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36 Posts authored by: timothy_hales-esristaff Employee

For this week's Community News and Tips, we'd like to share two updates about the new GeoNet Community Guiding Principles and a change made to the ArcGIS Ideas site impacting Esri staff and distributor roles and permissions.


Introducing the GeoNet Community Guiding Principles


Our goal and vision for GeoNet is for our online community to be a meaningful and valuable place where the Esri Community—customers, Esri staff, and others in the GIS and geospatial professional community—can gather to exchange ideas, solve problems, accelerate success and build relationships to create a better world through the use of geographic information technology. To achieve that goal and make sure you have a positive, productive and fulling experience here, we’re excited to share with you the new GeoNet Community Guiding Principles “Be Helpful. Be Human. Be Smart.”  


These Guiding Principles closely align with our GeoNet Terms of Use, and you can use these guidelines as a quick check to make sure your contributions are adding value and supporting our community goals. We encourage you to review the guidelines and share them with your groups and fellow members throughout GeoNet.


ArcGIS Ideas role and permissions update


We recently made changes to further improve how staff and distributors engage with customers on the ArcGIS Ideas site. As before, the site will continue to serve as a platform for Esri staff and distributors to engage with our customers and listen to your feedback and gather your ideas. Going forward, only customers can submit and vote on ideas. In some cases, Esri staff and distributors may be called upon to submit ideas on behalf of customers. Esri staff and distributors are encouraged to contribute to the site by posting follow up questions and comments on ideas.


Thanks to our GeoNet Champions!

A team of both Esri staff and customer GeoNet Community champions helped in creating and reviewing the Guiding Principles and implementing these changes for ArcGIS Ideas and we appreciate your collaboration and contributions. If you have any questions about these updates, please comment below or send an email to


Looking for more quick tips and news? Check out the previous updates and visit the GeoNet Community Help group for more information on how to get started or learn more about how to best use GeoNet.

Last week we shared How to answer questions, post comments and follow the Guiding Principles and for this week's Community News and Tips, we'd like to share a few quick tips and best practices on how to pick the right content tools to start discussions, share stories, ask questions and collaborate. 


By following the tips below you can learn: 

  • The difference between GeoNet's main content tools: Status Updates, Discussions, Questions, Documents and Blogs.  
  • How to determine which tools to use and when 


As you look into creating your own content and collaborating within the community, it is important to use the right content tool. When you use the correct content tool it will help you create better content, gain higher visibility, and receive more responses so you can accomplish your goal and solve your issue.


GeoNet provides several content tools; however, we are going to look at the most frequently used ones.  


Status Updates 


  • What it is: Status Updates tool lets you share quick updates and what’s going on right now with others in the GeoNet Community. You can add links, pictures, or @mention a person, a place, or a piece of content to increase the visibility of your update. These updates are limited to 140 characters, so you’ll want to keep these brief. Note that Status Updates are only visible from the activity stream of the place you post it because it's not one of the filter options on the content page. 
  • When to use it:  The best way to use it is when you have a short update, link or message to share with your group or the broader community. 
  • Example:  



  • What it is: The Discussions content tool is designed to allow you to have a deeper, topical conversation  where you are seeking different point of views and there is no specific solution to the issue. Discussions also have more formatting, editing and commenting capabilities that Status Updates so you can expand on your topic and have a more detailed conversation. 



  • What it is: Questions is designed to enable you to ask a question that requires a specific solution. The Questions functionality allows you and administrators to mark the correct response to the question. This puts the correct response at the top of the questions for other to find a solution faster. 
  • When to use it:  Use Questions when you are seeking a specific answer to a help solve an issue. 
    • Note: If you're trying to have an open discussion and not solve a specific issue, you should not use the Questions tool. It's best to use the Discussions tool for general conversations and feedback (see Discussions section above).
  • Example: Story Map Zoom Level   
  • For additional Questions tips, we also suggest checking out: Community News and Tips: How to ask questions and get answers



  • What it is: Documents come in two varieties:
    • 1) Collaborative native documents you write directly in the community
    • 2) uploaded files from your local machine.
    • Both are used to convey information to the community. However, the native documents within GeoNet allow multiple authors and can tack changes.  
  • When to use it:  Good examples Documents are meeting notes, how-to guides, code snippets, knowledge articles, etc. Uploaded files can be used in lieu of a collaborative document if you already have the document locally. 
  • Example: Python and ArcGIS Pro 1.3: Conde



  • What it is: Similar to Documents, Blogs are intended to convey information to the community. Blog content is normally static and does not require frequent updates. Each user within the community has their own blog in addition to certain places within the community that a blog post can be written. 
  • When to use it: Use Blogs when you are trying to share a story, opinion or thought leadership.
    • Note: If you're trying to share meeting notes, how-to guides, code snippets or knowledge articles, it's best to use Documents (see Documents section above). 
  • Example: UC Updates Day 5: Closing Session, UC and GeoNet Awards, Open Q&A  and Fun with GIS 202: Roots & Shoots  


Still not sure which one to use? Ask us! 

Learning to use the right GeoNet content tool does take practice and some tools and uses do overlap, so we encourage you to ask us for help and get additional tips in the GeoNet Resource Hub group.  


Thanks for following along and stay tuned for next week's tip! 

Last week we shared How to ask questions and get answers and for this week's Community News and Tips, we'd like to share a few quick tips and best practices on how to answer questions and post comments that are helpful, valuable and elevate the conversation


By following the tips below you can learn:

  • How to find and help answer unanswered questions. 
  • How to make sure your comments and other contributions follow the GeoNet Terms of Use and Community Guiding Principles: "Be Helpful. Be Human. Be Smart."
  • Why it's important to follow up on your comments. 


How to find unanswered questions  

Use the content page to filter open questions. This list is for all questions within the community. If you would like to see questions specific to a certain technology, browse to the place and then click on the content tab. Choose questions as the content type and then open questions from the drop down.   


If you are interested in being notified when new questions are asked, you can create a custom stream for certain tags and places. You will be notified in the community when there is a new post, and you can even set your notification preferences to send it by email.  


How to follow the GeoNet Terms of Use and Guiding Principles  

Whether you're starting or posting the first reply to a discussion, answering a question or joining an ongoing conversation, we encourage you to remember the GeoNet Terms of Use and follow these GeoNet Community Guiding Principles:  "Be Helpful. Be Human. Be Smart." 


  • Be Helpful – If you're a subject matter expert, respond to the post when someone asks a question, or help find someone who can help answer the question. Always try and elevate the conversation with a thoughtful contribution. 
    • If someone has not provided enough information to fully understand the issue, ask clarification questions and point them to the How to ask questions post so they have a good idea of the suggested information for complete questions.   
  • Be Human – Respect everyone and interact as you would in a meeting or talking face to face. Part of collaboration includes building relationships and getting to know each other, so we do encourage appropriate social sharing such as sharing relevant personal or professional experiences and interests, news about a goal you accomplished, giving a shout-out to others for a job well done, etc. Sharing these moments helps make the community more meaningful and connected. 
  • Be Smart -  Think before you post. If something makes you the slightest bit uncomfortable, figure out what needs to be changed, then fix it. Avoid posting confidential information or anything that fellow employees or customers, clients, business partners, suppliers, vendors, or other stakeholders might find offensive.


Why following up is important

Not every question or discussion is completed in just one reply, so make sure to come back to the conversation to see if there's any other questions asked or additional information you can share. And post your follow-up responses in a timely manor.   



Thanks for following along and stay tuned for next week's tip! 


For more information about how to get more out of your GeoNet Community experience, check out the GeoNet Resource Hub group. 



Did you know that 21% of GeoNet questions do not receive a reply? Why is this? One of the reasons is because many of the unanswered questions don't include the necessary details, or complete information, for subject matter experts to understand the issue and provide an answer. For this week's Community News and Tips, we'd like to share a few simple tips on how to ask and get answers to your questions. 


By following the steps below you can not only help reduce the amount of unanswered questions but also:

  • Make sure your questions are shared and posted correctly on GeoNet 
  • Help identify the best subject matter expert to answer your question.  
  • Make it easier and quicker for others who may have the same or similar question  


Step 1 – Search First  

Begin searching by typing the question, the error message, or keyword into the “Ask a question” widget on the home page. The top related questions will be returned. If you do not find what you are looking for, then you can "Search all results" or "Ask it" to create your own question.  

Step 2 – Enter a New Question 

If you do not find an answer to your question for the search results then click the "Ask It" button. This will allow you to create a new question and provide the following information: 

  1. Enter a descriptive title so that other community members can have a general idea of the question before clicking the discussion. 
  2. In the body of the discussion provide an explanation of the issue and what problem you're trying to solve.  
  3. Provide the software, version, and/or programing language being used. This is imperative for others to understand the foundation of your question or issue.  
  4. Including the following information will also help subject matter experts better answer your question:
    • Error messages
    • Screenshots of the error or issue 
    • Data types
  5. Select a place to post your question. Results from your initial search can give you a good idea of where to post your question. You can also see all of our Communities for ideas of where to post. See also: Where do I post my question?!?
  6. Add appropriate tags to help others find your question. 


Step 3 – Come back to say "thanks" and recognize others 

Once you have received an answer to your question we encourage you to come back to the community do one, or all of, these steps below. This final steps help to recognize others for their contribution, improve search results for future questions, and ultimately make the community more valuable and meaningful. 


Now that you've reviewed the steps, here's an example of how the title and description of your questions should look like. Given the nature of topic, your title and description length might vary. However, we do encourage you to keep your question content as clear, and concise as possible. 



Thanks for following along for this week's tip. Stay tuned for next week's tip as we explore how to answer questions. 

As we continue to evolve the GeoNet Community, we’re excited to introduce today a new weekly “Community News and Tips” series. This series, posted every Monday, will feature quick tips, guides and other information to help you stay connected, collaborate better and get more out of your GeoNet experience. By following this series you’ll be informed on what’s coming next in the community and learn how to ask and answer questions, collaborate with documents, submit product enhancements, create a group engagement strategy and more.


To kick off the series, we wanted to share two important updates about the GeoNet Community platform:


First, this Friday August 12, 2016 from 7:00pm to 12:00am PST, maintenance work will be done to implement new GeoNet Community platform enhancements explained below. During this time you may be unable to access the community.


Second, following the initial release of enhancements on Friday, over the coming weeks we will be rolling out and explaining these and additional enhancements. We’ll use this new weekly series to provide more detailed information about these changes explaining how they will impact and can improve your GeoNet experience.  For now, we've provided a brief note below next to those enhancements that will be updated and impact your experience after Friday's maintenance period.


  • Content Editor -The content editor used to author and edit content will be getting updated functionality with a simpler, more usable format.
  • HTML5 Updated - HTML5 replacing Flash for document preview.
  • Enhanced Place Banner - Place banners now have a condensed area for options that will provide easier access to key elements for place owners and community members.


We’re looking forward to sharing more details about these community platform enhancements. We hope you find this new "Community News and Tips" series meaningful and valuable, and we welcome your ideas for future weekly news and tips. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please share it in the comments below.

ccatania.pngI am excited to announce that Christopher Catania has joined Esri as the Digital Community Strategist overseeing the strategy for GeoNet and Esri online customer communities. Prior to Esri, he spent the last several years creating online communities and using communication, collaboration and social media strategies to build relationships between brands and their customers and organizations and their employees.


When not at work he enjoys reading books, watching awesome movies, watching the Cubs, trail running, exploring the outdoors, spending time with his family and sharing his thoughts on the business of online communities, live music and life on his website Live Fix.


Although he has only been in this role for a couple months, he has hit the ground running by meeting with key Esri leaders and customers, getting up to speed on current GeoNet projects, and developing a communication strategy for the 2016 User Conference. I am excited to be working along side him to provide an outstanding community for our users. Here is a brief update from Chris:


Since joining Esri in April, here are some of projects I’ve been working on these last couple months and what’s coming down the road as we continue to develop the Esri Community strategy.

  • An important part of building the Esri Community strategy is understanding where we’re at, so over the last few months I’ve spent time talking with customers and employees to learn what community members value the most and where we can grow the community.  I’ll be sharing more about this process and how we can partner and collaborate together to build the community strategy.
  • Esri Community at UC strategy: During the UC we will be hosting community meet-ups and publishing live content from the conference to GeoNet.  This is a first, so I’m looking forward to connecting with you and collaborating with the community all week and beyond. I’m excited to meet you and learn about your UC experiences and hear what you think about this new approach!
  • ArcGIS Ideas was successfully migrated and launched in the Esri Community on GeoNet. Throughout the rest of the year, we’ll be sharing more updates about how the Ideas site is going and how we see it supporting the rest of the GeoNet Community and the Esri organization.
  • We created and shared the latest  Ten Questions for Esri (featuring Lauren Bennett). We’ll be evolving the Ten Questions series in addition to other content in the The specified item was not found. so stay tuned for updates.
  • To make it easier to discover and engage with community content, I'm working with the web strategy team to create modules that will allow us to imbed community content on various places within
  • We’ve kicked off a project to clean up and realign select groups and spaces within GeoNet. If your group is impacted by this work, we’ll let you know.


Thanks again for your contributions and support of the Esri Community and I look forward to connecting with you at UC and on GeoNet!

We are excited to announce that the new ArcGIS Ideas space is now live in the Esri Community on GeoNet!  As we shared earlier this week, we moved and enhanced the previous ArcGIS Ideas site and we now invite you to visit ArcGIS Ideas to begin posting, voting and collaborating on ideas.




How-To and FAQs guides

To get started, we encourage you to check out the following guides which include tips, FAQs and other ArcGIS Ideas information:



What’s next?

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing additional information about the new ArcGIS site including progress on submitted ideas, news from the product team, feature enhancements and more. 


Thank you for your contributions and we look forward to seeing your ideas, thoughts and suggestions as we continue to collaborate with you in the Esri Community!

We are excited to announce that this week we will launch the new ArcGIS Ideas space in the GeoNet Community!  As we shared earlier, we have moved and made enhancements to the ArcGIS Ideas site to improve the experience of submitting, voting and collaborating on ideas.




Much like the old ArcGIS Ideas site, the new home page will feature the most recent and top ideas that have been submitted and more. The GeoNet platform also offers new and exciting features. Here are the top three to look forward to in the ArcGIS Ideas Space:


  • Updated Categories – Ideas will be organized based on our current products and capabilities, to make submitting and browsing easier.


  • Revamped Statuses – New statuses will be implemented to improve the visibility of the life cycle of an idea. They will describe the varying stages of an idea’s life from the time it’s submitted to the time it’s reviewed, considered, and potentially implemented, etc.


  • Collaboration Tools – It will be possible to @mention people, places and content across the Esri Community to directly link an idea or comment to another entity in GeoNet. Including additional authors on your idea will also be possible to foster collaboration with your peers.


What’s next?


On the day prior to the move, Wednesday, May 25th, all existing content on the current ArcGIS Ideas site will be read-only. All ideas will be migrated into GeoNet on Thursday, May 26. Then on Friday, May 27th, you will be redirected to the Esri Community when accessing Going forward you will be able to access ArcGIS Ideas from within GeoNet by clicking on the site link in the navigation banner.


Later this week, we will provide more information about this new space including “how-to” guides and FAQs to help you get started exploring and submitting and voting on ideas.


Please continue to share your ideas and feedback with us. We want to hear from you and we’re thrilled about this opportunity to introduce ArcGIS Ideas to the Esri Community!

Thanks for all you have done to make ArcGIS Ideas successful. We look forward to experiencing this next phase of innovation and collaborating with you in this new space.

In December we began discussing the redesign of the community homepage (New GeoNet Homepage and Graphics). These redesign changes will be released over the next couple months beginning with the Phase 1 this weekend (March 4-6).


Phase 1

  • Content Layout - All content types will get an improved look and feel. (Complete)
  • Homepage Layout - The homepage will focus on helping users explore the community while also highlighting top places and content within the community. (Complete)
  • Site Width - The site will be expanded to a 1440px width to reduce white space in order to bring more content within a single view. (Complete)


Phase 2

  • Thumbnail Graphics - The "Explore Pages" will have each thumbnail updated.
  • Banner Graphics - Banner graphics for all space will be expanded to accommodate the 1440px width.


Phase 3

  • Community Taxonomy - Many places within the community will be consolidated to help bring related content into a single location.


Please be patient as we work through each of these improvements. If you have any questions or concerns you may comment on this post or email us directly at Thank you!


If you encounter any issues, please see: Known issues with homepage redesign and community improvements

On February 19th we will perform an upgrade to our community platform. Content is a big focus for this release with designs that are simple, modern, and optimized for mobile. Each content type focuses on the most important functionality. In addition to content we are implementing the News feature which will impact the Navigation Bar and the Inbox/Activity Page.


News Page

News separates the "Inbox" from the "Activity". Inbox includes Inbox, Actions, and Moderation. The News page includes Activity, Recent Activity, Top & Trending Activity, and Custom Streams.


The Community News stream will be added for information about the GeoNet community. To start this would be blogs from GeoNet Help and the community manager. There will also be additional areas for helpful information and links.


With the addition of the New page the Map will be removed from the Navigation bar, your Inbox will be accessible from the notification icon, and Your Content and Your Places will be added to your profile drop down.




Activity Indicators

Prior to one of our previous updates every activity stream had little icons representing new activity in the stream. These icons showed 3 bars representing new activity in the stream (1 bar for 1-3 new activities, 2 bars for 3-9 new activities, and 3 bars for 10+ new activities). User research showed that most users has no idea what these icons meant, yet they were responsible for a tremendous amount of processing and performance challenges on the homepage. Jive Software removed them with the plans to reintroduce once they could implement them properly. We got a some feedback that existing users missed these indicators. I'm happy to announce that they are now available again with this upcoming release.


The new design simply shows an indicator of new activity for each stream. Hovering over that indicator will show the count of new activities since the user last viewed the stream. The activities in the count include likes, comments, edits, and creates. In a future release, we plan to show a breakdown of the types of activities that are new, rather than a single count.




Blog Posts

Visually appealing blog posts that delight the viewer at first glance. One change you will instantly notice is the eye-catching banner image on top. This image will also be the primary photo that shows up as the post appears in news streams. We also switched to a fixed width column formatting which ensures high readability and same look-and-feel irrespective of screen resolution.





The content creation experience has also been modified to match the new blog post design, and other content type designs comes with a corresponding creation update as well.



Events new design also provides a banner image at the top and puts emphasis on the event details and the ability to attend the event. The breadcrumbs, actions, and related content links follow the same design pattern across all types.




Polls have been redesigned with an emphasis on the options and the ability to vote.




Discussions don't change much, but follow the new design pattern. Breadcrumbs and actions move to the top, related content moves below. The only other change is the separation of discussions and questions. They are now separate content types and can be accessed from the create menu.




Questions now appear as a separate type rather than an option on a discussion. This makes it easier to create and browse questions. There are no other changes to how questions work.





Documents gain the ability to be marked as helpful. They also get a full screen "presentation" mode both on view and create, to take advantage of large displays when working on tables or other embedded artifacts. As you scroll, the document header will collapse, helping keep context and quickly jump back to the document.



In the next few months ArcGIS Ideas will be moving to GeoNet. This move is expected to improve the overall experience of submitting new ideas and contributing to existing ideas. As we move closer to the date, we will be providing more information about the move and any changes you can expect. Thanks for all you have done to make ArcGIS Ideas successful, and we look forward to introducing the next generation of Ideas soon!




We have been collecting a lot of great feedback from the community, and we have been working to get some of it implemented. One of the requests we have heard is that there is too much white space, so we are expanding the page width from 960px to 1440px. We have simplified the navigation bar to Communities, Blogs, and Help. Products/Industries/Regional Groups graphics will take users to specific landing pages containing both spaces and groups related to those areas. The icons underneath will help users get to Featured Places. Here is a screenshot of these upcoming changes:



We completed an update to GeoNet over the weekend. This update was mostly focused on backend structure for some upcoming features, but the most visible improvement is the update email. By default each GeoNet member receives an update email once a week (normally on Thursdays). This can be changed to daily or twice a week from under your preferences -!input.jspa


The digest email was redesigned to create a more simple and engaging reading expereince. Below are the two main sections you will see:


Trending Now - This section contains mostly recent content from places you are following or are mentioned in; however, you will find a small percentage of content from other parts of the community.


Updates On Your Contributions - This section contains activity on content you have created.


New Update Email 2.png


New Update Email.png

You all have provided some great feedback about the homepage, and many comments focused specifically on the fact that you have to scroll down a bit to see new activity. We have rearranged some of the static content and added more recent content towards the top of the page.


You will now see a featured content carousel that will highlight content and places from the community. There is also a list of unanswered questions to get more eyes on your questions.


These are just some small changes to help provide a better user experience. We are continuing to work on other enhancements to the community architecture and user experience that you should see later this year. If you have any feedback, please continue to send it our way. Thank you!

Imagery_Remote_Sensing_Thumbnail.jpgA new space dedicated to Imagery and Remote Sensing has just been opened up!


This Space is dedicated to the worldwide Imagery Community!  Engage with us on: imagery and other rasters (as applied to remote sensing/earth observation), including satellite, aerial and drone/UAS/UAV sensors. Also scientific data, elevation and Lidar. This can span image management, processing, dissemination, interpretation and analysis.


Check it out: Imagery and Remote Sensing


Note: In an effort to consolidate several places on GeoNet related to this topic, we will be moving existing content to the new space and closing duplicate places.