Welcome to GISWeekly! This week Autodesk released their whole suite of products for AutoCAD 2006. Infrastructure Solutions Division (ISD) products include Autodesk Map 3D 2006, Autodesk Civil 3D 2006 and Autodesk Raster Design 2006 which will soon ship for GIS and civil engineering customers. 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.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Profile of Autodesk's ISD 2006 Software Products
By Susan Smith
This week Autodesk released their whole suite of products for AutoCAD 2006. Infrastructure Solutions Division (ISD) products include Autodesk Map 3D 2006, Autodesk Civil 3D 2006 and Autodesk Raster Design 2006 which will soon ship for GIS and civil engineering customers. Mapguide, Buzzsaw and DWF Composer form part of the server strategy and data distribution strategy but will not be central to this exploration.
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Plenty has been said about Autodesk's recent earnings announcement as they topped $1.2 billion in revenue last year for the whole company. For ISD, full year revenue was up 22%. Map 3D increased new seat revenue 20% from Q3. Civil 3D was launched last year and grew 38% in China alone during the year 2004. 448 new seats of Civil 3D have been sold since the launch.
Map 3D built on top of AutoCAD 2006 has all the functionality of AutoCAD 2006, plus is able to provide CAD and GIS functionality in a single seamless offering. CAD/GIS integration has been the most difficult to achieve so far, mainly because CAD and GIS are very different animals. CAD tools are file based and are better at manipulating features and maintaining engineering precision throughout a project. GIS is data based, and used for managing large spatial databases and performing analysis of data.
Autodesk Map 3D 2006
The focus of Autodesk Map 3D 2006 is to allow users to take tools from the AutoCAD suite and apply them to any kind of format typically found in the GIS field, such as shapefiles and MapInfo formats. The conversion step that was once necessary in previous versions of Map is no longer an issue as 2006 has added the ability to directly access datastores like Oracle Spatial, 10g and ArcSDE. The user connects directly to the datastore and is able to leverage those unique features in the datastores such as versioning to allow them bring in CAD tools and other new GIS capabilities that have been added to the product. Any data can be queried into Map.
In past versions, Map has required a high level of expertise for a user to become truly proficient in the product. With the new features it is more accessible.
Since not every customer has an investment in a datastore, Autodesk Map 3D 2006 allows for multiuser access to a multifile system. “We're looking at those files as a seamless geodatastore,” explained Bradshaw. “An improved Display Manager allows you to change the representation of that data on the fly. We don't just allow for the editing of the data, we can go ahead and aggregate the data in a number of different ways, then use the information, not just from a geographic perspective, but also the attributes and properties that are associated with that geometry to create new maps. You can also package this information in a format like DWF, which can be distributed via the web or to a user's hard drive.”
Display Manager can be used to control what the map is going to look like. “You can connect to Oracle Spatial and use OGC standards for a GIS point, you can take that point and assign a particular symbolic representation to that point,” Bradshaw said. “We're not constrained by just images that we want to associate with those points, You can use anything you can possibly create with DWG. You can create complex blocks in AutoCAD and they can be assigned to these points.”
Another new feature is the automation of the Map Book creation process. In most county governments and municipalities, the complex job of managing very large hard copy output takes a lot of time to do. “We've added tools that allow you to reproduce the digital map in its entirety or in subsets very quickly. You can create hard copy or it serves as a new navigation paradigm. You can click on individual pages, or publish information as a DWF file and the DWF file will contain individual pages assembled together with adjacent page reference, automatically allowing you to navigate it.”
“No one has to convert all their shapefiles. Now we can support ArcSDE, with Map 2006 we can handle file based ESRI implementations, ArcSDE or database implementations. Historically, GIS has not had great datastores for the engineering side due to the loss of precision as we bring CAD data into a GIS environment. Now we can maintain a precise GIS, one that can meet the needs of an engineer. You can perform a query and analysis across that full data set and do the kinds of things that GIS professionals have been doing for 30 years,” Bradshaw claimed.
Map 3D has evolved to the point where it can support customers who want to integrate those two environments with a single tool for editing and managing the CAD side and GIS data, without having to translate or transform all their legacy data. Mapguide then allows users to publish out all that data into all parts of a company and beyond.
Autodesk Civil 3D
Civil 3D out of the box is clearly positioned as a civil engineering product, sold to a specific type of customer to fill a specific need. Historically, Autodesk has not really targeted the global transportation market, however, Civil 3D meets that criteria. Civil 3D customers benefit by getting not only 100% of AutoCAD but also 100% of Map 3D, as these products are supersets of one another. It is designed for transportation, subdivision, site and storm/sanitary projects.
Key issues for customers of the year-old Civil 3D product included piping and project management. The API has been extended to accommodate those customers in Europe and Asia who need extensible 3D. Lack of pipe functionality in the storm/sanitary aspect of the product has been addressed in the 2006 version with the concept of the single model. From that model, customers are able to integrate all the different aspects of the design. Civil 3D has an integrated approach to designing road, site, subdivision , or storm/sanitary system, and also users are able to directly retrieve or extract drafting from it, while reporting analysis and visualization. “Thus you can make one change to one part of the model, and other parts downstream will be affected. By making this one change, you move the pipe, all the annotation updates, all the inspection plots, and all the profiles and drafting updates,” said Dave Simeone, Product Development Manager.
Another major customer concern is the ability to confirm that the drafting and design are completely in sync. Civil 3D addresses that by providing the single model that integrates design elements, drafting and reports, analysis and visualization. Also, the intelligent relationships between objects that exist within the design that are mentioned above allow users to move one element and others respond accordingly. Civil engineers can do things like grip edit a road, shift it over ten feet and immediately get a response as to how that is going to affect migrating, volume, or if they will need any land, or building walls or other impacts that affect additional cost.
As a complete superset of Autodesk Map3D, Civil 3D 2006 has all the map analysis, map creation, plus the pure AutoCAD drafting and plotting built into the system. The APIs for AutoCAD 2006 are compatible with 2005/2004. Additionally, Autodesk Raster Design 2006 is a new product that allows users to avoid expensive redrafting procedures by being able to clean up, edit and vectorize scanned drawings.
The first four features have been a major theme of the 2006 release, the result of customer demand.
1. New layout and drafting of dynamic pipe networks (sanitary, storm drainage, etc.) “People need to be able to do their pipe drafting and layout,” said Simeone. “I can go in a plan profile or section, grip edit the model and change to any part of that pipe network, change the size of that pipe, change the location of a structure, change the slope in any part of that is going to be updated. I may have my section sheets already created, all my views in my section sheet of my pipes is going to be updated, and all of my annotations are going to be updated.” This feature is a major theme of the 2006 release.
2. Enhanced Corridor Modeling: For designing roads, rail, channel design, and as a core modeling approach on site design, corridor modeling is very flexible. “We've added more advanced tools for designing how a road is elevated around a corner and specifics on being able to edit a specific station or a range of stations,” explained Simeone.
3. Expanded multi-user access to key project data including surfaces, points, alignments, and profiles: The ability to have multiple people working simultaneously on a project, “so in other words if I'm designing a large subdivision or large road, there is going to be a team of people - project managers, designers, drafters--all focused on different aspects, like pipe, landscape, or environment. With this function you can develop one master set of data for certain parts of the model, and everyone on the team can reference certain parts,” said Simeone. “I can create the surface model, the base horizontal alignment and the base vertical, then reference those elements and create totally new drawings with different annotation and different graphical display, and complete that corridor model. Another user in another location can take that same model and start adding all the pipes, and then if I can come back in on my master drawing and change my alignment location for elevation for the geometry, that change is going to ripple through all our drawings. So as my core master data changes, all the people who are referencing that data are going to receive those changes.”
4. Enhanced development environment: The development environment makes certain that customers have a full set of add on applications provided by Autodesk, developed by themselves or available from third party developers. These will fill niche needs and the main needs for specific customization. People in environmental or rail industries, for example, will want to incrementally add functionality above and beyond Civil 3D that is going to customize Civil 3D specific to their needs. The robust platform with API is designed for partners to built onto, and there is a move on the business side to provide partners to meet specific needs globally as well.
5. Comprehensive set of training, support and implementation services
6. Built on flexible and globally accepted AutoCAD platform
A recent study of Civil 3D 2005 done by Harry O. Ward, engineer and author, summarized anticipated productivity improvement by calculating ROI. Using a project composite drawn from interviews with a representative sample of executives and firms in the civil engineering sector, Ward found that productivity improvement was 100% (average consensus), profit increased 12% the first year of use compared to Land Desktop (including first year training impact), and the consensus was that they had achieved a 7-month ROI.
Although there are a number of users doing civil work on Autodesk Land Desktop, Civil Design and AutoCAD, Civil 3D presents an intriguing alternative to those products, with its model-based design and built-in Map 3D, and consequent ability to integrate structural 3D and geographic information into one single model.
The Orton Family Foundation announced it is making its CommunityViz® planning software available to communities at the new, reduced cost of $185, removing a significant barrier to access to communities across the country in need of effective planning tools and methods. To fulfill this commitment, the Foundation has entered into an agreement with Placeways, LLC - an independent company owned and operated by former Foundation employees - to provide ongoing distribution, maintenance and support of the software.
Lucent Technologies has signed an agreement with Telcontar to collaborate on fully integrated Location-Based Services (LBS) for mobile operators. Lucent Worldwide Services (LWS) will integrate key components of Lucent's advanced IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution with Telcontar's Drill Down Server® (DDS) for creating location-based services, which Lucent will then market to mobile network operators.
Boeing has entered into a license agreement with EarthMap Solutions, Inc. to provide imagery products and services to the Agriculture and Land Management markets. EarthMap Solutions is a pioneer in the use of multi- and hyper-spectral imagery to improve yields and land management techniques for the agricultural, environmental and forestry markets. The company will combine the licensed Boeing image processing software with its own proprietary technology to strengthen its competitive offerings.
Clark Labs and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service have signed another cooperative agreement to continue their analysis of hyperspectral imagery for indications of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation in Michigan and Ohio.
NAVTEQ, global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, awarded the winners of the 2nd annual Global LBS Challenge. The contest challenged developers to build location-enabled applications for wireless devices. The grand-prize winner and Asset Tracking/Field Services solution category winner, Bones In Motion, received $50,000 in cash and $100,000 worth of NAVTEQ Map licenses for up to one year.
Educational institutions now have unlimited access to ER Mapper's geospatial imagery technology with a new site license program. ER Mapper's Educational Site License Program provides unlimited access to ER Mapper technologies, in and out of the classroom, for one low-cost subscription fee.
ESRI announced that it is conducting an ArcWeb Services Challenge. To participate in this challenge, developers are asked to create a Web application that uses ArcWeb Services.
ESRI will evaluate the applications based on their usefulness, ease of use, and originality. The winning applications will be awarded ArcWeb Services credits with a cash value of $5,000 for first place, $3,750 for second place, and $2,500 for third place. Winners will also be showcased at the 2005 ESRI International User Conference.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has just completed a three-year project updating the Soil Landscapes of Canada to meet new demands for information about the environmental performance of agricultural regions in Canada. Version 3.0 of the SLC is now available from AAFC's web site of the Canadian Soil Information System, or CanSIS.
EarthMap Solutions, LLC has launched its Longmont, Colo.-based company to develop, sell and deliver cost-effective, innovative and accurate information products that bring new applications to customers using remote sensing imagery to make critical land management decisions.
DataCore Technology, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in implementing Electronic Data Management (EDM) solutions for organizations in the energy, government, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical industries, is pleased to announce the official launch of its new and improved web site at www.data-core.com.
MapInfo Corporation, a global provider of location intelligence solutions, has announced that Rick Celio, vice president, Franchise and Development at International House of Pancakes (IHOP), has been added as a keynote speaker at this year's MapWorld global user conference. The conference is being held April 6-8 at the Sonesta Beach Resort, Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida. For more information about MapWorld 2005, please visit www.mapinfo.com/mapworld2005.
Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced a series of seminars that describe how ENR Top 500 Design Firms ensure that complex engineering information is available to the right people at the right time, enabling project teams to work together as one.
The half-day “Work as One” seminars include technology presentations, guest speakers, demonstrations, and peer-to-peer discussions aimed at improving project quality, meeting aggressive project deadlines, and improving project communication and collaboration.
To register for any of the “Work as One” seminars, go to www.bentley.com/workasone.
Vari Ghai, President and Chief Executive Officer of Digital Dispatch Systems Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of Bruce Watson as Chief Financial Officer of the company, effective immediately.
Announcements of third party support for Autodesk Map 3D 2006 and AutoCAD 2006 abounded this week, as those products were released on Tuesday and will be shipping in the next couple of months. Rather than listing all those third party products here, please visit GIS in the News.
Autodesk, Inc. announced the latest version of its solution platform for location-enhanced services, Autodesk LocationLogic 6. Built from the ground up to meet the needs of wireless network operators, LocationLogic 6 is an example of how Autodesk's technology continues to evolve to anticipate and meet the real-world demands of carriers, enterprises, and consumers in the developing location market.
Nextel Communications, Inc. and MapQuest.com, Inc., introduced the use of MapQuest's digital maps and directions to provide location-based services exclusively on Nextel's GPS-enabled phones. "MapQuest(R) Find Me" helps users pinpoint their locations on their phones, find nearby locations (e.g. restaurants, hotels, airports, hospitals), and get maps and directions.
Siemens Communications, Inc., and Wherify Wireless, Inc. announced that the Wherifone G550 Locator Phone, powered by Siemens technology, is expected to be available through Wal-Mart stores and Walmart.com beginning in Q2, 2005.
Arc Second, Inc., the developer of high precision Indoor GPS(TM) products, announced the release of its next generation Indoor GPS hardware and software. The new line of Indoor GPS equipment promises higher levels of accuracy and overall system performance.
Leica Geosystems announced a revolutionary breakthrough in surveying technology with the unveiling of SmartStation, a total station with fully integrated GPS. The new Leica SmartStation integrates GPS and total station functionality into a single compact package with common software, database, storage medium and user interface.
ESRI announced that an updated North American data set for RouteMAP IMS 2.5 is now shipping. Users of RouteMAP IMS are now able to choose Tele Atlas' Dynamap Transportation, which provides street data, postal boundaries, landmarks, and water features for the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
ESRI announced that PLTS for ArcGIS 9 Defense Solution is now shipping. Defense Solution provides tools to reduce cost and improve the efficiency of creating and maintaining high-quality topographic databases for publishing professional map products and data analysis. PLTS for ArcGIS leverages the object-relational ArcGIS technology to streamline production in a consistent process, enabling users to do more with fewer resources.
After more than two years of development the first official release of the next generation implementation of GRASS has been published. (see the GRASS Development Roadmap).
The Geographic Resources Analysis Support System, commonly referred to as GRASS GIS, is a Geographical Information System (GIS) used for data management, image processing, graphics production, spatial modeling, and visualization of raster, vector and sites data. It is open source Free Software released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
DeLorme has announced the release of XMap OpenSpace Database Integration Kit, which allows users to substantially boost efficiency by automatically updating the geographic data they are managing within DeLorme's OpenSpace database.
The Carbon Project announced that a new version of the Gaia geospatial web browser is now available for download. Gaia 2.0 is a free, standalone application that runs on any Windows desktop. It installs in seconds and handles maps and Geography Markup Language (GML) features from any Web Map Server (WMS) or Web Feature Server (WFS) that properly implements Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards.
IONIC's RedSpider LOBOS (LOcation Based OGC Solution) now supports the routing, geocoding and reverse geocoding functions within Oracle 10g Spatial and Application Server, enabling a complete OpenLS Location Based Services platform for mobile devices, web applications, and enterprise processes. Oracle 10g's support for NAVTEQ's premium product, and IONIC's native support for Oracle 10g, now allow enterprises to deploy OpenLS routing, geocoding, reverse geocoding, and directory services off a single instance of the data.
Last week I incorrectly referred to Bentley Systems' new 3E-Government Initiative, as 3D-Government. 3E-Government is an initiative with related software that gives governments the ability to operate more efficiently.
Around the Web
Treasure hunters feel pull of magnetic gear, by Michael Kanellos, March 11, 2005, CNET News.com -- Magnets may be a staple of New Age mysticism, but a magnetometer might just lead a Silicon Valley entrepreneur to a centuries-old treasure. A magnetometer essentially reads the magnetic properties of the ground--like a supersensitive compass. The measurements are then compiled into a magnetic map in conjunction with Global Positioning System data.
|Sheldon Breiner, an explorer, geophysicist and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, wields a magnetometer in search of artifacts hidden in the earth. Photo credit: Sheldon Breiner|
Radio Tags Can Find Stray Bags, But Can Airlines Afford Them? By Barnaby J. Feder, NY Times, (registration required) March 7, 2005 - Financial plight of most major airlines is making it hard for them to adopt new radio frequency identification tagging that could greatly ease problem of lost luggage; some experts say airlines could quickly recoup costs because of high costs associated with failure of existing bar code scanning systems to identify as many as 15 to 20 percent of bags; note RFID systems tested at airports have accurately identified bags 95 percent of time.
Google adds new tool amid local search war, by Lisa Baertlein, Reuters, USA Today, March 16, 2005 --Google released Tuesday a free tool that allows businesses to add or update business listing information, such as operating hours and addresses, that appears within its local search results. Google, the leader in the Web search sector, said its new Local Business Center tool is available to U.S. businesses, including those that do not operate an Internet site, potentially expanding the reach of its service.
TUGIS 2005: 18th Annual Geographic Information Systems Conference
Date: March 21 - 22, 2005
Place: Towson University Campus Towson, MD USA
Mapping the Human Landscape: GIS for Public Health, Safety, and Social Services Applications
Sponsor: The Center for Geographic Information Sciences at Towson University The conference emphasizes information sharing, or technology transfer, by anyone currently using GIS and anyone considering using GIS. In a relaxed yet professional setting, representatives from government agencies, businesses, and academic institutions meet, interact, and discuss the current and future states of GIS. More than 600 professionals are expected to attend TUGIS 2005.
15th Annual South Central Arc User Group Conference
Date: March 21 - 25, 2005
Place: San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk 711 East Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX USA
This 15th annual South Central Arc User Group Conference (SCAUG), attracting GIS professionals from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and the Cayman Islands, will include training sessions, user presentations, workshops, map gallery, application contests, ESRI Doctors Office, ESRI technical sessions, banquet and the Knibbe Ranch social.
TNGIC Annual Conference 2005
Date: March 22 - 23, 2005
Place: Franklin - Cool Springs Marriott 700 Cool Springs Blvd, Franklin, TN 37067 USA
The annual TNGIC Conference is the premier GIS event in Tennessee. If you are new to GIS, an advanced GIS user and/or a Manager that is considering the use of GIS within your organization... then the TNGIC 2005 Conference will provide you with an invaluable opportunity to meet with and learn from your GIS peers throughout Tennessee.