What I like..
Please know that I have only spent a couple of weekends creating this new draft site. https://geteach.com/arc/ However, I do have some positive first impressions. First, ever since the lose of the Earth API I have dreamed to bring a globe back into a website. The bonus with ArcGIS API is that users can toggle between both 2D and 3D.
I have mixed feelings about all widgets, no matter the service. Widgets are, and have always been, nice and easy to work with, but there is always something that I would like to change. These compromises are minimal with the ArcGIS API, but they are there. From the documentation, it looks like a real developer, one who knew what they were doing, could modify and/or create their own. However, ain’t no high school teacher have time for that. For this project there are several widgets, including search, elevation, and measurements. These widgets are easy to implement in the code. The only issue is being aware of how to start, stop, clear, and reset for a 2D environment and a 3D world… MapView vs SceneView.
The basemap options are fantastic. Eventually, once I figure it out, I will add the raster pyramid tiles and geoJson vector data I use in geteach.com. Loading the data does not look to be difficult. Like all the version of geteach.com, the menu system is going to take some time. Mashing together an API with a home grown UX takes more time than a couple of weekends for me. The basic UI framework is there. In addition, I have another former function that I would like to bring back to layers that will add some time to my development. Therefore, currently the only exploration of maps are ESRI’s basemaps….which are fantastic! Really enjoy the outline map next to a reference map!
What I miss…
Urgh! Street View. Street View is the primary reason I have not already experimented with the ArcGIS API. I do not believe there is one time when my class is using geteach.com that at least one student is not using Street View. Even if there is nothing in the activity having to do with Street View, someone has dropped PegMan into North Korea.
Similar to Street View, when it comes to populated areas, Google’s imagery is far better than the available basemaps; at least the ones I have seen. Cultural landscape is a huge component to my human geography high school coarse. There seems to be more complex 3D scenes available with ESRI’s services. However, this is not a a default option.
Using an API key is not straight forward. I am not sure how long this draft site will work because I do not have a ‘pay as you go’ setup as a developer. One of the reasons I am branching out to this API is because I had to take the search location out of geteach.com. One month, I received a $300 bill from Google’s Map Platform due to their Places API, the service for map search. I got out of the bill by disabling the feature. And this is where most of my uncertainty lies. I have no idea how much this API will cost if I keep developing it. I do not even know how long it will work without a key.
As always, the primary purpose of geteach.com is to bring a free site to help teachers educate and engage students using
Follow me on twitter @geteach if you are interested in project updates.