Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Announcing the New ND GIS Hub Explorer

We are in the process of slowly rolling out the latest version of the GIS Hub Explorer, which is a mapping application that allows one to view data that reside on the ND GIS Hub. Both of our loyal readers of this blog are some of the first to hear of this new version.  In the very near future, the news of this new Hub Explorer will be posted on the ND GIS listserv and on the ND GIS website.

The Hub Explorer goes back almost a decade.  The first version relied on Esri's ArcIMS for the map service and used a modified version of Esri's HTML Viewer for the interface.  The second and current version relied on ArcIMS for the map service and Latitude Geographic's IMF for the interface.

As many of you know, ArcIMS is no longer provided by Esri and has been replaced by ArcGIS Server.  This newest version of the Hub Explorer uses map services powered by ArcGIS Server and the interface uses a modified version of Esri's JavaScript API.  Houston Engineering was selected from the state's IT Professional Services Contract Pool to customize the JavaScript API.  North Dakota state agencies have the option of using the Hub Explorer as a template to develop their own mapping applications.

We deliberately chose to use the Esri JavaScript API over the other two APIs offered by Esri to better prepare for the future in which we see HTML5 becoming dominant. Although typically not a huge burden for most users, we also did not want users to have to download a browser plugin in order to use the Hub Explorer.

The new Hub Explorer has been tested on a number of browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and with limited testing on Opera and Safari.  Please note that if you use Internet Explorer we highly recommend that you use version 9 as there are performance and other issues with versions prior to 9.

We plan to transition from the current version of the Hub Explorer to the new version over the next couple of months.

If you get a chance, please have a look at the new Hub Explorer !

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