Friday, June 15, 2007

ESRI ArcGIS Online: Enabling the sharing of GIS Data

ESRI ArcGIS Online: "ArcGIS Online Content Sharing" ESRI has made available the beta version of ArcGIS Online - a system for the sharing of GIS content. What makes it useful is the fact that the system will make available the data - royalty free to users of ESRI software. Virtual Earth has made available the specs to its tile server - which makes it possible for anybody who wants to share their data to host it on their own server. What differentiates this ESRI product is the fact that ESRI will host the data on their servers - which means that the barrier to sharing has been lowered. What remains to be seen is what the barrier to use will be like? Imagine what this does for local and state governments. They can provide access to valuable GIS info to their denizens at no cost to the tax-payer! What I would like to see with this service: 1. A better version of ArcGIS explorer to view this data. (Right now - ArcGIS explorer pales in comparison with Google Earth) 2. Make the data truly public. That is, open up the specs for the online service, so that I could write plugins for open source tools like WorldWind that could leverage this public data. And remove any usage restrictions on the softwares that can use this data. It is data that users wish to be available publicly... so why not?

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