ArcGIS Earth is here!

ArcGIS Earth Logo

Version 1 of ArcGIS Earth was officially released mid-January 2016. The application offers functionality to share data in a similar way that Google Earth does.

For Esri customers ArcGIS Earth offers additional value as it makes data viewing in realistic 3D and data sharing possible across the platform – from the desktop, mobile, server or custom developments, the same authoritative data can now be viewed in ArcGIS Earth.

Some advantages of ArcGIS Earth are:

1. Basemaps

ArcGIS Earth offers a choice of 10 global Basemaps ranging from street maps, to terrain and imagery at the click of a button. Simply set the Basemaps to suit the data that is displayed. This means you always have access to high quality, global data that is being constantly updated for you.

ArcGIS Earth screen shot

Multiple datasets from various online or offline sources can be viewed in context of a Basemaps of your choice.


2. Collaboration & Content

If you are an existing Esri client with a Portal (or ArcGIS Online) identity you have full access to your organization’s authoritative content in the form of map and feature services, which means you can do your work quicker and easier than before. Sharing data requires no conversion, saving you time and money.

3. Ownership & Security

With ArcGIS Earth you have the ability to share GIS content that is 100% secure in an existing ArcGIS Online or Portal environment.

  • The level of data access is controlled by your Portal identity. Users can only access data they have been granted access to.
  • When information is added to ArcGIS Earth it remains the property of organisation/person who published it. This is different from other software providers may keep data even after you have removed it.
  • It is not possible to extract or download data from ArcGIS Earth. You can share a view of your data without giving it away. This is great because you can rest assured that your company’s data is safe and secure while using the latest technology to do your work.

4. Save your last session

There are several setting that can be customized. Among them is the possibility to have the Start-up view to continue where you left off. This setting remembers your location, Basemaps and all the other layers that were added during your last session. This can save you time when starting to work each day!

5. Limitations

ArcGIS Earth is great as a free tool for realistic 3D data visualization and sharing data in collaboration with your colleagues and customers. As with all software, there are currently a few limitations:

  • The file based data formats are limited to shp and kmz/kml. If you wish to use data from other Esri sources it must be published to a map or feature service first.
  • Where the symbology of file based features can be changed and the popups are visible, this is not the case for feature and map services. It is not possible to change the symbology or transparency of service layers to view data in context of layers below. It is also not possible to label or set popups for a service layer.

In conclusion

ArcGIS Earth version 1 has many useful features and boasts unrivaled global Basemap content. It is a great way to share your data securely with anyone, any place, anytime. So, have a go! You can download it for free.


Enterprise Exit: Google to Esri

In February 2015 Google Maps celebrated their 10th birthday and a decade of spatially enabling the world. While Google’s ongoing investment in mapping and the beloved street view is assured, they have decided to abandon their enterprise products as a revenue generator.  Following this business decision Google announced that they would no longer support the Google Earth API, Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine, which will all be discontinued at the end of this year. They have also made Google Earth Pro available for free.

Google has reached out to fellow Californian based mapping company Esri between them they provided a path for Google enterprise customers to transition to Esri software. Esri provides a scalable geo-spatial technology stack that enables individuals to discover, make, use and share maps from any device, at any place, any time.

An overview of Google Maps for Work products and the equivalent Esri products are tabled on a dedicated page that will help businesses to transition from Google technology to Esri. Esri’s web mapping platform and out of the box applications will ensure a smooth transition to this leader in geospatial technology. So, if you have been using google for your business, you will be glad to know that …

You can already move data easily between Google and Esri

For a number of years it was already possible to move data easily between Google to Esri using the existing ArcGIS desktop geoprocessing tools. Available at all license levels there are conversion tools to convert a KML or KMZ file into feature classes and layer files. The layer file maintains the symbology found within the original KML/KMZ file. There is also geoprocessing tools available for the reverse conversion.

Moving to the server and online platform, it is possible create KML from your map and image services in ArcGIS for Server. This process involves authoring maps in ArcGIS for Desktop, publishing the service with KML capabilities enabled, then making the service available for others to view.

But, what about Google Earth?

Esri are in the process of developing ArcGIS Earth. This will be a free, lightweight, installable desktop app that makes viewing 3D maps instant and easy for anyone in the enterprise. It will be similar in functionality and ease of use as Google Earth.

ArcGIS Earth

ArcGIS Earth will support KML/KMZ files, but in addition you can also in the first release view Shapefiles, CSV files, Feature services shared in ArcGIS Online and web layers.

An advantage of this product is that it will be fully integrated with the ArcGIS platform allowing users to take advantage of data already published to ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS. The launch is planned for the end of 2015.