Geospatial Going Forward – 2011

This may also open the door to do better collection and management of what citizens have to offer, according to Brian Wienke, lead GIS product manager, Accela Inc. who demonstrated their update release of Accela Automation - 7.0.5 and Accela Citizen Access at Esri this year. The company also offers Accela Mobile Office solution for tablet PCs, which embodies some of the same ease-of-use functionality.

Wienke suggests that what most customers want to receive from the public is data about abandoned vehicles, graffiti, potholes and possible dangers, and where those are located.

Some GIS departments in city and county agencies say they're not ready for the influx of volunteer data coming as their network or geodatabase isn't ready. But in many ways, GIS departments are already dealing with this data. 311 systems are employed by local and state agencies to handle non-emergency calls from citizenry with regard to road closures, potholes, complaints, non-working traffic signals and other useful information.

New applications are being developed to enable users to update maps through online editing tools, such as TomTom's work on a new Map Share type edition to allow their 50 million users to update maps through online editing tools “across every TomTom platform such as smartphones, on the web and PNDs,” according to Alain De Taeye, board member and co-founder and former chief executive of digital map-maker TeleAtlas. Also TomTom is planning to open its API so that third party developers can create LBS apps to be bought from a TomTom app store much like the iOS apps to be downloaded to its devices.

The USGS is looking at ways to edit the volumes of updates and changes that arrive from various sources to their maps, and are looking at OpenStreetMap and Google MapMaker to provide that service.

The announcement of Esri's Community Maps Program this year at Esri UC made another contribution to the growth of VGI . The program allows organizations to contribute their own geographic data including imagery to ArcGIS Online basemaps which can then be shared with the geospatial user community. The maps can also be accessed from ArcGIS for iOS, ArcPad 10, ArcGIS Desktop 10, and free and open web mapping APIs from Esri. ArcGIS Online is a place where users (not just GIS users, but anyone) can find resources shared by ESRI and GIS users everywhere.

Esri's Community Base Map is an interesting concept that seems to take the best of crowdsourcing or “volunteer geographic information,” so to speak, by taking the “best available data sources” from the professional GIS community - “another view of crowdsourcing.” Community Base Map will allow users to move some assets to the cloud.

OpenStreetMap (OSM) has been offering an open map program for some time now. The difference is that OpenStreetMap is not aimed specifically at the GIS community, but at the world community at large. Anyone who wants street maps and other data can get it, and anyone who wants to submit geographic data to OpenStreetMap can do so. The information is uploaded to OpenStreetMap's central database and can be edited by anyone who might know the area better, or have some additional information to impart. These maps can be used without the concern of legal restrictions. This has been especially helpful to drivers, bikers, and hikers, as well as for real estate purposes, locating homes that you might want to purchase, including all kinds of information such as purchase price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and directions to the home.

MapQuest has just launched its first U.S. site built on OpenStreetMap (OSM) data.

earthmine has the same model as ArcGIS Online: a central data repository with ecosystems of client applications that allow you to pull data and use them in menus and different ways such as from ArcPad and iPhones.

An Esri partner, earthmine is a 3D mapping company with a 3D mapping system that employs stereophotogrammetric cameras, and some core technology which was licensed from the jet propulsion labs and was used in the Mars exploration vehicle, Rover.

earthmine has had its own workflows, development tools and software stack which included SDK for flash and web development and SDK for mobile development for some time now. They realized that a lot of people have existing workflows around ArcGIS Desktop, so they created an extension for ArcMap that allows people to view earthmine imagery right inside ArcMap and link that directly to their database.


What can we then expect to see in 2011 with regards to the management of data coming from various devices?

Perhaps a convergence of data in one central geodatabase, the ability to access that data from any device - whether in the office or on a mobile phone or PND, the ability to be able to manage large datasets and 3D imagery via either servers or the cloud, cutting time and hopefully costs of high end computing, the merging of GIS and building information modeling for the formation of 3D cities, the ability to map the indoor landscape, will inform new opportunities for GIS consumers beyond the professional.

And with that convergence perhaps the lines between authoritative data sources and volunteer geographic sources will blur as government agencies and other relied upon sources will recognize their need for the information that comes only by way of the concerned citizen.

Top News of the Week

MapQuest, a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Inc. announced the launch of its first U.S. site built on OpenStreetMap (OSM) data, an information source encouraging consumer contributions. Located at, the new site empowers consumers to improve MapQuest map data by adding rich content such as tourism attractions, footpaths, new businesses or developments, and biking or hiking trails.

TomTom announced that its newest update to the TomTom App for iPhone, version 1.6, includes TomTom Map Share. With the addition of Map Share, TomTom continues to deliver the most up-to-date and accurate maps. The latest version of the TomTom App for iPhone is available on the App Store..

Navigate the highways of North America with your iPhone at no cost, with the launch of NavFree USA. From Navmii, a publisher of GPS location-based applications, NavFree is a community-based navigation product for iPhone and iPad.

More than 700,000 users across the UK & Ireland have already downloaded the free GPS/Satellite Navigation app available from iTunes. Now the USA can experience NavFree, which does everything you would expect from expensive in car GPS/satellite Navigation.

ERDAS announced the official release of ERDAS 2011 Software, including ERDAS IMAGINE, LPS, ERDAS APOLLO, ERDAS Extensions for ArcGIS 10 and other leading desktop and server products.

Portfolio-wide changes for the ERDAS 2011 Software Release include the ability to localize ERDAS products for a global audience, integrated support for Bing™ Maps base imagery and map data, distributed processing throughout the desktop offerings, and a new product, ERDAS Engine. ERDAS Engine is a simple, cost-effective solution that boosts processing power for ERDAS IMAGINE and LPS, leveraging existing hardware resources for increased production needs or situations requiring faster production output.


GeoEye, Inc. announced that it has completed the purchase of 100 percent of the stock of SPADAC, Inc., a geospatial predictive analytics company, for $46 million in cash and stock. With the completion of the acquisition, SPADAC has become a wholly owned subsidiary named GeoEye Analytics. GeoEye Analytics currently provides geospatial predictive analytic solutions to over 40 customers in key markets of defense, intelligence and homeland security, enabling their customers to gain the insight they need to support mission-critical operations around the world.

GeoEye, Inc. filed a shelf registration to register the common stock that is issuable upon the conversion of the Series A convertible preferred stock that was issued by GeoEye in the previously announced private placement on Sept. 22, 2010, to Cerberus Satellite LLC, a limited liability corporation controlled by Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. ("Cerberus"). These shares are being registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to a registration rights agreement with Cerberus. This does not represent the current sale or disposition of these shares by Cerberus Capital.

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