ESRI made a huge push into enterprise mapping today with the launch of its MapIt product…this just got interesting! Ok, so what is MapIt? Well, it turns out it’s a lot of things, but in a nut shell “ESRI MapIt™ is a lightweight Web mapping gateway to SQL Server 2008. Much of your data may have a locational component that allows it to be displayed on a map. MapIt enables your data for use in interactive mapping applications that you can build with Microsoft Silverlight, Windows Presentation Framework (WPF), and SharePoint. MapIt allows your users to easily explore the geographic component of your organization’s data. Your mapped data can create a powerful visual tool for decision making, exposing trends that might otherwise remain hidden.”
ESRI MapIt is a light-weight mapping solution designed to prepare, serve and use geographic data stored in SQL Server 2008 and displayed through SharePoint, Silverlight, or WPF. The product includes:
- A Spatial Data Assistant to help prepare your enterprise data for use in mapping applications.
- A Spatial Data Service as a REST gateway to your spatial data in SQL Server.
- The ArcGIS API for Microsoft Silverlight/WPF for developing rich interactive map applications.
- A SharePoint Web Part that provides an easy-to-use map component for Microsoft SharePoint sites.
Ok, so basically this will be an easy way for me to get my data into and out of SQL Server 2008. Nice. The Spatial Data Assistant will help me load my data into SQL while the REST service will help me get it out. There are several native interfaces for visualizing my data on Bing Maps such as Silverlight, WPF or a SharePoint web part.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, think about how challenging it is to visual your geodata today. Yes, Bing Maps has a very robust set of APIs for visualizing data and you can certainly (and I certainly want you) use those; however, what about data in SQL Server 2008 – we don’t have a native connection to SQL? So, where MapIt fits in is when you want to easily bring your geodata into a database system such as SQL 2008 and using a simple REST interface publish that data out to several different medias.
You can download a free 60-day evaluation of MapIt from the ESRI web site. Also, I uploaded an electronic version of the MapIt brochure to my Skydrive for you to peruse at your leisure.