This is why I rarely listen to podcasts: You don’t know what’s in them until you listen to them. You can’t scan them for interesting content, nor can you find them using a search engine. That said, some podcasts do contain interesting information, information that makes you wish there was a transcript.
That’s the case with the ArcGIS Explorer Overview podcast, posted to the ESRI ArcGIS explorer home page in lieu of the actual application, which everybody’s been expecting to find there for several days now. The podcast is worth listening to. First thing I learned is that you have to say “Eeh Ess Argh Eye” instead of ESRI, rather like calling NASA “En Ay Ess Ay”. Bernie Szukalski, a product manager at Eeh Ess Argh Eye, is interviewed about ArcGIS Explorer, and is eager to position the application as something other than a competitor for Google Earth — here is his response to a question about what the major differences are between ArcGIS Explorer and Google Earth:
First, ArcGIS Explorer has been designed from the ground up to be a deeply integrated, integral part of the ArcGIS family of products, and specifically, its been designed to be an excellent client for ArcGIS server, and provide a way for people to publish GIS capabilities to whomever they choose, either within their organization or to anyone on the web. So, first and foremost, ArcGIS Explorer is designed to be part of an overall GIS system, and not a standalone consumer product.
Second, while we publish a globe of worldwide imagery that is similar to Google Earth’s globe, we’ll also publish a series of globes — we call these ArcGIS online services. And these globes will include worldwide streets, terrain, boundaries, labels, political maps, physiography and a whole lot more. So our product is not meant to focus on a single globe but on many globes, and more importantly these globes will represent the foundations upon which our users will publish their data on top of.
You mean like default layers in Google Earth? Oh, wait, I don’t get to ask the questions.
But Szukalski’s explanation of the concept of “tasks” and “results” in ArcGIS Explorer later on in the podcast is genuinely interesting, and makes me eager to try it out. It sounds intuitively right, it produces XML, and its modular nature also sounds promising. He also mentions how the application will be able to work not just with ArcGIS Server but with “any web service,” such as a web service offering financial reports. This could be interesting, depending on how it works: Imagine being able to query Flickr Maps for keywords directly from within ArcGIS Explorer, as a plugin.