The longest and most voluminous request on GeoCommons, since it’s launch, has been the ability to keep data private. While the broad ethos around GeoCommons has been collecting and sharing the world’s geographic data, the inability of use private data kept a good number of users from participating. Today we’ve removed that barrier and are allowing everyone to keep their data private or share it with the community. We believe a key to growing “Geography” is creating a network effect for data – the value of your data is proportionate to the number of data sets you can combine it with. The addition of private data means that you can now remix your personal/company information with over 70,000 data sets on GeoCommons.
While it can be very valuable to work with private data we don’t always want to do that alone. Often times we want to collaborate in groups with our private data. Collaboration is a linchpin to GeoCommons, and we wanted to make sure this was a focus for private data. So, we’ve added a groups functionality, which allows you to decide the GeoCommons’ users you would like to have access to your data. You can collaboratively edit the map and work together to create awesome visualizations and analysis of data.
To provide a sense of how this all works I’ll do a quick run through of the new features. A new user “Peter Fox” joins GeoCommons and wants to map out where he is most popular with fans. After registering he navigates to “manage groups” on the user tab seen below:
By clinking manage groups Peter is taken to a group administration screen to set up his new group by giving it a name:
Now that Peter has given his new group a name he can start populating it with the users on GeoCommons who he would like to collaborate with. Peter taps some of his most trusted fans through a simple search interface and adds them to the group:
Once Peter has all his collaborators added he can continue to manage the group from the admin screen deleting and adding new users as needed:
If Peter would like to have more than one group he can sign up additional collaborators, and assign them to different topics or teams. Adding and managing additional groups also has a simple interface for users:
Now that Peter has his new group all set he can keep his data private for just himself, or share it with one of his new groups. He uploads some data comparing his popularity to Savage Garden from “Google Trends” and has the “option” right on upload to set his sharing permissions through a few simple check boxes:
Once Peter makes a map showing where he is most popular on Google Trends he can them also set permissions on who can access his map or data analysis.
The great thing is this secure permission system for private data and collaboration permeates all of GeoCommons. Say you want to keep your point data private, but want to share an aggregation of the data to zip codes. No problem! Set the permission for the source data to private and the analysis as public. Alternatively you did a correlation and you want to share the results with a small number of analysts to check your work before you publish. Create a quick group on the fly – publish your results and collaborate on the findings or alternative analyses. This is the great thing about doing everything in a pure Web platform. Collaboration and sharing is seamless allowing you to track your work and collaborations across multiple disparate colleagues and data sources. We are excited to see how the GeoCommons community leverages all the new opportunities and get feedback on how we can make it even better.
Welcome to the Esri DC Development Center blog. We write about features of our work on big data analytics, open platforms, and open data, what is new and exciting in the Esri and community, and general industry thought leadership and discussions of geospatial data visualization and analysis.
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