Executive Views at Geospatial World 2005
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Executive Views at Geospatial World 2005

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! What do Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial executives have to say about Intergraph products and solutions? “When we stop thinking about data fusion and it just happens naturally then we can assume we've solved the problem.” - Preetha Pulusani

“The spatial component allows the decision makers to understand all this information in a spatial dimension. Our mission is to help to see the world clearly, to understand all those spatial pieces of information and model that in a way that you can understand it.” -Dr. Matt Tate

According to keynote presenter Thomas Koulopoulos of the Delphi Group, the geospatial community itself will be going through a pretty dramatic expansion.

And, take a look at what's happening this coming week at Bentley Systems' BE Conference 2005 in our Preview 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

Executive Views at Geospatial World 2005
By Susan Smith

Preetha Pulusani, President of Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions (IMGS)

Preetha Pulusani, President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions
Where do GeoMedia or G/Technology begin and Oracle take over in solutions that take advantage of the Oracle database? What does that look like?
We still depend very much on data management and everything associated with that, i.e., the data depository, the security, and transaction management as something that Oracle does. GeoMedia and G/Technology are very rich tools that can operate on that data, whether it's analysis or presentation or a combination of different types of data and do all collection and maintenance into that database. Now there are some things that overlap in terms of the technology that is in Oracle vs. that in GeoMedia and G/Technology, but what we're finding is that overlap, it's a technical overlap rather than a business overlap. We are less looking at just the tools, we're really looking at those vertical applications which are a lot more than just Oracle and GeoMedia, or Oracle and G/Technology. It's looking at the data models, and at the application functionalities, and some local requirements. We've got people now who really know how to take advantage of the Oracle database. The different tools for the database are like tuning for a performance. Our particular data format allows us to rely on Oracle databases to do that. We can look within our company for those technologies, the geospatial technology as well as the database technology.

The City of San Jose is an example of where we were able to put a trigger in the database in order to collect personnel information on what project they are working on and how much data are they collecting for this project. That was done by one of our guys, not an Oracle guy. This takes away any conflict about Oracle; the value of it is so great we don't worry about the overlap.

What has Intergraph's involvement been in the disaster recovery effort for the tsunami?
We work locally in both Indonesia and Thailand with our distributors there, and we provided basically all of our software and told them to come back and ask us if they needed any kind of engineering help. We didn't know how to approach the agencies locally, but our distributors do. Distributors are working with agencies on that. I need to get a progress report because right after the tsunami the primary issues were food, water, shelter, but now there's more going on in terms of rebuilding and planning.

There has been a lot said at this conference about data fusion. Can you expand on that?
We began talking more about data fusion with our military and intelligence applications. I talked about ImageScout, data fusion, which is about bringing together vectors and imagery in a seamless environment so a geographic analyst rather than an image analyst can work in that mixed environment. We've always known we needed to georeference various areas, but I think more and more we have the tools and functionality to access that fused data, as and when we need it, and not have to go through conversions, translations and all kinds of georeferencing. That's how organizations are storing that information and it's easier to retrieve and use it. We've had the technology to do it for awhile and we forget that it takes people to use the technology to make it happen. We're really seeing the value of the flythroughs and the visualizations where you have imagery draped on terrain, vectors draped on terrains and people are doing a lot of neat things with that. When we stop thinking about data fusion and it just happens naturally then we can assume we've solved the problem. We are still a world that is fusing all these different data sets together.

Dr. David Holmes, Director of Worldwide Product Strategy

What types of challenges do you find, typically or atypically, in providing products globally?
You have to look at the makeup of our geospatial solutions to answer that. Really the solution is a combination of the commercial products which we would like to get up to the level of 50-75% of the content of that solution. Then you have a 20-25% content which is industry specific, it might be safety management, transportation, roadway analysis or landbased management, something specific to that particular industry. And the last 5-10% percent of that solution would be something that could be customized for a particular customer. What we try to do in the product strings is put the functionality in that is going across the industries, as well as put what can be used around the world, so it has a global context. Then we have that component above that that is specific to a particular industry, such as utilities, communications, or specific to local government. Above that would be the custom piece or custom veneer, that's just for our customer.

The higher up we can move that percentage bar the more effective we are in our business. If I can have a commercial product that can reach 75-80% solutions content then I've got a very powerful solution. When I have product managers working with the development teams, we are working with the solutions centers. Matt [Tate] and Art [Spencer] represent the two solution centers where salespeople work with customers. We're listening for what things you ask us for to do in the products that are horizontal that can be applied around the world and across different industries. Our new GeoMedia Fusion product [ImageScout] allows you to be able to take two data sources and conflate them, either the attributes or the geometry is together to build up the data model. This is very important for national mapping agencies around the world because everyone is dealing with bringing different data sources together. And as it turns out, it's very important for transportation agencies because they're dealing with very different native sources from around the state and need to pull that data together for roadway and highway systems. They have the same kind of workflow and same type of problems as national mapping agencies, so we can use the same product in both contexts.

What about the issues of language and other local requirements?
All of our products are internationalized so they can be easily translated. We provide out of our product center the French, German, Spanish, Japanese versions of GeoMedia products in particular, and then we have regions where they need other translations such as Polish, Arabic, and other languages for some of the more popular products. That's done through the use of user interface, documentation and tutorials, etc. In Germany, for instance, they have specific requirements in their utility networks which are value added by German region because they understand the local requirements the best. So that would be the 5-10% at the top of the solutions stack that is specific to those local markets.

Somerset Council in the UK, for example, needed a watermark on the maps that are presented across the Web, something unique to that particular region. The local office used the GeoMedia WebMap product to build a web site that had the watermark capability to deliver to that customer and to other customers in that region. We accommodate the local requirements through our local service providers.

The more of this we can do the more it is a solution rather than just a product. The way to make it more of a solution rather than just a product is its ability to be tailored to a particular industry, and to a particular customer. To the point where you may not know that you are running a GeoMedia product because the whole veneer is talking about your business practice. It's in the language of water management or safety management.

Dr. Matt Tate, Intergraph Geospatial Intelligence and Earth Imaging Solutions

Dr. Matt Tate, Intergraph Geospatial Intelligence and Earth Imaging Solutions
In your talk you spoke of how the definition of the enemy had changed - we're looking at something more elusive today. How do we approach that technologically?
Five or ten years ago when we were tracking armies or brigades within an army, it was a matter of scale, and you could do that through image analysis. Now it's a function of a much larger scale definition - you're zooming down into groups and further to individuals and you can't really pick those potential suspects up on imagery. You need a lot of other information - hum-ent, sig-ent, and other ents that are being brought together, so it's a fusion of all this data. “Hum-ent” stands for human intelligence, “sig-ent” is signal intelligence, and “Im-ent” is image intelligence. That's the way you surveil and that's the way you track people. The methodology is now taking a lot of different sensors and different interpretations of human interaction. It's a synthesis of a lot of other data, other than someone just looking at a lot of imagery.

The spatial component allows the decision makers to understand all this information in a spatial dimension. Our mission is to help to see the world clearly, to understand all those spatial pieces of information and model that in a way that you can understand it.

What are some of the technologies used for the military and intelligence community?
ImageScout is a solution that fuses imagery data with feature data. So if you have to look over a broad area and there are hundreds of square miles to look at through imagery data ,you can then start using all the inferences from all these other intelligent sources. You can code them or make them into features and start querying those features. If I'm tracking a certain vehicle and I know that vehicle can't cross a bridge less than 20 feet wide, people can look at the imagery just in those places, and not have to look over the whole thing. ImageScout is a fusion of a lot of different types of data together to get the highest probability of find.

Change detection technology is another one. Paragon is a very important partner of ours that brings the pixel handling technology into Image Scout. We married Paragon and their ELT applications with GeoMedia. Visual Learning Center (VLS) brings us the technology where a human doesn't have to look at a set of pixels to know that something has changed. For example, if you are taking a picture of the tarmac with an airplane on it. Then you take another picture of that tarmac three days later and that airplane is gone. The system can come up and say, something has changed on this tarmac. It doesn't take eyes to look at it and make that determination.

What do you think is the most important piece of technology coming along with respect to intelligence?
There are three technologies that have come together to spur the spatial industry: different types of sensors, GPS and wireless.

Through a wireless connection, sensors can bring information back. If those sensors are mobile, you'll understand exactly where they are.

How do the individual products perform inside a solution, for example?
GeoMedia is an underlying product inside of ImageScout, which is a solution. At Intergraph we've embraced solution selling, we bring in Paragon as a third party. We cast our net around that and call it a solution. There's TerraShare inside ImageScout, GeoMedia, Paragon's 5500 and parts of other products that are brought together in that solution. There is certainly WebMap in those other solutions, as well as in the geospatial intelligence exploitation solution.

What about sharing data in military and intelligence?

On the national level, if the gas company has their pipe layout they don't want another gas company obtaining that layout. But if there's a disaster, someone in a central control area needs to know both of those. In military and intelligence, the security is such that we're driving toward (we're not there yet) the point where the piece of information is securely tied to that feature. If somebody searches on this web of information and their profile can access certain pieces of data, then some pieces of data will say 'no access.' This is very sensitive in military and intelligence. You'll notice I didn't give any testimonials from customers in my talk today; they don't want me telling what we've sold to them, etc. We have to be careful what we talk about and also not talk about the applications and solutions that we put into place. We have to go through security accreditation and be part of the security environment.

Ignacio Guerrero, PhD, Executive Vice President, Mapping and Geospatial Solutions

As the person responsible for product direction, can you tell me how is that determined?
We have a strong product planning group headed by Dave Holmes. We determine the product direction from a variety of factors - industry trends, IT and geospatial, talk to customers a lot and get their feedback; and look at what our sales and field support personnel are telling us. We digest all that information to try to set up a coherent product direction. Normally with that information, themes start to emerge. These themes may be particular trends and some may be particular issues the software is having. Customers may find a particular product workflow is not being addressed as efficiently as it should. If we hear that from several sources we address that. Competitive information is also part of that.

How do you integrate OGC standards into your new products and solutions?
We have active participation in the OGC through the technical committee and the planning committee. As active participants, we usually have some idea of the technologies coming before they get to be officially approved. We conduct internal R&D following that preliminary work and when the specifications are adopted and stabilized, then we start folding that into the commercial product. One thing we found and I think all the software vendors are confronted with the same issue, is that the timeline of OGC doesn't necessarily match with the timelines of the products. Because we have that issue, we have resorted to doing a lot of web delivery of the OGC enablement components. This way we're not subjected to the longer product cycles.

Art Spencer, Executive Vice President, Government, Transportation, Utilities and Communications

In Spencer's keynote, he demonstrated Intergraph's intelligent transportation system, where users took readings from the traffic monitoring systems that are physically out on the highways. Here, he describes what the traffic monitoring systems can do.
They can tell the movement of the traffic, and whether it's moving at the correct speed. The special solution would display the color of the section of the roadway based on the speed of the traffic. If it's green, then the traffic would be moving at the normal speed. If it was yellow, it would be slowing down and if the color was red then it would be down to almost to a crawl. When we closed that ramp, the traffic was beginning to back up on the interstate. Those who wanted to exit couldn't exit so they were possibly having to change lanes so the traffic monitoring sensors could send that information back to the WebMap system and display that color.

How much sensor activity is included in the solution?
We typically work with partners who provide those sensors. It's a wireless or a hardwired type sensor and they can set the polling time as to how often it's polled.

Could this solution be used in homeland security?
We have a couple of customers that are actually building the same types of war rooms or central control rooms that we talked about for the City of Rome, one of them is the Hawaiian Electric Company (see the “GECCO Pilot Program” in GISWeekly Sept. 4-8 issue). They are going to be implementing a solution for Critical Infrastructure Management to be able to dispatch and track vehicles, and doing emergency simulations. Maybe a city has one kind of geospatial solution, the county has another, and they have a solution such as WebMap they can use to put all that data together, overlay it on the same coordinate plane and display it to use for emergency situations. You don't want to wait until you have an emergency then figure out what to do with it.

What about the support of FRAMME and the relationship of that product to MicroStation?
We continue to support FRAMME and will support it indefinitely. There's a new release coming in August. Customers can stay on FRAMME as long as they want to, we'll support it. But we're seeing a growing wave of people moving from FRAMME to G/Technology. We've closed 11 FRAMME to G/Technology upgrades since the beginning of the year. We have 118 G/Technology customers around the world now. Over the last 3 years that's somewhere between 40 and 50% growth. GPT, included at no extra charge in G/Technology 9.3, will read the customers FRAMME rulebase and create the equivalent metadata system in G/Technology. Customers then have all the data, metadata, database tables, feature component definitions, then it will also read their existing FRAMME data and help migrate that data over. We've been able to take some of our customers' FRAMME rulebases for benchmarks and create the equivalent G/Technology model as we had in FRAMME and migrate the data over in about 3 days. The earlier ones had a reputation of taking awhile.

Editor's Note: I spoke later with Allyson Kirkpatrick, who filled in some information on the FRAMME/MicroStation relationship:

Intergraph still has some stock ownership in Bentley, but, with regard to MicroStation, we have no intellectual right. We're a distributor of MicroStation like any other vendor. FRAMME works with and up to MicroStation J for XP; not MicroStation 8. We continue to support all FRAMME customers, but the bulk of R&D and development resources is now allocated for our next-generation of products, including FRAMME's direct replacement, G/Technology. However, we often do whatever it takes to meet customers' requirements so product version support can change.

Dr. Terry Keating, Chairman, Z/I Imaging, Executive Vice President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions

I know Intergraph was in the commodity hardware business years ago, but what is your position today with regard to hardware, specifically the products for Z/I?
We're very careful as to what we take on with regard to hardware. Yes, Intergraph had been in the commodity hardware business but doesn't go there now. Earth imaging is an exception because we have a very complete workflow with the hardware that we do continue to produce. It's focused hardware, so we continue to have obligations in that area. We have developed a very successful sensor, the Digital Mapping Camera and the surrounding technology. We stay very focused in earth imaging on aerial photogrammetry with our hardware and we won't go out and build PDAs or other hardware.

What are the advancements in the DMC?
We don't have any immediate plans for a new release. We have put in a number of hidden improvements that all our customers get. This camera system was designed to be highly modular and upgradeable instead of a big piece of iron where when something breaks, you've got to send it back to the factory. It's too expensive for that. With our camera, we recognized that if it needed maintenance, we needed to be able to fix it anywhere in the globe within a very short period of time, so each one of the cameras can be modularly changed out, each of the computer cards, each of the cables, all that stuff is field repairable and componentized. Calibration is also possible in the field.

We're looking at changing our storage systems, we've been able to double our storage size a couple of times now, so we've made improvements in the storage technology. We're looking for second suppliers for all our components so we have suppliers that compete for our business. This way, not only do we have a backup but also this drives down the cost of the system, so we're looking at multiple vendors and that's hard to find with leading edge technology. There are only a couple of suppliers in the world of CCD chips who buy these chips from the company at the size they are making them. We can't use the same technology as the camera business. We're looking at improvements in some of the filtering systems that we're using, and the processors. We're simplifying some of the connections and cables for storage, and doing far more work in the software to improve the characteristics. That's what we expect to see in the next couple of years.

We have a suite of products that include the acquisition products like scanners, cameras, sensor management systems. And then we have a production suite which allows us to make maps and evolve information from all the acquisitions, that's called ImageStation. The third one is called TerraShare Image Management. We've put a good deal of effort in the ImageStation suite, which includes everything it needs to process elevation data, image data, and vector data. For example, we moved our stereo compilation to the GIS platform which means that now you can update GIS related map data instead of just building maps from scratch. Now you take an old set of maps, take the data, refresh it, but make sure it goes back in the database in the same format that it came out. We've learned that web services are important so you'll find that our processes now can cross many workstations, that's called distributed processing.

We have done a lot of simplification of algorithms so the user doesn't have to stay involved in answering questions during the process: 1-button processing. We have redesigned the 3D mouse - a user interface between hands and eyes and the operator, the new Z/I mouse, which does a better job of collecting the data. For our orthorectification processes, we've created true orthoprocessing, and improved the ability to stitch photographs together. Processing aerial triangulation has been sped up by perhaps two hundred times with a major change in our algorithms so that 1,000 photos that used to take hours to process now take minutes to process. We're improving our ability to automatically correlate information, With image management we are doing more to support more databases that you would see in the IT department. We are doing more work with compressing different compression algorithms that the industry expects of this data.

We have embedded image management within several other products at Intergraph, We're starting to work more with 3D visualization - seeing a lot of work integrating 3D flythroughs through our partnership with Skyline. We're also doing some preliminary work with automated feature extraction so an operator who normally has to digitize all the buildings in stereo can now automatically detect what a building or a tree is.



Most Compelling Product/Solution Announcements

When asked what product announcements were most compelling at Geospatial World this year, all the executives named GeoMedia 6.0 and G/Technology 9.3.

Dr. David Holmes picked out specific capabilities within those products as follows:
“In the GeoMedia product line, the enterprise libraries are a significant step forward across the enterprise - it will make it so much easier for our customers to define geospatial environments one time.

In G/Technology it's probably the maintenance capabilities: maintenance improvements, that are going to make the design sessions much more productive; the new G/Mobile Viewer, TerraShare's integration with GeoMedia's WebMap. You can now distribute the imagery and elevation directly into GeoMedia WebMap. IntelliWhere offers time based and spatial alarms, so you can set up your mobile resource monitoring and management rules. When resources, or trucks get too far apart or too close together they get into areas they're not supposed to be, become idle for too long, then alarms go off. InService, with the new switch planning enhancements, is very important for taking down an electric network and bringing it back up. The new ImageStation is able to do feature collection directly inside GeoMedia using stereo imagery, an amazing step forward. People have been doing this in the CAD environment for years, but then they have to transfer the data over to the GIS and geospatial context. Now they can do that directly.”

Ignacio Guerrero added the following: “ The release of GeoMedia Stereo Feature Collection is where we bridge the gap of the photogrammetry with the GIS. We integrated photogrammetry and 3D capture fully with GIS. And the other is GeoMedia Fusion which is a product designed to integrate information that comes from many sources and solutions.”

From Art Spencer: “GeoMedia 6.0 is the most significant release since 1.0 - the enterprise version of GeoMedia. From a product standpoint, you'll be able to maintain a common database, one system administrator, and then disperse data to hundreds of users to access the central database. G/Technology 9.3 surpasses functionality that users have with their FRAMME/MicroStation systems today plus it's got an expanded API so they can customize it. They can do as they did with FRAMME and continue to grow their FRAMME systems. They now have a Visual Basic interface so they can go in and customize that API. Interoperability between G/Technology and GeoMedia: the G/Tech data server in GeoMedia allows G/Technology customers to use GeoMedia to view their geospatial facility model and all their data.”




The Enterprise Revolution in the Age of Uncertainty

Thomas Koulopoulos, President and Co-Founder of the Delphi Group, a Boston-based technology management and advisory firm, gave a keynote at Geospatial World on the topic, “The Enterprise Revolution.” Named by InformationWeek as one of the most influential information management consultants, Koulopoulos has propelled the company to become an independent advisor on technology trends to the IT industry. His insights have been praised by other industry gurus such as Tom Peters, Peter Drucker and Dee Hock. Peters said Koulopoulos' writing was “a brilliant vision of where we must take our enterprises to survive and thrive.”

In his keynote, he said that being visionaries, you either live through it or don't. The way you see the world frames how others see it, and the way you see the world as an individual may increasingly become the norm. Despite all our efforts to the contrary, enterprise is shaped through crisis. This goes beyond a single event.

How this all fits into GIS and geospatial may have seemed far reaching to some. However, in a later interview I learned that Koulopoulos had some early roots in GIS, yet he put that aside and moved on to other interests. “Most of my career has been spent looking at technologies that are used fundamentally to manage intellectual capital, such as knowledge management and business process management,” he said, adding: “A lot of my time looks at how to simplify these ideas to make them accessible to a business audience.”

Early in his career, Koulopoulos was one of the founders of a database company that was a direct competitor with Oracle, called Henco Software. They had a product called Info which became ArcInfo. This was 20 years ago, but that was when GIS began to go more mainstream “from an IT standpoint.” He cited examples of how GIS was being used then to help utilities deal with power plants and provide mapping services, all done to avoid interruption of services. “It was one of the first times we began to look at geospatial information databases,” Koulopoulos explained. “I came back to geospatial through some of the connections I've made at Intergraph.”

The geospatial way we think of the earth is the way our children will see the world, he said, and explained that further in our interview by suggesting that the geospatial community itself will be going through a pretty dramatic expansion. Geospatial professionals are going to find themselves surrounded by people who did not grow up in the profession but got started and talk their language as though it was just discovered. To them, it seems like a revelation, where to the GIS professionals, it's old hat. “That's a treacherous place to be, because wherever you have a profession that is fairly well defined and fairly rigid, and insulated like the geospatial community is, when they find themselves surrounded, their first inclination is to get upset, because they know it's better than the masses who have suddenly signed on to espouse these wonderful new innovations. My sense is what the geospatial community will have to do is get better at talking in different terms about what geospatial is. Because business folks who are not engineers by trade, who equate geospatial to GPS, are going to start looking for advice and expertise in this area. If the geospatial folks don't change their language, these folks will go elsewhere.” He brought up the example of Google Maps, which the consumers think is great stuff, while geospatial professionals know it is nothing new.

One rather troubling concept that he raised was the Uncertainty Principle - the degree of uncertainty [or opportunity] has kept pace proportionately with the time you have to respond to uncertainty [which is decreasing].

How do we deal with having less time to respond to uncertainty? “Some of it is assisted by technology. The real answer to the question - much more of it is assisted by the new behaviors and forms of networking that we are adopting. What I mean is if you look at many large organizations today, the organizational chart and formal affiliations tell you much less about the organization outside of its governmental structure than do the social networks that are created within the organization. Coalitions are developing that aren't defined by department or other formal structure, and they are being effective in what they do. People are starting to realize that they have channels available to them by which to make these connections unsanctioned by the enterprise, and it's really creating a lot of tension within organizations. A man at a conference said to me, 'I want to build a business process system, but unfortunately if I do it, it will be out of policy with the organization and I'm torn.'

The enterprises we've grown up with are starting to inhibit a lot of the potential to innovate and discover,” Koulopoulos noted. “Yet it may be that this creates a more fertile playing field for smaller, privately held organizations.”




Bentley's BE Conference 2005 Preview

Keith Bentley
There is a lot to look forward to at this upcoming BE Conference 2005 held in Baltimore May 8-12. Bentley will announce its latest version of MicroStation, called “Mozart,” after the composer (I'm not sure why-possibly because of the genius behind it?). Tom Peters, author of such popular inspirational titles as Passion for Excellence and Thriving on Chaos will give the conference keynote. At BE Conference 2005, Peters will discuss how AEC can benefit from creating what he calls “WOW! Projects.” Executive keynotes will be presented by Greg Bentley, Keith Bentley, Bhupinder Singh and Buddy Cleveland, as they let attendees know about all the latest Bentley products and solutions.

Tom Peters
Also the conference will feature one day single track seminars on topics including 3E-government, geospatial research, and building research. Sessions will feature topics such as building, geospatial, civil, platform, training services and plant design. Best Practice sessions will be offered for all industry groups.

A Welcome Reception will be held Sunday night, May 8. BE Awards of Excellence will be presented at a special awards ceremony on Monday, May 9.

I'll be attending the conference from Sunday evening through Tuesday, and will focus on geospatial and AEC topics.



Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements

Ten Sails, the location technology business builder and Infotech Enterprises, a geospatial services company, announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance to offer a unique mix of solutions, services and technology expertise to the global Smallworld user community. Their global presence and delivery capability will enable the companies to address the needs of customers in the US/Americas, UK/Europe and Australia/Asia-Pacific markets.

OneGIS, Inc. announced that it has chosen Utility GeoSolutions, LLC to provide marketing communications services and business development assistance to aid in its growth in the utility and government GIS services market.

Under terms of the agreement, Utility GeoSolutions will provide ongoing business development, marketing assistance and marketing communications services directly to OneGIS as well as GIS business process and needs assessment services to OneGIS customers on a subcontract basis, as needed. The contract calls for Mr. Bud Porter, a long time GIS industry veteran and principal at Utility GeoSolutions to provide the marketing services to OneGIS.

Autodesk, Inc. announced an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of c-plan AG, European geographic information system (GIS) market leader, whose customers include more than 2,000 users in 700 municipalities and utility companies.

The purchase price for the shares of the Gumligen, Switzerland-based developer of the TOPOBASE(TM) family of geospatial applications and data management solutions will be approximately $18 million plus net working capital. [more on this in next week's GISWeekly]

BinaryBus, a provider of GIS hosting solutions and Orion Technology Inc., developer of the OnPoint suite of web-GIS solutions, have signed an agreement creating an opportunity to provide innovative GIS Internet solutions for both government and business.

GAF AG, an international geo-information technology company has been awarded a consulting service contract by PGRM - the Mineral Resources Management Project in Madagascar - funded by the World Bank / International Development Association (IDA).



Announcements

The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) recently accepted a proposal submitted by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) to create a Street Address Standard. The objective of this effort is to create data content, classification, transfer, and quality standards for street addresses. URISA submitted a formal proposal to the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) to begin the work. The proposal was accepted.

Health professionals from around the world will gather in Chicago, Illinois, October 23-26, 2005, at the 2005 ESRI Health GIS Conference to discuss the critical role geographic information system (GIS) technology plays in health and human services. For more information about the 2005 ESRI Health GIS Conference, visit www.esri.com/hug or contact James Cox (tel.: 909-793-2853, extension 1-2678;

e-mail: Email Contact).

“Spatial Data in an Information Society" was a primary theme of the 8th Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) Conference held 16-21 April 2005 in Cairo, Egypt. The conference attracted over 1000 registrants from 80 different countries. Scientists, engineers, GIS and GPS specialists, land administrators and surveying practitioners participated in 51 technical sessions, several workshops, and five plenary sessions with over 400 papers presented. Joint collaborators with the GSDI Association in hosting the combined conference included the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) and the Egyptian Survey Authority.

Autodesk, Inc. announced FirstEnergy, the operator of the nation's fifth-largest investor-owned electric system, has chosen to expand its use of Autodesk's geospatial products and services to create an enhanced platform for utility distribution network design and management. Building on existing Autodesk investments that allow for the integration of geographic and design data, FirstEnergy will deploy a new web-based solution to more effectively create, manage, and share geospatial data from its utility distribution system throughout the enterprise. As a result, FirstEnergy expects to gain competitive advantage through improved customer responsiveness and satisfaction, increased system reliability and reduced operating costs.

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. This Conference is realized every two years in different countries. Its objective is to promote the debate and the academic exchange about the science of the geographic information between investigators of the diverse iberoamerican institutions and, therefore, it constitutes a valuable moment for the discussion of the actual status of knowledge and application of the GIS.

The Open Geospatial Consortium Inc. (OGC) has established a Risk and Crisis Management Working Group (RCM WG) to address the global need for better sharing of geospatial information in risk management and emergency management.



Appointments

The Forestry and Natural Resources Consulting Group at James W. Sewall Company is pleased to announce the addition of three new professional staff to the firm's Charlotte, North Carolina, office. Edward W. Sontag, Steven King, and Ashley E. Taylor have joined the company to provide more comprehensive and specialized forestry appraisal services throughout the Southeastern U.S and the Southern Hemisphere.



Awards

Lake Superior First Nations Development Trust was presented with an Award of Excellence at ESRI Canada's annual ESRI Regional User Conference in Thunder Bay . John Houweling, Ontario Region Manager, ESRI Canada, presented the Award in recognition of the Lake Superior First Nations Development Trust's application of GIS technology. More than 100 GIS professionals were on hand for the presentation, which was one of the highlights of the conference.

Swain County, North Carolina has awarded Geographic Technologies Group, Inc., (GTG) a contract to lead a GIS and Tax System Integration Study. The study evaluates: (1) GIS Storage Structure (2) Related System Integration (3) Workflow Configuration, and (4) Enabling System Users. The project will strive to streamline the County's Land Records GIS and to increase the reliability of the GIS data.



New Products

ESRI announced the availability of Tracking Server, a solution for collecting and sending near real-time data from many data sources and formats to Web and desktop clients. Tracking Server was developed by Northrop Grumman to enable the integration of real-time data with GIS.

Avenza Systems Inc. announced the immediate availability of Internet-accessible floating or networked licenses of MAPublisher 6 for Adobe Illustrator. MAPublisher 6 is feature-rich mapmaking software used to produce high quality maps from GIS data and the addition of Internet-accessible floating licenses make this powerful cartographic production environment even more efficient and workgroup-friendly. This new license format allows access to MAPublisher and all its functionality via remote access to a Windows, Mac or Linux server host using a normal Internet connection.

Safe Software Inc. announced support for the MySQL database in its core Spatial ETL (extract, transform, and load) technology. The new functionality will be available soon with the release of Feature Manipulation Engine (FME) Suite 2005.

KHEOPS Technologies (KHEOPS) announced the availability of it new business intelligence product JMap Spatial OLAP - OLAP stands for On-Line Analytical Processing. By binding GIS and business intelligence capabilities, this new JMap extension leverages the JMap geospatial server, one of the most robust and extensible enterprise GIS solutions on the market. The Spatial OLAP extension adds to JMap a new OLAP-type client environment in which the mapping element is completely embedded, which represents a world premiere for a commercial application.

Avaya Inc., global provider of business communications applications, services and systems, announced the next generation of its Internet Protocol (IP) telephony software and applications to help businesses intelligently connect people and processes over global networks in a 24/7 world. The new products deliver IP communications with advanced levels of survivability, reliability and collaboration. This lets people remain productive from any location and allows business processes to continue functioning under the most challenging conditions. The new products include the next generation of Avaya's industry-leading IP telephony software, Avaya Communication Manager 3.0, a core part of the company's suite of MultiVantage(TM) Communications Applications.



Around the Web

Researchers Sculpt Streams to Create Desirable Environmental Outcomes, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Newswise - Ecological engineering professor Marty Matlock has given his students an unusual assignment: He wants them to re-design a river. This project requires research that co-leaders Matlock and Mike Hanley of the Nature Conservancy believe can be applied to other stream ecosystems nationwide.

Researchers Seek Suspected Magma Chamber Below Active Volcano, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Newswise - A group of international researchers plans to use studies by land and by sea to determine the size and shape of an underground magma chamber beneath an active volcano, which will help improve the ability to assess hazards and forecast volcanic events.

At Los Alamos, Blogging Their Discontent, by William J. Broad, The New York Times, May 1, 2005 - A blog rebellion among scientists and engineers at Los Alamos, the federal government's premier nuclear weapons laboratory, is threatening to end the tenure of its director, G. Peter Nanos.



Upcoming Events

BE Conference 2005
Date: May 8 - 12, 2005
Place: Baltimore, MD USA
Bentley's premier professional training event includes training courses and technology updates, keynote presentations by Bentley executives, project presentations by innovative Bentley users, and a wide range of networking opportunities. BE stands for "Bentley Empowered," reflecting the people and projects using Bentley products to improve the world's infrastructure and increase quality of life.

GeoAlberta 2005 Conference
Date: May 9 - 11, 2005
Place: Telus Convention Center Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Unleash the Energy - Positioning Information and Technology” GeoAlberta 2005, is the fourth annual GeoAlberta conference and will be held in Calgary, Alberta at the Telus Convention Center May 9th to 11th, 2005. Aimed towards new, current and future users of GIS, this conference offers the opportunity for professionals to tap into the power of location-based information by introducing new applications, the latest technologies and forward-thinking methodologies. Attendees work in the Federal, Provincial & Local government, oil and gas industry, environmental services, surveying professionals, the utilities industry, and retail & business professionals as managers, employees, owners and consultants. The 2005 Committee is dedicated to providing participants with a full day of practical workshops, two days of thought-provoking educational sessions, a vendor's exhibition with 30 vendor booths, a map gallery and a not-to-miss vendor casino night. The GeoAlberta Conference is hosted by; GeoEdmonton, GITA Alberta, URISA Alberta and the Alberta Geomatics Group.

SimTecT 2005 Simulation Conference and Exhibition
Date: May 9 - 12, 2005
Place: Darling Harbour Convention Centre Sydney, Australia
This special 10-year anniversary SimTecT simulation conference includes international keynotes, technical and applications papers, workshops, special presentations, exhibition and social program.

ESRI Regional User Conference - Prince George
Date: May 9 - 10, 2005
Place: University of Northern British Columbia 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, Canada
You're invited to attend ESRI Canada's annual User Conference. The conference will provide you with a wealth of GIS technology information and user success stories.

ESRI Regional User Conference - Vernon
Date: May 11 - 12, 2005
Place: Best Western Vernon Lodge & Conference Centre 3914 - 32nd Street, Vernon, BC, Canada You're invited to attend ESRI Canada's annual User Conference. The conference will provide you with a wealth of GIS technology information and user success stories.

MAC URISA Spring Meeting
Date: May 11, 2005
Place: New Jersey EcoComplex Bordentown, NJ USA
(9:00 am - 2:00 PM) The focus of the May 11th MAC-URISA meeting will be on FEMA's Multi-Hazard Flood Map Modernization Program. In an effort to reduce the damages and costs of flooding, FEMA has embarked on an aggressive 5-year initiative to update the Nation's flood hazard maps. FEMA is developing new DFIRMs (Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps) that use GIS databases to store the digital data used in the map production process, as well as the backup engineering data for the floodplain studies. These databases will provide a standard, systematic method for FEMA to distribute comprehensive details of its flood studies to the public in a digital format. FEMA's vision for Map Modernization entails providing flood maps and data for communities nationwide that are more accurate, easier-to-use, and readily available ( www.fema.gov/fhm/mm_main.shtm). FEMA representatives will present an overview of the national Map Modernization Program and provide updates on regional flood hazard mapping activities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

GEO Brasil 2005
Date: May 30 - June 2, 2005
Place: Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
GEOBrasil, ExpoGPS/Galileo, GEOIntelligence and GEO Oil and Gas together form the largest and most important and comprehensive set of events connected with geoinformation of Latin America. With the presence of the principal brand names, trade marks and leaders of the market, the event, workshops, courses, conferences and debates present a unique opportunity for total immersion in the principal novelties connected with geotechnologies to be found in the continent.