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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Here’s a roundup of coverage outside the blogosphere:

Kidding aside, the $495-per-license software will likely be integrated with Google’s Earth product, for which @Last has already created a plug-in to allow users to build objects like buildings at street level. What’s unclear is how Google’s Earth and mapping products fit in with the company’s overall strategy.

Rachel Rosmarin, Forbes

Google, the most-used Internet search engine, is building up its Earth mapping program to attract more users and create
opportunities to show more advertising.

Rocky Mountain News

The move to buy the 3D mapping software could be tided in with further developing the Google’s mapping and direction element for users when using the service for road directions.

Theoretically, the software would allow Google to create 3-Dimension landscapes of key cities for drivers to better place themselves driving around rather than the rather flat images currently found on GPS software.

Frankly, the traditional media was far more interested in Google Mars.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/15 at 06:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Word just out that Google has acquired 3D “draw on a napkin” SketchUp software developer @Last.

Details from @Last are here.

Official Google blog announcement. (via Google Earth Blog)

At least one blogger doesn’t get it. The CAD guys don’t either. Ralph Grabowski is confused. Randall Newton noted a premonition of the acquistion. I recall thinking “acquisition” when there was all the hubub at an ESRI conference a few years ago. Google is ahead of ESRI in 3D vision, I suppose.

@Last made some splash integrating with ArcGIS, but was most recently hot due to its integration with Google Earth.

Wow, the website already says copyright Google!

Thanks to Gary Smith for the tip!

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 10:44 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Clearly uncomfortable with Google offering maps of Mars, several papers edited the headline to be more suitable: “Mapping tool Google March launched.” The headline, for an AP article,  ran in several Indian online papers [1, 2]

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 07:38 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“For example, Property Shark has a map they came up with of all the toxic waste sites in New York. If you’re just reading about it, the fact that there are 20,000 toxic waste sites in New York is important, but kind of boring. But when you’re looking at it, it’s interesting.”

Lockhart Steele, publisher of, a real estate blog in an article on the new real estate websites at

BTW, Property Shark has some intersting map technology. I believe its are powered by MapServer since the copyright reads: “Portions copyright 2005 DM Solutions.” Cool.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 07:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Computerworld New Zealand continues its coverage of Intergraph’s Peter Batty as he speaks in that country as part of a GITA conference. Titled “GIS specialists should complement Google, Microsoft,” it includes some of Batty’s potentially pithy statements:

“for example, mapping the patterns of occurrence of crime in a city, or maintenance of the electrical network” is an area where the specialist companies will still dominate…

I disagree; mapping patterns, that is, putting dots on the map is one of Google et. al.‘s strengths, see for example,, one of the first and most celebrated mashups. Now, if Mr. Batty is speaking of narrowing down what might explain those patterns, GIS is certainly required. Said another way, offerings from the “generalist” companies as the article calls them hit the “what is where” part of geography. GIS can go further into the “why, so what?” parts, with human intervention required, of course.

“We don’t have ‘numerical information systems’ conferences any more.”

Batty’s said that before, highlighting that geospatial is not special. It seems more pithy with entry of Google, Microsoft, Oracle in the game, doesn’t it?

He suggests, however, a variant of the open source advocates’ “many eyeballs” theory; the more people that use the data the greater the chance that inaccuracies will be detected and weeded out.

Here, here! Now, we just need to be able to capture those corrections, check them… Great minds have been mulling this for years, with alas, slow progress.

Standards for geospatial information are in an uncertain state. “We have an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) that has created interoperability standards supported by the existing industry players, but along come Microsoft and Google with their own idea of standards, and we have potential conflict.” There are workarounds, he says; developers are putting “wrappers” around Google’s KML language to accommodate it to OGC, but the long-terms future is still difficult to predict.

Another key point. You’d think Batty might be in a position to encourage these players to implement standards. I’m the first to understand that serving up someone else’s data via open interfaces implies that the data can be used for free, and licensing prevents that (at least one attempt at wrapping Google in a WMS was shut down) but why not use that as a way to bring in money to the distributor (say Google) and the data provider (say DigitalGlobe)? GlobeXplorer already does that!


by Adena Schutzberg on 03/14 at 07:12 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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