With the spread of the COVID-19 virus, governments around the world are trying to mitigate and slow infection rates by encouraging social distancing between people. As such, many public and private organizations have transitioned personnel to working remotely to reduce the risk of infection.
The rapid transition to a remote workforce may have caught some organizations off guard. But ArcGIS is ready to support a distributed workforce. The guidance below describes steps that you can take to use ArcGIS to support business in this new paradigm.
ArcGIS Is Designed to Support a Distributed Workforce
ArcGIS is designed to work in a distributed fashion. As long as it is deployed in a web GIS pattern, ArcGIS supports a remote workforce with interconnected software that can be accessed anywhere, including when users are disconnected from the network. With web GIS, you can leverage ArcGIS to deliver easy-to-use applications to a large number of distributed and remote users.
For those who have yet to embrace a contemporary web GIS pattern of deployment, this is an opportunity to modernize and take advantage of ArcGIS’s distributed design. The easiest way to leverage the distributed design of ArcGIS is by subscribing to ArcGIS Online, Esri’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. If you do not yet have access to Esri’s SaaS products, Esri is offering COVID-19 response SaaS solutions at no charge. Visit https://coronavirus-resources.esri.com/ for more information.
ArcGIS supports remote users with well-defined user types and roles. If you have implemented a contemporary web GIS architecture, most of your staff will continue to engage with ArcGIS normally, with no changes. As long as appropriate network/internet access is available, you will likely see little or no impact to the work of executives, managers, or knowledge workers. Personnel such as field crews, analysts, or administrators may see moderate impacts as they transition to working remotely. These expectations are summarized in Table 1, below.
ArcGIS User Type
Impact of the Transition to Remote Work
Low to moderate
Creator, GIS Professional, Insights Analyst
Low to moderate
Low to moderate
Table 1: Roles, user types, and the impact of the transition to remote work.
What Are My Next Steps?
To ensure your remote staff are aware of any impacts to their work, consider sharing this document along with your organizational guidelines on how to maintain productivity while working remotely. If any of your staff will need to take advantage of ArcGIS from a remote desktop, there are many resources available to you on virtualizing ArcGIS Pro, options for deploying ArcGIS Desktop in the cloud, and licensing ArcGIS Desktop in cloud environments.
If you’re struggling to authorize software in a disconnected environment, we have an offline authorization process through My Esri:
Use the Software Authorization Wizard to generate an authorization file for the numbers you wish to activate. Select Authorize at Esri's website or by email to receive your authorization file.
Upload the authorization file through the Secure Site Operations page on My Esri to generate a license file.
If you haven’t been embracing a web GIS pattern, now is the time to get started. Identify which deployment option is best suited for your organization’s needs (working with Esri, if needed). ArcGIS Online is a great SaaS option to rapidly establish a destination where your workforce can access the maps, apps, and data they need to do their work effectively. ArcGIS Enterprise is installed on your own infrastructure that you control and manage, which empowers you to design a highly customized system tailored to your organization’s specific business requirements.
ArcGIS is designed to be resilient against workplace environment disruptions (like the one we’re experiencing right now). Most of your employees needing GIS content and capabilities will experience little to no impact on their work provided you have implemented a web GIS pattern and have network access to your environment.
If you have any questions or need help, please reach out to Esri for assistance.