GIS Technology Applied to the News
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GIS Technology Applied to the News

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! This week's Industry News features a Book Review of Mapping the News, a new book written in a fast-paced journalistic style that pulls you through a series of case studies with some pretty exciting details of how to use GIS data to reveal rich story matter.

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, Alliances/Acquisitions, Announcements, New Products, Going on Around the Web, and Calendar.

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

Book Review

GIS Technology Applied to the News

Mapping the News - Case Studies in GIS and Journalism
Edited by David Herzog
ISBN 1-58948-072-4
150 pp.

Some of the case studies outlined in Mapping the News have been heavily publicized in the GIS press, however, the book embodies a substantial number of impressive applications of GIS in the newsroom, ranging from tracking Hurricane Andrew to finding homes in landslide areas to identifying toxic sites. Mapping the News is written in a fast-paced journalistic style that pulls you through a series of case studies with some pretty exciting details of how to use GIS data to reveal rich story matter.

By now most GIS professionals are aware that the technology is being used in numerous “non-traditional” applications, but it is always interesting to see how the technology is applied. As early as the 1990s journalists used GIS to decipher data from the 1990 Census. Maps have always been used by newspapers, however, only recently have they been GIS-generated. Also, they are being created by journalists using government, Census or crime data that they have gathered and processed themselves.

One case study outlines Philadelphia Inquirer reporters who wanted to do an in-depth report on drunken driving. They found that GIS and spatial statistics had been used to look for connections between bars and drunken driving accidents. One journalist, a computer assisted reporting specialist, decided to map the liquor license locations and drunken driving accidents in the five main Pennsylvania counties covered by the Inquirer.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) had detailed accident data, however, they would not share it with the public. Information about driver age, injuries and whether alcohol was involved were stripped out of the databases. Ultimately sources inside PennDOT began to provide spreadsheets containing alcohol-related crash data for all state-maintained roads in a five county Philadelphia metropolitan area. Then PennDOT officials parted with their data from 1996 through 2000. To begin with, the reporters focused on 619 road segments that had at least five alcohol related crashes, and rather than just being content with a story on the segments of road that had the highest DUI fatalities, they overlaid data showing the highest concentrations of bars and looked for patterns.

At this point the specialist took a course in Spatial Analyst so that she could analyze points and create map layers that revealed densities. From the state Liquor Control Board she got free licensee data. With ArcView and TeleAtlas, she geocoded the records using a street map file from the Census Bureau. Researchers who perform spatial analyses of drunken driving checked out the ArcView map document to make sure that the GIS work was correct. The ensuing story, entitled “Loaded for Trouble,” detailed DUI “hot spots” and also provided more information at the newspaper's website on interactive maps, using ArcIMS.

The U.S. Presidential election was a high profile case where GIS was used by the Washington Post, to help understand what happened in Florida where the deciding votes in the election were cast. The newspaper began to examine claims that the ballots cast by African American voters had been rejected at higher rates than those of whites because of voting errors. Did their votes count as much as those cast by white voters? The Post set out to find out.
As was profiled in the news, Florida's largest counties used punch cards, and those ballots with more than one hold punched for presidential candidates were considered “overvotes” which the vote-reading machines rejected. Ballots with an improperly punched hole were also were rejected as “undervotes.” A reporter used GIS on precinct level data to determine the rate at which the punch card ballots had been disqualified. Using a statewide precinct map in ArcView shapefile format from the Florida Legislature's Web site, and a precinct shapefile map for Duval County, the reporter could examine patterns between voter registration by race and over- and undervote data. To make a long story short, Duval County and Miami-Dade County both showed in the analysis that vote rejection rates were not random. The newspaper published a story in early December showing how African American and predominantly Democrat neighborhoods in the two Florida counties had more votes rejected than in other areas of those counties. Contributing factors supplied by election experts revealed that new voters were very possibly confused by the punch card ballots. Also, the newspaper discovered that where African American voters lived, the poll workers were less likely to check ballots and allow voters to correct them.

The Washington Post went on to perform a similar analysis for Chicago and Cook County, finding similar results in that the neighborhoods with the highest minority populations suffered the greatest spoilage rates in ballots.

The newspaper's work was tracked by the television media and ultimately, spearheaded election reforms across the country.

At the back of the book is a chapter on the use of MapShop, a web based application developed by ESRI in collaboration with the Associated Press. Maps can be created inside a browser, using many map layers available for the world. In addition, the book provides an Appendix on free data sources for journalists.

This book will be very helpful to those journalists who are considering taking a GIS for Journalists or Computer Assisted Reporting course, or just need some creative ideas on what is possible in the world of reporting - with GIS technology.


Miner & Miner, Consulting Engineers, Inc. (Miner & Miner) and CGI CYME (CYME) recently announced an official business alliance. The alliance formalizes the agreement between the two companies to continue to provide electric utilities with the ability to access CYME's network analysis software, CYMDIST, from within Miner & Miner's GIS-based ArcFM Solution.


Strategic Research Institute presents the U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing Industry Conference, December 1 & 2, 2003, in Washington, D.C. This forum will analyze current and future opportunities and explore key issues within the U.S. commercial remote sensing industry, including its relationship to system and technology partners and value-added product and service providers.

Like the new U.S. commercial remote sensing policy, this conference intends to provide a discussion about the new framework for remote sensing decisions, and a forum in which to create additional relationships between government and industry decision-makers who are looking to understand the new opportunities and challenges of commercial remote sensing.

The deadline to submit abstracts for the 2004 Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference is October 3, 2003. The three-day educational program (with a full day of pre-conference workshops and a comprehensive exhibit hall) will take place March 28-31, 2004 in Austin, Texas. The conference, in its eighth year, is presented by the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and URISA.

GE Power Systems has announced that its Network Reliability Services business will host a Users Conference specifically targeted for its network management and substation automation end users. The conference, which is tracked according to each discipline, will be held in New Orleans, La., at the Fairmont Hotel and will run from October 26 through October 29. Register at or for substation automation end users at

Results of the most comprehensive survey to date of Canada's wild forests were released today in Ottawa by Global Forest Watch Canada. Using highly sophisticated satellite imagery, Canada's Large Intact Forest Landscapes reveals that 40 percent of Canada's forests have been fragmented by industrial activity, while 60 percent - almost entirely in the northern boreal region - remain intact.

The Odyssey Launch Platform and the Sea Launch Commander have embarked on their transit to the Equator for the launch of the Galaxy XIII/Horizons-1 satellite for PanAmSat Corporation and JSAT Corporation. Liftoff is scheduled for September 30, in a 39-minute launch window that will open at 9:03 pm PDT (4:03:00 GMT, October 1).

NASA plans to crash its $1.5 billion Galileo spacecraft into Jupiter next weekend to make sure it doesn't accidentally contaminate the planet's ice-covered moon Europa with bacteria from Earth. After Galileo's orbit carries it behind Jupiter at 3:49 p.m. EDT Sunday, the aging probe will plunge into the planet's stormy atmosphere at a speed of nearly 108,000 mph. Its suicide dive comes at the end of its 35th orbit of the planet -- far longer than the 11 orbits the spacecraft originally was planned to complete.

Java developers can take advantage of compressed and streaming digital maps by using RaveGeo from Idevio. RaveGeo Java is a software that reduces the size of vector-based geographical information with 90-95% and allows the data to be streamed fast and efficient to web browsers.

Website changes for Intergraph Mapping and GeoSpatial Solutions (IMGS): and Intergraph Mapping and GeoSpatial Solutions Support:

In another announcement Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions (NASDAQ: INGR) said they are hosting Geospatial Intelligence Days for the geospatial intelligence community at the Intergraph campus in Reston, Virginia. Targeted at federal organizations, intelligence agencies, national mapping agencies and commercial industries, the conference focuses on geospatial intelligence solutions for data management; imagery exploitation; spatial analysis and intensification of data; and dissemination, collaboration and communication of data. The conference continues through Sept. 19, enabling attendees such as NIMA, AWF Fuer Militaerisches Geowesen, CIA, FEMA, USGS and others to enhance their knowledge of the geospatial intelligence industry and the latest technology. Once again in the news, IMGS announced it is sponsoring the 3rd International Digital Earth Symposium on Global Sustainability being held today through September 25 in BRNO, Czech Republic. Digital Earth 2003 brings together 250 participants representing national and local government organizations, national mapping agencies, academic and research organizations, and GIS and remote sensing suppliers from around the world to examine and advance global spatial data, information and knowledge to support solutions for global problems. Other news: IMGS announced that the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland, Australia, has launched a land information management system based on open GeoMedia(R) technology. The department is responsible for maintaining land, water and vegetation, including minimizing the impact of pest plants and animals in a state that covers an area of 1.7 million square kilometers around a quarter of the Australian continent. The system, called PestInfo, is a digital mapping tool for local councils to record, manage and analyze pest information in Queensland.

Data quality software provider Melissa Data announced the most commonly used categories of their free Internet-based search tool: Zip-City-Phone, Phone Numbers, and U.S. Addresses. These top three databases average more than 340,000 page views a day, demonstrating that value-added Internet search tools are still one of the most popular uses of the Net.

ARCBridge Consulting & Training, Inc., (Herndon, VA) announced the release and availability of ARCBridge NETSolv. a network analysis extension designed to be used with ESRI's ArcGIS Version 8.3, and ARCBridge FIRESolv Net

Navigation Technologies, a provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation, Internet / wireless, government, and business solutions and an active member of the OraclePartner Network, announced that its NAVTECH Map Data provides a digital roadmap database to exploit the powerful features of Oracle(R) Spatial 10g. Oracle Spatial 10g includes powerful new features that perform geocoding and routing in the database.

Kivera, location-based services technology provider, announced its release of Open Location Services (OpenLS). An initiative of the Open GIS Consortium, OpenLS is an emerging XML-based infrastructure for location-based software services that will accelerate the development and ease of deployment of location-based services by wireless carriers, directory assistance providers, Fleet companies and other organizations that utilize location technology to drive revenue and efficiencies.

Baker Energy announced that it will serve as a title sponsor and exhibitor at the first-ever Deepwater Operations Forum being held at the Moody Gardens Hotel in Galveston, Texas, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2003. Baker Energy, a unit of Michael Baker Corporation , provides engineering and operations services supporting deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico and other deepwater basins around the world.

UAI (Utility Automation Integrators, Incorporated), a provider of geospatial information technology solutions, announced that it has joined forces with six other world-renown corporations to form the GridWise® Alliance for transforming the nation's electric utility infrastructure into a more robust, flexible and reliable system.

CMP Media announced its Best of Show Awards for the TECHXNY, taking place September 16-18, 2003 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. Six companies received awards for best wireless, storage, business/applications, server/peripheral, security and infrastructure and HP won overall Best of Show for its HP Compaq d530 desktop series.

Inforetech Wireless Technology Inc.® (BULLETIN BOARD: WYRE, WYRE.BE Berlin: IIW) , a leading supplier of GPS-based intelligence systems for golf, today announced that it has been selected by Greg Norman Golf Course Design Inc. and Great White Shark Enterprises Inc. to be the preferred supplier of GPS-based technology for all existing and future Norman courses worldwide.


Avineon, Inc., a provider of environmental mapping services, today announced that it has been awarded a two year contract for mapping Land Cover and Land Use (LCLU) for the boundaries covered by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD).

New Products

Trimble introduced the NetRS(TM) reference station GPS receiver. Marking the ten-year anniversary of RTK GPS for surveying applications, the NetRS is latest in a long line of innovative GPS reference station and infrastructure solutions from Trimble. The NetRS features Trimble's new R-track technology, which includes the capability of tracking the new Civil Signal (L2C), scheduled to be available on certain GPS satellites in 2004. It is designed for use with Trimble's scalable infrastructure solutions and as a Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) for geodetic, survey, high accuracy GIS and monitoring applications. Trimble also introduced new features for its two GPS reference station software packages, Trimble GPSBase and GPSNet version 2.2. Enhancements to the two software packages make it even easier for users to set up and maintain GPS surveying and positioning systems. GPSBase and GPSNet are part of the Trimble offering of scalable GPS infrastructure solutions.

The GIS/Scheduling software department of the Anything3D Corporation ( ) announced that the new version of "A3D Scheduler System" with interactive tools for creation of the customized business solutions will be released at the end of November, 2003.

Haestad Press announced the publication of its comprehensive, practical guide to floodplain management, Floodplain Modeling Using HEC-RAS. Authored by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers veteran Gary Dyhouse, this new textbook is an invaluable tool for students of floodplain management and practicing modelers and managers. This 700-page textbook provides expert instruction and sound advice on completing a floodplain study, including planning the study; determining the floodway; modeling bridges, culverts, and other special features; and modeling unsteady flow. In addition, it contains one-of-a-kind, hands-on instruction for using HEC-RAS, the worldwide standard simulation tool from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Haestad Methods at 1-800-727-6555 (USA or Canada) or +1-203-755-1666 (worldwide), e-mail , or visit,, or

MapInfo Corporation (NASDAQ: MAPS) announced the availability of MapInfo(R) PSYTE(R) U.S. Advantage, the company's industry-leading neighborhood profiling solution completely re-engineered with new, location-enhanced lifestyle and consumer demographics. Through its scientific and systematic cluster development, PSYTE U.S. Advantage enables companies to make more precise consumer buying and lifestyle behavior predictions, as well as make more insightful decisions regarding store placement, customer acquisition and target marketing. MapInfo also announced the availability of RiskDataInfo(TM), a comprehensive data set of weather and natural hazards for its Insurance Decision Solution Suite (IDSS), the company's industry-leading insurance visualization solution. Now, insurance companies and reinsurers can visually analyze and consider the potential impact of weather and other natural hazards in relation to a specific location. RiskDataInfo allows insurance carriers and reinsurers to consider comprehensive historical data on hail storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados and wind storms, to make more informed decisions on risk exposure, allowing reduced costs and enhanced profitability. MapInfo will be demonstrating RiskDataInfo at the ACORD and Insurance & Technology Insurance Standards Leadership Forum (ISLF) which is being held today in Chicago.

Going on Around the Web...

For those following the ongoing discussion of books on GISWeekly, this one, Quicksilver, profiled in a New York Times article, sounds like a fascinating romp - not quite GIS-related but certainly within the realm of every technology user's interest:

Pursuing the 17th Century Origins of the Hacker's Grail by Edward Rothstein, NY Times (registration required) September 20, 2003.

As early as 1713, philosopher Daniel Waterhouse was trying to organize all of human knowledge. For every number there's a concept, for every concept a number.

“Waterhouse's project is imagined by Neal Stephenson in his gargantuan 927-page historical novel, "Quicksilver," to be published next week. But the project also derives from one imagined by the 17th-century philosopher Leibniz and that still lives on in varied incarnations.

If all the world's knowledge could be encoded in number, then the acts of creation and invention would just be forms of calculation. And the world would reveal itself as a calculating machine, an information processor.

In Mr. Stephenson's book, Waterhouse's stacks tumble down like a house of cards, which is probably a demonstration of how impossible this dream is to realize, but it still haunts contemporary computer culture. What is the hacker, after all, but someone who is a master of number and code? What is the hacker's power, but the ability to affect the engines of commerce simply by manipulating number? The hacker controls the material world by mastering its code, a notion that has become familiar from the "Matrix" films.”

Hand-Held Computers to Help City Collect on Parking Tickets, New York Times (registration required) Monday, September 22, 2003, by Michael Cooper "For 20 years, this city has been trying to solve the problem that when parking agents make a mistake, we bill the wrong people, and a lot of the fines never get collected," Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday. "Using technology is an idea whose time has come. Finally, I think, we've got it right."

Verizon to Allow Land Numbers for Cells by the Associated Press--Tuesday, September 23, 2003. Verizon Communications announced an agreement Monday that will enable its customers to turn the telephone number on a home or office line into the wireless number for a cell phone.

A Guru Teaches Techies How to Breathe Business Week Online, Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's approach to yogic breathing -- rhythmic breaths that flood the body with oxygen -- eases the intense pressures of technologists' stress-filled, competitive vocations and helps them find meaning in life beyond their jobs. It's a perfect solution for a generation that is breaking away from centuries of religious and family tradition.

Going on in October...

12th Annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference
Date: September 29 - October 1, 2003
Place: Houston, TX USA
“A Toolbox for System Integrity,” The event will focus on how geospatial information technologies can investigate integrity, improve business processes, manage risk, and increase efficiency. The conference is devoted exclusively to the applications of GIS technology for the upstream and downstream aspects of the industry, including exploration and production, land/lease, pipeline, gathering, retail, refining, and marketing.

GIS in the Rockies
Date: October 1 - 3, 2003
Place: Denver, CO USA
"Geospatial Integration Today for Tomorrow" is the theme of this year's conference. The conference will include a luncheon address by industry leader and technical visionary Peter Batty on topics ranging from OpenGIS to EAI, location tracking systems and wireless communications.

GIS -- Essential for the Modern World
Date: October 1 - 2, 2003
Place: Holiday Inn- Turf Albany, NY USA
GIS can help agencies, companies, and NGO's meet the challenges facing society in a time of increased demands but diminished resources. Starting eighteen years ago with a small gathering of early GIS users, the New York State GIS Conference has become a major GIS professional development opportunity for hundreds of GIS users in the state. Technical presentations feature working professionals who share their GIS experiences and solutions in dealing with real world problems like yours.. Meet fellow New Yorkers active in the GIS field, exchange information and experiences, and seek solutions to your geographic data management needs. Professional networking opportunities help you develop a network of fellow GIS users which can continue through the years. In the exhibit area, GIS vendors and consultants display the latest in GIS hardware, software, analytical techniques, and services.

FME Training Chicago
Date: October 6 - 7, 2003
Place: Chicago, IL USA
Learn from the source how to use the core components of the Feature Manipulation Engine (FME) through hands-on training. During our two-day (1/3 lecture, 2/3 exercise and problem solving) training course, attendees learn to unlock the powerful features and functionalities of FME to more effectively manage their data translation and data transformation problems. Questions are encouraged throughout the class and attendees are encouraged to bring their own sample data files.

Partnerships and Geographic Data Sharing In Local e-Government
Date: October 7, 2003
Place: Barbican Centre London, United Kingdom
- A free event for Local Authorities and their partners to gain valuable insight into how data sharing is already working and delivering real benefits in e-government projects - The seminar features speakers from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Oracle, GDC and Snowflake Software PLUS real-life case studies from The London Central Partnership and Derbyshire County Council - Lunch and refreshments will be provided

GEA'2003 IX International Fair
Date: October 9 - 11, 2003
Place: Pradzynskiego Street 12/14 Warsaw, Poland
The International Geodesy and Geoinformatics Fairs (GEA) taking place in Warsaw cover a wide range of diverse branches such as geodesy, forestry, building trade and architecture as well as companies dealing with energy, water and heat supply, telecommunication, road, rail, air, and water transport or professionals from such fields as ecology, geography, and spatial engineering. Geoinformatics, a rapidly developing branch of science, functions as the entity joining all those areas of interest.

Spain's ESRI User Conference
Date: October 9 - 10, 2003
Place: Madrid, Spain

URISA's 41st Annual Conference
Date: October 11 - 15, 2003
Place: Atlanta, GA USA
Go beyond basic technology and applications and contemplate issues related to designing, managing and applying information technology - at its highest and best use - to improve our urban and regional environments. Join your colleagues, peers, thinkers and doers from around the world at URISA's Annual Conference.

Map Asia 2003
Date: October 13 - 15, 2003
Place: Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Map Asia 2003is the 2nd Annual Asian Conference and Exhibition on the field of geographic information technologies like GIS, GPS, Aerial Photography and Remote Sensing. With the increasing penetration of information technology in Asia, usage of geographic information is finding more attention from multiple user segments. A need is being felt for dissemination of information about the latest geographic information technology developments, possible applications, and its integration with allied technologies. Regional cooperation and a congenial platform wherefrom every country in this region can work and grow together in the field of geoinformatics is the need of the hour. Map Asia 2003 is a platform for all stakeholders like researchers, users, technology developers, and policy makers to discuss, deliberate and share their knowledge and experiences for benefit of all in the field. Map Asia is scheduled to be held from 17- 19 July 2003 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"Putting IT All Together" GITA Webcast
Date: October 14, 2003
Place: USA
Standards Update and Case Studies for Enterprise Application Integration

Geomatics for Industry - Micro to Macro96th Annual CIG Geomatics ConferenceHosted by: the Canadian Institute of Geomatics
Date: October 16 - 18, 2003
Place: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
The 2003 Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG) 96th Annual Geomatics Conference and Exhibition on Geomatics for Industry - Micro to Macro is being held in Calgary, Canada October 16-18, 2003 at the Fairmont Palliser located in the heart of downtown Calgary. Unprecedented growth in Canadian industry has resulted in numerous advances in the technology and skill sets associated with geomatics. The conference will demonstrate some of these achievements at an open forum and exhibit where professionals from the geomatics community, as well as professionals from industries which employ geomatics, can observe the latest developments in the state-of-the-art geomatics services available in Canada. This event has been planned to provide delegates with practical knowledge and tools that can be operationally implemented immediately after the conference.

GITA Pacific Northwest Regional Chapter 4th Annual Conference
Date: October 20 - 21, 2003
Place: Salishan Lodge and Golf Resort Glenede Beach, USA
The GITA Pacific Northwest conference will be held this year at The Salishan Lodge and Golf Resort, Gleneden Beach (south of Lincoln City), OR, on October 20 - 21, 2003. We expect to have 100 attendees with 12 vendors exhibiting. This is a super location and there is an opportunity for you to spend time pre and post conference, for as little as $65.00 per night.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Geospatial Conference
Date: October 22 - 24, 2003
Place: Palace Casino Resort Biloxi, MO USA
The Gulf Coast Geospatial Center in conjunction with The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi Association for Spatial Technologies, The Nature Conservancy, and NASA is pleased to announce the 1st Annual Mississippi Gulf Coast Geospatial Conference.

ESRI Southwest User Group Conference
Date: October 27 - 30, 2003
Place: Snow King Resort, Jackson, WY USA
ESRI users from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming are invited to attend the 2003 SWUG conference. Conference themes will focus on natural resource management, planning and legal issues, imagery, and government. To present a paper at the conference, submit an abstract (50-100 words) by August 15, 2003, to Email Contact. Presenters will be notified by September 8, 2003.

Product Lifecycle Management Road Map 2003 Date: October 28 - 29, 2003
Place: The Dearborn Inn Dearborn, MI USA
Attendees at Product Lifecycle Management Road Map 2003 will have the opportunity to hear and interact with speakers who are industry leaders, experienced in confronting the changing PLM landscape. Find out how the best in class are using the new generation of PLM processes and technologies to enhance product development, improve quality, and enhance the role of PLM across the whole enterprise. Topics covered include multiple representations across the full lifecycle, knowledge capture and reuse, design collaboration, PLM interoperability, systems engineering, collaborative CAE, the business benefits of PLM integration and more.

Lily Ballantyneemail Email Contact

SmartCard Teleconference Events
Date: September 4, 2003
Place: USA
"Ask the Experts" Roundtable teleconference