Thursday, June 21, 2007
ESRI integration with Google and Microsoft
I thought that one of the more significant announcements in the plenary session at the ESRI User Conference was the functionality in 9.3 relating to integration with Virtual Earth and Google Maps / Google Earth. Up to this point, as I've commented before, ESRI has seemed a little reluctant to integrate with these systems, and third party software like Arc2Earth has filled that hole. The Microsoft Virtual Earth blog talks in more detail about the integration capabilities with Virtual Earth. In the plenary, there was a brief demo which showed a nice looking analysis from ArcGIS Server overlaid in a Virtual Earth environment. Given the results of the ESRI customer poll in this area, I guess this type of integration was inevitable, but I still think it's a significant step. Jack consistently tried to position Google and Microsoft as "consumer" products in his talk, but it is clear that they are already being used in many business-oriented applications. Once these easier integration capabilities are available, it will be interesting to see whether that accelerates the move of these "consumer" systems into the application spaces traditionally occupied by the established geospatial vendors. This is scheduled to be available from ESRI next year, while Intergraph plans to provide similar capabilities this year.