Welcome to this Blog

This blog is for spatial analysts be they professionals, student, academician or just curious about spatial technologies. Spatial technologies include Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems, mobile spatial devises, and other spatial related programs (i.e., Google Earth.)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Sampling of Opinions concerning ArcGIS Online

Here is what others online have stated concerning ArcGIS Online:

One the website, People.Partners.Projects., associated with Towson University (Maryland), Michael Bentivegna comments that:

In the world of media mashups, the publishing of new GIS data and applications is expected in a few weeks, if not days, and updates are expected to be nearly instantaneous.
For GIS professionals, Esri’s ArcGIS Online comes to the rescue or further enables this trend (depending upon your perspective). This platform enables the discovery, sharing, and display of GIS data in a free cloud-based software-as-a-service, social GIS ecosystem. In plain speak, it allows you to create map data mashups with great Esri hosted/developed basemaps and lots of national and global scale GIS data. http://tuoutreach.com/2011/12/13/guest-blog-a-time-to-give-arcgis-online-research-leads-to-volunteerism-mapping-application/
(Published 13 December 2011)

-On the blog, AnyGeo - GIS, Maps, Mobile and Social Location Technology, it is stated:

ArcGIS Online (AGO) is a ready to use, simple, cloud solution and is the ideal way to reach your users and potential users. AGO provides users and web administrators with effortless sharing via the web, mobile Internet, and even social media.
(Published  28 July 2012)

Thomas Fisher, Professor and dean, College of Design at the University of Minnesota in stated in his his blog post  titled “Mapping Our Future” in the Huffington Post stated:

The world's largest data mapping company --Esri -- has recently made its databases and mapping software available online and accessible to the public, and our politics will never be the same.
(Published 2 August 2012)

A somewhat different view of ArcGIS Online is presented on the blog, Spatially Adjusted:

Basically Esri’s ArcGIS Online is Google My Maps, but with $10,000 client software. Creating a map to share with Esri’s online APIs doesn’t make it content management. There is no geneology of data, no lifecycle to the product. Just some simple polygons or pushpins on a map that at its core isn’t what customers want. The biggest reason why Esri is pushing ArcGIS Online so much is that Google Earth Builder is a direct play toward some vision that Esri has to where GIS may go in 2012/2013.
(Published  6 January 2012)

From this cursory sampling of the content on the Internet, the reviews of ArcGIS Online are very positive as its use as a vehicle for sharing of spatial data.  The only critical review is the last one which notes that ESRI is in competition with Google Earth to provide maps ‘on-the-fly’ and is lacking many features of good content management.  For my earlier ‘rough’ review on ArcGIS Online, go to http://geographicinformationscience.blogspot.com/2012/08/arcgis-online-rough-review.html

Does ESRI or other GIS software developers have the ability to create a fully functional online GIS? I don’t think it is a question of ‘Is this a possibility?’, but ‘When will it happen?’ Is open source GIS software and spatial databases ‘in the cloud’ a possible trump that will send all GIS software companies into panic?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ArcGIS Online: A Rough Review

As discussed in the previous blog entry, ESRI has now introduced a new product, ArcGIS Online.
I have now registered for the free trial and started to explore the different options that this new online software has to offer.  I assume that many of you are also doing the same.

ArcGIS Online is a map server for companies, government agencies, educational institutions and consultants that wish to share their maps on the Internet.  In essence, ArcGIS Online is an upgrade/hybrid of their free software program ArcExplorer without embedded analysis tools.

ArcGIS is not full-blown cloud oriented GIS. Therefore, its name is somewhat deceiving.  I was expecting a a fully functional online GIS, but was disappointed.  The name of the product should be termed ArcGIS Online Map Server.

Although, It is being widely promoted by ESRI and others in the industry, I found it lackluster, clunky and does not ‘wow’ the user.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it has promise and the sharing feature is intriguing.  However,  it not a ‘revolution’ in the field of Geographic Information Science as ‘spun’ by ESRI.

There are several specific problems with this software:
-there is no freedom to change the colors in the maps
-the applications and tools seem to be difficult to access and install
-there is no ability to see the databases supporting the maps
-the user cannot make new thematic maps from the one served
-metadata is not easily accessible
-other usability issues (to be discussed in a forthcoming blog entry)

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest to 10 being the highest, I rank ArcGIS Online, a 6.

I would appreciate any comments from those that have used the trial version or the full-blown version of ArcGIS Online or on spatial technologies and cloud computing. I will post all comments and then summarize and analyze them.   

I must remind my readers that this is merely one evaluation of ArcGIS Online from one who is associated with the field of spatial technology.  You may have completely different and valid opinions concerning  some of issues raised here.   

 The ultimate purpose of this blog entry and other posted on this blog is to create a dialog that will progress Geographic Information Science to better serve the needs of the GIS community and the society at large.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

ArcGIS in the Clouds

ESRI has now introduced a new product, ArcGIS  Online.  I will be evaluating the program and will report back soon on my findings.  I would appreciate any comments’ from those who are also evaluating the trial version of this software.  I will post all comments, except spam.

If you have not tried ArcGIS Online, go to http://www.esri.com/landing-pages/software/agol/email.html?page=cloud&utm_source=google&utm_medium=remarketing&utm_content=728x90_Cloud&utm_campaign=arcgis-online&gclid=CIrNr9qI8rECFULktgoduwEANg .