Google Geo Search API, ESRI and Google Collaborate

[UPDATED 1730PT: Added the video of the talk below.]
At Where 2.0 today John Hanke, the Director of the Google Geo team, had a couple of announcements. He started out by giving a report on the state of the GeoWeb as he sees it. According to Google’s statistics geospatial data grew by 300% since last year’s Where 2.0. He also described the progress in their geosearching which started with Google Earth and has progressed into Google Maps with more features. He said he had one announcement related to that: Google is now releasing a GeoSearch API. An AJAX API that allows you to tap into Google’s geodata search indices. It will be interesting to see if you can get more results than the standard Maps/Earth interfaces and then output the results in KML. I’ll link to details on their web site after they formally make this announcement.
The other interesting thing that happened during John’s talk was his strategy to get more GIS data into the Where 2.0 type applications world. John went and spoke to Jack Dangermond, CEO of ESRI, to see if he could convince him to work on ways to better enable access to GIS data. He invited Jack up to the stage and Jack quite enthusiastically described his shared vision with Google to get GIS data more accessible. Apparently ESRI will be intorducing new features in the applications to facilitate KML output of GIS data. Jack said the new features will start rolling out in about 4 weeks. The implication was that it would be possible to create mashups between GIS databases and neogeography databases and tools. They discussed a bit the issues that might crop up between crowdsourced data vs. professional GIS data, but that in the long run it could be for the best. Emergency situations like the California fires was given as an example where both data types proved useful.
Here’s a video of the presentation:

More Where 2.0 2008 coverage: Day 2 summary

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Great clip. Did you catch the links for that on-the-fly polygon creation demonstration? I think it was probably the Portland commute time rings? That was impressive.

  2. The Geoweb search API seems to have been enabled as part of the AJAX search APIs

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