I found it mainly user-friendly using ArcGIS Online, an online mapping tool that allows for interactive digital storytelling. Still, some aspects require a little bit of specialized knowledge to take full advantage of its features. Maps created with the ArcGIS mapping software provide a way to work and interact with geographic content organized as layers. You can pull these layers of data from the ArcGIS database, from a user’s files, or create it in the software itself. Moreover, each layer can be visible or invisible at the user’s discretion, allowing them to select what kinds of information they want to see.
I enjoyed using the ‘map gallery’ feature, which enables a user to access a collection of maps publicized by other ArcGIS users in a database, which could be used in a user’s own work as a layer. The feature can help you generate new ideas or look to others for inspiration by seeing what maps others have created, which can then be used as a layer that can provide a deeper layer of meaning to your map. Another great feature was the ‘grouping of layers’ in which a user can create groups and re-arrange their map layers for a more user-friendly experience.
Beyond ArcGIS Online
I can see myself creating an interactive map using ArcGIS Online in the future. Moreover, ArcGIS Online can be shared as a map embedded in a web page with varying degrees of user control. Click here to see the map embedded in my personal WordPress site on the squirrel census data in New York.
I also really like the map gallery feature. It’s a good way to easily access data, and you might even find something you wouldn’t have expected to see! And while ArcGIS is pretty user friendly, I personally feel like if I stumbled on the website I would feel overwhelmed by the amount of options that you’re greeted by. But it’s definitely designed for a certain group in mind, and it may be different on the newer version.