Use Case: ArcGIS Online + ArcGIS for Server Map Services

(contributed by: Bradley Songer, Esri Account Executive, @GeographicTech)

A portion of this fall’s Transform Your Organization seminar series described the steps to add ArcGIS for Server map services to ArcGIS Online. It was an “Aha!” moment for many attendees who were curious about the relationship between ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS for Server. Those attendees left the Seminar with clarity for what this relationship offers, specifically as it relates to web maps.

What if you did not attend the Seminar? You might be wondering how ArcGIS for Server and ArcGIS Online complement one another. To answer this question, let’s walk through a use case starting with what you know – the map service:

These are ArcGIS for Server map services published from your server. In this example, they represent voting districts, property boundaries, parks, service requests, and building permits. Instead of using these map services to build an application with Flex, JavaScript, Silverlight, or a mobile SDK (e.g. Apple iOS), we are going to register these services with ArcGIS Online.

Adding these services to ArcGIS Online makes them available as live, authoritative content for building web maps – the powerful new medium GIS pros (and non-GIS pros) are using to reach a new audience with online maps.

The steps to add ArcGIS Server services can be found in the Adding items from the web help topic. Note Step 4 – Choose the type of item:  ArcGIS Server web service

Imagine if your whole library of authoritative content were available to the ArcGIS Online users in your organization. It would only take a few minutes to build a web map for a city administrator we’ll name “Susan” showing voting districts and the status of building permits throughout the city. Susan could explore this web map from her desktop browser, or if security rules allow, she could study the web map from her smartphone while she’s out exploring the community.

ArcGIS for Server map services, like the ones in Susan’s web map, might have been less visible in the past. Now, by adding those map services to ArcGIS Online, they can be discovered and accessed by diverse groups of users in a very elegant, thought-provoking kind of way. I’ll bet Susan and her colleagues never imagined having such valuable and timely information on their smartphone (or tablet) as an interactive, GPS-enabled map!

ArcGIS Online offers many great ways to add content to a web map, each having its unique advantages. With these options, it remains true that a good map is delivered on time, with relevant and up-to-date information. One advantage of ArcGIS for Server map services is that they always represent the live information as its being managed on your server(s). This is why map services are an excellent way to empower ArcGIS Online users with the rich and up-to-date content they crave – and sometimes require – for great web maps.

For more information see:

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