Automation - GIS Strategy

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04-06-2022 07:23 AM
Bud
by
Notable Contributor

My organization is currently in the process of developing a GIS Strategic Plan. In my opinion, GIS automation has been overlooked in the strategy...I'd like to see us develop automation mechanisms as part of the strategy, such as:

  • Scheduled jobs: mechanism to easily precompute GIS fields and tables. Not an "IT-only" solution, but something that power-users can use too.
  • Scheduled reports: let all users set up conditional reports that would be emailed to recipients on a schedule.
  • Other - there are likely other areas of automation that I haven't thought of yet.

Automation mechanisms like that would help us achieve our corporate IT direction, which is "technology done right"


Question:

Does anyone have any suggestions about automation areas to include in the strategy?
Or can you recommend a GIS Strategy document from another organization who did well in terms of automation?

Thanks!

4 Replies
JonEmch
Esri Regular Contributor

Within ArcGIS Enterprise, we offer a piece of technology called ArcGIS Notebooks. This built in Jupiter notebook enables you to code from very easy to very complex table computations within the context of a feature layer all the way to administering your ArcGIS Enterprise deployment. (More on this here: What are ArcGIS Notebooks?)

In terms of automation, we have made notebooks available to be triggered via webhooks in ArcGIS Enterprise. The implementation of this also enables users to publish notebooks as web tools within the Enterprise Portal.

Although it is really early in the day for this functionality, I see this as a cornerstone to your automation mission. On a personal note, although ArcGIS Notebooks may be a bit intimidating I find that our samples and API are very robust in this area: https://developers.arcgis.com/python/sample-notebooks/

Keep on keeping on!
0 Kudos
Bud
by
Notable Contributor

Thanks.
Are you aware of any publicly available/real-world use cases where regular users (non-IT) are empowered to manage their own automation jobs? (scheduled jobs to precompute data and emailed/scheduled reports)

And do you know if ArcGIS Notebook server licensing and privileges are structured in a way that would make it practical for all power-users to manage their own automations?

The reason I ask is:
I come from the IBM world, where all applicable users are empowered to manage their own automations -- with zero code. There is OOTB functionality for easily making scheduled reports and scheduled jobs -- all via the UI. That is hugely beneficial. Whereas, I'm under the impression that ArcGIS Notebook Server is only really used via administrative tools -- not in the main application that everyday users use (i.e. ArcGIS Pro).

I guess what I'm getting as is: it would be fantastic if GIS practitioners could create their own scheduled automations (emailed reports and scheduled jobs) right in ArcGIS Pro -- executed on the server (not the local PC/Windows scheduled task). And with minimal code and as part of a standard ArcGIS implementation -- so that it's all set up OOTB.

That would be a game changer. One of the biggest benefits of ArcGIS is that standard ArcGIS implementations have loads of functionality OOTB...forcing IT departments to empower their users. If I'm understanding correctly, it seems like ArcGIS has an opportunity for improvement in this area.

JonEmch
Esri Regular Contributor

Hello Bud,

    I see where you are getting at with your post and I can attest that certain automation tasks are present within ArcGIS Enterprise for non IT users. I will try to break down your post bit by bit to address the points you've made:

Are you aware of any publicly available/real-world use cases where regular users (non-IT) are empowered to manage their own automation jobs? (scheduled jobs to precompute data and emailed/scheduled reports)

Yes, we have published case studies on automation via ArcGIS Notebook Server back in 2020: Dev Summit 2020: Automated notebook workflows for air quality And I know that we are constantly developing these case studies with our user base, so the blog would be a good place to follow for this.

In terms of specifically running reports we do have the Usage Reports functionality, but in terms of purely pre processing data we offer a slew of ways users can implement custom web tools that they develop in ArcGIS Pro and run data through ArcGIS Notebooks or via other ways. Scheduled tasks can be kicked off via a webhook via a variety of triggers as well.


And do you know if ArcGIS Notebook server licensing and privileges are structured in a way that would make it practical for all power-users to manage their own automations?


ArcGIS Notebook Server follows a similar licensing approach as most of our applications meaning you can licenses if on a user by user basis within the Enterprise portal.

I understand the hesitancy of using code, but again, the sample notebooks have been documented in such a way that they can be modified for your specific use case. In terms of purely no code solutions, we do have some offerings as I mentioned above. 

I would encourage you to flesh out your specific use case and log an Idea within the ArcGIS Enterprise Ideas page. This would help the product team judge the interest in terms of no code automation solutions at the user level.

 

PS: Fresh off the press, using ArcGIS Monitor to create and manage scheduled tasks by our partner Dymaptic: Monitor scheduled tasks in Windows with ArcGIS Monitor

Keep on keeping on!
Bud
by
Notable Contributor

Thanks for the info.

I talk more about my use case here: Practical GIS automation for non-IT users