Wednesday, May 14, 2008


So you should have seen us before the G session. The atmosphere in the auditorium was electric (damn wifi frying my head) as we all panicked about whose business model Google was about to obliterate. At least three people told me the Navteq guys were in the Parsons VIP Bar downing daiquiris anticipating the imminent annihilation of the freetards in favour of a Navteq-derived world.

And it turns out that the big news is that ESRI is adding "Save as KML" to some future version of ArcGIS.

Colour me really unimpressed.

So I don't actually know anyone who uses ArcGIS so I asked around if we should be worried about this, because I don't see it, somehow. Turns out the only people in OSM who've ever used it are the cartographers and they say ArcGIS's export functions are laughably bad - apparently ESRI don't really understand the difference between pixels and vectors so you get an Illustrator file with every diagonal neatly converted to a series of 10m steps, of some data you don't have the rights to anyway. Congratulations Jack, you just became the first person in the world to successfully sell Google a pup.

Just ask yourself this - if it's so world-changing, how come it's only a point release?

Of course there was some collateral damage to neotards like Platial and Mapufacture in the new geosearch stuff but, sorry guys, I did warn you.

All of which means we have another year to reinforce our tank traps. It's going to be fun.

(Mad props to John for the live blog. Next Scoble. Definitely.)

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