Documentation to help users get the most out of the NTLIS Collaboration Forum
Scope of the forum
The NTLIS Collaboration Forum is an online application provided by NTLIS (Northern Territory Land Information System) to distribute information relating to NTLIS initiatives and services, and to encourage information sharing amongst the NT GIS community. The forum is also used to promote events such as seminars and training as well as providing support-related documents and news announcements.
Importantly, other government agencies and private organisations are able to use the forum in exactly the same way; to promote initiatives and provide information relating to their service offerings. The forum allows for feedback and discussion on all content so users can learn from the experiences of others.
Intended audience and examples of use
The NTLIS Collaboration Forum is aimed at anyone involved with spatial data and services in the Northern Territory, inside and outside government.
Possible examples of its use include:
- a government user finding the connection details for a spatial database to obtain the latest data
- a private-enterprise user researching what spatial data services are provided by the NTG via the internet
- a user of a GIS desktop product with a question or experience relating to a software extension
- a user providing feedback on an online application that has been described on a page on the Forum
- a commercial GIS vendor entering a news item or event relating to one of their product offerings
The forum is based on the concept of content types. When you add content you either add a:
- file (e.g. a word document)
- page (like this one you are reading now)
- news item
- gmap (Google map)
- window (view of an external web page)
- smart folder (a live search based on user-defined criteria)
As a rule pages are the most user-friendly way to add content, as the user can read them directly from the site without having to download and open a separate document.
Live Search and Advanced Search
The search function in the forum can be used to find pages, files, events and news items matching your query.
Simply start typing in the 'Search' box in the top right and you will see a list of results build as you type. You can perform an advanced search simply by clicking the 'Search' button and choosing 'Advanced Search'. Use the asterix (*) character in the search box to act as a wildcard. For example, typing "QWERTY" into the search box should return this page.. cause it's written here !
NTLIS Documents folder
Due to the fact that NTLIS itself authors a large number of content in the Forum, we have our own tab in the navigation bar containing information about all our services and initiatives.
Creating an account
Before you can add content or make comments on existing content you need to create yourself an account. Anyone can create an account to add pages and files, participate in the discussion forum and post news and events. To create an account click 'Join' in the top right of the screen and complete the required details. You will need a working email address in order to receive your new password.
Note that government users should use their government user id (the one you use to login to windows) because eventually the Collaboration Forum will be linked to the windows authentication.
Adding content to your personal folder
Once you have created yourself an account you can proceed to add some content. You will only be able to add content to your own folder, and everyone can see the content of your folder.
- Note it is possible for you to mark items as private and they will be invisible to other users, and will not be returned as search results.
- When you add news or events to your folder they will automatically appear in the global events (calender) and news pages.
To access your folder.. login to the forum and click on 'my folder' in the top right of the page.
In your folder you can create any number of sub folders, and add content (pages, events, news articles). Once you have created an object you can send its link to other people and they can read and make comments on it.
Adding a page
The preferred way to add information to the Forum is by adding a 'Page'.. for instance this help documentation is a Page. To create a new page simply navigate to the directory in which you'd like the page to live (i.e your home folder or a folder under that) and choose 'add item'.. 'page' from the green toolbar.
You will be promted for a page title and description (these are displayed in the folder listing).. and you will get the editor into which you can type your content.. similar to creating a document in Microsoft Word. A handy tip is to use the 'fullscreen view' when typing content .. click on the zoom icon (circled in red in the screenshot below).
Hover your mouse over the items in the toolbar to see what they do. As always, if you have any questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To include images in a page they must be uploaded to the Forum. You can either do that seperately or while building the page using the 'Insert Image' icon in the toolbar.. You may wish to have a separate 'images' folder in your home folder to keep things tidy.. as is the case for the NTLIS Documents folder.
To save your work, zoom back out (if you clicked on the zoom icon) and click Save. To get back and make more changes.. navigate to the page and click 'Edit' in the green toolbar.
Remember that unless you mark your page as 'Private' (see below) it will be immediately visible to the world, and will be returned if someone searches for words contained in the page.
Adding files, news items and events
As well as adding pages to your folder you can add files of any type, (e.g. Word, Excel, images, movies).. all available in 'add item'.. 'File' (or 'Image').
Adding news and events is done using the same menu.
Once you add a news or event item in your personal folder it will be automatically displayed on the front page of the Forum, visible to all users of the site.
Again, you may also wish to create 'News' and 'Events' folders.. to keep your folder tidy.. this is up to you.
Allowing others to edit your content
By default, only you can edit files and pages in your personal folder. Using the 'Sharing' tab you can add the 'Owner' role to other Forum users allowing them to edit and delete specific objects in your folder. Adding 'Owner' permissions to a folder to someone else will enable them to add files to that folder.
If you need any assistance using the NTLIS Collaboration Forum, please contact GIS Support.