ESRI UC: ArcGIS Server 9.4

Compact Map Cache
You may have noticed that moving a map cache is a big pain. ESRI is addressing this at 9.4 by providing a “compact” map cache format. It isn’t really that much smaller in terms of total size, but the number of files is much smaller. A cache that took 9 hrs to move was able to be moved in 8 min in a compact form. That is not a typo: 8 minutes. Creation drops from 5 hours to 2 hours.

No mention of a finer grained licensing scheme that would allow tile generation to be spread across computers in a cluster. Finer grained licensing would result in finer grained imagery. Being able to parallel process caches would be very useful.

Standalone tables and Relationships will be exposed in the REST API.

Query Layer
If you’ve worked with spatial data in Sql Server Management Studio (SSMS) you’ve probably wondered why you can’t produce a map showing the same results. It looks like you will be able to in Arcmap at 9.4. The demo showed a cryptic long SQL string in the layer properties dialog box. You’ll probably want to have SSMS to design you queries, then cut and paste into Arcmap. When you publish a QueryLayer as a map service, it hits SqlServer directly – no ArcSDE required. Sounds even more direct than a Direct Link.

In SSMS a query can return different spatial types – e.g. a mixture of points, polyines, polygons etc. I’m not sure but I’m betting all rows in a Query Layer must have the same spatial type. (?)

Web Editing
This looks very promising. A new Feature Editing API that supports “simple edits”. I’m betting with Silverlight we’d be able to write some fairly complex editing. Was told ESRI is working on ways to make the Dictionaries contain value types more appropriate to the field type from which they originated. Will look into that more.

SQL Server SIG
Bob Beauchemin ran through some very helpful strategies in optimizing spatial indexes. A spatial column can have up to 247 indexes on it. By systematically creating indexes with varying cell sizes, empirical performance stats can be generated. I hope he blogs about this subject.

ArcGIS Online Plans
Lots of new data coming. No mention of a platform for 3rd party developers to add value by uploading tools. ESRI said they’re working with State of Texas to serve out 25 TB of data. I bet this is the 1 meter orthoimagery.

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