Training your Organization to use your Web Maps

What if you could embed your documentation into your web map? What if you could provide your users with interactive tutorials that walk your user through the proper business steps? No more searching through documentation to find the steps on how to create a report or export data.

We’ve all been there. You receive a request to create a web map. It takes days, or weeks, creating map services, configuring up your web map, and documenting how to use it. You send it off to the department or team that requested it, and silence.

Very little feedback and hardly any usage. It’s frustrating. You wonder, why was it requested at all?

At geoWidgets, we feel your pain. We’ve identified some reasons why web maps go unused – typically:

  • Unfamiliarity with the software;
  • Lack of time to learn a new business process; or,
  • Users did not read your documentation or attend your training seminar.

What if you could provide

in your web maps?

We built geoSherpa to change all that. With geoSherpa, there’s no more searching for PDF documentation to find the steps on how to create a report or export data. Regardless of whether your web map is in Web AppBuilder for ArcGISGeocortex, or a custom HTML5 web map, we know that you already spent time creating documentation. So, how do you make it better?

In the steps below we’ll provide suggestions on how to empower your users to use your web maps effectively and keep coming back.

Remember the 8-Second Rule of First Impressions

The first impression of your web map and documentation are the same as meeting someone new. As busy as we all are today, eight seconds is the length of time you have to create an indelible impression. If your users cannot understand your web map or get to the task they need to perform within eight seconds; you increase the chance they won’t use your new creation. Help them get to those tasks quickly

Diversify your Web Map training program


People learn in all different styles. There is no “one size fits all” model here. Here are the common learning personas you may encounter:

The Doer

The most common learning persona is the doer who learns through simulations, on-the-job exercises, scenarios, and interactive tutorials.

The Watcher or Listener

Right behind the doers are the watchers and listeners who learn through lectures, discussions, demonstrations, and video tutorials.

The Reader

Readers are the most patient and take the time to actually read your written documentation.

A documentation and training program that encompasses all these learning styles is essential to unleash the full potential of your web map applications within your organization. 

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;

Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.  -Maimonides

Meet your users in your Web Map

Meet your users by providing training in your web map. Keep them engaged and coming back!

By leveraging an in-app training technology, you support your users during their journey to point out new features, explain complex concepts or processes, or link to videos and FAQs, so you’re with them whenever they get stuck. 

Transfer a sense of ownership

Your organization needs to take some level of ownership of the web map.  That means it must serve a purpose,  your user’s must feel comfortable using it, and they must want to use it. 

  • How many people in your organization are reading your documentation?
  • How many are attending your training sessions?
  • What if you could consolidate that into a reusable module for your Web GIS? 

Even the best training is ineffective if people don’t then go and apply what they’ve learned. It’s essential to continue training inside your web map application to help users use the web map efficiently, guide them to new functionality, or highlight how it helps simplify their day-to-day operations. If you can make people understand how the web map helps their business processes, they’ll often take it upon themselves to spread the word.  

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Hire your Guide to Web GIS!

Offer engaging interactive, video, and text tutorials that empower all learning styles. Integrate your documentation into your web mapping application to simplify training, reduce support tickets, and increase adoption with geoSherpa.

geoSherpa is available through ArcGIS Marketplace with a 90-day free trial and is $2,500 per year for an organization subscription. No per-site or per-user fees!

About geoWidgets by Digital Data Services, Inc.

geoWidgets is a family of products to extend and enhance ArcGIS web GIS solutions developed by Digital Data Services, Inc. Our vision is to leverage our two decades of geospatial experience to develop third-party web GIS extensions that enhance Web GIS. Our products include:  geoSherpa – An interactive tutorial system for web GIS  geoWidgets Activity Packs – Activities to enhance Geocortex Workflow

Digital Data Services, Inc., is a GIS consulting firm that utilizes the power of the Esri product suite to provide state-of-the-art desktop and web GIS solutions since 1998. Our staff provides implementation and customization solutions for Esri web GIS and Geocortex products. If you need assistance, we are here to help solve your web GIS challenges. 

Tom Neer

Tom Neer

Tom is a Cartographer and Principal at Digital Data Services. He empowers business decisions through understanding and communicating spatial relationships, whether with a pen or code.
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