Use AOP: Best Practices

The following list of best practices will make it easier for you to use AOP.

How Best to Integrate Real-World Data

One of the most valuable parts of AOP is being able to integrate real-world data. AOP has the ability to push real-world data to collaboration channels, and to publish real-world data as Esri stream layers that are configured for long-term time-aware, feature storage. However, this raises the question of which should you use and why?

Limits of the Esri Stream Layers Default Configuration

Esri Stream Layers are excellent for the high-performance display of rapidly-changing data such as current vehicle or responder locations being reported by automated global positioning (GPS) and automated vehicle location (AVL) systems. These are generally on-map items that have attributes that you can read about in a map tip.

However, this information is only for current display and the data is not stored for long-term use, which means that it cannot be used for After-Action Playback (AAP). In addition, there is no mechanism for in-application ALERTS on stream layer data. A hybrid solution is possible and it allows for your GeoEvent configuration to monitor and evaluate the real-world data as it is passing to the stream layer. You can then set it up to send collaboration event alerts based on thresholds.

Esri Stream Layers with Permanent Time-aware Feature Storage

Esri Stream Layers can also be configured for time-aware storage. They then have all the benefits of stream layers, but are configured to permanently store the data in time-aware feature layers. However, you need to take into account the disadvantage of the considerable disk space and ArcGIS Server load that is involved if you wish to use this option, which is why the default option is not to store this data. The advantage of this configuration is that you can include the time-aware feature layers as part of after-action playback.

Geocortex Collaboration Channel Events

Collaboration Channel Events are ideal for content-rich events that have a spatial component such as Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) messages. Events that happen once and do not have to be updated every few seconds are better suited to collaboration events. The advantage is that everything that occurs inside collaboration channels can be seen during AAP. You need to use collaboration events if you want to use in-application alerts.

Modify your Collaboration Planning Drawings

When you use the Update the common view feature, drawings are synchronized (copied) to the COMMON VIEW collaboration channel. If you are viewing only the COMMON VIEW or only your planning channel, it is easy to understand what you are seeing on the map. If you have both collaboration channels open, it can be difficult to keep track of which drawings you are editing. It is a good idea to always turn the COMMON VIEW collaboration channel, and any other channels you don’t want to modify, off before you begin editing your planning drawings. That way you are less likely to accidentally modify or remove something in the COMMON VIEW instead of the planning channel.

Use Human-Created Alerts

The ALERTS channel captures automated, real-world alerts, but it is also ideal for authorized personnel to send out alerts to incident personnel. With the correct security permissions, you can use the ALERTS channel to post alerts rapidly and widely. This is valuable for Be On the Look Out (BOLO) alerts, or photos at a particular geographic location, or even for urgent text messages from an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to all incident responders.

The in-application Alert mechanism is configured by default to monitor the ALERTS room but you can configure it to monitor additional rooms, for example, you may want a dedicated BOLO channel that automatically activates the in-application alert mechanism.

Add Drawings on a Handheld

Adding collaboration drawings in a desktop or tablet is simple, because you can see the drawing tools and the map at the same time. On a handheld, when you select a drawing tool, it is NOT automatically selected. This is to allow you to adjust your style settings first. When you have selected the style, you then tap the tool to select it. That minimizes the view and puts you in the map to add your drawing. To return to the drawing controls, use the multi-select grid button in the bottom right corner and tap Collaboration. You can then select a new drawing tool or style, tap that tool to highlight it, and open the map view to draw.

Set Security Permissions on Collaboration Channels

When you create a new AOP application, several default collaboration channels are created for you automatically, including ALERT, INFO, COMMON VIEW, FIELD PHOTOS, and CHECK INS. The default security permissions on these rooms allow any signed-in user full Administrator rights.

Once you have assigned administrator privileges to appropriate users, you should modify the default permissions to allow all signed in users Edit access rather than full Admin rights.

You may also wish to restrict access to some of the collaboration channels. For example, you may want only some individuals or groups to be able Edit the COMMON VIEW but you do want the majority to have permission to View this channel.

Users have to have permission to Edit a collaboration room.

Choose Channels before After Action Playback

Before you start an AAP, first select the map layers and the collaboration channels you want to play back. When you select a set of collaboration channels, the application calculates the earliest and latest relevant events and updates your time slider accordingly. Once playback has begun, if you change the collaboration channels, your time slider control updates and resets back to the beginning of your playback. If you find that you do have to add channels during a playback, be sure to note the current time in playback time slider so you can return to that point once you begin again.

Interpret Social Media Results

The Area of Interest Analysis tool provides geo-located social media results from the past hour and provides images posted by people witnessing an incident. The nature of the Instagram and Twitter application Programming Interfaces (APIs) makes this a best-effort task.
Some limitations of the APIs include:

Delete an AOP Application

When you delete an AOP application, the associated collaboration rooms and their data are not deleted in case you want to use them for After-Action Playback. You can delete them manually in Geocortex Essentials from the Security & Data tab, under Documents in the side panel but a better option is to delete them from the collaboration interface itself.

Be careful not to delete an AOP application and then forget to delete your collaboration rooms. If you later create a new AOP application with an identical name, it automatically generates a duplicate set of collaboration rooms (channels) for the new AOP application. Because you used an identical site name, both sets of channels will be connected to your new AOP application, which is confusing and undesirable.

The terms "Room" and "Channel" refer to the same feature in AOP. In Geocortex Essentials and in the code, they are usually referred to as collaboration "rooms". In the AOP application, they are referred to as collaboration "channels".


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Documentation Version 2.0