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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Communicating with Google Maps Engine Customers

Introductory Popup for now Deprecated
Google Maps Engine
(see end of article for update on Esri)

It's been very interesting watching content pop up from the potential "bouquet catchers" that will benefit from Google's plan to retire Google Maps Engine (GME) a year from now.

The confusion regarding exactly which product is being shut down is notable. This is from a post on the GME Group:
Like others here, I didn't realize I was using a Maps Engine, I just thought I was embedding a link.
MangoMap provided an explanation of the product.
Google Maps Engine gave [users] an easy way to add much more complex overlays and give them custom styles based on their attribute data in the application, without writing any JavaScript code or using any API’s.
I'm wondering how many users GME users Google has. I do not recall hearing its name much after it was launched in 2013. The announcement last Monday that GME would be shut down prompted  bloggers from companies that might pick up some companies to fly their flags. They used a variety of tactics detailed below.


Google

Google suggests using other Google solutions, but was surprisingly quiet after sharing the news via e-mail with GME users.

MangoMap

The company declares Mango - The Alternative to Google Maps Engine in the first of two posts. It notes many of its current customers came from Google.
Many of our customers are are former users of Google Maps Engine who have migrated over to Mango to benefit from our wider selection of map tools, more comprehensive styling options and our customization features that allow the interface of your map application to be closely aligned with the brand of your organization.
Safe Software

The "Switzerland of geospatial" offers 6 Google Maps Engine Alternatives including Esri, Mapbox and iSpatial and details how its software can help in the transition. Safe does not offer a replacement, but can play an important supporting role. Update 1/29: more details on the "how."

Web Map Solutions

Web Map Solutions added the GME announced to a few other Google geo ones and asked "Is Google Getting out of the Mapping Game?" Err, no.

CartoDB

ZDnet "broke" the story in the tech media with an article suggesting CartoDB as a solution. CartoDB also got some ink in ProgrammableWeb a few days later.

On the company website, CartoDB answers the question Is CartoDB a viable replacement to Google Maps Engine? Not surprisingly, the company suggests it is. The day after GME's demise was announced CartoDB introduced CartoDB on Google Platform and described it as alternative to GME.

AppGeo

The Boston-based consulting firm suggests the GME change is a positive: Life after Google Maps Engine: Positive Disruption. That company is a Certified CartoDB partner and an authorized Premier Google geospatial partner.

Gary Gale

Gary Gale, at one time with Nokia and Yahoo now a geospatial consultant asks: With the Demise of Google Maps Engine, What Next For GME Users? He points to three logical heirs (Esri, CartoDB, Mapbox) but notes lots of alternatives. His conclusion is sound.
While GME may be biting the dust, there’s a whole host of alternatives available for users looking to emigrate from Google’s platform and who will carry on visualising their spatial data, blissfully unable [unaware] that they’re actually using a GIS platform.
One Final Note

In researching the article I did find one instance of GME being touted in a press release.
GeoUnderground is the company's powerful cloud-based geographic information system (GIS) constructed around Google Maps Engine and the Google Maps API. GeoUnderground enables users to securely gather, share, view and edit all types of geo-referenced information from the field with their laptop, tablet or phone.
I guess like the other GME users and developers, it's back to the drawing board for Geospatial Corporation.

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Update 1/31/15

Esri

Esri's @CityEngine, based in Switzerland, tweeted the company's response:
Google and #Esri are working closely to provide replacement software + training to all Google enterprise customers http://ow.ly/Ig0EN 
The content, which I guess was posted the same day, offers free software (not maintenance), free training and invitations to Esri's Federal GIS Conference, User Conference (both free) and developer /partner events (discounted). It addresses Google Maps Engine and Google Earth Enterprise customers. There's a detailed FAQ.

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