The National Geographic Society, ESRI, Geospatial One-Stop discuss new initiatives

This afternoon in San Diego at the ESRI User Conference, a half dozen big names got together in a small meeting room with a hand full of PR folks to announce a huge partnership.

The players in this deal include ESRI, National Geographic Society, Earthsat (now owned by MDA), Tele Atlas, GlobeXplorer, and the Geospatial One Stop.

The announcement… the players will collaborate to extend and link services offered via the NGS Map Machine and the Geospatial OneStop (GOS). ESRI’s role will be to host the service and make it available to the public. The other partners (data providers) will contribute their data holdings to the services, enabling users to have much greater access to a vast supply of data (street maps and imagery). The partnership will help to alleviate one problem currently encountered by GOS – marketing and getting users to contribute to the metadata repository. Map Machine will eventually have more services (Globes, commercial data) and will be thought of as more of a web-based spatial catalog. With the new partnerships users will have access to a vast amount of free and commercial data and imagery. The relationship can also be thought of as a two-way street as National Geographic’s Map Machine meta data will be rolled in and made accessible via GOS. Don’t think of this as being a simple cross-linking of the 2 web portals… the Map Machine will be fully integrated into GOS. As for the technology, we are told that it will based on interoperable solutions.

So what else does this mean to users? The popular Map Machine will be available with many more services and much more data. ESRI users may recall the e-commerce arm known as Map Shop which is commonly used by newspapers and journalists around the Globe. The Map Shop will be enhanced over the coming months to serve a much larger market (particularly the business sector). The service was recently re-branded as the Map Studio. See

This partnership is big news and a big collaboration… essentially it boils down to a huge effort to share data and services, and perhaps more important, expanding the reach of spatial thinking (particularly with youth) and getting users to contribute. Stay tuned for more on this over the coming months and look for Globe Services to be integrated into the Map Machine later this year.

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