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ArcGIS 9.3.1 unveiled

Redlands, California, USA—ArcGIS 9.3.1, which has begun shipping, helps create and share modern Web maps that are relevant for the entire organisation. This release of ESRI’s integrated collection of GIS software products focuses on improving the performance of dynamic map publishing and increasing the visibility of geographic information.

ArcGIS 9.3.1 includes an optimised map service that allows you to produce high-performance dynamic maps. The improved map quality in these services includes sharper edges to features, clearer labels, and better color transparency. ArcGIS Desktop users can fine-tune their maps for faster performance using the new Map Service Publishing toolbar. The toolbar allows maps to be analysed and makes recommendations for fine-tuning. The results can be previewed, and estimated draw times are provided.

ArcGIS now includes functionality to allow users to easily share and search for geographic content, such as maps, data, layers, and services. ArcGIS Online includes a new application in which users can create an account and, through a keyword search, find content; preview it; and, with a simple click, add it to ArcMap or ArcGIS Explorer. To facilitate the sharing of layers in ArcGIS, users can create layer packages that encapsulate ArcMap cartography and data, including a thumbnail, the extent, and spatial reference, in an easy-to-share package. Layer packages can be shared via ArcGIS Online as files, attached to e-mails, or included on DVDs. Joining the ArcGIS Online user community is easy and free to all ArcGIS users.

ArcGIS Desktop users are now able to directly connect to Microsoft Virtual Earth services and start their GIS projects with ready-to-use content at no additional charge. Virtual Earth services, which include imagery, streets, and hybrid imagery with street labeling, appear as just another data layer in GIS. Virtual Earth imagery and street maps provide excellent background maps on which users can overlay their operational data.

ArcGIS Server now supports Microsoft’s Silverlight Web development platform for building fast, highly interactive Web applications. The new ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight allows developers to use any .NET Framework-supported language to add GIS capabilities and consume services from ArcGIS Server and Microsoft Virtual Earth in a Silverlight application.

ArcGIS 9.3 users are able to easily upgrade to ArcGIS 9.3.1 without having to uninstall ArcGIS 9.3. In addition, ArcGIS 9.3.1 is completely compatible with ArcGIS 9.3, so users will be able to easily work in mixed environments within the same organisation.

With the release of ArcGIS Server 9.3.1, some licensing changes have been made to allow users more flexibility in their ArcGIS Server deployments. The editing feature of ArcGIS Server is now available for ArcGIS Server Standard users. In addition, ArcGIS Server 9.3.1 Advanced includes the Spatial, 3D, Network, and Geostatistical extensions for no additional fee.