Welcome to GISWeekly! This week several vendors have taken the time to ponder the question of how technology addresses the problem of dealing with all the separate stovepipes of data systems that don't use a common geographic reference.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
The Stovepipe Question
How does your technology address the problem of all the separate stovepipes of data systems that many companies are still using, that don't use a common geographic reference?
"GIS systems have traditionally been focused on the relationship of data elements to a geospatial coordinate, typically represented by a location on a map. While this has provided a wealth of information for those users who require mapping related information to execute their job function, it has been limited to a select set of individuals that possess the knowledge to design, upload and work with this information. The acquisition and implementation of a GIS system can be a costly expenditure whose use is often isolated to a select group of individuals that become the conduit for all GIS activities.
Gaining the maximum benefit from GIS requires that the system is used by as many people in the organization as a tool to extend their ability to manage and deliver information. The missing link to this extended benefit is the integration of documents and content with the GIS system. By associating documents with a geospatial location, users of the GIS system are given a more complete picture if the information associated to a location on a map. Information management is not one dimensional, but must be multi-dimensional, bringing together the structured GIS data with the unstructured documents that then enable all users in an organization to access the information they need to do their job. Integrating documents with the GIS system brings the GIS functionality out of the back room and into the main stream functions of the front office."
-- Alan Weintraub, Sr. Director, Business Solutions, Hummingbird Ltd
"GeoMedia solves the problem of disparate data formats and makes it easy to share up-to-date spatial data across borders, industries, and disciplines. Departments within your enterprise as well as other organizations with whom you collaborate, maintain their data in various formats. For example, if your organization manages city infrastructure, you must coordinate road repair, public works maintenance, urban planning, and environmental services. Because each of these departments has established its own mode of operation and selected software that best suits its workflow, it is difficult for a project manager to access complete information and ensure that new construction will not disturb an environmentally sensitive area or conflict with planned water and sewer upgrades.
To turn a potential headache into a hassle-free process, GeoMedia technology provides an open geospatial solution that uses no proprietary languages or data formats, enabling you to integrate data from disparate databases for viewing, analysis, and presentation. No translation or conversion of data is required. Industry-standard databases provide seamless data access and security tools, which allow departments to retain control of their data. With real-time access to data, queries, and thematic maps that are automatically updated to reflect changes in your data warehouse, you always have current information."
-- David D. Holmes, Director of Worldwide Product Strategy, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions
"SAS currently supports and implements a number of open standards-based access technologies. These technologies link together organizational stovepipes and surface SAS functionality to other technologies in a variety of ways.
SAS enables organizations to deliver the entire SAS platform to virtually any client across the enterprise and provides adapters that utilize open communication protocols for both Windows clients and Java clients in a flexible Multi-Vendor Architecture. SAS application logic can also be embedded into virtually any application using an open, object-oriented API that allows both Java and Microsoft applications to call on the power of the SAS System and supports a wide variety of standards-both open and 3rd-party-- through delivery of a broad suite of adapters and call routines."
-- Fiona McNeill, Strategis -- SAS Technology Portfolio, WW Strategy
"The ArcFM Solution fits into the overall information technology architecture of modern utilities through open databases, industry-standard programming environments, and Component Object Model (COM) architecture. The ArcFM Solution integrates with other non-GIS applications, and by integrating with Microsoft's COM technology and XML (extensible Markup Language), it can interface easily with ERP, SCADA, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Work Management (WMS), Customer Information System (CIS), and distribution management systems (DMS). This addresses the issues of moving data back and forth between GIS and non-GIS applications. Depending on the type of data maintained in the different stovepipes, it may be beneficial to store the data within the GIS system as attributes of the features or do a table join from GIS to the other stovepipe data."
-- Rick Goodwin, Strategic Account Manager, Miner & Miner
"OmniReplicator allows for data replication even when the databases are not the same type or the structures are different. In addition we support bidirectional replication which means changes can be made on either side and kept in sync with each other. There are some obvious limitations and considerations when doing complex data replication, but the product allows for simple integration of the solution once defined. Its real-time, changed data replication capability transparently integrates data from key data resources such as Oracle, DB2, UDB, Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server or Informix. The solution provides data movement across platforms allowing data movement using IBM's zSeries (OS/390, z/OS) and iSeries (OS/400), AIX Solaris, HP-UX, Linux and MicroSoft Windows for enterprise wide solutions. OmniReplicator can be implemented in a variety of data movement models, including one-to-one, broadcast, many-to-one or mixed topologies. It offers both bidirectional and unidirectional data movement and bidirectional functionality provides automated collision detection and resolution.
Using a simple point-and-click interface, system administrators can easily determine where information is, where it needs to be, and what path it should follow. OmniReplicator then gets it there. Because OmniReplicator operates at the database level, it is application and operating system independent. There is no need to add or modify any application code to share data. This eliminates implementation and maintenance time resulting in reduced costs.
In short, we are able to take data from the various sites and replicate that on a real-time basis to other databases. We currently use this technology with ESRI so that changes can be made in one database and then propagated out to one or more other databases."
-- John Gay, Senior Services Consultant, Lakeview Technologies
I would also like to pose the question to readers, how does your organization address the problem of separate stovepipes of data, that don't use a common geographic reference?
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Z/I Imaging Corporation, an Intergraph Company, announced that Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd. (KKC) has purchased the Z/I Digital Mapping Camera (DMC) system, which provides a complete digital workflow for data acquisition that includes mission planning, sensor management, digital imagery processing, photogrammetric software and a client/server image management, storage and distribution system. A Japanese geomatics firm, KKC provides engineering and consulting services on a wide variety of construction-related projects and geographic information systems (GIS) implementations, primarily dealing with government, municipal offices and overseas engineering projects.
IDEAL.com has partnered with Avatech Solutions to bring its entire line of scanning solutions to Avatech's government, education and commercial customers. Avatech, provider of design automation and PLM solutions for the manufacturing, building design, and engineering markets, has been granted a US-wide authorization to provide IDEAL/Contex large format scanners and complimentary software as a part of their single-source solutions offerings.