CLEAR Research

Maps on the Web

Consuming Interactive Map Services

There are several different ways to "consume" interactive map services. They can be made available to a user or client through a web browser; added to ArcMap as a "service"; or opened in a free data viewer such as ArcGIS Explorer or ArcExplorer.

Interface Pros/Cons
Web Browser Pros: Access requires only an internet connection, no GIS skills required.

limited functionality.
ArcMap Pros: Can add your own GIS layers to enhance the map service; can perform advanced GIS analysis using data layers within the map service.

Cons: user must have ArcGIS ($) on their computer and some knowledge of GIS.


Click HERE to learn more about ArcExplorer
Pros: ArcExplorer is a free geospatial data viewer. ArcIMS services can be added along with your own data layers and basic geospatial analysis (such as data queries and measuring features) can be performed; versions are available for both PC and Mac users.

analysis tools are limited, unlike ArcMap, there are limited tools for creating a map output for printing.

ArcGIS Explorer

Click HERE to learn more about ArcGIS Explorer
Pros: ArcGIS Explorer is free and can be used to view ArcGIS Server and ArcIMS services along with local data in various formats (shapefile, geodatabase, KML, etc); can perform GIS analysis tasks such as address and place location, route creation, driving directions, and measuring features; allows for printing of map directly from the application interface; it's an Earth browser (like Google Earth) which includes imagery and data for the entire world draped on a 3D globe.

Cons: it's slow! Additionally, ArcGIS Explorer is a Windows-only application.