Improve your extent-based filtering in ArcGIS Dashboards

ArcGIS Dashboards lets you build informative dashboards that convey information using  elements like charts, gauges, and more. These elements can interact with each other through the use of actions . Actions p rovide a more interacti ve   experience and  allow you to give your dashboard a more focused context.   

Actions are triggered  on target element s  when a user interacts with  the  source element One type of action is a  map action.  Maps can be both the source or the target o f  an  action. When they’re the source maps  can be use to filter  target elements  as users change the map’s extent.   

Filtering targets based on a map’s extent  means that as users pan and zoom around the map, all the target elements will filter to display values   for features within the current extent.  In the example below, we can see that as the map extent is changing, the indicators and serial chart are updating to match.  

While this action is great in some cases,  it doesn’t  really  allow for the most accurate  results .  A map’s extent  is limited by the  basemap’s  level  of detail In addition, when authoring a dashboard that is going to be shared with the public,  thes e actions are better left out to allow your dashboard to work seamlessly when it’s getting a lot of traffic. These actions are not  cacheable   since  it ’s impossible  to predict where users will pan and zoom on a ma p – and  with hundreds or thousands of people panning and zooming at the same time, your dashboard’s performance can suffer.   

A great alternative to filtering  using  map extent is to use  selectors  or  an other element  (like  list for example)  to trigger filtering actions.  Using the same example from above,  we’ve  added in a category selector that filter s the map and other elements based on the selection.  Rather than spatially filtering the data, the selector is using an attribute filter to select features that match the selection.  Now  instead of  panning and zooming to a specific area, users can select an area, in this case by selecting an administrative ward , and filter the map, indicators and chart to only show values for that area.     

Not only does this allow for  dashboard  users to more accurately select an area of interest, it also  allows the dashboard to work more effectively behind the scenes by sending cacheable queries to the platform.  When authoring a dashboard, choosing the right way to give users an interactive experience is important  to  ens ure   accurate  information  can be seen  in an effective and efficient way.  

About the author

Noora Golabi

Noora is a documentation writer with a background in Geography and GIS. Originally from Toronto, she's now living and working in Ottawa, Canada where she spends her free time baking, exploring the outdoors, and pretending like she enjoys running.