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GIS for Web Developers

GIS for WebThere is a hidden revolution going on: geography is moving from niche to the mainstream. GIS for Web Developers introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in simple terms and demonstrates hands-on uses. With this book, you’ll explore popular websites like maps.google.com, see the technologies they use, and learn how to create your own. Written with the usual Pragmatic Bookshelf humor and real-world experience, GIS for Web Developers makes geographic programming concepts accessible to the common developer.

Building Web and Mobile ArcGIS Server Applications with JavaScript

Building web ArcGisArcGIS Server is the predominant platform used to develop GIS applications for the Web. There are a number of programming languages you can use to develop applications with ArcGIS Server, including JavaScript, Flex, and Silverlight. JavaScript has become the preferred language for developing applications on this platform, since it can be used for both web and mobile applications and doesn’t
require the installation of a plugin for the application to be used in a browser. Flex and Silverlight both fall short as languages for mobile development and both require the use of a plugin for the application to run in a browser.
This book will teach you how to build web-based GIS applications using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. Using a practical, hands-on style of learning, you will learn how to develop fully functional applications with ArcGIS Server and develop a skill set that is in high demand.
You will learn how to create maps and add geographic layers from a variety of sources, including tiled and dynamic map services. In addition, you’ll learn how to add graphics to the map and stream geographic features to the browser using FeatureLayer. Most applications also include specific functionalities implemented by ArcGIS Server as tasks. You’ll learn how to use the various tasks provided by ArcGIS Server, including queries, identification of features, finding features by attributes, geoprocessing tasks, and more. Finally, you’ll learn just how easy it is to develop mobile applications with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

What this book covers
Chapter 1, Introduction to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, covers fundamental HTML, CSS, and JavaScript concepts before getting started with developing GIS applications with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Chapter 2, Creating Maps and Adding Layers, teaches you how to create a map and add layers to the map. You will learn how to create an instance of the Map class, add layers of data to the map, and display this information on a web page. The Map class is the most fundamental class in the API as it provides the canvas for your data layers and any subsequent activities that occur in your application. However, your map is useless until you add layers of data. There are several types of data layers that can be added to a map, including tiled, dynamic, and feature. Readers will learn more about each of these layer types in this chapter.

Chapter 3, Adding Graphics to the Map, teaches the reader how to display temporary points, lines, and polygons in GraphicsLayer on the map. GraphicsLayer is a separate layer that always resides on top of other layers and stores all the graphics associated with the map.

Chapter 4, The Feature Layer, offers additional capabilities, apart from inheriting from GraphicsLayer, such as the ability to perform queries and selections. Feature layers are also used for online editing of features. Feature layers differ from tiled and dynamic map service layers, because feature layers bring geometry information to the client computer to be drawn and stored by the web browser. Feature layers
potentially cut down on round trips to the server. A client can request the features it needs, and perform selections and queries on those features without having to request more information from the server.

Chapter 5, Using Widgets and Toolbars, covers out-of-the-box widgets that you can drop into your application for enhanced productivity. The BasemapGallery, Bookmarks, Print, Geocoding, Legend, Measurement, Scalebar, Gauge, and Overview map widgets are included. In addition, the ArcGIS API for JavaScript also includes helper classes for adding various toolbars to your applications, including
navigation and drawing toolbars.

Chapter 6, Performing Spatial and Attribute Queries, covers the ArcGIS Server Query Task, which allows you to perform attribute and spatial queries against data layers in a map service that have been exposed. You can also combine these query types to perform a combination attribute and spatial query.

Chapter 7, Identifying and Finding Features, covers two common operations found in any GIS application. These operations require that the user click a feature on the map in the case of identification, or perform a query in the case of finding features. In either case, information about particular features is returned. In this chapter, the reader will learn how to use the IdentifyTask and FindTask objects to obtain
information about features.

Chapter 8, Turning Addresses into Points and Points into Addresses, covers the use of the Locator task to perform geocoding and reverse geocoding. Geocoding is the process of assigning a coordinate to an address, while reverse geocoding assigns an address
to a coordinate.

Chapter 9, Network Analyst Tasks, allows you to perform analyses on street networks, such as finding the best route from one address to another, finding the closest school, identifying a service area around a location, or responding to a set of orders with a
fleet of service vehicles.

Chapter 10, Geoprocessing Tasks, allows you to execute custom models built in ArcGIS Desktop using ModelBuilder. Models are run in an automated fashion from either a desktop environment or via a centralized server accessed through a web application. Any tool found in ArcToolbox, whether that be a tool for your ArcGIS license level or a custom tool that you’ve built, can be used in a model and chained together with other tools. Once constructed, these models can be run on a centralized server and accessed via web applications. In this chapter, we will examine how you can access these geoprocessing tasks through the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Chapter 11, Integration with ArcGIS Online, details how you can use the ArcGIS API for JavaScript to access the data and maps created with ArcGIS.com. The website ArcGIS.com is for working with maps and other types of geographic information. On this site, you will find applications for building and sharing maps. You will also find useful basemaps, data, applications, and tools that you can view and use, plus
communities you can join. For application developers, the really exciting news is that you can integrate ArcGIS.com content into your custom developed applications using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. In this chapter, you will explore how ArcGIS. com maps can be added to your applications.

Chapter 12, Creating Mobile Applications, details how you can build mobile GIS applications using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript. ArcGIS Server support is currently provided for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry operating systems. The API is integrated with dojox/mobile. In this chapter, you’ll learn about the compact build of the API that makes web mapping applications possible through web-kit browsers as well as
the built-in gesture support.

Appendix, Application Design with ArcGIS Templates and Dojo, covers one of the most difficult tasks for many web developers which is designing and creating the user interface. The ArcGIS API for JavaScript and Dojo greatly simplifies this task. Dojo’s layout dijits provide a simple, efficient way to create application layouts, and Esri has provided a number of sample application layouts and templates that you can use to get up and running quickly. In this appendix, the reader will learn techniques to design an application quickly.


ArcGIS Web Development


The last decade has seen a boom in people becoming acclimated to location technology. Most users may not fully realize that they’re using location technology when they get an alert on their phone that there’s traffic on the way home, or when they get a coupon from an app on their phone for a local restaurant. Smart phones are no longer simply devices for making phone calls, texting, and checking email. For many people, they’ve not only replaced the heavy and clumsy map book that your passenger used to help you navigate, but these “phones” have also replaced the expensive indash GPS systems in our vehicles. It’s so easy today to say the name of a store or venue into your phone, and in seconds receive turn-by-turn directions. That’s not to say that these directions may not try to direct you into a lake, but there’s no denying that location technology has become part of our daily lives. We gladly share our current locations with friends and family with as much fervor as when we shared a photo a few
years ago. Maps and the information they can convey are great tools that developers should take time to learn to use.
A few years ago, I was tasked with upgrading an enterprise GIS application and bringing it into the modern non-mainframe era. Esri had just started releasing Web APIs for use with their technology. At the time, I built my application with the Flex API, and I delved deep into the world of ActionScript and Flex modular development, but it always felt a bit heavy-handed.
Over time, the Esri JavaScript API became more appealing. It performed better with each release and offered new features that worked with the latest updates to ArcGIS Server. At some point, my focus switched entirely from Flex development to JavaScript, and I immersed myself in every nook and cranny of the API.

width: 0px; “> </I’ve had the pleasure over the years of building numerous applications with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, even building a business around creating web-mapping applications. I’ve tried to follow each learning hump with a blog post or a presentation to share what I have learned. This is my way of paying it forward—paying it forward for all those blog posts I spent late nights digging through, simply to fix some odd bug or solve a problem I was ready to give up on, and for all the presentations I’ve attended that inspired me to build and learn, to create useful tools and applications, and to strive to learn what I didn’t even know I wanted or needed to learn. This book brings together the knowledge I’ve gained and puts it all in one place. I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did writing it.

I also hope you take the foundations laid out here to explore what you can do with web mapping with the ArcGIS API for JavaScript and build some really cool things. Because as developers, isn’t that what we all want to do? Just build.

Advances in Web-based GIS, Mapping Services and Applications

AdvanceArcGisWeb mapping/GIS is the process of designing, implementing, generating and delivering maps, geospatial data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) functionality or services on the Web. Primarily focusing on technological issues, this field increasingly includes theoretic aspects such as cartographic design, theory and principles, social and organizational issues and applications. Given the recent advances led by mainstream Information Technology (IT) developers, the need to examine these issues becomes increasingly critical.

This book volume, Advances in Web-based GIS, Mapping Services and Applications, aims at examining both theoretical/technological advancements and social/organizational issues in the field of web-based GIS and mapping services and applications. It presents an overall view of current progress and achievements with considerable technical details and examples.

The contents address: 1) constant updating of related web and geospatial technologies as well as the revolution of web mapping caused by mainstream IT vendors such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft; 2) increased interest in geospatial information technologies from the industry; and 3) increasing demand from the general public for prompt and effective online access to geospatial information. All contributing chapters were advised to consider: 1) inclusion of recent technological advancements, especially new developments under Web 2.0, map mashups, neogeography, and the like; 2) balanced theoretical discussions and technical implementations; 3) commentary on the current stages of development; and 4) prediction of future developments over the next decade.

The original recommended topics and themes, as listed in the call for chapter proposals, include:
• Web 2.0, neogeography, and map mashups
• Technologies providing new service-oriented, distributed architectures, e.g., web services,
SOA, P2P, grid computing, etc.
• Technologies enhancing web interaction with maps and spatial representations, e.g., Ajax, SVG, GeoRSS, etc.
• Advances in virtual earth technologies
• Open source and open standards as related to web GIS/mapping
• Web-based spatial decision support
• Applications in public participation
• Geospatially-enabled workflow processes for automating web-based geospatial services
• Content and knowledge mapping
• Social mapping and networking
• New service and application models such as SaaS
• Data quality and integration, date policies, privacy and ownership
• Quality of web-based geospatial services and processes
• Impact of Web 2.0 on enterprise-wide web GIS/mapping and location services

While many of these topics have been addressed in this book volume, we feel that what needs to be further studied is related to social and organizational issues in the field of webbased GIS and mapping services and applications, as well as an assessment of the impact of Web 2.0 and more recently emerged web 3.0 on enterprise-wide web GIS/mapping and location services. We would like to see more research into, for example, data policies, privacy and
ownership, quality assurance and acceptable use policies, especially for crowd-sourcing and community-generated geographic content technologies and and applications.

In addition to the introductory chapter, the book includes 20 accepted chapters after double-blind peer review processes, which are organized into the following six sections:

An introductory chapter is included to present an overview of recent advances in web-based GIS, mapping services and applications, and identified some of issues and challenges faced by researchers and professionals in the field.

This section includes six chapters focusing on various state-of-the-art geographic information web and processing services, ranging from analytical, simulation and virtual visualization uses to building web services and mashups.

Three chapters included in this section present some recent studies on techniques and solutions to enhance the performance of web mapping and services.

Mobile applications are increasingly using better positioning techniques and augmented reality. The three chapters in this section describe recent developments and advances in geolocating using a range of positioning systems, and augmented systems and environments for use in mobile mapping.