It occurred to me recently that developers can be somewhat confused about how they can use ArcGIS Online for their development needs. I even wrote up an intro for developers earlier this week. So I just wanted to cover a few resources that are good staring off points for users.
The key entry point for developers is probably going to be the developer site. The developer site is a gateway to a wealth of information on how you can leverage ArcGIS Online for your applications. It covers the details of the premium services from the ever popular geocoding and routing to the powerful geoenrichment and geotrigger services and more.
It also links out to all the various APIs and SDKs that Esri provides that you can use to access these services. And as I have said before and I'll keep saying it, it links to the core to it all, the REST API documentation.
But how does all this tie into ArcGIS Online?
ArcGIS as a Platform
I was a confused ArcGIS Online user at one point. When it was released I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Then it became a platform. What does that even mean? Basically, all the resources and tools discussed on the developer site are gathered in ArcGIS Online, along with tons of data that others have created and are sharing. This lets you tie into multiple resources for your applications.
- Create a Feature Service via your Developer Account.
- You can also upload data directly into your ArcGIS Online Account (same account used for developer site).
- Prepare a map with supporting data
- Edit or collect data, via your own application or one of the ready to use apps.
- Blow it up in ArcGIS Online
Let's talk about that last one a bit, which is where the cool stuff is for developers who want to do something with their data.
There are a ton of tools for you to use in ArcGIS Online, you can aggregate your data, perform some spatial analysis and even use demographic data to enrich your own sad little datasets and give them meaning. You can take the results of your spatial analysis and use the visualization tools to really drive home the point of the analysis in your application.
You may have collected some data for available retail locations that your client plans on opening a new store. You can use the tools to create a drive-time analysis of each location, say within 10 minutes, and you can take that result and use the geoenrichment tools to determine the demographic makeup of people that live with ten minutes of each location. You can even find out where their entertainment preferences are and use this information to narrow the down the best candidates for a new store location. You can then save these results and your clients can share this new map with other stakeholders.
Esri has been offering a series of free online courses you can take.
Although these courses are not specifically targeted at developers, I think they would prove useful to anyone that wants to take their applications to a new level.
There are some introductory lessons online in this Get Started with ArcGIS Online page.
Don't forget, when you sign up for a free ArcGIS Developer account, you have access to all the features in ArcGIS Online. With the amount of data available to you and the ability to perform analysis on your own data that can further enrich your own applications, I think any developer should at least see how they can incorporate it into their workflow.
For more geodev tips and tricks, check out my blog.