I was just checking out some of the “A list” GIS blogs and it looks like the All Points Blog has a new look and a new simple URL. I’m not sure if there are any other changes planned but maybe we’ll find out on Monday (or maybe sooner).
Ed was lucky enough to make it by Apple’s Campus and confirm that they are still around. If you remember last week there was some “discussion” about the digital imagery that Microsoft was using for their Virtual Earth web mapping program. Ed makes the point that using “free” imagery from USGS can result in problems such as this. I agree with that, but I also think they could have done more to mitigate the problem. We’ve all used “dated” imagery in our cartographic maps before and usually we usually put a note somewhere on the map letting the reader know the source and date of that imagery. Google Maps does this and I think Microsoft should start doing it also. DOQQs aren’t bad, but we all know they are outdated compared to most satellite imagery. It might have been a good idea for Microsoft to send some of their programmers to “GIS Camp” at the ESRI User Conference to learn more about GIS.
note – see post update below
I had a great opportunity to sit down with Gjermund Weisz of Sportsim at the ESRI 2005 User Conference and talk to him about his product and how ESRI ArcWeb Services is working for him. Sportsim is a free product that users can upload their GPS tracks from their workouts and view them over maps and satellite imagery. They only charge for downloading maps out of their product and as of right now Gjermund said about 10% of their users take advantage of their product. One of the great concerns for Sportsim is the lack of high resolution satellite imagery for the world. With Google Map and Google Earth, users expect and want great satellite imagery under their GPS tracks. Right now Sportsim is limited to basically Landsat and when you view a race such as the ESRI 5k run/walk you really see how bad the imagery is.
The business model of Sportsim is really interesting, they give away the program allowing you to use it without any restrictions. They way the make money is by charging users to download maps. Of course as I said above people really want high detailed satellite imagery so without ArcWeb Services providing these satellite imagery people won’t pay Sportsim. Take a look below at the ArcWeb Services satellite image vs Google Maps.
Current Sportsim Satellite Image (Landsat)
Current DigitalGlobe Satellite Image (From Google Maps)
You can totally see how people would gladly pay Sportsim for that kind of high quality imagery. For Sportsim to be profitable, they need to provide services that people want so unfortunately unless ArcWeb Services can provide imagery that Sportsim needs, they will have to go somewhere else. No one is currently providing this service (at least at a price a small company like Sportsim can afford) so there is a huge opportunity for ESRI and ArcWeb Services to totally shake up the market.
Update – Andrea Rosso reminds us that ArcWeb does have high quality imagery, but not for areas such as Japan (or am I missing something). I used the ESRI 5k run just as an example (I could have used any event in Japan or Europe), but Sportsim does have very high quality coverage for San Diego. It is the worldwide stuff that has Gjermund worried. Andrea, beyond the descriptions on the ArcWeb website, is there a “coverage” map people can look at to see where different services are available?
Link – A Podcast
Howard Butler of Hobu.biz fame has created a podcast about his thoughts about ESRI 2005 User Conference and UMN Mapserver RFC 1. I think you did a pretty good job Howard and hopefully you’ll continue with more of them (especially with such great music).
Link – New Site Design
I guess it is the weekend for new site design with GIS or Mapping blogs. The Map Room has a great new look that is actually making me think about changing my darker colors to white also. I’ve always felt a darker webpage looks richer, but white is so much easier to read. Jonathan Crowe has done a great job with his blog design.
Link – ESRI UC Blog Feedback
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Looks like ESRI is looking for opinions about their UC Blog and Blogging in general. Anyone who is interesting is seeing ESRI blog more should take some time and fill out the survey (yea, yet another one, but it seems ESRI works better with them).