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5 Things Every Beacon™ Administrator Must Know

by Nichole on February 10, 2015

We are all busy people in search of new tools to help us do our jobs better and more efficiently.  But are you fully utilizing Beacon™ for all its communication tools. Therefore, I created this “Top 5 list” of the most underutilized, free and powerful tools for your organization.  
A.) Site Notification (Feedback)
Site notification you do not have to be logged in to use these. This feature is for the general public to communicate with the county offices about information researched. The most common location to use the Feedback form is in the upper right side in the banner area.
A form will appear for users to provide information regarding: a problem, suggestion, question, praise and data corrections. Users are able to populate a Parcel reference ID (ParcelID or PIN) to isolate the information they are providing feedback on.  
Another way use the feedback form is after a search, typically a parcel search, click on the Feedback.  At this point the Parcel reference ID, will be populated.
These forms generate an email sent to the main contact setup by the administrator. As the administrator, you will be able to route the email to the correct individuals in your organization. Or setup notifications to be sent to other in your organization.  
Setup Notifications (Feedback):
  1. Log in as the administrator
  2. Administration 
  3. Select Site Options
  4. Add emails to the two boxed on the contact tab.

I recommend that every organization maintain at least two individuals or create a distribution group for email notifications. You want to make sure you have a backup person for the Primary Beacon™ Administrator.
B.) Announcements
Every site administrator has the ability to manage announcements for their community. Announcements will show on the quick start page, the bottom of every tab and at the bottom of every printed report and map. Announcement can have links, contact information, dates for taxes due, etc. They are there to help you communicate with your constituents on the goings on in the community. 

To update the announcements:
  1. Log in as the administrator
  2. Select site options
  3. Click on the Announcements tab
  4. Scroll to the bottom to Create new announcement
  5. Type in your message and choose the appropriate icon.
5.A. Update the date fields. You can have the announcement not end or have a defined end.  It really depends on the type of announcement you are posting: i.e. Taxes due – there is a defined date; link to the county website – indefinite.

5.B. How to add basic character to you announcements:
Link: [a href="insert web address”] Link wording [/a]
i.e. [a href=""]Tech Service Award winner Schneider Geospatial![/a]
Font: [b]Bold font [/b] = Bold font
i.e [a href=""][b]Tech Service Award winner Schneider Geospatial![/a][/b]
[i] Italics font [/i] = Italics Font
i.e [a href=""][i]Tech Service Award winner Schneider Geospatial![/a][/i]
C.) User Account Notifications
Do you have users on your site that have unique logins? Do you want to create new emails for each individually with the same message? Copy > Paste> Sent (Repeat) I say “Stop the madness!” We have made this much easier for you to notify your users.
1. Login to your site
2. Click on Roles in the Administrative pane

3. Click pencil tool next to the Role

4. Place a check in the box

5. Fill in the message to the users.  I recommend a generic message because it will go to everyone in the list.

Submit  - Email notification sent.

D.) Suppression List
Suppression of parcel information is managed by the Beacon™ administrator. You will have the ability to add and remove parcels from being searched by the general public. Once a parcel is suppressed NO information will be available for the property. Beacon™ will treat suppressed items the data doesn’t exist; however, suppressed parcels could search, report and/or map by various internal groups, if your site has account management.
To help your community manage data suppression requests, I recommend starting by developing an ordinance. This will allow your organization to be consistent in your approach and you don’t want to go overboard, so you render the site essentially useless.
Many states started implementing different statues and laws to protect certain groups of people, such as, victims of domestic violence, officers of the court and public safety. The implementation of a local ordinance or following your states guidelines for suppression of data is your responsibility to help you manage the access and protecting the public.
Managing Suppression List (This is the easiest way to suppress properties):
1. Log in as the administrator
2. Search for the parcel to suppress (parcelID or PIN)
3. At the top of the parcel report, click on the red circle

4. Item Suppressed will show next to the red circle

5. To un-suppress the item, press red circle. 

Suppression Option #2

1. Log in as the administrator
2. Go to Site Options
3. Click on Suppression List tab
4. Select Layer – Parcels should be the default.
5. Type in the parcelID

6. The number will be added to the Suppression List.   This is the complete list of parcel being suppressed on your site.
7. To un-suppress items from the list, click in the box.
8. Select Remove checked items.
9. These items will now be available to search, report and map.

E.) Statistics
We all have stakeholders we have to answer too, be those county supervisors, office holders or our constituents. All of these groups want to know where their money is going and how much is it saving me. Schneider Geospatial for years has talked about how Beacon™ helps save 25 hours a day for communities seeking to search public records, pay taxes, and be the neighbor next door.   
Each community administrator has access to their sites statistics to answer questions from these groups and many more. As your community’s administrator, you just need to log in.
1. Login to your site
2. Select Stats from the Administrative panel
3. Configure the time frame

4. Click View – Tabs become selectable (blue)

From here you will see Total Requests, Total Visits, Average time spend on the site, as well as, a break down into more specifics technical area. You can find out:
What types of web browser are used most frequently?
What is the most viewed Page?
What is the most requested Layer?
What is the most visited Page?
The most popular data is related to parcels. I know you are all surprised!
These 5 tools are extremely powerful and can be used to help communicate with your stakeholders: commissioners, supervisors and constituents. They all work for you for free! All you have to do is sculpt the message to the specific audience. Help Beacon™ answer one more call or email for you.