City of San Diego Upgrades to ArcGIS Enterprise

GIS is a crucial unifying technology for the City of San Diego as it works to support and sustain its 1.4 million citizens. The City needed to modernize its GIS infrastructure from a hodgepodge of map services to a fully integrated web GIS system. In June 2019, the City of San Diego implemented ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6.1 and a series of security upgrades to stimulate the adoption of best practices in IT and mapping software

Enabling Staff to Achieve City Goals

The city had three primary goals as the upgrade project entered the planning stage. 1) Full integration of ArcGIS Server and Portal for ArcGIS will allow City users to generate their own mapping layer and web mapping products. 2) Single Sign-on (SSO) will reduce the need for City staff to maintain multiple accounts for their web GIS needs. 3) Upgraded security infrastructure for web GIS, particularly related to server operating systems and a reverse proxy implementation.

To accomplish these goals, a plan called for ArcGIS Enterprise (federated ArcGIS Server and Portal for ArcGIS, complete with multiple web adaptors and ArcGIS Data Store) behind an expansion of the City’s existing DMZ architecture. The authentication schema would be set up using a portal-tier SAML-compliant identity provider (Okta) to match the existing City standard.

The Federation between Server and Portal was a key step in the process. This would allow the City to enable SSO and host feature layers. Several City staff members are well-versed in ArcGIS Online, and they were excited to begin using Portal web maps and apps to help their departments share and understand data. For some internal groups, such as code enforcement, internal Portal maps with data from map/feature services allow GIS-adjacent users to quickly view and process spatial data. Existing Active Directory groups were accessed via Portal to instantaneously provide access to existing users.

Setting up a new reverse proxy was an organizational challenge that required more time than initially estimated. Different vendors support various parts of the IT infrastructure (network, Unix servers, IP addresses/DNS), and these vendors need to be guided on the proper setup for GIS infrastructure. A detailed task list was set up, including each vendor, the name and phone number of the individual executing the step, the details of the step, and the order in which it would be done. The task list was executed to set up the testing environment, allowing for the dress rehearsal of the production cutover. This coordination step was invaluable- without it, the project would have broken down on the decisive go-live date.

Improved Architecture & Service Uptime

Service availability was a critical concern throughout the project. The City has over 130 maps, features, imagery, geocoders, and geoprocessing services published for various departments and stakeholders. Some services require 24-hour uptime (such as two that track Fire/EMS apparatus and incidents), and others require 7-day availability (services that support 311 operations like Get It Done, permitting, asset management, and public information campaigns). To handle this risk, a parallel environment was set up with a federated 10.6.1 ArcGIS Server and 10.6.1 Portal for ArcGIS. Every service was tested at the endpoint and tested within various third-party applications as needed to ensure no mistakes were overlooked. Cutover was from the existing production environment to this parallel environment on an off-hour deployment.

Gratified Users

Since the upgrade to full ArcGIS Enterprise, there has been an upswing in the number of users accessing Portal features and options. Users are creating maps, Web AppBuilder applications, and dashboards. Plans include an upgrade to 10.7.1 and additional reliance on ArcGIS Data Store. Map services have previously been refreshed via file geodatabases and a consolidated map operation; investigations into response speeds and data transfer operations within ArcGIS Data Store continue. Overall, Quartic Solutions is excited to continue cultivating a top-of-the-line GIS infrastructure with the City of San Diego.

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