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Spatially Enabling Service-Oriented Architectures with ArcGIS Server
Technically, Web services are modular applications that correspond to recognizable business functions and offer a set of protocols by which they can be published, discovered, and used in a standards-based way. Organizationally, Web services are simply information technology (IT) assets that are often used as the basis for integration strategies that fuse content and capabilities in support of various business processes and initiatives. Web services provide the building blocks upon which broader IT strategies are based, such as the implementation of a service-oriented architecture (SOA).
Spatially enabling an SOA requires knowledge of not only the organizational business processes but also the robust capabilities and benefits that GIS offers. First, business processes should be distilled into common functions that can be delivered throughout the enterprise in conformance with the overall mission and goals of that organization, with services being created for each function. Second, business processes should be evaluated with an understanding of how GIS technology can extend and enrich those processes by providing value in overall efficiency, accuracy, accessibility, and cost savings. While these concepts are by no means revolutionary, they are evolutionary because they continue to bring technology, policies, and practices in harmony with organizational business processes.
Esri's Solutions for Geospatial SOA
Esri offers solutions today for developing a geospatial SOA that includes both desktop (ArcGIS Desktop) and server-based (ArcGIS Server) technology. These solutions enable organizations to author, publish, and serve their geographic knowledge to the broader organization. The role of ArcGIS Desktop is in defining and authoring the content that becomes the basis for common, reusable spatial services. GIS professionals can leverage their existing geographic expertise to author and design geospatial content, such as maps, globes, geoprocessing models, locators, and data management functions.
ArcGIS Server is a comprehensive Web-based GIS that provides out-of-the-box end user applications and services for mapping, analysis, data collection/editing, distribution, and management of spatial information. It provides a cost-effective, standards-based platform upon which ArcGIS Desktop users can easily publish and serve their geographic knowledge to the broader organization.
ArcGIS Server is a highly flexible and scalable technology that runs on world-class IT infrastructure and supports geospatial SOA initiatives. ArcGIS Server provides the technology foundation for organizations large and small to build and implement a set of GIS-based Web services. Some common services that support a geospatial SOA include map (2D) and globe (3D) services (transportation, demographics, physical environment, and asset maps/globes), locator services (geocoders and gazetteers), geoprocessing services (site selection models, dispersion/plume models, network analytics, raster analytics, image processing, etc.), and data management services (replication; data check-in/checkout; spatial extraction, transformation, and loading; and catalog services). Shared GIS services such as these can be used to add value to established business systems (e.g., work order, asset, and customer relationship management systems) and support enterprise-wide initiatives for collaborative computing.
Who Benefits from GIS-Based Services?
Users across an organization can benefit from shared GIS-based services. These users include GIS professionals, application developers, nontraditional GIS users, and IT administrators:
Examples for Local Governments
Using ArcGIS Server, GIS users in a public works department could publish a set of services and applications to satisfy the needs and requirements not only for their department (e.g., map the location of current construction projects) but also for other city departments (such as police or fire), other regional entities (emergency 911, sheriffs departments), or state agencies (such as departments of transportation or state police). The sharing of services and applications can include national participation with federal agencies (Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, etc.). Even public/private relationships can be fostered with private utilities, local businesses, or real estate firms.
In another example, a Call Before You Dig application might leverage shared services, such as geocoding (identify a dig location), mapping (generate a map of the dig site), proximity (find all electric, gas, phone, cable assets within a certain distance of a dig site), reporting (regulatory compliance), and routing (dispatching of field crews/inspectors).
Integrating ArcGIS Server with other key business systems can extend the value of those systems by increasing accuracy, efficiency, and productivity. For example, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool can be used to identify government personnel with specialized skills to assist in a chemical spill accident. GIS services can be leveraged by the ERP tool to more accurately understand the location of those personnel in relation to the event and use calculated travel times to allocate appropriate resources, while avoiding potentially dangerous areas downwind from the accident location. In this case, GIS services extend the value of the ERP system and provide a more timely and efficient response.
Organizations today are being challenged to be more efficient, accurate, and accessible. To deal with these challenges, IT departments are moving increasingly toward SOAs to provide a framework for technology, policies, and practices by which they can be organized in an effort to deliver the right services to the right people at the right time and in the right place. GIS is a proven and valued technology that plays an important role in today's SOA strategies and initiatives. With desktop and server-based GIS solutions, such as ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server, organizations can integrate GIS into their existing workflows and solve today's challenges of providing open access to common geospatial data, services, and applications from within their organizations and beyond.
For more information about ArcGIS Server, visit www.esri.com/arcgisserver. You can also call Esri at 1-800-447-9778, call your Esri regional office, or contact your local reseller. Outside the United States, contact your local Esri distributor.