Autodesk 2010 Geospatial Products
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Autodesk 2010 Geospatial Products

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Industry News
Autodesk 2010 Geospatial Products
By Susan Smith

In a webcast last week, Autodesk announced their 2010 product releases, with new functionality across the board. Those products that focus on geospatial, namely, AutoCAD Map 3D, Autodesk MapGuide and MapGuide Enterprise, and Autodesk Topobase, have undergone changes in the user interface and embody some of the changes that were seen in the previous version of AutoCAD.

AutoCAD Map 3D 2010

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
Probably the most noticeable difference in AutoCAD Map 3D 2010 for existing users would be the different user interface that was actually part of the AutoCAD 2009 release. Since AutoCAD Map 3D is based on AutoCAD, the enhancements to that product impact Map 3D. Along those lines, the following are new features of AutoCAD 2010:

- Free-form design - This feature allows users to design "almost any form imaginable," according to press materials.

- Enhanced PDF Support - PDF Import and Underlay plus enhanced publishing features have been added.

- Parametric modeling capabilities which, used in tandem with drafting, keep information parallel and are used as a data aggregation tool.

-3D Printing capabilities make it possible for users to produce physical 3D models and prototypes by connecting to 3D printing services or personal 3D printers, much as they would with paper printing.

-Dynamic blocks make it possible for users to block author and edit, display action objects and test blocks while leaving the block editor open.

- New DWG File Format that includes a SaveAs Command to use to access DWG files created in older formats.

Primary new features in AutoCAD Map 3D 2010 include:

Because Map 3D is used across a variety of industries, namely utilities and telecommunications, there has been a challenge to create accurate as-built information stored in their infrastructure model or their GIS. The new 2010 version specifically targets this audience, so that any information captured through survey or GPS devices with handheld GPS can be used to update plans, drawings, database, GIS or the infrastructure model. In the past, this task has been accomplished by using a third party application or writing a custom piece of code.

More analysis functionality has also been added to Map 3D in 2010, with a whole set of overlay functions, which include being able to overlay polygons over polygons, points over polygons, and polygons over lines to accomplish overlays, intersects, cuts, clips and other typical spatial analysis functions.

Based on Windows Workflow Foundation is a new workflow framework, utilizing some code released by Microsoft. Using a visual editor, customers can build a series of tasks and run them at the click of a button. This can be used to automate a lot of repetitive steps without having to go through the user interface.

Mark Christian, product marketing manager, Geospatial said that AutoCAD 2010's parametric modeling capabilities can be used as a way to edit spatial information. "Ultimately the reason users are using Map is because it’s built on AutoCAD and they’re going to do some kind of drafting work,” noted Christian.

Over the past three years, developers of Map 3D have been building a set of analytical tools, knowing that overlay tools were much in demand. Christian said this was the last big piece they needed which is now in 2010. The overlay function is based on FDO data access technology which means “you can aggregate date from many different sources, it could be information that you have in Oracle database, or from an ArcSDE database, data that’s in an ESRI shapefile, and Autodesk SDF file, so you can bring it together thru FDO and run these overlay functions on that information.” This capability shows promise for other industries outside those that Autodesk primarily serves.

Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2010

For MapGuide Enterprise 2010, performance is the big enhancement. Because this product falls under the purview of Open Source, the Open Source community has become very involved and provided numerous benefits to the product. The best example of this, according to Christian, is a project called Open Layers, which is a Javascript library that allows you to take data from different sources and do a mashup. The Open Source community also combined MapGuide Enterprise and open source so that an open source developer can use the Open Layers library to integrate Google Map data along with proprietarily owned data to overlay and create a mashup. Christian said a lot of progress has been made within the Open Source community with this technology this year.

Autodesk Topobase 2010

Arnab Ganguly, Autodesk senior technical marketing manager, reported that the primary new feature in Topobase is their extension to Map 3D and MapGuide. This provides an infrastructure model management platform that allows users to maintain all the data created through Map 3D that users might want other users to access using MapGuide Enterprise on the web. It also gives users a set of tools that helps them work with the database at the same time.

Topobase 2010 makes management of the Oracle database very simple, according to Ganguly. Inside Topobase are specific vertical data models of vertical applications that allow users to get started quickly with a predefined structure in the database. There users can store poles, conductors, transformers, etc. created in Map 3D. Topobase can have different points of access, so Autodesk has set up enhanced security in that environment to define how much information different types of users have access to.

Topobase does come with vertical modules that address specific industries including water ,wastewater, gas and electric, also Land, a new vertical module specifically for Europe. Land can be a starting point for almost every single industry that works in the geospatial mode. Other enhancements include features around display models. The database contains all the users' infrastructure model information, and allows the user to dynamically generate drawings, dynamically generate the content seen on the screen based on a certain type of display style. For example, an engineer’s view might be very detailed in terms of everything seen in a network. This may include text that identifies the type of hydrant, the depth of pipes that feed into that hydrant, etc. The data can be color coded and dynamically generate information that an engineer would want to see. “It leverages the Map 3D thematic mapping capability so you see that little link between what the user really gets exposed to, it’s just their AutoCAD to Map 3D in terms of usage, but in terms of power it is dynamically database driven content that is shown to you onscreen,” said Ganguly.

Another new function in the 2010 release of Topobase is what is known as Smart Assembly. This feature allows users to create a pole with all things on it such as connectors, cross arms, transformers, and make it a single entity. This way when the user opens the pole, it will automatically add the appropriate cross arms, transformers and other geometries.

For engineers, this enhancement may take the challenge out of moving engineering data over to a GIS environment. Using the Map 3D environment with Topobase saves any data created in a system of record so that they can keep their GIS synchronized with updates in engineering. This also makes it possible for others in the organization to benefit from the vast amount of data generated in AutoCAD and Map 3D.

Top News of the Week

In a virtual press conference, Autodesk, Inc. announced new Infrastructure Modeling software products, which help users in utilities, telecommunications organizations and government agencies improve the design and management of their infrastructure. Autodesk's portfolio of products -- including AutoCAD Map 3D 2010, AutoCAD Raster Design 2010, Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2010, and Autodesk Topobase 2010 -- provides users with an intelligent and comprehensive solution for designing, visualizing, simulating and analyzing infrastructure assets and development plans.

Autodesk, Inc. has announced the release of AutoCAD 2010 software, one of the world's leading design and documentation platforms. Autodesk also announced the 2010 AutoCAD family of discipline-specific software and AutoCAD LT 2010 software for professional drafting and detailing. The latest release of AutoCAD introduces groundbreaking new capabilities to help users tackle their most challenging design problems, including free-form design tools, parametric drawing and enhanced PDF support, a top request from Autodesk User Group International (AUGI) members.

In a unanimous decision, the three-Justice panel of the California Court of Appeal affirmed the Santa Clara County Superior Court's decision requiring Santa Clara County to comply with public requests for a copy of its GIS parcel basemap, under the conditions of California's Public Records Act (PRA). The Court validated the California First Amendment Coalition's (CFAC) demand for the data at no more than the cost of duplication, and without restrictions of use.

GeoEye, Inc. announced the start of commercial operations for its new GeoEye-1 Earth-imaging satellite. The Company is also submitting imagery from the satellite to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) for their certification under the terms of the NextView contract.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) CLICK (Center for LiDAR Information Coordination and Knowledge) and Airborne 1 Corporation, a leading provider of advanced LiDAR services, rentals, and software worldwide, have entered into a collaboration to share extents of the largest compilations of high-resolution LiDAR point cloud data in the world.

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

Synergos Technologies Inc. (STI), an innovator of population-estimating technology and data for market researchers, announced its new partnership with Mediamark Research and Intelligence. This alliance gives companies using STI: Landscape's innovative consumer segmentation system direct access to consumer-purchasing intelligence from Mediamark's Survey of the American Consumer.

ESRI and Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. (IRE), has agreed to continue offering IRE members the ability to license ArcView software at a reduced rate. ArcView is ESRI's easy-to-use desktop geographic information system (GIS) software and is the most widely used software by journalists to more effectively communicate local, national, and international stories to readers.

ESRI has joined forces with the Microsoft Corporation to support the longtime efforts of the Kenyan-based Green Belt Movement.


Project team members EDS (an HP company), CARIS and LSC Group are proud to announce the final acceptance by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) of the Hydrographic Database (HDB) Project.

Through the HDB Project, EDS and CARIS have delivered workflow management technologies from EDS together with CARIS Bathy DataBASE and CARIS Hydrographic Production Database (HPD) software to manage and create paper and electronic chart products. This combined solution will represent an enterprise production environment where multiple products are created and updated from a centrally managed source.

The bid phase for the project began in November of 2004 and was awarded to EDS and CARIS in October 2006, as a result of a competitive demonstrator phase.

Ray Helmering and Thomas R. Loveland have been named the 2009 ASPRS Fellow Award winners. The ASPRS designation of Fellow is conferred on active Society members who have performed exceptional service in advancing the science and use of the mapping sciences (photogrammetry, remote sensing, surveying, geographic information systems, and related disciplines). The designation of Fellow is awarded for professional excellence and for service to the Society. Candidates are nominated by other active members, recommended to the Fellows Committee, and elected by the ASPRS Board of Directors.

Tele Atlas continued to advance digital map making with the availability of the first map database to contain new and adjusted roads based on feedback from map users.

Tele Atlas MultiNet 2009.02 is the basis for some of the world’s most used navigation devices and wireless, LBS and enterprise applications. It now contains new roads, as well as roads with adjusted geometry, detected or verified in part using real world GPS measurements on thousands of roads from TomTom Map Share customers. Map Share technology allows consumers to make instant corrections to maps directly on TomTom devices and to share information about their changes and routes to help improve the freshness of maps for all Tele Atlas map users.

New Products

Geocoding becomes much simpler with the new release of Address Coder 9.3. Marketers, direct-mail managers, and any organization that must manage large U.S. address lists can use ESRI's new Address Coder to segment and target addresses with latitude-longitudes, Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) codes, demographic data, and ESRI's Tapestry Segmentation codes.

Intermap Technologies announced that its flood modeling application used to assess address-specific flood risk throughout the Czech Republic is now commercially available to the general public. The application is available on the Czech Insurance Association’s (ČAP) web site for all consumers interested in obtaining property information for flood prone areas in the Czech Republic.

An innovative emergency alarm watch with GPS tracking and an integrated mobile phone has been launched by satellite tracking firm Masternaut Three X. Designed as a discreet personal protection solution, the robust and waterproof LoKate wrist watch incorporates a miniature mobile phone and GPS receiver with a panic button allowing mobile workers to alert help discreetly if in danger.

AtlasCT announced the release of its new Navigation API, the most advanced navigation API for easy development of Java ME navigation and location based mobile applications. AtlasCT will present the new Navigation API at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, 16-19 February.

Atlas Navigation API offers simple yet very powerful tools for adding full turn-by-turn GPS navigation capability to any mobile application on a wide range of mobile devices, in zero efforts and no GIS skills.

DMTI Spatial (DMTI) launched Location Content Cartridges (LCC) designed to address specific vertical industry business needs. Each LCC, built in collaboration with DMTI clients, is a unique, comprehensive solution providing next generation content not available as an integrated solution in the market . This new content will enable clients to conduct deeper analysis, solve pressing industry business problems, reduce costs, and increase their ROI on existing investments in location technologies.

Z Corporation unveiled two breakthrough handheld laser scanners to help organizations quickly and easily capture large swaths of 3D geometry and true color data for reverse engineering, inspection, product design, and a host of other applications.

3-GIS, an Alabama based software and services company has announced it will offer a Software as a Service (SaaS) pricing model for their thin client solutions to its consumers in the utility, telecommunications and Homeland Security industries.

With the SaaS subscription model, 3-GIS will eliminate the customer’s need to install or maintain its software. Instead of purchasing software with a one-time fee, customers will pay a monthly subscription fee. This subscription fee will alleviate the customer's burden of software maintenance, ongoing operation, and IT support.

Around the Web

Google Taking a Step Into Power Metering  February 9, 2009, by Matthew Wald and Miguel Helft, The New York Times (registration required) – Google will announce its entry Tuesday into the small but growing business of “smart grid,” digital technologies that seek to both keep the electrical system on an even keel and reduce electrical energy consumption.

Stimulus Bill Bears Imprint of Technology  February 9, 2009, by Charlie Savage and David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times (registration required) - To rally support for his administration’s economic recovery bill recently, President Obama invited about a dozen chief executives, seven of them from technology and energy companies, to the Oval Office.



2009 3GSMA Mobile World Congress
Date: February 16 - 19, 2009
Place: Barcelona, Spain

Welcome to the The 3GSMA Mobile World Congress is the world’s leading mobile communications conference, Fira and exhibition. Held annually since 1994, the event has attracted over 70,000 visitors from 175 countries, more than 1500 exhibitors and 2000 media and press representatives.

2009 Indiana GIS Conference
Date: February 17 - 18, 2009
Place: Bloomingtown Monroe County Convention Center
Downtown Bloomingtown, IN USA

Have you been working hard all year on a really great project? Have you found a technical solution to a difficult question? Have you learned something from your community of users? Come share your experience at the Indiana 2009 Annual GIS Conference!!!

2009 ESRI Federal User Conference (FedUC)
Date: February 18 - 20, 2009
Place: Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Take the geographic approach. The FedUC is the ultimate resource when it comes to using geospatial technology in government. The conference offers presentations from technical and industry experts, valuable insight from your colleagues, and the latest solutions that fit your agency. Professionals across organizations are invited to discover effective and efficient ways to meet goals, overcome challenges, and address issues.

2009 North Carolina GIS Conference
Date: February 19 - 20, 2009
Place: Raleigh Convention Center
Raleigh, NC USA

The 2009 NC GIS Conference will be at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh, NC on Thursday, February 19 and Friday, February 20. The theme, Capitalizing on Spatial Data, is a perfect fit for bringing the practitioners and users of GIS data together at this Eleventh biennial conference.

IMTA (EAME) Conference & Trade Show 2009
Date: February 20 - 21, 2009
Place: The Waterfront
Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

The International Map Trade Association (IMTA) represents the commercial interests of the global mapping and spatial information industry.

2009 Petroleum User Group (PUG) Conference
Date: February 23 - 25, 2009
Place: Houston Marriott Westchase
Houston, TX USA

From senior executives to GIS professionals, you will take away from the PUG Conference ideas and tools you can put to work immediately. See how to widen the scope of your GIS investment and invite your colleagues who work in IT and HSSE to learn how they can use GIS.

2nd Annual Florida Region of ASPRS Geospatial Symposium
Date: February 25, 2009
Place: Best Western Gateway Grand
Gainesville, FL USA

The Florida Region of ASPRS will be hosting the 2nd Annual Florida ASPRS Geospatial Symposium Feb 25th 2009. We are also hosting an ASPRS Certification Preparation Course taught by Bob Burtch the day before, for anyone interested in pursuing their Certified Photogrammetrist (CP), or Certified Mapping Scientist (CMS) certifications (or their respective Technologist Certifications).

Maptitude Mapping Software Training
Date: February 25 - 27, 2009
Place: Tampa, FL USA

Caliper Corporation, a worldwide leader in GIS, transportation and mapping software, invites you to express interest in Maptitude training classes. Please contact Caliper as soon as possible to express interest in these training dates.

ASPRS 2009 Annual Conference
Date: March 9 - 13, 2009

ASPRS proudly celebrates its 75th Anniversary throughout 2009, with special events taking place at the 2009 Annual Conference in Baltimore.

GEOFORM+2009 The 6th International Industrial Forum
Date: March 10 - 13, 2009
Place: Crocus Expo Exhibition Centre
Moscow, Russia

The 6th International industrial Forum of geodesy, cartography, navigation, geoinformation systems, engineering geology and geophysics, tunnel and utility systems construction.

PROGIS International Conference 2009,
Date: March 11 - 12, 2009
Place: Grand Media Congress Hotel Villach
Villach, Austria

The topic of this conference is the request for concerted activities to ensure that agriculture will be able to feed worldwide the ongoing growing population.Climate change, the reduction of natural resources, a stronger demand for bioenergy, urbanization and environmental protection, are additional mega-trends that have to be considered. Hence, globally there is a  strong demand for technologies and practical instruments for improving the planning, development and management of agriculture.

12th Annual AAAE GIS Conference & Exhibition
Date: March 15 - 18, 2009
Place: Hotel Allegro Chicago
171 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601 USA

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) is pleased to welcome you to the 12th Annual Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Conference & Exhibition, March 15-18, 2009 in beautiful Chicago, Illinois! In addition to a wide variety of presentations, panels and open discussions with Airport GIS managers, government officials, consultants and vendors, the conference provides: an educational Introduction to Airport GIS roundtable for those new to airport GIS, an Exhibit Room, and opportunities for sharing lessons learned with airports from across the U.S. and around the world.

For more discussions, follow this link …