A number of new geospatial viewing tools from major players in the Internet industry have recently appeared on the scene and are taking the geospatial world by storm. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Amazon have all released web-based mapping tools in the recent past, and collectively these new players to the industry have raised the bar for Internet mapping. Although their functional capabilities don’t provide anything we haven’t seen in web offerings from traditional GIS vendors, their emergence has been significant in that they have managed to capture a wider audience. Google, in particular, has emerged as the leader of this pack with it’s recently released Google Maps product which provides a slick, highly responsive visual interface built using AJAX technologies along with detailed street and aerial imagery data, and an open API allowing customization of the map output including the ability to add application specific data to the map.
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