Link: G-town Love: Look Out ESRI.
Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) is the microsoft of GIS… their the top dawgs in GIS software and in turn everyone use’s their file formats and forms of analysis. Overall they have some good stuff. However, google just launched google earth. Now I’m sure google’s software isn’t as robust as ArcGIS and doesn’t really support a wide variety of data types. However, there are a ton of small businesses and people that could benefit from a “light-weight” GIS that is easy to use and requires little training.
While I agree that ESRI should have a consumer product, I don’t think Google Earth is close to being that product. The amount of press that Google Maps has been getting in both the traditional media and the blogsphere has been huge, but in the end all you have is a product that is much more similar to TOPO! (think DRGs rather than satellite photos) than ESRI ArcGIS. If one looks at what has happened with Picasa since Google bought them, you’d see that Adobe hasn’t been hurt too much by their sales of Photoshop Elements. I think when the press dies down and users begin to see what Google Earth offers them, they’ll enjoy the eye candy and move on to the next great Google offering. The rest of us will be enjoying ArcGIS 9.2, or so we hope.