Some organizations may want to build and share geoprocessing services to support common analysis tasks.
Geoprocessing services take advantage of the processing power on the server and have fast (local) access to large datasets, so that complex analysis tasks may be completed quickly on the server, and then only the analytical results are transmitted to the client application. This can be a much faster alternative rather than taking time to download large datasets and then run the analysis on the user’s local system.
Regarding lidar data, a good example geoprocessing service is a viewshed calculation. Historically, running this analysis would require that the user have access to the full-resolution data and a desktop application with the necessary toolset. Using a viewshed geoprocessing service, the user can navigate a map with a lightweight client application to indicate the area of interest and any necessary parameters (such as viewer height and target height). The server can then access the high-volume lidar data accessible to it to generate a viewshed that can be transmitted to the client with a very small data volume.
Nearly any geoprocessing task in ArcGIS can be served as a geoprocessing service. If your organization has remote users with a need to run repeated calculations requiring access to large datasets, hosting custom geoprocessing services can save significant time and minimize or eliminate challenges with regard to sharing source datasets. For further details, refer to What is a geoprocessing service?