ArcGIS Urban

ArcGIS Urban 101 – Controlling access

The content of this blog post currently refers to an earlier version of ArcGIS Urban. It will be updated soon to reflect the latest changes that were shipped with the June 2020 release.

Did you know that ArcGIS Urban comes with a Public view as well as with an Internal view? And are you curious to learn more about how to fine-tune access and permissions? In this second installment in the ArcGIS Urban 101 blog series, we will explore ways to control access to Plans, Projects and other aspects of Urban. First, we will discuss the major differences between the public and the internal views of ArcGIS Urban. Then we will review a few examples of how to fine-tune permissions on your Urban content and functionalities.

 

Public View versus Internal View

Before diving into the topic of how to configure access, let’s quickly recall what ArcGIS Urban can be used for. ArcGIS Urban is a platform where citizens can explore the current developments in their city and inform themselves about ongoing projects that may be nearby. ArcGIS Urban is also a tool for planners and designers to collaboratively iterate across different development scenarios. It allows users to quantify and compare the effects of different planning strategies before sharing them with the public.

During the early phases of the planning process only internal staff needs access and authoring permissions for a plan; however, as the planning process progresses, it will eventually become necessary to share and involve the public. To support these different needs regarding the availability of information, ArcGIS Urban comes with two different views: a Public view and an Internal view. In the Public view, citizens can explore the three-dimensional representation of their city, can look at a curated subset of published Plans and Projects and can express their feedback by adding new ideas. The Internal view is primarily intended for planning staff and can only be accessed with the necessary permissions. It shows a complete overview over all developments of a city. Tools to import new data to the Urban Database and to work on design scenarios are only available in the Internal view.

By default, each newly created Plan or Project is visible in the Internal view only. Once a Plan or Project reaches a stage where it is ready to be shared with the public, it can easily be published to the Public view. Moving content from the Public view back to the Internal view is just as simple. Check out the figure below for a simplified overview of the main differences between the Public view and the Internal view of Urban.

Capabilities in the Public view and in the Internal view of ArcGIS Urban
 

Urban Model – Behind the Scenes

To configure the two views of Urban correctly, let’s first have a quick look at the items in ArcGIS Online that make up your Urban Model. Each Urban Model consists of four items: three feature layer items and one “Urban Model” item.  The “Urban Model” item ties together the feature layers and can be used to access the Urban application.

 An Urban Model is made up of four items on ArcGIS Online

The “Urban Model” item, together with the item “Database View” (a hosted feature layer view), controls the access to the Public view of Urban. If the sharing level for the Database View item is set to “Everyone”, everyone who has the URL to your Urban can access the Public view. In this setup, no login is required to access the Public view of Urban.

The “Database” and the “Design Database” items are relevant for controlling access to the Internal view. It is essential to the planning process that several people can access the Internal view of Urban and have access to the corresponding functionalities of the app. Set the sharing level to “Organization” so that everybody with an account on your ArcGIS Online organization can access the Internal view of your Urban.

Check out the ArcGIS Online documentation to learn more about how to set permissions for ArcGIS Online items.
 

Advanced Examples

The interplay between Public and Internal ArcGIS Urban views and the permission control capabilities for items in ArcGIS Online allows a nuanced definition of what content and which capabilities are accessible to which users. Learn from three exemplary use cases how ArcGIS Online item permissions can be used to control access to content and different functionalities in Urban.
 

Example 1 – Urban for a Small City

Assume a small city deploys ArcGIS Urban. The city already owns an ArcGIS Online organization; however, several city departments store their data on this org. The city wants to use a Public view of Urban to inform the public about ongoing urban development projects and therefore makes the view publicly accessible. The Internal view, though, should only be accessible to the members of the urban planning department.

To meet the requirements of this small city, the items need to be configured as follows:

ArcGIS Online items’ sharing settings to accommodate example 1
 

Example 2 – Urban for a Large City

The starting point is almost the same as in example 1.  As before, the city wants to use the Public view of Urban to inform the citizens about ongoing urban developments and therefore makes the view publicly accessible. In the Internal view every planner can create new Plans and Projects and add design scenarios. However, in this example, the city only wants the senior planners to be able to import new data to Urban through the data manager and to publish content to the Public view.

To meet the requirements of this large city, the items need to be configured as follows:

ArcGIS Online items’ sharing settings to accommodate example 2
 

Example 3 – Urban as an Internal Tool for a Large City

Like in the other two use cases, the city already owns an ArcGIS Online organization that is used across many city departments; however, in this example, the city wants the Public view of Urban to be only used internally within the city administration to inform other departments about ongoing urban developments. Only employees of the city can access it. For the Internal view, the city would like to enable all the planners to create new Plans and Projects; however, only the principal planners should have permissions to publish content to the Public view.

To meet the requirements of this large city, the items need to be configured as follows:

ArcGIS Online items’ sharing settings to accommodate example 3
 

Key Takeaway

Because Projects and Plans are sometimes meant to be visible to urban planners only, ArcGIS Urban comes with two different views: a Public view and an Internal view. The two views not only differ in terms of what data is visible (e.g. Plans and Projects), but also in terms of available functionality. ArcGIS Online sharing capabilities can be used to fine-tune access to the two views of Urban. Three examples show how these permissions can be configured.

About the author

Dominik Allemann

Dominik is a Product Engineer in the ArcGIS Urban team based at the Esri R&D Center in Zurich who is curious about how new solutions and digitalization can facilitate future urban development.

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