This important update on what Safe Software functionality is included with the new Google offerings appeared on G+. Dale Lutz, co-CEo of Safe Software wrote:
Thanks Brian for the mention -- as the maker of the FME (http://www.safe.com/fme) connector tool mentioned, we thought we'd chime in with a couple quick points of clarification. The free connector tool is a subset of the FME spatial data transformation software, and will support 18 source formats -- some vector (Shape, MIF/TAB, KML, PostGIS, Spatialite, WFS), some non-spatial (CSV, Postgres), and some Raster (a whole bunch -- but they are capped to 100MB per run). It will be released alongside full FME 2014 in January -- more information is over at http://www.safe.com/FMEDataLoader . Full "paid" FME 2014 will have more than 300 formats for sure. Also, the toolbars are actually not FME technology nor has Safe had anything to do with them, but we're looking forward to seeing the complimentary integration they bring to the table.
Directions will host a webinar about the Safe Software connector on Nov. 12. Register today.
--- original post 10/21/13 ---
Today, Google announced a new product for business users. Maps Engine Pro will serve to continue the consumerization of mapping technology according to Vinay Goal, Google Maps Product Director. "We would like to extend Google Maps to answer queries we cannot find today," said Gaol. " If I'm a business users, how do I plan my sales territories; where are the high profile customers that I want to display. Most of this information is in someone's head."
Maps Engine Pro is a customization of Google Maps Engine (GME) and is targeted at the average business user. Google is looking to fill the gap between its existing platforms like Google Maps, used primarily for visualization and Google Maps API for business application developers. Maps Engine Pro is available for $5 per user per month or an annual subscription for $50 per user per year. Maps Engine, with more power, more geocodes, etc. is priced per transaction and has an API. See comparison table below; it can be confusing. The Pro version has less functionality than the regular version. I would think of Pro as as Google Maps Engine for Business.
Google Maps Engine and Google Maps Engine Pro Comparison Chart (click for larger version)
The other announcement that Google made today was a partnership with Safe Software. The solution for Google Maps Engine (not Pro) will provide connectors to load data into GME as well as exported to multiple file formats. Come January, there will be free connectors that support 18 formats. Fully licensed FME users will have support for all 300+ formats. (See Dale Lutz's comments in the update, above.) Google has already released open source toolbars that allow data uploads from QGIS (toolbar) and ArcGIS (toolbar) to Google Maps Engine. It's my understand the other formats will be added come the new year.
From Google in summary of new features in Google Maps Engine:
- Mobile App: The new mobile app allows individuals to access their maps created in Google Maps Engine, Maps Engine Pro and Maps Engine Lite. Once a map has been shared, users can access their data on-the-go and from any Android device.
- Connector Tools:It’s now easy to migrate data from legacy systems, such as SAP, into Maps Engine using a connector tool that can be downloaded for free. There are more than 300+ business and geospatial applications available through the connector. To make data migration even easier, the Maps Engine now features an ESRI Toolbar that lets you transfer your ArcGIS maps to Maps Engine.
- Introductory Account: Want to test out Google Maps Engine for your business? The introductory account is an easy way to introduce Maps Engine to your organization’s geospatial infrastructure. The free account supports the product’s full platform capabilities, including API access, but limits the number of map queries per day.