GEOG 865
Cloud and Server GIS

Viewing your service in a web map

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Each GIS web service has its own specific purpose. It may support analysis performed inside an organization, or it may be intended to be used by anyone on the web. In this lesson, we'll assume that the Appalachian Trail service you just published is intended to be used by anyone on the web to explore and use in their own maps.

So how could someone use your trails service in their own web map? A programmer could put the URL of your service directly into web app code and then write appropriate code to display the map. That's a topic for a different course, and ultimately writing code is something that many people cannot or will not do. In this part of the lesson, you'll use the ArcGIS.com map viewer, an interactive web map designing tool, to see how you can put together several services into a web map.

You might say that the ArcGIS.com map viewer is "running on the cloud". It is software as a service (SaaS), meaning you don't have to install any software in order to use it. When you save maps on ArcGIS.com, they are not saved to your computer, rather they are saved on an Esri server. You can come back and work with your maps from any computer as long as you tell the application who you are by logging in.

To perform this exercise, your Amazon EC2 instance must be running, but you can do the steps on your local computer.

  1. Open a web browser to the ArcGIS homepage.

    You can use the ArcGIS.com map viewer without signing in; however, you will sign in so that you can save and re-use your maps.
  2. Click the Sign In link and sign in with the developer account you created in the previous section of the lesson. You don't need an account with any Esri service credits to make and save a web map like we're going to do here, but for simplicity in this course we're going to use this developer account for everything.
  3. Click on the drop down arrow next to your name in the upper right and click on My Profile. Here you can click on Edit my profile and change the settings for Who can see your profile.
  4. Click the Map link near the top of the screen. This takes you to the map viewer.

    You learned in an earlier part of the lesson that a web map typically consists of a basemap and operational layers. The map viewer gives you a basemap already.
  5. Change the basemap service by clicking Basemap > Imagery with Labels.

    You can experiment with some of the other basemaps if desired (this can be great fun if you are a self-identified "map geek"). The trails service is symbolized with an imagery basemap in mind.

    Now you'll add the operational layer, which is your trails service. Notice that although the trails service has several layers inside (Shelters and Trail), it's common to refer to the entire service as one layer in the context of the web map.
  6. Click Add > Search for layers.
  7. Change the In drop-down to A GIS server and type the URL of your server in the URL box and hit Enter or click Go. The URL takes the format http://<Elastic Load Balancer address>/arcgis.

    Once you have done this, you should see a list of results that includes your service. If you don't see anything, make sure your site is started. Another fix if you don't see anything is to logout of ArcGIS Online and login again.
  8. Find your trail service in the list and click its Add link.
  9. Click Done Adding Layers to see a table of contents for your service. You can click the small arrow next to the service name to reveal a context menu, which includes an option to Zoom to the layer.

    Go ahead and explore your web map, perhaps zooming in to some shelters at a large scale (where you can see the shelter labels). You can also experiment with the buttons at the top of the table of contents, such as Legend.
  10. Position your map on a place of interest to you and click Save > Save.
  11. Enter a title, tags, and summary for your map and click Save Map. Tags are just key terms that can aid others who may be searching or browsing for maps.
     
     Screen capture to show the Save Map window and the fields you must fill out for saving your ArcGIS.com map
    Figure 2.5: Saving Your Map
    If you want to see or return to any maps you have saved, you can click My Content > My Content. This screen also gives you the option to share your map with the public. Sharing your map at this time is not recommended because your server is stopped most of the time so this map will not be of much use to the browsing public.

Once you've saved your web map and given it a title, it might look something like this:

Screen capture to show a Final web map made in ArcGIS.com map viewer
Figure 2.6: Example of a saved web map

So what good is this map that you've made? As mentioned above, if you have a permanently running server with a permanent address, you might choose to save your map and share it with the public. People could then search for and view the map in ArcGIS.com. Another way the map can be used is by web app developers. Each map saved on ArcGIS.com is assigned an ID. Esri has designed their web programming frameworks (APIs) for JavaScript, Flex, and Silverlight such that a developer can just reference a map ID in the code, rather than building the map "from scratch".