I guess with the development and maturing of ESRI’s ArcGIS Online services, it’s no huge surprise that the Geographynetwork is no longer necessary… as a result, ESRI has announced the popular Geo Data and information portal is no longer necessary (I have to wonder if this will also be a pre-cursor to the death of such commercial data serving sites like the datadepot (sorry but I can’t bear to bring myself to offer a link to them!) and a few others that attempt to sustain a business model by selling data that is easily accessible via web services, FTP sites and other open resources.
The ESRI blog offered up the following explanation… With lots of changes over time to online GIS and geographic information and the technologies used to serve them, the Geography Network has been replaced by better alternatives to publish and find data (like ArcGIS Online). Much of the same exact content, and much more content that has been updated, can now be found and used in easier and better ways. So ESRI is planning to retire the Geography Network in late December 2009… so long Geographynetwork!