Posted on: 13 June 2018    

The power of interactive webmaps is now well established. We provide clients with effective answers from complex data, presented in a visually appealing way. Our specifically designed custom widgets allow for the data to be explored, queried, and analysed. But what if clients want to dig a little deeper?

The demand for enhanced visualisation and insights has seen rapid growth recently, in both the geospatial industry and the wider field of data analytics. Tableau, PowerBi, and now even Excel are battling it out in a booming market of visualization. What if we could inject some of this recent development into our trusty webmaps?

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Esri’s answer to the marriage of spatial data and visualisation is "Operations Dashboard", a configurable application that sits alongside WebApp Builder on the ArcGIS Online platform. Operations Dashboards dive deeper than conventional webmaps, allowing users to focus on patterns and behaviours in their data that are critical to business performance. With real time monitoring, graphs, dials, and flashing lights can inform the user of current scenarios, allowing accurate and evidence-based decision making, and drastically improving efficiencies. These graphs and charts are interactive, dynamically changing with the updated data and altered spatial extents.

Our team at Abley have built dashboards for various clients, which are used to monitor weather patterns, air pollution, electricity flows and water usage. Often in these cases we used FME server to host the constantly changing data in the back end and push it through to dashboards on the client side. Overall trends in the data are stored alongside the updating live stream of data. By keeping a watchful eye over these longer-term averages, our dashboards can provide key insights into the capacity and productivity of infrastructure over time. We have also used a function that alerts our clients if a threshold is met, such as stormwater overflow or a blown fuse, to allow them to act quickly and respond to such an event. Abley embedded Windy.com into one dashboard, which shows live weather patterns on a global scale.

The greatest challenge with Operations Dashboard is the same problem that is often faced when simplifying complex data into a simple viewer. The purpose of the operation must be clear. The prettiest maps and dashboards are ultimately pointless if they don’t tell the user what they need to know. It is important to have a continuing dialogue with clients, as the assets or trends in focus may change. Thankfully, the Operations Dashboard platform is easy to reconfigure, and changes can be visualised on the dashboard in a matter of minutes, if it is reflected in the data.

Operations Dashboards might be just what your business needs to dive a little deeper into your data or inspect it in new light. Enhanced visualisations can reveal complex patterns that were not initially considered or help communicate more effectively to other team members. In our experience it isn’t until we demo a dashboard to a client that they see the full potential to their business. So let’s start a conversation and see how we can help you get the most out of your data.

To find out more about Operations Dashboard, visit: https://doc.arcgis.com/en/operations-dashboard/

Blog written by Robert Poynter, Spatial Adviser, Abley

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