Catalyzing the growth of the Kenya tech community

Adding GIS to your apps with ArcGIS APIs

By Mugethi Gitau
iHub
  Published 08 Sep 2013
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Guest post by Accadius Sabwa

On a daily basis, the average internet user accesses location based services at least once. This means that location based services are becoming important by the day in this “connected” lifestyle. Every now and then, you open a webpage and you see where an event is, where a building is, where an institution is on a map. Smartphones and tablets are becoming popular by the day, partly because of their ability to help us find the nearest place to have coffee or give you directions then navigate you to a place you don’t know.  Have you ever taken a minute to imagine what goes on behind the map before it returns you position or draws you that route? All that is powered by a concept known GIS (Geographical information systems).

Ever wanted to build an application with location capabilities? Or include locational capabilities in your existing app? Here’s how.

As a developer, there are a number of API’s which can help you achieve this.

They are:

Google maps api

ArcGIS

Leaflet

OpenLayers

Cartodb

QGIS

GIS Cloud

Let’s focus on ArcGIS open API’s as we attempt to put paper based and non-interactive maps behind us. They are mainly classified into the following categories.

 

1. Web

These APIs helps you to build and embed interactive maps in your website. You can harness online services, GeoRSS and social media feeds, and tools and widgets to create custom web maps

The available web API’s are:

(insert1)

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.41.04 PM

 

2. Mobile

These APIs help you build easy to use applications that run on GPS enabled mobile gadgets that can:

  • Display and navigate maps
  • Find addresses and places
  • Identify Locations and GISfeatures
  • Query map layers and data
  • Measure lines and areas
Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.43.17 PM

 

3. Desktop

These APIs help you to create stand-alone apps to meets specific needs of a client.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.44.40 PM

 

In addition to the free and open API’s you get two additional features

 

i. Free ArcGIS developer account

 

With this Account, you can:

  • Create Applications from templates
  • OAuth 2.0 which allows you to create secure apps
  • Free cloud space to store your geographic datasets
  • Leaverage free GIS tools from ArcGIS online
  • Geocoding and Place Search
  • Directions and Routing
  • Mapping and Visualization Tools
  • Store and Query Geographic Data In Feature Services
  • Use Free ArcGIS smartphone apps
You can sign up for your GIS account here

 

i. Tons of Sample code on Github

github

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