We all know the benefits to using clients such as Google Earth over traditional web based mapping systems, but that doesn’t seem to matter much in the real world. I’ve been running up against an IT wall at many companies and organizations to getting Google Earth or even NASA World Wind installed (let along AGX when that arrives in November). Brian Timoney put it very well when he said in the comments over at All Points Blog; “While it certainly would be in my best interest for GE to be ‘the next cool thing’ in IT, my sense is that it’s not going to happen anytime soon given the current licensing for its use in professional environments.”. We work primarily with DoD clients and Google Earth/NASA World Wind or even ArcGIS Explorer penetration is almost non-existent. Sure we find pockets of GE, but generally anything we demo on Google Earth usually gets pushed aside with the realities of the work place.
So what does that mean for us in the long run? Well already we try and serve up KML using Google Maps, but you’ll see very quickly that GMap doesn’t do quite the best just just yet rendering KML. So for now, I think we’ll be putting our efforts into the new ESRI .NET Web ADF (combined with some really cool Virtual Earth stuff) and implement KML only where we see a need. For now, the efforts at getting these clients installed is too great for us to deal with. At least with web based clients I don’t need to worry about installing anything on clients computers.
Adobe Acrobat used to be in the same boat, but now it is almost impossible to find a computer without Acrobat on it. Only time will tell if Google Earth follows that same pattern and if so will it take 5 years for such implementation. Of course if they continue to charge $400, it could be close to never.