What is ArcGIS.com?
ArcGIS.com (www.ArcGIS.com) is a Web site for working with online GIS maps and applications. It includes
- A gallery of ready-to-use Web maps and applications, published by ESRI and the ArcGIS community, that you can use in your Web browser and on mobile devices without having to download special GIS software
- A browser-based map viewer that you can use to create and share your own Web maps
- A way for user communities and groups to organize and share information
The ArcGIS.com Web site is where professional GIS users share information with all kinds of Web GIS users. The professional GIS community uses ArcGIS Desktop and Server to create and publish rich maps and geographic information services that are mashed up and referenced in Web maps. They can share their Web maps online with the ArcGIS community.
Many ArcGIS professionals create and share their maps and geographic information using ArcGIS.com. This enables the ArcGIS community to include anyone with Web access to discover and use this shared content. No software is required to use ArcGIS.com—just a Web connection. If you can use a consumer Web map (like Google Maps or Bing Maps), you can use and apply ArcGIS.com.
This is the hub Web site where you can register, discover, use, and mash up ArcGIS maps and services.
What can you find at ArcGIS.com?
ArcGIS.com has a repository where ArcGIS users and others publish and share maps and geographic information. This Web site includes the following:
- Maps: A gallery of interactive Web maps from ESRI and the user community.
- Applications: A gallery of Web and mobile applications.
- Groups: ArcGIS users can set up and join user groups (communities) that share GIS content with one another and perform other related collaborative activities.
- User workspaces: Each ArcGIS user can upload and manage ArcGIS content—for example, Web maps, map packages, layer packages, toolboxes, custom desktop add-ins, and references to ArcGIS services for sharing. This content can be shared in focused ways among a small user group or more openly with larger communities.
- ESRI Data and Maps: ESRI provides a wide range of rich geographic datasets and Web maps at ArcGIS.com. You'll find multiscale basemaps for imagery, street maps, topographic maps, and other key reference maps. A number of demographic layers and natural resource layers are also available from ESRI.
- Free Web APIs and developer resources: Web developers can use free ArcGIS APIs to build GIS applications that fuse and work with the shared content published as GIS maps and geographic information services by the ArcGIS user community. See the App Galleries at ArcGIS.com for more information and helpful links.
- Search and discovery: You can use the search interface to search for and find GIS maps and information that are shared at ArcGIS.com, served from a particular ArcGIS Server Web site, or available on the World Wide Web.
An ArcGIS Web map is an organized set of map service layers that can be opened and used together as a single map. Web maps can be shared on the Web and opened in any ArcGIS client application—for example, in ArcMap, ArcGIS Explorer Online, ArcGIS.com, iPhones, and so on. This is significant because this enables you to use GIS maps to open up and share access to your geographic information and knowledge.
Web maps are how ArcGIS users share and disseminate their geographic information as Web map layers that reference rich GIS services. Individuals use ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server to create map services and other GIS services to share their geographic information—map services, image services, editing services, geoprocessing services, and so forth. Once published, these can be discovered and used to create ArcGIS Web maps that can be used anywhere in the ArcGIS system.
Web maps can be combined (that is, mashed up). This enables anyone with a Web browser to connect to ArcGIS.com and assemble and share Web maps.
Using this approach, each GIS organization can make its information available to nonspecialists. This also enables the integration of information across organizations, providing a strong basis for collaboration.
Creating and sharing Web maps at ArcGIS.com
Here is a simple process for Web map creation and sharing.
- Create a Web map using the ArcGIS.com map application by adding basemap service(s) and operational layers.
- Save the Web map. All users can register and create a workspace at ArcGIS.com that allows them to save Web maps and other content for sharing with others.
- Share the Web map. Your new Web map can be shared at ArcGIS.com and discovered in the map gallery.
Creating, sharing, and using Web maps at ArcGIS.com
Regardless of whether you have ArcGIS Desktop software or no GIS software at all, you can use the ArcGIS Web Map application at ArcGIS.com to create your own Web maps that can be shared with all kinds of users. These individual Web maps can be assembled and shared as composite Web maps and subsequently used by anyone. No software is necessary. All users need is a Web browser or mobile device and a Web connection.
While anyone can create ArcGIS Web maps, many advanced ArcGIS users will create and share Web maps of their authoritative, trusted content and operational information for their end users. These ArcGIS Desktop users create map documents, which can be published as map services using ArcGIS Server.
The corresponding ArcGIS Map Services will be discovered on the Web and used as Web maps, which can be mashed up and combined. This enables Web map users to create and share their own Web maps that reference rich GIS content that is published by the ArcGIS user community.
Web maps can be shared and discovered in the map gallery at ArcGIS.com. You can search for Web maps in user group pages, in the map gallery, or on the open Web.
Web browser users can create and share their own Web maps at ArcGIS.com
Web maps can be combined (that is, mashed up). Anyone with a Web browser can use ArcGIS.com to combine Web maps to create and share their own new Web map.
ArcGIS Web Map clients
ArcGIS provides a series of Web clients to work with Web maps:
- ArcGIS Web Map: For creating, sharing, and using ArcGIS Web maps
- ArcGIS Explorer Online: A version of ArcGIS Explorer that runs in your Web browser
- ArcGIS API for Flex: A configurable GIS Web application and API
- ArcGIS for SharePoint: GIS Web parts for adding Web maps into your SharePoint Web sites
- ArcGIS for Windows Mobile: Web maps and applications for the Windows smartphone and Tablet PCs
- ArcGIS for iPhone: Web maps and applications for the Apple iPhone