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:


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


Gjermund Weisz Talks About SportSim and ArcWeb Services

note – see post update below

I had a great opportunity to sit down with Gjermund Weisz of Sportsim at the ESRI 2005 User Conference and talk to him about his product and how ESRI ArcWeb Services is working for him. Sportsim is a free product that users can upload their GPS tracks from their workouts and view them over maps and satellite imagery. They only charge for downloading maps out of their product and as of right now Gjermund said about 10% of their users take advantage of their product. One of the great concerns for Sportsim is the lack of high resolution satellite imagery for the world. With Google Map and Google Earth, users expect and want great satellite imagery under their GPS tracks. Right now Sportsim is limited to basically Landsat and when you view a race such as the ESRI 5k run/walk you really see how bad the imagery is.


The business model of Sportsim is really interesting, they give away the program allowing you to use it without any restrictions. They way the make money is by charging users to download maps. Of course as I said above people really want high detailed satellite imagery so without ArcWeb Services providing these satellite imagery people won’t pay Sportsim. Take a look below at the ArcWeb Services satellite image vs Google Maps.


Current Sportsim Satellite Image (Landsat)


Current DigitalGlobe Satellite Image (From Google Maps)

You can totally see how people would gladly pay Sportsim for that kind of high quality imagery. For Sportsim to be profitable, they need to provide services that people want so unfortunately unless ArcWeb Services can provide imagery that Sportsim needs, they will have to go somewhere else. No one is currently providing this service (at least at a price a small company like Sportsim can afford) so there is a huge opportunity for ESRI and ArcWeb Services to totally shake up the market.

Update – Andrea Rosso reminds us that ArcWeb does have high quality imagery, but not for areas such as Japan (or am I missing something). I used the ESRI 5k run just as an example (I could have used any event in Japan or Europe), but Sportsim does have very high quality coverage for San Diego. It is the worldwide stuff that has Gjermund worried. Andrea, beyond the descriptions on the ArcWeb website, is there a “coverage” map people can look at to see where different services are available?


Sportsim Java Applet

I love the java applet that Gjermund Weisz is using on his blog about Sportsim. I’ve been thinking about taking part in the Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and if I do it, I’m going to use Sportsim.

Run For Central Park, July 23rd 2005