"Shortcodes" For Making Items Easy to Find

Idea created by pdoherty_napsg on Sep 2, 2020

    Real-world Problem: ArcGIS Online has grown into a large ecosystem of maps, apps, and data. When searching for an item, (public, private, or especially inter-organizational) it is now very difficult to simply use keywords or titles.


    Technical Problem: Keywords, Titles, Tags are not unique enough. This problem is especially challenging when trying to help someone find a web map in mobile apps like Explorer.


    Example: A simple search for "Fire Map" returns +10,000 results! 


    Workaround: At NAPSG Foundation we started using item ids when referencing specific items vs sending links. Why? Inter-organization URLs often cause issues. For example, if NAPSG shares something into a private group with GISCorps members, if we send them a link that includes napsg.maps.arcgis.com - that often prompts them to sign-in to our organization. This is a known issue with ArcGIS Online that I think they are working on.


    Search for Item ID: 6dc469279760492d802c7ba6db45ff0e (it's the unique code at the end of a URL for an item) in ArcGIS Online and it will take you to our #FireMappers app.


    But what about when you are on the phone or radio trying to describe to a non-GIS person how to navigate to an item that they have access to but can't seem to find? Keywords won't work and item ids are too long. 


    Solution: Shortcodes! 

    We currently take the last 5 characters of the item id and add it to both the title and tags for our item. 

    Item ID: 6dc469279760492d802c7ba6db45ff0e

    Short Code: 5ff0e

    Search for 5ff0e in ArcGIS Online and our #FireMappers map appears right at the top of the search and I can confirm with my "end-user" / customer that this is the right item because the shortcode is in the title. I can even read this over the phone or radio quickly as "the number five, f-foxtrot, f-foxtrot, the number 0, e-echo". 


    We have used this in a few different projects and disaster response support and it works really well! QuickCapture now uses this concept for public projects and SARTopo (an ArcGIS Online-like app) uses shortcodes as well. 


    Wouldn't it be awesome if each item had a shortcode generated by default??? Please upvote.