October 2012
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ArcGIS Online Credit Calculator

For folks interested in seeing the potential cost of ArcGIS Online, there is a calculator now available.  Thanks to Michael Carson for passing along:


This can certainly help planning.

Right now, the business model for ArcGIS Online falls down (for me) in a number of areas:

  1. Variable pricing:  It is very hard to plan for budgeting when we don’t know exactly what the usage might be.  The model here, and for many cloud offerings, is “the more you use, the more you pay.  While that works for startup users, for large users such as the County this doesn’t work.  The incentive then becomes to use GIS technologies less, rather than more.  The internal models we have developed flip this around with “the more you use, the less you pay”.  I try to incentivise use of GIS, not the opposite.
  2. Geocoding costs: Right now the cost for an individual geocode is $0.08 – that’s 8 cents for every address lookup.  For large agencies with millions of addresses, that won’t work.  In the pricing plan, for $17,500 a year you get 218,750 address lookups.  A couple of spreadsheet of parcel addresses will overrun that extremely quickly.
  3. Named users:  In order to use some of the cool tools (like the ability to embed maps in Excel) you need to be a named user.  I think the model should be more like Adobe Acrobat – with a full version that costs money, and a reader version that is free.  The County has 100,000 employees – how are we supposed to manage the access to GIS capabilities through named user accounts.

So – I think the business model needs a lot of tweaking before we go beyond any form of pilot.

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