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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 »

MapQuest Gets Intermap Technologies Terrain Maps

 
November 5th, 2009 by Susan Smith

Intermap Technologies announced this week that it has licensed shaded terrain products which leverage the nationwide NEXTMap 3D mapping database to MapQuest, Inc. Additionally, Intermap will deliver shaded terrain products for Europe from its NEXTMap Europe database and the remainder of the world for subsequent releases on the MapQuest.com consumer Web site and Platform products, according to press materials.

In April I reported on Intermap’s NEXTMap USA release. Completed March 16, 2009, NEXTMap USA is the first company-funded initiative to map 3.1 million square miles (more than 8 million km2) of the entire contiguous U.S. and Hawaii in 3D. Elevation data for the national dataset includes 3D digital terrain models, digital surface models, contours, 3D road centerline geometries, and other high-resolution geospatial products as part of the Company’s proactive mapping program.

“We’re really transitioning from the collection phase to truly putting everything on the shelf,” explained Kevin Thomas, vice president of Marketing, Intermap. “We finished collecting Europe in August of last year, so we still had to go through the editing process in order to create a finalized product that’s on the shelf. By the end of April we should have all of Western Europe, that is about 2.4 million square kilometers, to put on the shelf at the same time. Then we continued through the rest of this year to edit all the U.S. data so we can get it on the shelf at the beginning of 2010.”

When Intermap set out to collect the entire U.S., many people said it “can’t be done,” Thomas pointed out, and even near completion, watchers were incredulous. “They didn’t think it was possible to collect that much data over a couple of years’ time frame and then making it commercially available — it’s never been done.” Thomas noted that it took the U.S. government 30 plus years to collect it using varying methods to create the USGS DEMS “that obviously don’t have the accuracy and uniform nature that Intermap has collected.” Thomas said that the collection launches a whole new breed of applications in the future.

From the press release: “We are excited to provide MapQuest with terrain products that will boost its innovative online assets with our advanced wide area 3D map database,” said Garth Lawrence, Intermap’s senior vice president of strategic business. “By incorporating Intermap’s data products, MapQuest is delivering detailed terrain visualization that will enhance the map-viewing experience for MapQuest’s millions of users.”

Most end users won’t know where this robust technology comes from, nor what its potential is, however, the enhancements should definitely make their map experience more indepth.

More on Google Maps Navigation

 
October 29th, 2009 by Susan Smith

The press buzzed yesterday with countless articles on Google’s move into the GPS turn-by-turn navigation market for mobile phones, with its announcement that it will offer a free service for the new Motorola Droid called Google Maps for Mobile. Google will offer this service to more phones soon.

This announcement is profound for a number of reasons:

1) it picks up where standalone GPS devices and the subscription services offered by cellphone carriers are lagging, actually punches them in the gut by offering consumers a free service with which they cannot compete;

2) the announcement also signals a broader shift toward consolidation in the gadget world, according to The New York Times;

3) mapping data becomes an ever increasingly important piece in the entire navigation/location arena.

Prior to this announcement, Google had begun to create its own digital maps of the U.S., ending a contract with map data provider TeleAtlas, owned by TomTom, a provider of mobile phones. It was unforeseen by most in this industry that this would happen; we were accustomed to the sparring of TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ over the mapping data market, but did not think that space left any room for competitors. It is, after all, time consuming and expensive to gather this type of extensive data.

As a result of the announcement, yesterday shares of TomTom and Garmin plummeted – Garmin’s shares dropped 16 percent to $31.45 on Nasdaq, TomTom’s shares closed around 21 percent lower on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

The excitement about this is interesting in light of studies done by ABI Research, which I reported on in May of this year in GISWeekly, which found that consumers more readily printed out directions from Mapquest rather than relying on navigation devices or services on their mobile phones.

ABI Research practice director for telematics and navigation, Dominique Bonte, said many people may think everybody has navigation on his/her mobile phone or has a personal navigation device built in to the car, so why would they go to these online mapping sites on their computers to look for directions, then print the directions and keep the direction in the car?

“Although that’s still a use case, what I found is that most of the sites are very quickly evolving towards companion sites for your mobile navigation system, where after you’ve planned your trip days ahead, you can look at the trip, the traffic, and finally download to your mobile navigation device, which is much easier than having to look for destinations on your device,” explained Bonte. Typically mobile devices don’t have the same facility as computers to enter destinations and other important data. More importantly, Bonte added that these sites are very quickly evolving from offering solely traditional directions to expanding their scope to include such offerings as real time traffic information.

http://www10.giscafe.com/nbc/articles/view_weekly.php?section=Magazine&articleid=671235

That’s all changed, as just yesterday, Bonte was quoted as saying: “With a free alternative that is just as good, I don’t see much positive growth for the likes of TomTom, Navigon or Garmin. If it’s free and a good service, why would you pay for something you can get for free?”

Most likely printing out directions from Mapquest or Google Maps will still be highly desirable for planned trips, but for those spur-of-the-moment on the road decisions, or when you forget to make yourself a map beforehand, Google Maps for Mobile will be greatly appreciated.

I, for one, am excited about its future availability for my cell phone.

Google Maps turn-by-turn directions coming soon for Android 2.0 phones

 
October 28th, 2009 by Susan Smith

What consumers have been waiting for perhaps?

“Turn-by-turn directions powered by Google Maps will soon be
available for Android 2.0 phones, and don’t be surprised to see
this software find its way into other types of devices.”
Wed, Oct 28 07:00:00 PDT 2009 – CNET.com

Google Maps Navigation takes a mobile turn

GIS for economics in Lebanon

 
October 28th, 2009 by Susan Smith

Geographic Information System will help modernize Lebanon’s economy
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=1&categ_id=1&article_id=107887

By Mohammed Zaatari, The Daily Star, Lebanon

Bentley PowerMap standalone GIS

 
October 27th, 2009 by Susan Smith

geospatial1

In my recent GISWeekly report on Bentley’s Be Inspired Awards and Symposium product announcements, I neglected to mention the product PowerMap, which will enhnace the MicroStation V8i SELECTseries 1 technology but is a standalone product.

http://www10.giscafe.com/nbc/articles/view_weekly.php?articleid=753096

Company product description is as follows: “Bentley PowerMap is a full-featured standalone GIS designed to address the unique and challenging needs of organizations that map, plan, design, build, and operate the world’s infrastructure. It enhances underlying MicroStation V8i (SELECTseries 1) technology to power precision geospatial data creation, maintenance, and analysis. Users can easily integrate data from a wide variety of sources into engineering and mapping workflows. Multiple data types with varying coordinate systems are transformed “on-the-fly” as they are added to a session. Powerful analytical and presentation tools allow for detailed analysis, studies and decision support.”

Add street sense to GIS crime reporting

 
October 27th, 2009 by Susan Smith

For law enforcement, a lot of “GIS” begins on the street as police officers generally possess an innate knowledge of what areas on their beats are trouble spots. Those who are back at the office and doing crime analysis don’t have that field knowledge, however, they can identify hot spots with the help of:

http://crimeinamerica.net/2009/10/26/hot-spots-key-to-crime-control/

Here’s an idea: What if the GIS could include the so called “ground truth” gathered by police officers, as a specific sort of user-generated data?

Find the closest…er, haunted house

 
October 27th, 2009 by Susan Smith

Location-based technology enjoys some holiday fun with MapQuest’s latest “ghost icon search button” within the On-Map Search tool (located to the right hand side of the map).

This search shows not only locations of haunted houses and other Halloween festivities, but also includes a link to the web sites of haunted houses when available.

For more information, visit the MapQuest team blog at: http://blog.mapquest.com/.

GIS and why government can’t be more like business

 
October 21st, 2009 by Susan Smith

Herhold: Government failures flourish in dark by Scott Herhold, October 19, 2009 – San Jose Mercury News

Car theft reduced as a result of GPS technology

 
October 20th, 2009 by Susan Smith

An article in USA Today, October 19, by Donna Leinwand, entitled “Car theft slows to lowest in 20 years” cites GPS technology and ignition locks as the cause of this positive change.

“Reported vehicle theft has fallen to a 20-year low even as the number of vehicles on the road has doubled, as manufacturers install sophisticated anti-theft technology in cars and police target organized car-theft rings.”

Human Behavior Monitoring and Interpretation

 
October 16th, 2009 by Susan Smith

The 3rd Workshop on Behaviour Monitoring and Interpretation: Studying Moving Objects in a three-dimensional world, is to be held in conjunction with the 4th International 3D Geoinfo Workshop, and will take place on November 3 2009 in Ghent, Belgium.

“Modelling ‘reality’ has always been a fundamental issue in geography. Considering two major aspects of reality, i.e. space and time, leads to a crucial GIScience research domain concerning moving objects. Indeed, motion or movement enters the picture whenever one and the same object occupies different positions in space at different times. Great advances have been made in the context of positioning techniques in recent years. As a consequence, application areas such as navigation, location based services, ubiquitous computing, smart places, ambient intelligence, and more specific areas like ambient assisted living came into existence. One fundamental issue in all these areas is the consideration of locomotion behaviours of humans for whom such technologies are devised. Besides such application areas, different scientific fields, such as ecology or geographical information science call for methods helping in analysing the spatiotemporal behaviour of moving people. Moreover, these research fields and application areas state new fundamental questions concerned with the analysis of locomotion behaviour, making it necessary to provide a scientific forum as this workshop is intended to be.”

3rd Workshop on Behaviour Monitoring and Interpretation, BMI’09

http://www.3dgeoinfo.org/movingobjects

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