Today, Esri launched ArcGIS for National Government at their Federal GIS conference. What is it and is it anything new for ArcGIS users?
ArcGIS for National Government, as best I can discern from the presentations, is composed of data services, combined with pre-assembled workflow templates that also includes pre-configured model builder workflows that result in a specific "information product." If you happen to be working in an intelligence agency, there are specific templates/workflows called "ArcGIS for Intelligence."
For example, the ArcGIS for Intelligence solution contains specific content and other information products such as basemaps that may convey "live" current events happening in the world and provides the user the ability to drill down to information about actual incidents. The basemaps may include ready to use layers specific to that application or cartographic elements, such as a light gray, low contract basemap so point and polygon data will not be overwhelmed with colors and attribution of a typical base map.
Another aspect of the solution provides for the creation of an user-defined image or data catalog with a rating scale so users can see how helpful a data layer or image has been to others. Any value-added work created within a project can be published to the catalog and registered as a service that others can use as well.
Additionally, users can access ready to use products including analytical templates to answer specific questions. If you were working as a border patrol agent, these templates would include applications for:
- Situational awareness
- Border patrol mobile applications
- Border crossing activity
The template, then, includes standard map layers (land cover, water, etc.) but also known trails that illegal aliens will use and the locations of border arrests plus polygons for border patrol administration areas.
Finally, the solution also includes a pre-configured model builder template for these applications. The user then gathers data by browsing ArcGIS Online to look for layers that may be more specific to his/her own project area. Once the analysis has been completed, the entire analysis can be sent out via a layer package that other users can pull into their ArcGIS system.
Is any of this new? What's new is that these kinds of solutions are packaged. While the underlying technology is not new, Esri is trying to simplify the workflow, which would be particularly useful to neophyte GIS users. And with an expected expansion of knowledge workers that want to avail themselves of geospatial technology but are not yet expert with ArcGIS, this certainly gives them a push in the right direction. In a way, it reminds me of the large, post-sized workflow models that Esri used to publish for certain vertical industries. This is the evolution of those posters for the era of "cloud."