Atanas Entchev is but I don’t understand why. I too remember ArcView 1 and at least what I remember wasn’t very positive. That said, he’s got a good point, but doesn’t come to the same conclusion that I would have (I’m skipping ArcCAD because I don’t want to even touch that can of worms).
Atanas says that there is no base of the GIS pyramid. Now before you say the same things I would say, we have to realize that Atanas’ GIS pyramid is really an ESRI pyramid. He’s right, you have the ArcInfo guys at the top, the ArcView guys in the middle and at the bottom you have what? ArcReader and ArcExplorer might be that bottom but I’d wager there are more people using ArcInfo in the world than use ArcReader. So maybe that is the whole point of ArcGIS Explorer, making GIS available to anyone who wants it with compatibility with ESRI “standards”.
But wait a minute, didn’t I say I would have come to a different conclusion than Atanas did? Right off the top of my head I can name QGIS and uDig as great free GIS programs that people can use instead of spending thousands on ArcView. Of course it isn’t fair to either program as they are both much more powerful than ArcView 1 was or ArcGIS Explorer will be. Of course Atanas’ article points out the biggest problem that open source GIS has in the traditional GIS community (the one that doesn’t read blogs Dave). Visibility! Says Atanas:
The GIS pyramid base is real, and it’s huge. It needs a simple solution.
The solution is there, but the eyeballs are focused on ESRI. Heck I’m not even bringing up Google Earth as the base of the pyramid and who knows what the future holds for it.
Once a year, thousands of GIS professionals get together in one of the greatest cities in the world, for a love fest and open source GIS isn’t invited. Might be time to get some money together, and throw a party guys. Invite all those ESRI fanboys, show them some cool software (throw in some beer and I’ll be there) and open some eyes. Until then, professional GIS will be dominated by those who exist in an ESRI centric world.