Welcome to GISWeekly! Peter Batty is known to GISCafe readers as the co-founder and chief technology officer for Ten Sails, a company focused on building businesses in the area of spatial and location based technologies. Prior to Ten Sails, Batty was vice president of technology for GE Power in the GE Network Solutions group. In October, Batty accepted a position with Intergraph as vice president and chief technology officer, bringing his cutting edge expertise to that organization. Read about Peter Batty's plans for Intergraph in this week's Industry News.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Interview with Peter Batty
By Susan Smith
In October, Intergraph announced that Peter Batty agreed to join the company as vice president and chief technology officer. Batty, a globally recognized spatial and location-based technology expert with 18 years experience in the field, will report to R. Halsey Wise, Intergraph's president and chief executive officer.
1) The work you've done in the past has been very cutting-edge and forward thinking. How does this move to Intergraph advance your own vision? Or rather, how is your vision in concert with that of Intergraph?
Thank you. Many of the ideas I have written and talked about over the past couple of years are very closely aligned with Intergraph's direction and vision. In particular, I see real-time operational systems being one of the major growth areas in the geospatial industry. This is an area where Intergraph is very strong and is developing some interesting technology. Intergraph has combined its rich geospatial software with its incident command software, which has been a leader in the public safety market for many years, and integrated it with intelligent video and other types of sensors - giving us a unique offering for applications such as emergency response and incident management.
I think Intergraph offers a great opportunity to realize many of the ideas I have been exploring - and several of the innovative things they have been doing in areas such as intelligent video, expand those ideas. Intergraph has an excellent position in markets where there is the greatest demand for these types of integrated systems, such as homeland security and transportation. Intergraph has recently won or has been part of teams to provide integrated electronic security systems to New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and several large airports. Many of the innovations in this space are likely to come from large projects such as these.
2) What do you see yourself working on at Intergraph that the company may need help with, or wants to develop or explore more deeply?
A primary focus will be to help to further develop and articulate Intergraph's technology vision, and I have mentioned some important high-level elements of this already. I think Intergraph has so much great technology that many people don't know about. I have just spent my first week in Huntsville and have only just started to scratch the surface in terms of looking at our rich product portfolio in more detail. But already I have seen a lot of industry-leading features, which I am really excited about.
Our GeoMedia product line has a unique architecture for dynamic spatial analysis, which I think is incredibly powerful and a significant differentiator. We have the most powerful and flexible capabilities I have seen for doing version management and handling historical data. Our linear referencing capabilities have several unique aspects that are especially valuable in the transportation market. These are just a few examples of some of the innovative features in our products I don't think we've publicized as well as we could have. Explaining our many technology differentiators and why they are important will be an important aspect of my role.
3) At Geospatial World, "data fusion" and "sensors" were referred to repeatedly, largely in discussion about the military and intelligence. Is this an area that you will be focusing a lot of time on and how do you see that evolving?
Yes, I will be heavily involved in further developing our strategies and technologies for sensor integration. This is an area I have been involved in over the past few years in my work with Ten Sails and Ubisense, and I see integration of geospatial systems with sensors being one of the key growth areas in the market.
4) At that conference it was also stated that the three most important technologies with respect to intelligence (and perhaps overall) are: sensors, GPS and wireless. Does this fit with your viewpoint and in what way?
I do share Intergraph's view that sensors, location-tracking devices and wireless networks are extremely important in the future of our industry. Pervasive wireless network access is getting closer and this will be a key driver for the type of real-time spatial applications we have been talking about. GPS is becoming increasingly commoditized, and other location tracking technologies are developing rapidly, including RFID, UWB, cell phone locating techniques and more. In a few years we will have the technology to know where everything is all the time - opening up many opportunities, as well as challenges in developing appropriate privacy policies. Non-spatial sensors, which include video cameras and traffic sensors, are also multiplying, but require a geospatial context to truly understand the data's significance. Intergraph's solutions integrate all these technologies, providing a common operational picture in real time, which can be applied in many different markets.
5) What areas (if not aforementioned) besides military and intelligence, do you see as evolving with the use of sensors, wireless and GPS?
Homeland security, an area in which Intergraph has had significant success, is a key market currently using these technologies. The broader public safety market, including police, fire and ambulance services, is another where Intergraph has been a market leader for years. Intelligent transportation systems will advance significantly over the next few years by leveraging these technologies. In the slightly longer term, many traditional GIS markets will be radically changed by the idea of self-updating databases: as a utility worker installs a device in the field, this action will automatically be detected and reflected immediately in the company's geospatial database, without him needing to take any special action.
6) Do you think Intergraph will maximize the use of existing spatial portals in relationships with companies such as Microsoft (MSN Virtual Earth) and Google (Google Earth) in the future?
MSN Virtual Earth, Google Earth and others have created a quite a buzz this year, which has significantly increased awareness of geospatial technology outside of the traditional GIS industry. This infusion of technology, talent and new ideas brings tremendous opportunities to the geospatial industry, but poses challenges for traditional vendors who provide horizontal GIS platforms. Their territory is being encroached upon from one direction by the likes of Google and Microsoft, and from another by Oracle and other mainstream IT vendors. On the other hand, vendors such as Intergraph, who are focused on providing vertical applications to solve specific business problems, using both geospatial and other technologies, are in a position to leverage these new developments and treat them as an opportunity for growth, rather than as a threat.
Intergraph Corporation , a global provider of spatial information management (SIM) software, announced that it has acquired POPPENHÄGER GRIPS GMBH , a software company based in Neunkirchen/Saarland, Germany. Poppenh <