City of Portland integrates Google Maps into their Property Search

Link – Portland Maps Advanced Search

I’ve given Google Maps mashups a hard time because I don’t see too much value in many of them. I don’t need a mashup showing me where all the Starbucks are located since they are on every corner. But, some people are really started to figure out how to use Google Maps and create mashups that really add value to their websites. Take the City of Portland’s Advanced Property Search tool, it is much like any search you’d see from a large city, but it now gives you a map view showing where your search results are from. Simplicity is what works and this really is integrated well. If you need more detailed results, you can still drill down into their detailed ArcGIS server maps. The search tool also allows you to save your results into Excel ( including centroid coordinates
in lat/long!) and Philip Holmstrand let me know they plan to offer Google Earth KML links soon.

The team over at PortlandMaps should be congratulated for really pushing the envelope on their web based mapping. They’ve been able to utilize ArcGIS Server, Google Maps and Google Earths to try and get their GIS out to as many people as possible. Search is something that is always really hard to get right (I know, I’ve struggled with coding them for years), but Portland Maps gets it right.

Portland maps search

Putting ArcIMS Services into Google Maps

Link – ArcIMS to Google Maps…

have debated with myself and others about if and how we should publish our large raster datasets within the Google Maps framework. State and local governments have large amounts of high quality aerial photography, often much better than what Google Maps provides. But how do small government agencies deal with the massive computing infrastructure of Google? One of the reasons people like Google Maps is that it is a fast, seamless repository of imagery (high quality in some areas, very low in others). The speed for Google Maps lies in the tiling scheme. Unfortunately the Google Map API does not allow (currently) a way to overlay an image that spans multiple tiles, if it is an image then it must conform to the tiling system. Google Earth is much different. I and others have shown how relatively easy it is to pass a network link containing ground overlays that span large areas on top of Google Earth’s base data. This is not the case for Google Maps (at least not that I have been able to see).

Jeremy has a great example of taking data you are serving out of ArcIMS and putting into a Google Maps page. There are many parts of the country that don’t have good satellite coverage in Google Maps so taking some DOQQs and serving them up can help with any Google Maps mashups you are working on. Jeremy also went into some of the details on how this works so click through to find out more.

Jeff Thurston tries to figure out web mapping API details

Jeff Thurston looked closely at the Google Maps API terms and didn’t like what he saw. I’d guess most people haven’t thought too much about what it means to use Google Maps for their products, mostly because you still charge users for anything you create with it. Hopefully Jeff hasn’t scratched a hole in his head yet thinking about the implications of “free” services from a publicly traded company.

Sportsim Begins to Use Google Maps/Earth

Link – Sportsim with Google Maps and Google Earth Add On

The introduction of free mapping services from Google Inc. with Google Maps and Google Earth in the last months has revolutionized the way we view maps on the Internet.

Sportsim has today released a new software version with these Google add-ons:

  • Create your own Google Maps web site with 2D map view of GPS track.

  • Create your own Google Earth file and fly in 3D terrain over your GPS track.

  • Import Map layers from Sportsim to Google Earth.

You may remember many of my posts about Sportsim over the past few months. I really like the product and I think Gjermund Weisz’s business model is refreshing. He had noted that he needed better satellite imagery for his product when I met with him at the 2005 UC and he was really interested in looking at what Google Maps/Earth offered him. Well it now looks like he’s pulled the trigger on Google Maps/Earth support with the latest version of Sportsim. Gjermund was at the User Conference because Sportsim was the third-place winner in the ArcWeb Services Challenge. Between National Geographic and Sportsim, you have one the biggest users of ArcWeb (NGS) and an award winning application (Sportsim) moving away from exploring other options than ArcWeb and turn toward newer services by Google. As one of my friends told me:

ouch

Update – Gjermund was kind enough to clarify what actually is happening here.

James, to set the record straight, Sportsim does not move away from the ESRI ArcWeb Services, we add on Google Maps and Google Earth as external web service add-ons to the software itself. The software and it’s functionality will still run on maps and images from ESRI ArcWeb Services. Also, according to Google Maps API terms we are NOT allowed to bring their maps into the application, they can only be browser based.

What is really cool about what Sportsim is doing is that they are overlaying ArcWeb Services on top of Google Earth (see image below). It was so subtle that I didn’t even see it until I read what he wrote. So Gjermund is leveraging the best parts of ArcWeb Services and Google Earth to make a much better product. Hows that for a mashup?

Sportsim ge

Flash vs Ajax in Online Maps

Michael Quetel was nice enough to email me a link to Flash Earth which uses flash to interface with Google Maps and Virtual Earth. I had seen this when it first came out but must have misplaced the link as I never mentioned it on this blog. What I like about it is how easy it is to navigate and manipulate the layers. There are many Flash based sites out there that are such a hassle, but when used correctly Flash is a great tool. Flash Earth is so simple that it works and that is all you can ask in a web based application.

Flash earth

I know ESRI demoed a Flash based viewer for ArcWeb 2005 at the User Conference that was quite impressive. I’m not sure what their other plans for Flash is/are, but could we be seeing Flash become a competitor for AJAX based mapping sites. I’m never big fan of requiring plugins to run content, but I think we can all assume that almost 100% of browsers have Flash installed.

Walt Eis has a comparison of ESRI’s ArcWeb Public Services and the Google Maps API

More Web Mapping

Here’s a quick and dirty comparison of ESRI’s ArcWeb Public Services and the Google Maps API. Both are free to use and offer developers a way to display geographic data via the Web.

Walt has a nice quick look at the features of both ArcWeb Services and the Google Maps API. In response to Walt’s comment:

Anyone with space on a cheap shared host can use Google’s API, but without SOAP services it’s difficult to use ESRI’s product.

He should have a look at Andrea Rosso’s blog where he shows you how to use PHP and Perl with ArcWeb Services and Sean Gillies’s post on using Python with ArcWeb Services. Of course it is still SOAP, but almost any website hosting service gives you access to Perl, PHP or Python.

Chris Tweedie Looks at Google Maps Accuracy

Link – Its google – it must be right

After comparing some common overlays from both Mapserver and Arcims (using the php code i posted earlier), it was obvious something was up, either my data being projected was wrong or googles base data was out

Chris makes the same assertion that I did yesterday and it backs up why metadata is just so important. If the Google Maps service is going to be taken seriously they will have to start addressing this issue.

Of course if they just leave it in Beta for the next couple years, what does it matter?

Dummies Guide to Working With the Google Maps API

Link – How to Use Google Maps EZ – via MAKE:Blog

If you’ve been looking at all these great Google Maps mashups and you’ve wondered what it takes to create one, look no further than this simple illustrated guide to creating maps with the Google Maps API. The examples are really basic, but they should help you gain a better idea of creating a custom Google Map of your own.

Don’t forget though that there were a couple great posts over the weekend on how to create simple ArcWeb Services maps, so make sure you check them out also.