BE Conference 2006: Geospatial Report

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! The focus of Bentley Systems is on Infrastructure, according to Bentley Geospatial vice president Styli Camateros, and that extends also to their Geospatial division as well. The Enterprise Server is core to the technology. “Connectors” provide geospatial functionality. What was previously MicroStation Geographics and the Geographics Connector is now the Geospatial Connector, and its role is to provide solutions for government, utilities and communications.

For the full report on the BE Conference, read AECWeekly's BE Report.

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Best wishes,
Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

BE Conference 2006: Geospatial Report
by Susan Smith

Greg Bentley
The focus of Bentley Systems is on Infrastructure, according to Bentley Geospatial vice president Styli Camateros, and that extends also to their Geospatial division as well. The Enterprise Server is core to the technology. “Connectors” provide geospatial functionality. What was previously MicroStation Geographics and the Geographics Connector is now the Geospatial Connector, and its role is to provide solutions for government, utilities and communications.

The geospatial umbrella at Bentley covers the areas of mapping, geospatial engineering, integration with AEC applications, geospatial information management and publishing, and interoperability. Because Bentley is historically based in the AEC market with its flagship 2D/3D design product, MicroStation, the company's approach to geospatial stems from those beginnings.

Products are included under the heading 'geospatial engineering' for each of these: electric and gas, water resources, and communications. There are also products listed under mapping, geospatial publishing and interoperability. Under geospatial engineering, MicroStation V8 XM Edition, Bentley Copper, Bentley Coax, Bentley Descartes, Bentley PowerField for Communications, Bentley Plant, and Bentley View are included. Under electric and gas, Expert Designer is one of the additions. Under water resources, the product line includes the newly acquired WaterGEMs from Haestad Methods and a product called CivilStorm, plus much more. In Geospatial publishing, Geo Web Publisher and Interplot are two of the offerings, and for Interoperability Bentley offers ProjectWise, Bentley Geospatial Management, GISConnect, and other specialized connectors. Under mapping is the new Bentley Map. For each category there are obviously specific products to address that industry's specific requirements.

Some features of the new Bentley Map include an ability to
-attach shapefiles directly
-display correction, so you don't have layers overlaid incorrectly
-support for new file formats, such as MrSID, ECW
-ability to make transparent parcels, in both raster and vector

Bentley Descartes works with Bentley Map and has the following new features:
- ability to select seamlessly vector using MicroStation tools
- new feature for enhancing imaging, including highlights, shadows, luminescence
- buffering around a parcel is now very easy to do - it previously took 12 steps and now it's down to one. You can also find parcels intersecting the buffer.
- GEOPAK is now seamlessly integrated with Bentley Map, and can use Map Manager
- ability to add a 3D view of a 2D file for public viewing

The features of the new V8 XM release of MicroStation make it possible to display in smooth shading and zoom in to see details. You can use the 3D PDF feature also for creating 3D PDFs of your maps, integrating a 3D model with PDF and all the data that is attached to it.

Bentley's Google Earth Tools Integration offers a new way to share information. A file can be overlaid on top of Google images and reprojected to other coordinate systems.

Other features of Bentley Map include:
full 3D support
feature modeling (XFM)
data management
spot analysis
Oracle support

Camateros defined the meaning of “cadastre” as a public record of property ownership. Bentley Cadastre is built on top of Bentley Map. “We provide a data model to understand cadastre,” he explained. Parcels come in from Oracle Spatial with Oracle Topology, and make use of the spatial and attribute data in Oracle. Cadastre allows you to edit attributes. The COGO Editor allows you to give a description of what is owned in the parcels.

The vertex or node is a cornerstone of topology, noted Camateros. When you select a boundary you want to see the node sliding along the boundary to where you want it placed. AccuSnap is used to place the nodes where you want them.

When creating boundaries, the parcel fabric can be incorporated into Cadastre. All this activity is being updated into Oracle using the Topology Model.

A distributed network can be created using Bentley Network, Expert, Model and Designer. A smart set of rules in the background is being defined as the design is taking place to provide materials, cost, etc. As new costs are added to the project, for example, the design environment automatically adds them to the environment.

Summing up, indexing rather than conversion of documents preserves the richness of the original design documents. Features and text can be found quickly regardless of their original format.

The WaterGEMs product coupled with Bentley Navigator make it possible to do GIS analysis at the same time as hydraulic analysis. Fiber Tool provides tools for engineering and design of broadband networks with complete connectivity with Inside Plant.

Q&A Session with Styli Camateros

Does Bentley Geospatial work with other database models? Yes, not everything has to be in Oracle, it could be in SDE or another geospatial database. Were going to piggyback on anyone who has spatial technology.

Can you position Bentley GIS relative to Smallworld? Where they don't intersect is in environmental analysis, marketing analysis, retail analysis. We're not going to focus on that. We're interested in owner operators, people who build things, and local governments.

Smallworld is such a closed system, big in electric utilities. Expert Designer grew up in a Smallworld environment. Most of Expert Designer's customers had Smallworld first.

Can you expand on the concept of federated data?
The Geospatial Server has that technology, so every application that works on the server has that technology, so you can do the same kind of searches as we did with Oracle Spatial. Geospatial Server has the clients: WaterGEMs, MicroStation, Power Map Field, and we load the Oracle Connector in the Geospatial Server.

What are the biggest bottlenecks for big projects? When doing large projects people are trying to put all the data in one database. Google's search engine analogy shows a way of indexing which is the basic idea of federated information and of amassing GIS for infrastructure. If you can't handle data without amassing it all in one place, then you're stuck.

What percentage of sales are in the U.S.? Two thirds of sales are in North America.

Is there organic growth for Geospatial? Most of our acquisitions are geospatial. We have an aggressive integration program, we buy something with a straight line to what we want to do with it in terms of integration into our platform.

What is your strategy for open source? It is a big deal in Europe. Bentley will keep an eye on it. We are going to release a post GIS connector. Where we see value for our customers we'll support them.

There is an increasing overlap of GIS and CAD - how do you appeal to that community? We say 'GIS for infrastructure' although we are trying to integrate GIS and CAD. The functionality that CAD gives you and that GIS gives you, you have in the Bentley Map platform, in one product.

Tell us about your product strategy. Geographics had an enormous amount of functionality and was very difficult to use. We didn't understand how to make things simple then. The technology you see in Map is largely Geographics, but with indexing added. Geographics is the same technology as Map, and all of it that is in Map as a subset.

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