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Archive for 2009

What You Might Get When Calling 911

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Last month cell phone tower programming errors were responsible for misrouting 911 calls from lost hiker Megumi Yamamoto in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, NM.
The problem was quickly corrected, however, the hiker’s calls went to a non-emergency, administrative line in the Santa Fe County Emerrgency Communications Center. Since the calls were not going through the 911 emergency dispatch line, emergency responders were unable to track her location. Ultimately, her call was transferred to a state police emergency dispatcher and a rescue effort was started. The transfer to the state police dispatcher took place about 6 minutes after the first 911 call.
Ironically, the rescue state police helicopter crashed shortly after picking Yamamoto up, killing her and another crew member. The pilot survived, and the crash is under investigation.

What’s at Data.gov?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, the White House issued a press release announcing Data.gov, a portal whose purpose it is “to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.” The site offers some tools for transportation and the U.S. Census Bureau, National Weather Service, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office datasets, Energy Informatin Administration datasets and more. The concept behind it is to allow the American people better access and use of government-generated data, which the government hopes will result in more interaction and new ideas from citizenry.

Hopefully this data will be available via popular search engines, which will certainly make its use more widespread. At this time, however, the site appears to be most useful to government agencies requiring information from other government agencies.

Data.gov is part of President Obama’s Open Government initiative.

Update on Intergraph 2009 Conference

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

The latest count on attendance at the conference is 1500 attendees.

Live from Intergraph 2009

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

The Intergraph conference in Washington, D.C. drew almost 1,000 attendees this week, in spite of economics worldwide. PR spokespeople did say that there are fewer international attendees than in previous years.
Understandably, Tuesday’s keynotes were all about weathering the economic downturn. CEO Halsey Wise spoke of Intergraph’s anniversary this year of 40 years in business. He talked about how great innovation such as “sliced bread” was spawned during the Great Depression and economic strife presents a great opportunity to come up with innovation. Wise said organizations need to be very efficient and adaptable.

Day Two (Wednesday) featured a press conference with Halsey Wise and Reid French. Wise talked about growth plans, saying that they show you what you will and won’t do.

He also suggested that Intergraph has a different geospatial model than its competitors. He said, “If you’re relying on third parties to add value to your technology then you’re not in as strong a position.”

He added that the recession severely impacts those companies that rely on small, undercapitalized resellers and VARs. He said Intergraph aims for $1 billion in revenue by 2012, not counting acquisitions.

GIS Goes to Washington

Monday, June 8th, 2009

It would seem that GIS is positioning itself in Washington, with two recent news stories to that effect:

DigitalGlobe announced the resignation of Judith McHale from its board of directors, effective as of May 26, 2009. Ms. McHale joined DigitalGlobe’s board of directors in July 2008 and is resigning to accept the position of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Ms. McHale’s resignation was expected by the Company.

President Obama nominated Ms. McHale to the post of Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs on April 14, 2009, and the Senate recently confirmed her nomination. Ms. McHale was sworn in on May 26, 2009 and will assume her duties supporting Secretary Clinton and the State Department immediately.

While it is exciting that the President nominates someone from the geospatial industry, it is also very apt. Companies such as DigitalGlobe were developed to provide commercial satellite imagery, funded by the government, so it stands to reason that there would be a flow of energies between the two entities.

Google’s Washington presence keeps growing, by Gautham Nagesh, June 2, 2009, NextGovInternet search giant Google has been steadily increasing its presence in Washington as the company seeks to capture a larger share of the federal market for information technology products and services. Google officials discussed the company’s increasing involvement in the government space at an event on Tuesday.

Autodesk’s Q1 Fiscal 2010 Results

Monday, June 1st, 2009

On May 21st Autodesk announced their Q1 fiscal 2010 results, reporting revenues of $426 million, a decrease of 29 percent compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

 

This announcement seemed to rock not only the AEC industry where Autodesk is #1, but also the GIS and MCAD industries as well and, in fact, every industry that relies on Autodesk products. The revenues reflect what is happening globally – other technology providers also report significant decreases, but the drop of revenues for a bastion of the industry marks a change that has appeared imminent in recent months.

 

“Our revenue results for the quarter continue to reflect the global economic downturn, which is impacting our business on almost every front,” said Carl Bass, Autodesk president and CEO in the press release. “We made significant progress in our continued effort to improve our cost structure and ongoing efficiencies, which resulted in lower than expected operating costs for the quarter and greater than expected earnings per share and cash flow.”

 

See press release

Autodesk jumps after results, Reuters, May 22, 2009

Autodesk swings to loss, will cut about 430 jobs Marketwatch, May 21, 2009

 

Back at AU last November, Bass had stated in a press conference the company has $1 billion in assets and no debt, well positioned to weather economic strife. Bass said that Autodesk produces 150 products, most of which generate almost no revenue. Selling them standalone is not a good idea, and the company is looking into bundling some of them. This was a red flag that the company would have to trim the fat — whatever that fat might be.

A scale back was to be expected. Autodesk continues to make acquisitions, but they are also selling some of their assets: for example, the sale of the assets of LocationLogic to TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. ( TCS) for approximately $25 million. In terms of business, according to a recent article, substantially all of the LocationLogic revenue stream is recurring service revenue from hosted infrastructure software and location-based applications.

 

One can only guess that these decisions weren’t made lightly; looking at the numbers, products that are not earning sufficient revenue or which might present significant challenges in integration may be let go or drop by the wayside.

 

Already eager to bring attention to the wavering numbers of the Q1 results, some competing vendors have suggested that Autodesk customers may want to jump ship and move to their less popular products in an I’ll-show-you move. To me, this doesn’t make sense. Most Autodesk shops are heavily invested in Autodesk products, not just one or two seats of AutoCAD but numerous products that are well integrated with the primary bodybuilder, AutoCAD. Customers may be open to trying free software from the less expensive, less well known vendors, but they’ll be hard pressed to get their systems folks to change. Fact is, competing software companies are also feeling the pinch so customers may feel safer sticking with the known quantity.

 

It’s difficult to tell at this point how much this will affect the GIS industry. Autodesk provides some valuable geospatial products that complement their CAD offerings, but it is not the #1 GIS provider.

 

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