Open space for technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in Nairobi.

iHub By Mugethi Gitau / September 8, 2013

Adding GIS to your apps with ArcGIS APIs


Guest post by Accadius Sabwa

On a daily basis, the average internet user accesses location based services at least once. This means that location based services are becoming important by the day in this “connected” lifestyle. Every now and then, you open a webpage and you see where an event is, where a building is, where an institution is on a map. Smartphones and tablets are becoming popular by the day, partly because of their ability to help us find the nearest place to have coffee or give you directions then navigate you to a place you don’t know.  Have you ever taken a minute to imagine what goes on behind the map before it returns you position or draws you that route? All that is powered by a concept known GIS (Geographical information systems).

Ever wanted to build an application with location capabilities? Or include locational capabilities in your existing app? Here’s how.

As a developer, there are a number of API’s which can help you achieve this.

They are:

Google maps api






GIS Cloud

Let’s focus on ArcGIS open API’s as we attempt to put paper based and non-interactive maps behind us. They are mainly classified into the following categories.


1.   Web

These APIs helps you to build and embed interactive maps in your website. You can harness online services, GeoRSS and social media feeds, and tools and widgets to create custom web maps

The available web API’s are:


Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.41.04 PM


2.  Mobile

These APIs help you build easy to use applications that run on GPS enabled mobile gadgets that can:

  • Display and navigate maps
  • Find addresses and places
  • Identify Locations and GIS features
  • Query map layers and data
  • Measure lines and areas

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.43.17 PM


3.   Desktop

These APIs help you to create stand-alone apps to meets specific needs of a client.

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 2.44.40 PM


In addition to the free and open API’s you get two additional features


i.               Free ArcGIS developer account


With this Account, you can:

  • Create Applications from templates
  • OAuth 2.0 which allows you to create secure apps
  • Free cloud space to store your geographic datasets
  • Leaverage free GIS tools from ArcGIS online
  • Geocoding and Place Search
  • Directions and Routing
  • Mapping and Visualization Tools
  • Store and Query Geographic Data In Feature Services
  • Use Free ArcGIS smartphone apps

You can sign up for your GIS account here


i.               Tons of Sample code on Github


Author : Mugethi Gitau

Mugethi Gitau is an all round creative. A techie by training, she is into all things design - Graphics, fashion, interiors. A writer of fiction and a poet, and tech/gadget blogger on Mugethi has a rich mix of experience ranging from training, community development and advocacy, research and design. A people's person, she enjoys linking the iHub Tech Community with each other, investors/corporates, academics and other stakeholders. She has a dream that one day, Kenyan techies will innovate their own computers and mobile devices and people all over the world will buy them. And use them.

    No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

{{ theme:js file="jquery.fittext.js" }}