Monday, June 20, 2011

Google Earth Builder is really coming

Just as many of others, I heard the announcement of Google Earth Builder (GEB) and also watched the informative GEB webinar on Directions Magazine very recently, so Google’s Enterprise Cloud GIS is really coming (Q3, 2011 as mentioned in the webinar).

Here are some of the the highlights I perceived from the the online webinar:

1. Google Earth Builder will have similar functionalities as other existing Cloud GIS solutions, e.g., GeoCommons, SimpleGeo, GloudGIS etc. So basically user can upload and manage their own dataset, style the dataset and mash them up with Google’s basemap layers as well as dataset shared by others, and finally share your mash up maps with others. But it doesn’t mean Google Earth Builder is just another Cloud GIS service at all, a few thing I notice will potential make it outstand.

Supports both vector and raster dataset in their native projections;

Leverage the base map layers and data from Google Maps and Google Earth API;

Google’s superior and reliable cloud infrastructure;

Same user experience of authentication and search as other Google products and services.

2. Support for OGC output

KML is obviously supported and it’s now an OGC standard, but that is just a special case. Now WMS and WMTS are also mentioned to be supported soon which will make it possible for much more non-Google to consume data and map from Google Earth Builder. One thing great to have though is to allow users to upload/import data from various types of OGC services e.g. Web Coverage Service and Web Feature Service.


Things that are missing or unknown to me from the webinar though are:

1. Unknown about Metadata

OGC/ISO 19115/19139 mentioned in Q&A section but I don’t think it will ever be supported.

2. You won’t be able to directly access the data from Google Maps and Google Earth

Finally when Google comes into an area, there is always question regarding whether Google will killer everybody in the same area or not. I don’t know about that but I feel if you’re doing the same thing as Google does, then you’d better be more creative and do it a little better.