Why oh why are we seeing this Map/Menu bar on all these new “Web 2.0” mapping applications? Take this beta example from the USGS National Map Viewer:
They do expose some other ways to access the data, but don’t be fooled by the names. The Google Maps, Bing Maps and the rest are all just links to the ArcGIS REST API. That is how The National Map should be exposed. “Here are the services, use them and create your own maps”. Might be a better way to handle it because the future looks bloated.
I mean we all love to throw complex concepts under a widget icon of a box with gears on it. Me? I can never remember if I’m supposed to use the compass or the globe to zoom in or out.
The one saving grace is that one day Google will just enable all this in their web map viewer making everything else irrelevant.