What is it?
Visual ND is the State of North Dakotaís enterprise ArcGIS Online license for state agencies. ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based tool from Esri that hosts and serves out data, services, maps, and applications. Visual ND provides a pool of ArcGIS Online users and credits for state agencies who wish to utilize this technology. Visual ND leverages state agency buying power which will help to reduce the overall cost to the state.
ArcGIS Online doesnít currently replace existing Desktop GIS software but it can supplement it and in some cases, it can provide GIS functionality to casual GIS users who need access to data but donít require Desktop GIS software. ArcGIS Online does not replace the North Dakota GIS Hub but it utilizes data on the GIS Hub. ArcGIS Online is just another tool, similar to other web-based applications that consume data from the GIS Hub via web services.
Key functionality of this tool includes:
- Share maps to the public, internal to an agency, and between agencies
- Ready to use maps
- Customizable application templates
- Embed maps into existing web sites
- Direct mapping of spreadsheet data
How to Get It
If your agency is interested in using Visual ND, please contact the State GIS Coordinator or simply visit the GIS Hub Feedback Form. If your agency has not yet had experience with ArcGIS Online, a demonstration of the capabilities can be set up.
For many agencies, using Visual ND will work very well to manage the agencyís maps and other information within a group and using security. Visual ND also doubles as a test environment, so if an agency isnít sure if ArcGIS Online is for them, they can try it out at no cost. For some agencies, a dedicated site may be required to meet their needs. A dedicated site can be obtained by purchasing ArcGIS Online directly from Esri or by creating an "entitlement" site based upon one or more ArcGIS Desktop licenses covered by maintenance. A hybrid model is also possible where an agency's users are in that agency's entitlement site and in Visual ND.
How to Get Started Using Visual ND
Once your agency has access to Visual ND/ArcGIS Online some consideration should be made on how to organize the content to make it easier to find, access, and share. The North Dakota GIS Technical Committee has published the Guidelines for Using ArcGIS Online (pdf) to assist in making your agency successful in the use of Visual ND.
Even though ArcGIS Online is relatively easy to use, training in the administration and use of ArcGIS Online will be very beneficial to your organization. Particularly in learning how to minimize the use of the credits and finding about functionality and tools that arenít readily apparent. Please see the training section in the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.
Additional resources useful for administering ArcGIS Online can be found on the ArcGIS Online Administration wiki.
For information on using ArcGIS Online on a tablet or smartphone, please see the Mobile page
Frequently Asked Questions - General
Q. Who can have it?
- Visual ND is for North Dakota state agencies
Q. Who is paying for Visual ND?
- In a partnership between the Commerce Department and the Information Technology Department, Visual ND is general-funded by the Legislature.
Q. What does it cost for an agency?
- During the 2013-2015 Biennium:
- No cost for users on a first-come, first-served basis if the total number of all Visual ND users does not exceed the pool of users set in the state's ArcGIS Online license. After that, additional users will be added as needed, with a possible cost/user.
- No cost for credits on a first-come, first-served basis if the total number of all Visual ND credits does not exceed the pool of credits set in the state's ArcGIS Online license. After that, additional credits will be added as needed, with a possible cost/1000 credits.
- Beginning with the 2015-2017 Biennium:
- The plan is for agencies to be billed based on their number of ArcGIS Online users, with the cost not to exceed what they would have paid if they had purchased directly from Esri.
- The costs may be reduced as more agencies utilize Visual ND.
Q. What training is available?
- Free and low-cost training is available from Esri
- Group training led by an Esri instructor will be made available as needed. This training tends to be more expensive but costs are greatly reduced when group training is coordinated. Contact us if your agency is interested in obtaining instructor-led training.
Q. How is support handled?
- If you are with an agency WITH ArcGIS desktop software users AND have your own dedicated ArcGIS Online site: Contact Esri as you would for other software issues, e.g., through your IT Coordinator or other specified Esri support contact.
- If you are with an agency WITH or WITHOUT ArcGIS desktop software users AND are using the Visual ND site: Contact the ITD Service Desk
- If you have other Visual ND support questions please contact the ITD Service Desk.
Frequently Asked Questions Ė Technical
Q. Iím trying to add a web layer to my map and Iím getting an error, what is the problem?
- Depending on what browser you are using, ArcGIS Online does not like to mix URLs beginning with http and https. For example, if your ArcGIS Online site begins with https, then the services you are trying to add should also begin with https.
Q. Should I store my data in ArcGIS Online?
- Please realize that you are storing your data in the "cloud" when using ArcGIS Online, which is something to seriously consider when working with confidential data. Storing your data in ArcGIS Online may be useful in a number of scenarios such as needing to visually proof your data, the data is a static snapshot (infrequently changing), or responding to a disaster event in which you need to quickly share your data with others. In most cases, storing your data on the GIS Hub may be the preferred method to allow maximum control and usage of the data.
Frequently Asked Questions Ė Licensing & Access
Q. When I share a map within our agency, using a group or not, does my coworker need also to have a userid to access that?
- Yes, until you make the map public, the coworker must have a login to access the map. If that coworker is from another agency and already has access to ArcGIS Online, that coworker can be invited by you to have access to your map.