Today, Esri announced the acquisition of Geoloqi, firmly enhancing their mobile development capabilities, and adding a new R&D center in Portland, Oregon. The move is one of a string of recent acquistions that Esri has made to take advantage of their new cloud platform strategy with ArcGIS Online.
The acquistion announcement comes with a product announcement as well, with a geocoding enhancement to the Geoloqi API that allows developers to create triggers based off of physical addresses, rather than map coordinates, as well as reverse geocoding. This development offers an alternative to current iOS maps. This big step forward, and back into the mobile location based services development space, further expands Esri’s reach into new arenas.
Sensors & Systems editor Matt Ball caught up with Esri founder and president Jack Dangermond to ask a few questions about the acquisition and direction:
S&S: Esri has done a good job embracing developers through tools and an active community and conference, but my sense is that not many of those developers have been focused on mobile location services. Does this acquisition bring a whole new type of developer into the community?
Dangermond: There are many developers who want a platform that makes it easy to add location, geography, and mapping functionality in their applications. Geoloqi and Esri share the purpose of creating such a platform and using it to support a strong community of developers. Geoloqi brings location technology–device location management with a framework for geotriggers – as well as a strong understanding of what developers want in a platform. Esri brings mapping and geographic technology – map tiles, geocoding, and analytics – with a sustainable model for operations and doing business. We think that our combined effort will result in a system that is attractive to our existing ‘GIS centric’ developer community as well as the broader mobile and web application developer community.
S&S: This is the second new development center after setting up the DC Development Center when you acquired GeoIQ in July of this year. Traditionally you’ve focused most of your software development in Redlands, Calif. What are some of the advantages and challenges of this distributed development approach?
Dangermond: We’ve worked with remote development centers for a number of years. In addition to DC and Portland, we have development centers in Beijing, Ottawa, Zurich, Paris, Dubai, and Edinburgh. Our goal is to tap into the energy and talents of more smart people who share similar interests to continue to grow and evolve the ArcGIS system. Each development center has an area of expertise in the context of the overall system. We work hard to make sure we are all working together on an integrated system road map and that we retain shared values and a shared vision for our work.
S&S: These recent innovation acquisitions provide tools and services outside of your traditional focus for both online spatial analysis and location based services on mobile devices. Together with your map data, you could stand up applications for navigation and other location services that are focused more on the consumer market. Will your focus continue to remain as a platform provider rather than a service provider?
Dangermond: Our goal is to provide a system that can be used by people to do great work. We want to help organizations and developers use maps, geographic information, and location in their systems. Our goal is not to create consumer applications, like Google or Apple, but to empower our customers and business partners to create simple, powerful, attractive systems for their users.