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ArcWeb Exlporer

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ESRI has a beta version of ArcWeb Explorer available for use. It runs using Flash (which seems like an odd choice for a prominent GIS software company). Similar to so many other mapping sites out there these days, it offers a street /road map, satellite map and a combination of the two. Unlike Google Maps, however, ArcWeb Explorer presents a seamless looking Landsat image that changes only at the higher zoom levels to a more detailed image where these are available. Where detailed imagery is not available ArcWeb Explorer serves up an odd mosaic of the Landsat image that is repeated to fill up the screen.

Data layers displayed include roads and streets, urban areas, parks, railroads and drainage. The last three are suspect in Canada, at least - detailed drainage features are non-existent, urban areas are far too generalized and the railroads are astonishingly out of date.

ArcWeb Explorer has a find feature and a directions feature. Finding a feature only seemed to work on place names (in Canada, at least), not addresses. Finding directions between two points works but fails to zoom to the extent of the route indicated. A nice feature that I haven’t seen anywhere else is the ability to import coordinate data in an XLS format - sadly, however, it did not work when I tried it.

In short: This is a beta version so there are obvious places where improvements can be made - namely, in the workings of some of the features and the responsiveness of the application. However, with improvements in these areas ArcWeb Explorer could be a worthy tool.

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