MSR MapCruncher vs Virtual Earth MapCruncher

OK, the MSR MapCruncher team has contacted me with some clarification as to the difference between the versions and what that means for the future:

You are correct that one reason there are two versions is licensing. The other reason is branding and support: the VE team has quality standards and wants to ensure they don’t find themselves doing support for a buggy product. We in MSR, on the other hand, are more interested in shipping bleeding-edge tools, even if it means things break. Right now, there’s not much in the MSR branch that’s not in the VE branch (other than a few undocumented hacks). But we’ve got some really exciting stuff in the pipe, and having that MSR branch available means we can turn out experimental versions very quickly. Then, if it gets a positive reception, VE can decide to push it through the product-quality process.

Well there you go. Currently MSR MapCruncher is at version 3.2.4 and VE MapCruncher is at 3.2.0. We’ll see how things change when MSR MapCruncher makes a bigger jump ahead. But at least for now VE MapCruncher has a license that allows you to use it in a commercial setting so I suspect most would be better served with the more stable version.

Microsoft Live Maps and Virtual Earth 3D 6.1 Released

Steve Lombardi and Chris Pendleton have both blogged about the new release of Microsoft Virtual Earth (and Live Maps). Steve sums it up:

This ended up being a much bigger release than originally planned including three full sprints of development. As always the changes visible in the user interface only scratch the surface of the dozens of improvements across the application tiers including Geocoding enhancements, browser compatibility (Safari and IE8), parsing improvements, reverse geocoding, printing improvements and tons more. We are also releasing an upgrade of our Map Control to version 6.1 for developers.

For developers there are some enhancements that will be very welcomed. Johannes Kebeck looks at more detail at some of the new API features. I’m very interested in Safari support and better printing. We had a project use Google Maps because of poor Safari browser support (which was a key requirement).

I still can’t understand why Microsoft continues to put Virtual Earth under the “Live” banner. Live Search is the worst search product out there and having that stigma attached to what might very well be the best web mapping application around only limits its potential.


Now if they could only get the players to animate, I could watch a baseball game in VE3D.

Microsoft’s MapCruncher graduates from Microsoft Research but does it really?

Microsoft Virtual Earth – MapCruncher has its own webpage and a commercial license so commercial users can now use the product. You can download the MapCruncher beta here.

t is weird is that I’ve got both the MSR MapCruncher and the new Virtual Earth MapCruncher installed now and they both seem to be the same version (called MapCruncher Beta for Virtual Earth) but they have different version numbers: For the “new” Microsoft Virtual Earth -MapCruncher this is the about dialog:

The “older” MSR MapCruncher that I didn’t uninstall has the same interface with the same program title as the one above, but a different about dialog:

I’m sure Microsoft will get more into the difference and what this means for the MSR MapCruncher vs the new Virtual Earth MapCruncher but from the user perspective it is confusing. I get the commercial vs. research licensing, but is that it and why do you need two versions?

Leveraging Google App Engine in your GIS Applications

I’ve blogged about Amazon Web Services and how one can leverage those services to develop scaleable applications, but now Google has gotten into the act. Google App Engine will let you to develop scaleable web applications using the same Google technology that powers their own web applications such as Google Maps and Gmail. Taking a quick look at the Google App Engine Docs really shows how this can be a great toolkit for GIS developers. A Python Runtime, Datastore API (Bigtable) and a URL Fetch API all line up very well with where GIS web applications are going.

ST_Geometry Issues With Oracle

Dave Smith has been blogging about the issues with ST_Geometry on Oracle 10g.

Recently two ESRI customers have reported problems to ESRI Technical Support after upgrading to Oracle The Oracle upgrade appears to be deleting some schema elements we require for the spatial type (ST_GEOMETRY). Uninstalling the upgrade to restore the prior version of Oracle does not work. ESRI is in contact with Oracle and we are working together to understand and quickly resolve the problem in this Oracle patch upgrade.

It is a weird issue that came up and a problem on Oracle’s end. What is even more bizzare is that it really hasn’t gotten much play on ESRI’s Support Forums.

There is a thread in the support forums, but it really isn’t that clear to what the problem is and how to fix it (well we know there needs to be a patch, but that isn’t really spelled out on the forums).

I can only speculate that either that there aren’t many Oracle users rushing to upgrade to or there aren’t many Oracle SDE users dealing with ST_Geometry. This is a really weird situation if you ask me if it trickles down from a regional office.

Jedi Mind Trick

“This isn’t the support you are looking for”