So, if I implement the esri GeoServices REST API with a non-esri service, what clients can I use with it?

We (GeoREST) were initially thinking that ArcGIS Explorer or other desktop clients would be able to access it, but this doesn't seem to be the case. Looking at the web stream with Fiddler, these appear to fall back to a SOAP interface when passed the REST end point.

The web APIs looked promising, but the terms under which you're allowed to use them appear to be pretty restrictive:

I thought these permitted use for public, non-commercial purposes, but wording in the second link made me doubt that interpretation.

I may be missing something, but a lack of freely usable clients seems to limit the value for a third party to implement this API.

Does anyone have any further insight into the licencing restrictions on the web APIs, or know of other services that grok the REST API?

  • +1 I don't see any restriction on using the SDK to access non-ESRI implementations of the REST API, but IANAL. I'd especially like to know if implementing a web service using ESRI's WSDL is some sort of license violation. They make a big deal about REST API being open, but don't see anything about the SOAP API being open. – Kirk Kuykendall Oct 20 '10 at 21:17
  • @Kirk maybe my interpretation is too narrow; IANAL too :) Prior to the introduction of the REST API I think it was implied that these clients were intended for use with ArcGIS Server, but I sure could use a FAQ / matrix showing allowed and disallowed use. I haven't found a definitive source on this yet. – JasonBirch Oct 21 '10 at 19:30
  • I suppose if the server implementation is done right, a client app written with one of ESRI's SDKs would never know what underlying technology is being used, and could plead ignorance. – Kirk Kuykendall Oct 21 '10 at 19:49
  • So, if I implement the esri GeoServices REST API with a non-esri service, what clients can I use with it? If we were actually talking about a RESTful service the answer would be all those clients that support the hypermedia types used ~ the structure of the URIs is unimportant in REST – nmtoken Mar 22 '16 at 17:38

I think it is more that it will add value to existing clients "When used in conjunction with ArcGIS Server license"

For example, if someone comes up with an esri REST API for MapServer or GeoServer (has any1?) then Esri license holders can start to mashup map services from not only AGS but Open Source as well.

I risk getting some flak here - OGC is great, but I personally find some of the formats quite slow and clunky (WMS) to render with ESRIs RIA APIs.

Therefore, if data providers were to open up dishing their data out further, through similar REST endpoints (regardless of what server software is at the back-end), then these could easily be mashed up in ESRI APIs.

  • Thanks @Simon. We've been looking at the REST API as a secondary interface to GeoREST (similar to the current OData support). But if they best we can hope for is that people who already have ArcGIS Server can connect to GeoREST data, that's a pretty lean enticement to spend the required development and ongoing maintenance time. As an open source project, it doesn't make sense to implement a protocol that with its current client support encourages proprietary lock-in. – JasonBirch Oct 21 '10 at 19:19
  • WMS isn't a format ~ not sure if that counts as flak. – nmtoken Mar 22 '16 at 17:39

OpenLayers currently has a layer aimed at the 9.3 REST endpoint, but it will work with 9.3.1 and 10.0 (and future releases that remain backwards compatible).


  • Hey, that's interesting @Jim, thanks. In our case we already have direct OpenLayers support in sandbox, so we're covered there, but this is a good justification for others wanting to support both OpenLayers and ArcGIS web APIs with a single interface. – JasonBirch Oct 21 '10 at 19:20
  • I'm still a large fan of the new JSAPI from Esri, although (like Kirk) I'm unfamiliar with any licensing and fees associated with the widespread use (for commercial purposes). support@esri.com would definitely be able to answer those types of questions for you. – Jim B Oct 21 '10 at 22:20
  • Oh, for sure the recent work by esri on web-frameworks and protocols is great. I guess I could contact support; maybe with a request for a public clarification? – JasonBirch Oct 22 '10 at 17:30

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