Esri Location Analytics Tools in an Organization: Using Esri Maps for Microsoft Office to Publish to ArcGIS Online

During the 2012 Esri Developers Summit I posted a series of blogs. The general theme of them was that the tools that Esri was releasing in the 10.1 roll-out had really begun to consumerize the use of their product suite. I had talked about how much of the mundane (to us GIS Professionals) had been so well automated with the new products that: 1- just about anyone could do basic and even some advanced GIS, and 2- this would free up our GIS Professionals to do even greater things.

So now that the 10.1 suite has been released, I wanted to take a little time to really show how easy things have become. To do this I will use a two of the newest products within the Esri Location Analytics Toolbox, specifically Esri Maps for Microsoft Office and Esri Maps for SharePoint while leveraging the centerpiece of the current Esri technology stack, ArcGIS Online. My intent is to show how workflows that either previously did not exist or were destined to end up on a GIS professionals desk are now viably performed by anyone in an organization.

For an example, I will use a simple problem that we have dealt with in the past.  We want to be able to generate a list of hotels that we recommend for people who come to our various offices, and wouldn’t it be great to actually put them on a map and then integrate it into our corporate SharePoint site and even post that to our external website.  A year ago this would have required that we put a GIS Analyst to work generating and publishing the map, and then a developer to integrate it into our SharePoint site and our external web site.  But now with Esri Maps for Microsoft Office and ArcGIS Online, this can be done by anyone in the organization.

The first step is to generate a list of hotels; five minutes cutting and pasting from an internet search and we have a viable list. I added some information including a ranking, contact number, and hotel url which will all be available to the users once we publish the map.

Assuming you have already loaded the Esri Maps for Office, there should be a menu tab at the end of the standard Excel Tabs.

If you click on the Esri Maps Tab you will be presented with the following Ribbon.

Most of the tools are greyed out because you haven’t added a map or data to the map but that will change shortly. Notice the # 1 arrow, this means that I am signed into my ArcGIS Online account.  If I wasn’t this would say “Sign In” and I would be able to log into my account. You need to do this to be able to publish the map or data to ArcGIS Online. If you need to get an account, follow this link

So to insert a map into your excel spreadsheet, just like you would add a chart, just click on the Insert Map button on the ribbon (# 2 on the image above). This will add a unconfigured map to your worksheet. In the image below you can see that I now have more available options on the Ribbon. A Control Panel has been added on the right as well. This behaves much like the Table of Contents does in ArcMap, as you add layers they will show up on the map and in the Control Panel.

So let’s configure the map a bit.

I like to zoom into the area I want to map and then cycle through the BaseMap options (on the Ribbon) to find the best looking and most useful map for what I am trying to show.  To do this, click in the map and then you can use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out, or click hold and drag to pan around.  Once you are centered about where you want to be, click on the BaseMap button in the Ribbon and select a different base map. Continue until you are satisfied. Here is what I have come up with so far:

Now I don’t really care for the Map 1 title, not really very informative. So to change that I click on the configure map icon in the upper right side of the map banner and now I can enter in a useful name for my map.  Once done, I click on the configure button again to close that window and return to the map.

Now I need to actually add the Hotels to the Map.  As you might have guessed, I simply click on the Add Excel Data button on the ribbon and it starts up a Wizard.

It asks me the format of the source of data I have, in this case it is a Cell Range so I select that and hit next. Then I am asked to select what cell range to use (just like it does when making a graph). Notice that I included the header, you don’t need to but I know from experience that it will speed up a step later on.

After I hit OK, I tell it what location type I have, this will tell ArcGIS Online how to do the Geocoding. I know my data is obviously addresses so I select that and click Next.

And here is where I have saved myself some time. Because I had headers in the selected cell range and they were words that the tool recognized, it automatically mapped which columns to use for which part of the address.  If I had not done this I would need to pull down the drop down for each element and select the appropriate column.

Now, once I hit the Add Data to Map, the data I have selected and the information about how to geocode the data gets sent to ArcGIS Online, is geocoded, and sent back to my map. It takes a few seconds. The more records you are mapping the longer it takes.

I now have the hotels plotted on the Map and I want to do some final configuration to the layer to make it a bit more useable. I can do this by right clicking on the name of the layer in the Map Contents Tab in the Control Panel on the right.

I definitely want to Rename the layer from Excel Data to Hotels. Click on Rename and enter “Hotels”.

And I want to use a symbol that represents more what the layer is. To do this Right Click on the Layer Name (Hotels) and select Style from the list; or click on the Style button on the Ribbon.  You have a bunch of choices here. In my case I want to use the Bed icon under the Transportation set.  I also made my icons a bit bigger than standard using the slider bar at the bottom of the form.  This all takes some trial and error but no more than if you were working out the details of a chart in Excel.

One last thing.  I want to configure the Pop-Up box that appears when someone clicks on one of the hotels.  Again, right click on the name of the layer (Hotels) and select Pop-Ups from the list. The following form appears:

Any field that was in the original range of cells you selected will show up here. I want to use the Hotel name for what shows up in the pop-up banner and because of that I don’t need it in the main body of the pop-up, so I uncheck the Visible check box for that record. I want everything else to show up.

The result looks like this:

You can see by adding information to the source spreadsheet you can provide a lot of information to the end users.  The web urls also work from the pop-up boxes. Click on the url and it will launch a new tab in your web browser and take you to that specific link.

Okay, one last step here. I have this potentially useful map and want to share it, but it is stuck in Excel. I can’t pass around the Excel file because not everyone will have the Esri Maps for Office capability. I could use the Create Slide button and that would create a PowerPoint slide of my map, but it wouldn’t be dynamic – the pop-ups wouldn’t work.  But I can publish this to ArcGIS Online and make it available online to anyone in my organization or the general public. And once I have my map online I have a bunch of other options for sharing.

How do I do that? Two ways. I can either just share the Hotels Layer and all the configurations I just did and build a map in ArcGIS Online, or I can Share the entire Map (in this case this would include the selected base map and map extent).

There is both a Share Layer and a Share Map button on the Ribbon. In both cases you will need to enter some information to make your map or layer discoverable and identifiable and set which user groups that you want to allow to use. Below shows how I have configured the Map to share.

Once you hit the Next button it will present one last choice about sharing the layers in the map. Then you hit the Share Map button and your map gets published out to your ArcGIS Online Account. This takes a few seconds to get the data packages moved and perform all the validations to ensure everything is correct. Once you get the green check mark, your Map is up and ready to use in ArcGIS Online.

If you have ArcGIS desktop you can check yourself to make sure everything transferred and that the map is behaving the way you intended. Just start ArcMap, go to add content from ArcGIS Online and you should see your map listed under My Content.  Click on the Open table and the map will load into ArcMap.

So I have created a Map in Excel using data from within Excel and ArcGIS Online, published it as a Shared map to ArcGIS Online, and verified that it is shared by pulling it into ArcMap.

In the next blog post of this series, I will show you how to use the Map I just shared in ArcGIS Online, add content from other users, build an application from a template, publish the application to use as is, and embed it into SharePoint or another web site.


2 Responses to Esri Location Analytics Tools in an Organization: Using Esri Maps for Microsoft Office to Publish to ArcGIS Online

  1. Grant Mullins says:

    I like that hillshade!

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