Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Free GIS Portal Toolkit

To further improve geographic information system (GIS) data access over the Web, ESRI has updated its GIS Portal Toolkit for ArcGIS. GIS Portal Toolkit is a free technology and services solution for implementing local, regional, national, and global spatial data infrastructure (SDI) portals. The toolkit gives users a Web site starter and all the functional capabilities needed to deploy a GIS portal for an organization's SDI.

The role of a GIS information portal is to connect geospatial data producers and users by enabling producers of geospatial information resources to create and post metadata records (citations describing their information resources) and giving users access to those resources.

Among the many users of GIS Portal Toolkit is the state of Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services used the toolkit to create the Mississippi Geospatial Clearinghouse (MGC). The clearinghouse lets users view and obtain GIS data, maps, information, and much more, to help them build effective GIS applications. It also acts as a central location to store and implement the Mississippi Digital Earth Model, which establishes a state digital land base that will provide the basis for a uniform GIS in each county.

GIS Portal Toolkit is now based on ESRI's ArcGIS Server technology and includes the following enhancements: support for finalized Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC), specification standards; a REST-style interface for searching and supporting OpenSearch, GeoRSS, and KML; LDAP authentication support for improved security; configurable support for ISO 19139 metadata profiles, Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) metadata and Dublin Core metadata; integrated clip-zip-ship function for data download; and improved context-sensitive help and product documentation.

ESRI provides two training opportunities for organizations that plan on implementing the GIS Portal Toolkit. One option, Workshop at ESRI in Redlands, provides three days of hands-on training at the ESRI Learning Center in Redlands, California. This low-cost package includes the complete software package and instructional materials. The other option, On-Site Technology Transfer Package, provides three days of on-site training and two days of on-site assistance with installation and configuration of the organization's GIS portal.

GIS Portal Toolkit for ArcGIS Server 9.3 is a free solutions-based technology from ESRI Professional Services. It requires ESRI's ArcGIS Server Standard or Advanced edition.

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