Archive for October, 2006|Monthly archive page

9.3 Wish: Support esriTopologyFace

Fantom Planet says ESRI is looking for ArcGIS 9.3 suggestions.

Anyone remember REGIONPOLYCOUNT from workstation ARC/INFO?

As far as I can tell there is no equivalent in desktop. I’ve had to write code that walks around the edges in a topology to build closed “faces”, then count up the parents of the faces. This is very useful in analyzing featureclasses containing overlapping polygons.
It looks like ESRI was planning on doing this at one time, take a look at the constants, but sadly there are only 2 classes that implement ITopologyElement. Would be nice if there were a class called TopologyFace.

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ArcGIS Server Pricing

James Fee’s report of a shift from ESRI to Open Source for GIS server technology has stirred up some interesting discussion.

The challenge I see for ESRI is of the chicken vs. egg variety.

ArcGIS Explorer (AGX)’s ability to run geoprocessing tasks appears to be a big advantage over Google Earth. However, until there’s a critical mass of published Geoprocessing services, there’s little incentive for people to download, install and learn AGX. They’ll likely just stick with GE. Likewise, until there’s a critical mass of AGX seats installed, there is little incentive for people to purchase an AGS license, develop and publish geoprocessing services.

I suggest that ESRI provide a hosting service, perhaps similar to Amazon’s EC2. By hosting AGS for 3rd parties, ESRI could have a more flexible licensing model. Instead of charging per cpu, ESRI could charge based on some combination of cpu cycles, network i/o, disk storage. Flexible pricing would encourage experimentation, people could develop geoprocessing services and quickly publish them. If the gp service catches on, the developer could buy more cpu resources from the ESRI datacenter. Perhaps ArcSDE databases could be available within the Datacenter and provided to the geoprocessing services on a fee basis. That way, if I have a geoprocessing service that buffers all the Starbucks and intersect it with available office space, I could do it without going through http (just a straight SDE connection).

Remember, a chicken is just an egg’s way of creating another egg.

The World in Red and Blue

While the red state/blue state world view has gotten a lot of attention from cartographers, I haven’t seen anyone questioning the “red force”/”blue force” world view as practiced in military. For example FBCB2, which is used for “situational awareness” appears to have some “red force tracking” issues.
It appears the military brass is learning to celebrate diversity, but has not grasped the diversity of tribal regions along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Last night’s episode on Frontline, “Return of the Taliban”, was interesting, also Winston Churchill’s account of this region. Seems like situational awareness apps should support viewing the network of tribes along with all the alliances and feuds. Simply coloring them all red or blue won’t do.
Yes, the map is not the territory, but it sure is a lot easier to fold. Just need to get better symbology.