Where is Metered Pricing for Internal Mapping Applications?

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.

How do you get Scrooge McDuck to part with money to pay API licensing costs to Google or Microsoft?

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.

The GeoMonkey is a huge supporter of Amazon Web Services

Flickr Mapping

Homer tries to make sense of mapping

Homer tries to make sense of mapping

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.

ArcGIS 9.3 Service Pack 1 is available

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.

Nothing about the Service Pack 1 update on the ESRI Support Blog but that blog has been spotty so I’m not surprised.

Geowanking moving to O’Reilly

Brady has just posted the news on the Geowanking list. Full text after the jump.


Joshua has been quietly looking for a good home for Geowanking for a while. He approached O’Reilly and we have agreed to support the list.

I’d like to thank Joshua for starting the list and helping the community grow. He’s put in a lot of time and energy for us. Thanks!

O’Reilly is invested in the geospace. Where 2.0 is one of our strongest conferences and I consider the geowanking community to be the conference’s primary constituent. So when we were asked to take on the list it was an obvious yes to me. We want to support this community and help it grow.

**What does this mean? **

  • Later today or tomorrow we will be moving the list to O’Reilly servers.

** The domain will change.** Joshua is keeping?http://burri.to, but is giving us geowanking.org. The new list address will be??geowanking@geowanking.org

  • The archives and your subscriptions are intact, **but you may need to reset your user password and digest settings. **

  • The archives will still be public.

  • Please mail me for admin or other issues about the list. Laura Painter, an O’Reilly employee, has spent a lot of time on this (thanks!). She’ll be monitoring the list for technical hiccups.

What about the future? We’ve got a couple of ideas for how to support the community and I would love to hear your thoughts on them. I’ve been thinking that a planet installation on geowanking.org would be great.Any others?



Kudos to O’Reilly for stepping up and keep Geowanking running.

Sharing the File Geodatabase

There are really good reasons to use the File Geodatabase in the ESRI world over the shapefile and Personal Geodatabase, but it doesn’t mean it is easy to share. Sean Gorman knows that the more file formats he supports, the more likely people (especially GIS pros) will be using GeoCommons. I suppose the simple answer for Sean is to buy a license of FME Server and support everything and anything people upload. The cost of that solution might not make business sense just yet for him so I suppose is the lack of ESRI Geodatabase support (or any other format) limiting you when you want to share data? I like the idea of uploading a Geodatabase full of datasets at one time, but sharing a folder/file based dataset is difficult enough on a LAN, let along the internet. Is converting to shapefiles too much to ask for people who want to share data on services such as GeoCommons?

WeoGeo partnered with Safe Software to bring this kind of datasharing (among other features of FME Server) to the cloud?web so there might be solutions that are cheaper than outright licensing FME Server to bring translate capability to Web 2.0 services. If that can be coupled with Amazon Web Services pricing (pay for what you use rather than a traditional license) there could be something that many people take advantage of.

And of course you could export out any layer in GeoCommons Finder! to any of the 200+ FME supported formats.

And of course you could export out any layer in GeoCommons Finder! to any of the 200+ FME supported formats.

Concerned about stacks?

I’ve been hearing much about stacks these last few weeks.

We want an all ESRI stack

We want to break out of the ESRI stack

I want an all OSGeo stack

Bill Gates’ stack is the work of the devil

I want to avoid the [INSERT LEAST FAVORITE SOFTWARE COMPANY HERE] stack at all costs

Why concern yourself with branding stacks? OK, maybe if your corporate IT department dictates that you must go a route you have to worry about it, but otherwise concerning yourself with an overarching stack just distracts you on matching your needs with the best hardware/software. Stack away, but focus on the individual parts, not the whole suite. Leave the marketing terms such as LAMP/WAMP/XXXX to others and pick what works.

Be careful with stacks

Be careful with stacks

Catching up

I was out last week in New Orleans and of course had no time to block so I’m going to try and catch up this week.

“I strongly agree with Dave Bouwman’s assumption that this is the result of a long lasting strategy of trying to cram desktop GIS into the browser with GIS manufacturers concentrating on developing utterly generic ‘out-of-the-box’ WebGIS products. So this wants us GIS developers make to believe that we are able to produce WebGIS applications in a jif. But the simple fact is that 99% of so called WebGIS apps have a quite narrow purpose, thus need pretty focused functions and user interfaces instead of bloated generic UI’s.”

It is clear GIS developers understand what hasn’t worked in the past and what needs to be done in the future. The trick is to enable complex GIS analysis in a way end users can take advantage of it. If it was easy, everyone would already be doing it.

  • More baseball geography; Five Migrations in Baseball History. Lets see, statistics, geography, beer, despair. Is there nothing baseball can’t teach us?

  • Yes, ArcGIS Server Flex API 1.0 was released last week. Cue the “Where is Silverlight?” questions. Might be a great topic to discuss at the 2009 Developer Summit.

  • Google Earth for the iPhone has been released. After playing with it for a week a couple things come to the surface.

    1. First it is very well done and visually impressive. Fingers can navigate 3D globes.
    2. The Edge network is too slow.
    3. I almost got run over by a streetcar navigating the globe. Could that be worse than texting with your head down?
    4. The tilt function is confusing when you are walking. I want to hold the unit in front of my face, not look strait down (see #3).

I can’t wait to see the next version and start using the iPhone to interact with network KML.