Stay in the Know: Updates to ArcGIS Online, October 2020

Users of Esri’s ArcGIS products are likely well aware that the technology is regularly updated and constantly evolving. Most months the development teams announce new capabilities, fixes, and enhancements. However, for the busy GIS professional, keeping up with all the changes can be a challenge. This is where ArcGIS professionals, solution providers, and business partners like GEO Jobe come to the rescue.

Most recently, ArcGIS Online users received news about updates over the summer months. These included additions such as the new home page customization capabilities, improvements to data collection with Survey123, a redesigned organization profile experience, and more. Read on as we share 10 of the most important and noteworthy new features of the ArcGIS platform that you need to know about.

ArcGIS Survey123

You may be familiar with the moniker “Data is King”. While this still holds true, without timely, accurate, qualified data the integrity of your maps and apps may be compromised. This is where Survey123 comes into the picture.

Survey123 is the go-to solution to for form-based field data collection from mobile devices (connected or disconnected environments supported). With Collector and Survey123, field-collected data can be directly integrated into your GIS in near real-time through the built-in synchronization capabilities of the mobile applications and the sharing model built into the ArcGIS Platform. A couple of significant updates to Survey123 were recently announced. These include the addition of choice randomization of questions and choice filtering.


To avoid biased responses, you may want to randomize how choices are initially presented to your end-users. By implementing randomization, your survey respondents will be presented with response options that are ordered randomly, thus removing potential biases like the common first-choice selection.

Choice Filters

Choice filtering is another great addition of logic to your surveys and forms. The idea here is that the user’s choices in response are limited to a subset that is specific to previous answers. For example, if the user selected a State name = California when selecting a city or region name, they are only presented with options that are relevant or specific to California, not an exhaustive list of thousands of cities.

Learn more about the latest updates to Survey123.

Homepage Customization

For ArcGIS Online Organizations, the homepage is the gateway to your user community. Configuring a professional-looking homepage is important to put forward a modern and branded appearance upon entry. With recent updates, managers and administrators can now include even more discoverable content and provide enhanced navigation capabilities. Link Blocks are one way the visitors to your homepage discover content. The number of link blocks supported on your page has been increased to 15. For even more flexibility, the added support of page visibility settings for the navigation bar means that privileges can be set to determine which navigation options are made visible to users based on their user type. 

Configurable Apps – Media Map Experience

Configurable Apps are template applications that you can configure easily, without any coding, to easily add a map to a website. They help you publish apps quickly and are the fastest and easiest way to go from a map to a shareable app. Media Map is often used as an interactive map with basic tools and options for more focused map navigation.

A new configuration experience is now available for the Media Map template in ArcGIS Configurable Apps. Build your Media Map using the express setup or configure it using the full setup, and see changes as you make them. Express setup makes it easy and fast to deliver a fully configured app with any map. Optionally, a full setup configuration option is available. Creating your media map is simple by walking through the setup instruction including filling in the required title, tags, and description. Once complete you will be presented with the new app setup page where you have the option for express setup mode or the full setup experience. You can quickly switch from express to full setup mode as needed.

Learn more about media map configurations,

New Tools for ArcGIS Administrators

Credit and Activity Reports

With the September update to ArcGIS Online, several enhancements have been included for administrators, including new reports – Credit Report and Activity Report.  Credit Reports show a view of credit consumption by each member of your organization.  Activity Reports provide insight into events and actions that take place in the organization, replacing the existing activity log with no limit to the number of activities that can be included in the report. Creating a report is quick and simple. Sign in to your ArcGIS Online Organization, then from the navigation select Organization > Status > Reports, and create a new report. Once the report runs you can download as a CSV file for further use.

Learn more about reports.

Sharing with Groups & Transfer of Ownership

You can now share items in bulk with a group you own or manage by adding them directly from the group page. Use the search, filters, and sort options to find items to share, check multiple items, then share into your group.  You can share your items with groups you own or manage, as well as with groups you belong to that allow member contributions.

What about transferring the ownership of items within your organization? Admins can now manage this! Transferring all content in bulk to a new owner is now supported and is useful when you need to delete members but want to keep their content secure within the organization.

Learn more here.

As you may know, GEO Jobe is well known for our peoduct Admin Tools. Of particular interest here is the robust support that the tools have to help users manage their items and in particular, control sharing and ownership options. Learn more about Group management, sharing in ArcGIS Online, and cross-org sharing with Admin Tools from this article.

Social Login for ArcGIS Online

In addition to Facebook, Google, and GitHub, a new social login option is available in ArcGIS Online. You can now sign in or sign up using your Apple account credentials. Administrators can now set up OpenID Connect logins to allow members to sign in to ArcGIS Online

New Data & Public Information

As we are all well aware, 2020 has been another historic, record-breaking year for wildfire activity. With the increased wildfire activity comes a huge demand for real-time data, maps, and public information. This is where the Wildfire Public Information Map and Air Quality Aware app from Esri comes in! 

The wildfire information map is hosted by the Esri Disaster Response Program and uses Living Atlas live feeds to provide current wildfire incidents and perimeters, along with satellite (MODIS and VIIRS) thermal hotspot locations, smoke forecast, and weather watches and warnings. For users and organizations that require a map to share situational awareness and real-time information, a map has been made available which uses free and open data layers from the Living Atlas. Access the map service here.

The wildfire information map and related resources.

Air Quality Aware

For those of you in California, Oregon, and Colorado having access to reliable, real-time air quality information has been crucial over the past few months. This is where the Air Quality Aware app comes into play. The app shares official EPA data along with select data products from the Living Atlas to present important information to help identify if you, or the population around you, are at risk.  Simply enter your location to access the latest air quality rating along with supporting data like wind speed and description of populations who may be at risk.

Air Quality Aware.


With the ongoing pandemic, the GIS community has positioned itself to respond to the public’s demand for real-time data updates, health information feeds, web maps, and more. Users are encouraged to check this resource often to access the latest information as it becomes available.

Preparing for HTTPS Only

Hopefully, by now, all the administrators out there are in the know and prepared for December 8!  Be sure to save that date in your calendar, because that’s when Esri throws the switch to transition ArcGIS Online to HTTPS only. Esri began sharing details of this back in March, so hopefully, you won’t be surprised. The reason for this is to ensure secure transmission of information accessed by all from ArcGIS Online. Things that can/will be affected include ArcGIS software, custom apps and solutions, and content in ArcGIS Online. To ensure that your org will comply with this change there are several resources at your disposal.

Finally, if you are concerned about your org’s ability to comply with these important changes (or anything discussed above), we suggest you reach out to the GEO Jobe team at!

A special thank you to Glenn Letham for providing this blog. You can connect with Glenn on LinkedIn or his website.

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