Sunday, April 27, 2014

Review of Administering ArcGIS for Server

If you are using GIS applications, you need a guide to help you install and manage a solid backbone architecture that will allow you to incorporate all the newest and most integrative GIS services.   

Administering ArcGIS for Server

Administering ArcGISfor Server (Packt Publishing, 2014) by ESRI award-winning Hussein Nasser is a clear, easy-to-follow guide which takes you all the way from installation to configuring and launching GIS services.

The first part of the book is dedicated to installing ArcGIS for Server. The text guides you through what you need in terms of a Web server as well as a GIS server. It also shows you how to test the installation track, and then how to set up a production server. You can also learn how to set up a virtualized environment, which can be very helpful if you need to run a virtual machine.

Once you’ve installed ArcGIS for Server, Nasser shows you how to configure it in order to run as a classical web service. He recommends using a standard format and discusses SOAP and REST.  Because a GIS service is a web service having a geographical element, it is important to look at the two dominant services: Esri and also Open Geospacial Consortium (OGC) services.

Nasser recommends using ArcGIS for Desktop (referred to as Desktop) as the main map services authoring tool. While one could argue that this approach may make you overly dependent on ArcGIS, both on the server side and also on the authoring tool side, but at least you can assure yourself that they are compatible.

The book is very practical. Once you’ve installed ArcGIS for Server as the backbone architecture, Nasser guides you through how to consuming services from GIS software in your system, with an emphasis on today’s main needs, which usually revolve around visualization. 

In the first part of the book, you can see how to use ArcMap, QGIS, and even Google Earth from within your configuration. The book includes a few exercises and examples, which are very helpful.

You may need to put together GIS services that run from your server. If that is the case, you will need to plan carefully in order to analyze the requirements, design the databases, optimize the database indexes, and to deploy GIS services, which include enabling a geodatabase, a world basemap and authoring custom GIS services. You’ll also need to optimize the services (pool, isolate processes, and caching). Administering ArcGIS for Server will help you do so.

You’re also guided through security so that you can protect your digital assets and intellectual property. Nasser guides you through token, key, and how to connect to a secured service.

Finally, Administering ArcGIS for Server addresses backups, documentation, logs, and optimizing the flow (finding bottlenecks, etc.). The appendices are remarkably informative – one of my favorite sections deals with the rise of ArcGIS Server and also the benefits of a 64-bit architecture.

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