At Where2.0 this week many of the "GISers" were wondering why ESRI seemed to only have a 5 minute spot scheduled on the stage - of interest though was that Jack was there on Tuesday taking in the show. Sure enough, during John Hanke's presentation on the state of the GeoWeb Hanke welcomed Jack onto the stage. Prior to that Hanke had noted how prevalent the geographic web has become and that it was spreading rapidly. In addition, there's a wealth of rich content on the web including flickr photos, YouTube videos,news stories and much more, all geotagged and visible as geo-tagged information. Searching or conducting a "geosearch" is now commonplace within Gmaps and google earth. An so, Hanke went on to note how the company has opened up access to the Search API, meaning other sites incorporating google Maps will be able to find geographic features that are stored in google's database but until now were visible only through google's own map site.
Enter Dangermond... Jack noted how there's a wealth of geographic data locked up within GIS' around the globe. All that will change when ESRI rolls out ArcGIS (and ArcGIS Server) at 9.3 (in about 4 weeks) which I've heard boasts much focus on KML and at 9.3 provides plug-in support for the GeoWeb. Imagine modelling (using ArcGIS data) a fire, road closures, a flood, a smoke plume or ??? using data from the GeoDatabase via a Google Earth client.