Getting Started with Arcadia Instant

Published on March 30, 2017

Arcadia Instant and Arcadia Enterprise are our company’s tools for big data visual analytics. Arcadia Instant is a free downloadable visual tool while Arcadia Enterprise is a more robust enterprise-grade platform capable of supporting teams of users and a variety of data sources.  

Arcadia Instant comes in Windows and Mac downloads directly from Arcadia Data, and helps you quickly gain insight into your data. You can explore and visualize your data with interactive visuals, dashboards, and apps.

Arcadia Enterprise can be installed yourself with Cloudera Manager or Ambari Stacks. You can find detailed directions on our documentation portal.     

Following, you will see how to download and install Arcadia Instant and launch it for the first time. Next, you’ll explore some apps and visuals in our set of samples in both Arcadia Instant and Arcadia Enterprise.


Downloading and Installing Arcadia Instant

Starting Arcadia Instant

Using Arcadia Instant for the First Time

Getting Inspired: Exploring a Sample Application

Downloading and Installing Arcadia Instant

Downloading Arcadia Instant is easy. Choose either the Windows or the Mac download, and confirm that you want to save the file to your computer. In your system’s file browser, find and launch the Arcadia_Instant installation package. We will first walk through the Mac package installation below.

  1. From Install Arcadia Instant, on the Introduction screen, click Continue. 
  2. Agree with our license agreement to continue. You can also Print it, and Save it.
    Then click Continue. 
  3. Our simplified installation eliminates a few steps, such as selecting a destination or specifying the type of install. Be sure you have enough disk space before clicking Install.
  4. Your computer’s own security system may intervene at this point.  Go ahead and approve in order to install the software.  Then, click Install Software.
  5. The Installer completes a few tasks, and then should let you know that “The installation was successful.”
    We like success. Click Close.

The Windows installation procedure is similar.

  1. The installer will prompt you for an installation location. Change it if you would like to install it elsewhere on your system.
  2. Next, click on Install to confirm the installation.
  3. Installation is now complete and you’re ready to use Arcadia Instant.
  4. Of note, we recommend using Google Chrome over Microsoft’s IE browser for the best performance.


Starting Arcadia Instant

After you successfully install Arcadia Instant, you can start it directly from your desktop.

  1. On Mac, go into your file system, find the Arcadia Instant application and click on it.
    • You can find it directly on your desktop.
    • Or you can find it in your file system browser.
  2. On Windows, if it is not on the recently used toolbar, the default installation location is C:\Program Files\Arcadia Data\Arcadia Instant\Arcadia Instant\Arcadia Instant.exe. Click on the program to start it.
  3. The Arcadia Instant Control Panel appears.   
    • Click Start to initialize the Arcadia Instant Server. 
    • Click Go to launch your internet browser. 
  4. Note that the browser opens at the IP address You can bookmark this site and return to it as long as the server is running.
  5. When you no longer need the service, click Stop and then Quit to shut down the server and exit out of the control panel.

Every time you want to use Arcadia Instant, you must make sure the Arcadia Instant Server is running.

Using Arcadia Instant for the First Time

The first time you use Arcadia Instant, you will need to log into the system.

  1. Enter the credentials admin/admin, and then click Login.
    These are the default administrator credentials so you should change them immediately to prevent unauthorized access to your system. To do this, see Managing Your Account.
  2. When logging in for the first time, you will be introduced to the many new features in Release 4.0.  On the right-hand menu, you can:
    • Get to the latest documentation by clicking Read the Docs.
    • Start connecting to your data sets with Connect to your Data. We will explore this in more detail in a future article.
    • Start building new visuals by selecting New Dashboard to access the dashboard builder.
  3. There are also the regular top-level menus to help you navigate to the different sections and system administration options.
    From right to left, they are:

    • Username display, appearing here as Admin, is the interface for changing your password and logging out.
    • Help menu, which provides another link to our documentation, connects you with our support team and informs you of the version of Arcadia product running.  For Arcadia Instant, whenever we have a new release, you will see an option to download it.  Below is a snapshot of the version for Arcadia Enterprise.
    • ⚙ (Administrative Settings) menu gives access to:
      1. Apps option is the Apps management interface; we will cover the highlights of App Groups in the fifth installment in this series, App Groups and Standalone Applications.  
      2. Set Homepage (Enterprise Only) option lets you set an App as the default homepage for yourself as well as all users.
      3. Jobs Status (Enterprise Only) lets you view all current and completed jobs and their status.
      4. Additionally, this menu lets users with Admin privileges to see Activity Log (Enterprise Only), define Users and Groups, Manage Roles, API Keys, Custom Styles, Custom Colors, Static Assets, and Site Settings.
    • Data let you manage data connections, connect to your data, import additional tables to supplement existing data, and create, manage and model the data sets that are the foundation of all your visuals. The second article in this series, Data Connections, Import, and Data Sets, gives an overview of these topics.
    • Visuals takes you into the interface for building and managing visuals and dashboards. We will discuss this in greater depth in the third and fourth articles of this series, How to Build a Visual and Building Interactive Dashboards.
    • Home brings you back to either the default home page or the app that has been set.


Getting Inspired: Exploring a Sample Application

Get inspired and explore a dashboard that showcases some of the important features. The visuals that we have included in our sample dashboards explore well-known data sets that are in the public domain, such as World Life Expectancy, New York Taxi Rides data, Iris, and so on.

Notice that all the dashboard tiles have an image of several different chart visuals, while the tiles for individual visuals show the chart type of that visual. Each dashboard usually contains several visuals.  External web pages and custom content can also be included. Those are more advanced features that we will cover in future articles.

Let’s explore the
Life expectancy dashboard and see what it has to offer. Start by going to Visuals on the top menu and then Samples, which is on the lower left corner of the page.  

This dashboard consists of eight visuals, most of which are built directly from the World Life Expectancy data set.

  1. The Trend of Life expectancy on the top row is a line visual, which shows the life expectancy throughout the last century in different world regions.
  2. Next to The Trend of Life expectancy is World life expectancy custom HTML section to introduce these visuals.
  3. In the next row, we have a pair of line visuals that show the trend of the population and GDP at the end of the century. Notice the line visuals have a different look than the Trend of Life expectancy line visual above. For most of the visual types, you can customize how data points are displayed.    
  4. We have the GDP vs Life expectancy on the left that utilizes a scatter visual. It shows the very telling relationship between the GDP per capita vs the life expectancy of a person.  Also, notice that this data defaults to the year 2010.
  5. In the last row’s right side, we have Avg GDP per Capita bar visual.  It shows each country’s GDP per capita.
  6. Lastly, The Top 15 Nations and Bottom 15 Nations are table visuals that show the best and worst of the life expectancy nations. Notice that in this set of visuals, we have set a filter that defaults to 2010 data.  

As mentioned before, what if we want to explore the data further? For example, what if we want to focus on only European countries instead of the world.  This is where the dashboard designer can make use of the filters that let you zoom in further.

Try hovering over the lines in Trend of Life expectancy to see the more detailed data points in the pop-up window.

Click on the specific point of region and year that you want to see the data for. Now you will notice that new filter icons are showing up on other visuals too. For example, in the Top 15 Nations, previously we only had the year filter, now we also have the region filter.

The filtering capability isn’t only active in the Trend of Life expectancy but also in other visuals as well. For example, the region filter can be activated in all other visuals as well.  In the World life expectancy, when clicking on a specific bubble, we see not only the specifics of that data point, but also the Filter All option.  Clicking on it will change the region filter for all other visuals to that value.

Next, let us look at the second article in this series, Data Connections, Import, and Data Sets.

Additional Getting Started Guides include:
Getting Started 2 – Connections, Data Import, and Data Sets
Getting Started 3 – Working with Dashboards
Getting Started 4 – Build Visuals
Getting Started 5 – App Navigation