At the web level, there are many competing map service applications, but at the desktop level like Google Earth there are not many. It was surprising that ESRI did not pull its nails out to propose something that would keep it within the GIS tools monopoly, and it has done so by bringing the ArcGIS Explorer, that nothing resembles that poor application that we knew in the versions 3x and that now allows to connect to many web services.
It does not require being very ingenious to see that it is a clear imitation of the Google Earth interface, the status bar with the coordinates and the download status, on the left the layers ah! With the compass down to avoid color. But what about in operation?
In a video showing the functionality of ArcGIS Explorer, you can see how ESRI talks about its application as "prettier", "more professional" and "more accessible" in a slightly presumptuous tone. Let's see what advantages it brings, and some of the disadvantages.
- GIS applications. You can run more GIS routines, such as thematic maps, 3D, printing and those metrics that ArcGIS Explorer was already doing 3x, routines for which GoogleEarth is not yet ready, and that is not its emphasis when considering a cartographic web while ArcGIS Explorer It is a spatial data viewer.
- Formats .shp. It can open more file formats than kml, mainly .shp files
- Attractive. The appearance of the application is a little more pleasant although surely this costs you an excessive consumption of resources
- Access to data. The ease of finding data is more practical as it offers direct access to services, not only IMS but also data from WMS and ESRI Arcweb services ... in Google Earth it is not so simple and we must hope that Mr. Google wants to integrate layers. Historical maps are very practical and educational, although they would do well to show shortcuts to other web services.
- Transparencies. It is also very practical to handle transparencies, including the ability to see two layers and make comparisons, with a simple mouse drag.
- Handling 3D. The three-dimensional simulation is quite good, allowing us to define a route and then display the profile, although we assume that Google goes there... nobody knows when he will snore.
- UTM coordinates. For some strange reason, it does not have the possibility of being able to configure the UTM coordinates, only Geographic ... what GoogleEarth does very well.
- An excessive consumption of resources. This may be improved later, although GoogleEarth consumes a lot, ArcGIS Explorer is crazy, a machine with little memory or a very loaded system can hang in a few, very few minutes (it is suggested 2 GB of RAM !!!).
- Little coverage of high resolution images. This is one of the biggest downsides to ArcGIS Explorer… and perhaps the reason why everyone will continue to love GoogleEarth. Although it has a lot of data from the United States, such as public roads, traffic cameras ... from our mortal countries nothing, only atlases.
In short, it is not bad for the Americans if they want to show their projects, it would be perfect if ESRI made a good alliance with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to be able to show services of maps, images ... if it is not too much to ask:) ... yes, it is a lot ask
The best of all is that it is free, and as were previous versions, a good application to view data from ESRI.
From here you can download ArcGIS Explorer
From here you can download Google Earth