The more I look at the Google Maps API and see the wide array of sites users are creating I can’t help but think of the opportunity that ESRI has to grow their ArcWeb Services. There are quite a bit of bright programmers who are using Google Maps as their introduction to “GIS” and they seem to love it. These programmers can do so much more with the more robust ArcWeb Services, but I’ve seen no out reach from ESRI on how to help these new GIS programmers get involved with ESRI GIS. Many of them are in school and most likely already have ESRI site license that they can tap into and learn how to program with the ESRI software suite. When they graduate, they’ll be available to the GIS marketplace and with some great ideas to help push ArcGIS beyond just a tool used by government agencies. ESRI can easily offer up a simple map to allow users to hook into it and learn how to create ArcWeb Services programs.
I can’t imagine this would be too much of a cost to ESRI, but the benefit of all the new ArcWeb Services on the Internet would only fuel increased ESRI profits in the future. ESRI can sit and watch the Google Maps API revolution or take it upon them to be part of it. Google Maps isn’t open source and it has been embraced by the open source programmer crowd. ESRI products run on open source and use some open source programming languages so it seems a natural fit for these uses to flock to ESRI. All they want is an easy to use way of creating these web applications and the years of experience that ESRI has with web-based GIS will make the jump much easier than the Google Maps method that doesn’t understand much of what users have created.
Opening ArcWeb to more users makes sense to me.