Using Web App Templates - Elevation Profile - Portal 10.6

10-05-2018 01:10 PM
Occasional Contributor

If you have ever tried to use the Elevation Profile web app template in ArcGIS Portal - it works somewhat differently from using this in ArcGIS Online.  The instructions in the Portal Documentation online do not spell out that first, this service (from ArcGIS Online) must be enabled in the Portal's settings - and that using this service consumes credits.

In the configuration, there are options for other services (like Bing Maps - and putting that key into the configuration), and there is discussion about if your Portal is not on a machine connected to the internet - and the links to building a custom elevation profile service are there - but, the instructions are sparse related to AGOL - only after some digging do you discover why it isn't working. 

When you try to configure this web app using the template, and you don't know about how your Portal is configured - this elevation profile tool may not work - there are no errors - just nothing appears.  It means you're not configured to use your ArcGIS Online account's elevation service.  Uh oh.  Who knew? 

Let's pretend you are a publisher - no Portal admin rights, or a user with no Portal admin rights, who puts maps and apps together - you don't know what you don't know.  You might think it's your map.  You might think it is some other setting.  You check and try - even look up the documentation - hmmmm... - everything seems right... but it isn't.  Still not working.

You (the web app maker) might poke around and continue to look this issue up and eventually, after digging enough, you call your admin and say, "Hey - is this elevation service from ArcGIS Online hooked up for us to use?" - and the admin says, "Nah, it consumes credits, so we don't hook it up."  Well, you can see how this is going...  What is the user who is trying to build this app going to do?  Probably walk away, right?  Go look for some other app template that works for the purpose or go do something else in the in-basket.

This is unfortunate, because within these web app templates - people have put in a lot of time and work to build for sharing to everyone so that they do not have to invent these from scratch.  It's the beauty of Portal and AGOL, both, enabling people to put together apps without being a developer!  Mapping apps for everyone!  But, when using these does not give the intended result - this can cause a great app to never be used again - word gets around...

So, what's the answer to enable better use of some of these brilliant tools that people have worked hard to put together for Portal users?  Better documentation, I would say, could be a start -

I would love to hear from some of you out there who have used (or tried) some of these web app templates - Some of these are truly awesome for quick app building - they make beautiful apps with your maps - and everyone hopes that they will get used...

For example, I use this elevation profile app on my own ArcGIS Online site and love it - also love the compare 4 maps of the same place as they sync and interact - that one is very cool.

I submitted some feedback.  Do you do this?


1 Reply
New Contributor II

It is a shame there have been no replies here.   It is a good summary of how I am feeling, chasing my tail on this topic.  Unfortunately it is only food for thought and no solution.  I would love to see ESRI personnel take this up and find a viable solution.   Thank you for posting, it is good to know that I am not alone in this.. even 4 years after the initial post.