Getting Started 1: Exploring Arcadia Instant

Published on March 18, 2018

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.     

In this article, you will learn how to download, install, and run Arcadia Instant. You will also get a quick overview of the power of visualizations in Arcadia Instant. If you’ve already downloaded and installed it, please skip to the Starting Arcadia Instant section.


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, and you have a choice of the Mac version or the PC (Windows) version. First go to the Arcadia Instant web page, type in your corporate email address and click on the DOWNLOAD NOW button. You will immediately get an email that points you to the downloadable installation files.

Click on the appropriate download button in the email depending on your computer (Mac or PC). In your system’s file browser, find and launch the Arcadia_Instant installation package. We will first walk through the Mac package installation below. The installation process on a PC will be very similar.

Mac Installation

      1. From the Install Arcadia Instant box, 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.” Click Close.

PC Installation

  1. The installer will first show a welcome screen. Click Next.
  2. The installer will then prompt you for an installation location. Change it if you would like to install it elsewhere on your system, but we recommend you accept the default location. Click on Next to proceed.
  3. Next, click on Install to confirm the installation. You might get a Windows prompt asking you to verify that you want to install this program. Click Yes.
  4. Installation is now complete and you’re ready to use Arcadia Instant.

Note the Launch Arcadia Instant checkbox. Click on it and then click Finish to run Arcadia Instant. A control panel box will appear. Follow the steps in the next section.

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, it is available on the start menu. Click on the program to start it.
      3. The Arcadia Instant Control Panel appears.
        • First click Start to run the Arcadia Instant Server in the background.
        • The text at the bottom of the Arcadia Instant Control Panel box will now say, “Server is running.” Click Go to start your default Internet browser which will automatically point to the Arcadia Instant home page.  Note: On Windows, we recommend using Google Chrome over the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Edge browsers for the best performance.
      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 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 (username: admin, password: admin), and then click LOGIN.
    While it is a good practice to change the default password in most applications, it is unnecessary in Arcadia Instant. Unlike Arcadia Enterprise, Arcadia Instant is not secure and does not protect the underlying data and visualizations. There also is no password backup, as the “Forget your password?” feature is disabled, so if you forget your changed password, you have no way to recover it.
  2. Let’s get acquainted with the sections on the home page. On the right hand menu under LEARN, you can:
  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 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.
  • ⚙ (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 Navigation.
    2. Additionally, this menu lets users with Admin privileges to manage Users and Groups, Roles, Custom Styles, Custom Colors, Static Assets, and Site Settings.
  • Data lets you manage data connections, connect to your data, import additional tables to supplement existing data, and create, manage, and model the datasets that are the foundation of all your visuals. The second article in this series, Data Connections, Import, and Datasets, 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, Working with Dashboards and How to Build a Visual.
  • Home brings you back to either the default home page or the app that has been set.


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 datasets that are in the public domain, such as World Life Expectancy, New York Taxi Rides data, Iris, and so on.

For this section, click on the Home link on the menu to get to the Arcadia Instant home page. You will see three types of tiles on your screen. The first type, summary tiles, are at the top of the large panel on the screen, right under the menu bar. Summary tiles show counts for the various Arcadia  Instant objects, namely visuals, apps, dashboards, and datasets. Clicking on them will take you to a summary page for the associated object. There is also a tile labeled Total Views which shows you how many times the various objects have been viewed (this tile is not clickable).

The second tile type, dashboard tiles, have an image of several different chart visuals. The third type, visual tiles, have an image of just the chart type of that visual. Clicking on either of these types of tiles will display the associated dashboard/visual using the associated data.

Dashboards are a collection of visuals shown together on the screen. External webpages and custom content can also be included in dashboards. 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. Click on Visuals in the top menu and then optionally click on the Samples button in the lower left corner. At this point, the Samples button appears to do nothing, but once you create many new visuals and dashboards, the Samples button gives you a quick way to filter out all the other tiles so that you only see the sample visuals and dashboards.

Click on the Life Expectancy Dashboard tile to see the dashboard. This dashboard consists of eight visuals, most of which are built directly from the World Life Expectancy dataset.

  1. The Trend of Life Expectancy on the top row is a line visual, which shows the life expectancy throughout the last 100+ years in different world regions.
  2. Next to the above, the Top 15 Nations and Bottom 15 Nations are table visuals that show the nations with the highest and lowest life expectancy, respectively. Notice that in this set of visuals, we have set a filter that defaults to 2010 data.
  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 each decade. 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. Next to the above is the World Life Expectancy custom HTML section that simply adds text to describe the dashboard.
  5. In the last row’s left side, we have the Avg GDP per capita bar visual. It shows each country’s GDP per capita.
  6. Finally, we have the GDP vs Life Expectancy on the bottom right that utilizes a scatter visual. It shows the very telling relationship between the GDP per capita versus life expectancy. Also, notice that this data defaults to the year 2010 (shown under the title of the visual) based on a predefined filter that can be changed as discussed further below.

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.  

Hover 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 for which you want to see data. You will notice that the other visuals in the dashboard get updated based on the data point you clicked. For example, click anywhere on the “Americas” line in the Trend of Life Expectancy. Notice that in the Top 15 Nations visual, which we previously only filtered by year (defaulted to 2010), now we also filter by the Americas region. In other words, when drilling into specific data in one visual, you can automatically change the filters in all other visuals. You can review the filter parameters by hovering over the funnel icon in the upper right corner of the dashboard.

This dashboard-wide filter update capability is available not only in the Trend of Life Expectancy visual but also in other visuals as well. For example, the region filter can be activated from the GDP vs Life Expectancy visual to update all other visuals. If you click on any bubble in that visual, you see not only the specifics of that data point, but also the Filter All option.  Clicking on the Filter All button will change the region filter for all other visuals to that value.

Hopefully this gives you a good idea of the power of visualizations in Arcadia Instant. Next, let us explore data connections, import functionality, and datasets in the next article in this series, Getting Started 2: Connections, Data Import, and Datasets.

Other Getting Started Guides include:
Getting Started 3 – Working with Dashboards
Getting Started 4 – Building Visuals
Getting Started 5 – App Navigation

Go here for more knowledge base articles on dashboards, visuals, app navigation, etc.