"It's exciting to hear news of ArcGIS Server instances in the cloud, coupled with the new mappings APIs," Rob Dunfey, who has previously worked at ESRI and now works at Shell, said of the new tools. "We can start to deliver easy to use apps which answer business problems with a geo component. For example, the iPhone app for the CEO which downloads local sales stats as they move from site to site."
The version 2.0 API release adds new functionality and exposes a number of new features available in ArcGIS Server 10:
- A features service which expose access to vector feature geometries and attributes.
- Geometry service updates to facilitate Web editing.
- Time aware layers to allow you to query or display time-aware layers using a particular slice of time.
- Network analysis.
- Bing Maps support updates.
- Geocoding updates.
- Mapping enhancements.
The ESRI mapping APIs, which are freely available, differentiate themselves from the plethora of consumer focused mapping APIs out there in their depth of GIS analysis they support, their ability to ask complex questions of spatial proximity and topology. However, to access this extra functionality on your own data you need to buy a license.
The implications of all these APIs means that the accessibility to commercial-grade GIS technology is much greater and as developers become more familiar with GIS they could potentially start bidding for development projects that were previously only accessible to GIS development houses. It also means that platforms and devices that were previously only used by consumers can potentially be used in the field.