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LiveLink integrates GIS with remote sensing and image processing

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Mladen Stojic,  vice president Geospatial, Intergraph, talked about their new Live Link product which integrates Intergraph GeoMedia objects into ERDAS IMAGINE. Intergraph is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hexagon acquired in 2011. What this product offers is what customers have been asking for – an integrated approach to desktop workflows, combining the desktop GIS capability of  GeoMedia integrated with the raster remote sensing and image processing capabilities of ERDAS IMAGINE.


2012 Predictions: Esri on Social Media, Business Intelligence and Analytics, the Cloud and more

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Social Media and Authoritative Citizen Data
Crowdsourced data, initially met with skepticism and concern by the geospatial community, is now going mainstream. GIS practitioners have long been the keepers of “authoritative” data, and are now beginning to take crowdsourced data very seriously.  This is in large part due to the tremendous utility of crowdsourced data we’ve seen during responses to recent disasters. Crowdsourced data enriches GIS, and Esri is constantly looking at how our users can use, manage, interpret, and incorporate it into their work.

The Cloud
With the advent of cloud computing as a new platform, geospatial applications in the cloud are driving a powerful new modality for GIS.  With it, there is an opportunity to reinvent the way the GIS application is built and consumed, as well as influence the discovery and availability of spatial data and geospatial analyses.

Cloud computing provides the potential for access to and publication of dynamic data.  This includes the consumption of real-time information for analyses and modeling, which can then be leveraged in applications that serve multiple purposes and audiences.  Esri is seeing this more with disaster response operations that are standing up mission-critical geospatial applications hosted in the cloud.  With access to seemingly unlimited compute capacity using cloud infrastructures, analytical calculations can be performed in a fraction of the time as traditional processes, which may potentially offer more economic viability as a result of the economies of scale that the cloud affords.
This may seem only attractive to small- to medium-sized businesses, educational institutions, non-profits, and startups.  But as cloud computing moves increasingly into mainstream operations for business, the potential for cloud-hosted content and cloud-delivered content is becoming a significant reality for organizations, regardless of size. For a geospatial technologist, cloud GIS can ideally mean that data is always available, always accessible. For the mobile worker, the cloud offers an expansive field to speed workflow productivity and collaboration. Shared data and applications in the cloud can be immediately accessed to discover, view, edit, save changes and invoke geoprocessing functions for on-demand results.

Esri recognizes the opportunities that cloud computing can afford the geospatial professional and technologist.  As such, we intend to continue to invest significantly in research and development of cloud-based solutions and services across multiple vendors to satisfy the requests by the geospatial community, and to foster growth of GIS into industries and within communities that may have not been cultivated as yet.

It is important to underscore that our current attention to the cloud does not forego interest and investment in on-premises desktops, servers and mobile applications.  Rather, the cloud is another enabling platform to help complement and augment an organization’s sales, marketing, and technology portfolio capabilities.

Business Intelligence and Analytics
Commercial/business applications of GIS have long lagged behind more traditional GIS applications such as planning, government, and environment.  But we are starting to see GIS reach much deeper into the business arena due to the focus on integration of GIS with enterprise resource planning (ERP), business intelligence (BI), data warehousing, and enterprise content management (ECM) applications. The majority of these integrated applications let end users work either in their business application environment or the GIS environment, so they are not disruptive to existing enterprise workflows.

Esri’s approach in this arena has been to partner with companies who have deep expertise in their respective BI, ERP, and ECM environments. We also recently acquired SpotOn Systems, a company that brings interactive mapping to IBM Cognos business intelligence applications. By making it easier to unite Esri’s spatial analytics, data, and maps with IBM Cognos BI, we think that this acquisition provides business users of GIS with the analytic element that has long been missing.

How to measure the world’s largest cities

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Scholars are having trouble measuring the world’s largest cities – largely because the terms the cities are measured by differ from place to place. They have come up with a total of 30 largest cities in the world.

Richard Greene, associate professor of geography at Northern Illinois University in the United States, says even the most authoritative list, from the UN, “compares apples with pears”.


Saving changes to your default raster type [ArcGIS Resource Center]

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

For those who have made any changes to the default raster type, you will probably want to save your changes.  This way you can re-use your custom raster type if you want to load additional raster data with the same properties and functions.
To save your custom raster type, click on the General tab.  At the bottom of this tab, you will see a Save As button.  Click the Save As button, and save it in the location where you keep all your custom raster types.


Trimble’s Q4 GAAP net income down while revenues up from same time last year

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Trimble Navigation Limited (TRMB) reported that its fourth-quarter GAAP net income attributable to the company was $29.40, down from $36.56 million in the same quarter last year. Earnings per share in the fourth quarter of 2011 were $0.23 as compared to diluted earnings per share of $0.29 in the fourth quarter of 2010.


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.




Autodesk and Pitney Bowes pen new partnership

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

For about three years, I have been watching Autodesk do interesting things with their GIS division, finally rolling some great mapping products into their Infrastructure Division. The sense was that Autodesk was primarily a provider of software for the built environment, with its GIS products designed with the architect or engineer in mind.

Autodesk Map 3D


Top Geospatial Predictions for 2012

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

When compiling this group of predictions, I looked back on what I had tagged for 2011 as predictions going forward. Some of those are still on the list, others are new.


NACIS invites submissions for the Atlas of Design

Monday, January 9th, 2012

The North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) invites submissions for the Atlas of Design, a new publication “dedicated to furthering the art and craft of cartography through inspirational examples.” The Atlas features full-color maps showcasing the most beautiful, intriguing, innovative cartography and thoughtful commentary accompanying the entries. All mapmakers are encouraged to offer their work for consideration.

To submit your work, email

Oce focuses on quality output for design build

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Penny Holland, Business Development Manager for Oce North America met with GISCafe’s Sanjay Gangal at Autodesk University 2011 in Las Vegas in December. She noted a much more positive response from attendees and exhibitors this year than in past recent years.


Teledyne Optech
University of Denver GIS Masters Degree Online
Textron - Countless CAD add-ons, plug-ins and more.

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