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