In which I say nice things about Esri. You have been warned…
A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk at a local Esri GeoDev Meetup (which also served as a convenient way to tell a room full of developers that my company is hiring developers) on a GeoJSON server object extension for ArcGIS Server that I open-sourced some time ago. I started that effort a little while after giving another talk in which I called on Esri to start supporting GeoJSON. I’m not one to wait around so I built an approach myself.
At the most recent meetup, the Esri staff who were there updated the group on upcoming efforts with regard to GeoJSON. Honestly, I’ve known for some time that there are a lot of people inside Esri who “get it” and that various things have been percolating with regard to GeoJSON.
So I was happy to see the official announcement of support for GeoJSON in ArcGIS Online (AGOL) feature services. Included in the support is access through the REST API using an “f=geojson” parameter. This makes it much easier to consume AGOL services in the web client of your choice. (The announcement shows a Leaflet example.)
At this time, it appears this capability is unique to AGOL. My hope is that it will be back-ported to ArcGIS Server for the many shops that still expose their data that way (and plan to continue to do so).
I don’t suffer from any delusions that anything I wrote on this topic carried any more weight than the advocacy of anyone else. This has do to with the way GeoJSON has taken the geospatial world by storm. While not perfect, it does the job of delivering rich geospatial features to web clients in a manner consistent with web standards better than anything else out there, and the web community has responded to it. I have often said that those who were still looking for the “next shapefile” had overlooked the obvious fact that it’s already here in the form of GeoJSON.
Some geospatial purists still grouse at the imperfections of GeoJSON, but that view has long since been marginalized by the vast majority of the world that has work to do. Kudos to Esri for taking this long-needed step. Keep it coming.