More on new Virtual Earth/Live Local Imagery Update

Out of date and irrelevant!

I’ve gotten a couple emails from people insisting that I’m wrong and Virtual Earth is the most impressive online mapping service available. My point was not that the update wasn’t good for some people, just that you have to take these updates with a grain of salt. I mean who cares that you can see some ferris wheel in the UK if you still have crappy imagery in major metropolitan areas?

It is good marketing to prove zoom into an interesting area and show off the great update, but if the majority of the product is still way behind the curve then why waste money on making a ferris wheel crisp? I don’t really care that Phoenix doesn’t have the birds eye view, but without timely imagery why would I use Virtual Earth in any product? (They can’t even spell Veterans Way correctly in the example above next to my office)

I do love the navigation of Virtual Earth vs Google or any other mapping product, but I didn’t use VE before this update and I’m sure not going to use it after. What sucks is even NASA World Wind is behind Google Earth in Phoenix so I’ve put that aside also.

Looking for the Service Pack

I love support websites where you can see a link to drivers right on the front page. You don’t have to dig through links to find what you are looking for. Usually 2 clicks and you are downloading your file. That brings me to ESRI…

I had installed ArcGIS 9.2 Beta 2 on my laptop to give it a little test run on some projects we are working on and when finished I uninstalled it and went back to ArcGIS 9.1. Today I saw that ESRI released a patch for issues with Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 and when to download it (right on the front page of ESRI supports site). Anyway on running the patch I was informed that I didn’t have Service Pack 1 installed so I went to download it.

Downloads > Patches and Service Packs > ArcInfo Desktop > Scroll Down 10 files > Click on link to Service Pack 1

Maybe I’m being hypersensitive but that is way too many clicks and scrolls to get to what is probably a very important file for ArcGIS 9.1 (Desktop, Server, IMS, SDE, etc…). I won’t even go into having to choose between the link for ArcInfo Desktop and ArcView (You’d think there would be one for ArcGIS Desktop, no?) but the Service Pack 1 should be on the Downloads page or at least the Patches and Service Packs page. Heck it is even buried in the middle of all the ArcInfo Desktop patches and service packs.

I guess complaining about the ESRI Support website is what we ESRI users do, and I assume they are going to wait for 9.2 before updating the thing, but having some critical downloads prominently displayed would be a good thing to do today.

Playing with ArcWeb Explorer API

I’ve been playing around with the new ArcWeb Explorer API and I’m starting to get a handle on all the functionality. My son liked this one the best. I’d like to grab geotagged photos from flicker and plot them on a map. I’ve got loads to do before that becomes a reality (I’m way behind geotagging my photos in Flickr), but I’ve faked it well on my computer. Too bad the imagery around Disneyland looks crappy otherwise I’d zoom in more.

ArcWeb Explorer Javascript API Officially Out

Looks like over the weekend ESRI pushed the ArcWeb Explorer Javascript API out and integrated it into the ArcWeb Labs section. Once you register you’ll get access to the best “Quick-Start Guide” that ESRI has ever produced. This new Flash Javascript API should make it much easier for people to take advantage of ArcWeb as you don’t even have to have a clue what SOAP or REST are. Just copy and past some code from the guide and you’ll have your maps. I’m wondering why ESRI doesn’t have an ArcWeb Explorer contest up and running yet as it would probably get people looking at this new API. Heck you’d think some ArcWeb credits or even a copy of ArcView would get people moving.

ESRI takes a page from Google Maps

Update: I’ve played a little with it during lunch and its pretty easy to get points plotted on the map (actually very easy). I’ve got to play a little more with getting the widgets to show up better but that will have to wait as I’ve got to get back to billable work. 🙂

Making a 180 degree turn with 3D models

lax-theme.jpgRemember when I made a big fuss about all these fancy 3D models not being important to GIS professionals? Well I still believe that, but I’m sitting here right now working on getting fancier looking models of buildings for a couple of our 3D GIS marketing demonstrations I’ll be doing next month. I’ll see how good some of these models look in ArcScene and maybe they’ll tie together everything, or they’ll just make my life much more complicated. 😀