Categories
Thoughts

Google Earth Hacks

Link: Google Earth Hacks.

Washington monument 3d

Google Earth is impressive, but you can quickly grow tired of the included datasets. Well thanks to a new website called Google Earth Hacks you can now browse and share the KMZ view files that Google Earth creates. There’s a labeled version of Walt Disney World, a 3D Golden Get Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the Washington Monument. Also available is a connection to Flickr where you can see peoples photos from around the world spatially inside Google Earth. If you spend any time working with ArcGlobe, you should check out some of these “hacks” for ideas in your own projects. There isn’t anything here that can’t be done in ArcGlobe. I just wish that you didn’t have to own a copy of ArcView and 3D Analyst to gain access to it.

Categories
Thoughts

Business Week on Google Earth

Link: Google’s Magic Carpet Ride (dead link)

“Too many products, too little time is the story of my working life. So it’s not often that I play with a product for a few hours in the office, then take it home and spend another hour or so showing it off. But that’s what happened with Google Earth. I’m not quite sure yet what this satellite imaging program is good for or how it will make money, but it sure is fun.”

An interesting take on Google Earth from someone who isn’t either a programmer or a GIS professional. As he says, “..download it and take an advance tour of this summer’s vacation trip or check out your childhood neighborhood. You’ll likely find it addictive.” which leads me to believe that we’ll see more information (ads) for businesses in Google Earth in the future. Could Google Earth be the next version of Yellow Pages? Imagine the 3D models of buildings colored because certain companies paid for inclusion. Interesting thoughts…

Categories
Thoughts

ESRI is losing the blog PR battle

It is pretty hard these days not to see daily news of Google Maps, Google Earth or MSN Virtual Earth. Click on any one of those links to see all the blog posts about them in Technorati. Bloggers can’t get enough of these services, but us long time GIS folks know that we’ve been doing this stuff for years with and without ESRI’s help. Google Earth is pretty much the same as a demo I saw Jack Dangermond give a couple years ago. Of course while we all know this, what about the average user who is now interested in these kinds of geospatial products. Go ahead and click on the Technorati ESRI tag link below.

Technorati Tag: ESRI

A whole bunch of my posts appear. That is it. People are finding my blog by using that tag, but they aren’t being directed to any ESRI blogger sites. Currently there are a couple of ESRI bloggers, but none of them are able to make the kinds of posts that would be required to get the ESRI name and their services in the blogosphere more. I’d love to see someone take every new Google Maps API website and show how ESRI has been doing this for years. When someone posts about how Google Earth is going to be the end of ESRI, a nice history of the immense task it was moving from ArcInfo 7.x/ArcView 3.x to ArcGIS 8 and how successful ESRI has been since then would be perfect.

When you currently find stories about ESRI in the blogosphere, usually they are just “reprints” of ESRI press releases similar to the ones that Directions Magazine posts. Sure there is good content out there, but it gets lost because there is so much noise. ESRI has begun to offer RSS feeds, but again it is only on their press releases. Hearing about how some city in the mid-west saved millions of dollars because they used ArcGIS is nice, but people want to read about the Northrop Grumman Touch Table that was demonstrated at last years conference. That was impressive, maybe not practical for most people, but it got everyone excited. These kinds of implementations of ESRI technology occur every day of the year, but we only get to read about them in ArcNews or ArcUser and by that time it is old news.

So what should ESRI do? First they need to find a PR blogger. Someone like Robert Scoble or Jeremy Zawodny who can help bloggers learn about ESRI and show the world what they are doing. It doesn’t have to be a “professional” blogger such as them, but it should be someone who knows how the weblogs interact and can leverage tools such as PubSub, Technorati and Feedster. Second, they need to get their project managers and staff blogging. It is easy to look at Microsoft to see how they have grown doing so, but companies such as General Motors are jumping on the bandwagon and you can see the results with the amount of bloggers that are commenting about their posts. Third, they need to offer up more RSS feeds of their existing content. I’m sure there are plans to do so, but the latest support documents and ESRI Developer code samples are difficult to find.

I went to BlogPulse to see how the keywords “ESRI”, “ArcGIS” and “Google Earth” rated over the past month. You can see on the graph below that there is almost no blip for ESRI, even with the increased focus on GIS brought out by Google Earth.

Esri google blogpulse1

As the 25th ESRI International User Conference is upon us, I also thought it would be nice to see how they keyword ESRI compared against the Where 2.0 conference. I wonder if ESRI will see a similar spike later this month. With the lack of bloggers talking about ESRI these days, I sincerely doubt it. To ignore the blogosphere is ignoring your customers.

Esri where blogpulse1

Categories
Thoughts

Google Earth Hacks

Link: Google Earth Hacks.

Washington monument 3d

Google Earth is impressive, but you can quickly grow tired of the included datasets. Well thanks to a new website called Google Earth Hacks you can now browse and share the KMZ view files that Google Earth creates. There’s a labeled version of Walt Disney World, a 3D Golden Get Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the Washington Monument. Also available is a connection to Flickr where you can see peoples photos from around the world spatially inside Google Earth. If you spend any time working with ArcGlobe, you should check out some of these “hacks” for ideas in your own projects. There isn’t anything here that can’t be done in ArcGlobe. I just wish that you didn’t have to own a copy of ArcView and 3D Analyst to gain access to it.

Categories
Thoughts

New ESRI Blogger

Looks like there is a new blogger at ESRI. Art’s Place (dead link) has its first blog post and I hope he continues to post. Art asks (dead link):

“Within the walls of ESRI, I keep hearing that C++ based clients that
require a download of 60+ mb is ok – just look at iTunes (BTW, iTunes is a 21 mb
download) and that web based GIS is not as important to our users. Well, I do
not believe this to be the case and feel that we need to reinvent GIS on the Web
with a rich web based version of ArcGIS. Does anyone have any comments towards
this? What are your opinions? I would like to hear them and maybe bring that
back to ESRI.”

I wrote my theory on the subject a couple weeks ago. While I still believe in web based GIS, the costs involved at least using ESRI technology is very hard for some of our clients to overcome. They have embraced ArcPublisher and ArcReader which makes sense in a workgroup environment. I can’t imagine the cost of an ArcServer type of application that would allow web ArcGIS (ArcView/ArcEditor) to run.

Categories
Thoughts

Users debate costs of Google Earth vs. ArcGIS

Konquest Online posts about their thoughts on Google Earth (dead link):

“I think that GIS producers should be humbled by the work that has been done at
Google and Keyhole. It’s not perfect yet, but it was developped in about one
year, has a great interface and is free. I’ve only downloaded Google Earth, but
they also offer the software in two other flavours: Google Earth Plus (which features GPS integration, higher print resolution and more powerful annotation features) and Google Earth
Pro
(with a ton of features and can be compared with commercial GIS) But the Pro version is still priced only 400 US$/year, compared to the 10 000+ $ needed to acquire ESRI’s ArcGIS.”

While I too am quite impressed at the ease of use that Google Earth brings to desktop GIS, lets not lose site of the fact that is is only a viewer of GIS. ArcGIS, while more expensive allows GIS analysis as well as viewing the same and more GIS datasets that Google Earth does. Also ArcView is “only” about $1,500 and the 3D Analyst extension is about “$2,500”, much less that the $10,000+ figure quoted above. To compare Google Earth with ArcGIS is about the same as comparing Word Pad with Microsoft Word. To even list all the functions that ArcView does beyond Google Earth would take pages on pages of this blog. Don’t lose sight of the purpose of Google Earth, nor what ArcGIS is about.

Categories
Thoughts

2 Year Old Python Programmer

Python icon

I think my 2 year old son Connor really likes Python. He can’t get enough of the snake icon. Come to think of it, he may also like any of the O’Reilly books while we are at the bookstore. He’d rather look at the Python books, than Thomas the Tank Engine.

That’s my boy!

Categories
Thoughts

GIS Users Can’t Get Enough Google Earth

Link: G-town Love: Look Out ESRI (dead link).

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.

Categories
Thoughts

GIS Web Services

Rolleyes

Now that everyone is starting to use the Google Maps API to do tons of web mapping, don’t you think it is time for ESRI to offer their own web services?

Come now people, how long have we been doing things like Google Weather Map with ArcWeb Services. I’m not saying Google Maps API isn’t cool, its just that most of this has been done before. Has ESRI lost out because they didn’t open up their API like Google has? I’m guessing it is in their best interest not to get involved with Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps or MapPoint. It is easy to get excited about the “script kiddies” and their interesting applications they are building, but I don’t think much of this will lead anywhere as they will tire of their web mapping applications and move on. Stability is what leads developers to ESRI and their products, not eye candy.

Categories
Thoughts

Great Resource Blog on ArcIMS

If you use or program using ArcIMS, you’ll want to check out Jason’s posts over at the ROK ESRI Developers Blog. Jason’s post, In Defense of ArcIMS is particularly interesting as we (myself included) seem to harp on how difficult it is to work with or how we have to do some crazy programming to get some simple things to work. To be honest, as I move into Mapserver and other open source server projects, I’ve begun to get a better understanding of how intelligent ArcIMS is and how well it does run out of the box. Unlike many map server applications, ArcIMS can be deployed on almost every major server software package as well as different web servers. When we start getting AJAX implementations of ArcIMS, I’m sure most of the complaints will go away. I wonder if we’ll see anything at the ESRI User Conference this year.