Esri Connector vs. Esri Gateway Plugin

Esri connectors and the Esri Gateway plug in can do many of the same things, but there are some differences.  Which should you use?

Recommendation Summary:

  • Esri Connectors show data as linked ESRI maps.  They are a good fit when you can’t host a Gateway agent, or you don't have granular scheduling requirements (i.e. a certain time each day), or you prefer a single interface for managing all their Esri-based geospatial data at once. 

  • Esri Gateway plugins show data as tabular datasets that reside on your Socrata domain. Derived maps must be created using Socrata's mapping tools. They are a good fit when you can host a Gateway agent, need granular scheduling requirements (i.e. a certain time each day), or want more flexible control over how a layer is initially ingressed and published. 

Esri Connector

How to Use Esri Connectors

An Esri connector "federates" geospatial layers from a public ArcGIS Online service to a Socrata domain (note: this is not the same as Socrata catalog or data federation). This connector loads layers as external links.

These links can appear as a "map" (really, a dataset presented as a map by Esri) or as a map with a visible dataset below it. Esri connectors can load all the datasets available or just a subset of them.  These connector links include the map or dataset title and description, but not any other metadata.

Pros:

  • Very easy to set up

  • Simplifies and consolidates governance of Esri-based datasets in one interface

  • Automatically refreshes titles/descriptions based on source

  • Doesn't require hosting or configuring anything on a server

  • Automatically creates maps with no effort

Cons:

  • Only federates certain metadata (title and description)

  • Can't apply transforms on initial ingress, (but they can afterward)

  • Datasets are initially set as public by default

  • Limited to monthly or daily update cadence, can't specify the time

  • No support for private ArcGIS Online endpoints

Esri Gateway Plugin

How to use Socrata Gateways

Gateway plugins can upload an individual geospatial layer from a public ArcGIS Online service to a Socrata domain.  This layer appears as a tabular dataset with a geometry column. A dataset may be loaded once or automated through Socrata's Schedule Automation UI/Schedules API.

Pros:

  • Supports more flexible and precise automation scheduling

  • Can set any audience when publishing data for the first time

  • Can apply transforms

  • Planned (though not current) support for private ArcGIS Online REST endpoints

Cons:

  • Requires a Gateway agent to be installed and maintained on client server

  • Datasets must be governed/maintained individually, not in a single place

  • Does not automatically refresh title/description of dataset from ArcGIS

  • Does not automatically generate maps from datasets (though this may not be an issue)

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