RMSC and ESRI Collaborate on GIS Cloud

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…can we get any more insane with the acronyms?  The Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Center [RMSC] and ESRI have jointly announced a collaboration to build a cloud computing platform for GIS applications.

Generally speaking, “cloud computing” services have left the application workload definition up to the user.  In some sense, this is the whole idea behind cloud computing.  However, more often than not, performance suffers.  In this case, RMSC and ESRI are making what looks to be a reasonably attempt at building a “market-focused” cloud, which may prove to be more successful.

The cloud computing paradigm is the future of GIS,” said Earl J. Dodd, RMSC Executive Director. “HPC Cloud technology has the potential to scale-up GIS software and boost its volumetrics to solve geospatial data processing challenges much faster than previously possible.”

RMSC is providing all the compute horsepower and ESRI is providing their ArcGIS software package.  RMSC will examine the capacity and likely the scalability of the current ArcGIS models as well as eventually expand upon the model capacity.

ESRI’s collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Supercomputing Centers allows us to efficiently and quickly determine areas to address when customers with advanced GIS needs migrate to the HPC Cloud,” said S.J. Camarata, ESRI Director, Corporate Strategy. “Having the ability to stress and run the most advanced GIS models and visualization at RMSC will truly deliver on our message that ArcGIS 10 transforms the way people use GIS.”

The Elastic Compute Cloud has been applied to some GIS applications,” explained Dodd. “But the HPC Cloud that RMSC has created can significantly reduce processing time with expanded model sizes, especially in critical geospatial applications such as 3D modeling, visualization and simulation supporting national security, emergency management and policy decision support.”

Despite my lack of general knowledge about GIS applications, I’m actually somewhat excited about this cloud offering.  RMSC is focusing on a specific market and, with the collaboration with ESRI, they’re using proven applications.  For more info, read the full writeup here.