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Posts Tagged ‘Google’

GIS Answers the Where Question

Monday, February 1st, 2016

 

I’ve been wrestling with this one for some time: confusing terminology. And GIS is filled with it.

Those of us looking to drive GIS forward are still struggling to communicate the value GIS and location technology in general bring to solving business problems. Take for example my conversation over the weekend with a friend who has a senior position with an international retailer: “We use maps for our business”, he mentioned, “Google maps to help potential customers find their nearest dealer”. Location technology and maps are still seen as products for consumers: routing, pins marking a location, weather etc. As a consumer product, that is why Google Maps is so popular.

GIS Answers the Where Question

What we have to communicate is how location technology, which often outputs results as a map, can be used to help solve business problems. A good starting point might be to drop that term ‘location’. True, we do work with technology which is focused on providing location intelligence or location analysis, but few outside our (GIS) circles understand these terms. In contrast ‘where’ is universally understood.

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Is GIS really Google Maps on Steroids?

Monday, January 4th, 2016

 

When you are in conversation and somebody asks what you do for a living, how do you respond?

“I make maps”

“I provide location intelligence to businesses”

“I solve real world problems using geography”

“I work with a technology called GIS”

Over the years I have tried all of the above. And am usually met with the same blank stare or a polite “very nice” response. I find the answer which provides at least a glimmer of understanding is:

“I work with a technology which is like Google Maps on steroids”.

I still cringe every time I say this, but everybody knows Google Maps and by including steroids in this sentence we add the (mental) image of muscle or power.

Is GIS really Google Maps on Steroids?

This is our 2016 reality (see our 2016 predictions). Less the competitive challenge of Google, more perception. We owe thanks to Google for making maps ubiquitous, but now need to overcoming the barrier which has become Google Maps. Googles ending of its march into the enterprise GIS sector – with Google Maps Engine – has drawn a line between a pretty map product (Google) and business solution (GIS). Both have their own unique strengths.

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ArcGIS and Making Sense Out of Google’s Geospatial Evolution

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

 

I thought it worth following up on John-Isaac Clark’s article Making Sense Out of Google’s Geospatial Evolution. I’ve met John at past geo-conferences. He is Chief Innovation Officer at Thermopylae Sciences & Technology. Thermopylae have built their product suite on top of Google, so the recent changes announced by Google around their geospatial products could have a direct impact on Thermopylae’s business. In some ways Johns blog post was written to reassure his companies existing clients. Aside from this, there are some interesting points made worth discussing.

Google Impact on Geospatial

The launch of Google Maps in the mid 2000’s sent ripples (tidal waves?) across the geospatial industry. Suddenly interactive maps were easy to access and use. The Google Maps interface was beautifully simple. No head scratching was needed to use their maps. And with slippy tiles the user experience was extraordinary. For those of us developing mapping applications, simply finding good base map data was a huge undertaking. Google changed all of that. Rich base map data-sets suddenly became available. That was a huge change. I agree with John that the Google geospatial releases “enabled geo-literacy to be introduced to non-geographic information system professionals”.

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Google Esri and the Huge GeoSpatial for Business Opportunities

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

 

Announcements this week from Google and Esri surprised everybody. Esri have now posted a ‘Common Questions’ web page providing answers around the transition from Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine (GME) to ArcGIS. We find the fact that Esri and Google have started working together very refreshing. Our speculation here is that we are seeing an admission by Google that with Enterprise and GME they have strayed beyond their core base which has always been consumers. Lines have been drawn in the sand. This is a win for us all as both Esri and Google turn their attention back to what they do best.

But is that the end of the story?

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Google and Esri Surprise

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

 

So there I was sitting comfortably happily writing a blog post post entitled Enabling Jack Dangermond’s GIS Vision commenting on Jacks excellent ArcNews lead article when bam the following stops me in my tracks:

What is the Esri/Google relationship?

Google and Esri are working closely together to provide replacement software and training to all of Google’s enterprise customers and partners who have implemented Google Earth Enterprise and Google Map Engine technology. Esri will be providing the new 10.3 version of ArcGIS for Server and related client/app technology to all Google Enterprise customers and partners.

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Is Google Getting out of the Mapping Game?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Two recent announcements caught my attention:

“The Google Earth API has been deprecated as of December 12th, 2014. The API will continue to work on supported browsers until December 12th, 2015, and will shut down on that date.”

See the full Google Earth API announcement

“Google will end support for the Google Maps Engine (GME) product on January 29, 2016. After January 29, 2016.”
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Apple Helps Bring Mobile & Location to Center Stage

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

 

Our thinking has been for the longest time that mobile will revolutionize the field of location-focused technology. Niche areas like GIS will be pulled into the mainstream under the location technology umbrella. Location based services (LBS) will coalesce with other location focused technologies.

As a company, we made a strategic decision nearly 2 years ago to move our focus from GIS development for the PC web, to mobile location app development. This year has been crazy busy. Combine this with Apples recent announcement, the launch of ESRI’s ArcGIS online, and new developments at Google and MapQuest, and we feel our strategy was correct; location is now at center stage in the mobile world. Making the decision when we did has also allowed us to develop expertise, and thus leadership in the location mobile app development space.

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Initial Thoughts on Apple’s Map Announcement

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012


Our first reaction to the recent announcement from Apple on their maps initiative is that it brings little new to the mapping landscape. As a mobile location-focused development company we see nothing which would help our customers beyond our current ESRI, Google and MapQuest solutions.

Apple are targeting their platform we suspect with this launch; API’s or tools for developers will focus on Objective-C. Google have done the same with some of their cutting edge map solutions; with Java for native Android. We are pleased Apple see the business potential for location in the mobile sector. But, knowing their business practices, we hope this will not further deepen the split in the mobile world between iOS and Android. Now native apps have their place. But cross platform is what our clients are crying out for not multiple versions of the same app for each platform. ESRI, Google and Mapquest all provide super Javascript map API’s. We hope Apple do the same.

One thing we were excited to hear from Google was their announcement last week of an offline or disconnected mobile solution. Initially a Java for Android launch; we see this as a long overdue move. Many of our clients require offline mobile functionality. We have our own disconnected mobile solution, but it would have been nice to have had Apple announce their own offline mobile solution in their maps API. Looks like Google will remain ahead here and in many other map related areas.

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Is Google Maps GIS Lite?

Friday, May 11th, 2012


We’ve never been a company which sits on its hands and wonders what is around the corner. Sure we have some key partners, but they don’t limit our reach and exploration. Our goal is to provide the most appropriate solution to our clients. That might be an ESRI solution, Google, MapQuest, technology combination, open source. We are continually working to expand our skills and add more tools to our geospatial toolbox. The more tools we have available, the more effective we are at picking the right tool for the job. (we all know using pliers as a hammer is never ideal.)

In the past we have leaned on the likes of ESRI’s ArcGIS Server (and their various web mapping APIs) as well as some of the more advanced open-source options like GeoServer, OpenLayers, OpenScales, etc. But things are changing. Attend any GIS focused conference and you will notice two things. First, that ESRI now talk about “non GIS users”, and not just in passing; all the time. And second that Google are usually there in one form or other. After chatting with one senior Google geo person we decided to look at their offering in greater depth.

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