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The GIS operations performed by the tools within the Analysis Gallery are collectively referred to as geoprocessing. Common geoprocessing workflows include viewshed, drive time, and site suitability analysis. Analysis tools in ArcGIS Explorer make use of geoprocessing services that run on a GIS server and have been authored with ArcGIS Desktop and published using ArcGIS Server (ArcGIS Server is an Esri product that enables organizations to put maps, data, and tools on the Internet or intranet).
An analysis tool will usually require you to enter some input information, such as a point location or a distance value, and will then perform the actual analysis on the GIS server. Once the processing has completed the service will return a result which may be spatial (for example a drive time zone polygon) or non-spatial (for example a count of population affected by a chemical plume). These results are displayed on the map (if they contain geographic data) and are listed in the Contents windows alongside your other map content.