Google and Esri are working closely together to provide replacement software and training to all of Google’s enterprise customers and partners that have implemented Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine technology. Esri will be providing the new 10.3 version of ArcGIS for Server and related client/app technology to all Google Earth Enterprise and Google Maps Engine customers and partners”

  — Answer to Common Question #1 on the Esri’s Google Relationship landing page

Okay, I didn’t see that coming.  Capping a tumultuous first month of 2015, late Friday Esri posted a summary of their new partnership with Google. Though existing customers of Google Maps Engine and Google Earth Enterprise are still no doubt disappointed that change is seemingly being foisted upon them, the offer of free (after one year, maintenance will kick in) Esri replacement software can only be good news as these organizations chart their course forward.  Being given an effective one year free trial with a discounted option to buy thereafter will afford former Google customers a great chance to fully and deeply explore their options with no money down.

New Esri / Google Architecture

The Esri/Google architecture in the post Google Earth Enterprise World

While we’ve written before about the options for Google Maps Engine customers, this announcement shines the focus on the second, and perhaps more disruptive, part of Google’s change of direction: the implied retirement of Google Earth Enterprise.  The on-premises copy of both data and server software, together with a specially tuned Google Earth client, currently provides a rich behind-the-firewall option for many customers.  These clients would appear to have the fewest options in a potential post-GEE world, so Esri’s offer of similar ArcGIS based software together with a rich dataset is very good news indeed.  Combined with Google’s announcement that Google Earth Pro is now free (for years the licensing arrangement of Google Earth Free Edition prevented many businesses from using it without the Pro upgrade), Esri’s inclusion of Google Earth in its architecture suggests a streamlined migration path for the GEE customers who have Internet access beyond their firewall. And independent of that, Esri’s release earlier this year of powerful 3D capabilities in the ArcGIS Pro App provides another compelling client option. 

All of this suggests that Google geospatial customers are in for a year-long stormageddon of change, one that presents a great opportunity to set a technology direction for them for many years to come.  While the decision of what to do next is a weighty and complex one, there is at least one issue that needn’t be a concern. No matter what the choice of replacement system, it must be fed with their own data.  This data is the very jet-fuel that powers the decision making that these systems allow.  And at least getting it wherever it needs to be is straightforward enough.

We’ve already produced a video showing how simple it is to use our FME products to migrate GME data into ArcGIS Online.  But in reality, most data did not begin its life in GME — it started in a the myriad of systems and data models of the host organization and was blended and cleansed before being uploaded to GME.  As well, customers with Google Earth Enterprise almost certainly were preparing data for use in that system by integrating it as well.  So, at least from the data side, adopting whatever replacement technology should mean simply redirecting the output from those Spatial Extract/Transform/Load (ETL) processes to the new system.  And, for the next year anyway, as organizations kick the tires of the Esri offerings, they are certainly welcome to give FME a try as they explore their options.  With our internal usage statistics telling us that more than 50% of all FME transformations end in Esri formats, moving data into the ArcGIS world is a very well trodden path.  

I’m confident more details of the new Esri / Google partnership will be revealed in a few days at Esri’s Federal GIS Conference.  We’ll be there too (booth 606).  Stop by and tell us your plans to capitalize on the opportunities all the change of 2015 is presenting.

 Time for this techwars landing page  to embrace a month of Geospatial change and ride off into the sunset

About Data ArcGIS Online ArcGIS Pro Data Migration Esri Google Google Maps Engine

Dale Lutz

Dale is the co-founder and VP of Development at Safe Software. After starting his career working spatial data (ranging from icebergs to forest stands) for many years, he and other co-founder, Don Murray, realized the need for a data integration platform like FME. His favourite TV show is Star Trek, which inspired the names for most of the meeting rooms and common areas in the Safe Software office. Dale is always looking to learn more about the data industry and FME users. Find him on Twitter to learn more about what his recent discoveries are!


10 Responses to “Esri & Google in a Post Google Earth Enterprise World”

  1. “the retirement of Google Earth Enterprise” When did Google announce that? I know the GE API was deprecated in Dec 2014. Thanks.


  2. Steve Grise says:

    I’m surprised by the surprise… Esri has used this ‘trade licenses for the cost of maintenance’ (and variations) to acquire customers for decades. It’s just good business, and everybody does it.

    This also counts as an historic win for Esri – the toughest recent competition they have faced (but never even talked about).

  3. […] I can explain it. ArcGISOnline is an option – but I got a bit turned off by the sudden Google/ESRI Love fest. No matter what – it’s the clients decision at the end of the day. I’m just […]

  4. Excellent review, as we come to expect from y’all… Here’s my take on it

  5. Ron Lake says:

    February 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Here is another alternative to Google Earth Enterprise and one that offers much more powerful and easy to use data management functionality than GEE. It is called INdicio. INdicio readily integrates with background mapping solutions like MapLink, Cesium and Google Maps. Use FME to convert your data using INdicio harvesting framework. Synchronize data across wide area networks with INdicio dynamic pub-sub functionality. Exploit our powerful 3D rendering for city models. Manage any kind of data artifact.

    For details see:

    Use INdicio and accelerate your world.

  6. Glenn Stowe says:

    CubeWerx has also developed an impressive framework that will act as a Google Earth Enterprise replacement, especially for very large volumes of imagery. We have what we believe to be the most efficient and cost effective imagery service on the market. And it’s all built around open standards.

    Our GEE blog post:
    And product page:

  7. Joe Gordon says:

    Skyline Software Systems, in Herndon, VA., is offering a one to one replacement for current GEE/Google Maps API users. Their software allows for streaming of large sets of 3D geospatial data over the web, while operating in both a connected and disconnected environment. We’ve used Skyline applications for years and they’ve been great, plus their mapping engine offers a fully open API. Check them out at ( and their GEE/Maps API press release as well (

  8. Paul S. says:

    My company evaluated Skyline Software Systems as a GEE replacement and found that TerraExplorer had issues rendering simple KMLs and required data to be converted to a proprietary Skyline format. Skyline’s development team is located in Israel which made it difficult to receive tech support.

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