Topology Errors

28 July 2005

Dynamic Mapping vs. Dynamic Mapping with Dynamic Data

I’ve been watching the news out of the ESRI User Conference. The GIS blogs combined with the new ESRI UC Blog are a pretty good source of data. Sometimes there is an advantage to processing data from afar rather than up close. (At least that’s how Warren Buffet explains why he doesn’t have his investing office in NYC.)

Google Earth introduced “3-D Dynamic Mapping” combined with local search. It’s very cool although after you’ve virtually visited Gibraltar or the old city of Jerusalem, there isn’t much reason to visit those same places again. Once all of us have virtually visited the Pyramids in Egypt or the Grand Canyon or the Greek Isles, there may not be much reason to fire up Google Earth. Indeed, Junior High Geography class should be changed forever, but I expect the rest of the United States using the Internet to get driving directions will use MapQuest or a similar service for the foreseeable future. The key is that the geographic data in Google Earth/Google Maps/MSN Virtual Earth (GE/GM/MVE) isn’t current. As an example, I can’t use Google Earth, zoom to San Diego and see 10,000+ ESRI users lining up for the Thursday night party in Embarcadero Park. In fact, the image for the baseball stadium (PETCO Park) shows the stadium under construction although it opened on April 8, 2004.

Reading the UC Q&A, David Maguire's Blog, and the reporting on the recent Press Conference with ESRI, National Geographic, and Geospatial One Stop leads me to believe that ESRI is looking at providing “Dynamic Mapping with Dynamic Data”. It won’t compete with GE/GM/MVE since the available content will be very different. Instead of strictly consumer content, it will provide an application with a 2D or 3D globe interface that uses the National Geographic map archive as a set of rich base maps and can access all the data on Geospatial One-Stop. At least that sounds like the vision. We’ll see what they deliver.