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Friday, January 27, 2006

A few sites report that the beta of ArcWeb explorer is available, so instead of reporting that, I actually tried it! Warning: when you visit the link above, on the ESRI website, you will see ads from companies providing data to ArcWeb Services. That took me by surprise, I confess. I guess it’s just another perk of being an ESRI data provider.

Verdict: It’s ok; I’d describe it as a sort of a Live Local/Google Local client wannabe.

It uses Flash 8, which seems to work fine. It’s Java, so you need not download anything. For now it’s a front end to some selected ArcWeb Services. In time, developers will have access to tools to customize it, as I understand.

It does, to quote the demo we gave for ArcView 1.0, about five things:

navigate - You move around the map via a strange iPod-looking wheel. I found panning slow and could see each tile redrawing. I fould it awkward to use. (It wants to be as fast and elegant as Google Local panning, but it’s not.)

find - It geocodes quite well and will find location of computer by IP address (mine was spot on) and geocode lists of addresses in an Excel spreadsheet. (I didn’t have such a spreadsheet to test, but I have to believe ESRI customers do.)

directions - It will route between up to 10 locations “dragged and dropped” form the find widget. (Live Locally to me.)

map styles - You can change map colors between default (pastelly), bright (yikes!) and gray scale.

share - you can capture (copy) or send the URL of a map via e-mail

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/27 at 04:12 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I’m not a gamer, but this is an interesting data point: an existing online multiplayer game using Google Local to develop a site map. The map has some 15,000 resources, according to the post I read at WarCry Network. From what I read about the game, the geography has nothing to do with the real world. Still, this is an interesting use of the interface.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/27 at 01:19 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

GIS Monitor reports that Ten Sails (in my mind, Peter Batty’s company; he’s now CTO at Intergraph) and Ubisense (in my mind, Warren Fergeson’s company, he was CEO of the indoor locating company until now, his current role is unclear) merged. GIS Monitor (when I was editor) covered Ubisense in 2004.

The announcement was made on Monday, per a press release on the Ubisense page. The new company will be called Ubisense and employ about 70 in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The companies announced a strategic partnership back in 2003.

To make sense of this, you need to remeber that Ten Sails was launched as business enabler for spatial start ups and others: “Ten Sails is a new breed of business builder, offering services in strategyexecution, and transactions to location companies in exchange for equity or fees. We work with both startup and established companies.” Guess what, Ubisense was one of those. Ten Sails Consulting, the company that still does Smallworld (GE Power) consulting across the globe, is also part of Ten Sails and now Ubisense, though I’m sure of the relationship. Recall that the Ten Sails team had many Smallworld faces on it.

So, do I buy it that the boom in ultra-wideband (UWB) for indoor locating encouraged the merger? No. I suspect Ten Sails needed Ubisense more than the other way round. Why? For finanical reasons. I see this is a business deal, not a technology deal.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/27 at 09:16 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Very Spatial reports that Landsat 5 is back to acquiring again. (press release) It had a solar panel problem reported back in November, but it seems engineers were able to fix it. US download stations are online now and international ones will be brought up in the next week. Landsat 5 - it takes a licking and keeps on ticking!

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/27 at 07:42 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I like to give credit to those in marketing when they take the extra step to focus their efforts. MyTopo.com is running a special promotion now for its custom printed topo maps specifically for adventure race directors. That’s a fairly special part of the population, but one that should be aware of its products.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/27 at 07:31 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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