Web GIS, Taking Advantage of the Cloud - Morehouse and Gorter at #ESRIUC
Scott Morehouse, ESRI Director of Software development began the discussion of the cloud (officially titled: Web GIS, Taking Advantage of the Cloud) by noting that computing platforms change - but ESRI’s fundamental work stay the same: building useful systems for real users.
He highlighted the implications of the Web: federated network architecture simple and fast user experience content is key Web programming models participation in a larger ecosyste collaboration and volunteered information cloud computing platforms He noted the architecture patterns of using workstations (ArcGIS group), the enterprise (ArcGIS Server), and Web (ArcGIS Online) as the center of implementations.
Each of these can take advantage of the cloud and link together. He provided some background on cloud computing noting that Gartner says the cloud will be mainstream in 2-5 years. (“A future thing is always better than a current thing,” he said, laughing.) The cloud is more of a collection of ideas or attributes. ESRI sees the cloud as “a computing paradigm, like personal and enterprise computing but centered on the Web.” Still, it’s tied to the Web itself and the delivery of software and services. In short, it leverages “internet hosted storage, computation, and functionality.”
Cloud computing comes in three levels:
- Software as a Service (SAAS), timesharing Ex: Salesforce.com
- Platform as a Service (PAAS), you write the app, they host it but it also take advantage of other hosted services. Ex: Microsoft Azure
- Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) Generic storage and computation Ex: Amazon S3, EC2
ESRI is interested in participating in the top two levels. PAAS (ArcGIS Online) and expect to see more of SAAS type apps, too. ESRI’s current offerings include:
- ArcGIS Online (using Amazon hosting)
- Maps and Data Web Map SDKs (were with server, now also part of ArcGIS Online)
- Map storage and sharing Business Analyst Online (SaaS example)
- Online Business Geographics Maps and reports
Dirk Gorter, Director of Product Management, then took over to highlight some specific initiatives and what they mean for ESRI and its users. This ended up being essentially a review of ArcGIS Online, its capabilities and datasets and services, and a demo of Business Analyst Online, a SaaS offering.
The demo presenter noted that that you could do all of these demographic analyses without installing software on your computer (some attendees giggled at that). Gorter concluded with three takeaways: ArcGIS Online is ESRI’s cloud platform. ESRI wants to provide cloud computing benefits to users which includes hiding computing complexity. ESRI is doing ongoing research.