Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ newsletters and blogs. She writes on a number of topics, including but not limited to geospatial, architecture, engineering and construction. As many technologies evolve and occasionally merge, Susan finds herself uniquely situated to be able to cover diverse topics with facility. « Less
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
From the Exhibit Floor: Esri User Conference 2015
July 29th, 2015 by Susan Smith
A look at what is being demonstrated on the Exhibit Floor is a great way to see what is trending in the geospatial industry. Location, navigation, GIS positioning, sensors, geospatial intelligence, UAS, 3D, emergency response are just a few of the areas covered in the vast offerings seen throughout the week.
I met with Darren Cottage, vice president Sales and Marketing Geospatial and Traffic, Government sales manager, Kenneth Clay, and North American marketing manager and John Cassidy, general manager, NA Sales & Marketing, Geospatial and Traffic of TomTom to discuss the company’s direction, which included their work with various partners, including Esri, Maponics and CarahSoft.
Announced at the conference was the addition of TomTom’s navigable maps for 13 new countries. TomTom provides traffic content in 134 countries around the globe. TomTom also announced that its map and traffic information had been chosen by the University of Minnesota’s Accessibility Observatory as part of a new national accessibility data set. They will provide map and historical speed data to help analyze accessibility to jobs for driving and transit for metropolitan areas across the U.S.
The analysis of where people live and where jobs are is multimodal, according to Cassidy, and research is done leveraging TomTom’s strategy around the connected world.
TomTom is providing real time GIS data for many application, including for emergency GIS, and they also do pedestrian mapping and indoor mapping.
TomTom products are designed for a lot of consumer devices but also in car navigation, and in geospatial applications such as emergency response.
Clay, who presented on indoor mapping a new focus for TomTom, said that half a dozen of cities are available for demonstration of stadiums, big facilities, and retail establishments
TomTom maps are used to manage where ATM machines are, and for their maintenance. They are also addressing multiple locations for an address, sewer hookup, delivery, and consumer needs.
A nice show case where TomTom’s advanced city models were used is the 3D Story Map of the Convention Center in San Diego by startup SmarterBetterCities and Esri at
TomTom is providing traffic analysis for the Pan American games in Toronto. They also supported the London Olympics and support autonomous vehicle technology.
The company Septentrio has been around since 2000, and the recently acquired Altus Positioning Systems since 2008. Altus is the supplier of GNSS positioning and surveying systems and GIS, who recently merged with Septentrio, a company known for their work on Galileo, subcontracted to the European Space Agency in Leuven, Belgium.
Septentrio is a spinoff of a university electronics program, IMEC, the Center for NanoTechnology Unit. Their history in research has now evolved into creating scientific receivers for timing and scintillated, signal processing. Meanwhile Septentrio has expanded in the survey and GIS markets. Neil Vancans, vice president of Septentrio, said that they have a channel for surveying developed but there has been no channel for GIS. In Europe there is a channel for both.
Altus Positioning Systems provides simple, affordable high precision receivers that can be used in any tablet as a browser, and can publish into ArcGIS.
Septentrio announced a new software suite called PinPoint-GIS which makes GIS data collection and visualization straightforward. Septentrio’s PinPoint-GIS provides several methods of data collection, based on a standard web browser hosted on the Altus APS-NR2 and a mobile app integrated with Esri’s ArcGIS or other GIS mapping systems.
SAP is known worldwide as a leading provider of business applications, ERP, CRM solutions. With their SAP HANA they provide spatial information of which Hinnerk Gildhoff, Development Manager, SAP HANA/Spatial says 80% is geospatial. At Esri the company announced new capabilities to turbocharge spatial intelligence by simplifying, accelerating and geo-enabling access to enterprise.
“We aim to transform the big apps trend to real time apps, to take action where the data is,” said Gildhoff.
HANA is designed to help break down silos between enterprise and GIS system, and do analytics on a single system. It is an end-to-end platform for running applications. It has engines for running predictive analytics, can do unstructured data mining from Facebook and other social media and can provide geospatial capabilities.
HANA connects ArcGIS and HANA through SBS10 to provide feature services support. Using ArcGIS Server to publish feature services. New functionality includes spatial engine, altitude measurement, time, M-value, and transformation function. The latest release also enhances in-memory spatial processing capabilities to deliver faster responses for millions of data points.
Gildhoff said all applications in SAP are going spatial using the HANA processor as a spatial engine. The SAP Work Manager mobile app has added Esri feature layer integration and offline mapping capabilities.
More on the SAP HANA announcement can be found here
In meeting with director of Strategy and Corporate Development, Chris Stern of Trimble, he spoke about how Trimble meets “industry specific challenges” through its core technologies and products. Esri, with whom Trimble has partnered for over 20 years, is organized more around vertical sectors. The two organizations share many joint customers. Their services and solutions include point data collection, mass data collection, aerial and ground based scanning, sensors, point clouds and imagery and integrated industry specific solutions.
Trimble is very focused on Big Data and the Internet of Things with sensors, laser scanning, and optical, bringing in major data this way. The new version of their UAS the UX5 and UX5 HP is a fixed wing unmanned aerial mapping system and the company showcased its new multi-rotor copter that can hover. It is useful for electric transmission inspection, emergency response, and damage reconnaissance. The UX5 and UX5 HP offer aerial data collection by offering complete systems with powerful technologies such as a robust design, a radically simplified workflow and reversed thrust and automatic failsafe procedures.
Trimble’s software eCognition takes content, extracts features and makes datasets. The company has an underlying set of software to access Esri. eCognition addresses the increased demand for 3D data.
“We’ve always been 3D, helping customers collect highly accurate X,Y and Z data and 3D models,” said Stern. “Now there is 3D in ArcGIS Pro and CityEngine. We have Trimble SketchUp 3D Design and the 3D Warehouse – the world’s largest online catalogue of 3D content.”
Stern talked about ArcGIS Earth and the fact that Trimble has 3D already. They have centimeter accuracy in the Trimble V10 imaging rover, with 12 integrated 60MP cameras taking in 360 degree views.
In the Trimble Business Center software, as part of a new feature set, the 360 degree image comes in, the user clicks on a point at the pixel level, and based on the original position, can give you distance of measurements.
Another feature is that when imagery is brought in, a set of measurements can be taken specifically for UAS.
With the new Trimble R1 receiver, one of Trimble’s newly introduced line of BYOD GNSS products, users go to the field with the phone with an IOS or Android smartphone or tablet with Trimble Terraflex software – for fast, efficient, geospatial data collection across a fleet of mixed devices that supports submeter accuracy. Their Spectra Precision MobileMapper 300 takes advantage of RTX mobile positioning to achieve centimeter accuracy with Android devices. The goal of these products is to achieve less scientific access to accurate data.
Trimble also introduced at the conference the latest version of its smart water mapping and work management cloud software, Trimble Unity version 2.0. According to company materials, the version adds new capabilities to support complex water, wastewater and stormwater industry asset maintenance planning and work execution workflows. The new release supports Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) GNSS mapping receivers for smart devices and cloud-based single sign-on integration with Esri ArcGIS Online.
Utility customers can search and organize various utility assets, including meters, pipelines, valves and hydrants with Trimble Unity version 2.0 advanced asset maintenance capabilities. These assets can be grouped into prioritized collections of work that can be assigned to crews for completion. The new features enable utilities to reduce the time and cost associated with water asset repair and installation work.
Stern noted that the new Esri GeoCollector includes Esri software of course, and Esri has added Trimble’s R1 and some other Trimble technologies to their offerings.
Summing up, Stern said that Trimble’s core technologies include hardware, software, and positioning/sensors. “We always bring all that together to help customers solve problems across a variety of industries,” he said.
The company HERE, Maps for Life, formerly NAVTEQ three years ago, is a Nokia business unit that brings together Nokia’s mapping and location businesses under one umbrella. HERE technology is based on cloud computing, where location data and services are stored on remote servers. Users can access the data on any device.
HERE provides new vector-based data for Esri’s StreetMap brand of mapping products. HERE captures location content that includes road networks, buildings, park and traffic patterns. It licenses or sells that content along with navigation services and location based solutions to other businesses.
HERE has maps in nearly 200 countries, offers voice guided navigation in 94 countries, provides live traffic information in 33 countries and has indoor maps available for about 49,000 unique buildings in 45 countries.
Outside the convention center on a trailer was the Leica Geosystems Pegasus: Stream which is said to “measure the invisible.” It is a reality capturing sensor platform for below and above ground mass feature digitization.
Esri Start up companies who are called “emerging partners” were celebrated at a media event on Monday evening during the Map Gallery. Over 50 startups were exhibiting at the conference. Working with the Esri Startup team, TomTom built a premium content offering for large volume geocoding and routing called “StreetMap Premium for Startups,” a steeply discounted product designed just for those inside the Esri Startup Program.
MetroTech is partnering with both OSI and Esri to aggregate real-time traffic data, apply analytics and publish information that users can use to make decisions. Senior vice president of sales and service delivery, Robert Bruckner, says that traffic is “stuck in the 90s’ technology,” and that MetroTech provides the next generation of traffic analytics.
SenseFly’s eBee mapping drones were exhibited on the main Exhibit Floor but were considered in startup category. The various Styrofoam-appearing eBee models are very lightweight and come in various designs. The eMotion 3D mission planning feature takes elevation data into account when setting altitude of waypoints and resulting flight lines. The models are lightweight so they cannot damage other flying objects or electrical lines. Models are flown by computer, and one is battery operated on an SD card. You can use eBee’s postflight Terra 3D software to process your flight’s photos. In just a few clicks you can transform this imagery into geo-referenced 2D orthomosaics, 3D point clouds, triangle models and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs).
DroneDeploy is a simple cloud based software that allows anyone to create on-demand aerial drone maps in a single click.
Kespry designs a commercial-grade drone system that autonomously collects and analyzes high resolution geospatial information. It is very fast, with fully interconnected software included. It comes with an iPad, drone, limited access to Kespry cloud, and a groundstation. It is 3D printed and made of milled aluminum.
Another interesting startup is Echosec, a new location based social media search platform owned by a Russian organization, designed to provide intelligence to public safety, security professionals, marketing, law enforcement, security and governments using crowdsourced data. It can provide actionable information on terror attacks, and law enforcement can see where tweets and Facebook posts are coming from in trying to solve crimes.
MapJam really appeals to media and publishing as well as commercial business with its next generation location mapping platform to empower brands to create and distribute customized maps with contextualized information.
SmarterBetterCities (mentioned above in the section on TomTom) offers easy to use 3D software built on ArcGIS for the creation and management of 3D cities. They call this product “CloudCities” and it allows you to configure dashboards online, drag in charts and building data. It can also host a library of scenes such as those from CityEngine and ArcGIS Pro.
FireWhat? emergency disaster response for wildfires was mentioned in Monday’s plenary session during the segment on “Fire.” The application uses real-time GIS with expert sourced information specifically for fires.
Pufferfish has created the Puffersphere, a globe that allows you to display digital content in a 3D way, on a globe, using 360 degree video. You can use the basic finger gestures of pinch and push to expand an area or retract it to zoom in or out of a desired geographic location. This is valuable for marketing and advertising, digital display and potentially many other uses where traditional flat screen media just isn’t enough.
Well established vendors’ offerings continue to push the envelope, making the most of the cloud, actionable intelligence, open source and real-time data to address the most pressing challenges of environment, safety, health and security. Startups arrive on the scene with less legacy baggage that allows them to negotiate the quick paced technology scene with enviable ease. There is a buoyancy to their presentations and enthusiasm that the larger vendors seek and embrace, and will I’m sure make its way into many future major product and application offerings.
For more Esri UC 2015 coverage:
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