Smart Times at GeoSpatial World
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Smart Times at GeoSpatial World

Message from the Editor

Welcome to GISWeekly! This week's industry news is devoted to coverage of the GeoSpatial World Conference held in New Orleans, May 19-21.

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, Awards, Appointments, New Products, Featured Downloads, 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 Email Contact

Best wishes,
Susan Smith, Managing Editor



Industry News

Smart Times at GeoSpatial World

Each conference has a tone, a tone established with each keynote. But even before that keynote, you can gain a feel for the mood of the conference, before you even know what will be discussed.

It was my first time at GeoSpatial World. I regularly attended the IGUG conferences when Intergraph's international user conference encompassed all its product groups. This year's conference was held for the first time in New Orleans, a wild-edged southern city that boasts fried catfish, fried chicken and probably just about anything else you can fry--and some other good things like mint juleps and Cajun food and music. The chill of air conditioning, and sunny, humid days are what the South is about for me. It's green (a color I still miss here in my southwest home). That's the setting, now what about GeoSpatial World?

GeoSpatial World drew over 1,000 attendees from over 40 countries around the world to hear about “Smart Solutions - Smarter Decisions.” The exhibit floor was small, mainly showcasing Intergraph's Mapping and Geospatial Solutions wares, but also those of their partners. Vendor shows have become the norm, the largest of which for GIS is of course, ESRI, which is a fanfare for the common individual in that it really does present a feeling that anyone can do GIS.

You do not get that feeling at GeoSpatial World. Rather, Intergraph has a long profitable history in GIS -- over 30 years experience in this industry with a focus on delivering geospatial technology and industry specific solutions worldwide for very specific markets. Their solutions are highly customizable and the company is very service oriented.



The Keynote

Preetha Pulusani
Intergraph's President of Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions Division (IMGS) Preetha Pulusani gave a broad overview of the company, stating that they had in the past year added an Intellectual Property Division to their various divisions in the company and that Z/I Imaging is now wholly owned by Intergraph. They have a solid balance sheet with virtually no debt. As of Friday, their stock was trading at 21.56, which they are proud of in this tough economy.

IMGS also has worldwide sales management team offices and worldwide distributors. For 2003, global GIS revenue is forecasted at $1.9 billion with a growth of 8%. Intergraph is the second largest vendor of GIS solutions in the world; and Pulusani assured the audience that, although there will be consolidation in the industry, Intergraph will remain a leading vendor.

Said Pulusani, “We have spent a lot of effort maintaining a vast amount of data, and that data is an undervalued asset today. It could be a true treasure chest as that geospatial information gets used within the business divisions in organizations. The problem is it's in many different formats and systems, and it's not only geospatial data that is important with the organization.”

Because of this, GIS professionals must stop thinking GIS-centric. “We began there,” said Pulusani, “and what we want is for industries to become information-centric.”

This is important because in an enterprise the user only cares about getting the information where it came on. This sets a greater importance on the accuracy and reliability of the database; yet in this context, geodata is just another data type.

“We need to see geospatial become embedded in organizations over time,” Pulusani charged. “As a community we need to make sure it goes mainstream.”

She stressed the importance of industry standards and for geotechnology and IT to merge. That requires proprietary barriers be removed in organizations, and for organizations to migrate away from the stovepipe solution.

Intergraph has invested in industry standards and is playing a leadership role in the development and adoption of Open GIS specifications. By investing in standards, such as the Spatial Data Infrastructure, metadata, and data access and interoperability (GML), we will have better data, open solutions, enterprise solutions and ROI. “Sharing data means sharing costs and investments and making data available,” said Pulusani.

Intergraph's fundamental vision:

--Data is users' most valuable asset
--Data and application interoperability must exist for this industry to reach its true potential
--The only thing standing between a user and data should be SQL statement no proprietary middleware

Ways in which Intergraph is moving toward achieving this vision:

--With GeoMedia, the company has an “open technology platform”
--Work to strengthen spatial databases by working with Oracle an Workspace Management Systems
--Customization using open development environments
--Exploiting the geospatial web
--Value added partnerships for best of class solutions
--Focus on high performance technology and returns with such products as Digital Mapping Camera, G/Technology. GeoMedia WebMap, and TerraShare

The company offers solutions for geospatial resource management, geospatial data management and cartography, location based services, infrastructure and resource management, land information management, geospatial intelligence and also rely on partners.

The products they offer include the core GeoMedia Desktop products, GeoMedia Web, G/Technology Suite, InServer Suite, IntelliWhere, Digital Cartographic Suite, Map Publisher, Partner Products, and Z/I Imaging products.

In an interview with Preetha Pulusani that afternoon, she expanded on certain areas of her presentation: “We are a solutions company; we are not just selling products we are really delivering solutions which is a combination of the products that we have with services. So we have a rough breakdown where our revenues are: 50/50 services and products.

There was mention of the old Intergraph product MGE, which the company is no longer developing. “We maintain it for our customers, but we are not advancing it. It was developed on MicroStation J, and it's stayed on that. Most of our MGE customers are also GeoMedia customers. They use it in a kind of hybrid mode where they may use MGE for collection of data but they use GeoMedia for web applications and Geomedia Web. We have assured our customers that we will continue to maintain MGE in the long term, and in fact Greg Bentley and I sent a joint letter out to our MGE customers assuring them that that version of MicroStation will be maintained because of MGE. We're not pushing users in that direction, but now a lot of them are considering moving to GeoMedia. One of the fundamental reasons is so they can take advantage of Oracle Spatial and other databases as a database repository and derive the benefits from that.”

GeoMedia also has CAD productivity tools that can capture, validate and collect data but with the power of a database at the back end. Much of the functionality available on some of the legacy products is now available in GeoMedia, with the added advantage of GeoMedia having the database behind it. All the geospatial products work together interoperably. The product is highly customizable.

The new products, according to Pulusani, have drawn customers over the past three years. About 50% are new customers.

“In the utility and telecommunications industries, customers will use G/Technology for their maintenance and WebMap for data distribution,” Pulusani explained. “We need products like GeoMedia and GeoMedia WebMap to be able to access that database and that can also go to an outside database for MapInfo, Autodesk, or MGE data.”

Once upon a time Intergraph was predominantly a hardware vendor, but that has all changed. “Intergraph is out of the hardware business,” clarified Pulusani, “however Z/I Imaging was never out of the hardware business. When I say we're out of the hardware business I mean we're out of the commodity hardware business-where you don't have a margin and really no specialization, i.e. something that Dell can do we won't be doing. What Z/I does is so specific to mapping and geospatial that we have made significant investments in the Digital Mapping Camera. It's just a totally new way of collecting imagery. We are very much in the hardware business with Z/I, for a very specialized focused set of hardware.”

Z/I Imaging's Digital Mapping Camera was designed to replace film-based photogrammetric mapping cameras with its technologies that enable successful projects from small scale mapping operations to precision, high resolution engineering projects. The DMC with its aerial acquisition system, makes full color images ready after one flight.

Z/I's TerraShare is a modular client-server environment for image management distribution. It can manage terabytes of image data from acquisition all the way through to distribution.

IntelliWhere TrackForce, a product designed to improve how enterprises manage their mobile resources, was released at the conference. TrackForce lets you view the real-time location and status of field crews and mobile assets, match field crews to tasks, and receive alerts to changing conditions in the field.

Look for the products and press releases at Mapping and Geospatial Solutions



Other Presentations

David Holmes
Director of Worldwide Strategy for Geospatial Solutions David Holmes reviewed solutions, including strategic markets for geospatial resource management (GRM), which includes gas, electricity, outage management, wastewater, water, transportation. Map production, very strong mobile workforce management, and stereoscopic data collection are needed in those industries.

For utilities, requirements are trouble reporting, network analysis, change management, dispatch, mobile computing, operations and maintenance. In these industries, G/Technology, GeoMedia, and IntelliWhere automate processes that provide the framework for customer focused business.

Holmes showed demonstrations of various types of technology being used to do different jobs. For local government, solutions are available that are partly provided by third parties and by GeoMedia, IntelliWhere and Terrashare.

One demonstration showed a server client where information came from external systems, such as asset management and workforce management. As the jobs are being assigned to a resource, they will turn a certain color in the software, and then the user can see the assignments in boundaries around them. The solution allows you to automate scheduler's workflow at the beginning of the day. Mobile workers can receive all the information they need for a job automatically without having to go into the office. Their status updates from the field as they work.

“You can reduce your cost of service by having data input from multiple enterprise systems, reduce out of the gate time, by automatically assigning work to crews, predetermined routes, and work distributed to mobile data terminals,” explained Holmes.

Rob Gunn and Mike Baker presented a demo of one user in the office and one in the field working on the problem of a water main break. The person in the field found the break, created an overview map of the vicinity around the job, showing various jobs in the vicinity and other crews. He could then look at particular job parameters assuring right truck is on site, and proper equipment is on the truck.

With the desktop tools, the office user can use TrackForce for real time GIS and real time field data to find resources that match this job. Then the job turns to assigned status. It allows you to find customer Ids so there is no need to go around the neighborhood letting everyone know they won't have service for awhile. The Hansen third party software allows you to pull up the asset you need, bring that asset and others into GeoMedia, then this information can be transmitted wirelessly to the crew.

The field user downloads the job and adds property data, loads it, and it is extracted on the server, downloaded on the client. He can disconnect from wireless and redline changes. He doesn't need to have any GIS knowledge.

The office GIS user sees the redline changes and notes that they have had to replumb, goes into the public works tool and does smart digitizing. This maintains rules that have been created, and the system has reconfigured it according to new work done.

Roberta (Bobbie) Lenczowski, Technical Executive, NIMA, delivered a keynote on Tuesday detailing NIMA's mission to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence. Next week GISWeekly will feature an in-depth interview with Ms. Lenczowski.



Entertainment

A departure from the usual conference party was the Mardi Gras World special event on Tuesday night. Mardi Gras World is an unassuming warehouse off the beaten track of tourists that houses the floats used in the Mardi Gras parades. What you see here are various pieces of floats pushed together in an odd assortment of images - Kermit the Frog next to a gorilla next to a mermaid. A buffet meal was served and a good New Orleans band provided music.



Alliances/Acquisitions

GiveMePower Corporation (OTCBB: GMPW), and Tripod Data Systems (TDS), a Trimble Company (NASDAQ:TRMB) announced an agreement to offer specially bundled mobile CAD and GPS solutions for a wide range of customers who require the ability to remotely manage AutoCAD(R) compatible designs and digital blueprints in harsh outdoor and industrial environments.



Announcements

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced that it will immediately begin reselling Safe Software's Feature Manipulation Engine (FME)® products, including FME Desktop Suite, FME Professional Suite, FME Intergraph Suite, FME Oracle Suite and the FME GDO for GeoMedia® WebMap. The FME Suite provides Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) tools for spatial data and supports more than 100 formats, including several Geography Markup Language (GML) 2 dialects. The FME GDO takes advantage of Intergraph's Geographic Data Objects (GDO) interoperability technology to extend GeoMedia WebMap capabilities to access even more geographic data in its native format.

IMGS inducted seven European and North American utility and communications customers into its prestigious 100 Percent Club during the keynote address at GeoSpatial World. This award is bestowed upon utility companies that have achieved full digital conversion of their geofacilities data.

IMGS and the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community (IGUC) honored the award recipients of three award programs at GeoSpatial World 2003, the International Training and Management conference in New Orleans. The award programs demonstrate the vision that is embraced by education and geospatial professionals to encourage higher learning and best practices in the geospatial community. In addition, IMGS announced an online education training program, “Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS),” presented by the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community (IGUC).

Group 1 Software announced that it has extended its exclusive reseller relationship with Geographic Data Technology, Inc. (GDT) for the integration of GDT's geographic boundary data into Group 1's tax-related applications.

Analytical Surveys, Inc. , a provider of customized data conversion and digital mapping services for the geographic information systems (GIS) and related spatial data markets, today announced financial results for its second fiscal quarter and six months ended March 31, 2003. Revenue for the six months ended March 31, 2003, totaled $8.0 million

PlanGraphics, Inc. (OTCBB: PGRA), a designer and integrator of e-government solutions and spatially enabled information systems and data warehouses, reported a net loss of $419,276, less than one cent per share, for its second quarter versus net income in the prior year quarter of $9,925.

Revenue of $1,840,593 for the quarter ended March 31, 2003 was down $320,046, or 15 percent from the prior year. The reduced performance is attributed primarily to decreased revenues as a number of public sector clients reined in spending to cope with lagging tax receipts and related budget limitations

DigitalGlobe announced the opening of an office in Washington D.C .to better serve the company's U.S. Government customers. The office will be led by Dawn Sienicki, who has joined DigitalGlobe as director of Washington D.C. operations. Dawn Sienicki is the former executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Space Enterprise Council and brings to DigitalGlobe a more consistent voice in Congress and with the Executive Branch.

GeoConcept SA, European leader in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), announces today that it will provide a GIS client/server intranet solution for the command post of France's gendarmerie. The solution will give security forces immediate and complete views of the theatre of operations and enable them to obtain, analyze and distribute in real-time the ground information recorded by police.

MapQuest announced an agreement to integrate MapQuest Business Solutions software on Amtrak's popular Web site, www.amtrak.com.

iSECUREtrac(TM) Corp. (BULLETIN BOARD: ISRE) announced that it has entered into agreements with both Gibson and Scott Counties, Indiana for its tracNET24 GPS tracking and monitoring system.

Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) reported its best-ever fiscal first-quarter operating results, recording exceptional growth and profitability in all product and regional markets, and said second-quarter increases should also be strong.

Dell worldwide shipments in the quarter ended May 2 were up 29 percent from a year ago; volumes for the rest of the industry declined an average 1 percent. Growth was robust outside the United States -- 40 percent in Asia-Pacific and Japan, and 29 percent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as operating income in both regions nearly doubled to record levels.

Thales Navigation is playing an important role in the U.S. military's efforts to assess and optimize parachute-rigging designs for the airdropping of large cargo pallets.

In a series of tests conducted by the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Thales Navigation's G12 GPS receiver was used in concert with an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to record and analyze parachute payload behavior - including continuous positioning, velocity and attitude -- during and after exit from an aircraft. The instrumentation package, called the Airborne Position Location Instrumentation (APLS) system, was developed for the Army Operational Test Command by SRI International, an independent research organization in Menlo Park, Calif.

CMP Media in partnership with Autodesk, one of the world's leading digital design and content firms, today announced the launch of three highly interactive digital publications: Manufacturing Solutions, Building Solutions, and Infrastructure Solutions. These quarterly publications will target management level CAD professionals, the key decision makers and influencers in the purchase of CAD products and related services.

Telcontar announced it has been awarded patent number 6,529,723 for its NOC-based telematics service, an automated user notification system for monitoring and control. The method patent protects Telcontar's automated telematics service offering, enabling Telcontar to provide full telematics services to customers without carrying the cost of a call center. Telcontar's patent portfolio now consists of 6 awarded patents in areas such as spatial data access, spatial data management, notification and wireless asset management.

Avenza Systems Inc., the developer of MAPublisher map production software, is requesting entries for the 3rd Annual MAPublisher Map Competition. This competition is a forum for MAPublisher users to showcase their work, share ideas and compare their productions with other MAPublisher users from around the world.

The competition is open to all maps created with MAPublisher. Awards will be presented for the map judged as the best in each category along with a grand prize for the Best Map.

Submissions will be accepted until June 30th, 2003 midnight EST and winners will be announced July 31st, 2003.

Full competition details are available at www.avenza.com/MPcomp/ or by email Email Contact.

Tele Atlas, and Meteorlogix announced that the two companies are working together to deliver real-time, location-specific weather information.



Appointments

Space Imaging announced the appointment of Charles (Chuck) S. Stees to the position of chief financial officer. In addition, Space Imaging has named Mark E. Brender as vice president of Corporate Communications. Both appointments are effective immediately.



New Products

GeoSpatial World Product Announcements

IDELIX(R) Software Inc. creators of the visualization technology known as Pliable Display Technology (PDT)(TM), announced their participation in a consortium headed by Eastman Kodak Company that has advanced to phase two of a contract with the U.S. National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) to deliver a solution that addresses the requirements laid out by NIMA in their Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) NMA 201-02-BAA-7000 for Softcopy Search.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions' IntelliWhere(TM) division today announced the release of IntelliWhere TrackForce, a server-based platform used for Mobile Resource Management (MRM) to track and manage the location of field crews and mobile assets in real time.

Other Products

Solid Terrain Modeling (STM), manufacturer of 3-D solid terrain models, has produced a 36" x 48" model of the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. This project was commissioned by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary for use both as a display for its many outreach events and as an educational tool at its teacher workshops.

MapInfo Corporation (Nasdaq: MAPS) announced its Insurance Decision Solution Suite (IDSS), which enables insurance companies to visually look across all lines of business to better manage risk and operate more effectively. With IDSS, insurance companies can graphically assess and analyze information about underwriting, risk management and customer service. MapInfo will demonstrate IDSS at its booth (#1517) at the ACORD Conference, May 18-20, at the Walt Disney World Dolphin hotel.

Blue Marble Geographics released 2002 TIGER/Line Map Kit complete with new versions of their TGR2SHP and TGR2MIF translators. TGR2SHP and TGR2MIF are Windows based applications for converting or batch processing TIGER 97, 98, 2000 and 2002 files to ArcView Shapefiles and MapInfo MIF files, respectively. You don't even have to unzip the TIGER archives!

Lizardtech Software released Express Server 4.5, designed to enable fast, high-quality Internet viewing of images and documents of any size. Express Server 4.5 includes support for streaming MrSID(r) Generation 3 lossless and lossy image types and provides additional geospatial viewing tools.

Red Hen Systems, Inc., announced at the 2003 Special Operations Forces tradeshow the completed development of VMS Mobile(TM), an add-on video module for their flagship defense product, MediaMapper(R) ELITE.

A fleet asset management solution is being introduced and demonstrated during the Intelligent Transportation Society of America's Annual Exposition by ObjectFX and partner TransDecisions. Benefits to transportation companies include the ability to easily integrate this solution into their existing operations allowing them to optimize scheduling, track multiple assets, and improve overall customer service.

Xora Inc., a leading provider of mobile solutions and services, today announced a major new version of its GPS TimeTrack hosted service, a time, location and job management application that promises to move real-time mobile employee and asset management into the mainstream. GPS TimeTrack helps businesses track employees and hours worked, enforce overtime policies, accurately account for time and billing, and increase the productivity of the mobile workforce.



Featured Downloads

GISCafe has many popular Downloads in various categories. Visitors are encouraged to go to the site and add new downloads or update their old ones.

GeoMedia Viewer is an easy to use, free GIS software application for desktop viewing and distribution of geospatial data.



Around the Web National Geographic Bee - Watch Finals Online

Hewlett Packard Beats Forecasts by Laurie Flynn, NY Times May 21, 2003

Telescopes of the World Unite! A Cosmic Database Emerges by Bruce Schechter NY Times, May 20, 2003

A Navigation System in the Dashboard by Jeffrey Selingo, NY Times, May 22, 2003



Going on in May

2003 Online Water Management Symposium
Date: May 5 - 6, 2003
Place: USA
Attendees can interact with some of the foremost experts in water systems management via the internet.

GeoAlberta 2003
Date: May 7 - 9, 2003
Place: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
GeoAlberta is the premier geomatics conference in Alberta, this year taking place at the TELUS Convention Centre in Calgary. You will have an opportunity to join over 500 professionals in three days of workshops, educational sessions, exhibits from state-of-the-art product and service providers, and engage in networking opportunities.

GIS BRASIL 2003 - 9th GEOTECHNOLOGIES SHOW
Date: May 12 - 16, 2003
Place: Frei Caneca Shopping & Convention Center S©o Paulo City, S©o Paulo State, Brazil
GIS BRASIL is Latin America's largest event geared to the geotechnology market. Every year, since 1994, the companies of this industry and potential users get together to participate in the many activities that take place simultaneously: Conference, courses, the Geotechnology Fair, and the Scientific Talent Show. Specific activities for different audiences such as agriculture, electric power, telecommunications, geomarketing, the environment, city management, and others, are programmed, activities that demonstrate, in practice, how geotechnology accounts for an important competitive advantage in each one of these industries. The activities developed for the Conference are geared mainly to meet users' needs, with a special focus on cases, with the purpose of fostering information exchange. Email Contact

Using Voice-Enabled Wireless and Multimodal Applications to Drive Business Revenues
Date: May 12 - 14, 2003
Place: Chicago, IL USA
Focus on voice-enabled applications that increase employee productivity, operational efficiency and customer service quality for organizations.

Avenza Systems Training
Date: May 15 - 16, 2003
Place: Denver, CO USA
MAPublisher training using MAPublisher 5.0 on Adobe Illustrator 10 on Windows. Given by Avenza technical and training staff.

2003 Bentley International User Conference
Date: May 18 - 22, 2003
Place: Baltimore, MD USA
Bentley's premier annual technology event. Pre-register before Dec. 31, 2002 to be eligible to win a Panasonic portable DVD player. Winner announced January 6, 2003.

GeoSpatial World 2003
Date: May 19 - 21, 2003
Place: New Orleans, LA USA
Sponsored by Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, GeoSpatial World is the annual international training and management conference of the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community. GeoSpatial World 2003 will be held May 19-21, 2003, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Preconference training seminars and the Opening Reception will be held on Sunday, May 18. The conference concludes at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 21.

3rd International Conference on GIS - for Earth Science Applications
Date: May 26 - 29, 2003
Place: Ljubljana, Slovenia
The purpose of the conference is to discuss the use of modern computer based methods in geology and related sciences. The conference is focused mostly on the preparation of digital geological and other maps, decision support and prediction systems for spatial planning, (e.g. searching for municipal, chemical and radioactive waste disposal sites, acquisition and analysis of data from satellite imagery).