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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
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 »

Development under way for new NSDI strategic plan from FGDC

March 18th, 2013 by Susan Smith

The Federal Geographic Data Committee has initiated a process to develop a new strategic plan for the National Spatial Data Infrastructure. On March 7, FGDC held an NSDI Leaders Forum at the U.S. Department of the Interior to begin to gather input to help build the foundation for the new strategic plan. More than 20 key geospatial associations, plus other leaders in the geospatial community, were invited to the forum to participate in a dialogue about a strategic plan to guide the future development of the NSDI. GITA was represented by Talbot Brooks, President of the Board of Directors. John Moeller, former Board Member, also participated in the forum. The FGDC plans to work collaboratively with partners and stakeholders in the geospatial community to develop and implement a new strategy for continued and sustainable development of the NSDI.

The forum was a very good start for gaining input and ideas. Over the almost three hours of discussion, all of the participants had the opportunity of voicing the perspectives of different segments of the geospatial community. This input, along with that from a meeting earlier in the week, with federal agencies, will help FGDC build an expanded outline for the strategic plan. The timeline has the plan being completed by the end of 2013. While this could shift a bit during the next few months, FGDC anticipates having a draft plan out for public review in mid-late summer.

As a key stakeholder in the NSDI, GITA sees a spatial data infrastructure as a critical national infrastructure asset similar to physical infrastructure assets. GITA supports the development of an updated NSDI Strategy and encourages members to contribute to the planning activities. For more information go to . You may also provide Talbot with your ideas and input by contacting him at

– GITA News Hub

ENVI Services Engine from Exelis

March 14th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Bill Okubo, Exelis enterprise product manager. spoke on the ENVI Services Engine from Exelis. Exelis Visual information Solutions developed an enterprise-enabled processing engine that provides remote users access to the power of ENVI image analysis and IDL applications from a web or mobile client interface. The working name for this capability is the ENVI and IDL Services Engine (ESE). This engine now enables the remote user to gain access to the same compiled ENVI and IDL functions and procedures that remote sensing scientists have utilized for decades at the desktop level.

Read the rest of ENVI Services Engine from Exelis

TomTom partnerships extend location based services

March 12th, 2013 by Susan Smith

TomTom spokesperson Lea Armstrong talked about TomTom’s recent announcements, which include the extension of its longstanding partnership with leading PND supplier MiTAC International Corporation. Under the global agreement, TomTom will provide a range of world-class navigational services for use in all of the PND brands owned by MiTAC including Mio, Navman and Magellan.

TomTom also announced an agreement to supply maps and road data to location-based services provider Telmap. With this partnership, Telmap, an Intel company, will utilize TomTom content to enhance its products and services, including mobile navigation apps distributed via application stores and mobile operators worldwide.

GISCafe Voice: How will this relationship with MiTAC be extended?

This is an extended service agreement from 2009 for another 3 years. The agreement covers EMEA, APAC, & Mexico for me, as well as the USA and Canada for Magellan.

GISCafe Voice: Did Telmap have an existing relationship with TomTom and if so, how did that differ from the current partnership?


Read the rest of TomTom partnerships extend location based services

Merrick’s Quality Control module automates compliance for LiDAR point cloud datasets

March 5th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Bill Emison, senior account manager for Geospatial Solutions at Merrick & Company, talked about their new QC module in Version 7.1 MARS (Advanced Remote Sensing Software).

Airborne LiDAR – urban area

Merrick Advanced Remote Sensing (MARS software suite is a comprehensive, production-grade Windows application designed to visualize, manage, process and analyze LiDAR point cloud data.

The Quality Control module is designed to provide an automated tool for verifying compliance of a LiDAR point cloud dataset to the LiDAR Base Specification Version 1.0 from the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey). The application sits on top of MARS as an extension.

“As a data vendor there have been many contracts where we’ve had to comply to those specs, and in an effort to do that effectively, we started to build tools two-three years ago,” said Emison. “We competely automated the entire specs. Our goal is to deliver data one time and not have to do rework, it was important to identify issues before the dataset went out the door.”

Read the rest of Merrick’s Quality Control module automates compliance for LiDAR point cloud datasets

Autodesk CEO Carl Bass on Autodesk Financials

February 26th, 2013 by Susan Smith

In a webcast this week, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass addressed the company’s financials. “As we near the 2-year anniversary of the launch of our design and creation suites, we couldn’t be more pleased with their progress and growth. Revenue from Suites increased 50% over that 2-year period. Suites now represent 30% of total revenue, up from 23% just 2 years ago. We’re delivering exceptional value to our customers, who get to utilize and experience more of our broad product portfolio. What’s more, we have seen a meaningful increase in our ASPs. It’s a win-win. Growth in our Suites help drive the record revenue results in both our AEC and Manufacturing business segments.”

Bass went on to say that the investments made over the past couple of years in major account direct sales continue to pay off. In the fourth quarter, Autodesk had a record 45 transactions that exceeded $1 million in value. This is up 25% year-on-year. The total value for these large deals increased 36% year-on-year. For FY ’13, large deals increased by 18%.

Autodesk’s AEC business had record quarterly results. Strong growth in AEC Suites to the growing implementation of BIM across all disciplines of the AEC industry, including infrastructure. BIM 360 wins in Q4 were concentrated in construction, reflecting Autodesk’s leadership role in providing cloud and mobile technologies to that industry.

From a geographic perspective, Q4 revenue was driven by strong results in Asia-Pacific. Strong growth in Japan and China led APAC’s results. EMEA had modest growth as reported, but was better on a constant currency basis. Results in EMEA were led by strong large deal activity in Northern Europe.

Read the rest of Autodesk CEO Carl Bass on Autodesk Financials

Geomarks represent the recording of localization on a map

February 20th, 2013 by Susan Smith

A geomark is the recording of a localization on a map. According to Esri ”one Geomark identifies a particular geographical localization, which you wish to save and to reuse later”.  A Geomark is equivalent to a GIS feature and can be stored in the .twz file format. That file format store features geometries, attributes, forms, blanks and attachments. Forms are GUI elements used in the PDF world to edit those feature attributes. GeoMark Export lets you export either selected or all visible features from all the feature layers selected and currently, all layers are enabled for editing in the PDF world and any hyperlinks or hot links present in ArcMap become attachments in the .twz file.

The following video talks about a collaboration between Esri ArcGIS and TerraGo using the Geomarks.

Greenhouse gas emissions tracked by EPA web-based map tool and mobile app

February 19th, 2013 by Susan Smith

The EPA tracks Greenhouse Gas Emissions from large facilities are shown using this map tool:


The data does not reflect all GHG emissions from all facilities, only those who reported to EPA as of 01/15/2013. EPA continues to quality assure data and plans to release updated data periodically. Interested individuals can view emissions in their states and do a custom search.

Overwatch releases the 3D viewer, LIDAR Analyst 5.1

February 14th, 2013 by Susan Smith

Skip Maselli, Overwatch vice president of Geospatial Solutions, spoke on their new product LIDAR Analyst 5.1 3D Viewer, for managing LIDAR data with mission-critical high-resolution 3D exploitation.

LIDAR 3D Viewer image showing extracted Seattle downtown with threat dome.

Read the rest of Overwatch releases the 3D viewer, LIDAR Analyst 5.1

Ushahidi launches new Uchaguzi partnership for elections

February 12th, 2013 by Susan Smith

On March 4, 2013, there will be a Kenyan election again. Readers might remember that the innovative company Ushahidi influenced the Kenyan election in 2007 and is now asking the question, what would we do differently if we were to do this again?

Ushahidi, in response to that question, announces the official launch of the Uchaguzi Kenya 2013 partnership. Uchaguzi’s goal is to help Kenya hold a fair and credible election. Uchaguzi is a joint initiative between Ushahidi, Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) and Hivos Foundation with the additional support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Citizen participation or crowdsourcing is a big part of Uchaguzi’s strategy, with the Uchaguzi platform built on and by Ushahidi. Citizens will be empowered to report any changes they see in the election.

Uchaguzi Kenya 2013 launched

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