By Matthew DeMeritt, Esri Writer
If the winning code samples in the 2008 ArcGIS Server Code Challenge are any indication, mashups are a hot trend in the world of software programming.
Three of the four winning entries, announced in March at the Esri Developer Summit, integrated Esri's ArcGIS Server technology with consumer Web applications such as Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth.
John Waterman, vice president of Geospatial Solutions at GCS Research in East Burke, Vermont, won the $15,000 first prize for his entry, Display Geospatial Analysis Results in Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth with ArcGIS Server. "A lot of our customers at GCS Research ask us how to build custom applications using Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth software," says Waterman. "The ArcGIS Server Code Challenge was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how easily GIS and custom databases can be added to this software using their included APIs. People want to use these programs for geospatial analysis, and some are already using the script in their work, which is great to see."
Dave Bouwman, senior software architect at Data Transfer Solutions in Fort Collins, Colorado, won second place and $7,500. Bouwman's ArcGIS Virtual Earth Tile Server code sample uses ArcGIS Server to create map tiles that can be brought into Microsoft Virtual Earth. It also implements intelligent caching to save space and optimize performance. "I was able to convert Virtual Earth's tiling specification to a bounding box, which is then shipped over to ArcGIS Server to make the map image," Bouwman explains. "The application increases performance by using a dynamic caching process that kicks back images already contained in the cache. We are already using this code for a Web site project with the Wildlife Conservation Society as well as another site for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Both sites will be launched this summer."
Nianwei Liu, a senior system analyst for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, was this year's honorable mention winner. His code sample, Google Maps Adapter to ArcGIS Server Map Cache, brought ArcGIS Server resources into Google Maps, making it possible to include terabytes of spatial information from ArcGIS Online. "The focus of the adapter is to seamlessly serve the user's existing map caches with the Google Maps API without having to maintain a separate and potentially costly map cache service," says Liu. "By combining the dynamic caching, spatial querying, and geoprocessing capabilities of ArcGIS Server, there are endless opportunities to build powerful yet easy-to-use geospatial analysis tools and make them accessible over the Web."
Esri Developer Network (EDN) subscribers and registered attendees of the 2008 Developer Summit voted for their favorite code sample entry based on creativity, applicability, and originality.
"The ability to integrate GIS capability into Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth is exciting because of the average user's familiarity with these programs," says Waterman. "More people unfamiliar with the technology are now asking how to build custom applications that incorporate GIS functionality. As a geospatial professional, it's gratifying to see their interest in the possibilities of this technology."