What is the “ArcGIS Platform”?

The new ArcGIS Platform product offering is Esri’s latest effort to make available Location Services to a wider audience via a geospatial Platform as a Service (PaaS)

The ArcGIS Platform, a geospatial platform as a service (PaaS) for developers, will be used to create, integrate, and expose GIS capabilities into Enterprise IT systems. Using existing Esri APIs such as the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, it will be used by software developers to create apps for organizations. Big or small, Esri wants you to use the ArcGIS Platform to integrate ArcGIS tech into new or existing products. For example, it may mean a quick geocoding or routing capability or a large geoprocessing/machine learning/AI pipeline.

What are the new features that set the ArcGIS Platform apart from other Esri developer offerings?

New Pricing Model

The new ArcGIS Platform pricing model is the most notable change, and is welcome. No more ArcGIS Online credits. Consumption is metered per US dollar.


Similar to Cloud vendors such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), it is based on USD per consumption or Flexible Consumption Pricing (FCP). You only pay for the services you consume, and once you stop using them, there are no additional costs or termination fees.

Free Tier

Like AWS, there is a pricing calculator to help you estimate monthly costs. Like AWS, there is a free tier to help get started. Free tiers of basemaps, geocodes, and other services are included in estimated cost. For example, the first 20k geocodes every month are free and then $0.5 per 1k geocodes beyond the 20k freebies. This resets every month.

Contact Esri directly to negotiate high volume pricing.

Access to the ArcGIS Platform location services is with a developer subscription and billing is tied to the account.
Access to the ArcGIS Platform location services is with a developer subscription and billing is tied to the account. Easy to create. All you need is a credit card.

No Change to ArcGIS Developer Subscriptions

Esri still offers ArcGIS Developer subscriptions to access ArcGIS Web AppBuilder, ArcGIS Desktop, or ArcGIS Enterprise SDKs, etc. The ArcGIS Platform is a different product.


API Keys are the core fabric of the ArcGIS Platform

API keys are a new type of authentication for ArcGIS. This removes a cost barrier for organizations wanting to keep their GIS data and apps secure and inaccessible to the public while delivering geospatial capabilities to many users. For example, with ArcGIS Online, a company wanting to expose their hosted mapping data to 1000 employees would need 1000 ArcGIS Viewer User Type licenses. This may be cost prohibitive for some. An alternative, is hosting and managing ArcGIS Enterprise, but this no longer has the benefits of a PaaS. Further, if it is a small geospatial capability, not used often, but used by many, the ArcGIS Online pricing model falls short. This is the advantage of the new ArcGIS Platform API Keys.

Developers like API Keys

Developers are very familiar with API keys. API key authentication is simple. API keys are used to authenticate a calling program within the API rather than an individual user. It’s a single key that allows authentication just by including it in your code. API keys will accelerate development.

Of course, this is great, but there comes a different set of best practices to follow, i.e. do not store your API keys directly in code, client side, code repositories; implement a secrets manager/rotate often; monitor usage, etc. You need to protect and monitor your keys from unauthorized usage and billing.

Overall, API Keys are a foundational and welcome feature of the new ArcGIS Platform.

Other great new features of the ArcGIS Platform

Many additional geospatial capabilities are made available with the ArcGIS Platform. Many of these are what you expect: basemap and data layers, geocoding, route and directions, data visualization, demographic data, hosted data, spatial analysis, offline capabilities, etc.

Discover the capabilities of ArcGIS through powerful location services, data management, analysis, and mapping.

Esri wants more people to use ArcGIS. This is the main goal of the ArcGIS Platform. To this end, it includes new support for additional open source APIs such as Mapbox GL JS, OpenLayers, and expanded support for Esri Leaflet. This makes the ArcGIS Platform appeal to a broader audience for easier integration into existing or new non-geospatial centric systems. No doubt, broader support for additional APIs will continue to make the ArcGIS Platform accessible to more organizations.

Get Started with the ArcGIS Platform

GCS has been integrating Esri geospatial capabilities into Enterprise organizations since 2003. Contact us to learn how we can assist your organization with the new ArcGIS Platform.

ArcGIS and Cloud Certified Professionals

GCS’s team is comprised of certified ArcGIS and cloud professionals who are solution architects, system integrators, native cloud developers, data scientists, and professional project managers.

GCS ArcGIS Cloud Services
As an Esri partner in the ArcGIS Cloud Services Specialty, GCS is recognized for expertise in deploying and managing ArcGIS in cloud environments.
Esri Partner Network Silver
Since 2004, GCS has been an Esri Business Partner.

Contact GCS

To learn more, contact us to speak to a certified ArcGIS Expert.

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GCS is a Geospatial Information Technology Services Company
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