Preparing Web Applications for Maintaining Common Place-Names with ArcGIS Online

Blog Post created by b_martinez-esristaff Employee on Nov 8, 2017

By Philip Mielke, Esri Patterns and Practice


In the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) world, ArcGIS is known for providing the basis for mapping, geocoding, routing, and geographic lookup capabilities. Additionally, state and local governments are using ArcGIS to store and establish geographic records, communicate with stakeholders through powerful maps, and derive new insights in their data by using analysis. While developing a mature geographic information system (GIS) can take time, there are several ways that you can immediately leverage ArcGIS for meaningful tasks.


This high-level overview will guide you in using ArcGIS Online to build a field app to collect and manage common place-names for a CAD geocoding system. By sharing the responsibility of updating common place-names, your agency will be able to update them quickly and record changes and observations while in the field. A better common place-names database means getting first responders to where they need to be, without mistakes. You'll need administrative-level access to configure ArcGIS Online, publish address data, make a web map, and create Crowdsource Reporter and Crowdsource Manager applications to collect common place-names.


Create a Group

Good work needs a nice, clean place to start! A group in ArcGIS Online establishes the permission and content for a working group. You'll want to create a group specifically to house the data, maps, and apps that you'll be publishing and building. Use best practices for the group that you're creating, and choose a good icon and description to establish what this group is for. Invite staff who will be responsible for the collection and quality control of common place-names data.

Publish an Existing Common Place-Names Layer

ArcGIS Pro is the desktop software that GIS professionals are migrating their data and workflows to from ArcMap. You can add data from the geodatabase to update and manage addresses in ArcMap, and adjust symbology to reflect what you expect to see in the applications. Once you're happy with their look and feel, share data as web layers, via your ArcGIS Online organizational account, with the group you previously created. Depending on your agency, this means publishing addresses (your operational layer—where the work happens) and agency boundaries (your reference layer—where context resides).

Author a Web Map

A web map is where previously published web layers come together and behave according to the way that you configure a few simple parameters. This web map will be where the Crowdsource Reporter and Crowdsource Manager applications connect to for data, symbology, and some web mapping behavior like labeling and scale levels.


Add your recently published layers to the web map and adjust each layer to reflect the style and symbology that you want your users to see. Configure pop-ups to hide unnecessary fields, and establish clean aliases for your fields to make pop-ups more legible. Create labels to better contextualize your jurisdictional boundaries within the web application. Save the web map and share it with your working group.

Configure Crowdsource Reporter

Crowdsource Reporter is a configurable application template that allows users to submit problems or observations. We'll use this configurable application to collect crowdsourced common place-names from staff you grant access to. The application has been optimized for smartphones but is designed to be used on tablets and desktop computers as well.


From the Group view, you'll see the layers and web map that you've recently published and configured. On the right, you'll click Share to create a web app. Select Crowdsource Reporter.

You'll be able to configure the Crowdsource Reporter application and publish this for your working group by clicking Create a Web App. You won't need to deviate from the defaults to make a simple configuration of Crowdsource Reporter to collect common place-names in the field or at a desk.

Configure Crowdsource Manager

Crowdsource Manager—a companion configurable application template to data collection apps such as Crowdsource Reporter—allows users within an organization to review problems or observations submitted through the Crowdsource Reporter application. The application can be used on tablets and desktop computers.


You'll work through the same dialog box to create, configure, and share Crowdsource Manager. From the Group view, you'll see the layers and web map that you've recently published and configured. On the right, you'll click Share to create a web app. Select Crowdsource Manager.


Configure Crowdsource Manager to use it as a desktop quality control application. Users will be able to review recent additions for completeness and correctness.

Exporting Data for Updating the CAD System

At any regular interval, it's easy to export the data being recorded by Crowdsource Reporter and checked for quality by Crowdsource Manager. By going directly to the web layer you published in the group, you can export a shapefile or file geodatabase of the common place-names feature that your staff has been maintaining. Once you've downloaded it locally, you can import it into your CAD system through your usual methods.

If you have any questions on the above procedures discussed in this blog, please contact our Emergency Call Taking and Dispatch Manager, Mike King, at mking@esri.com.