Esri Java State of the Union

So in my small brain, I see Esri Java Server solutions as the only way to effectively and economically deploy and scale ArcGIS for Server in any hosted environment (I refuse to use the “c” word that rhymes with loud). The idea that I’d scale any ArcGIS for Server on Windows in AWS is simply crazy talk. Because of this line of thinking, I’ve been watching for the “new” Esri Java Server products that hopefully are right around the corner. Well Esri has posted a “Java State of the Union” for everyone to read:

Esri’s ArcGIS and Java strategy is pervasive, in and through all of the key computing environments that Java is found in, from Mobility to the desktop and to the Enterprise. This makes Esri’s GIS and Java a perfect match for any Java-based implementation that requires the delivery of geospatial or location services and capabilities.

So it looks like Esri is continuing to invest in ArcGIS for Server Java and hopefully we’ll see it available on platforms other than RHE and SUSE (cough Fedora cough). Java still feels like an afterthought for much of Esri’s push, but at least we’ve got a dedicated team trying to get Server where it belongs.

OK, everyone together…. “Java…… in the Server…… Make me happy……. Make me feel fine. Java….. Make me warm all over…”

Frank Warmerdam Goes to Google — Google Unimpressed with our Niche Awesomeness

Late yesterday morning I saw something on Facebook that caught my eye. Frank Warmerdam posted that he was moving to California and join Google (We learn this stuff on Facebook these days apparently). He later blogged about it and it’s now all over the internets.

Today I accepted a job with Google as a GIS Data Engineer. I will be based in Mountain View California at head office, and involved in various sorts of geodata processing though I don’t really know the details of my responsibilities yet.

Mr Warmerdam Goes to Google

Mr. Warmerdam Goes to Google

Frank says he was looking for a change (I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to in the past month that are saying the same thing, clearly our niche is stale) and the awesome of Google was too much for him to turn down. You really need to read Frank’s post. Google had no idea what they were interviewing even though they are a huge user of GDAL. It looks like eventually smart people at Google came forward to attest to Frank’s history and he was hired as a non-entry level tech. Here is one of our best and brightest and Google just looked at him as a number (Wake up call people!).

Google does make use of GDAL/OGR for some internal data processing and in products like Google Earth Professional. My original hope had been that my job would at least partly be in support of GDAL and possibly other open source technologies within Google. While things are still a bit vague that does not seem to be immediately the case though I’m optimistic such opportunities might arise in the future. But I think this usage does mean that work on GDAL is a reasonable thing to spend 20% time on.

I always assumed Esri would eventually hire Frank to work on their raster conversion stuff as they already pay him, but it appears that Frank is moving on to better things. Clearly he’s not giving up on GDAL/OGR, but his focus could be elsewhere. Say’s Frank:

Writing file translators for 20 years can in some ways become a rut!

Best of luck Frank, we all appreciate your hard work every time we open any geospatial application since your hard work is in the core of everything we do. And Google? They’ve got top men working on just about anything. Wow!

If a Yahoo! Turns off Their Maps API and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Last week something very unsurprising happened:

As part of Yahoo!’s commitment to creating deeply personal digital experiences, we have been reprioritizing our current portfolio of mapping products to refocus on a great consumer Mapping and Local Search experience.

So there you go, finally Yahoo! Maps API is going away. Seems like just a couple years ago, Yahoo! was one the most prolific GeoAPI companies. Now they are telling you to go look at OviMaps which might be just as unused as Yahoo!’s own APIs.

Jerry Yang seems still excited about Yahoo!’s chances though.

Jerry is happy

Thanks for visiting Yahoo! Now go find your APIs somewhere else

QGIS 1.7 is Officially Released

So this awesome happened over the weekend:

We are pleased to announce the latest release in our 1.X series of releases. To download your copy, please visit the QGIS download page. This release is named after the town of Wroclaw in Poland. The Department of Climatology and Atmosphere Protection, University of Wroclaw kindly hosted our last developer meeting in November 2010.

The release has some great new symbology and data management improvements continuing the push of QGIS as a full fledged GIS client. I use QGIS much more than any GIS client these days (Most of that has to do with me being on Mac OS X but it is a reality.) and coupled with FME, there isn’t anything I can’t do.

QGIS Banner

Esri REST API Could Be an OGC Standard



Confirmation by the OGC on the status of the Esri REST API and the OGC process.

Now I’m sorry if I butchered that name, I don’t recall being briefed on what the API Is called these days. (Seems like REST API for ArcGIS Server would be right) It appears that over last weekend Esri announced that they were “giving” their REST API to OGC as a standard. Big news if you ask me given that the OGC has just never been able to get an OGC REST Standard adopted. Plus it might make more sense given that the Esri REST API is pretty damn awesome and you got to think that the OGC would rather have awesome over a committee standard that no one uses.

One curious outcome of this is that we could now have a JSON standard in OGC, in this case Esri JSON. GeoJSON, despite the fact that almost everyone uses it, is a community standard (And there isn’t anything wrong with that) not an OGC one (like GeoRSS). If the OGC adopts the Esri JSON standard in the REST API, we could finally have a JSON standard for the INSPIRE project (Does anyone else use OGC on purpose or is it only by law?) Brian Flood thinks it make sense and I tend to agree with him.


Bill Dollins isn’t so sure


If this is all going to happen, we’ll see a couple things come out of this. First off we’ll probably see Geoserver and Mapserver start supporting this standard (Though we’ve seen Esri’s REST API documented for months, no one that I know of has implemented it) which means that Esri Desktop users can add these servers without having to use WMS or WFS. It also may mean that clients such as QGIS, gvSIG and OpenLayers will have native Esri REST API (And thus Esri ArcGIS for Server) reading.

If OGC was an open organization, we’d probably know more. Heck, something to talk about at the UC next month, right?

Wonder how Esri was able to do this?