An Open Business Model for Location Based Services and Wireless Data

What could make sense, according to Spinney, is hosted services. Example: you had six competing geospatial platforms that support the OpenLS standard and they were all hosted platforms. This doesn't exist today, but if it did, you could have a developer portal on the operator site and developers could go there and get access to an SDK. They could program against the OpenLS interfaces and then they could make a decision as to where they want to point their map calls.

The operator would not care where it went as the map would look the same, the API would be same, the route would be the same.

Reaching a large number of subscribers (35 million) requires broadening your channel, which developers are able to do. “They are the ones with the creativity, they are going to build all the applications,” claimed Spinney. “They will think of things that you never thought of. GIS companies aren't the ones thinking of the applications--they're just developing the enabling technology, and the amazing ideas come out of the community. The same thing is happening in the location space.”

In a recent article in Wireless Week, the wireless data problem and the “walled garden” is addressed. Operators have maintained a walled garden approach which directs consumers to content selected and organized by the operator, and presumably protects the subscribers from viruses and other predatory influences. If all the content is purchased through the walled garden and billed through the carrier billing system, then the operator is guaranteed its share of the revenue split. Verizon is such a company.

On the other hand, Spinney said that developers complain about the walled garden approach because they can't get into it. The approach stifles innovation and keeps new content out of the marketplace. Sprint offers a more open approach with SDKs and enabling technologies, and access to more off portal content, so developers can use them to create innovative applications and deliver them through multiple channels. However, even Sprint keeps close tabs on its sanctioned content which is at the top deck. And regardless of which model is used, it appears that using a carrier billing system is preferred so that operators can retrieve their cut of the revenue.

More on 3D Data Integration

In last week's GISWeekly, I wrote about Dr. Dipl-Ing Sisi Zlatanova, GIS technology director of the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, who gave a presentation at the BE Research Seminar on the framework for emergency management that they are implementing in the Netherlands.

Dr. Zlatanova informed me that she has a book now in production entitled 3D Large-scale Data Integration: Challenges and Opportunities (eds. Zlatanova and Prosperi, CRCpress), expected to be available in September, 2005. The topic was the subject of last year's research seminar.

This year, she said they plan to work on a book that will cover “Technology for homeland security and emergency response, “ which was the topic of this year's research seminar.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ Editor's Note: Unless otherwise noted, the material in the following sections is generally taken from press releases and does not reflect the beliefs or opinions of this publication.


European Space Imaging announced that the company has started the distribution of imagery from the new IRS-RESOURCESAT-1 satellite to customers in Europe and North Africa. RESOURCESAT-1 collects imagery at resolutions ranging from 5 to 60 meter which complements European Space Imaging's product suite of very high resolution IKONOS imagery of up to 80 cm resolution.

The distribution of RESOURCESAT-1 imagery by European Space Imaging is made possible through an agreement with Euromap of Neustrelitz, Germany. Euromap is the company responsible for the reception and distribution of imagery from the Indian Remote Sensing programme in Europe. The company started systematic reception and processing of RESOURCESAT-1 imagery over Europe in March of this year and has collected IRS-1C and 1D data since 1996.

Pictometry International Corp., a digital, aerial oblique imagery provider, announced that it has signed a five-year agreement with Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, WA. Under terms of the agreement, Pictometry will license existing and new nationwide aerial images to Microsoft to be incorporated into MSN Virtual Earth and other MapPoint product offerings.

Brazilian GSM operator Oi consolidated its position at the forefront of mobile innovation in Latin America with the announcement of plans to rollout a new generation of high accuracy location based services in partnership with CPS.


ObjectFX Corporation announced that it was selected by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.(TM) (OGC) and its sponsors to participate in the OGC Web Services Phase 3 (OWS-3) Interoperability Initiative. The initiative is designed to advance OGC Web Services, the set of OpenGIS(R) specifications for the emerging "Spatial Web." Under the agreement, ObjectFX will create an OGC compliant Web Feature Portrayal Service using the company's 2525B Compliant Military Symbology Rendering System.

A team led by Boeing submitted a proposal for the program definition and risk reduction phase of the next-generation geostationary weather and environmental system known as GOES-R.

GOES-R, which is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) program, will be an end-to-end system providing uninterrupted, high-quality environmental data to government and commercial users. The GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) family is the backbone of U.S. weather forecasting, environmental remote sensing and climate prediction. GOES spacecraft help meteorologists observe and predict local weather events, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, fog, flash floods and other severe weather. GOES observations also have proven helpful in monitoring dust storms, volcanic eruptions and forest fires.

Avenza Systems Inc., producers of MAPublisher cartographic software and MAPdataUSA and MAPdataWorld GIS data products, announced that it will support HarrysMaps of Switzerland and the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) project to remap the city of Nairobi, Kenya.

MapInfo Corporation, a global provider of location intelligence solutions, announced the launch of the 2005 National Survey of Local Shopping Patterns (NSLSP), the leading country-wide survey of shopping destination preferences based on the responses of more than six million households throughout Great Britain. Over a million new records are added to the survey program annually.

Also MapInfo Corporation announced that it has met the industry-optimized criteria in IBM's PartnerWorld Industry Networks. As a result, MapInfo can help insurance customers develop application "portlets" for improved decision-making across the entire organization. Built on the WebSphere portal server and the MapInfo Envinsa(TM) location intelligence platform, the portlets enable insurance carriers to improve risk analysis, enhance underwriting practices and increase profitability.

Tele Atlas and ESRI will present five U.S. and Canadian educators with scholarships to attend the 2005 ESRI Education User Conference (EdUC). Tele Atlas will provide recipients with $400 toward travel costs, and ESRI will provide complimentary admission to the conference in San Diego, California, July 23-26, 2005.

Ordnance Survey announced the first nationwide agreement for the supply of high-quality digital aerial photography from its OS MasterMap Imagery Layer.

The national mapping agency will supply data to the Forestry Commission to help with the development and promotion of sustainable forest management across Britain.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the release of new public web pages that show the probability of earthquake shaking in the next 24 hours in California. These maps graphically illustrate the change in earthquake probability during aftershock and possible foreshock sequences.

The maps are not intended to be used to predict an upcoming earthquake; however, based on previous earthquake sequences, an increase in probability will be seen before about half of California's larger earthquakes. The maps are updated at least once an hour.


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