The company Wacom has been around for 25 years with its display technology . I was first familiarized with this company through my work in the AEC industry (architectural, engineering and construction) for which it always seemed like a good fit, with its digitizer tablets and sketching capabilities.
Wacom has now come to GIS with its palette-based DTZ-2100 Interactive Pen Display, making a timely entrance at a time when ESRI’s Bill Miller is working with sketch technology, and the whole notion of “GeoDesign” suggests a way of designing GIS with new tools.
Wacom’s Mike Dana said the company is focused on changing the human to computer relationship. The product consists of a monitor or display, a pen and a driver. The brain power is in the monitor, and the pen is not intelligent but understands pen pressure so that the user will have a “canvas-based response.”
Wacom hasn’t worked out just what features you might be able to have with the pen pressure, however, Dana said that this capability, coupled with the pen’s strength of signal and tilt direction could be part of 3D of the future.
Dana said that the display, which has buttons on either side of the screen, can be configured as you wish, and you can execute 8-12 repetitive tasks at a time.
There is also a display toggle so that you can work on two screens simultaneously and the image will map directly to the second monitor.
“This product combines the convenience of touch with the precision of penpoints,” explained Dana.
An ESRI Authorized Business Partner, Wacom’s DTZ-2100 will be hanced with flat templates for ArcGIS 9.4. ArcGIS is added to the list of formats in the driver.
“The display is more accurate and precise than the Tablet PC,” claimed Dana. The specialized behavior of the pen, along with the ability to customize buttons to the workflow in office solutions make this a technology to look at.
I did note that the LCD panel is a big draw on power, however, it is powered separately from a PC. Currently, it is not really something you can take out in the field.
Wacom has two models: a 21.3 inch standard size display and a smaller one. The standard size including display monitor, pen and driver retails at US$2,000 and a smaller one is US$1,000.