Web Services Getting More Accessible

Microsoft to Release New Developers Tools (AP). AP- Microsoft Corp. is releasing several new tools to help developersbuild software applications that work with its online search andcommunication products. [Yahoo! News: TechnologyNews]

Fascinating seeing competition changing the marketplace. A yearor so ago I considered some business ideas that were heavilydependent upon the ability to map data through some sort of webGIS. At the time youcould either buy a very expensive product that you ran on yourown servers, serving rather craptacular raster graphics, or youcould sign-up for MapPoint Web Services (MWS). MWS was very expensive (I can’tremember the details, but I believe it was something like $50,000up front, and then a considerable per transaction fee -considerable relative to the extremely low yield of most webventures, though it would have been very worthwhile for manyinternal asset tracking style apps). I abandoned the idea as it wastoo speculative.        

Of course now countless sites are popping up utilizing Google Maps as their GISback-end system. That seems like a very tenuous decision to me (atleast until Google figures out their mapping revenue model), butthe result is some outstanding graphical mapping apps that lookspectacular and respond fantastically. I find it remarkable thatGoogle Maps offers a more responsive (and more aestheticallypleasing) experience than running a thick-client MapPoint applocally.