Requesting GIS / Database Pointers

By Darryl~ Moderator ·
I've been tasked to research the most suitable GIS solution able to meet the demands of the end users where I work. We're a Municipal Government office so basically what people will be wanting is access to the various data associated with properties (land) via a map interface.

I plan on storing the data in either SQL Server 2008 or 2005 and would like a little input on the issues/problems others have encountered in relation to storing shape files & other GIS type data on either of these or if anyone has utilized another database solution (the actual data about the properties can be stored in any data format). I've been looking into ArcGIS Server (ESRI), MapXtreme (MapInfo), and MapGuide (AutoDesk) for the mapping solution. Our GIS Department is ESRI based (ArcInfo 9.3 & ArcGIS Desktop 9.3), Engineering is AutoCAD 2008 and their data will have to be incorporated into the mapping interface so sewers and other infrastructure can be displayed. The network is a mixture of Novell and Microsoft but no Linux.

If anyone has had experience setting up and/or maintaining any of the above or even similar software I would appreciate any pointers or comments on things I should watch out for.

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If your GIS department is ESRI based...

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to Requesting GIS / Database ...

You'll probably want to go ESRI for web interface as well. Given the right extensions installed on ArcGIS, it can import and convert the AutoCAD files the Engineering Department are producing and create GIS layers.

If you go anything other than ESRI products, you'll need to convert it all to the 'other' format and that might not be possible with some of those products.

Over here, pretty much all of Government is standardizing around ESRI products.

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My preference is ArcGIS Server

by Darryl~ Moderator In reply to If your GIS department is ...

mainly for the same reasons you've stated. I am getting some resistance from the Engineering Dept. because they feel the AutoDesk product would integrate better for their needs...and that is the problem, they are only considering "their" needs and not everyone else.

Thanks for your comments, if I'm going to be required to justify a large budget expense I want to ensure I have have my facts correct.

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Definitely ESRI

by Maevinn In reply to Requesting GIS / Database ...

Spent 4 years working with it, great package, intuitive to use, solid training available. ESRI can work with AutoCAD data as well, though it will require a bit more programming to get it set up. Far better to do that with CAD files than trying to swap over the actual GIS information. You'd lose way too much functionality, IMO.

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But have you used ArcGIS Server?

by Darryl~ Moderator In reply to Definitely ESRI

We are all ESRI in the GIS Dept., we have ArcInfo, ArcGIS, & ArcView....I'm just not familiar with ArcGIS Server. It looks like it would be very useful to share data throughout the understanding is that it is replacing ArcIMS (which I also don't have experience with). I'm told MapInfo (MapXtreme) has a good data storage solution but I would lose out on graphics...I am trying to avoid (build a case against) MapGuide (AutoDesk).

Any comments you have about ArcGIS Server or ArcIMS would be appreciated, those are the 2 ESRI products I am not familiar with.

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No more ARCIMS

by shasca In reply to But have you used ArcGIS ...

We had an ArcIMS system in a test environment here for a year or so. It was anything but easy to administer. It had too many browser incompatibilities to be functional. That is why ESRI has dropped the project

From the ESRI site.

"Note: ESRI's development of ArcIMS is now limited. Our server GIS development efforts are devoted primarily to ArcGIS Server"

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by Darryl~ Moderator In reply to No more ARCIMS

That was my understanding regarding ArcIMS also; ArcGIS Server appears to be a vast improvement(from what I've seen).

Do you plan to or have you implemented a test environment of ArcGIS Server or have you dropped the project and are examining your options?

There is a municipality close to me that developed everything in ArcIMS; it took them over a year & a lot of $$$; I'm not overly impressed with their final product.

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ArcGIS Server

by shasca In reply to RE: ArcIMS

WE are going with ArcGIS Server as our network resource for shared GIS data. We had the position of new GIS administrator approved and advertised. The Powers that be have put a hiring freeze for now so all research and development is on hold. But that will be our path futher down the road. I would have been working with the new hire get started but it would be their project to manage (if and when).

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We use ArcGIS Server.......

by ThumbsUp2 In reply to But have you used ArcGIS ...

... and yes, it's easy to share data throughout the whole State, not just a Municipality. We share common themes (roads, rivers, streams, topology, boundaries, population, tax lot numbers, etc...) among about 50 different computers running ArcInfo Desktop and create maps in our remote offices which can be shared back to the server or vice versa for those doing the mapping from HQ. Some people in the field have the capability to edit the live data, others don't. We have customized applications (through toolbars) which connect back to the server and give them that capability. The people in HQ also have the ability to convert CAD layers, but those of us in the field don't.

In addition, we're using the web mapping feature which serves the public when they want to look up something.

(edited: darned spell checker!)

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by Darryl~ Moderator In reply to We use ArcGIS Server..... ...

That told me a lot about it's capabilities.

Did you set it up inhouse or did you use a consultant/contractor? What kind of learning curve did you experience? We just moved from ArcINFO 3.3 to 9.3 a few months ago. :)

We are currently moving towards ArcVIEW 9.3 for some workstations (Just the GIS Tech & Engineering Tech are running ArcINFO), it is my understanding ArcVIEW 9.3 offers limited editing capabilities of current layers but no ability to create anything new.

Are your feild editors using ArcPAD?

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