ESRI Dev Summit – AGS Geoprocessing

Attended “ArcGIS Server Geoprocessing Deep Dive” this morning. Corey Tucker and Sentha Sivabalan did an excellent job. Room was packed. From show of hands looked like 40% C#, 40% VB.NET and %20 java. Highly recommended.

My only concern about this is the way they are using the term “workflow” in context of Geoprocessing. They defined workflow as a models containing GPTools. What I worry about is that it will confuse people when they talk about workflows in context of SOA. Yesterday’s plenary showed a cool Websphere demo dragging and dropping activities to create a workflow. Hopefully some day we will be able to drag and drop GIS based activities too, along with non-GIS activities. I don’t think ESRI wants to position modelbuilder to compete with WebSphere or Microsofts WF extensions for Visual Studio – even though the IDEs share similar look and feel.

By the same token, IBM doesn’t make life any easier by naming one of its tools Map Designer. The mapping it does is non-spatial.

Workflow is very important to a lot of GIS based activities. Think about all the permit approval processes for building infrastructure. The approval process will be determined based on what jurisdictions you fall within, or what watersheds, or proximity to schools. Cities want to streamline this process so that a real estate developer can quickly check on the status of a building permit he’s applied for. Or perhaps would like to see what the approval process would be to build a particular type of building at a particular location. These workflows span multiple applications. Let’s call them Enterprise Workflows. ModelBuilder workflows, on the other hand do not span multiple applications as far as I can tell.

Maybe somehow geoprocessing will be made to plug into Enterprise workflow? Attachments to the enterprise workflow would include spatial datasets, e.g. a subdivision CAD parcel drawning. Different activities would use spatial processing, overlay the subdivision with watershed boundaries, or existing infrastructure. But there would be a lot of non-spatial activities too, e.g. inspections. I really would like to see how to wrap GIS activities appropriately so they could be dropped into an enterprise workflow.


3 comments so far

  1. […] is really cool so check out his writeup! Kirk has also made a write up about one of the sessions. ArcGIS Geoprocessing. Very Spatial has made some updates as well. They talk about the keynote by Gartner as well: […]

  2. Dave Bouwman on

    Howdy Kirk!

    re” Hopefully some day we will be able to drag and drop GIS based activities too, along with non-GIS activities.”…

    Over the next few months, I’ll be baking up some Windows workflow components that will be back ended by ArcGIS Server to facilitate this exact scenario – grnated it’s a “roll your own” type of integration, and I’ll likeky give a wide berth to the GP stuff, but the gist of it will be there. I’ll be posting about it when I get to that part of the project!



  3. Kirk on

    Hi Dave –

    Glad to hear this!

    Look forward to seeing what you come up with.



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