Link - Will Google Earth Replace the need for costly GIS software and license fees?

This was a recent topic of discussion on the Google BBS… no doubt you’ve also been wondering… why invest deeply in a pricey IMS, GIS site license and support costs etc… “Lets take a look how much ArcGIS software we would need on one desktop to replicate the functionality of Google Earth. First you would need ArcView for $1,500, then add a license of 3D Analyst for $2,500. So now we are at $4,000 dollars just for software and don’t forget to add the yearly $1,300 dollar maintenance fee also. Now you need to pay for ArcWeb services so that you have data (which there aren’t even prices on website). Add in ArcIMS and ArcSDE servers and your talking the GNP of some third world countries.”

First off Glenn, lets try and include links with your posts. For those who want to see the reference post in Glenn’s blog entry click here.

I won’t spend too much time responding here to this charge that to get the functionality of Google Earth, you need to spend $4,000. One doesn’t buy a backhoe to dig a hole for a plant in your front yard, but this is what the writer above is proposing. The best response to people who post information like this above is, “To get the functionality of ArcView and 3D Analyst in Google Earth, you’d have to buy ArcView and 3D Analyst. Google Earth is nothing more than a 3D Map Viewer. ArcGIS is a professional GIS suite. Has Photoshop been hurt by Picasa since Google released the free version? Probably not any more than ESRI will be affected by Google Earth in its current state. ArcView is overkill for many, and Google Earth probably fits the bill for them, but to expect GE to replace the scientific quality analysis that ArcGIS provides is laughable considering how they can’t even get the alignment of their data correct. Maybe in the future Google Earth will add more data support, but the years of experience that ESRI has with spatial analysis will be hard to compete with. Many of us long time GIS professionals remember the press all said ArcView was dead the day that Microsoft released MapPoint. That didn’t happen and I just don’t see Google Earth making any dent into ESRI’s core business.

Oh and the writer of that post above that Glenn linked to? He posted this in the same thread.

As a side note ESRI is now saying that the free viewer ArcExplorer will include ArcScene, their 3D environment. Not sure if Google Earth had anything to do with it but competition is nice.

Seems that even he realizes that ESRI is still a force to be reckoned with even if Glenn doesn’t.