Julie Reynolds and research associate David Shiffman have compared ArcGIS and Google Earth for undergraduate research projects. ArcGIS is a powerful program, but is very expensive and difficult to learn. Google Earth has fewer analytical tools, but is free and very user friendly. Using data generated by student research projects, David compared the capabilities of both programs.
|Capability||ArcGIS||Google Earth Basic|
|Ease of Use||++|
|Ability to Customize||++||+|
ArcGIS is undeniably a more powerful tool, but it has several drawbacks. The expense and difficulty of learning ArcGIS makes it impractical for short-term, small-scale projects. Google Earth, in contrast, is powerful enough for small-scale projects such as undergraduate research projects and large mapping project that do not require quantitative analysis.
These results are being prepared for publication, and will be used to guide future undergraduate research projects.