News Roundup - ESRI Dev Summit, Google Earth Solves a Murder, and Portal 2

First up this month is the news trickling out from the ESRI Dev Summit. Ah, Palm Springs. I haven’t been there in so long it might not be a desert anymore. But I digress.

There were any number of great summaries out there, with Slashgeo and Map Butcher being among the better ones. Some of the good stuff includes REST binding for AGS server objects, the merger of ArcCatalog and ArcMap, the ability to check out licenses, and tighter Python integration. 10 is shaping up to be a great release. I’m adding ArcGIS.com to the list of things that just aren’t clicking for me (other items on that list being geodesign and ESRI’s sudden about face on OpenStreetMap volunteered geographic information). The only real downer is the file geodatabase open API is still bearing the “coming soon” label its had since 2006, and when it does show it looks like it will support very few file geodatabase features. I guess the venerable shapefile is still king of the mountain. I’d like to see Spatialite become the next universal spatial data format, but without a native driver for ArcGIS I don’t know how it gets there.

In other ESRI news, Redmond recently released some open source information on their web site, including a podcast interview with Victoria Kouyoumjian. On balance I think ESRI has done a lot of good work over the past several years with the open source community, and it’s nice to see an official documented policy.

I’m giving the map of the month award to LostPedia‘s fan maps based on the Lost television series, which I found via The Map Room. Even though I’m fairly certain the writers of that show are making it up as they go along.

Google Earth was used to provide information to a murder investigation by using the historical imagery to see changes to a crime scene over time. I don’t have anything else to say about that, other than I thought it was cool.

And finally, in the most important news of the year, Portal 2 has been officially announced. Grab your portal gun and remember, the cake is a lie!

Here are a few parting shorts for this month:


  • Google released a new geocoding web service, which offers a number of output format improvements.

  • On the browser front, EU’s browser ballot (Microsoft now has to prompt users in the EU to see what web browser they would like to use rather than defaulting to IE) is hurting IE’s market share there, Google Chrome is the only browser left standing at the Pwn2Own hacking contest, and add Firefox to the ignominious list of browsers a government (Germany) has warned users away from due to a security flaw.