Intergraph CTO on Google Earth

Intergraph CTO Peter Batty spoke at an event in New Zealand and gets a writeup in The message: Adapt to mass market rivals like Google Earth or die.

[Batty] said GIS products from established vendors now offer more than most users need. Many customers will opt for cheaper alternatives such as Google Earth and Microsoft’s MSN Virtual Earth.

I don’t see how anyone can do any kind of GIS with MSN Virtual Earth. That aside, he should instead have mentioned ESRI’s upcoming ArcGIS Explorer, but doesn’t, at least not in the article. Batty does promote the use of Google Earth, presumably as a viewer of Intergraph-produced data:

It’s also critical, he says, for Intergraph’s software to be able to slot in to free and low-cost mapping software such as Google Earth, using a “plug and play” approach.

Great, except that an exhaustive search of Intergraph’s site does not bring up one mention of Google Earth, KML or KMZ. Which means Intergraph is a laggard, not a leader, in embracing said new mass market rivals, certainly when compared to ESRI, SketchUp, Maya, Ambercore…

ESRI offering free GIS analysis tools in ArcGIS Explorer is a clever move, akin to how IBM open-sources its more basic and previous-generation technologies to prevent rivals from making money on low-end solutions. Perhaps this explains why, as the article explains, “Mr Batty sees Intergraph’s own future in developing applications for niche verticals such as defence, government and emergency services.”