ESRI ArcIMS Internet Map ServerREVIEWER: Jeremy Bartley, assistant GIS coordinator and geoinformatics project lead for the Kansas Geological Survey.

BACKGROUND: The Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) has major programs in geologic research and service, data management and distribution, public information, and education. It is a leader in Web-based dissemination of geological and resource information and it operates, through a contract with the Kansas Data Access and Support Center, a repository and distribution facility for GIS databases for the state of Kansas. Although its primary focus is the state of Kansas, KGS and its research staff are internationally recognized and contribute to earth science research and information in many arenas.

PLATFORMS: We are running ESRI's ArcIMS version 9 on a Windows 2000 Server with Apache 2.x and Tomcat 4.x.

PROBLEM SOLVED: KGS received a grant from the Department of Energy to build a geographic portal encompassing maps and information for seven different partnerships comprising all 50 states for carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration is the process of storing anthropogenic carbon in forests, old oil and gas fields, deep hyper-saline aquifers and coal seams. NATCARB is a project to explore geological and terrestrial sequestration of carbon by linking geologic, terrestrial and emission databases from several regional centers into a single interactive mapping system. We are working closely with industry and government in order to effectively plan for future sequestration sites. To achieve this goal, we needed to be able create multiple maps from distributed sources in a real-time environment.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: ArcIMS is instrumental in building this geographic portal. We have been able to leverage ArcIMS's large user base (according to www.mapdex.org, ArcIMS is being used by approximately 1,500 public servers, serving more than 25,000 map services, containing more than 350,000 GIS layers) to provide access to each of the partnership's data sets and to other large national datasets (national scale orthophotography, satellite and digital elevation models) that we could not serve centrally. ArcIMS is our solution for delivering dynamic maps and GIS data and services via the Web. It provides a highly scalable framework for publishing our GIS data and combining that information with our other partners.

STRENGTHS: ArcIMS works well with the major databases (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 and Informix). Therefore, we can easily leverage the database to create powerful dynamic database-driven applications. ArcIMS is fast, functional and interoperable with today's standards. ArcIMS communication between its internal components is through the Arc Extensible Markup Language (ArcXML). With ArcXML, ArcIMS behaves much like a Web service. When we request a map to be drawn, we communicate via HTTP to the remote servers via an XML request. The ease of this communication allows us to communicate with the multiple distributed servers for NATCARB.

WEAKNESSES: I would like to see more support for beginning users. The out-of-the-box applications are quick and easy to get started, but most users will quickly tire of the design and other limitations. The power of ArcIMS really benefits from tight integration with the database. More examples of database driven applications (Cold-Fusion, JSP and PHP) would be useful. It would also be nice to see more integration between ArcIMS and the other ESRI server product, ArcGIS Server.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We looked at some of the standards-compliant mapping applications (OGC standards such as WMS and WFS), but we were frustrated by the lack of common use of these standards by most groups.

DELIVERABLES: We are publishing all seven partners' data via our Web portal. This interactive atlas will be used by policy makers, scientists, industry and the general public to identify sources and sinks of carbon.

VENDOR SUPPORT: A wealth of information is available on the ESRI support Web site for users just getting started. They have done a good job in providing installation examples for the many different configurations (OS, Web server, application servers and servlet engines).

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is well thought out, but a little overwhelming at first.


ESRI ArcIMS Internet Map Server
ESRI
380 New York Street
Redlands, CA 92373-8100
909-793-2853
www.esri.com

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