GEOG 865
Cloud and Server GIS



In this course, you’ve seen how specialized server-based software such as ArcGIS Server can be used to distribute GIS resources and processing throughout an organization and, more broadly, to the public. This software is powerful, but requires advanced administration and usage skills. You’ve also become familiar with a number of providers who offer mapping and GIS services on the public cloud. The simplified and often browser-based interfaces of these SaaS providers are very attractive to organizations that want to put spatial data and analysis in the hands of users who aren’t trained in GIS. At the same time, some organizations may feel hesitant about how much of their data and operations they want to transfer onto a third-party cloud service. Concerns can include security of data, control over service uptime, and the amount of fees paid to the cloud provider.

For these reasons, organizations sometimes desire to build a cloud locally (i.e., “in house” or “on-premises”), so they can offer the simplified SaaS user experience while maintaining complete control over hardware, software, security, infrastructure, and related costs. Some SaaS cloud providers make their software available to install locally for this purpose. You’ve already seen how CARTO is an open-source project that can be installed in a local environment. Most people would rather pay CARTO for a subscription than go to the trouble of setting up and maintaining a local instance; therefore CARTO continues to operate successfully as a business, however, the option for an on-premises deployment exists.

In this lesson, we’ll discuss how a local implementation of ArcGIS Online can be deployed using an Esri product called Portal for ArcGIS. We'll also take a deeper look at Esri's means for organizing maps and data through its ArcGIS Online organizational subscription services.

Lesson Objectives

At the successful completion of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • describe how organizations could deploy software as a service (SaaS) solutions on their own internal clouds;
  • understand the relationship between publicly available ArcGIS Online organizational pages and internal deployments using Portal for ArcGIS; and
  • Perform some administrative tasks on your Server and Portal installations.


  • Complete: L09: Assignment
  • Participate: L09: Discussion