Digital Globe, a provider of earth imagery and geospatial analysis, recently announced that Esri has licensed the rights for its Global Basemap imagery layer. The announcement was made at the Esri International User Conference, occurring this week in San Diego.
The imagery layer will be integrated into Esri's existing imagery basemap in ArcGIS Online, Esri's cloud-based mapping and collaborative content management system. Later this year, ArcGIS users will be able to use the imagery in their web maps and easily share the results with other users online. In addition ArcGIS for Desktop users can leverage the same ArcGIS Online service to use the high quality data in their desktop applications.
"This agreement with DigitalGlobe will help us provide our users with significantly better imagery coverage globally," said Jack Dangermond, Esri president and founder in a wide-ranging press conference at the user summit. "We are excited because DigitalGlobe will provide every user with access to an additional 100 million square kilometer of very high quality imagery, spanning multiple resolutions."
Dangermond said that all of the content from Digital Globe, as well as that from Esri's earlier acquisition of GeoGlobe, would be integrated into ArcGISOnline by Christmas, giving the GIS and content management platform a high-quality image of the entire world by then.
"All of Esri’s server data was released to the world with the release of ArcGIS Online," Dangermond said. "GIS enables pervasive access. All types of geospatial information are now being integrated via ArcGIS Online: Maps, spreadsheets, social media, large data sets, services, sensor networks and others. This use ofCloud GIS is breaking down divisions between workflows, disciplines and cultures. Webmaps are an on demand medium. They are a lightweight version of spatial data infrastructure. People don’t have to collaborate around one database anymore using them. Webmaps pull those services together and express them in a small file with links to all other necessary information."
Esri also announced an integration of ArcGIS Online with Microsoft Office at the conference, as well, that will allow easier creation of GIS maps from Excel and other Office applications. Dangermond said an executive can now make a web map from a spreadsheet without needing the services of a GIS professional.
Such a shift reflects a change of multiple orders of magnitude for Esri's business. While opening up the rich field of business analytics to the traditional GIS company, it also reflects an entire new set of consumers for its mapping products.
“We’re adopting consumer style look and feel," Dangermond said. "We have no pretense or compunction to be an advertising company. What you see is the opening up of geography for the rest of the organization. We’re not a consumer company, we’re just adopting consumer patterns."
Dangermond said Esri sales and marketing will be shifted to serve three markets and allow the type of business intelligence analysis from ArcGISOnline that consumers are demanding:
Traditional GIS users: What Dangermond called "Our most important market."
The rest of the organization: 16 state CIOs attended the Esri User Conference this year and 10 from federal agencies. Getting GIS technology into other users hands is now possible.
Developers: Dangermond said third-party developers are eager to access ArcGIS' rich API and other authoring tools opened up by its latest release. As such, Esri has created a Silicon Valley office to be led by longtime Esri executive James Young. The office's mission will be to help spur enterprise integration.
Esri President and Founder Jack Dangermond speaking the the 2012 Esri User Conference.
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