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Why Use Cloud Infrastructure for ArcGIS?

Cloud computing is growing in importance for GIS professionals. Reasons for its importance include cost, scalability, flexibility, and rapid deployment. Two specific scenarios for GIS in the cloud are particularly compelling:

  1. Increasing Operational Efficiencies with On-Demand GIS—Cloud infrastructure allows GIS users to systematically or temporarily increase their computing power and data storage capacity without impacting their local IT infrastructures. Users are choosing this because of the cloud's elastic scaling and load balancing features—in other words, its ability to extend an organization's capabilities to support larger audiences and handle peak loads during the busiest times. In addition, the cloud environment involves zero up-front capital investment, complete access by any device anywhere and at any time, and low system administration cost.
  2. Streamlining Application Development and Deployment—GIS application developers are finding ArcGIS in the cloud an ideal environment for building and testing application prototypes. They can carve out their own space in the cloud so that they can provision computing resources that match the destination infrastructure, pull in application templates, access hosted APIs and software development kit components, and connect to shared widgets and add-ins. When the applications and services are ready for beta testing, they can be shared with specific user groups or with the actual customers for gathering feedback and making refinements. When it's time for deployment, the applications can be migrated to the on-premises environment or moved to a production environment in the cloud.

ArcGIS Online Works to Complement and Extend Desktop and Enterprise ArcGIS

ArcGIS Online is designed to function as a complete stand-alone Software as a Service (SaaS) application for web mapping and geographic information management. It has also been designed to fully integrate with ArcGIS software deployed on-premises.

ArcGIS Online maps and services can be used in any client, including desktop, mobile, and web applications. Users can author their maps with ArcGIS Desktop software or simply create maps by uploading their data using a browser. They can then publish these maps as map tiles or feature services in ArcGIS Online and provide access to any ArcGIS client via open REST APIs to any web or mobile client.

Users can control access to the maps they wish to share while, at the same time, supporting multiple open collaboration opportunities. Once a map is created, it can be shared with a specific group or everyone. Because information is stored in the cloud, anyone who has access to the map can discover it, view it, add additional layers and graphics to it, and share it again as a new map—all in a cloud environment.

ArcGIS Online Is a Cloud-Based GIS

Organizations can leverage their investment in GIS by publishing their maps and data for others to use in ArcGIS Online. At the same time, smaller organizations and even individuals can share their data and maps as map services without having to acquire their own GIS server software. ArcGIS Online provides access to powerful capabilities that can be implemented by anyone, from professional GIS analysts to the casual mapmaker.

For more information about ArcGIS in the cloud, visit esri.com/cloud.

See also "Intelligent Web Maps and ArcGIS Online."

 
 
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