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Ability to add an additional owner to web feature layer

12-31-2020 08:10 AM
Status: Open
New Contributor III

The ability to add multiple owners for a web feature layer would be useful. Particularly when like me, I share some responsibilities for maintaining, creating and editing these web feature layers. However, some coworkers don't have the experience with GIS or AGOL, and allowing an additional owner would allow me to make improvements to those web feature layers or vice versa. It would allow also for when I leave my current position and/or employer and a simpler way to transfer ownership of the data and ensure continuity.

Tags (1)
by Anonymous User

Hi Damian,

Thanks for creating the ArcGIS Idea. I'd like to highlight two ways we could achieve this with existing functionality.

Administrators, or custom roles with select privileges, can manage other users items.

This could include changing ownership of the items in the event the user leaves. This process can also be automated through the ArcGIS API for Python.

I've also seen some organizations have a designated account for authorative content. Web Maps and associated layers ready to go public are reviewed, then changed ownership to that user account. This allows for a QA process, gives authority to content and helps prevent undesired changes.

Specific to your idea, the Shared Update groups allow members to update items that are shared with the group. It's set by Administrators on group creation and allows for multiple people to update the same item. A common workflow, say for field data collection, is to have the web map and layers shared to a standard group (fieldworkers + map publishers) and then share the same items a second time to a Shared Update group (map publishers only). This gives the workers access, and the additional sharing mechanism enables non-owners like yourself to update the maps as required.

Please let me know if these methods don't meet your requirements.
Cheers, Chris


@Anonymous User bit of a bad take.

The privilege to manage another user's content is an administrative privilege and allows them to not manage just the one content item you intend, but any other user's content. It's asking for trouble. It's a solution that shouldn't be offered up lightly.

Using a shared account is only a slightly better approach, but is still playing incredibly fast and loose with security. An even bigger challenge with both this suggestion and the previous is that when you grant any administrative privilege to a user, you end up exposing every single service in the organization to that user because I guess Portal now considers them a semi-administrator. It's kind of bananas. Shared Accounts are almost never a good idea, regardless of data sensitivity or classification. To maintain security, one should use a centralized group that several users can contribute curated content to. 

Shared Update Groups are by far the best suggestion here but they have their limitations. For one, if an item could have multiple owners then decommissioning a user account that was being removed from the organization would be far easier as you wouldn't run into as many issues with having to find a new owner for the departing user's content before you removed them. It is a real headache for org admins.

Props to @DamianSmith for having the foresight to see that coming if/when he leaves his org and bringing it up now to save his org admin some grief.

I understand the security concerns. At least for my organization and the group I created, I’m the group owner and setup the group roles as need. But because I work for large institution, I won’t be given admin privileges beyond the publisher role for AGOL. I’m not a fan of shared accounts, but we have been forced to set one up, as we have help come in in the spring and summer. I also work in an interagency environment, which adds additional challenges They often have little GIS experience and going through the process of getting them an account doesn’t make sense. We need to be able to hand them an iPad with Collector and show them how to get the information we need.
Those user only have the access to data I want them to.
I’m trying to help teach my less experienced coworkers the basic ins & outs of managing geospatial data, setting up new features, geodatabase, making and editing high quality map, etc. Plus getting them to understand the changes I’m making and why for long term improvements in continuity and quality of the data collected and updated. And finally getting myself more comfortable AGOL itself, it’s limitations, etc. I don’t do GIS work full time, it just one my additional duties.
I only suggested dual ownership for when it is absolutely critical. In my case having dual ownership is particularly beneficial to me when it comes to manipulating some their data sets

I'd love to set selected users as alternative owners, we spend probably an hour each week swapping owners of content so other people can do the updates in the work flow since only the owner can overwrite and append, or publish story maps. For more complex workflows, many users take turns updating data and it's never just one person. Not only does it involve the users and admin, but it also involves me, the intermediary non admin person who is the go between for users and admin. So many people end up being involved just to let someone else append a feature layer or hit the publish button on a story map. I definitely appreciate the need to not allow ownership to many people for security, so maybe it's only something an administrator can set up.