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ArcIMS Lets Consumers Share Data in New Ways

One of the newfound features of ArcIMS includes integration with wireless mobile Internet mapping technologies. At the recent Esri International User Conference, Nokia WAP ToolkitArcIMS was used to show how maps can be served to cellular telephones using the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and to Esri's mobile GIS product client, ArcPad (see "ArcPad Goes Wireless at Version 5.0.1"). WAP is the standard for providing Internet communications and advanced telephony services to phones, pagers, personal digital assistants, and other wireless terminals.

At right: The ArcView GIS projection utility offers extensive data and projection support, as viewed on the Nokia WAP Toolkit version 1.2 emulator.

According to David Maguire, Esri's director of products, ArcIMS Author can be used to create a map service for use with cellular phones right out of the box. It simply involves customization of the ActiveX connector to let users connect to a map service via VB script.

"With VB script inside an Active Server Page (ASP), VB script and HTML can be used together to create dynamic pages that can be served to a WAP-enabled phone," says Maguire. "It is very easy to use and ArcIMS works well for this type of customization."

The ArcIMS ActiveX connector allows developers to use VB script to connect to map services. Inside an ASP file, VB script directs all ArcIMS processes on the server. To create a map on the mobile phone, the VB script gathers information from the cell phone via wireless markup language (WML) then passes those variables to ArcIMS using the ActiveX connector.

The ASP file, which contains both VB script and wireless markup language, can be used to connect to an ArcIMS map service. The end result is the ArcIMS map produced on the cell phone.

For cellular phone access, ArcIMS software produces a JPEG image of a map, which is then converted to a wireless bit map (WBMP)—a simplified map view. Future releases of ArcIMS promise to directly generate WBMP images.

States Maguire, "In the future, the resolution of WAP phones should improve as well as the display size."

Another application in development is the ability to offer routing applications over the phone. These types of applications would require the user to enter a start and finish address, then would display point-by-point or turn-by-turn routing.

Although WAP-enabled phones are being used now in Europe and other countries, these phones are just becoming available in the United States. For more information on ArcIMS 3, please visit Esri online at www.esri.com/arcims, or contact Esri at 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, please contact your local Esri distributor.

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