USA – Web geographic information system (GIS) technology takes a forward leap with the release of ESRI’s ArcGIS API for Flex. With the Flex API, developers can combine GIS-based Web services from ArcGIS Server with other Web content, which can be displayed in simple, dynamic mapping applications over the Web or on the desktop.
The API exploits the powerful geospatial capabilities of ArcGIS services. Users can transform their local data into a visually rich interactive map, query and display GIS data features and attributes, locate addresses, identify features, and perform complex spatial analytics. Integrated with Adobe Flex Builder 3, Flex is a client-side technology that is rendered by Flash Player 9 or Adobe AIR. As long as developers have access to ArcGIS Server via a URL, they can program with ArcGIS API for Flex remotely. Since the API is built on the Adobe Flex framework, developers can put all Flex components, such as list boxes, data grids, landscapes, and text controls, into custom applications.
Developers can download the API library at the ArcGIS API for Flex Resource Center and access the source code for a variety of samples of displaying tiled maps, turning layers off and on, and switching between different kinds of maps and imagery. The samples demonstrate how to incorporate symbology, create a map layer, geocode, analyze data, add drawing tools, and much more.
The resource center contains specific documentation about using the packages and classes included in the library. The resource center also includes a code gallery with sample applications for the developer community to see each other’s work and speed learning.
A podcast is available that features Mansour Raad, a senior software architect at ESRI, discussing the new ArcGIS Server API for Flex. It includes topics such as MXML, ActionScript, REST, and Adobe AIR.
An early adopter of ArcGIS API for Flex and ArcGIS Server is the City of Boston, Massachusetts, which recently deployed the Solar Boston application, a public-facing Web mapping application designed to showcase active renewable energy installations. The application with a fast and visually dynamic user interface allows users to calculate the solar power that can potentially be obtained via rooftops.
“We chose ArcGIS API for Flex because it allowed us to leverage the power of ArcGIS Server while delivering a rich, interactive experience to our users,” explains Greg Knight, senior GIS applications developer, Boston Redevelopment Authority. “Development was both fast and enjoyable, and we are pleased with the functionality and performance of the application.”