Thursday, July 24, 2008

New ESRI Book Building a GIS: System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers

Launching a geographic information system (GIS) involves more than investing in GIS software and a bank of computers. Organizations must first design the system infrastructure, a process succinctly spelled out in Building a GIS: System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, new from ESRI Press.

Author Dave Peters, director of systems integration for ESRI, shares a tried-and-true methodology for building a successful system for GIS that’s rooted in ESRI’s consulting experience and feedback from customers. He hopes the book will help managers avoid a common tendency to “feel their way” to a proper system design.

“The system architecture design methodology in this book has already led to thousands of successful GIS deployments by ESRI customers over the last two decades,” Peters says. The fundamentals behind this methodology are embodied in the Capacity Planning Tool (CPT), a design analysis tool that Peters introduces in the book. It is a user-friendly Microsoft Office 2007 Excel-based “workbook” he created to help in capacity planning, the primary system design task of matching system components to an organization’s needs. Chapters 7 through 11 (in the book and on an accompanying CD) are devoted to understanding and using the CPT, an automated tool that virtually completes the design analysis as organizations identify what they want from the system.

Building a GIS reads like an A to Z for creating a GIS framework. The first six chapters provide an overview of the technology, covering topics such as the system design process, software technology, network communications, GIS product architecture, enterprise security, and GIS data administration. The next three chapters focus on the fundamentals of system, software, and hardware platform performance. The last section provides the how-to for completing a system design that will lead to a successful implementation, using a fictional city for the case study.

Building a GIS serves as a companion piece to Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers by Dr. Roger Tomlinson, known as “the father of GIS.” Tomlinson regards Peters as “the guru of system architecture,” while ESRI president Jack Dangermond calls Peters a “pragmatic visionary” who applies foresight and imagination toward developing simple, universal tools that solve complex, real-world problems.

“Like its author, who is both a teacher and an inventor of creative solutions, this book does double duty: it offers novices a handle on the classic, technical fundamentals while lending experts the latest, state-of the-art planning tools and models,” Dangermond says.

Building a GIS: System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers (ISBN: 978-1-58948-159-6, 302 pages, $44.95) is available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit for complete ordering options or contact your local ESRI distributor. For a current distributor list, visit Interested retailers can contact ESRI Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.


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