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ESRI Business BP/Dev Summit Hotels sold out

Three people today have told me that the conference rate at Hilton Hotel is sold out (rooms are available, but they run about $300/night) and the Wyndam hotel is essentially sold out (only single nights are available) for both the Business Partner Conference and the Developer Summit. So if you want to attend either, you are on your own. Best of luck!

No Vacancy
No room at the inn for weary ArcObjects developers

UPDATE: Rooms might be available at the Hilton now. YMMV

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Thoughts

The Idea of Software as a Service Platform

Alex Barnett of Bungee Labs took a look at 8 Trends in Software as a Service Platform which highlights some of the movement toward web services moving forward. This ties in nicely with what I was saying last week and what Paul Bissett also hit on.

The ProgrammableWeb blog also looked at all the mashups in their directory and came up with a pie chart listing their API of choice. Mapping APIs are quite popular (which I think must of us would have expected)

Now the ProgrammableWeb directory is by no means complete, but the sheer number of mapping APIs really shows that there is demand for geo web services.

Let me take a step back here and say this. I still don’t see desktop GIS being replaced by web services anytime soon. There is just too much lifting that needs to be done to even think about doing that and even many web mapping sites would be better served by rolling your own ArcGIS Server, MapServer, MapDotNet Server, GeoServer, etc than subscribing to ArcWeb, deCarta or GYM. But even those who go the whole 9 yards and throw up ArcGIS Server Advanced Enterprise are looking at using a web service to augment their own datasets. Heck even ESRI ArcGIS Desktop users are gearing up to integrate web services into their work flows.

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More on Geo Web Services

Paul Bissett of WeoGeo has some thoughts about web services and the changes in our industry.

The future of GIS, geo-content, geo-entertainment, etc. will belong to those who can think outside of the traditional methods of production and product delivery.

I couldn’t say that better myself.

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Web Mapping Systems and Services

I spent most of the afternoon talking with folks about web mapping systems and how to choose a direction to go. What is painfully obvious when you start laying out the different frameworks, APIs and servers is that there is just no clear answer as to what system to pick. When it comes down to it, what you are really after isn’t the system itself, but the product the system produces.

Confusion

I think we need a taller pole

I talked a little about the different marketing direction I was taking last month, and this is partly it. It isn’t so much as abandoning one product for another as some had written in the comments, but more looking at the systems as a whole. Web services are web services, no matter if it is ESRI, Google, MapServer or even Manifold running the server. There is one constant that I’ve noticed in the past 2 years is that the server behind the product has very little to do with the quality of the product users see. You see users don’t care that it is Google, .NET, open source or even Manifold. They just want their experience to be useful.

Of course you may say it is easy to sit back and not worry about servers when you are in a IT structure that may dictate that you go one route or another. That is a huge reality in the for many implementors but it shouldn’t stop you from focusing on the end product and not on the server.

As I was on the airplane flying to New Orleans this morning I was thinking about where GIS application developers would be in the next 2 years.

Hosted Web Services

Now don’t start flaming me yet. I do realize that hosted web services aren’t possible for everyone or even wanted. But as this space grows beyond the traditional users of GIS, you’ll start seeing organizations wanting to get the power of maps with their products, but not have to worry about hardware, software or datasets. We’ve seen this with so many companies using Google Maps and Virtual Earth in basic web applications, but with the development of GeoJSON I think we are going to see much more integration of hosted web map services with existing business models.

Hosted web services is just the logical next step when you are not interested in the server itself, but the services that it provides. We’ve seen tons of innovation in the Amazon Web Services space so we probably need to keep one eye out there as well. I’m interested to see how this all plays out.

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touchEarth – Control Google Earth with your fingertips

On Friday the Google Summer of Code Blog posted very interesting news about touchEarth created by Pawel Solyga.

touchEarth, an application he developed that allows you to control Google Earth using two finger gestures on multi-touch table. touchEarth uses the Google Earth COM API to control some of Google Earth’s features, while all the multi-touch screen events are sent to touchEarth from touchlib (or OpenTouch) using the TUIO protocol.

Most of us have seen these multi-touch interfaces before with the ESRI touch table but allowing Google Earth to be controlled this way will get this technology into more places. Of course I’m not exactly looking forward to everyone dragging their greasy hands across my MacBook Pro in a few years but coupled with that LG Touch LCD Screen we could be seeing some really interesting implementations moving forward.

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zigGIS 2.0 – View Edit PostGIS and SQL Server 2008 from ArcGIS Desktop

Abe Gillespie has the great news on his blog, zigGIS 2.0 is officially announced.

Obtuse Software is proud to announce the upcoming release of zigGIS 2.0. For over two years zigGIS has enabled ArcView to view and analyze PostGIS layers. New to version 2.0 is the ability to edit PostGIS data as well as support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008.

Now all you folks who were unhappy that ESRI is charging for SQL Server 2008 access, now have an alternative avenue to view/edit SQL Server 2008 data. The questions I had seem to have been answered:

Obtuse Software releases zigGIS 2.0 sometime 2008 Q1. There is still much to be done so expect it later than sooner. Corporate licenses sell for $279 per seat. Personal and educational licenses are free. The source code will remain open.

So there you have it. View/edit both PostGIS and SQL Server 2008 right from ArcMap.

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Western United States Manifold Users Conference

As some have already posted, I was invited to the Western United States Manifold Users Conference, January 18th and 19th down the road in Mesa, AZ. Looking at the presentation abstracts, I should be able to get a real education as to how people are using Manifold in their geospatial projects. Seeing how real folks use the software is always one of the best parts of the ESRI UC. Getting beyond the marketing hype and in the trenches is where the fun it.

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MapDotNet Server 2007 v6.5

I’ve been getting a demonstration ready to go for a client using MapDotNet Server (MDNS) and figured it was a great time to update to the latest version. Version 6.5 was released December 17, 2007 and is a huge update. Improvements include:

There is a lot more than that and you can read the whole release notes here.

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Happy New Year Everyone

I hope everyone is having a happy New Year’s day. I have only one prediction for the new year and it is that we’ll have our minds blown away be all the new technology heading down the pike. Should be a blast.

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Taking a look at the Virtual Earth UltraCamX Large Format Digital Aerial Camera

I love using Virtual Earth because the imagery is so great compared to Google’s (at least in the areas I’m interested in). The reason why is the UltraCamX imagery that Microsoft uses. LiveSide.net has a small window into the UltraCam and how impressive its results are.

UltraCamX

Santa didn’t bring James an UltraCamX this Christmas.