ArcNews Online

Fall 2008

GeoWeb 2008 Conference—Universal Access to Geospatial Information

The widespread use of a universal GeoWeb that provides local and global spatial data information over the Internet has been growing tremendously over the last several years. Geographic information is now widely distributed on the Web and routinely integrated into thousands of applications and services, including infrastructure support. Technology has evolved to a point where anyone can be a contributor to the GeoWeb and everyone can be a participant, from data access to infrastructure protection.

Esri's commitment to supporting standards and interoperability results in open software systems that facilitate the sharing and integration of information. This makes it easier for local communities to access spatial data from global infrastructures, therefore reducing the amount of time, money, and effort required to build and expand local infrastructures. In turn, this information can be served from the local to the larger global community, expanding the availability and quality of the global information. Keeping the process open and interoperable provides the opportunity for geospatial information to be exchanged and used everywhere, fostering a better understanding of our world and promoting better decision making.

Esri and Esri Canada Limited discussed and demonstrated how new technological advances make it easier to access geospatial information over the Internet during the GeoWeb 2008 conference held in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, July 21�25, 2008. Esri shared best practices to help attendees leverage the GeoWeb and geospatial information available online.

Alex Miller, president of Esri Canada, gave a keynote address at GeoWeb 2008. Miller covered pressing topics for GeoWeb and GIS users, including how to manage data sharing and workflows for enhanced communication and efficiency, as well as improved decision making. In addition, Esri and Esri Canada presented three papers. Presentation topics included

  • Leveraging Web services to access GIS resources in data, maps, and analysis
  • Using JavaScript APIs to quickly and easily transform spatial mashups into advanced analysis applications
  • Interoperability and the mass market initiatives (REST and JavaScript approaches) that use Web 2.0 patterns for extending the traditional interoperability paradigm
  • Next-generation emergency response systems—the communication infrastructure, situational information, and directions to the emergency
  • Best practices guide for intellectual property protection and licensing issues around the prudent use of geospatial data on the Web

"The widespread use of the GeoWeb is really just beginning," says Miller. "Technological advances in interoperability are opening up the use of geography for new applications, including situational awareness and decision making. The GeoWeb and the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) are providing new opportunities to share geographic information across a spectrum of user communities."

Esri also hosted two hands-on workshops. The first workshop focused on the increased use of Web services as a common and useful way to access GIS data, maps, and analysis. As this practice becomes more ubiquitous, it is important to understand the context and full life cycle of these services. Topics of discussion included creating GIS resources; serving these resources as services; and using the resultant Web services in a wide range of browser-based, desktop, and mobile GIS applications. In addition, a second workshop presented how mashups have become an important part of the GIS landscape. The ability to use universally known and accepted basemap information with dynamic spatial content has expanded the reach of geographic knowledge and created spatial awareness for millions of people who previously had no experience with the GIS discipline. This workshop showed how easy it is to use JavaScript APIs to quickly improve spatial mashups into advanced spatial analysis applications. Developers can learn how to add advanced spatial analysis to their applications by visiting the ArcGIS Server Resource Center at

More Information

For more information on Esri's support for standards and interoperability, visit More information on the GeoWeb conference and access to the presentation materials can be obtained at

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