Forbes Magazine has recently published an article called “Maps Mania” which mentions Google Earth and Google Maps. But, the article is predominantly about ESRI – maker of the most dominant GIS Software ArcGIS. Jack Dangermond, founder and president of ESRI, is interestingly labeled as the “de facto father of the mapping field” (I think maps predate him by quite a bit). Jack once again states that: “Because of Google Earth, people became more aware of using geographic information systems (GIS).” He goes on to say GIS business has been growing very well thanks to the increased interest in online mapping and location-based information. One thing that is very clear from the article is that ESRI is investing a lot in making new technology to keep itself positioned to provide online resources for location information. ESRI’s plans for ArcGIS Explorer, a 3D globe interface with many similar features to Google Earth – but, with links to ArcGIS software and databases, are critical to their future strategies. Jack says Google isn’t a competitor, but I think their application is intended to be “competitive” to Google Earth in its abilities to visualize location based information using a 3D globe interface. ArcGIS will also support Google Earth’s file format – KML. I’m wondering how good their database of satellite and aerial photography will be? According to Adena Schutzberg, at DirectionsMagazine, ESRI will release ArcGIS Explorer for public beta sometime this month. So, I guess we’ll get to see soon.