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Jeff Thurston’s Spatial Software Comparison

Links:

Jeff uses four elements of functionality in his comparisons; GIS, CAD, database and visualisation. It is a novel approach because at least in my GIS world, these are the for major tenets. Jeff did a pretty good overview of major software and he’s planning on continuing the comparison so you’ll want to check back on his blog.

4 elements functionality

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Virtual Earth Mobile

Link – Virtual Earth Mobile

Looking for a client application that runs on your Windows Mobile PDA that interacts with Virtual Earth? Well it looks like one is now available on Via Virtual Earth’s site gallery.

Features include browsing VE road and aerial maps, address and place finding, yellow page searching, GPS support, thumbstick navigation, and integration with Pocket Outlook for finding contacts! Best of all, VEMobile features a cache of previously viewed maps, greatly improving performance and providing an offline experience.

Also included is the Visual Studio project files so you can probably hack your own version quite easily. I’ve sworn off Pocket PCs, but I’ll be firing up my old Dell Axim tonight and see how this works.

Vemobile

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Hobu.biz 2.0?

Link – Geospatial news from Ames, Iowa

Well honestly I don’t know how many versions of Hobu.biz there have been (I’m sure more than 2), but the style of the times is to put 2.0 after everything new. Howard’s blog has had more than a makeover and it looks really professional. Could he be getting ready for the next podcast interview?

Those RSS feeds are pretty slick on the side. And it has given me an idea to finally roll out something I’ve been playing with. Check back this weekend and maybe if my kitchen remodel is done I’ll post about it.

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Dave Bouwman on the GIS Long Tail

Link – The GIS Longtail – Google, MSN, Yahoo and ESRI

The idea that Google/MSN/Yahoo is bad news for ESRI is based solely on the whiz-bang-flash of the new mass awakening to the fact that things can be put on a map. Anyone who thinks that Google is going to extend Google Earth to the point of enabling a city to manage it’s parcel base is delirious. Apart from the fact that it’s very difficult, there is no benefit to them. While Google does have a staff of geniuses, this does not mean they can simply whip up a full fledged professional GIS system. As for ESRI – I think they can only benefit from the increased attention paid to mapping in general, and GIS in particular. Once the public really starts to “get” maps, ESRI will be well positioned to facilitate “doing” something with the map – besides just plotting a point location.

Bouwman longtail

Dave Bouwman has just written a great article on the relationship between Google/Microsoft, ESRI and GIS as a whole. Dave hits it right on the head with ArcGIS vs Google Earth (or similar “consumer GIS” programs). Some have said that ArcGIS is the world’s largest software application built with Microsoft’s COM and while that may or may not be true, the plain fact is that ArcGIS has so many tools at the ready and these tools have decades of development behind them, that Google/Microsoft would be very hard pressed to compete. Now at the consumer end, that is a different story and it may be that GE and MapPoint eventually close the gap toward being a low end GIS tool, but even then you have to wonder about the quality of analysis that these tools may give the user given the lack of experience with GIS.

Time will tell, but as Dave points out so well in his post, Google Earth and ArcGIS are aimed at two very different markets and there is almost no overlap between them.

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Glenn Letham Restates His Opinions about Google vs. ESRI

Link – More on Google vs ESRI Pricing

FYI, for the record, I should have stated earlier (regarding my post about price comparison of ESRI vs Google Earth – see below) that I was simply relaying some material from the Keyhole BBS that was sent to me from a colleague.

Glenn clarifies his position about Google vs ESRI. Glenn’s posting style lends itself to confusion in regards to what is his thoughts vs what he is “reporting”. I always put the link to a referenced article first in my posts and use > tags to make sure that what I’m quoting is separated from my own thoughts.

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Is Google Overextending Itself?

Link – Has Google Peaked? – via Jeremy Bartley

For a company that depends so much on a single type of revenue, Google has stretched itself awfully thin. In the last two years, the company has released a dizzying array of products: Gmail, the Google Toolbar, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Blog search, and an instant messaging/Internet phone service called Google Talk. There’s also the Google Print Library Project (a plan to scan and make searchable the contents of entire libraries), a video search engine that’s in beta testing, and a recent bid to provide free Wi-Fi to all of San Francisco. Things are so frantic at corporate headquarters, a Google PR rep recently told me, that he didn’t have time to answer questions; he did ask if I knew of anyone who wanted a PR job. As Search Engine Watch editor Danny Sullivan puts it, the fact that Google is getting into everything means that they run the risk of not doing some things well. If Google had invested more in blog search over the last few years, for example, it could have controlled the industry rather than playing catchup.

I think we are beginning to see signs that Google is starting to sag under its own weight. If anyone has given Google’s new RSS Reader a spin can tell that it should have never seen the light of day. In the rush to be all things to everyone, they are starting miss the little things that people notice. I have been a big supporter of using Google Earth as an GIS viewer, but given the data shift issues, I’m starting to rethink that position. Of course some of this is backlash against Google, much like we’ve seen aimed at Microsoft and Apple, but if one is to rely on these products one needs to hold Google accountable. The words “beta” and “free” don’t absolve them from mistakes and poor product decisions.

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The Battle to be Google Maps’s Data Provider

Link – Google Maps and Their Data Providers

NAVTEQ spends a lot of money to get the most accurate data on the streets and roads, and they make most of their money selling routing (directions) through in-car navigation systems. I bet NAVTEQ wish they had a dollar for every time a prospective customer came to them expecting Google Maps-style driving directions to be free. Oh wait, they do. Every set of driving directions you get from Google Maps (or Yahoo! Maps, or MapQuest) represents real money in the pocket of NAVTEQ-they charge per route. Google, Yahoo!, MapQuest, and others are all eating those charges when they offer the service to you for free, planning to make it back on advertising and related travel services.

It is pretty easy to see who is being squeezed here. The data providers hold all the cards, but competition is driving the market and no one wants to be left holding the bag. One almost has to wonder though wen these data providers might strike back at Google/MapQuest/Yahoo! and start charging them more. For now they seem willing to undercut each other and maybe that business model will work. Still I have to wonder if NAVTEQ, TeleAtlas and other might look toward the fight that the RIAA is having with Apple and start wondering if they should start controlling more of the delivery of their datasets.

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Virtual Earth + Shapefile Reader + MSN Messenger

I was just thinking about a couple things today while watching my laptop struggle to execute Kriging.

How cool would it be if someone took the Virtual Earth Shapefile Reader and mashed it up with the MSN Messenger Virtual Earth plugin? Then anyone could send a shapefile to anyone else via an instant message and have it already viewable inside a small browser window. Sounds cool to me. ESRI’s GeoChat seems to be similar to this, but I believe that one requires ArcGIS to work.

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Virtual Earth + Shapefile Reader + MSN Messenger

I was just thinking about a couple things today while watching my laptop struggle to execute Kriging.

How cool would it be if someone took the Virtual Earth Shapefile Reader and mashed it up with the MSN Messenger Virtual Earth plugin? Then anyone could send a shapefile to anyone else via an instant message and have it already viewable inside a small browser window. Sounds cool to me. ESRI’s GeoChat seems to be similar to this, but I believe that one requires ArcGIS to work.

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ESRI Posts Videos on EDN

Link – EDN Videos

Brian Goldin has posted to let us know that ESRI has posted some really interesting videos up on EDN. If you’ve ever seen a video on Microsoft’s Channel 9 you’ll have an idea about how Brian did these. I love them because they are raw, just ESRI employees talking about what they love. There are times that ESRI feels like such a closed environment, but with videos you get to see behind the scenes on the ESRI campus in Redlands. Don’t let the EDN site scare you because one of the new videos is with Corey Tucker who is lead product specialist for the geoprocessing analysis team so even GIS analysts will get value from these videos. If you are new to GIS and want to know more about what GIS analysts do, you should check out that video with Corey Tucker also as he gets into building models to perform analysis. On top of all this, Brian is soliciting feedback on his blog and he’s open suggestions for new videos.

How about an ArcExplorer video?