ESRI, creator of geographic information systems, has launched Geographic Information System (GIS) Tools for Hadoop, enabling developers to build map applications to answer geographic questions with large data stores.

The ability to spatially analyze and visualize big data may be the greatest untapped IT resource available, ESRI said.

"Hadoop's method of processing volumes of information directly addresses the most significant challenge facing IT today," said Marwa Mabrouk, product manager at ESRI. "Enabling Hadoop with spatial capabilities is part of ESRI's continued effort to derive more value from big data through spatial analysis."

Hadoop lacks functionality for processing and displaying big data on maps, ESRI said, but GIS Tools for Hadoop offers a libraries and utilities to connect ESRI ArcGIS, a platform for designing and managing solutions through the application of geographic knowledge, to the Hadoop environment. ArcGIS users can then export map data in Hadoop's native file system and intersect it with records stored in Hadoop. Results then may be saved to the Hadoop database, or reimported to ArcGIS for higher-level geoprocessing and visualization, ESRI said.

GIS Tools for Hadoop includes:

Sample tools and templates

Spatial querying using Hive, Hadoop's ad hoc querying module

Geometry Library to build spatial applications in Hadoop

"GIS Tools for Hadoop not only introduces spatial analysis to Hadoop but creates a looping workflow that pulls Big Data into the ArcGIS environment," said Mansour Raad, senior software architect. "It provides tools for Hadoop users who need to visualize Big Data on maps."

ESRI offers GIS Tools for Hadoop as an open source product, available on GitHub.

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