Esri rolls out ArcGIS map services for the cloud

Enterprise subscriptions bring enterprise mapping and map services to the cloud, as well as an open API and integration with Excel and Salesforce

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In addition, the address database can be used by others in the county, such as when the Health Department does restaurant inspections. That means multiple departments don't each have to maintain separate databases with similar information. "For county government, that [data sharing] is huge," he said.

Another local government beta tester, Salem, Ore., created a beta site for public use with ArcGIS Online tools. "We do great with managing data and cranking out hard copy of products, but it's that sharing of the data, the delivery portion, that's a challenge," said Susan Blohm, IT supervisor for the city of Salem. ArcGIS Online offers a "framework to get all GIS under one roof," she said. "That will help us improve service."

Both GIS and non-GIS workers participated in the Salem program. After short training sessions, "a handful of them needed a little more coaching but a majority of them were off and running," said Dan Brown, GIS enterprise technical lead in Salem. "People started to create maps."

"We had to do very little hand-holding," Blohm said.

Neither Sussex County nor Salem officials said they plan to move a majority of their GIS data and applications into the cloud. Sussex created what Kunz called a lot of "hybrid" applications -- partially on county infrastructure and partly in the cloud. Salem is likely to use the cloud for redundancy as opposed to making a wholesale shift to it at the outset, Blohm said.

ArcGIS Online organizational subscriptions cost $500 per year per user for a minimum of five users, including credits for CPU use, data storage and bandwidth, Dangermond said. The credits are designed to be enough for "normal" use, although not necessarily for a public site receiving a million visits a day, or storage of, say, satellite imagery for the planet, Dangermond said.

The per-user price drops to $200/year for a thousand users. Customers who already have an Esri Enterprise License Agreement will receive ArcGIS Online subscriptions for unlimited users and credits for each user.

Although it may be difficult in the current fiscal environment for municipalities to get funding for anything new, Blohm said, "I think the ROI is there" for ArcGIS Online organization subscriptions.

"I do see value in this product," Brown added. "As it grows I can see our online presence growing with it."

Sharon Machlis is online managing editor at Computerworld. Her e-mail address is You can follow her on Twitter @sharon000, on Facebook, on Google+ or by subscribing to her RSS feeds:
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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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