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Fall 2009
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Rich, Responsive Web Map Applications
Going beyond simple map display with free Web mapping APIs

The ArcGIS Web mapping APIs are now available for free for all noncommercial use allowing mapping and GIS capabilities to be easily embedded, consumed, and deployed in Web or service-oriented desktop applications.

Visit the Web applications section of the ArcGIS Resource Center for ArcGIS Server for live samples, code listings, and support for the ArcGIS Web mapping APIs.

The Web mapping APIs help organizations deliver rich maps and GIS capabilities that are comparable to desktop mapping applications but with all the benefits of the Web. The APIs provide the tools to generate fast cross-browser and cross-platform dynamic maps, with the ability to interact not only with the map itself but also with its attributes and features. The APIs offer developers several platforms for creating Internet and desktop applications including technologies such as Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Flex, and JavaScript.

Often, GIS Web applications need to include geospatial functionality that goes beyond simple map display and interaction. For instance, an appliance repair company could use a geoprocessing task to generate drive-time polygons to estimate the total length of services calls, then use a routing task to calculate the routes and directions before dispatching a vehicle. For these types of functions, the APIs provide a set of task classes to perform GIS tasks. The APIs also allow graphics to be drawn on top of the map (e.g., multipoint, polyline, polygon, and rectangle). In addition, the APIs provide components to display maps that support multiple map projections, as well as both dynamic and cached (tiled) map services. With the APIs, developers can include a variety of tasks in their applications including query, identify, find, address locator, routing, geometry, and geoprocessing.

Esri offers the following resources for developers to get started using APIs:

  • Live samples—Developers can simply copy and paste the source code from various samples from the APIs Resource Centers.
  • Recorded training seminars—Anyone interested in using the APIs can watch demonstrations and view code samples from Esri experts on how to use the APIs.
  • ArcGIS Online—With a single URL, developers can leverage maps and tasks published and hosted by Esri.
  • User community—Download and share code samples through code galleries and exchange ideas with users on discussion forums.
  • Sample viewer applications—Users can quickly deploy these sample viewers with a simple modification to the application's configuration file, and developers can use the source code to extend the application.

For more information, visit the Mapping for Everyone site, visit the Esri Resource Center or see the Esri instructor-led course Building Web Maps Using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

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