Welcome to GISWeekly! Big news this week on the general technology front was Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia for $3.4 billion in stock.
This coming week I'll be in San Francisco for the Intergraph GeoSpatial World 2005 conference. The conference will present a focus on “open spatial enterprise for enabling the sharing of geospatial data - across applications, among departments, and without regard to location,” according to Preetha Pulusani, President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions.
Google is back in the news this week with a local search service that will now be available from handheld devices, providing access to Google Local from those mobile devices that are equipped with XHTML (Extensible HTML)-enabled browsers. Read about it 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
Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Adobe Will Acquire Macromedia
By Susan Smith
Big news this week on the general technology front was Adobe's acquisition of Macromedia for $3.4 billion in stock. The players are Adobe, the developer of Portable Data Format (PDF), considered the defacto exchange format for published documents, and Macromedia, known for its Flash products that are used for animating web pages and DreamWeaver used for designing Web pages.
Adobe and Macromedia have some competing products, but the idea is that the acquisition will allow them to serve a wider audience than they've been able to serve individually, and either company currently reaches and deliver new tools and services to content developers as the multimedia software sector evolves.
From The New York Times: “In the deal, Macromedia shareholders will receive 0.69 share of Adobe stock for each Macromedia share. The purchase price of $41.86 a share is 25 percent higher than Macromedia's closing price of $33.45 on Friday. After the deal closes Macromedia investors will own about 18 percent of the combined company. Adobe also announced it would repurchase $1 billion in stock in the 12 months after the deal closes in the fall.”
What this news means to the GIS industry is somewhat uncertain. In a conversation last week with Jonathan Knowles, newly named director of worldwide market development for Autodesk Collaboration Services products and solutions, Knowles spoke of the comparison of PDF with DWF. Knowles' most recent experience was as a senior strategy and marketing executive with both Adobe Systems Incorporated and Apple Computer, Inc.
His prior accomplishments include launching and serving as the primary spokesperson for Adobe's Intelligent Document Platform and related PDF, Acrobat, and LiveCycle products and solutions for enterprise and engineering markets.
“In all of the data research we did at Adobe we found less than 10% in GIS and building AEC using PDF,” said Knowles. “Significant numbers use DWF architected for precision for GIS and AEC.”
Will people deliver GIS information in PDF? Knowles doesn't think so. GIS files are unbelievably huge. PDF is a defacto standard within banking, publishing, and specific services, and Knowles' Collaboration Services division is focusing on “lifecycle strategy and its DWF technology.”
“PDF and DWF really don't compete, they are completely different. They solve two entirely different challenges,” noted Knowles.
A company that has worked to make PDF useful to the GIS industry is Layton Graphics. In February of 2005 GISWeekly ran a story about Layton's release of MAP2PDF for ArcGIS. What this means to users is that with the MAP2PDF for ArcGIS plug-in, GeoPDF maps can be easily exported directly out of ArcMap. All that is required to use the plug-in is Adobe Acrobat or free Adobe Reader software. MAP2PDF for ArcGIS also automates the process of creating a fully featured, layered GeoPDF out of ArcMap in a simple, one button process. A previous product, MAP2PDF for Acrobat, can be used by GIS professionals not using ArcGIS. The Map2PDF software collects information from GIS and publishes it to PDF documents that can be used by anyone who might have access to only Adobe Reader.
So, in spite of the competition from Microsoft, it doesn't look like PDF is going to go away any time soon. In an interview with CNET News.com, Bruce Chizen, CEO of Adobe stated: "If you just look at the number of government agencies around the world that already encourage the use of PDF and accept it as a de facto standard, it's pretty hard for me to see how Microsoft's going to come in and just unseat all those workflows," he said at the time. "But they are Microsoft and they do have $40 billion in revenue."
Geospatial World 2005 Preview
This coming week I'll be in San Francisco for the Intergraph GeoSpatial World 2005 conference. The conference will present a focus on “open spatial enterprise for enabling the sharing of geospatial data - across applications, among departments, and without regard to location,” according to Preetha Pulusani, President, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions. There are more than 200 sessions offering a wide variety of topics that cover solutions for cartographic production, earth imaging, geospatial data management, geospatial infrastructure management, geospatial intelligence, geospatial resource management, land information management, mobile resource management, and more.”
Keeping in mind that many parts of the world have suffered from catastrophic events during the early part of this year, Geospatial World will provide a forum for sharing about dealing with challenges such as evacuating citizens, restoring power and communications, routing emergency vehicles and re-establishing transportation networks.
“We are very excited to be introducing new versions of two of our core technologies at GeoSpatial World this year - GeoMedia® 6.0 and G/Technology 9.3. New enhancements in GeoMedia 6.0 will make enterprise deployment easier, improve cartographic output, and help mainstream Web Services,” said Pulusani. “Updates to G/Technology 9.3 improve CAD integration, extend CAD-like maintenance tools, provide incremental mobile updates, and much more. Intergraph listened to our users, and these two technologies are designed to meet their business needs - enabling better, faster decisions.”
Intergraph will host several site tours that are open to the public. Sacramento's Municipal Utility, SMUD, has a Service Delivery Information Technology (SDIT) system integrates the utility's GIS with outage management, mobile data dispatch, design, engineering applications, and an enterprise resource planning system based on SAP. A visit to San Mateo County will demonstrate how that county leverages GeoMedia technology to manage a countywide GIS using an Oracle9i Spatial database as a backend along with IBM DB2 and AS/400 databases. NAVTEQ "Ride & Drives" will be offered Tuesday through Thursday of the conference. On these rides, attendees can ride with a NAVTEQ field survey team in a car equipped with sophisticated collection technology, including differential GPS. With one team member driving, witness how the other is collecting the data using a notebook, a special joystick, and a touchpad.
Google's New Emphasis on Mobile
Google's local search goes mobile is the title of an article in this week's eWeek by Matt Hicks. Local search service will now be available from handheld devices, providing access to Google Local from those mobile devices that are equipped with XHTML (Extensible HTML)-enabled browsers.
Along with the mobile-browser option, Google Inc. is adding support for retrieving driving directions through text messaging. Last year, Google began offering a host of mobile search services using SMS (Short Message Service).
As more people become interested in mobile devices and the services improve, mobile search has gotten more attention from the major search engines. Last year Yahoo Inc. added Web, local and image search availability from mobile browsers. Executives from Ask Jeeves Inc. also said they will provide mobile search solutions in the next quarter of this year.
The Google mobile service provides most of the same functionality as is available from Google Local on desktop browsers, including integration of Google Maps showing the location of businesses. The mobile listings include the ability to click a link to initiate a call from a wireless phone.
NavCom Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deere & Company, announced that Young, Stuart & Associates have been signed as a dealer, providing NavCom Technology's full line of GPS and wireless products including the decimeter positioning service of the StarFire Network throughout the southern and middle regions of Africa. Young, Stuart & Associates provide professional geometric services and products for applications such as: engineering surveys, precise control surveys, topographical surveys, aerial survey, mapping, mine surveying (tunnels & open cast), transmission line surveys, and laser scanning.
AccuWeather.com announced that its new free web site is now available to all Internet users. Completely redesigned for a total focus on the user experience, the new site includes over one hundred features that were not available on the popular former version.
ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit will take place at the Adams Mark Hotel in Denver, Colorado, September 12-14, 2005.
Intergraph Corporation will report first quarter 2005 financial results on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 after market close. The company's management will host a conference call to discuss the first quarter results on Thursday, April 28, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. EST.
Bentley Systems, Incorporated will host a day-long Geospatial Research and Technology Seminar adjacent to BE Conference 2005 held May 8-12 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The seminar is being organized by Dr. Dipl-Ing. Siyka Zlatanova and Dr. Marian de Vries, both of the Technical University of Delft, and the Bentley Education Network. The theme will be "Sustainable, High-Accuracy, Infrastructure Information Management and Interoperability: A Framework for Homeland Security."
DigitalGlobe(R) announced that San Diego State University (SDSU) is using high-resolution QuickBird satellite imagery to aid relief efforts in Indonesia, following the devastating tsunami that affected hundreds of thousands of people in the Indian Ocean region on Dec. 26, 2004. SDSU's Immersive Visualization Center ( Viz Center ) used the imagery initially to help establish refugee camps and provide medical reachback.
DigitalGlobe's imagery of Indonesia is being showcased by Silicon Graphics Inc. at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas, April 18-21, 2005 in Booth SL1943.
Introduction to ArcGIS Network Analyst, a free, live training seminar from ESRI Virtual Campus, is designed for geographic information system (GIS) users who use GIS technology to solve routing problems. The seminar will take place on April 28, 2005, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.
The inaugural issue of the online newsletter, The GISC-Eye http://www.gisci.org/, has been released by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI). This semi-annual newsletter was prepared by the GISCI Outreach Committee. This is a committee of Certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) tasked with increasing the exposure and effectiveness of GISCI and to enhance the Institute's support of its GISPs. The newsletter is for GISPs and non-GISPs alike. The purpose of the GISC-Eye will be to highlight contributions and activities that involve or directly effect certified GIS professionals and the geospatial community.
LizardTech, Inc., a provider of software solutions that make it significantly easier to manage and distribute digital content, announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Farm Service Agency (FSA) has named MrSID Generation 3 image format as the standard to be used for all 2005 Compressed County Mosaics (CCM).
Telcontar, a supplier of software and related services for the Location-Based Services (LBS) industry, announced the appointment of Marc Prioleau as Vice President of Marketing. Mr. Prioleau will now be responsible for leading Telcontar's marketing and strategic planning functions to build on the company's position in the LBS industry.
Sanborn CEO John Copple announced the promotion of Jay Tilley to senior vice president and general manager of Sanborn's Colorado Springs office, effective immediately. Tilley, who most recently served as Sanborn's executive vice president of Programs and Products, is now responsible for the business and technical operations of the company's Colorado Springs office.
Eurocontrol has selected IONIC to build a pilot application as part of an effort to evaluate the value of ISO/OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) interoperable web services in providing European-wide interchange of spatial aeronautical information. This pilot project is based on IONIC's RedSpider Web and relies especially on IONIC's ISO/OGC compliant web services to distribute information throughout an aeronautical geospatial network that will eventually be part of a world-wide aero-information Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).
Merrick & Company announced a new contract to update local and regional photogrammetric mapping and digital orthophotography for 282.5 square miles in and around the City of Fargo. Merrick will provide aerial photography, digital orthophotography, LIDAR data, 1' contours, and updated planimetric data. Awarded in April 2005, the City will receive final project deliverables in February 2006. Acting as the project lead, the City is coordinating the project, whose participants include the City of West Fargo, ND, City of Dilworth, MN, and the City of Moorhead, MN, Clay County (MN) and Cass County (ND), Metropolitan Council of Governments, Minnesota Department of Transportation, North Dakota Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.
Cartigraph Systems released Version 6.3 of the Cartigraph Software Suite. Nearly 100 features were added or enhanced in the software suite. Highlighting the additions are enhancements to the PAVEMENTview and PAVEMENTview Plus modules and a new Report Writing wizard.
Autodesk, Inc. began shipping Autodesk(R) VIZ 2006, the professional design visualization software that helps artists realize their ideas through 3D modeling, rendering and animation. Autodesk VIZ 2006 features new tools that enhance interoperability with other Autodesk(R) design applications and for creating and managing content, such as tool palettes and a new content browser for cameras, lights and materials.
Avenza Systems Inc. is pleased to announce 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. It provides the perfect solution for users who travel, work offsite and/or for workgroups composed of decentralized personnel.
EarthMap Solutions, LLC, has rolled out a complete line of information products that offer benefits to customers using remote sensing tools for agriculture, environmental and forestry land management. EarthMap Solutions (EMS) delivers tools that help growers and producers measure crop yields to determine marketing strategies; manage fertilizer applications to their fields for cost-savings and to avoid polluting streams; obtain higher cotton yields by targeting the application of plant growth regulators; and monitor the invasion of pests, such as Asian Rust in soybeans.
Laszlo Systems, developer of the Laszlo open source platform and provider of rich Internet applications (RIAs) and services, announced the availability of its Laszlo Locator professional services solution.
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.
This solution enables MySQL database users to import and export both spatial and non-spatial data to and from over 130 formats and systems.
For a limited time, ESRI is offering Trimble's GPS Analyst extension for ArcGIS at an introductory 20% savings. This extension optimizes field-to-office work flow by allowing you to work with GPS data directly in your personal geodatabase. It comes with Trimble's proven differential correction engines. Depending on the environment and your GPS receiver, differential correction can improve the accuracy of your GPS positions from 10 meters* to approximately 50 centimeters.
Around the Web
Tornado prediction system to debut in Las Vegas USA Today, April 17, 2005-- Technology set to debut this week will let weather forecasters predict a tornado's path, officials of the private WeatherData Inc. forecasting service said.
The International Lidar Mapping Forum
Date: April 25 - 26, 2005
Place: Astor Crowne Plaza New Orleans, LA USA
The International LIDAR Forum (ILMF) is an industry group whose goal is to advance the education and knowledge of LIDAR mapping technology and applications. To further this objective, the ILMF holds an annual meeting that brings together LIDAR professionals from around the world to network and hear about the latest technologies and issues affecting LIDAR mapping.
GeoSpatial World 2005
Date: April 26 - 28, 2005
Place: Hilton San Francisco San Francisco, CA USA
Sponsored by Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community, GeoSpatial World is the annual international training and management conference for Intergraph customers and individuals who are interested in learning more about managing and applying geospatial technology, information, and solutions.