USDA and Esri Build Geospatial Portal Mapping Service

Private GIS Cloud Opens Enterprise Opportunities

Redlands, California—July 20, 2011—The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Esri have partnered in the implementation of a fully cloud-based geospatial portal. USDA's prototype portal, Enterprise Spatial Mapping Service (ESMS), is built with Portal for ArcGIS, managed by Esri, and hosted on the Amazon cloud within USDA's secure environment.

Stephen Lowe, geospatial information officer for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Enterprise Geospatial Management Office, and Esri product and Professional Services teams designed the prototype's geospatial interfaces with a focus on search and discovery, managed service hosting, and web service publishing of USDA-owned data. The portal introduced GIS productivity services for provisioning and consumption of web map services and the capability to geoprocess, display, and analyze data. The private cloud GIS makes the central repository for authoritative content accessible to users within the department as well as other public agencies. ESMS provides a platform to

  • Quickly create maps and apps using templates and web mapping APIs.
  • Form groups to collaborate on projects or common activities.
  • Share maps and apps with private groups or the entire organization.
  • Embed maps and apps in custom web pages or blogs.

USDA and other external government agencies go through the portal to access valued agricultural datasets and maps from a browser and perform spatial analytics. Esri Managed Services maintains and supports the GIS and infrastructure for USDA. Users have the same collaboration and sharing tools as those provided in the public cloud mapping environment ArcGIS Online, but the site retains the USDA customization and brand. Esri's Portal for ArcGIS is a geospatial content management system that can be hosted on-premises or as an off-premises cloud environment to provide a private, multitenant, geospatial content management system. USDA will eventually integrate its eAuthentication access control system with the private cloud solution to make the platform more secure.

In May, the prototype USDA portal was tested at the New Madrid National Level Exercise 2011, which is an event for developing regional catastrophic response and recovery activities. USDA representatives from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and other USDA agencies worked with the portal as a means to search for, discover, and share disaster response geospatial content. ESMS map products were used in presentations and briefings.

About Esri

Since 1969, Esri has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS technology, Esri software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. Esri is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at


Barbara Shields
Esri writer
Tel.: 909-793-2853, extension 1-2641
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