Create Highly Detailed 3D Models with SketchUp's ArcGIS Plug-In
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Create Highly Detailed 3D Models with SketchUp's ArcGIS Plug-In

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! A 3D product that has recently caught the interest of GIS users is @Last Software's SketchUp that allows users to create basically anything in 3D. The recently announced SketchUp ArcGIS plug-in enables ArcGIS users who have the 3D Analyst extension to quickly create highly detailed 3D models. Read about this technology in this week's Industry News.

GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Appointments, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at Managing Editor

Best wishes,
Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News
Create Highly Detailed 3D Models with SketchUp's ArcGIS Plug-In
By Susan Smith

3D “virtual reality” has been talked about a lot in the GIS world, but most people content themselves with 2D maps and cartography. The advent of technologies as Google Earth, however, have brought home the fact that now it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to have 3D to view your maps and geometric data.

A 3D product that has recently caught the interest of GIS users is @Last Software's SketchUp that allows users to create basically anything in 3D. @Last Software is a small software company that has gained a surprising following among CAD users with its simple, but highly effective SketchUp program. Founded in 1999, SketchUp was created by a group of design software veterans who wanted to create a program that would allow design professionals to actually sketch on the computer to develop their ideas. Inexpensive and simple, SketchUp is something that nearly everyone can use, but has tremendous potential for professionals.

According to the literature, most users are able to create a useful model within the first hour of playing with SketchUp. The product is a 3D modeling tool that allows you to design in 3D. The product works will all major file formats and is designed to be compatible with most modeling, image editing and illustration applications. The SketchUp component library contains over 3,000 high quality files that allow nearly everyone to create whatever models and scenes they need for their work.

The software is priced at $495 for a single user license.

So where is the GIS tie-in? you might ask. The recently announced SketchUp ArcGIS plug-in enables ArcGIS users who have the 3D Analyst extension to quickly create highly detailed 3D models. With this plug-in, you can visualize 3D models in SketchUp then seamlessly transfer the 3D models to an ArcGIS geodatabase for further analysis. What you need to be able to do this are ArcGIS 9.X with the 3D Analyst extension, SketchUp 5 ESRI plug-in, and SketchUp 5.

Additionally, for general GIS and CAD users, SketchUp 5 has added new “snappy dialogs” which make all the settings panels stick together. New ways of managing keyboard shortcuts have been added and there are some new tools, called “the Sandbox,” which adds modeling terrain and other organic shapes capabilities. GIS users are able to bring in survey data and create a surface from contours, draw a surface from scratch, build berms and hills, put roads, building pads etc. in your model with the new Stamp Tool, and project 2D geometry onto any complex 3D surface with the new drape tool, plus add the Add Detail Tool to add resolution to any surface. Sketchup reads a variety of file formats, including shape files, feature classes, orthophotos, and TINS, CAD data - DXF and DWG, DEMs and SDTs, raster data such as digital photos, JPG, TIFF, PNG, etc.

There is also a new TourGuide technology, a viewing tool that allows you to view a building or site from different angles, giving you the functionality of animation without long rendering times.

In addition, SketchUp 5 has focused on organizing and managing your model with the following enhancements:
- The Outliner which gives you a new view of your model
- Replace Selected lets you swap in new components, or modify a general design and make it more detailed on the fly.
- You can now lock SketchUp groups and components in order to keep from editing inadvertently.
- Select All Instances lets you select all in-model instances of a selected component, so that you can more easily replace them all at once.
- FaceMe Shadows helps you to make more realistic shadows by giving you shadows cast as if the object were facing the sun.

Import and Export capabilities allow a smooth transition in and out of SketchUp, with the new DWG/DXF export and import. If not using DWG/DXF, then the 3DS exporter is great for those other users who need options such as:
- Large meshes greater than 65K vertices or faces split into multiple meshes.
- Smoothing now supported
- The welding of vertices now supported.


Laser-Scan and Fujitsu have signed an agreement to provide Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI®) with an on-line solution to deliver mapping services via the Internet to both Government and Public users.

This project, known as CAMEO (Customer Access to Maps Electronically On-Line), will assist OSNI in meeting its 2005 e-government targets while addressing existing and potential customer requirements.

Municipal Software, a provider of business process automation solutions for government is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement to distribute the line of meeting management products for local government application created by SOMACOS of New York, USA and Salzwedel, Germany.

CollabraSpace, a provider of secure, real time enterprise collaboration solutions, and ObjectFX Corporation, a in delivering dynamic location-enabled spatial information solutions, announce that they have partnered to develop a Collaboration Analysis, Production and Dissemination Environment (CAPDE). This solution integrates geospatial analysis and presentation capabilities directly into a collaborative analysis workspace and can provide immediate value to the three Homeland Security Communities - Defense, Intelligence and Law Enforcement.

By converting to the legal status of a limited liability company (GmbH), GfK MACON is completing its integration into the GfK AG network.

GfK first acquired a share in the former MACON AG at the beginning of 2002. The company then increased its shareholding in GfK MACON to 100% at the beginning of 2005. The change of corporate form will take place in August.


NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) outlined research that has helped to improve the accuracy of medium-range weather forecasts in the Northern Hemisphere.

NASA and NOAA scientists at the Joint Center for Satellite Data Assimilation (JCSDA) in Camp Springs, Md., came up with procedures to improve forecasting accuracy. The scientists worked with experimental data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite., the world's leading weather authority, is offering breaking news videos of Tropical Storm Katrina to Verizon Wireless' V CAST subscribers. The videos are filmed on-site from South Florida and the ensuing path of the storm, and made available on's website and wireless services.

Tadpole Technology Group announced the roll-out of GO! Sync (Redline) at JEA, a community-owned utility that serves 750,000 accounts in Northeast Florida.

In 2004, JEA selected ESRI's ArcGIS software as its GIS enterprise standard. As part of that selection, Tadpole Technology was chosen to implement a field mapping solution that supports electric, water and sewer operations. This field implementation uses GO! Sync (Redline) to enable over 300 JEA field personnel to leverage enterprise information in support of existing GIS operations.

Intergraph Corporation announced it has been selected by the Louisville, Ky., MetroSafe Communications and Emergency Management to provide its multi-jurisdictional incident response and management system, which includes software, hardware, peripherals and integration services. The contract is valued at $6.4 million (U.S.) and includes computer-aided dispatch (CAD), mobile computing and reporting and analysis software.

The recorded presentations from Laser-Scan's 16th User and Partner Conference last month are still available online for viewing.

GISCI has added a new testimonial and recognition section to its website. These pages will provide testimonials from certified GIS professionals (GISP) detailing the intrinsic and extrinsic benefits of the credential. Many have inquired as to what the GISP means and how it is gaining acceptance and visibility. Although this is not hard data, it will provide a snapshot as to how GISP is being recognized across the community. All GISPs are invited to email similar testimonials and a picture of themselves. These will help provide a name, face, and experience to the credential.

The recognition section of the website will allow GISPs to share how their organization went above and beyond to showcase a GISPs accomplishment. This site will offer press releases, article, citations, etc. that brought further attention to the credential. A sample press release is available for organizations who would like to recognize their GISPs in a similar fashion.

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released new American Housing Survey (AHS) data on costs and other housing characteristics for 13 metropolitan areas. These areas are: Atlanta; Cleveland; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis; Memphis, Tenn.; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; Sacramento, Calif.; San Antonio; Seattle; and St. Louis. The AHS is conducted by the Census Bureau and sponsored by HUD.

Ofek Aerial Photography International Ltd. (Ofek), a leader in aerial photographic applications, announced that it flatly denies the allegations of patent infringement contained in a lawsuit brought against it this week by Pictometry International Corp. in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

URISA's 2005 Annual Conference, to be held this October in Kansas City, will feature, in addition to a full program of presentations and workshops, a full day Summit meeting to carry on the efforts of the National GI 3C (Cooperate, Coordinate, Collaborate) Summit held in May 2003. That meeting assembled U.S. Federal agencies along with state and local government representatives to discuss various National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) initiatives and their impact at the local level. This meeting brings Federal, state, and local agencies back together to track how the first Summit's recommendations have been implemented. The emphasis for this year's Summit is how local and state governments can more effectively contribute geodata to the NSDI, and how Federal agencies can more effectively provide resource assistance to do so.

The Carbon Project announced that attendees from multiple organizations successfully completed another session of the world's first training course to focus on applied Open-Geospatial Development. The course, Fundamentals of Open-Geospatial Development with CarbonTools, was held on August 9-10 at Intergraph in Reston, Virginia.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is sharing dirt about the geology of the Las Vegas region with the release of a new geologic map.

The USGS map was designed to respond to land-use issues and challenges that Las Vegas is experiencing due to rapid urbanization. Using GIS-based earth science information, the map can be used to investigate major issues such as water supply and quality, land subsidence due to ground-water withdrawal, and seismic and flood hazards.

ESRI announced that Intransix, a provider of wireless location-based applications, has added ESRI's ArcWeb Services maps and data into its WorkoutGPS wireless and Web-based application for GPS-enabled mobile phones. ArcWeb Services are hosted Web services that include map data and on-demand geospatial capabilities needed to add real-time locations, addresses, points of interest, dynamic maps, and routing directions to Web and wireless applications. Map data storage, maintenance, and updates are handled by ESRI, eliminating up-front map database, geospatial software, and ongoing maintenance expenses.

Avaya, a leader in business communications applications, systems and services, announced it has been positioned in the Leader Quadrant of the North American Corporate Telephony Magic Quadrant, 2005, according to a report published by research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc.*

According to the Gartner research report, the Corporate Telephony Magic Quadrant evaluates the capabilities of a select group of vendors to consistently support the communications requirements of organizations in North America. To be included in the Magic Quadrant, vendors need to have substantive sales and operation presence across each region, demonstrable telephony solutions for corporate enterprises, and generated significant vendor interest from leading client segments in the market. Vendors are evaluated against completeness of vision and ability to execute. Vendors listed in the Leader's quadrant are performing well today, have a clear vision of market direction and are actively building competencies to sustain their leadership position in the market.

There's a bit of invisible magic enabling the mapping website that shows the current positions of the sailing vessels in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race from the Isle of Wight to Plymouth, UK. Visitors to see colorful maps from Netency with regularly updated data on 13 of the 283 yachts. But what pulls all the data together underneath? The elegant use of open geospatial standards.

Netency has mapped races on its website since December 2003. The Rolex Fastnet Race is the fifth this year. How does the company "custom build" a website for each race? It takes advantage of Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) standards that make calling one map as easy as calling another, no matter what software is used in the background.

TriTech Software Systems, a provider of integrated multi-agency public safety software solutions, announced that the eighth largest city in the United States has selected its core product offering, VisiCAD Command(TM), to replace Dallas' 30 year old computer-aided dispatch solution (CAD). The City of Dallas selected TriTech as the CAD vendor of choice to support its Police, Fire and EMS agencies. With the new system, Dallas emergency personnel will now be able to respond, operate and communicate in a more efficient and timely manner to its approximately 1,211,467 citizens.


Space Imaging announced the return of Jim Youker to Space Imaging as the new executive director of U.S Government and North American Sales.

Youker has more than 20 years of experience in the aerospace industry. Most recently, Jim was the director of Sales & Marketing at Earth Satellite Corporation. Prior to that, he was the director of Defense Programs at Space Imaging and also led the Product Management and Marketing departments.

Kurt Allen a vice president for Photo Science, Inc. in Greenbelt, MD and managing director of the firm's Maryland, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida office, was seated as the 13th President of MAPPS at the association's annual summer conference in Asheville, North Carolina in July.


MapInfo Corporation, global provider of Location Intelligence solutions, together with Queensland Transport have been recognized for their achievements in the Queensland Transport School Transport Top Up Project at the recent Queensland Spatial Excellence Awards Gala Dinner.


Michael Baker Jr., Inc., an engineering unit of Michael Baker Corporation (AMEX: BKR), announced the award of a contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, to provide master planning and Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) services. The three-year, $1-million-per-year, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract directs Baker to provide services to the Savannah District's areas of responsibility in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. With Baker's strong planning resume and recent GIT success for other Corps Districts, this award positions Baker for transformations of U.S. Army assets and pending Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) activities.

The New York Department of Transportation has placed an order for 84 Leica Geosystems' System 1200 GPS surveying instruments, which will be used for a wide range of general surveying and construction applications throughout the state. Heerbrugg, Switzerland:Leica Geosystems has supplied 84 GX1230 dual-frequency GPS survey receivers for RTK data and GeoOffice post-processing software for 11 locations. Technical support and service will be provided under a five-year service agreement.

New Products

MWH Soft, a leading global provider of environmental and water resources applications software, announced the worldwide availability of the V4 Generation of InfoSWMM for ArcGIS (ESRI, Redlands, CA). The release marks the most significant milestone to date in the evolution of the company's flagship urban drainage modeling product, firmly establishing it as the number one choice for the effective evaluation, management, rehabilitation and operation of wastewater and stormwater collection systems.

Franson Technology has released Franson CoordTrans v2.0, an easy-to-use application to convert geographic coordinates. Franson CoordTrans can be run on all versions of Windows.

A coordinate from a GPS typically uses the WGS84 datum. But maps and many GIS applications uses other coordinate systems like NAD83 and UTM. CoordTrans can be used to convert between virtually all coordinate systems on Earth.

Smugmug Inc., the ultimate photo sharing site, announced the launch of smugMaps -- a feature that allows users to combine photos and maps with a click. "If you've been there and done that, smugMaps let you prove it," said Don McAskill, co-founder and Chief Geek, Smugmug Inc. "Bragging rights aside, it's a great way to store your photos by location or let your friends and family experience your travels as though they were actually there."

Customers can enter an address for any photo or just click a spot on a map to link their pictures to any latitude and longitude on Earth. When friends visit their online albums, they click a map button to see stunning photos seamlessly integrated with scrollable, zoomable Google maps.

Around the Web

Miss Manners Wouldn't Approve: Snoops Bug the High-Tech Car ,August 14,2005 - By IVAN BERGER, The New York Times -- Don't be too sure your car is an island of privacy. Under certain circumstances, outsiders can eavesdrop on conversations among you and your passengers if your car has a built-in Bluetooth telephone ... Bluetooth provides a low-power wireless connection between your cellphone and your car -- it permits hands-free conversations...

"Lost" Giant Waterfall Found in California A park ranger has rediscovered a 400-foot (122-meter) waterfall that went unseen for decades, hidden by rugged terrain and faulty maps.

Upcoming Events

Date: September 6 - 9, 2005
Place: San Juan, Puerto Rico
The X Conference of the Iberoamerican Society of Geographic Information Systems (XIBCGIS) will take place in the San Juan City (Puerto Rico) on September 6 to 9, 2005. The organization of the Conference is a responsibility of the Department of Environmental Health, Department of Geography, Department of Environmental Sciences, the Atlantea Project and the Divisions of Continual Education of the Graduated School of Public Health and the Rio Piedras Campus. All these institutions are part of the University of Puerto Rico.
PGIS 2005
Date: September 7 - 10, 2005
Place: Nairobi, Kenya
"PGIS 2005 - Mapping for Change: International Conference on Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communications." A conference on exchanging experiences and towards defining good practices in participatory GIS and community mapping in developing countries and first nations.

2005 ESRI Homeland Security Summit
Date: September 12 - 14, 2005
Place: Adam's Mark Hotel Denver, CO USA
The ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit is a forum for executives and management teams to evaluate their levels of readiness for information management, business continuity, and technology solutions for homeland security. Those with responsibilities in public safety, law enforcement, health, utilities, telecommunications, transportation systems, IT integration, business, or anyone using or interested in GIS solutions for managing and sharing geospatial information should attend.

GEA 2005
Date: September 15 - 17, 2005
Place: Poznan International Fair Poland
The International Geodesy and Geoinformatics Fairs (GEA) taking place in Poznan cover a wide range of diverse branches such as geodesy, forestry, building trade and architecture as well as companies dealing with energy, water and heat supply, telecommunication, road, rail, air, and water transport or professionals from such fields as ecology, geography, and spatial engineering. Geoinformatics, a rapidly developing branch of science, functions as the entity joining all those areas of interest.

Northeast Arc Users Group (NEARC)
Date: September 18 - 21, 2005
Place: Holiday Inn by the Bay Portland, ME USA
The Northeast Arc Users Group (NEARC) is one of several independent regional organizations that represent users of Geographic Information System (GIS) software developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) of Redlands, California. ESRI software includes, among other things, such well-known GIS products as Arc/Info and ArcView. NEARC was formed in 1986; the geographic area encompassed by the group includes New England, New York and New Jersey, with some participation from users in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The twentieth annual NEARC is Sept. 18-21 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, Maine. Speakers include Joe Kelley of the University of Maine and Jeff Jackson and Andy McDonald of ESRI. For the convenience of NEARC attendees, ESRI is offering two, two-day training courses immediately following the conference. Introduction to ArcIMS and Creating and Editing Parcels with ArcGIS will be taught on September 22 and 23 from 9am-5pm at the Portland Regency Hotel in Portland, ME. The Portland Regency Hotel is located within walking distance of the Holiday Inn By the Bay. Special pricing for these courses has been arranged.

The 14th Annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition
Date: September 19 - 21, 2005
Place: JW Marriott Hotel Houston, TX USA
The 14th Annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition is the world's largest gathering of oil and gas GIS professionals. We had record-breaking attendance last year. Don't miss this year's event-it will be bigger and better than ever!

International conference GIS Visions 2025
Date: September 19 - 20, 2005
Place: VSB-TU Ostrava, 17 listopadu 15, Ostrava-Poruba, Czech Republic
Dear GI-friends and sci-fi fans, We are organizing non-traditional conference concerned on geographic information science and technology. The goal of our conference is bring together people that are bored of traditional conferences in that area, that show usually solved problems from different points of view and applied in different areas. Our conference would like to present only ideas and views how geographic science and technology could look in the year 2025.

GIS in the Rockies - annual event - 18th Year
Date: September 21 - 23, 2005
Place: Invesco Field @ Mile High Denver, CO USA
The conference is organized by volunteers from the local chapters of the following professional societies: Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA, formerly AM/FM International), American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) Professional Land Surveyors of Colorado (PLSC). GIS Colorado A comprehensive program encompassing all of the society areas of expertise with workshops, technical talks, and an exhibitor/vendor hall. A third day consists of off-site events and tours to various GIS related venues.

CARIS 2005 Mapping a Seamless Society
Date: September 26 - 29, 2005
Place: World Trade and Convention Centre Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Hosted by CARIS, this year's 10th International User Group Conference and Educational Sessions will be the international training and management conference for CARIS customers and parties interested in exploring the benefits and application of spatial information management technology.