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The Southwest Florida Water Management District recently modernized its IT architecture to ease the permit application and review processes associated with constructing wells. The district’s upgrade and long-term strategy has earned it the Redmond Developer News 2008 Innovator Award in the service oriented architecture (SOA) category.

While the district had the option of moving its legacy systems to a new mainframe, it instead used an SOA to create a new permitting system. The key benefit to any SOA is the ability to reuse code across applications and, ultimately, across data silos and organizational boundaries. The solution relies heavily on ESRI’s ArcGIS Server Server technology and ties together disparate applications, databases, and an enterprise content management repository. ArcGIS Server complements and supports geospatial SOA because it is an open, flexible, and scalable technology that runs on industry-standard IT infrastructure.

“We are building a spatially enabled system from the ground up instead of using a duct tape and baling wire approach to tie together legacy GIS and mainframe database systems,” said Steve Dicks, GIS program director for the district. “We are pulling together all our data and building online applications. ArcGIS Server has a key role in this modernization because we rely on it to move data from our databases to the Web interfaces.”

Since moving to a geospatial SOA, the district has had 86 percent of its nearly 17,000 permits processed electronically. The broad adoption has already saved a significant amount of time and money for the district and contractors alike. Because information in the GIS is up-to-date, the new process is also yielding more reliable data throughout the agency.

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