The End of Platial

Platial Moving Forward

OK, so the news is grim. Platial is now essentially finished, at least how we knew it before. They’ve turned off their service and now everything is essentially a download link. This means if you’ve been using Platial (or at least used them in a previous life) and want to get your data, you need to act now. Platial has “donated” your data to Geocommons where it now resides under a creative commons license. If you want to keep track of Platial user “poopypants” contributions, thankfully Geocommons has archived it.

Bumble Bee Man

Ay, ay, ay, no me gusta KML


I found it interesting that Di-Ann followed up with this:

If you’re looking for a new map widget, Google MyMaps offers one. It is not two-way, meaning your users cannot YET contribute but it is a very easy way to map and share maps.

The Google is supreme in this space. And users have embraced Google’s My Maps over other competing services. Google has innovated so quickly in this space and that you can perform simple spatial queries shows that their speed of innovation is going to take out a ton more start ups. Why share your data with someone’s free data portal when you can do the same with Google’s My Maps, visualize with their APIs and oh by the way, indexed by Google’s spiders.

In the Noise

I went back and searched though my blog to see if I ever posted on Platial before. I found it interesting in that I never mentioned them before. It wasn’t because I didn’t know who they were or because I had never seen them. I guess they just didn’t go far enough down the “professional GIS” hold that I’ve got myself into. I wonder if that was the same for many others. Platial covered quite a scope and in the end maybe their efforts were spread too thin, money dried up and well Google sat on them.

Selling ads on top of spatial data does not make a workable business model. I think that either you are too niche and can’t get enough eyeballs or you are too far down the food chain and the real revenue is going to Google, Apple and Microsoft. The pyramid scheme ensures that the last person gets nothing and those developing these websites are funneling so much back up the food chain that they can’t survive.

The Good News

So… depressing isn’t it? Nah, it is just how the world works. Those who started early sometimes never make it to the finish line. Consider yourself lucky that you don’t have millions to lend to these companies. 😉

On a serious note though, what Platial was trying to do, share your data with widget, is a live and well. You see thousands of Google My Maps on so many websites without even thinking about it anymore. Heck, when Platial started, did you think it would be possible embedding an ESRI map on your blog?

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