Some are more excited about ArcGIS Explorer news than others

Link – Obligatory ArcGIS Explorer Post

Ae ae ae


What is the future of ArcPublisher now that ArcGIS Explorer is on the way?

I’ll admit it, my company uses ArcPublisher quite a but internally and externally with clients. Internally we use ArcSDE to share data and externally we use ArcIMS (with ArcSDE) to share data. Its worked pretty well over the past 2 years, but at over 100 megabytes it is a beast to download. Now with ArcGIS Explorer (and its svelte 15 meg download) will there be export of ArcMap documents? Or will there be a save to ArcGIS Explorer right from ArcMap rendering Publisher dead? Basically I have no problem continuing to pay maintenance on Publisher if it allows me to share MXDs with just about anyone, but this whole ArcGIS Explorer support of many formats really raises some questions.

  • What KML export tools will there be in 9.2?
  • Can we expect a KML/KMZ choice under File > Export or will it be more of a conversion tool in ArcToolbox?

So many questions to be answered and not much news from Redlands. We will continue our use of ArcPublisher and beta testing of Arc2Earth.


David Maguire on how ArcGIS Explorer works

Link – ArcGIS Explorer – how it works

Upon start up the client automatically makes a web services connection to a set of ESRI ArcWeb Services globe services. The web services are powered by ArcGIS Server 9.2. A new set of explorer services has been added to the Server core so that anyone (with ArcGIS Server) will be able to create and publish a service. It will also be possible to view ArcIMS and OGC WMS services. As you navigate around the globe, page views are streamed across the web to the desktop application for rendering. All the tasks (mini-applications) are server resident and are called from the client.

David posts a new screen-shot of ArcGIS Explorer (finally one with satellite imagery). How much quality will be put into these images is just a guess for most of us but since the screen shot is zoomed out so far, I guess it isn’t as good as Google Earth. I suspect it will be better than Public ArcWeb Services, but less than what one could buy via ArcWeb. Where that will put ESRI in relationship to Google Earth is anyone’s question. I’d suspect though that the greater choice of layers that will be available in ArcGIS Explorer coupled with the fact that you can easily connect to so many different geospatial servers could make ArcGIS Explorer a good competitor for Google Earth.

What is clear though is that ESRI is looking at ArcGIS Explorer to drive sales of their server products and in the end this will probably result in ArcGIS Explorer complementing Google Earth, rather than replacing it. It all hinges upon if users can create WMS and other geospatial server links as quickly as Google Earth users jumped on KML. We’ll just have to wait for the beta and see how it goes.


Free Oracle Database 10g

Link – Oracle Database 10g Express Edition Downloads Beta

I don’t think this is going to be much of a threat to MySQL or PostgreSQL users. What Oracle should have done is offer the depreciated 8i Enterprise Edition instead of dumbing down 10g. Basically this is a ploy to get companies hooked on Oracle and then require companies to upgrade to 10g Enterprise Edition when their applications require it. Don’t get too excited about installing ArcSDE with it as the limitations of Express Edition should make it practically unusable. Standard Edition 10g is still a better choice and at about $149 per user, not that expensive.

I still think ESRI should be looking at a version of ArcSDE that works with PostgreSQL but maybe that time is soon.


Google Maps API Data Quality Issues

Link – GMaps API data quality deteriorating?

the basemap data you get via the API is only from TeleAtlas, but if you look at the maps through Google’s branded gateway, they are enhanced with NavTech data too. As rich pointed out, there’s a long discussion about this on the Google Maps API Google Group, or Usenet group as it was once known.

We heard a little bit about this a couple weeks ago. I’ve been saying since day one that the problem with a free API for web mapping is that you need to either reduce your costs as low as possible or have another revenue stream (advertisements). One of the biggest arguments for a paid service like ArcWeb is that you get a great choice of data. We’ve already seen that the satellite imagery in ArcWeb is much better than Google Maps and that I don’t think people mind paying for a service if the quality is better.

Conspiracy theories fly! Do people really care enough about very high quality base maps to pay for a premium API service? Or are geodata licensing costs driving this decision on the part of GMaps? If quality of service continues to deteriorate, will this provide a boon to collaborative mapping in the land of the free geodata, augmenting the accuracy and currency that Google’s maps may be losing?

So there is an opportunity for ArcWeb 2005. The question is how soon will it be to we here/see it (with a name like ArcWeb 2005, you’d think we’d see it soon). I’ll tell you this, as soon as the new ArcWeb 200X is out, I’m going to replace my blog map with it.


WMS Connect for ArcGIS 9.1

Link – WMS Connect 1.0.0

So the question comes to mind on why would you need such a tool? The core ArcGIS WMS extension is great for quickly visualizing services within the ArcGIS framework. However, it doesn’t natively allow users to modify the WMS map requests and it does require an existent Internet connection.

The WMS Connect tool allows the user to modify WMS service requests in such a way that the user can select a style other than the default, it allows the user to define the request area, and it allows the definition of the downloaded cell size. The result of this tool is a raster dataset on disk and the user can use it in a disconnected environment and for geoprocessing as well.

I’m going to have to try this when I get back into work on Monday. Better WMS support in ArcGIS has been a hot topic with some of our clients.



ESRI ArcGIS Explorer Website Up

Link – ArcGIS Explorer – thanks to all who sent this in

Well here we have a nice close look at ArcGIS Explorer including this screen shot of the interface.


It has a very nice Windows XP look to it vs the non standard look of ArcGIS (yea i said it) and Google Earth. The screen shot is somewhat disappointing as it doesn’t show up satellite imagery but take a look at the “table of contents” on the left hand side and tell me you aren’t really interested in more information.

Update – as I sent this out, Darren Cope linked to the same page also. He’s put some of his own spin on the ArcGIS Explorer story and why he thinks it might have a chance at being quite successful.


2006 ESRI Developer Summit Announced

Link – 2006 ESRI Developer Summit

Join us for the first ESRI Developer Summit held on March 17 – 18, 2006 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, California is a two day event for GIS, Mapping, and Spatial Developers.

Event features include

  • Keynote presentations on developer opportunities in GIS
  • In-depth technical presentations by ESRI staff
  • Community Center
  • Tech Talks
  • Birds-of-a-Feather Forums

Thanks to Art, Rob and Brian for getting this going. I’ll be there.



David Maguire on ArcGIS Explorer

Link – ArcGIS Explorer – geographic exploration system

With ArcGIS Explorer you can fuse data from multiple servers (OGC WMS, ArcGIS Server, and ArcIMS) and overlay local vector and raster data sets. The task-based interface allows fast visualization of massive 2D and 3D server-resident global terrain, raster and vector databases. The user interface exposes additional tasks for navigation, routing, geocoding/reverse geocoding.

David lets us know a little more about ArcGIS Explorer including that the beta will be out in a couple weeks. The biggest question I have so far is what ArcWeb services will be free? There is so much available for cost, but the free Public ArcWeb services choices are small. I can only hope that they will have good imagery by default, but at least support for most GIS server applications should allows others to fill the gap. I guess we’ll also see one of Sean Gillies’ favorite Web 1.0 applications integrated into ArcGIS Explorer, The Geography Network. Are there any plans to improve that service? What printing options do users have? Can we here more about the personalization and customization of ArcGIS Explorer (and I assume ArcGlobe server on the back-end)? What are the basic system requirements for ArcGIS Explorer (Google Earth runs wonderfully on my laptop, but ArcGlobe is a dog)? Does ESRI plan to have a community developed around ArcGIS Explorer (a huge issue as GE has a wonderful community and the current forums at ESRI are difficult to use)?

I’d love to see some screen shots or a video though of ArcGIS Explorer in action.


Google Maps + ArcSDE + ArcIMS + ArcWeb =

Link – Google Maps + ESRI’s ArcWeb Services

  • Users can geocode by city (Lawrence), address (1930 Constant Avenue, Lawrence), zipcode (66047), or the intersection of streets (9th & Iowa, Lawrence). We are using the Public Services category of ESRI’s ArcWeb Services.
  • The black and white imagery is coming from ESRI’s ArcSDE through ArcIMS. We are using the ArcIMS cache on demand system that I mentioned here. The reason for this is the lack of quality imagery data that Google provides for most of Kansas.
  • The Map client is the Google Maps ajax client.
  • The Road data is from Google Maps (Teleatlas).

Quite a novel way to get around limitations of all the products. You’d think with so many sources and different servers this would be slow, but it looks quite snappy and is a big improvement over the standard Google Maps version. Great job guys!