One of our GIS guys showed me a demo of the ArcGIS Network Analyst extension creating a drive-time polygon for points that he clicked on a map.

This is exactly what we need for our web application, but it will only be of use to us if we can automate the procedure, perhaps by calling some kind of API interface using a geographic point and time value to receive data points in XML or JSON.

Is this possible, or should I research other tools?

  • Welcome to GIS SE! Would you be able to edit your question to include some details about your web application, please? If it is ArcGIS for Server then the ArcGIS Network Analyst for Server would be the logical first thing to look at.
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 16, 2014 at 21:27
  • Just about everything in ArcGIS can be automated, probably several different ways. You should probably be talking to the folks who showed you the demo.
    – Vince
    Jul 17, 2014 at 11:14
  • @PolyGeo Thanks a lot! The web application doesn't really matter, it doesn't really matter that it is even a web application, I just need to know if that Network Analyst, or something similar, can give me the points it uses for a drive-time polygon in an automated way.
    – theblang
    Jul 17, 2014 at 13:29
  • @Vince The coworker that showed me the demo is knowledgeable about the GIS side of things. I am a programmer that is knowledgeable about web development. The problem is that we need a bridge between our web application and ArcGIS but neither of us are knowledgeable enough about both sides to make it. Does that make sense?
    – theblang
    Jul 17, 2014 at 13:33

1 Answer 1


Network Analyst is an ArcGIS extension which can be accessed either through a Desktop application such ArcMap (for manual GIS routing analysis) or as a web service when exposed as an ArcGIS Server service.

There are multiple approaches to expose the drive-time analysis service (by the way, the drive-time analysis is also called a "service area" in Esri world, just so you know):

  1. You would get ArcGIS Server software, network data (build on your own or buy a ready-to-use), and publish either a geoprocessing service or a map service with network analysis capability enabled. In this way, you will be able to feed this service with the input data (can be really in any format as long as you can build a logic for transforming your data into a format ArcGIS could work with such as coordinates pairs, JSON, shapefiles, etc.) Check the service area service input parameters to make sure you will be able to submit the data required. Software and data (if you don't use your own or use free data) cost money.

  2. You would access ready-to-use Network Analysis services via ArcGIS Online. You access a web service with REST end point exposed using a pre-defined query format which is defined in the documentation here. No software to buy, but you will pay for each request submitted and processed (each drive-time zone generated costs you some cents - reflecting the energy consumed by servers at Esri).

  • No problem at all. Post questions when you start working with that should you need help with anything. Jul 18, 2014 at 5:12

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