ESRI on-demand GIS web services - GIS & Location Technology Podcast
Posted on March 28, 2006 by Farallon Geographics Team
This weeks podcast was produced at the ESRI Worldwide Business Partner Conference, in Palm Springs, CA. Dennis Wuthrich and Jeff Saunders of Farallon were joined by special guest, Mike Tait, Director of Internet Solutions for ESRI.
- ArcWeb Services for on-demand geospatial analysis using web services
- ArcWeb Explorer goes beyond Google Earth with backend geoprocessing, easier mashups, Flash and SVG graphics.
- The advantages of a GIS SOA model for business
- How Google Earth is helping to create demand for GIS in almost any business
- How GIS will change in the future: maps maybe, backend geoprocessing absolutely
ArcWeb Service and the SOA model for business
- ArcWeb Serivces enables businesses to use geospatial technology via web services even if they don’t have the typical GIS back end infrastructure (staff, hardware, software) and GIS is not a primary focus of their business or department. They can gain the benefits of adding geoprocessing to their business intelligence and analysis without the investment or GIS expertise.
- ESRI has launched a GIS utility computing model, or SOA model which includes data hosting and automatic backup/replication, full security.
- For businesses that are not heavily focused on location services, there is a 3-5 times cost savings to run GIS on a managed service environment than trying to do it all in house.
- ArcWeb Explorer (AWX) is a Web-based map viewing application using Flash 8 (and soon SVG). The vector mapping technology enables maps to render quickly in the browser instead of having the server render them.
- Like Google Earth, it is free for personal use.
- AWX’s public API makes it easy to create custom UI and mashups. But AWX also includes some automatic processing capabilities to make mashups easy for the non-programmers. For example: a user uploads an excel spreadsheet with addresses, the back end application then automatically geocodes the data and sends it back to the browser to be mapped as vectors: Mashups without coding.
- SVG has the advantage of being XML based so it is easy to integrate into Web 2.0 type applications. Farallon has worked with SVG documents and and has been able to query the XML to do very sophisticated multi-layered and interactive presentations and analysis
- SVG data from AWX can be transformed easily into KML format to integrate into Google mashups and visa versa
- Flash support in AWX gives business a way to retain the value of vector graphics but still keep their data private
What about Google Earth
Google Earth has jet-fueled interest in GIS and ESRI. It is actually preparing the market space by educating the consumer audience. But Google Earth is currently focused only in the internet and mobile markets. Enterprises that want a more complete solution that fuses across all aspects of their business can then migrate to ArcWeb Services.
The future of GIS
Although demand is rapidly increasing, still enterprises aren’t yet fully taking advantage of GIS - why is this?
- The traditional GIS map may have very little informational value to a CIO. They may not know how to process the information or the kinds of questions they are asking are not readily displayed on a map. However historically, GIS has presented itself as enhanced mapping technology.
- The real value of GIS in the integrated aspects of the geography - how geoprocessing integrates with business systems.
- The new APIs in ArcWeb Explorer and Google Earth make it easier to create these integrations. More and more, the GIS aspect will happen in the background and data will simply pass into a standard business analysis analysis. In many cases, a map will not even be seen. The geospatial data will just become an integral component of any kind of business decision or business transaction.