The latest Google Maps API TOS is available here. Google had just updated their TOS back in early November to clear up some questions around the use of API on free sites (this TOS only applies to the free API, not the Google Premier). The changes were welcomed by all, but one section appeared to some people to suggest that by using the API, you were giving Google a license to your data. Ed Parsons blogged about the situation?so you can follow more what the problems were there, but this latest update seems to remove that section (Ed has it on his blog) that people were worried about.
OK, now back to getting the house ready for the family invasion tomorrow.
The turkey in my fridge did not receive a pardon from the president.
A couple people have commented recently about this blog or via twitter about the possibility of ArcGIS and the Cloud. The current licensing of ArcGIS Server pretty much precludes the possibility of running it in the cloud so until ESRI changes the licensing or works with a company to provide ArcGIS Server in the cloud don’t get your hopes up.
I’m guessing it is virtually impossible for ESRI to license ArcGIS Server in the cloud as the product stands today.
Back when ESRI had just released PC ARC/INFO (for the cutting edge DOS) and way before Google was a research project, the United States Congress passed a joint resolution signed by Ronald Reagan proclaiming that Geography Awareness Week would be held in November.
The Great Communicator signs Geography Awareness Week into law
Remember, it isn’t about the Google or ESRI (I suppose GIS Day is for them). It is about the Geography!
So I’ve got a (theoretical) simple internal website for a client that basically puts pushpins for their locations on a map. Since this is on their intranet we’ll have to pay approximately $10,000 to Google or Microsoft to license their products internally. This small company doesn’t have the kind of money (especially in this economy) to put down on such an application. Essentially spending $5-$10K before any coding has taken place is not going to get anywhere and the project is dropped.
Why is it that both Google and Microsoft are stuck in archaic licensing agreements? The logical way to price these services is a metered service. Much like Amazon AWS works, you’ll pay for what you use (with per-session costs decreasing as usage goes up). It would be monitored so I could see what kind of traffic I’m generating with the service and I could be billed monthly via credit card. We’ve been using Amazon S3 and EC2 with great results and it is very easy to justify the low initial costs and still be able to scale to larger applications if warranted.
The other problem is that if I’ve got to spend that kind of money, I’m going to be developing larger internal applications than I would externally. You can’t do a simple internal mashup if you have to pay large enterprise licensing costs. I was told by one potential client who wanted a Virtual Earth application that ‘For that price we might as well buy another ArcGIS Server license’. For someone to say that it is cheaper to roll out ArcGIS Server for a simple mashup really puts it all into perspective and if you are going to develop with ArcGIS Server, you’ll probably have a larger application than a ‘simple’ Virtual Earth map.
So I’m pleading with Microsoft and Google to revisit their map API licensing and move toward more of an Amazon AWS type service that will help get their mapping tools into more places than today. Everyone wants a Google or Microsoft map on their intranet website, but the current licensing is killing projects before they can start.
Dan Catt at geobloggers blogged over a week ago about Flickr about how they were using WOE ID to generate polygons of places that people have tagged in Flickr. A couple people have emailed me on how worthless this exercise is and how arbitrary it is. The Flickr Developer Blog goes into some more detail about the how and why Flickr is doing this and I think that should give everyone who doesn’t understand why this is important some better context. Personally I find it extremely interesting to see how people understand what place they are taking a photo at. A lot of this can all be tied back into Neogeography and what makes an expert. I’d wager people are more careful to geotag their photos in areas they are familiar with and less so when they are traveling. I don’t have enough photos tagged in Flickr, but I’d love to see maps from some larger Flickr users to see how they geotag the world.
What Flickr has is a way to visualize how people are geotagging their photos and they appear to be learning about to improve the process. I think this is a great application of technology to help better understand how humans perceive** **location.
As I’m sure many have seen, ArcGIS Service Pack 1 is available on ESRI’s servers. I’m interested to see how the new error reporting has improved the first Service Pack over previous Service Packs. ESRI is still going to release a Service Pack a quarter so don’t worry about the future. The links below go to the download page which also has info about the what fixes were included.