seasonal variations of daily weather briefings, such as this winter weather version:

See the following additional resources:

About the author

Jeff Baranyi currently serves as Lead Solution Engineer on the Public Safety Team for Emergency Management and Disaster Response. He is responsible for working closely with the community to discover, develop, and promote best practices in the use of ArcGIS to support the emergency management mission. Jeff also helps lead our Esri Disaster Response Program (DRP) which provides GIS support to organizations during disasters and crisis. He has been with Esri since 2000 and started as a consultant in the Professional Services Group. Outside of work he enjoys skiing, swimming, hiking, camping, and spending time with family.

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