July 14, 2020

Go Beyond Google Earth to Provide a Comprehensive Virtual Site Visit

Ron Bertasi

Key Takeaway:  Google Earth is a consumer app designed for education and entertainment. It is not a business app and cannot provide several of the critical components of a virtual site visit. Economic development organizations using legacy sites and buildings technology that incorporates Google Earth are at a competitive disadvantage. Only GIS WebTech’s Recruit technology, purpose-built for economic development, can incorporate all five components of a virtual site visit and provide a complete and compelling experience.

In a virtual site visit, the economic developer incorporates data and tools across five components to provide much of the experience of a traditional site visit, including interior and exterior views in three dimensions, and has detailed data and analytical tools available to answer questions in real time as the discussion dictates.

Only GIS WebTech’s Recruit provides all five components of a comprehensive virtual site visit, because only GIS WebTech is built on the Esri platform.

Legacy technologies, built years ago on second-tier GIS platforms, have attempted to respond to the growing demand for virtual site visits by adding simple links to Google Earth. But Google Earth is a poor choice for a virtual site visit. Google Earth has four major limitations that prevent it from providing a complete virtual site visit. Let’s take a look at them.

Google Earth is a Consumer Product
Google Earth is not a business app. It includes a lot of data and features designed to entertain consumers that are not relevant for business decisions. Examples include games, quizzes, travel tips and educational pointers.

These features may be great for a school project or a family vacation, but in a business app they just get in the way and confuse the user experience.

Site selectors do not come to your website to take quizzes and read educational materials.

Google Earth is also a heavy app and notoriously slow to load, so it will test business users’ patience. And as a consumer app it makes it obvious that you’ve got a jury-rigged approach to the virtual site visit experience.

In contrast, GIS WebTech’s Recruit is the newest technology available, purpose-built to incorporate virtual site visits. Built on the world’s most advanced GIS platform, GISWebTech’s Recruit provides all five components of a virtual site visit in a single package. Using Recruit shows that you are serious about providing businesses the full virtual site visit experience, because only Recruit can provide all five components.

Interactive 360-Degree Imagery and 360-Degree Video Allow You to Showcase Building Interiors

Google Earth Cannot Showcase the Interior of Buildings

Google Earth cannot incorporate 360-degree imagery or 360-degree video of the interior of buildings. The result? You cannot provide a virtual experience for the interior of buildings. When your prospect inevitably asks to see the inside of the building you are limited to describing it using old-fashioned photos.

Using Google Earth and having no ability to showcase building interiors puts you at a competitive disadvantage.

GIS WebTech’s Recruit, built on the Esri platform, allows you to include 360-degree imagery and 360-degree video of the interior of buildings, providing the complete virtual site visit experience — interior and exterior — all in one app.

Google Earth Cannot Incorporate 3D Layers
Google Earth incorporates a simple exterior view of low-resolution 3D images in urban areas. But what if you want to include 3D layers showing how proposed buildings will look on major sites? Or you want to include photo-realistic, high-resolution 3D for existing buildings you are trying to market heavily? With Google Earth, you are out of luck because you cannot incorporate your own 3D layers, and your prospect is out of luck because he/she is stuck trying to imagine what the proposed buildings will look like.

3D Layers Make Your Property Stand Out

GIS WebTech’s Recruit is a complete GIS solution and incorporates any 3D layers you choose. Include 3D layers in high resolution for buildings you are trying to market aggressively. Include 3D layers of proposed buildings from architects’ or engineers’ designs.

Recruit makes it easy to incorporate the 3D layers you that make your community stand out.

Google Earth Does Not Provide 3D Images in Rural Areas
Google Earth includes 3D models of buildings for urban areas only. No 3D imagery of existing buildings is provided in rural areas. And as noted above, Google Earth does not allow you to include your own 3D layers. The bottom line? For rural rural economic developers Google Earth means no 3D imagery at all.

With GIS WebTech’s Recruit, all economic developers have access to the same advanced features, including the ability to add 3D layers of your choosing and highlight them in a virtual site visit. Rural economic developers are never at a disadvantage.

Want to learn more about virtual site visits? Drop me a note at ron@giswebtech.com and let’s start a discussion.

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