ESRI Answers Questions Submitted by Directions Magazine Readers
In a newsletter we published before the ESRI Users
Conference last week, we asked our readers to submit questions to us so
that we could seek out the answers during the event. We selected three
questions from those submitted. We pursued the answers to these
questions in a number of ways and present those answers here. Jack
Dangermond, president of ESRI, provided us some information.
Additionally, we received information by getting firsthand
demonstrations from ESRI technical staff while on the exhibit floor.
1. Has Address Locator (once known as geocoding) been enhanced
(speed, accuracy) in ArcGIS 9.2? How? If not, what other options are
available for external services?
Answers From Dangermond: Geocoding is about 6-8 times faster at ArcGIS
9.2 (about 1 million matches per hour). Geocoding works with either
standard commercial data (i.e. Tele Atlas, NAVTEQ) or a users own data
on the desktop as well as in a server environment. ESRI also offers
geocoding as part of ArcWeb Services using our own technology as well
as services from Group 1.
From firsthand demonstrations: Geocoding for ArcGIS has been
supplemented with feature level data called address locators. These
address locators could be ZIP centroids from a data provider or a
custom-built geodatabase with points or areas which would enhance the
overall geocoding process. The geocoding process follows a rule base
and takes into account the list of address locators that will be used.
To facilitate geocoding speed, ArcGIS has an improved indexing scheme
that uses the rule base to prioritize the address locators. A simple
example of this is the step-wise progression that a geocoder would
perform on a database of addresses. The geocoder would first check for
a matching point or area file and then progressively step to a less
accurate level such as a Census Block centroid. When processing
thousands of records, the user would build an index first that might
take into account state, county and census tract level attribution as a
first pass on the data, as well as other address locators that would
serve to refine the geocoding process. When adding new data or new
address locators, the index would be rebuilt. There is an API for the
rule base and it runs through a standard GUI.
2. Does Google Earth (client/server) have a role for ESRI software
users? What is it?
Answers From Dangermond: This will allow our users to publish their maps
as services to the Google Earth viewer to be used in mash up style
visualization. This same visualization and mash up capability will be
available using the new free geobrowser, ArcGIS Explorer, at 9.2. At
ArcGIS 9.2, ESRI will launch a new global basemap service designed to
be a basemap for GIS users. This service will be free for ESRI
customers and will feature a series of 2D and 3D maps and images that
can be consumed by all ESRI clients (i.e. ArcGIS Desktop, the new Web
Map viewer, and ArcGIS Explorer). These basemap services are designed
to provide GIS quality images and cartography for direct use in GIS. We
see these services as a valuable addition to the ArcGIS platform.
From firsthand demonstrations: Along with the support that ESRI
will provide for writing out to KML, an ESRI partner, Spatial Data
Logic, has developed a product called Arc2Earth. Arc2Earth facilitates
the process of getting all of your feature level data into a KMZ file
and saving the user the time-consuming process of having to write out
each feature to a different KMZ file. Arc2Earth will also write out
labels, renderers and other graphics. Arc2Earth can also adjust for
certain reprojection errors that may be encountered in translating from
ArcGIS to Google Earth by allowing the user to add an adjustment
factor. The user can export the full extent of the map or just the
extents of the map window. And Arc2Earth can import other KML or KMZ
files that have been created from other sources as well.
3. How will ESRI facilitate growth of standards-based toolsets to
establish OGC services on top of an ESRI data store?
Answers From Dangermond: ESRI is strongly committed to OGC support to
ensure our platform is open and interoperable. ArcGIS Server 9.2
supports many open APIs (Soap/XML, SQL and all of the leading OGC
Standards - WMS, WFS, GML, WCS [not initially, but soon after release],
and CWS, etc.) out of the box. This ensures full access to the ArcGIS
services including mapping, geoprocessing and data management. At the
conference, we will be demonstrating interoperability with other
leading GIS and CAD technology to illustrate these capabilities.
From our sources: For a more detailed explanation of ESRI
support, we invite you to listen
to the 14 minute interview we conducted with Jeanne Foust and Keith
Ryden, who are ESRIs liaisons to the OGC and are responsible for
working with other standards bodies as well.