GISCafe Weekly Review August 16th, 2012

Future’s ‘Cloudy’—and That’s a Good Thing
August 14, 2012  by Don Talend

Newly released system of integrated, industry-specific software solutions boosts work efficiency across functional and geographic boundaries

One industry that is characterized by continuous improvement is information technology. An IT innovation for business that has begun to penetrate the mainstream of business activity is enterprise cloud computing, which utilizes groups of computers in various locations that aggregate data storage as well as Internet gateways for network access from any location. The result is a level of data processing power and storage that rivals those of local or wide-area networks—accessible to work groups that are spread out across countries, continents or the entire globe.

Field crews can store project data in a subscriber account that is accessible to other work groups, rather than in separate, self-contained field devices.

TerraGo brings collaboration to non-GIS experts
August 14, 2012  by Susan Smith

TerraGo Technologies, maintained by Carahsoft, recently previewed their latest release  Mobile for Android and announced the acquisition of Geosemble, which brings into the fold GeoXray.

Parent company Carahsoft is a government IT solutions provider providing software solutiosn for federal, state and local government agencies. Under the company umbrella are solutions from not only TerraGo, but Adobe and other geospatial intelligence solutions.

Jim Sheen, vice president of products and services for TerraGo , Jessica Sunday, technical account manager and Nathan Jones, vice president of engineering spoke about the recent news in a webinar.

TerraGo’s claim to fame is its unique GeoPDF format, which allows for geospatial information to be accessed and displayed in a PDF format. TerraGo covers collaboration and workflows for deploying GeoPDFs for maps and imagery.

For the enterprise, TerraGo provides a suite of applications that help both small and large enterprises and Fortune 100 companies to produce, access and share geospatial information with anyone, anywhere. These applications are for those who are not GIS experts and don’t have access to GIS software, as well as those who do.

Round trip workflows can be designed with TerraGo that travel from the enterprise to the outside edge of the enterprise. The upcoming TerraGo V6 serves as a platform for geospatial applications and for moving spatially aware information among different users and systems throughout the workflow.

“Field users don’t have to be GIS experts, so that users represent a wide range of different skill sets,” said  Sheen. “We make solutions as simple to use and economical as possible. They can be used online and in a disconnected offline way.”

This is very important when communications are unavailable and in military communications.

“TerraGo Publisher plugs into your existing GIS  to deploy the geospatial assets as GeoPDF maps and imagery,” said Sheen. “So it allows you to take the complexity built into your maps and imagery in the GIS system, simplify it and make it interactive and portable, so it can be used downstream collaboratively.”

PDF maps and imagery can be further extended using  TerraGo  Composer, to build and configure different types of geospatial apps, for example, GeoPDF mapbooks or digital atlases, that can be deployed to the field with either the TerraGo Toolbar or TerraGo Mobile. Toolbar and Mobile enable end users to interact with the maps and imagery, gather  on-the-ground intelligence and collaborate with other users. Once that’s done, in some cases, the end result for the customer is to get data out to the field where the remote workers can collaborate with one another. The field data that has been updated can be entered into the enterprise GIS.

The new version 6 to be available in a couple of months, will contain TerraGo Publisher for ArcGIS, Composer for Acrobat and TerraGo Toolbar.

New enhancements in annotation and geomarking have been added to Toolbar and Composer so end users can use Adobe Reader with Toolbar to add, edit, annotate and add geomarks on any PDF produced directly in the TerraGo system. As you create GeoPDFs they become immediately available.

Geoforms are data entry forms that can be attached and georeferenced to geomarks and annotations. Those forms can be distributed to field workers for field data collection and real time sharing and that data can also be reconsolidated into the enterprise GIS.

Also in the news, TerraGo announced the acquisition of Geosemble Technologies located in Manhattan Beach, Calif.,  founded in 2004. This company is a spin-off from the University of Southern California, where new technology is being developed.  Geosemble’s flagship product is called GeoXray. GeoXray mines and processes content from various sources including new social media and blogs, and can analyze that data by place, time and topic. It is able to  find this information and present it in a way that it is easily consumable. It can reduce the amount of time analysts have to spend sifting through data.

Users can discover relevant spatial content through GeoXray and find other content to compose dynamic intelligence apps and reports to collaborate both online and offline.

TerraGo Mobile App for Android, available in coming months, will take the best of Android and the TerraGo Toolbar, with which it shares some functionality.  Any user can use geospatial in connected or offline enviornments. TerraGo Mobile for Android can help with situational awareness, simplifies collaboration and data exchange in the field through geoforms, allowing users to take photos and geotag them.  Users can share both structured and unstructured data with this app.

In summary, TerraGo has been well positioned to move into the mobile and non-GIS expert market, making GIS and geospatial accessible to a broader number of users by extending the reach of GeoPDF. It will be interesting to see where the company goes with the new offerings. With its simple but elegant link to Adobe PDF, coupled with the recent acquisition of Geosemble for data mining,  the possibilities look endless.

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