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Interoperability and standards support

Overview of interoperability

Release 9.2
Last modified January 26, 2007
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The ArcGIS platform conforms to open standards and enterprise IT frameworks. This ensures that users can incorporate GIS in any application, on a variety of computing and mobile devices, and can use geographic information accessed from databases and Web services. This also allows geographic data to be persisted and managed in almost any format. It also enables ArcGIS users to work with and integrate their information with other systems in a heterogeneous GIS framework.

Another trend is to integrate heterogeneous application logic (including GIS and other IT systems) using Services-Oriented Architectures (SOA). SOA's can be used to integrate existing information systems to orchestrate work across those systems. This is used to implement critical business practices, work flows, and information flows within and across organizations.

For example, a utility could assemble a trouble call system that integrates its existing customer database application, its command and control system, and its fleet management system with a GIS server to locate and respond to affected customers. The information flow for an incident might start with the customer's phone number. The system could then locate the affected service, perform network tracing and analysis, identify the potential remedy and, finally, route the closest field service technician to the service location with detailed instructions on the work to be performed.

Using a SOA, ArcGIS and other systems are fused using IT and Web services interfaces for managing and exploiting information and software logic. ArcGIS can be integrated with other IT services using a standards-based Web services and messaging protocols, such as XML and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). These are the same technology standards that are used in mainstream business and enterprise computing frameworks.

ArcGIS is engineered for interoperability

ArcGIS supports an enlarged vision that GIS can be implemented in a manner that readily supports an organization's work flows and business requirements. ArcGIS provides this via a standards-based software platform that supports an abundance of geographic information types as well as comprehensive tools for data management, editing, analysis, display, and services.

In this context, GIS software can be increasingly thought of as standards-based IT infrastructure for assembling desktop GIS, enterprise GIS, web GIS, mobile GIS, and spatial data infrastructures. ArcGIS also enables GIS participation in services-oriented architectures interconnected using Web frameworks.

ArcGIS was designed to satisfy these evolving requirements for scalable, comprehensive, and standards-based computing for GIS.

Overview of key interoperability strategies
Topic Strategy

  • Support any client and device including mobile, smart clients, web browsers, desktop applications, and other servers
Orchestration via web services and TCP/IP

  • Support broad web and IT standards from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and others -- for example, XML, web services, SOAP, WSDL, etc.
  • Support services oriented architectures (GIS on the enterprise service bus)
  • Support focused GIS standards (e.g., OGC and ISO).
  • Support KML services for publishing GIS services as KML and for using KML within ArcGIS.
  • Share and openly publish ESRI protocols for broad use.
  • Deliver a GIS portal toolkit for central metadata and application publishing
  • Support portal standards (e.g., JSR-168, UDDI, Web portal frameworks, API's -- .NET, Java)
Application logic

  • Enable common GIS logic to be deployed anywhere - within GIS Servers, embedded in custom applications, used within GIS desktops, and deployed into the field on mobile devices.
  • Build application bridges for specific programs (SAP R3, SAS, CRM, permitting, etc.)
Data management

  • Directly use as well as translate any vector, raster, and tabular data format.
  • Strong support for CAD interoperability
  • Open support for GML, WMS, WFS, etc.
  • Openly support geodatabase management in any viable RDBMS and file system
  • Support SQL access to geodatabases
  • Publish key GIS formats from ESRI as an API
  • Compile and share common GIS data models based on standards

Applications programming Provide industry-standard programming API's (C++, .NET, Java, etc.) for
  • Embedded engines
  • Servers
  • GIS desktops
  • Web browser clients
  • Mobile clients

Computing platforms Support the widely adopted computing platforms employed in our user communities. This includes support for web servlet engines, DBMS's, application servers, and web portal frameworks:
  • Windows: .NET, SQL Server, IIS, etc.
  • Linux/Unix: Apache, Java, WebSphere, WebLogic, Apache, Oracle Application Server, Oracle, Informix, DB2
  • Sun Solaris: Java, Apache, SunONE, Oracle

  • Support and leverage standards such as Adobe Acrobat, PostScript, and other prepress-related standards
  • Support industry standard fonts

International language support
  • Provide the ability to use and deploy ESRI software in any language
  • Provide support for bi-directional text
  • Support standards for Internationalization (I18N) and Localization (L10N) such as UNICODE and numerous tools for adding language support
  • Provide localization kits with instructions for translating ESRI software

Accessibility standards
  • Provide support for common disability and accessibility standards such as the U.S. Government's Section 508 standards

Up-to-date information regarding ESRI's support for standards can found at

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