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Geospatial Software Market Forecast Looks a Bit Cloud-y

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For years, Esri has been an industry leader in geographic information system (“GIS”) and mapping software solutions.  As the dominant pure-play GIS provider, it has continued to increase its share of the market through its robust enterprise product offering, and continued reinvestment in improving its products.  And while the outlook for Esri’s performance remains strong, the government’s continued push towards moving to the cloud has created a strong market opportunity for a fairly well known potential competitor…Google.

This past April, Google introduced Google Earth Builder, a cloud-based GIS platform designed to enable creating and working with geospatial data in a user-friendly, cost-effective way.  And while the product is scheduled for its official commercial launch this quarter, Google has already secured a contract with the NGA geared towards hosting geospatial data and information.  The combination of Google’s widespread acceptance, expertise in developing easy-to-use interfaces, and large-scale cloud infrastructure create a compelling value proposition for a wide variety of potential customers.  “But Esri has customer stickiness, since its enterprise customers have familiarity with the flagship ArcGIS product, as well as significant amounts of data already at use,” one might contend – a fair and accurate assertion.

However, the design of Google Earth Builder allows for integration with Esri, creating an additional access point for market penetration.  And while success of the product is certainly not guaranteed, Google’s advanced technical capabilities and its position supporting one of the government’s first major cloud initiatives provide a strong starting point.  This position could signal that Google is up to the task of threatening Esri’s market dominance.

Esri’s ArcGIS

Google Earth Builder

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