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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 »

The value of new media

August 12th, 2010 by Susan Smith

Some time ago I was at a technology conference where journalists were seated in classroom seating, listening to a day’s worth of speakers. Next to me was a blogger/twitterer, one of the new breed of reporters who may or may not get paid for writing what they write about the technology industry.

We each had our notebook computers in front of us, and each of us were taking notes. He leaned over several times as he continued to type as I listened, and he asked, “what did he say?”

I didn’t want to stop listening to the speaker in order to tell him, so I whispered, I’ll tell you afterwards. I had notes on what the speaker had said, and was tempted to say, you can read my notes.

It turned out the young twitterer was tweeting while he was at the event, so he had to keep at it or else…or else what?

The event raised several questions for me: what is the value of twittering, how can you provide useful information to those following a tweet if you can’t stay tuned into the event you’re attending? And really, who is reading it? Wouldn’t they prefer to read something that has been considered, thought about, and edited so that the writer’s perceptions are clear and concise, rather than a stream-of-consciousness type of entry?

Recently I was following the progress of the Tevis Cup Endurance Ride held in Auburn, Calif. on Twitter. I loved looking at the tweets to hear who reached certain vet checks along the way, who had had accidents or had to be pulled from the ride. I’m sure that was useful to relatives at home who were glued to their screens, waiting to see if their loved ones had made it the next leg of the journey. There were also live charts that weren’t on Twitter to tell you when your rider had reached a vet check and when they had left.

Also, tweets while at conferences are extremely valuable, as they can offer updates on events that you might miss otherwise – a change of room number, a cancellation, a new event that you should attend, etc.

I know that some people enjoy getting tweets when they’re shopping, but as I’m not a big shopper, I haven’t plugged into that usage.

In those instances, and I’m sure there are many others, I see the new media as very useful. But I’m really concerned about tweeting about what is right in front of you at a conference, keeping a constant stream going, when you are really unable to multi-task unless you stop to listen to the speaker.

It would seem that perhaps blogging would be a better choice, save it for later, when you have had a chance to digest the content a little, and the importance of it.

At one conference I heard a participant say that today’s journalism is not about editing, it’s about just putting content out there, never mind the accuracy, that can be caught up with later.

For those of us who write and edit for a living, accuracy is of utmost importance. Thankfully, after a conference, we see a spike in readership to our newsletters, blogs, videos and our website in general — which signals me that professionals still want to hear the whole story, not in blips and blobs but in its entirety….so they can get a sense of the focus of the event and where it might lead in the future.

We’re starting to see books of blogs, such as Julie and Julia, made into a feature film, but will we also begin to see books of tweets?

Clapper’s nomination meets with opposition

August 3rd, 2010 by Susan Smith

James R. Clapper Jr., former Under U.S. Secretary of Defense (intelligence) and former head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, is in the news as his nomination to become Obama administration’s new intelligence director has met with opposition from Sen. John McCain.


Clapper, who has had 47 years of service in the area of intelligence, has spoken at various geospatial and GIS conferences, among them GEOINT.

He was nominated by President Barrack Obama on June 5, 2010 to serve as the United States Director of National Intelligence (DNI).

AP source: Intelligence nominee has smooth session Las Vegas Sun

McCain Holding Up on Intel Nominee New York Times blog

McCain blocking spy-chief nominee Philadelphia Inquirer

Geo Bits & Bytes

August 2nd, 2010 by Susan Smith

The Geospatial Revolution Project Google Earth Blog


New mapAsheville information marks City of Asheville- and NCDOT-owned roads


Paperless Trail Launches Location Intelligence Tool


Government Works On Policy And Framework To Improve Geospatial Data Management


MapConnect puts the enterprise back into boundary data

July 27th, 2010 by Susan Smith

Geared toward the enterprise market space is Broadmap’s MapConnect Enterprise, a product that offers displays, geocoding and high quality boundaries, postal, Census and administrative boundaries. The company arose in response to the Recovery Act need to map serviceability of broadband and high speed internet access to determine where citizens were served or underserved in coverage. Broadmap maps this, reports it to the states and can do so for the federal government as well.

As a result of this effort, Broadmap was awarded with 8 states and territories.

The company is new but has a lot of GIS experience, as it has derived from GDT and TeleAtlas. Although TeleAtlas was acquired by TomTom, it’s interesting that MapConnect Enterprise is based on NAVTEQ based map data.

The product was showcased at Esri in the NAVTEQ booth this year.

APOLLO on the Cloud

July 26th, 2010 by Susan Smith

ERDAS APOLLO on the Cloud is an offering that gives users all the delivery power and data management of ERDAS APOLLO Professional on the Cloud.


When asked are people interested in using this as an adjunct to APOLLO Professional as a way to extend the desktop, CEO Joel Campbell replied:


“I think it’s more of an instead of. What we’ve noticed in market space for geospatial serving technology, is there’s a level of expertise that’s required – IT expertise, there’s a commitment to hardware and software that’s required that’s not typical in your GIS implementation and there’s a level of information technology – database software, middleware for web serving etc. We’ve noticed in a lot of organizations that our customers have a genuine interest in having that kind of serving technology but they don’t have access to that level of resource. They don’t have these IT departments and racks of servers laying around.”


Most people upgrade their hardware and software on a three year cycle, said Campbell. ERDAS makes an equivalent offering with the Cloud – you would spend the same or less money in three years and have access to the Cloud rather than own hardware and software that become outdated.


Presentation tool AddIn for ArcGIS 10 released

July 21st, 2010 by Susan Smith

new version of a presentation tool that was first designed for ArcGIS 9.2/9.3 was released as an AddIn for ArcGIS 10.  This AddIn is similar to the presentation capability recently added to ArcGIS Explorer.  The AddIn can be downloaded here from the new code gallery.

Esri Applications Prototype Lab Blog, Friday, July 16, 2010

More on

July 21st, 2010 by Susan Smith

A reader wrote in to ask if the data from was to be served up free of charge, as it isn’t clear from the website whether that is the case. If anyone knows the answer to this, please respond.

Esri’s Business Analyst Online (BAO) demographic data app available in Apple App store

July 21st, 2010 by Susan Smith

Announced before ESRI UC, was an iPhone application that provides users with detailed demographic data for any given location. The app, called BAO (Business Analyst Online), will be available for free at the Apple App Store.

-Government Technology, June 01, 2010 promises near-real time information

July 15th, 2010 by Susan Smith

“The partner agencies of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) are developing a Geospatial Platform to more effectively provide place-based products and services to the American public. The Geospatial Platform will be a managed portfolio of common geospatial data, services, and applications contributed and administered by authoritative sources and hosted on a shared infrastructure.”

On another page of this website, offers examples of how NOAA with the EPA, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Interior integrated up-to-date information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s trajectory with wildlife information, place-based locations of oiled shoreline and the positions of research ships into one map. utilizes the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) a web-based GIS platform developed by NOAA and the University of New Hampshire’s Coastal Response Research Center.

This may be a useful venue for volunteer geographic information (VGI).

More on acquisition of Intergraph by Hexagon AB

July 14th, 2010 by Susan Smith

A reader suggested I post this on GISCafe Today, as it ran yesterday on AECCafe Today:

The recent announcement that Intergraph has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Hexagon AB, raised questions among the media. Hexagon AB is a global measurement technology company, and the transaction is valued at approximately $2.125 billion.

According to the press release, “Upon closing of the transaction, Intergraph will operate as a separate Hexagon division under the Intergraph name and branding.  Intergraph will become Hexagon’s core software platform and will continue to provide differentiated and vertically-focused software solutions to its core industries.  Intergraph software will also be integrated into Hexagon’s existing measurement and precision technology system markets to provide a visual presentation layer for the management, analysis and sharing of the vast amounts of critical data produced by these products.”

Intergraph customers are assured that “upon closing of the transaction, Intergraph will operate as a separate Hexagon division under the Intergraph name and branding.  Intergraph will become Hexagon’s core software platform and will continue to provide differentiated and vertically-focused software solutions to its core industries.  Intergraph software will also be integrated into Hexagon’s existing measurement and precision technology system markets to provide a visual presentation layer for the management, analysis and sharing of the vast amounts of critical data produced by these products.”

One question that arose among those of us who have followed Intergraph since the days when Bentley Systems was owned by Intergraph, is: does Intergraph still own 30 percenet of Bentley Systems, and if so, how is Bentley affected by the recent news of this acquisition?

Chris Barron, vice president of corporate marketing for Bentley, responded:  ”As a privately held company, Bentley does not routinely report on the identity of its minority stockholders or the stockholders or the size of their holdings. However, in response to your question, we can advise you that the Bentley shares previously held by Intergraph were transferred to an affiliate of its private equity owners following its going private transaction in 2006 and we have no indications that those shares are part of the sale to Hexagon.” 

In 2006, Intergraph was acquired by an investor group led by Hellman & Friedman LLC, TPG Capital and JMI Equity.  Pending regulatory approvals, as well as satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed in the third or fourth quarter of 2010.
Incidentally, Hexagon AB is also the parent company for ERDAS, Inc., a company that focuses on incorporating geospatial earth information into businesses’ existing systems and data. ERDAS states that for the immediate future, they do not foresee any change in business as a result of the Intergraph acquisition.
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