Evaluation of ArcGIS Online

Simply put, ArcGIS Online is Esri’s SaaS offering. It is included in the ArcGIS platform and can be evaluated as a free 60-day trial. The trial will yield better results if you have an evaluation plan for your top features. Following are the features that I recommend for a new user in order of priority.

1.    Ready to Use Maps

One of the best features of ArcGIS Online is a sizeable collection of free data offered as DaaS (Data as a Service). Datasets tend to have better coverage for developed countries, but a variety of basemaps (imagery, topographic, street), and Landsat 8 imagery archives have a global coverage. For a detailed overview visit the ArcGIS Online website, or explore the data in an ArcGIS Online account.

2.    Visualization

A feature that’s easy to appreciate is data visualization with the creation of 2D and 3D web maps. ArcGIS Online makes it easy to create beautiful maps with a data-driven concept dubbed “Smart Mapping”. Workflows analyze your data and suggest best ways for representing it. “Smart” defaults are suggested for most of the map properties, and maps can be styled in an interactive manner.

3.    Apps for Everyone

ArcGIS Online comes with a collection of apps for field, office, community and developers. Some apps are delivered as configurable web templates, while others are native apps for mobile and desktop. The array of apps can be difficult to navigate, but try out the Collector, Workforce, and Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS apps. The combined power of these apps could dramatically increase the productivity of your sales teams and field workers.

4.    Solution Templates

They appear rather intricate, but these industry-specific configurations of ArcGIS Online are likely to be a real eye-opener. Solution templates embody industry best practices and consist a customizable information model with a large collection of configurable maps and apps. They can be deployed with relative ease and offer your business a head-start in the adoption of geospatial technology.

5.    Tools for Developers

Esri offers a wide range of tools to developers through an ArcGIS Online account. AppStudio and Web Appbuilder for ArcGIS are excellent tools for beginners, since they require little programming. Use AppStudio to build mobile applications on the common platforms (e.g. iOS, Android, Windows), and Web Appbuilder to create widgets and themes for your custom web apps.

6.    Other Features

ArcGIS Online has a few additional features; analytics can be used to perform GIS analysis online, while the ArcGIS marketplace provides access to Esri and third-party apps. In addition, ArcGIS Online has features for administering user rights and permissions and managing security. However, these aren’t the features that you might want to evaluate during your ArcGIS Online trial.


I trust that this article will enable you to come up with an evaluation plan for ArcGIS Online. For more information, feel free to get in touch with me, visit the ArcGIS Online website, or contact your local Esri distributor. In case you are trying ArcGIS Online, let us know which features you like most.

About Author:

Willy Simons came to Kenya from The Netherlands in 1994. He is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Oakar Services, Esri Eastern Africa and Spatiality. He blogs about business, geospatial technology and cloud computing.