The following section provides definitions of commonly used words relating to the Geographic Business Intelligence Solution.


A program written in Java and designed to be executed from within another application, such as a web browser. Unlike an application, applets cannot be executed directly from the operating system.

ArcGIS Server

Server-based software developed by ESRI gives you the ability to create, manage, and distribute GIS services over the web to support desktop, mobile, and web mapping applications.


Server-based software developed by ESRI for delivering dynamic maps and GIS data and services through the web. It provides a highly scalable framework for GIS web publishing.


ESRI object-based spatial data access engine implemented in several commercial relational database management systems using open standards and a true client/server architecture.

ArcSDE is chosen as a means of storing an extremely large number of features in a continuous database.


A zone around a map feature measured in units of distance. It is used mainly for proximity analysis. There are capabilities of creating multiple buffers using different distances and using them for generating reports.


A computer and/or application that allows Internet users to communicate with a server.


A product created by Allaire Corporation that includes a server and a development toolset designed to integrate databases and webpages. ColdFusion webpages include elements written in ColdFusion Markup Language that simplify integration with databases.


Pronounced demon or damon, a process that continuously runs in the background and performs a specified operation at predefined times or in response to certain events. The term daemon is a UNIX term. The Windows equivalent is a System Agent or service.


Dynamic HTML. See HTML.


A group of computers and devices on a network that are administered as a unit with common rules and procedures. Within the Internet, domains are defined by the Internet protocol (IP) address. All devices sharing a common part of the IP address are said to be in the same domain.

Dynamic Map Service

A service that does not use tiles from a cache to display the map. Instead, the map is drawn by the server each time it is requested. These map services are used by highly focused web applications to serve real-time data (for example, arrests, 911 calls, and so on).


A point, line, or polygon on a map that represents an entity on the surface of the earth. Features are stored as vector data sets.

Feature Streaming

Feature streaming is the process of delivering vector feature data defined for a map service that uses the Feature Server component. On the client side, feature streaming allows you to access a published map and add feature data for overlays, sharing, making EditNotes, and performing analysis. Feature streaming functionality minimizes the need for multiple server requests.


Geographic Business Intelligence Solution.


The mechanism that allows you to use addresses to identify locations on a map.

Geometry Service

The geometry service helps applications do geometric calculations such as buffering, simplifying, calculating areas and lengths, and projecting. Additionally, the ArcGIS APIs for JavaScript, Flex, and Silverlight use the geometry service to modify features during web editing. The geometry service provides an alternative to doing these calculations using fine-grained ArcObjects or a geoprocessing service. A geometry service is not accessible to the end user. It is only a helper service.


A GIS operation used to manipulate GIS data. A typical geoprocessing operation takes an input dataset, performs an operation on that dataset, and returns the result of the operation as an output dataset. Common geoprocessing operations include geographic feature overlay, feature selection and analysis, topology processing, raster processing, and data conversion. Geoprocessing allows for definition, management, and analysis of information used to form decisions.

Geoprocessing Server

A computer in a network that is used to handle geoprocessing tasks. Geoprocessing servers may use UNIX or Windows platforms, and include a utility to schedule remote processing.

Geoprocessing Service

A geoprocessing service contains geoprocessing tasks accessible by clients. Tasks are created by publishing geoprocessing toolboxes or map documents containing tool layers. When you execute a task in a geoprocessing service, it executes on the server computer, using resources of the server computer.


Graphic Interchange Format. A graphics file format that is common on the web. See also JPEG and PNG.


Geographic information system. An organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographic data, and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information.

  1. A computer system that is accessed by a user working at a remote location. Typically, the term is used when there are two computer systems connected by modems and telephone lines. The system that contains the data is called the host, while the computer at which the user sits is called the remote terminal.

A computer that is connected to a TCP/IP network including the Internet. Each host has a unique IP address.


Hypertext Markup Language. The coding language used to make hypertext documents for use on the web.


Hypertext Transport Protocol. The way hypertext files move across the Internet. Requires an HTTP client program on one end and an HTTP server program on the other.


Secure Hypertext Transport Protocol. See HTTP.


A form of raster data.

Image Service

Image Services use the Spatial Server image rendering capabilities. When a request is received, a map is generated on the server, and the response is sent back as a JPEG, PNG, or GIF image. A new map image is generated each time a client requests new information.


Internet Map Server.


See Threads.


The global network of computers that communicate through a common protocol, TCP/IP.


A spatial selection process of integrating selections of features that fall entirely or partly within a dataset.


A network based on TCP/IP inside the firewall of an organization that is accessible only by members, employees, or others with authorization in that organization.


An object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems. Java provides a complete foundation for building and deploying cross-platform, enterprise applications.


A scripting language to enable web authors to design interactive sites. Although it shares many of the features and structures of the full Java language, it was developed independently. JavaScript can interact with HTML source code, enabling web authors to add dynamic content to their sites.

Java 2 SDK

Java Software Development Kit. A software development kit for producing Java programs.


In relational databases, a join operation matches records in two tables. The two tables must be joined by at least one common field, that is, the join field is a member of both tables.


Joint Photographic Experts Group. A commonly used image format on the Internet. JPEG is best used for photographs or images that have graduated colors.


Allows viewers to click a highlighted item on a webpage and immediately link to another page.

Map Cache

This is a very effective way in which an ArcGIS Server distributes maps. The map is tiled and copied at different scales to the ArcGIS Server, which allows the server to render images based on the user request. The ArcGIS Server, therefore, can handle these requests much faster than drawing them on the fly.

Map Service

Process of publishing maps in ArcGIS Server. It is the most common ArcGIS Service that makes maps, features, and attribute data available inside many types of client applications.


Information about a data set. Metadata for geographical data may include the source of the data, its creation date and format, its projection (scale, resolution, and accuracy), and its reliability with regard to some standard.


Small software applications that extend the functionality of a web browser.


Portable Network Graphics. A bit-mapped graphics format similar to GIF.


To make data available through the Internet.


A cellular data structure composed of rows and columns. Groups of cells represent features. The value of each cell represents the value of the feature. Image data is stored using this structure.


Relational Database Management System. A method of structuring data as collections of tables that are logically associated to each other by shared attributes. Any data element can be found in a relation by knowing the name of the table, the attribute (column) name, and the value of the primary key.


The conversion of the geometry, coloring, texturing, lighting, and other characteristics of an object into a display image.


The extent of reduction needed to display a representation of the earth surface on a map. A statement of a measure on the map and the equivalent measure on the earth surface, often expressed as a representative fraction of distance, such as 1:24,000 (one unit of distance on the map represents 24,000 of the same units of distance on the earth). Scale can also be expressed as a statement of device dedicated to storing files. Any user on the network with permission can store files on the server. Equivalence using different units, for example, 1 inch = 1 mile or 1 inch = 2,000 feet.

Server (Hardware)

A computer or device on a network that manages network resources. For example, a file server is a computer and storage Servers are often dedicated, meaning that they perform no other tasks besides their server tasks.

Server (Software)

The program that manages resources on the server computer.


A Windows process that continuously runs in the background and performs a specified operation at predefined times or in response to certain events. The equivalent UNIX term is a daemon.


Servlets are modules of Java code that run in a server application (hence the name servlets, similar to applets on the client side) to answer client requests. Servlets are a Java platform technology for extending web servers that provide a component-based, platform-independent method for building web-based applications.


A shapefile is a simple, non-topological format for storing the geometric location and attribute information of geographic features.

Spatial Data

Information about the location, shape, and relationships among geographic features.

Spatial Filter

A process of selection using different geometries (for example, point, line, and polygon) in a spatial dataset.


Structured Query Language. SQL is a standardized query language for requesting information from a database.


A graphic pattern used to represent a feature. Many characteristics define symbols including color, size, angle, and pattern.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The group of protocols that defines the Internet.


Also known as instances. Threads are processes running on a server. The number of threads typically indicates the number of simultaneous connections to an application or process that can occur.

Tiled Map Service

A service that uses a set of prerendered map images stored on the server for rapid retrieval. This is the fastest way to serve maps on the web and is most commonly used to display base layers in web mapping.


Uniform Resource Locator. The standard method to give the address to any Internet resource that is part of the web. A URL looks like this:


A coordinate-based data structure commonly used to represent linear map features. Each linear feature is represented as x,y coordinates. Attributes are associated with the feature.

Virtual Directory

A mapped location on the web server to a physical path.

Virtual Server

A grouping of one or more Spatial Servers into a single unit for administrative purposes. All of the following are Virtual Servers: Image, ArcMap, Feature, Metadata, Route, Geocode, Query, and Extract.

Web Browser

Client software that is used to look at various kinds of Internet resources. The two most popular browsers are Netscape® and Internet Explorer®.

Web Server

Software residing on a machine on the Internet that enables a website to run. When a web browser makes a request for a file, the web server locates the file and sends it back to the browser.

Web Site

A site (location) on the World Wide Web.


An element of a graphical user interface (GUI) that displays information to a user similar to a window. It provides a single interaction point for the direct manipulation of a given kind of data.

WMS Service

Web Map Server allows for the use of data from different servers and is OGC compliant.


Extensible Markup Language. A World Wide Web standard used to create ArcXML.