ArcNews Online

Spring 2002
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Integrate a Variety of Commercial Data with Local Data Sources

Data Subscriptions Now Available on the Geography Network

click to see enlargementDeveloped over the last two years as a Web-based portal to facilitate the sharing of spatial data and services over the Internet, has rapidly become the place on the Internet where GIS users look first for data. In addition to serving as a clearinghouse and hosting a variety of free, noncommercial data sets, the Geography Network has recently been enhanced so that GIS users can subscribe to fee-based, commercial data sets. Now searching for and subscribing to commercial data sets from leading providers has become simpler and faster than ever before.

The Geography Network is the first online service allowing real-time access to distributed commercial and noncommercial geographic content through a central location. No matter where the data originates or is served from, users can easily purchase subscriptions from a single location and access the data through a single user account.

Commercial data is presented on the Geography Network in the form of a subscription service that can be accessed by Web or GIS applications. To date, commercial data providers, including Geographic Data Technology (GDT), Meteorlogix, ORBIMAGE, and WorldSat, have published a number of data sets (such as streets, imagery, real-time weather, demographics, and topography) on the Geography Network for access on a subscription basis. Esri is working with more data providers, both government and private, to make even more data available over the Geography Network.

These subscriptions can now be purchased through online transactions at the Geography Network Web site ( After an order is placed, subscribers will be notified via e-mail with an access code and instructions for accessing the subscription data sets using their GIS software or application. Some of the data subscription benefits are

  • Access to real-time data (such as weather and traffic) that isn't available on CD
  • Outsourcing of data storage and maintenance responsibilities (reduced infrastructure and staff costs)
  • Access to content from any location connected to the Internet (data subscription travels with you)
  • Easy deployment of data across an enterprise (no need to distribute data internally)
  • Access to data from multiple clients (HTML browsers, mobile devices, desktop GIS software)

Most Geography Network commercial data providers license data sets through six- or 12-month subscriptions for either single or multiple users. Each time subscribers connect to the data set, they will be authenticated and receive access to the latest content available through the terms of their subscription.

Users are allowed unlimited access to the data set during the terms of their agreement. Costs for the data subscriptions vary depending on the data type (e.g., imagery, streets, and weather), the geographic size of the coverage, and the term of the subscription. The flexibility of the Geography Network allows subscription options to suit the needs of individual GIS users, enterprise organizations, and application developers who wish to integrate Geography Network content into the desktop or Web-enabled applications they are building.

Instead of downloading and storing static data sets, users may access dynamic data subscriptions using robust GIS software tools, such as ArcGIS, or a free GIS data viewer such as ArcExplorer. Geography Network content can be viewed and queried along with other remote or local data sources.

For more information, please visit or contact Esri at 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, please contact your local Esri distributor.

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