To this point in the course, we’ve dealt mostly with web services that accept relatively basic request parameters and respond in the form of a map or features. However, there is another class of web service in which the client app sends data to the server and the server performs some sort of geospatial analysis or processing on the data before sending back its response. That response could take the form of a map or features, or a chart, report, or file.
For example, a municipal government agency might have a street maintenance service that accepts a street address and a buffer distance as inputs, then produces a mailing list of residents living within the buffer distance of that address. An organization promoting solar power might develop a service that accepts a point location as an input, then returns a PDF report on that location’s monthly solar potential.
In Esri’s terminology, these are referred to as geoprocessing services. First, a geoprocessing tool is developed using either the GUI-based ModelBuilder application or through a script written in Python. Both of these methods for developing geoprocessing tools are covered in our GIS Programming and Automation course. The tool can then be published for consumption by web app clients using ArcGIS Server. And a description and REST endpoint of the service can be submitted to ArcGIS Online, where it can be found more easily by potential users.
More information on this process and on the publishing of map and feature services can be found in our Cloud and Server GIS course. The ArcGIS Server documentation also provides a nice brief overview of geoprocessing services.
At the successful completion of this lesson, students should be able to:
- find geoprocessing services through ArcGIS Online or on an ArcGIS Server instance;
- determine a geoprocessing service's required input parameters and its returned output;
- execute both synchronous and asynchronous geoprocessing services.
If you have any questions now or at any point during this week, please feel free to post them to the Lesson 8 Discussion Forum.