Google Earth Builder – Esri 2.0 or Solution Looking for a Problem

So Where 2.0 is going on and I haven’t seen that much of interest (If you need to have Robert Scoble do an interview of your company on stage, then clearly you’ve got nothing to talk about). One thing that is news in our space is this Google Earth Builder.

It lets you upload, process and store your geospatial data in our cloud. Your employees can use familiar tools – Google Maps and Google Earth – to easily and securely share and publish mapping data. No technical expertise or GIS training is required.

There is a website that has a very little actual information about what it does. Some spin from Google seems to indicate this product is aimed at the mainstream. I’m not sure what the mainstream is, but I suspect they are running on SharePoint and MapPoint. Paul Bissett put it accurately:

Curious why GOOG aka BORG wants to invade Jack’s $1B pond. It doesn’t move the needle on their $25B business? #where20

– Paul Bissett (@pbissett) April 20, 2011

I still have never really understood what Google Earth Enterprise was/is and this seems like something that will fall into that category. Expensive, secret and used by a couple people you sort of know, but they’ll never show you what they are doing. I doubt Google will be invited to any Esri events anymore though.

Bottom line? You need an enterprise product to talk about so you have something to talk about when talking with enterprise customers.

Google Earth Godzilla

Google Earth seems to keep bumping around into things trying to figure out why it is here.


Google Map Maker Arrives in my Hometown

So Google “finally” opened up Google Map Maker to the good old USA.

Today we’re opening the map of the United States in Google Map Maker for you to add your expert local knowledge directly. You know your neighborhood or hometown best, and with Google Map Maker you can ensure the places you care about are richly represented on the map. For example, you can fix the name of your local pizza parlor, or add a description of your favorite book store.

Really? I can fix the name of my local pizza parlor? I thought that was your job Google and how YOU were going to make billions on LBS technology. As a GIS Professional (Totally not certified anymore, but that’s just the way I roll in our space), I do have an inherent need to update the location of all coffee shops in my neighborhood, but to think I’d lift a finger to help out Google and their map is beyond laughable.

Domino's Hotline

That said, I’ve gone into Google Map Maker and updated the local Domino’s Pizza name to be “Crappy Pizza Place”


The 2011 Nebraska GIS/LIS Biennial Symposium

I’ll be heading off this week to give a keynote at the 2011 Nebraska GIS/LIS Biennial Symposium. I’m pretty sure I’ve never keynoted a biennial symposium (sounds serious doesn’t it?) so it should be a first for me. I think we are going to try and have drinks with a couple of folks from the Omaha area one of the nights I’m there so let me know if you are up for it.

Looks like the Storm Chasers are just down the road from the hotel so maybe I’ll try and make a game while I’m there. I’m already listening to the Counting Crows to see what Omaha is all about.


And With A Wimper, I Turn Off Comments

I’m indebted to my blog readership for many reasons and high-quality blog comments are near the top. There have been some great discussions on this blog over the years and I’ve learned a ton from those who took the time to add their thoughts. I used to think blogging and comments went hand in hand, but these days the conversation happens on Facebook and Twitter.

The conversation has died down on this blog, it took 3 years to get 10,000 comments and since then only 4,000 have been posted. It just isn’t my blog, you see it everywhere. Facebook and Twitter have enabled people to talk directly to each other over their social networks rather than trying to do so on a blog comment thread.

Thus with this post, I’ve disabled comments and say thanks for the memories. I’ll still be blogging, but if you want to engage me, you know where to find me. On Facebook or Twitter.


GRASS GIS 6.4.1 Goes Native on Windows

GRASS GIS 6.4.1 released

GRASS 6.4 brings a number of exciting enhancements to the GIS. Our new wxPython graphical user interface (wxGUI) is debuted, Python is now a fully supported scripting language, and for the first time since its inception with a port from the VAX 11/780 in 1983, GRASS runs natively also on a non-UNIX based platform: MS-Windows.

I know right, you thought the same thing I did. If only you had known in 1983 that there was a VAX port think of where you’d be today.

Cue the dramatic prairie dog!


File Geodatabase API – To support both Windows/Linux and 32/64 bit

File Geodatabase API – 4 platform final release set for mid-May

… we’ve received a lot of feedback from everyone wanting 64-bit Linux and we’ve made faster progress than we’d expected on the 64-bit Linux port, so we’ve decided to delay the initial release a few weeks and have a single release that supports all 4 platforms. Bazaam!

Cool, now all I have to do is find a customer that actually wants data delivered in the File Geodatabase format. Kablooey!


PSA — PostGIS in Action to Arrive April 13th

PostGIS In Action Book CoverYup, the book we have all been waiting for is just about here. Next Wednesday PostGIS in Action will hit the shelves. I’ve been reviewing it over the last year or so and let me just say it is full of awesome. I can’t say enough that everyone who uses or wants to use PostGIS needs to get this.

I’m totally all over the eBook next week…


More Command Line GIS Goodness

I’ve been talking quite a bit about using ArcPy and Python as a means to go back to using the command line for GIS analysis. You get such a better understanding as to what you are doing with the geospatial analysis functions when you type them in manually rather than using a wizard.

There are other ways to do this though. Darren Cope has a short blog post on using OGR for clipping GIS data files. Simple and sweet!

It’s just that easy, and best of all it just works when all other methods fail!

That’s just it though, command line usually works when GUI’s fail. The logical outcome is stop using the darn GUI!