GEOG 865
Cloud and Server GIS

Exploring the instance


ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 comes preconfigured with some running services and data. These can help you understand how the server works and they're also a good way to verify that your server is running correctly. Let's take a few minutes to look at these items.

  1. On the desktop of your EC2 instance, open a web browser (Internet Explorer) and enter the url for your Services Directory. The url has the form, (substituting your own name). Each ArcGIS Server has this simple page called a Services Directory that helps you explore what services are available on the server. Application developers (i.e., programmers) can also use the Services Directory to get certain information that is useful when writing code to use ArcGIS Server.
  2. In the Services Directory click SampleWorldCities, then in the View In row of links at the top, click ArcGIS JavaScript. This opens a web browser to a preview of the sample service on the instance. We already caught a glimpse of this service in Manager earlier.
  3. In your browser's address bar, examine the URL of the SampleWorldCities service. It should look like this:
  4. Copy the URL that you see in the web browser address bar and paste it in a web browser on your own computer (not your EC2 instance). You should see the same thing as you did from your EC2 instance (be sure you've already set the SampleWorldCities Sharing Properties to allow Everyone to view it, like we did in a few pages earlier). Your computer made a request to ArcGIS Server running on the EC2 instance, somewhere off in Amazon data center land. The instance then sent the image back to your home computer. You have successfully created a public GIS server!

    All services are driven by GIS data. With ArcGIS Server, these are the geodatabases, shapefiles, map documents, and so on, that you are accustomed to working with in ArcMap and ArcCatalog. The sample services here are no different. Let's examine some of the data that drives these services. The data is preconfigured on your instance.
  5. Maximize your remote desktop session again and open Windows Explorer on your instance (click the folder icon in the taskbar).

    Notice that you have a C: drive of 100 GB. Cloud Formation sets up this drive when you create your instance. The C: drive is on the instance itself, meaning that your instance has a 100 GB hard drive.

    You might remember that you specified the size of this particular drive when you were in the Cloud Formation template. The course instructions told you to leave the default at 100 GB, which is the minimum required by ArcGIS Enterprise.

    EBS volumes have some great advantages. You can create and destroy them at any time, just like instances (but only if you're done with them and the machine they're running on). But you can also take "snapshots" of your volumes and store them on EC2. This allows you to create multiple "clones" of the hard drive that you might attach to different instances. The snapshots also give you a backup of your data in case your original EBS volume fails (yes, hardware does occasionally fail even in an Amazon data center).

    Looking in Windows Explorer, you should also see that your own local hard drives are available. These are listed in a fashion like "C on MYMACHINE". This makes it easy to copy and paste data from your local machine onto your instance.
  6. Minimize your remote desktop session. On your local computer, log in to the AWS Management Console and from the left-hand menu, click Volumes.

    You should see the 100 GB volume associated with your instance. You are actually charged a storage fee for having these volumes, and you cannot stop the clock on this fee even if you stop your instance. However, the fee for these volumes is relatively small compared to the fee you incur for running your instance.

Installing ArcGIS Pro

  1. To facilitate some administrative tasks, we will install ArcGIS Pro software on our EC2 instances. You may also install Pro on your personal computer, but to be sure it works for class purposes, and because it doesn't run on Macs, we'll run it on our EC2 instances for now. Many of the tasks we can perform using the web-based Server Manager site can also be performed with ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro, and as each environment evolves it may become more efficient or comfortable to use one versus the others.
  2. Using Remote Desktop, log in to your EC2 machine instance.
  3. Follow the steps in the Student Downloads folder in the Orientation module in Canvas to download and install ArcGIS Pro.

Now that you've seen what's preconfigured on your server, you'll learn a little more about how you can copy your own data onto the instance and start your own mapping web service.