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GISCafe Editorial Calendar 2016*

Thursday, December 10th, 2015


Editorial Calendar 2016*

 Europe_regions (more…)

From the Exhibit Floor: Esri User Conference 2015

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

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.

TomTom_GOLIVE (more…)

From the Exhibit Floor at GEOINT Symposium 2015

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

The exhibits at GEOINT Symposium 2015 this past week in Washington D.C. reflected the direction the government is heading with regard to new products, technologies and services.


The new government initiative of doing more with less has generated interest among a group of vendors in partnership with the Centralized Super Computer Facility (CSCF) program. Lockheed Martin, one of the vendors, has developed a Multilevel Secure ecosystem (MLS) using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5+ for both single system image and for a cluster configuration. The focus of this system is to use MLS to enable data fusion and/or consolidate hardware systems rather than promote duplication.


The companies partnering in this endeavor include Lockheed Martin (Multilevel Secure Ecosystem), Seagate (Multilevel Secure HPC Storage), Red Hat (Open source operating system), SGI (Secure high performance computing solutions), CRAY (multilevel security (MLS) capability), Bay Microsystems (global high-performance fabric extension), Mellanox ( 100 Gigabit per second scalable networking), 35ViON Years (MLS-Ecosystem for Mission Data), Altair (PBS Professional, – job scheduling and management) and new at the conference this year, Crunchy (open source Crunchy MLS PostgreSQL extends PostgreSQL with Multilevel Security support), and Splunk (universal machine data platform).


GISCafe at GEOINT 2015

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Next week GISCafe will be flying to GEOINT 2015 Symposium held June 22-25 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Tradecraft (more…)

What happens now: Google Enterprise products no longer supported by Google

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

What has been an un-announcement in the geospatial industry is the fact that Google Maps Engine and Google Earth Enterprise are to be discontinued by Google. It’s possible that Google didn’t send out a press release about this because their customers, who are mainly consumers, may mistake the message to mean that Google Maps and Google Earth will be discontinued by Google, which is absolutely not the case.

The Esri/Google architecture in the post Google Earth Enterprise World

The Esri/Google architecture in the post Google Earth Enterprise World


Special Blog Coverage of 3D Cities Coming in November!

Monday, October 20th, 2014

During the week of November 17th, GISCafe Voice will run a special feature blog on the topic, “3D Cities: Envisioning Communities of the Future.”

smarterbettercity_130021 (more…)

FME 2014 release offers more speed, graphics and formats

Friday, January 24th, 2014

In a discussion with Dale Lutz of Safe Software he talked about the latest version of FME, FME 2014.

“For every user we try hard to make the whole experience of using the product more effective and smooth, and that comes down to making use of streamed real estate,” said Lutz.

This has involved changing the interface out to new technology that is faster, with a nicer graphical look, and FME now works on the Mac as well as Linux.

“A lot of web developers work on Macs, and many want to work with spatial data, and in Europe especially there is a lot of interest in Linux, and they are happy to be able to use it directly. This isn’t a big commercial opportunity but many university people are Mac or Linux.”


FME 2013 from Safe Software Released

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

As with every release of Safe Software’s spatial data transformation technology FME, the release of FME 2013 Desktop and Server versions offers support for more data formats, in this case over 300 of them, including across point cloud/LiDAR, 3D, raster, database, vector and XML. Notable new formats include the ASTM E57 point cloud format, X3D, Autodesk IMX, PostGIS raster, SpatiaLite, Salesforce, and many more.


2012 Predictions: Safe Software on remote sensing, 3D GIS and more

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012


Remote Sensing

The amount of data that is being collected by sensors (remote sensors), terrestrial sensors, and personal sensors is going to explode.   Today, everyone with a smartphone is carrying around a very sophisticated sensor.   We are going to see the data from these sensors being used more and more. With all the sensors that are coming on line, we are quickly approaching the point where we can see what is happening anywhere at anytime.


The level of interest in 3D GIS is definitely on the upswing.   With new data sources like LiDAR and the ability of tools to combine these different sources to make immersive environments – it’s going to take a big leap forward.    Augmented Reality is just one technology that is on the cusp of breaking out.   2012 could be the year when it moves from a curiosity to a real must-have application. 2012 could also see a large adoption of 3D GIS technologies, as Autodesk continues work with its Infrastructure Modeler and Esri rolls out the fruit from its acquisition of Procedural and its CityEngine technology.

Web Mapping

We are really seeing a lot of excitement on the mobile platform.   In today’s world, a mobile workforce is still a connected workforce.  No longer is it the case that field workers are disconnected from their office systems.  As a result we are increasingly seeing the need for real-time data movement.  With workers always being connected, the line will continue to blur between the office, the field, and the home.  Smartphones are really “pocket” computers with more processing power than that of desktops only a few years ago.    The challenge now is more about bandwidth than anything else, and this is only going to get better and cheaper in 2012.  In 2012 more people are going to run “mobile” web apps from their smartphones/iPods/iPads than from their computers on the desktop.

Social Media and Authoritative Citizen Data

The importance of social media to business is only increasing.   Now people use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to follow topics and keep in touch with their customers and industry trends.   Social media has really changed the way that organizations get the word out.  At Safe now we see ourselves spending more and more time on “content” marketing so that we have the content that users need.   Through social media we are also in constant communication with more of our users than ever before.

On the topic of authoritative citizen data we are going to see more applications where citizens can help their cities and countries run better.  Whether it is helping cities identify potholes, or graffiti locations by simply sending in geo-tagged photos, or helping authorities prosecute “rioters” by taking video and pictures with their phones – the trend is clear.  Citizens are going to be more engaged than ever before.


The cloud is everywhere in 2012. At Safe for example, we do almost everything in the cloud.  We run our demo machines in the cloud. We train in the cloud. Our website is in the cloud. Our customers can evaluate using the cloud.  From a technology perspective cloud technology is ready to host everything.


We are also going to continue to see more and increasingly powerful cloud-based systems out there.  Take Google Fusion Tables for example.   This technology makes it trivial for anyone to publish and share any kind of data, including spatial data, and share it with the world instantly!   It’s amazing, and the cloud makes it possible.

The cloud is also a great equalizer.  It used to be that organizations that wanted to create world class web-based solutions had to spend huge amounts of capital to purchase their own server farms to host these applications.  With cloud services now, such as Amazon’s AWS, anyone can now create web-based solutions and simply leverage the scalability it inherently provides and only pay for what they use when they use it.    This moves CPU usage for these organizations from the “highway” model; (build and pay for infrastructure to handle peak loads), to the electricity model in which you only pay for what you use.  The cloud and its impact are still in early days.


The integration challenge is bigger than ever.  For us at Safe we are seeing demands for data to be moved between more different kinds of systems than ever before.  For the first decade of Safe it was all about CAD<->GIS.  Now we have Raster, LiDAR, XML, Big Data, and Web-based data sources such as Google Fusion Tables.   Users don’t want to just move it either way; they want to combine it and then send it to new applications.   Over this period the “data freshness” dates are getting shorter and shorter.   In 2012 we believe we are going to see organizations want to leverage “real-time” data.  We also are seeing an explosion of sensors and expect organizations to need to integrate this entirely new type of data into their workflows so that they can react quicker and more effectively to events.    This belief was a driving force behind the “Event Driven” architecture which we have added to FME Server.  With this we are ready to handle a whole new class of data integration challenge.

Safe Software responses by:

Don Murray,

President and Co-founder of Safe Software

Speed, notification, more file formats in the new FME 2012

Friday, January 27th, 2012


Vice President of Software Development and Co-founder of Safe Software, Dale Lutz, spoke about the latest release of FME, FME 2012, which has just been released. Safe’s releases of FME are annual, and are designed to always be faster than the previous release and incorporate more file formats than they did before.

What is the most significant feature of the 2012 release, Dale?

The point cloud or lidar support changes that we made in the last year are very significant. W e came out of the gate last year with our lidar support point cloud and I was impressed how well received that was. What we realized was that the volumes of data were even in an order of magnitude greater than what we thought a year ago. We spent the last year really addressing and optimizing for data volume and we’re very please with how the FME 2012 point handling support can gobble up billions of point clouds and put them into Oracle and chop them into little pieces in very timely ways. Don [Murray] has said that every release of FME has to be faster than the previous one and we did meet that with more than ten percent overall across 5,000 tests, we are more than 10% faster. Even if existing users don’t do anything else they just put on the new release they’re going to be getting their jobs done faster than before. In terms of our overall offering, as you know we have FME Server, and there we’re doing a thing we call notification server which has to do with the notification idea –  that not only can we centralize data moving on a server, we can now react and cause it to move when an event happens outside. Kinds of events can be, for example – a file arrives in a folder and that’s a stimulus that can cause a response by our server to upload that file into a database or into a Quality Assurance check on that thing. These are event driven actions, as opposed to the user having to poke the server and saying please do this.

One example is a file arriving causing an event – an email arrives and it causes something to happen. A web sensor of some kind posts results – we’ve been doing some demos and playing with web sensors and that data can come in and our server can do something. Now there is a field called complex event processing or CEP and what we really think we’ve got here is spatial complex event processing where an event happens and a transformation process starts.  Not only can it move data around but can also take advantage of where that event happened.

So that’s the notification addition into our FME Server product family.

How many of these new features did customers request?

Parts of the new features were requested by people but we generalized their requests into something greater. We know that many of the use cases I mentioned to you are futuristic — they’re ready for the internet of things or the sensor web that people talk about. Practically what people ask for is the first one I mentioned, if the file arrives the folder does something because that’s closer to our traditional space. When I talk about sensor web that flirts with the user space that we’re confident that we’re able to address but we might be ahead of our user base there.

You mentioned more file formats in the new FME 2012.

The world is always creating more formats – I believe the number is 285 now with FME 2012. Existing formats don’t stay still either, they’re always changing and growing. CityGML had a new version this year, GML is looking at another version, there’s always more happening. The development team has to juggle all this and it’s not getting easier each year.

The other half of this is the world of the cloud. Although it’s not a file format, it’s a new place where data can reside. And so in FME another key feature is the fact that we can read and write Google Fusion tables and so there you have a new “format” but it’s not a file, it’s a mystical call out to the cloud.  You use FME to put data up there and then you permit it, then instantly the whole universe can share in it. It’s a way of publishing data that can be used by anybody instantly so it’s quite interesting what this opens up for collaboration.

How do you address private clouds, which we hear a lot about these days?

Private clouds are not on the data format side, but rather on the deployment side. People ask can we install your software and get our own private cloud can we install it on an Amazon system? We do have an answer on all those cases. We have many customers already doing cloud based deployment using our software in the cloud, running in the cloud in a variety of ways.

That’s an area that continues to explode. We have moved to using cloud hosted FME for all our training. If you take an FME training class, no matter where you take it, whether it’s online or in person, you’ll be using an FME installation in the cloud. The reason is it’s way easier for us to administer it. But even if you come to our office to do training in our Training Center you’ll be connected to FME in the cloud even though it’s in our own office.

We’re doing a soft launch of what we call the FME Store, which is a way for certain parties who belong to the FME ecosystem  that build plug ins or extensions for FME to be able to make the rest of the FME community aware of what they’ve created.




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