Dr. David Maguire on the ArcGIS 9.0 Product Family Release
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Dr. David Maguire on the ArcGIS 9.0 Product Family Release

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! The new release of ArcGIS, ArcGIS 9.0, is shipping this week. I spoke to Dr. David Maguire of ESRI about the new features of the product and how it has evolved. ArcGIS 9.0 is directly compatible with ArcGIS 8 so people should be able to update their existing systems and keep working without having to make any major changes. There is a collection of additional and new features they can also take advantage of when they think the time is right. 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, 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
Dr. David Maguire on the ArcGIS 9.0 Product Family Release

By Susan Smith

The new release of ArcGIS, ArcGIS 9.0, is shipping this week. I spoke to Dr. David Maguire, Director of Technology and Product Strategy for ESRI, about the new features of the product and how it has evolved.

Dr. David Maguire
With the release of ArcGIS 8, ESRI took a departure from their previous GIS platform. “ArcGIS 8 was really a completely new architecture and system from ESRI. In January, 1997 we made the decision to completely rewrite and rebuild our GIS software architecture,” explained Maguire. “ArcGIS 8.0 came out right at the end of 1999. We've been through a series of 13 releases since then and 9.0 is the latest evolution in the ArcGIS platform. It's really an update enhancement to the existing architecture and products, plus some new products that are coming out for the first time.”

ArcGIS 9.0 builds upon 8.3. It comprises an additional 100 person years of development which takes the total cost of ArcGIS to over US$100 million, according to Maguire. There are literally thousands of improvements and enhancements in ArcGIS 9.0.

Why did ESRI decide to undertake such a huge change? “ESRI started developing GIS products around 1980. The ideas and plans we had during the '80s and '90s were mainstream then but were overtaken by events. Another thing that happened was we had developed multiple source trees and parallel overlapping products. We had ArcView, with a great user interface and easy to use technology; we had MapObjects, a software component library for developers; we had ArcSDE, which allows users to work with relational database management systems and had an IT-focused architecture for delivering vast quantities of data quickly,” Maguire said. “Then we had ArcInfo which even then was recognized as being the most functionally comprehensive GIS available. The problem was you had to make a choice: whether you wanted GIS to be easy to use or powerful, or whether you wanted to deal with large quantities of data in a database or files on the desktop, whether you wanted to be an end user or a developer. We didn't want users to have to make those choices. Just because something is easy to use doesn't mean it has to be simple. We integrated all those products into a single integrated software architecture called ArcGIS.”

Where do the ideas come from for developing new software? “Our input for where we go with our software comes from three sources: first and foremost, it comes from our users and we get input from them on what is needed. Secondly, we look at general trends in information technology and what's happening in the industry and try to take advantage of things like relational databases or component based software and Internet technologies such as XML. Thirdly, here at ESRI we have ideas of where we think GIS should go in the future and we incorporate those into our software.”

ArcGIS 9.0 is directly compatible with ArcGIS 8 so people should be able to update their existing systems and keep working without having to make any major changes. There is a collection of additional and new features they can also take advantage of when they think the time is right.

In ArcGIS 9.0, there are two brand new software products and six major enhancements to round out the line. ArcGIS Server, a complete GIS system with advanced functionality running in a centralized advanced server environment, is the newest. Previously this capability was only available on the desktop in products like ArcView and ArcInfo. ESRI has made that available in a centralized server environment. It can be run over the web or a LAN. According to Maguire, this is radically new and one of its kind in the industry right now. “I anticipate within the next two or three years others will try to emulate it.”

ArcGIS server is part of the overall ArcGIS product family but as it's a new product you have to purchase it separately.

The other new product is ArcGIS Engine, a desktop technology for developers who want to build highly customized applications, i.e., to embed some GIS in a Visual Basic or Java program or a form-based application.

The core desktop products of ArcGIS 9, have a new geoprocessing framework and toolset. These provide the ability to combine two data layers by overlay style operations or to do proximity analysis like buffering. The product includes over 400 new tools as well as the framework, including tools for surface analysis, raster geoprocessing, data conversion, and many others. Existing maintenance customers get upgrades on the core product and existing extensions for free. One new ArcGIS 9.0 extension is Maplex, which solves the problem of putting labels on maps so they don't overlap each other or other features on the map. “This is a massive improvement in productivity for cartographers,” said Maguire. The other new extension is the Data Interoperability Extension, which provides read/write support for over 50 data formats. With this extension you will be able to read and write directly all the popular GIS formats. It was created in conjunction with Safe Software, and of course, they do implement many of the specifications of the OGC.

What is ArcMap GPS Support? “It's part of the core product that allows people to connect GPS devices to ArcMap so that you can digitize new features, collect data in the field using a GPS device, and store and display them inside a geodatabase,” explained Maguire.

Global 3D visualization enhancement comes in the form of ArcGlobe, which allows you to deal with large quantities of raster and vector data. With ArcGlobe you can take a global perspective and visualize and manipulate extremely large quantities of data in realtime. There are also big improvements in 3D object visualization and analysis. For example, 3D buildings and trees can be added to landscape views.

The sixth enhancement is in cartography. Quality and performance of output, in terms of making it easier to correct high quality production quality maps, is the focus of this enhancement.

Everything in the ArcGIS 9.0 product line is shipping right now, including ArcSDE 9.0. ArcSDE 9.0 is a piece of middleware that connects a wide variety of different clients - Internet browsers, devices, desktop GIS systems-- with a wide variety of different servers: Oracle, Informix, SQL server, DB2, etc. ArcSDE adds value because 1) it offers high performance, and 2) it offers a range of middle-tier services including long transaction support, topology support, and an extended range of data types beyond what the databases are able to offer.

What are the significant enhancements of that release? “I wouldn't say there are many large enhancements--rather they are small to medium sized enhancements some of which are quite technical,” noted Maguire. “You can 1) improve performance of handling raster data sets 2) partially update pyramid indexes to speed up data load, 3) compress multi-user databases while many users are still connected. Previously you had to move it into single user mode.”

Oracle has some image data management tools-is there some similarity between those tools and those offered in ESRI's ArcSDE 9.0? “There are some similarities - they both store raster images and they both use BLOBs as the native data storage mechanism,” Maguire clarified. “I think we differ from Oracle in a number of areas. ESRI's goal is to provide a complete solution for image data management including loading images, processing images, storage, retrieval, analysis and mapping, whereas Oracle only sets out to solve part of the puzzle, which is just the storage and retrieval in the database. We solve a wider and more GIS-centric problem rather than just the database part. Secondly, you'll get better performance from ArcGIS because of the way we've built and implemented the system. Thirdly, in terms of compression, we offer technology to compress images when you put them in the database, which makes them a lot smaller and uses up less disk space. Fourthly, we enable rapid loading because we can do partial updating of mosaic images-not a feature you can get from Oracle. Fifth, we offer a much wider range of file formats than Oracle.”

“We regard ArcSDE 9.0 as an open middle tier technology that adds a range of services on top of databases like Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and Informix. It is a high performance engine, and adds services to ESRI clients and potentially other vendor's clients if they want to link against the open APIs,” said Maguire. “It runs on five different OS platforms--Windows, Linux, Solaris, AIX and HP-UX, supports the OGC simple features protocols, and a range of open access APIs (COM, Java, SQL).”


Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions (IMGS) and Optech Incorporated announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance to jointly market and further develop airborne flight management and data acquisition systems. Under the terms of the agreement, both companies will sell a bundled solution consisting of Optech's Airborne Laser Terrain Mapper (ALTM) and Intergraph's Z/I Imaging Digital Mapping Camera (DMC(R)) at a special bundled price. Commercial photogrammetry, surveying, civil engineering and mapping firms can now realize cost savings when purchasing two of the best-in-breed data acquisition technologies. Also, users will gain the efficiencies of combined lidar and digital data collection to speed the generation of Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) as input into orthophoto production. Additionally, the two companies will cooperate on the development of flight systems that more tightly integrate lidar and large-format digital camera technology.

IMGS also announced that Wisconsin-based VELOCITIE Integration, Inc., a spin-off of KEMA, Inc., has signed a contract with Intergraph to become an Intergraph Registered Solutions Center (RSC). KEMA, Inc. provides technical and management consulting, as well as training services, to the electric power industry worldwide. VELOCITIE is a software-consulting firm specializing in the integration of GIS technology with enterprise IT systems for utilities, municipalities and communications companies.

MapInfo (Nasdaq: MAPS) announced that it is working with IBM to develop Web-based portal applications on Envinsa™, MapInfo's unified location platform designed to help organizations derive the greatest value from location across business requirements, and IBM's WebSphere, a Web Services enabled, Java-based application server. Insurance organizations are turning to location technology and Web Services for integrated claims management, more efficient underwriting, improved policy management and better customer insight.

Tele Atlas, provider of digital map data and leading provider of real-time traffic information in the United States, announced a partnership with Metrocommute that expands Tele Atlas' speed and traffic flow data coverage to an industry-leading 21 major U.S. metropolitan areas. Tele Atlas will integrate feeds from Metrocommute to complement the sensor data market coverage it already offers.

Laser-Scan announced that MapInfo Corporation has signed an agreement enabling their Europe, Middle East and Africa operation to resell Laser-Scan's Radius Topology. This will mean MapInfo customers will be able to benefit from Radius Topology's advanced spatial productivity and data quality management tools within an enterprise solution.


Frost & Sullivan recognized DigitalGlobe for its outstanding work toward the development of next-generation commercial remote sensing satellites by presenting the company with the 2004 Aerospace & Defense Product of the Year Award.

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been awarded a contract by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consisting of three projects to engineer interoperable wireless geospatial solutions. The company's Information Technology (IT) sector will develop and implement a situational awareness capability that provides location information enabled by secure wireless connectivity.


Earth Resource Mapping (ERM), which provides enterprise geospatial imagery solutions, has joined the Open GIS Consortium, Inc. The Open GIS Consortium is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services.

Stuart Nixon, CEO and founder of ERM said, “The OGC plays an important role in advancing standards for the use of geospatial imagery and GIS solutions. For the past 15 years, ERM has been a strong supporter of open standards. In keeping with our philosophy, ERM is looking forward to working with other OGC members to progress OGC initiatives with our expertise and experience.”

ORBIMAGE Inc. of Dulles, VA, reported results for its first quarter ending March 31, 2004. The full report is available on the Company's website.

Total revenues were $2.01 million and $1.69 million for the three months ended March 31, 2004 and 2003, respectively. Net loss for the three months ended March 31, 2004 and 2003 was $8.39 million and $2.51 million, respectively. Net loss in the first quarter of 2004 reflects an increase in operating costs (including depreciation) resulting from the commencement of operations of the OrbView-3 satellite and from interest expense on our Senior Notes and Senior Subordinated Notes issued on December 31, 2003.

ESRI is offering a free, live training seminar What's New in ArcGIS 9 Labeling and Annotation. The seminar explores the latest labeling and annotation features included with ArcGIS 9. There will be one afternoon and two morning opportunities to view the seminar on June 24, 2004, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time. (note Maptext new product announcement below)

Space Imaging is nearing completion of a contract to provide imagery to the Department of Defense (DOD) for improved situational awareness of major defense installations. The contract was awarded in February 2003 by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and will serve as a critical, geo-referenced, common installation picture to help the Armed Forces begin a military transformation to reconfigure and reposition themselves for 21st century threats. The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics tapped the Air Force's GeoBase program in April 2003 to coordinate the DOD effort. With a simple vision of 'One Installation ... One Map,' GeoBase integrates numerous geospatial data sets to maps, thereby providing a single point of access to military base information.

MapInfo Corporation (Nasdaq: MAPS) introduced MapXtreme(R) 2004, the next generation of its location-based technology platform. Built on Microsoft(R) .NET, MapXtreme 2004 enables users to develop custom mapping applications that can be deployed both on the desktop and the Web using the same core engine. MapXtreme 2004 provides an unprecedented level of new functionality, including an open architecture that supports IT and industry standards, the ability to develop and deploy more robust applications, and complete integration with the .NET development environment.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced that the Danish reseller Brock & Michelsen A/S has sold Z/I Imaging's Digital Mapping Camera (DMC(R)) to Lantmateriet (Gavle, Sweden). Lantmateriet is one of the Nordic region's leading photogrammetric firms and provides Swedish geographical databases and maps, cadastral and real property information, as well as the development and exploitation of geographic information techniques. The DMC will enable Lantmateriet to implement a completely digital workflow from collection through processing of geospatial imagery.

GIS professionals are also investigating Digital Rights Management (DRM), which has been the domain of the music industry up until recently. DRM is a technology used to describe, identify, trade, protect, monitor and track all forms of rights usages. The flow of geospatial data can be supported and improved by this technology. To learn the current status of the technology and the main challenges and benefits to adoption of geoDRM, professionals who produce and use geospatial data were invited to a program on geoDRM Monday, May 24, rom 9:00 a.m. to noon. The program was presented at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Denver, Colorado (the venue for the ASPRS Annual Meeting).

The GeoData Alliance and Open GIS Consortium are working together to advance this important area of geospatial information technologies. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the concepts and state of the art of DRM to GIS professionals (both technical experts and policymakers); information brokers and intermediaries.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA)'s 27th Annual Conference and Exhibition held in Seattle, Wash., April 25-28, 2004, attracted 2,112 attendees. That total reflects a 3.5 percent increase in paid attendance from the previous year's event. The conference featured 91 educational sessions organized into 15 tracks, 15 knowledge immersion seminars, panel discussions, user forums, and several networking events.

Tax collections by state governments grew 2.4 percent to $547 billion in fiscal year 2003 - a $13 billion increase from 2002, the U.S. Census Bureau said this week.

The Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) invites participation in an "Interoperability Experiment" that will result in a proposed XML schema for encoding OGC Web Services Context documents (OWS Context). Cadcorp, DM Solutions, GeoConnections/Natural Resources Canada, and IONIC Software have initiated the "OGC Web Services Context Document Schema Interoperability Experiment."


Telcontar, supplier of software and related services for Location-Based Services (LBS), announced the appointment of J. Kim Fennell as President and CEO. Mr. Fennell brings over 25 years of experience in high-technology management from the telecommunications and computer industries and will lead Telcontar forward with its LBS initiatives in the wireless, Internet and telematics industry sectors. Mr. Fennell replaces Eric Carlson, who is retiring, but will remain as an advisor through June 30, 2004.

New Products

Following Leica Geosystems' launch of Cyclone™ 5.0 software in late 2003, the company announced its companion CloudWorx™ 3.0 application. Just as Cyclone 5.0 software enabled the efficient use of very large laser scan data sets in the company's specialized Cyclone application, CloudWorx 3.0 brings the same "large point cloud" capability directly inside compatible CAD applications. The company further announced that the first public demonstration of this powerful new capability will be at Bentley's upcoming BE Conference, May 23-27 in Orlando, FL. Leica Geosystems HDS, Inc. and Bentley are strategic partners, with Bentley distributing Bentley CloudWorx on an exclusive, worldwide basis.

ESRI Business Information Solutions (ESRI BIS) will present its newest data, the Business Analyst product suite, Web services, and other business software at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers Trade Exposition at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, May 23-26, 2004. ESRI BIS, a division of ESRI, the world leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, is an industry leader in marketing analysis solutions and demographic data.

MapText, Inc. announced the availability of its Label-911 software package specifically aimed at placing text and symbols on emergency / E911 maps. The new software is an extended version of Label-EZ, MapText's market-leading text placement product.

GeoLeaders, an international network of providers of standards-based geospatial technology products and services, announced the availability of an Emergency Mapping solution that enables organizations to rapidly communicate and easily understand complex emergency management situations. The Emergency Mapping solution is based on CubeWerx software, Open GIS Consortium, Inc. standards and implements the U.S. Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) emerging standard for emergency mapping.

Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN), announced the GPS 18 -- a GPS sensor bundled with nRoute(TM) software that lets users turn their laptop PC into a powerful street navigation tool. MapInfo Corporation (Nasdaq: MAPS) delivered a "sneak peak" of its soon to be introduced AnySite®Gravity Model. AnySite Gravity Model will enable supermarkets and other convenience goods retailers to automatically define trade areas, forecast sales, and estimate transfer for all existing stores, competitors and potential locations within a defined market. The final release of the AnySite Gravity Model is expected to be Fall, 2004.

Around the Web ...

Women of Tech, Business Week Online, Special Report, May 12, 2004--Despite tech's reputation for being a meritocracy, only a handful of women make it to the top. Here are some who may be on the way…

"Intelligent" Cars "Talk" With Highway, One Another, National Geographic News, Brian Handwerk, May 21, 2004 -- In Minnesota, state police cars, ambulances, and government vehicles will soon carry a small piece of extra cargo-a sensing device that collects data as it rolls down the state's roadways. Ford Motor Company officials call the program a prototype for a next-generation travel-advisory system.

Newfound asteroid is 2nd rock from the Sun, USA Today, by Robert Roy Britt, May 21,2004, SPACE.com--Astronomers announced Thursday the second known asteroid whose orbit is completely inside that of Earth. It supplants Venus as the second rock from the Sun.

Rapid Rise of Sea Level 19,000 Years Ago and Its Global Implications, Science Magazine, Peter U. Clark, A. Marshall McCabe, Alan C. Mix, and Andrew J. Weaver, Vol 304, Issue 5674, 1141-1144 , 21 May 2004

Upcoming Events...

GIS and Business Intelligence for the Enterprise
Date: June 2, 2004
Place: DoubleTree Hotel Mission Valley San Diego, CA USA
ESRI and Information Builders Inc. (IBI) are co-hosting a nationwide seminar series on geographic analysis and business intelligence tools for visualizing demographic, customer, and other location-based business data. Free seminars are being offered in 40 cities across the U.S.

GIS and Business Intelligence for the Enterprise
Date: June 3, 2004
Place: Hilton Pasadena Pasadena, CA USA
ESRI and Information Builders Inc. (IBI) are co-hosting a nationwide seminar series on geographic analysis and business intelligence tools for visualizing demographic, customer, and other location-based business data. Free seminars are being offered in 40 cities across the U.S.

UbiGIS 2004 - First International Workshop on Ubiquitous GIS
Date: June 7 - 9, 2004
Place: GTMvle, Sweden
Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp) is seen as one of the big trends in computing. It deals with distributed and mobile computer systems, which make the computer disappear - through a range of new devices and interaction possibilities. On the other side, GIS is changing from a tool for specialists to an infrastructure & tool used in a wide range of domains and applications.

Open Source GIS Conference 2004 and Second Annual MapServer User Meeting
Date: June 9 - 11, 2004
Place: Carleton University Ottawa, Canada
In recent years, the GIS industry has witnessed dramatic growth in the development and adoption of open source technologies. The technical GIS community adopted open source technology relatively early, and now mainstream GIS and broader IT industries have come on board as open source products have matured. Organizations are realizing the value of incorporating open source software as a core part of their business. This conference will provide an exciting opportunity for users and managers to network, learn about products and services, and develop both technical and management skills for adopting open source technologies. The event is expected to draw over 300 people from across the globe representing the existing open source GIS user and developer community and interested participants from government, non-government organizations, academia, and industry.

MapWorld 2004
Date: June 10, 2004
Place: Navy Pier Chicago, IL USA
Whether you are a power user, developer, manager or are new to using MapInfo, MapWorld 2004 is the place to be.

FME Training Course
Date: June 10 - 11, 2004
Place: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Join our two-day (1/3 lecture, 2/3 exercise and problem solving) course and learn to unlock the powerful features of FME to more effectively manage your data translation and data transformation challenges. FME Training can help open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. Questions are encouraged throughout the class and attendees are encouraged to bring their own sample data files.

97th Annual Conference of the Canadian Institue of Geomatics
Date: June 21 - 23, 2004
Place: Westin Hotel Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
It is our great pleasure to invite you to the 97th Annual Conference of the Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG), Geomatics: Powering the Future. This Conference will explore the increasing role of geospatial technology in Canada and how it is moving from innovation to an everyday reality.

IDL User's Group Meeting
Date: June 21, 2004
Place: The Marriott Philadelphia conference rooms 304 & 305, Philadelphia, PA USA
Join us for a breakfast meeting at the Society of Nuclear Medicine Symposium 2004

EOGEO 2004
Date: June 23 - 25, 2004
Place: UCL London, United Kingdom
EOGEO is a workshop for developers of Geospatial data services over the Web. It covers a wide field of applications from Earth Observation and GIS to Internet standards. The common themes are Web based solutions to resource discovery, interoperable data access, distributed data services and data fusion.

MapWorld 2004
Date: June 24, 2004
Place: TechMart Santa Clara San Francisco, CA USA
Whether you are a power user, developer, manager or are new to using MapInfo, MapWorld 2004 is the place to be.

ESRI GeoInfo Summit
Date: June 28 - 29, 2004
Place: Chicago, IL USA
Discover how GIS technology provides a cost-effective solution for understanding, serving, and growing your customer base by helping you better organize and visualize existing data.