ESRI losing out to open source?

As I blogged about a year ago (here, and later here and here) open source software represents a potentially more democratic and well, open means to pursue mapping.

In this context James Fee's post today stating that four ESRI "MVPs" are turning from ESRI web-related software to open source software is significant. He seems pretty clued in to the inside story of ESRI usage. Although 9.2 has some interesting features it seems it's just too late and people have gone open source, or people are actually finding open source to be better. (They've not rejected ESRI, just the web 2.0 stuff, ArcIMS etc.).

So here we have a data point about GIS being behind the curve on the new mapping trends; open source, map mashups etc.

More examples and discussion of this would be good.


Dave said...

Once thing to watch is OpenLayers.org - it's a nice web 2.0 API that can pull tiles from WMS/Virtual Earth/Google Maps/Yahoo/others, has vector markup tools, is cross browser, and based on the Prototype javascript library. Combine that with KaMaps and other "tile cache" building tools that work with MapServer, and you can build out a very high performance mapping site (100,000's of maps per hour b/c they are cached), and not pay any licensing fees. Also watch out for the MS SQL Server Spatial extensions (@ CodePlex.com) and SharpMap - which is an interesting open source .NET toolset that can address many simple tasks

Ben Slater said...

I think it would be foolish to say that people have rejected any part of 9.2 when it hasn't even been released yet. You could certainly make the argument that the open source tools have surpassed 9.1, but I'm willing to bet there are a lot of people (like myself) who are sitting on the fence and waiting to see the 9.2 finished product before launching their next big mapping service.