US: Google will launch a free tier of Google Maps Engine, in conjunction with its announcement of Maps Engine Pro, a small business tool. The free tier offers all of the same features but has smaller quotas for data access, in the ‘tens of megabytes’ vs. the terabytes available in the full version.
It will also launch a new Public Data Program that allows organisations to sign up for a free GME account to create maps and publish them on the web. This could let an organisation like, say, the government of Latvia, surface maps of data that it would normally have to have a team build custom tools to present.
The idea is to offer up a public map of new voting districts, transport routes, public works or any other kind of data in a way that can be easily searched via Google or other tools, and that can be distributed widely in a stable fashion. Google happens to be very good at that, and many organizations and government simply aren’t.
Google will also announce that it will have integration with some very popular GIS software like ESRI and QGIS. It’s also firing up a partnership with Safe Software, one of the biggest spatial visualisation companies around. Their data transformation tool FME will get full Google Maps Engine integration.
Source: Tech Crunch