Unlikely Bedfellows or, Gaming Finds its Way
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Unlikely Bedfellows or, Gaming Finds its Way

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly!Although it is unlikely that this device will be bought in bulk for utility field crews, the Gizmondo is indicative of one direction location based services are going. And, in the area of visualizing GIS, one AEC sketching tool has found its way into the GIS market in the form of an ArcGIS plug-in. Read about these announcements 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 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, New Products, Going on 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

Unlikely Bedfellows or, Gaming Finds its Way

We don't often think of gaming in the same breath as GPS devices but perhaps after this week the technologies will start sharing air space. EGN Gizmondo, a new handheld multi-entertainment device from Tiger Telematics Inc., was showcased at the 2004 European Games Network (EGN), September 1 - 3, at ExCeL in London. EGNExpo is the UK's premier trade show targeting computer/video games suppliers, publishers, developers, distributors and the gaming industry as a whole.

Although it is unlikely that this device will be bought in bulk for utility field crews, the Gizmondo is indicative of one direction location based services are going. Described as, “powered by a Microsoft Windows CE.net platform, the Gizmondo boasts a 2.8-inch TFT color screen with an ARM9 400Mhz processor and incorporates a 64-bit graphics accelerator. It provides gaming, multimedia messaging, an MP3 music player, MPEG 4 movie playing capability, a digital camera and a GPRS network link to allow wide-area network gaming. Additionally, it contains a GPS chip for location-based services, is equipped with Bluetooth for use in multi-player gaming and accepts MMC card accessories.”

Why would gamers be concerned with GPRS and GPS technologies, you might ask? The Gizmondo will be released with a variety of games with GPS function that incorporate players' physical location into the game, and the ability to receive personalized advertisements.

Gizmondo is scheduled for launch in the UK in the fourth quarter this year.

Gizmondo Europe Ltd. is an owned subsidiary of Tiger Telematics Inc. (OTC: TGTL.PK - News) and is the maker of Gizmondo, a next-generation mobile entertainment device. Tiger is a designer, developer and marketer of mobile telematics systems and services that combine global GPS functions and voice recognition technology to locate and track vehicles and people down to street level in countries throughout the world.

More GPS type news: SiRF Technology Holdings, Inc., a provider of GPS-enabled silicon and software location platforms, announced that Microsoft's first GPS hardware device is using SiRF's global positioning system (GPS) technology as its underlying location capability. The GPS Locator is combined with the latest version of Microsoft Streets & Trips 2005, travel and mapping software for the United States and Canada. SiRF's SiRFstarIIe/LP GPS chipset provides real time GPS support in the form of accurate and reliable information on location, speed and heading.

Visualizing, from AEC to GIS

It's interesting to see traditional AEC or CAD companies show up at GIS conferences. Last year both Bentley (not strictly AEC) and Graphisoft were in attendance at the ESRI Conference in San Diego with CAD/GIS integration possibilities that we will revisit in GISWeekly hopefully in the coming weeks.

In the area of visualizing GIS, one AEC sketching tool has found its way into the GIS market in the form of an ArcGIS plug-in.

SketchUp is an architectural 3D sketching tool that makes 3D modeling easier for the CAD user with a set of tools that streamlines the 3D drawing process. It would not have seemed to have any relevance to the GIS market, until Last Software, makers of SketchUp, designed a plug-in that enables ArcGIS users with the 3D Analyst extension to create highly detailed three-dimensional models. The 3D models can then be transferred to an ArcGIS geodatabase for further analysis. The new ArcGIS plug-in enables the user to exploit SketchUp to create geo-referenced 3D models. To achieve this geo-referencing the user extracts the "geo-context" from ArcGIS and saves it as a SketchUp file. Once in SketchUp you can easily position any 3D model relative to the geo-context. Then a simple export to ArcGIS will automatically position the 3D data exactly as it was positioned in SketchUp relative to the same geo-context.

Along the same lines, in the last week, the following statement was issued by Autodesk, with regard to the discontinuance of their Architectural Studio product, a head-to-head competitor with SketchUp:

Autodesk has decided to discontinue development and sales of Autodesk Architectural Studio software.

Product research on Architectural Studio began in 1999 as Project Nora, a forward-looking exploration of digital design tools and how they might relate to the emerging technologies of the Internet and pen-tablet computing. Developed under the codename StudioDesk, the product was commercially released in 2002 as Autodesk Architectural Studio. From its inception, Architectural Studio has always been a laboratory of new ideas, technologies, and ways of thinking about design. Many of these concepts have found their way into more recent Autodesk design tools and viewers, such as DWF Composer. With the evolution of the Autodesk product portfolio, we have found that further development of Architectural Studio as an individual product is unwarranted.

As of September 15, 2004, Architectural Studio will no longer be available for purchase from Autodesk nor for download from the Autodesk Subscription Center. Current Architectural Studio customers can continue to use the software for as long as they like.

According to Randall Newton, Editor of AEC Automation Newsletter, the end of Architectural Studio leaves SketchUp as the only architectural sketching tool on the market.

Another product, from ACD Systems, entitled Canvas 9 GIS+, fills the gap between the graphics design world and the GIS industry by providing visual “what-ifs.” It is also designed for those professionals who have GIS data that they want to present by way of illustration, maps, and displays. Canvas allows users to import a large range of GIS formats with Canvas' own import filters. The folks at ACD have 18 years' experience with technical drawing and software engineering and offer a tool that is both cost-effective and requires little training. Stay tuned for more on this product in the future.

Acquisitions /Alliances/Agreements

Laser-Scan announced that Intergraph's distributor in South Africa, GeoSpace International, have signed an official reseller agreement that enables them to resell Radius Topology. Laser-Scan have built up a strong relationship with GeoSpace International over the past year following on from Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions signing a worldwide reseller agreement in 2003.

ORBIMAGE Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement with Antrix Corporation (“Antrix”) of Bangalore, India to represent ORBIMAGE for distribution and resale of its satellite imagery products in India. The agreement gives Antrix, the commercial arm of India's Department of Space and NRSA, the National Remote Sensing Agency of India, exclusive rights to sell ORBIMAGE products in their country. Antrix and NRSA will be the primary contact in India for sales, customer support, value added services and training relating to ORBIMAGE imagery products.

har*GIS, LLC, developer of mobile Field Information Systems™, and CartêGraph Systems, Inc. a provider of work, GIS, asset and service request management solutions to local, state and federal government, announced a strategic partnership that will provide complimentary, office and mobile software technologies to help customers improve operations and productivity through the mobilization of office-bound data into the field.

NAC Geographic Products Inc. and Zeitgeist Data Management, Inc. (ZDM) of United States have reached an agreement to license NAC Technology for ZDM's wellActivity.com - a well activity information system for the entire United States. This represents the start of NAC Technology deployed in the petroleum industry.


PCI Geomatics was awarded the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) gold award for the Outaouais region by the National Bank of Canada. PCI will now move on to compete in the SME Quebec Provincial finals to be held in Montreal on October 29th, 2004.

Enghouse Systems Limited announced that its Asset Management Division has been selected to provide NTL Group Limited with a leading-edge geospatial network design and management software solution.


This image of Hurricane Frances, a category 4 storm, was collected by ORBIMAGE's OrbView-2 "SeaWiFS" satellite on Thursday, September 2nd at approximately 1:00pm EST. The image shows Frances heading west-northwest over the Bahamas. Image Courtesy of ORBIMAGE
Ordnance Survey of Britain is currently developing a new seamless data maintenance and storage system at the heart of which is already one of the world's largest spatial databases. It holds details of more than 440 million mapped objects in Britain - including buildings, roads, fields and even pillar boxes - any of which can be updated daily as the landscape changes. From this, a wide range of specific geographical data products and services are created and supplied to customers in both the public and private sectors.

As Ordnance Survey and Oracle are business partners, the national mapping agency was among leading organizations invited to take part in Oracle's worldwide beta testing programme for Oracle 10g months before the product was launched. The twin aim was to ensure that the new functionality met all requirements for the most sophisticated databases, and to give key users the opportunity to recommend enhancements where appropriate.

The students of the University of Nebraska's Peter Kiewit Institute, working together with the US National Park Service have developed the Lewis and Clark gNET which leverages data and technology supplied by Red Hen Systems and the US Army Corps of Engineers to provide the first interactive geospatially referenced streaming video application.

Visitors to the Lewis and Clark gNET website have the ability to view streaming video of the Missouri and James rivers, along with GPS data including latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, and heading all updated in real time as the video streams. Lewis and Clark events from the gNET database are updated as the viewers location approaches these historic sites.

This week's announcement by the Open GIS Consortium (OGC) to change its name to the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. signals a particular trend.

According to the press release, “the new name reflects the Consortium's wide scope of work in a broad geospatial marketplace that includes not only geographic information systems (GIS), but also mapping, earth imaging, sensor webs, and mobile wireless services. It also highlights the importance of OGC Web services standards as part of information technology best practices for integrating geospatial processing into service oriented architectures and enterprise workflows.”

In the last few years, we have seen many companies change their names from GIS or geographic in description to “geospatial,” among them Intergraph Mapping and GIS, which was renamed to Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, and their annual conference Geospatial World. Bentley Geoengineering became Bentley Geospatial. An evolution of the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) to the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) to the recently announced the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) also stressed the addition of “intelligence” to their name, which NIMA Technical Executive, Roberta Lenczowski, defined in her keynote at Geospatial World in New Orleans in 2003.

According to the NGA, in a press release written while it was still NIMA, “geospatial intelligence is the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth.”

The NGA's contribution is its geospatial base as well as an analytical expertise that includes meticulous descriptions of things found in our world and likely occurrences at those locations. The NGS offers expertise of service to providing a reliable context into which other disciplines can be fused, or integrated.

“Intelligence” is also used by software vendors to describe dependencies and relationships between layers of data. It is also used by the military to describe “intelligence” operations.

The continual refining and revising of our industry terminology is solely an attempt to better define the changing landscape of geography, because basically, geography is at the heart of all the newest “geospatial” technologies, even though it might not always be visually apparent.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it was implementing new procedures regarding the release of potentially sensitive data to requesting law enforcement agencies and organizations or individuals. Effective immediately, all special tabulations of data requested by a federal, state or local law enforcement agency or intelligence agency will require prior approval by the appropriate Associate Director at the Bureau whenever the request involves sensitive populations, including minority groups.

Getting Started with Scripting in ArcGIS 9, a new live training seminar from ESRI Virtual Campus, focuses on how ArcGIS Desktop users can write geoprocessing scripts using Python. The seminar will be presented three times on Thursday, September 23, 2004, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association has announced the availability of its 42nd annual conference program at www.urisa.org. URISA 2004, "The Place for Spatial Information Professionals," will be held November 7-10, 2004 in Reno, Nevada.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced Tianjin Golden Universe Information Technology Co. Ltd. (Tianjin) has purchased two Intergraph Z/I Imaging Digital Mapping Cameras (DMC(R)) in addition to photogrammetry and TerraShare(R) software. Tianjin provides geospatial solutions for Chinese government bodies, including land, housing and planning departments. The company will use the DMC along with the additional Z/I Imaging photogrammetry and image management software to speed the collection, creation and distribution of imagery.

Intergraph Corporation's R. Halsey Wise, President and CEO, will present at SG Cowen's 32nd Annual Fall Technology Conference in Boston on Wednesday, September 8 at 1:30 p.m. EST.

HP continued its No. 1 position in worldwide server shipments for the ninth consecutive quarter, according to second quarter calendar year 2004 figures released today by IDC.(1) HP shipped nearly twice the number of servers than IBM during the quarter. HP also was the No. 1 server vendor in factory revenue and servers shipped worldwide for the x86, Linux and Windows(R) server markets.

In the second quarter of 2004, Sun Microsystems, Inc. achieved significant revenue and volume growth in almost every category. Sun outperformed all vendors in revenue market share growth on a quarter-to-quarter (Q/Q) basis including All OS, UNIX+Linux and UNIX, as reported in the 2Q04 Worldwide Server Database report by Gartner Dataquest, released this week. Year on year, Sun outpaced all competitors in unit shipment growth at 38.4%, and gained market share against key rivals. Sun's performance was fueled by strong demand for Solaris servers with UltraSPARC IV and Opteron processors, and Netra (TM) 240/440 systems, and primarily from customers in financial services, communications and government markets.

"From Pharaohs to Geoinformatics" is the title of the 8th GSDI Conference to be held 16-21 April 2005 in Cairo, Egypt. "The role of spatial data and spatial data infrastructures in an information society" is a major theme. The GSDI Association (Global Spatial Data Infrastructure) [ http://www.gsdi.org/] will hold this conference in conjunction with the Federation of International Surveyors (FIG).


GIS industry veteran and former GITA president, Dan Bowditch, has joined Ten Sails Consulting to expand the company's North American sales efforts and help grow market share.

Bowditch has long been active in the GIS industry, including stints as vice president of Westech's GIS and Energy Business Solutions practices, director of business development and integration at Accenture Business Services for Utilities, and more than 20 years with Canadian energy company BC Hydro, in operational management roles with transmission, distribution and customer services. Bowditch is also a past president of the Geographic Information & Technology Association (GITA).

New Products

IBM announced that it has jointly developed with Honda Motor Company a unique, hands-free and natural-sounding in-vehicle speech-recognition system - the industry's leading-edge navigation application. Honda will offer the system as standard equipment on the 2005 Acura RL and as options on both the 2005 Acura MDX and 2005 Honda Odyssey in the United States and Canada beginning this month.

MapInfo Corporation announced the September 2004 release of MapInfo Professional(R) v7.8, the newest version of the company's industry-leading flagship mapping and geographic analysis solution. This release marks the fifteenth anniversary of MapInfo Professional. MapInfo Professional v7.8 enables enterprise users in all industries to analyze data more effectively and make better informed decisions.

LizardTech, Inc., announced the launch of Express Server 5.0, LizardTech's cost-effective software solution for distributing high-resolution images and documents over the Internet. Key enhancements to Express Server 5.0 include the support for JPEG 2000 and OpenGIS® WMS publishing adding to the product's array of interoperability tools such as the ArcIMS integration toolkit. In addition to supporting industry-standard file formats and open standards such as TIFF, JPEG and BMP, as well as MrSID®, DjVu® format, Express Server 5.0 now also supports JPEG 2000.

Miner & Miner announced that ArcFM Solution 9.0.1 is now available. The ArcFM Solution is an enterprise utility solution for editing, modeling, maintenance, and management of facility and land base information for electric, gas, and water/wastewater utilities. ArcFM Solution 9.0.1 is supported on both ArcGIS 8.3 and 9.0.

DonationChannel Inc. announced the availability of dynamic, “on-the-fly” street address mapping capability for the Enhanced RealBird Aerial Maps Viewer.

Around the Web...

Idea of Implanting ID tag Raises Orwellian Fears, CNET News.com, by Michael Kanellos, August 23, 2004 - Advocates of technologies like radio frequency identification tags say their potentially life-saving benefits far outweigh any Orwellian concerns about privacy. RFID tags sewn into clothing or even embedded under people's skin could curb identity theft, help identify disaster victims and improve medical care, they say. Critics, however, say such technologies would make it easier for government agencies to track a person's every movement and allow widespread invasion of privacy.

Election 2004: A Closer Look at the Swing States, New York Times, (registration required) August 24, 2004 -An interactive graphic showing what regions of the various states control elections.

Tunes, A Hard Drive and (Just Maybe) a Brain, New York Times, by Rachel Dodes, August 26, 2004-The Apple iPod is said by some to have a “mind” of its own in picking music selections.

Republican National Convention - What Lies Beneath?, National Geographic--As GOP delegates gather in New York, the underground is in action, as always. Take a look at an interactive map of subterranean New York.

Three Planets are found Close in Size to Earth, Making Scientists Think 'Life', New York Times, September 1, 2004, by Dennis Overbye --A trio of newly discovered worlds are much smaller than any other planets previously discovered outside of the solar system.

Upcoming Events

NSGIC 2004 Annual Conference
Date: September 12 - 16, 2004
Place: Hyatt Regency Austin
208 Barton Springs, Austin, TX USA
The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is an organization of States committed to efficient and effective government through the prudent adoption of geospatial information technologies. Members of NSGIC include delegations of senior state geographic information system managers from across the United States. Other members include representatives from federal agencies, local government, the private sector, academia and other professional organizations.

Images to Decisions: Remote Sensing Foundations for GIS Applications
Date: September 12 - 16, 2004
Place: Kansas City, MO USA
he Fall 2004 ASPRS Specialty Conference "Images to Decisions; Remote Sensing Foundations for GIS Applications" will focus on the integration of remote sensing image data into GIS and Decision Support Systems (DSS). The intended audience is the GIS practitioner who needs information about the extraction and use of data and products derived from airborne and satellite sensors.

IMTA (Americas) 2004 Annual Conference & Trade Show
Date: September 19 - 22, 2004
Place: Coronado Springs Resort in Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL USA