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GIS Servers and services

An overview of GIS services

Release 9.2
Last modified March 10, 2008
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For a complete overview of ESRI's server technology, see Chapter 4, "Server GIS: ArcIMS, ArcGIS Server, and ArcGIS Image Server" in What is ArcGIS.pdf.

NOTE: If this link doesn't work, you can view the What is ArcGIS 9.2? Help topic , or open the PDF document (what_is_arcgis.pdf) from the \arcgis\Documentation folder in your ArcGIS Desktop install location.

All ArcGIS Desktop applications can use GIS services found on the web or on your LAN (Local Area Network). You can connect to three different kinds of servers, ArcIMS, ArcGIS, and WMS, all of which offer a range of services, such as maps, data, geoprocessing, mobile maps, and geocoding. The three types of servers are found in the GIS Servers folder in the ArcCatalog tree, as illustrated below.

GIS Servers folder

You connect to a server by double-clicking one of the three Add Server entries under the GIS Servers folder. (If the GIS Servers folder does not appear in your ArcCatalog tree, click Options in the Tool menu, click the General tab, then enable GIS Services in the list of top level entries.)

The GIS Servers folder also contains an out-of-the-box connection to Geography Network Services hosted by ESRI. This is a connection to an ArcIMS Server residing at ESRI that contains many useful and interesting services, and you should take the opportunity to explore this server when possible. Simply double-click the connection and view the services in the Contents pane of ArcCatalog, as illustrated below. ESRI may add more out-of-the-box connections in the future.

Geography Network

Learn more about GIS Servers and their services

Learn more about GIS Servers folder and managing connections

With ArcGIS Desktop, you can use services from any server. You can also author and publish services to an ArcGIS Server (as long as you have administrative access to a server).
Learn more about authoring and publishing services

If you are a server administrator, you can use ArcCatalog to perform actions such as starting and stopping services or reconfiguring their properties.
Learn more about administering ArcGIS Server in ArcCatalog

About ArcGIS Server

ArcGIS Server is a comprehensive web-based GIS that provides a range of out-of-the-box end user applications and services for mapping, analysis, data collection, editing, and management of spatial information. ArcGIS Server provides a server-based platform upon which ArcGIS Desktop users can easily publish and serve their geographic knowledge to the broader organization. ArcGIS Server supports access using a range of desktop, custom, mobile, and browser-based clients.

ArcGIS Server also includes the ArcSDE data management technology for managing multi-user, transactional geodatabases using a number of relational DBMS's.
As a user of ArcView, ArcEditor, or ArcInfo, you can apply ArcGIS Server in a number of critical ways:

Authoring and publishing GIS "resources" using ArcGIS Desktop

ArcGIS Server allows you to share your GIS resources across an enterprise and across the web. ArcGIS 9.2 Server leverages ArcGIS Desktop by allowing you to author maps, globes, and geoprocessing tasks on your desktop and then publish these to ArcGIS Server. Publishing can be performed inside ArcGIS Desktop using ArcCatalog.

Alternatively, a browser-based application called the ArcGIS Server Manager can be used to publish maps, globes, geoprocessing tools, and other GIS resources.

You share these resources by first hosting them on your ArcGIS Server as a web service, and then enabling a series of client applications (and other servers) to use and interact with the resources.

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