Thursday, May 24, 2007

Intergraph integrates with Google Maps and Virtual Earth

Intergraph has announced at its Intergraph 2007 conference a new capability for its GeoMedia WebMap product to be able to produce mashups with Google Maps or Microsoft Virtual Earth, without requiring any programming. This will be available in GeoMedia WebMap 6.1 later this year. I think this is potentially a very significant announcement - I have been saying for some time that the traditional GIS vendors need to leverage what Google, Microsoft et al are doing and not try to compete with it, and had been pushing this in my time at Intergraph. But it's a big culture change to do this as it starts to take these vendors down a path where they have less control in their customer base than they have done in the past. ESRI in particular seems reluctant to go down this path - they have nothing comparable to this new offering from Intergraph at the moment, it is left to third parties to provide software like Arc2Earth.

This solution lets you do anything you can do with GeoMedia WebMap in terms of sophisticated visualization and server-based geospatial analysis, and overlay that in Google Maps or Microsoft Virtual Earth. The press release isn't specific on this point, but my understanding is that the GeoMedia maps can be created "on the fly", or they can be published as tiles in advance, for very high performance like that achieved with Google Maps and Virtual Earth. Intergraph has not done a great job historically in promoting the full capabilities of GeoMedia WebMap, which has had comprehensive server-based geospatial analysis and visualization capabilities since long before ESRI brought out ArcGIS Server.

So I think this has great potential technically - a key question in terms of how successful it will be in the bigger scheme of things is whether Intergraph will get more creative in the way it markets and licenses GeoMedia Webmap to get greater uptake in the market.

1 comment:

Brian Flood said...

hi Peter

The main goal of Arc2Earth Publisher is to provide easy online mapping visualization to the many ArcGIS user who don’t own or would never buy server software or hardware. I’m sure ESRI will offer some sort of GM/GE/VE integration in the future but it will most likely need ArcGIS Server to work. In his regard, we feel we’re in a slightly different market then those who are creating server software for the connection. that being said, the great part about these new mapping APIs is the incredible amount of customization and integration that can take place directly from the browser, you don’t need to be locked into one particular server stack to get value.

cheers
brian