I just returned from an extended-family visit to the UK - a trip I try to do once a year. Our Hythe home on Southampton Water is a great base both for my rods & reals passion and for launching off to visit relatives. Every year, my father-in-law insists on a final Sunday pub lunch at The Foley on the Isle of Wight, which is a half-hour sail from his marina. I tracked our sail this visit and posted our speedy ride using a trusty tool I use religiously for tracking another outdoor passion-pursuit on the west side of the pond - snowboarding. The map is decent for context, but not great. I wanted to make it better...
Last week, I was excited to hear about the beta release of ArcGIS.com - esri's new "maps-and-apps-for-everyone" offering. I was also itching to get my hands on their basemap options, which from what I saw from Jack & Jeremy's demo at Where 2.0, would allow me to overlay my 'UGC' content atop a vast variety of esri basemap options, including supported nautical charts which aren't available on other common Web mapping portals. Here's a snapshot of esri's world nautical chart, plus a view of what other tiled basemap options are available from esri and ArcGIS.com:
I liked the above map more than what Google offered, so I proceeded to the next step in ArcGIS.com to create a map - my hope was I could export out the KML or GPX file from my trusty service and simply upload personal data into ArcGIS.com to create a more relevant nautical chart map to post, share, and archive in a travel diary. When I tried to upload the KML file, here's what happened:
ArcGIS Online supports ArcGIS map files (mxd, nmf, 3dd, sxd, ncfg, mpk, wmpk, and pmf), ArcGIS layer files (lyr, lpk, and nmc), and ArcGIS tools (eaz, and esriaddin).
So it seems in order to make a simple nautical chart map, I must now find a data conversion tool in order to convert my KML data (which I might add is an OGC standard) to something more esri friendly. I thought we were beyond this formatting nonsense consuming endless hours of time... In his talk at Where 2.0, Jack emphasized the freedom and freeness of ArcGIS.com. If I have to spend time finding a shareware converter or buy ArcGIS, FME, Arc2Earth, or some other data converter to publish a Web map, it's not free nor is it open from my perspective. I was really looking forward to making a different map for this now not-so-different experience. Come on esri... ArcGIS.com has tremendous potential. You can do better than this. Please open up a bit more. It won't hurt business, just make special maps more special & useful.