Enough with the Mashups already!

It seems like a day doesn’t go by where some company puts out some press release about some edge case implementation of their mapping api. I couldn’t care less guys.

Unless the implementation is built into how we as consumers use information (type it into my browser search bar, type it into my smartphone) there isn’t any way I’ll actually use it. Plus as a developer, you should be offering me the feed up so I can implement it in my own stack, not locking it up behind some weird specialized mashup UI.

ArcGIS Server 10.1 is 64-bit only, MSDs over MXDs, and what about ArcInfo Workstation 10.1

In the ArcGIS 10 depreciation document this little tidbit catches my eye.

ArcGIS Server 10.1 will no longer support 32-bit operating systems. ArcGIS 10.1 will exclusively support 64-bit operating systems. Support for 64-bit native execution across all the tiers of ArcGIS Server has been a long awaited feature by many of our customers. 64-bit hardware is the norm in today?s market and most modern ArcGIS Server deployments do in fact run on 64- bit hardware. ArcGIS Server 10.1 will run as a native 64-bit application exclusively requiring 64- bit capable hardware.

Now we are talking about Server here, not Desktop, but a total 64-bit server suite is very nice. One more thing that for some reason seems to get people a bit riled up:

ArcGIS Server 10.1 will no longer support publishing non-optimized map documents (MXD files). ArcGIS 10.1 will only support publishing optimized maps (MSDs) as that is the best practice for map publishing. At ArcGIS Server 10.1, optimized map services (MSDs) will be enhanced to support many of the capabilities that are currently only available through MXD-based map services.

This is a total performance change now that MSDs will support just about everything you need from a cartographic standpoint. Oh and one last little tip of the hat to the workhorse:

There are no plans to release a new version of ArcInfo Workstation at ArcGIS 10.1.

Frozen in time will ArcInfo Workstation be (hmm did I just channel Yoda there?).

iExtMap for iOS

I reviewed ArcGIS for iOS a couple weeks back and liked what I saw. One of my biggest disappointments was the lack of OGC support. ESRI says it is coming, but in the meantime I took it upon myself to try out other iOS mapping clients. One that has caught my eye is iExtMap. You may recall Alper Dincer?from the 2009 ESRI Dev Summit Challenge where his ExtMap took first place. While not built upon ExtMap, Alper has released iExtMap for iOS.

So what does iExtMap bring to the table?

  • Google Maps Base Maps
  • Blank Base Map for your own base map
  • Displaying ArcGIS Server Dynamic and Tiled Services
  • Displaying WMS as Tiles
  • Displaying KML/GeoRSS files
  • Displaying static tiles (for Arc2Earth users)
  • Bookmarking
  • Geolocation
  • Identify (in next release)
  • Query (in next release)
  • Measurement (in next release)
  • Open Street Maps (in next release)
  • WMS improments (in next release)

So let us look at iExtMap in detail.

The iExtMap Splash Screen

The first screen you see when you start up iExtMap is the Maps window. From here you can navigate whatever maps you have added to iExtMap. Google is the default background map and in the Base Maps screen you can see how you can choose which “base map” you wish to have in your background.

The Map Tab on iExtMap

Choose your Base Map

After choosing your background base map, you go to the Layers tab to add layers. The first thing I tried to add was a KML out of WeoGeo Market. This was easy to add and actually looked pretty good on the iExtMap screen on my iPhone. Just grab the URL to the KML and like that it is added. Adding ArcGIS Server services and WMS is also as easy as copying a URL and pasting. The only issue I ran into was that WMS needs to be in EPSG:900913 making your choice of WMS smaller than it should be. This is a know issue and an update is planned in the future to address it.

Adding a KML to iExtMap is very simple.

After adding the layer, put a check next to each one you want to view on your iExtMap Map.

And here is that KML – viewed on the iExtMap Map.

The bookmarks are very strait-forward. You either bookmark a view on the Map or manually input the coordinates.

Manually creating a bookmark in iExtMap

The Bookmarks tab in iExtMap

One actually fatal issue of iExtMap is that you can get caught in an info box and have no way to break back out. Make sure when you are on the Map tab, not to click on the links at the bottom of the view (I’m assuming these are the credit links). If you do you get stuck on the “about Google Maps” page with no way to get back to the map unless you exit the app. Hopefully this flaw will be fixed very quickly.

DO NOT CLICK!

Don’t get me wrong, the about page is very nice. You are just stuck on it if you get here – yikes!

Overall though, I think there is a ton to like about iExtMap. Out of the box you have OGC support (KML and WMS) which I really think is critically important. Support for ArcGIS.com (ArcGIS Online) layers is there as well so you have an iOS app that can work across OGC and proprietary services. Alper should be commended on his efforts and I can see myself using this quite a bit to work with OGC services.

See you later ArcIMS

I for one am not going to shed an tear for ArcIMS. Don’t get me wrong, I was a user of ArcIMS from version 3.0 to 9.1. But since ArcGIS Server 9.2 as well as other open source mapservers, the need to even glance in its direction isn’t warranted. Usually when we talk about ArcIMS, a couple folks rush to its defense. Well go ahead and do that all you want – nobody is listening anymore, including Esri (kudos to Esri BTW on the sexy PDF in 2010). But you ArcIMS fans need not worry – I’m sure Esri will be collecting maintenance on ArcIMS for years to come.