Welcome to GISWeekly! Pitney Bowes Inc. announced this week that it has entered into a merger agreement to
acquire MapInfo Corporation for approximately $408 million in cash, net of expected cash on MapInfo’s balance sheet at the time of closing. Read about it in this week’s Industry News.
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, Top News of the Week, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Contests, New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.
GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at giscafe-editor@IBSystems.com
Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Pitney Bowes to Acquire MapInfo
by Susan Smith
Steve Walden, VP and GM of Business Geographics for Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software
GISWeekly: Pitney Bowes is familiar to me, and to perhaps many of our GISWeekly readers, as the company that creates stamp metering machines. It’s clear that with the purchase of Group 1 some years ago, that it has expanded its horizons considerably. Can you tell us about the company’s history and direction?
Steve Walden: When Group 1 was acquired (I was part of Group 1), three or four years ago I had the same reaction about Pitney Bowes being a stamp metering company. Pitney Bowes got started with its postage meters. It took an act of Congress to allow Pitney Bowes to be in business almost 87 years ago, because in essence we’re printing currency with the metered postage. The postage meter makes a lot of people’s lives a lot easer than licking and affixing a stamp to everything that goes out the door. There’s equipment that folds and inserts at the tabletop level, then at the large end, there are machines capable of 18,000 pieces of mail an hour going through one of our inserting machines.
We have about 2 million customers worldwide. We’ve garnered substantial marketshare over the years, so growth becomes more challenging in those kinds of environments. The company is looking at going both upstream and downstream from the core of the business. If you imagine, after the mail is already in an envelope, where can you go? We bought a company called PSI, which is a presort company, which takes medium volume mailers that wouldn’t ordinarily get much postal savings and used physical sortation equipment to take mailings from a lot of different people, to build enough density in a given zip code to get postage discounts which are then shared with our customers.
Group 1 is also in the business of cleaning up the addresses that make it onto the outside of the envelope as well as onto the pieces of correspondence. The geocoding and geospatial capabilities came along as part of Group 1 and were a piece of what led up to this acquisition of MapInfo.
But we’ve also been buying other companies that are outside the core as well. We’ve driven revenues up in absolute dollars in the core business, but as a percentage of Pitney Bowes’s overall business it’s now dropped to somewhere close to 50% of the overall $5.7 billion revenue of the company. Thus the company’s much more diversified outside of its core than ever before. A new ad campaign cites, “What will we put our stamp on next?” We are trying to change people’s perspective from Pitney Bowes, the mailing machine company to Pitney Bowes, the global technology company.
GISWeekly: Having gone through numerous acquisitions yourself, what do you perceive as the future of MapInfo once it becomes acquired by Pitney Bowes?
Steve Walden: My perspective is we made the decision to purchase MapInfo because we believe they’ve got the right strategy and right management team. I don’t really see that changing as a result of a being part of Pitney Bowes. There might be some additional things that might get added. Pitney Bowes is obviously very strong financially and will put the kinds of resources behind this that are required to become the winner in the marketplace. It’s not like MapInfo was struggling, they were doing quite well, and a lot of credit goes to the management team for getting the company to this point. I wouldn’t expect to see a radical departure from the course it’s on.
From a reporting structure, MapInfo, like Group 1, will report up to Pitney Bowes’ document messaging technologies business unit, which is about a $1 billion piece of Pitney Bowes.
GISWeekly: How does Group 1’s product offering coordinate or interoperate with what MapInfo offers?
Steve Walden: We’re going to be figuring all that out post close. We have within this group produced products that are highly embeddable within other processes. We have interoperability in terms of being able to import and export MapInfo files in our format and when we geocode something, it’s coming back with latitude and longitude. A lot of our customers today are joint customers with MapInfo, and, if we jointly decide to go down this path we can make them very tightly coupled.
GISWeekly: Do you have some products in common?
Steve Walden: There is a small amount of overlap between the products, we both have U.S. geocoding technology, Canadian geocoding technology and UK geocoding technology, but outside that is where the overlap stops. In terms of what does that mean, we’ve got history on both sides, one where we do pick a technology that we want to standardize on for everybody and move in that direction. We’ve got plenty of history of many customers on disparate platforms, and both of those stay alive forever. The biggest example of this is when Pitney Bowes bought Group 1, Pitney Bowes had an address standardization engine called Finalists and Group 1 had one called Code 1 Plus. They both lived, and there are no plans to sunset either product.
The customer upheaval is believed to be too high and not worth the cost savings that might be derived by changing to one platform or product.
GISWeekly: Do you expect the acquisition to go pretty much the same as the Group 1 acquisition?
Steve Walden: I expect so. With Group 1, Pitney Bowes kept the name brand and management team around, and everything intact running down its own path and tried to build bridges between different pieces of Pitney Bowes to make sure we’re able to leverage each other in the most effective ways. Group 1 has a strategy and a number to hit, and goes about its business just like the other independent parts of Pitney Bowes. MapInfo will maintain their annual conferences, etc.
Michael Hickey, CEO of MapInfo
GISWeekly: Is Pitney Bowes is going to take MapInfo private?
Michael Hickey: No. In terms of consolidation, although we don’t directly compete in products, we’re all competing for customers’ time and money that they can focus on deploying systems to improve their business. The IT dollars that are out there to support all these companies, applications and platforms, are just not there anymore, that’s part of consolidation too. Customers aren’t taking chances on technology anymore. They’re more pragmatic about what they want to do. They want to be sure they get ROI for what they’re investing in. Those two factors are leading to the consolidation of the whole industry. Certainly Oracle is at the forefront of that with all they’ve done.
GISWeekly: Will the product line continue to stay the same? Do you see any major changes for the customers?
Michael Hickey: Generally what we’re hoping is they like our vision and they like our strategy, and they want us to keep doing it, but faster and bigger, and now we have the muscle with us to help us do it faster and bigger. My guess is that the customers will be the ones who benefit from those investments of us bringing either bringing joint products together when we acquire other companies or investing in building out new feature functions or new products in themselves. In the end that’s where the customers will get the benefit from it.
GISWeekly: How do you see MapInfo products being used at Pitney Bowes?
Michael Hickey: They started around the postage metering, and moved their business into helping their customers manage and clean their addresses. Now they’re moving from an address that goes on an envelope to an address that goes on the earth, a lat long. They feel that’s a natural progression for them to go from postal to address to lat long and be able to do location intelligence and manage the whole customer communication management chain with their clients, all the way to the back end when they’re cleaning data for them, to the point where they’re helping them prepare mailings, all the way to the outside where they can actually help them prospect and find new customers. They look at our Envinsa platform as a key for them to really plug in to the enterprise and make the enterprise location aware, because it has a web services architecture so you can add functionality to a lot of the existing systems, etc. Our platform can sit next to your other platforms and be a web services that your other platforms can call on for functionality and the data sets as needed. It is very easy to make that enterprise location enabled.
We do think there’s a lot of opportunity especially because Pitney Bowes is a $5.7 billion company which now gives us as MapInfo a lot more muscle, punch and weight and we’re not the little guys out there anymore.
Top News of the Week
GeoEye announced the acquisition of M.J. Harden Associates, Inc. from General Electric Company. M.J. Harden is an industry-leading provider of digital aerial imagery and geospatial information solutions. GeoEye completed the acquisition of M.J. Harden's outstanding stock on March 15, 2007, and will operate the company as a wholly owned subsidiary. M.J. Harden, located in Mission, Kansas, has about 60 employees. As part of the agreement, GE will continue to own and operate the pipeline GIS consulting, software and data management business under GE's PII Integrity Services Division. M.J. Harden will continue to work together with PII to provide photogrammetry and geospatial services to support PII's Pipeline Integrity Services business.
I.S. Consulting (ISC) announced the release of MapDotNet Server 2007. MapDotNet Server 2007 is a Web Services based GIS platform that enables enterprise developers to easily integrate GIS capabilities into web applications. The product is bundled with an SDK for developers that includes ASP.Net server controls and a complete GIS object model for use in Microsoft Visual Studio. MapDotNet Server 2007 provides organizations with the ability to quickly bring legacy spatial business data to the web for enterprise and consumer use. ISC has embraced the Web 2.0 movement by integrating complete support for Microsoft’s Virtual Earth API and AJAX for ASP.Net. MapDotNet Server 2007 is the only commercial tile server for Virtual Earth, making it the bridge between an organization’s internal GIS and emerging web-based consumer mapping technology.
The first version of the National Building Information Modeling Standard(TM)(NBIMS) was released for a two month industry review period . The document titled "National Building Information Modeling Standard Version 1.0 -- Part 1: Overview, Principles, and Methodologies" provides the capital facilities industry with its first comprehensive look at the full scope of requirements for Building Information Modeling (BIM). The review period will span from March 12, 2007, until May 21, 2007. Those interested in reviewing the document can obtain it from the NIBS National BIM Standard(TM) Website . This document is the first to be issued under the new NIBS buildingSMART(R) Alliance initiative announced February 27, 2007.
To create a global news event around Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new look unveiled in November 2006, PR giant Weber Shandwick proposed building a physical logo so large that it would be visible from space.
Dubbed the “Face From Space” by the project team, the new KFC logo (which adds a red apron to the Colonel’s familiar double-breasted white suit) would be appreciated by more than astronauts and aliens. It would be photographed using an earth-orbiting satellite and processed to produce interactive web-based graphics that would let visitors to KFC’s website and other sites like YouTube zoom in seconds through space toward earth to view the logo.
TC Technology announces the purchase of Tadpole Cartesia, Inc. from Tadpole Technology plc. through a management buy-out. As a result of the sale, Tadpole Cartesia, Inc. will now do business as TC Technology. TC Technology has retained the expertise behind the marketing, development, and support of GO! Sync.
As part of this transaction, TC Technology is granted an exclusive license by Tadpole Technology to distribute GO! Sync within North America. TC Technology has the right to further develop and enhance GO! Sync.
AnchorFree, a directory of over 15,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots has joined Tele Atlas ContentLink(TM), making its free wireless internet location data easily accessible to global application developers and GPS device manufacturers. Tele Atlas ContentLink, launched by Tele Atlas, is designed to streamline time-to-market by allowing developers to rapidly discover and obtain the latest content provided by publishers such as free Wi-Fi hotspot data.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) announced that Bentley Systems, Incorporated has upgraded to become a Principal Member in the OGC.
Principal Members have complete authority over the specification release and adoption process through their voting rights in the Planning Committee (PC). It is by PC vote that OpenGIS Specifications are approved and released by the Consortium. PC Members participate in planning and management of the Consortium's technology development process, evaluate and provide guidance on market direction and Consortium focus, possess Technical Committee voting rights, have approval authority for OGC policies and procedures, and vote to elect members of the OGC Board of Directors.
COFPAES Administrator John Palatiello this week dispelled the myth that the Brooks Act litigation would mean that only licensed architects, engineers and surveyors would be eligible for Federal geospatial or GIS contracts if the court rules in favor of MAPPS, COFPAES, et al.
“This misconception is terribly inaccurate and categorically untrue,” said Palatiello, speaking at the American Congress on Surveying & Mapping (ACSM) Conference on March 12 in St. Louis. “Numerous Federal geospatial contracts have been awarded via the Brooks Act qualifications based selection (QBS) process to firms that are not traditional architectural, engineering or surveying firms. These firms have included ESRI, BAE Systems, Raytheon, Space Imaging and Harris Corp.”
NAVTEQ continues to expand its presence in the Russian Federation. Having opened its first Russian office back in the final quarter of 2006, NAVTEQ has now increased its local staff with a specially trained Russian team of geographic analysts. The move underlines NAVTEQ’s commitment to the region and reinforces the localized mapping strategy employed throughout the company’s mapping operations.
NAVTEQ announces the semifinalist applications in the 2007 NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge(R). The program is designed to encourage application developers around the world to build innovative location-based services (LBS) that work with mobile and wireless devices using dynamic positioning technology and NAVTEQ(R) maps. NAVTEQ selected 16 applications in the Americas region, out of over 340 companies registered for the LBS Challenge globally, to continue on to a final judging round at CTIA Wireless 2007 based on each competitor's commercial feasibility, functionality and design.
WeatherBug, provider of live, local weather information, announced immediate availability of a new service in its suite of professional products. WeatherBug's GIS Data Services enable enterprise and government customers to integrate live weather information from WeatherBug's Network of 8,000 WeatherBug Tracking Stations into existing GIS- based decision support systems. Integrating live weather data into GIS-based platforms helps centralize asset management, improves command center operations and enables critical decisions to be made quickly, efficiently and confidently.
Released on the 7 March ER Mapper Image Compressor begins a new era of low-cost geospatial image compression where any organization, large or small, can maximize the value of geospatial imagery by using compression. The ER Mapper Image Compressor is a cost-effective desktop application for high-speed JPEG 2000 or ECW image compression.
A key feature of ER Mapper Image Compressor is its high-speed image compression to the open standard JPEG 2000 format. The adoption of the JPEG 2000 format ensures maximum data interoperability between software applications as well between organizations. JPEG 2000 is particularly attractive to government agencies wanting to hold public imagery assets in an open and accessible format.
With CityGML, the three dimensional data contains real intelligence and is now a reliable application for real-life deployment in telecommunications, city planning, disaster recovery, noise mapping, simulators and vehicle navigation. During the Oracle Spatial SIG Meeting in Reading last month, Ian Painter of Snowflake Software presented how GO Publisher has been used in the Open Geospatial Consortium OWS-4 Test Bed to deploy CityGML via Web Feature Services.
Cloud Peak Software, LLC, introduces its second-generation terrain-adaptive bare earth extraction algorithm. The fully automated, hands free utility is integrated with Cloud Peak Software's LASEdit version 1.14. Surface Magic 2 provides unsupervised classification of non-ground features like vegetation and buildings in LiDAR point clouds, resulting in an accurate ground surface. The algorithm adapts to the terrain condition, freeing the user from the manual task of providing multiple parameterizations. With improved scaling for high density data, Surface Magic 2 effortlessly processes data from the newest LiDAR instruments.
Learn more about Surface Magic 2 and LASEdit, and download the Free Demo Version at
Cloud Peak Software website
NAVTEQ has announced the availability of a new suite of Visual Content designed to enhance the digital map experience by providing relevant visual context for users of location-based and navigation applications. Two types of content are being launched: three dimensional models of major cities and three dimensional landmarks of prominent and important structures in and around those cities.
Tele Atlas unveiled at CeBIT Tele Atlas ContentLink(TM), a unique Web-based program for content production and distribution that gives location-based application developers access to a wide range of up-to-date, specialized content and points of interest (POIs).
Trimble introduced the Lassen(R) DR+GPS module that combines dead reckoning (DR) with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology on a single, compact board. When GPS signals are limited or not available, such as in urban canyons and tunnels, the Trimble Lassen DR+GPS module provides reliable and accurate positioning information. It is an ideal solution for system integrators or OEMs who are adding location capabilities to vehicle navigation, fleet management and asset tracking systems.
Trimble introduced a miniature Global Positioning System (GPS) disciplined clock for precise synchronization of wireless networks -- the Mini-T(TM) GPS Clock. Every wireless voice and data system requires its own unique slice of the radio spectrum. In order to optimize its assigned spectrum across very large geographical areas, wireless systems must be carefully timed and synchronized
Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. announced the nuvi 200, nuvi 250 and nuvi 270. This new family of entry-level GPS devices offers budget savvy consumers the benefit of a premium in-dash system at a fraction of the cost. As members of the nuvi family, these products carry the elegant styling and industry leading ease-of-use that has become the hallmark of Garmin's nuvi product line.
Garmin International Inc.announced that Garmin Mobile XT can now be paired with GPS Buddy on virtually any GPS handset or Bluetooth wireless-enabled smartphone -- providing complete mobile resource management that is designed to enhance the productivity of a workforce.
HVB Expertise is now offering on its English website real estate market information for almost 1,100 German cities and municipalities supported by an interactive geographical information system (GIS) by AED-SICAD, based on ESRI’s GIS core technology ArcIMS®. In addition, HypoVereinsbank's real estate consultancy firm has designed the GIS more convenient for the users: It allows the search for information via maps to start directly on the homepage and does not only show the selected spot, but all municipalities within 30 km distance for which current market information is available. Furthermore it offers useful new navigation tools, such as for example suggested zoom grades or the options to draw up an individual rectangle or move the map.
Around the Web
Google Adds a Safeguard on Privacy for Searchers by Miguel Helft, March 15, 2007, The New York Times - Web search companies collect records of the searches that people conduct, a fact that has long generated fears among privacy advocates and some Internet users that valuable personal data could be misused. Now Google is taking a step to ease those concerns.
Sprint to include free GPS with data services March 21, 2007, CNET News. com - In an attempt to attract customers to its cell phone services, GPS will be free to those with data plans starting at $20 a month.
|Date:||March 26 - 28, 2007|
|Place:||Nashville Airport Marriott
Nashville , TN USA
|The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, along with URISA, USDOT, and HEEP, sponsor the annual GIS for Transportation Symposium. It is a chance for persons in government and private industry who are interested in the use of GIS for transportation purposes to get together and share experiences, see state-of-art software, and learn more about this field. It annually attracts about 400 registrants and additional exhibitors.|
|CTIA Wireless 2007|
|Date:||March 27 - 29, 2007|
|Place:||Orange County Convention Center
Orlando, FL USA
|CTIA WIRELESS is the world’s largest telecommunications event dedicated exclusively to wireless, broadband convergence and mobile computing technologies, covering the entire industry from network infrastructure to microprocessors to applications to content to end-user hardware.|
|GIS Evolutions 2007|
|Date:||March 27 - 28, 2007|
68 Market Street, Sydney , Australia
|From environmental impact assessment and emergency response, to Australia’s biggest road construction project and the introduction of Google Earth, GIS Evolutions’ 2007 reflects the gradual expansion of GIS use from fringe to enterprise-wide applications, and promises to be as fascinating and invaluable as ever.|
|9th Crime Mapping Research Conference|
|Date:||March 28 - 31, 2007|
|Place:||Omni William Penn Hotel
Pittsburgh, PA USA
|The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial data analysis techniques have become prominent tools for analyzing criminal behavior and the impacts of the criminal justice system on society. Classical and spatial statistics have been merged to form more comprehensive approaches in understanding social problems from research and practical standpoints.|