ArcGIS Explorer Reviewed

ArcGIS Explorer screenshot I’ve been following the news about ArcGIS Explorer, ESRI’s putative response to virtual globe software like Google Earth, since it was first announced (James Fee, for example, has blogged about it a lot), but I haven’t blogged about it myself. I generally consider ESRI products beyond my capabilities (even if I did have a Windows machine to run them on) and defer to the pros.

In that vein, let me say that last week’s in-depth review of ArcGIS Explorer by Ogle Earth’s Stefan Geens impressed me a whole hell of a lot, both for its thoroughness and on-point analysis. Stefan’s conclusion:

[ArcGIS Explorer] shows promise as a tool for looking at somebody else’s GIS work, but it’s very much in Beta and it shows — a lot of basic functionality is still only half implemented. I don’t want to complain about the lack of compelling high resolution imagery — ArcGIS users are supposed to provide the maps, after all — but the slowness of the downloads of ArcGIS Explorer’s default globes really makes the application a chore to use out of the box.
At this stage, it is difficult to see AGX ever being anything more than a niche player among virtual globes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but after a year of anticipation, fueled in part by comments from ESRI that certainly didn’t disabuse us of the notion they were building a “Google Earth Killer” (for example Jack Dangermond’s comments in June), AGX disappoints.