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September 26, 2006 / Steven Pousty

AGX is not positioned as a Google killer – bah!

Been thinking about this for a while and then this blog post just brought it all home: Google Earth Blog: MIT’s Technology Review – Google Earth Becoming a Standard.

James points out to me that AGX is seen as a google earth killer because ESRI has really done little to dissuade people of that fact. For my purposes it is positioned google killer because free is a lot better than $400 – so if I can use AGX like GE but for $400 less then I am all about it. And no matter what ESRI says about geoprocessing blah blah blah – if it doesn’t do what google earth does and at least as well then forget it. I have used geoprocessing enough to know I am not going to really try to sell that to Management as a compelling reason to use AGX and Server over google earth and exports from ArcMap.

GE is the standard now for 3D geovisualization and ESRI missed the boat. Each day delayed for AGX, with it’s closed beta and hush hush on publicity, is yet another nail in the coffin. At the point I have just about given up on AGX. Server, even the cheap version still ain’t cheap. ArcScene is archaic compared to GE and so I have little hope that AGX will be much better. Sorry this was a negative post but the whole AGX thing is really starting to bug me (in case you couldn’t tell).

[update: I changed to title to make it clear that ESRI has claimed AGX is not a google killer but I think that they are kidding themselves]



Leave a Comment
  1. Brian Timoney / Sep 26 2006 2:20 pm

    If you want to integrate geoprocessing with Google Earth, you could always do some straightforward web scripting and use the intrinsic capabilities of a spatial database.

    For a taste of clipping, buffering, and intersecting over the web using GE as the front-end head over to [self-promotion alert]

    I’d be happy to compare our Linux/Apache/PostGIS/PHP setup and its performance to whatever the equivalent proprietary setup would be–without even bringing in the economics.

    Brian Timoney

  2. Adam Hill / Sep 27 2006 10:45 am

    The other unspoken contender is World Wind. ( There is KML vector support and the “smooth” user experience out-of-the-box. Plus all the hi-res data thats free for reuse, for any purpose.

    There are also literally 100’s of plugins and add-ons, both for functionality and for data. An active developers group (#worldwind @ and full source if you really need something to else we cant deliver. Oil companies, satellite imagery resellers (Apogee Ltd.) and UAV providers (Urban Robotics) are modifying WW as the market place demands. There has even been a fork by the some geoscientists in the form of Dapple (

    Don’t dis Arc* so fast either, one the big wins for us in the ArcIMS realm is being able to quickly take any map from ArcMap and publishing it as a WFS vector source or a WMS raster layer in minutes. Sprinkle a little server side caching and you have a very scalable system.

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