MapInfo Professional Release 9.0
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MapInfo Professional Release 9.0

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Industry News
MapInfo Professional Release 9.0
by Susan Smith


Moshe Binyamin, senior product manager at Pitney Bowes MapInfo, talked about the new release of MapInfo Professional 9.0, which focuses on what problems customers are trying to solve with location intelligence.

Areas of focus include:
- Deployment and installation
- Data access advances
- Better visualization and easier to read maps
- Time based analysis
- Productivity

Drilling down into each of those areas, Binyamin explained them further:

Deployment and installation

MapInfo Pro is a desktop application, and Microsoft Windows VISTA is the latest desktop operating system. There are substantial installed bases of Windows XP as well as 2000. “We have chosen the highest version of VISTA, the Ultimate, and certified against it, and the certification flows through all the flavors below it.

“The major enhancement Microsoft has implemented was in access rights. Microsoft became very stringent with Microsoft VISTA on where applications can write their data and in which directories. Vendors should not take it for granted that just because your application worked on XP it will continue to work on VISTA, so we have made some changes to make sure VISTA is supported.”

Larger organizations purchase tens of thousands of seats of the product, and for them, the ability to use more advanced operating systems and deployment options becomes critical from an IT perspective. “We have enabled the support of Windows 2003 server with terminal services as well as the Citrix metaframe and technology that goes on top of the terminal services operating system,” said Binyamin. “This allows customers to install MapInfo Professional on a single server environment and it removes the need to install the product on each individual desktop. By using Citrix, they can install the software and administer it in a much easier way. That in turn reduces the cost of maintenance and management of MapInfo Professional especially for organizations that have 50 plus seats of the product.” Terminal services are in another operating system from Microsoft that goes on their 2003 server which allows a product such as MapInfo Pro to be installed in Windows 2003 and customers can connect that machine and run the application. It feels as though it’s running on your local machine when in fact it is running on the server. From the IT perspective they only have one installation to manage which is on the terminal service machine so they only have to upgrade that version.

IT can also install the product silently, which means they write a script and push the product to desktops.

Data Access Advances

Pitney Bowes MapInfo has held the view of wanting to access data where it lived -- both business as well as geographic data. In prior versions, the ability to read and write directly for Oracle Spatial, and direct read of shapefiles was added. Recently included with the product is the Universal Translator, a derivative from Safe Software that allows customers to translate data from CAD data from Autodesk or MicroStation to MapInfo TAB files and back and forth. “In this release we wanted to make that integration closer and more direct,” said Binyamin. “We’ve added a new menu item in MapInfo Pro called Open Universal Data and we’ve embedded the FME SDK which is the FME engine which allows the MapInfo Pro user to open the formats that they couldn’t translate before.” This includes direct access to ESRI formats SHP, EOO, SDE, Personal Geodatabase, and DWG, DXF or DGN files. MapInfo has also partnered with Safe in a much more integrated way and added a button on the dialog itself that says “add more formats.” This takes the customers to a specific page on the Safe Software website that is designed for MapInfo Pro. It allows the customer to expand the number of exported formats within MapInfo Pro to over 150.

You can also save a map or analysis as a GeoTiff, and save the image itself, plus encode the geographic information inside the image. Any program that supports GeoTiff files will automatically open that image and position it on the earth.

Better visualization and easier to read maps

Three capabilities in the visualization make maps easier to read in MapInfo Pro 9.0:

1) Sometimes the only way to decipher lines as roads, or other marks on maps is to label. However, labeling can get in the way of the map itself, and it can be difficult to know which label belongs to which geography. Added to MapInfo Pro 9.0 is curved labels or labels that follow the streets, so this way the association of the information is tightly coupled with the geography itself. In the past, you could rotate the label on the dominant angle of the street but it didn’t accommodate curvy streets, and didn’t create the most visually pleasing maps.

2) Homeland Security issued fonts for general consumption for different events. These fonts have standard symbology and they are now part of MapInfo Professional. These include symbologies for incidents of fire, shooting, accident, and descriptions of natural events, such as hurricane, tornado, mudslide, etc. These are symbologies that a vendor independent organization has developed. The map becomes more readable because you’re using a common way of communicating critical information.

3) Ability to create organizational specific templates. Customers often produce the analysis map, but at some point they need to produce a hard copy output they can share with others. They may need metadata information such as a legend, a scale bar, a disclaimer, a logo or title, a department, that go on a map. Dynamic templates can now be produced in MapInfo Pro 9.0 which allow you to describe or define the areas where you would want to have legend and layout and maybe some on the fly prompt text such as current data, current time, or a short description of what the map is about. When you use a template, you can drop in any maps that you’ve produced and produce professional looking output.

Time based analysis

As an emergency organization collects GPS data, they also collect location and speed, and the time they were driving that speed. “This allows the organization to analyze the average speed an emergency vehicle was traveling, as opposed to what speed they should be traveling, but also estimates response times,” Binyamin noted. “They are finding out response times dramatically vary if they respond at different times of day. In New York City, between 4 and 7 p.m. they will find areas where they are standing in traffic traveling under 30 miles per hour, when they should be traveling at 60 mph. This allows them to set parameters with both the calling party and the commissioners to say this is what’s going to happen if we get a call during this time, because it’s rush hour, and no one can’t drive faster.”

Another example is with crime. Police departments know that crimes happen in different locations at different times of day. “They’re able to collect all the crimes, the map puts a dot at everywhere a crime has occurred. If you shade an area according to crimes appearing at certain times of day, what you will see is crime tends to migrate from one location to another based on time of day,” Binyamin said. “During the day you might find crime happens most often in the downtown area – that’s where most of the population is. At night, the crime often migrates to the more industrial areas, to parks.” This allows the police department to allocate resources during the different times of day.

In the private sector different buying patterns are analyzed. What stores have always known but can now visualize is the fact that the demographics of people buying in their stores are different from those who buy after 5 p.m. As you capture buyer information such as zip code, etc., you can better understand where the shoppers are coming from.

MapInfo Pro 9.0 also offers the ability to link into other systems with what is called “hotlinking.” In an urban planning example of managing parcel maps, you will see on a map a parcel that is identified by a square of land. Users can click on that and find other information that is stored in another system, i.e. a correspondence that has occurred with that customer, a photo of that property. Through hotlinking they can link to all those pieces of information directly from the map itself. They can use the hotlink tool to access those systems directly from the geographic location.

Productivity

As more capabilities are added to MapInfo Professional, customers need to be able to find their data easily and use operations that make them more productive with the product. Productivity enhancements include multiple wizard-based processes, and MapBasic for creating custom utilities and automating common tasks.

Top News of the Week

Microsoft Corp. and Maporama International, the European leader of geolocalization and navigation services, announced the completion of a major technological and commercial partnership in the mapping market.

Microsoft's Virtual Earth mapping platform featuring roadmaps, satellite and aerial imagery, plus bird's eye and 3-D views will be available for Maporama Intl corporate customers. They will benefit from increasingly innovative and complete solutions to meet their business needs: geolocalization, business intelligence, geomarketing, and mobility.

Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances

Garmin Ltd. announced that it has completed the acquisition of GPS Gesellschaft fur Professionelle Satellitennavigation mbH, the exclusive distributor of Garmin's consumer products in Germany. The company will be renamed Garmin Deutschland GmbH and will retain its management, sales, marketing and supporting staff, consisting of approximately 60 people, and will continue operations at its current headquarters and warehouse facilities located close to Munich.

Pixxures, Inc., a provider of aerial mapping, direct digital image processing, GIS services and imagery Web Mapping Services (WMS), has announced its recent joint acquisition of a new Leica ADS40-SH51 digital sensor and aircraft with Landiscor Aerial Information.

Landiscor is the leading provider of aerial information and photography to the southwest market, as well as one of the leading suppliers of photographic information products nationally.

Announcements

The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC(R)) membership has adopted new test suites, test scripts and reference implementations for OpenGIS(R) Specifications. A new TEAM Engine (Test, Evaluation, And Measurement Engine) and Compliance Test Language were adopted as the OGC's official new compliance testing platform.

These new free tests and testing software enable technology providers to confirm that their products are compliant with OpenGIS standards. Providers can then submit products for certification. Certified products can carry the OGC "Certified Compliant" mark to formally signify adherence to OGC standards.

Test suites were adopted for the following OpenGIS? implementation specifications:
Web Map Service (WMS) 1.3.0
Web Feature Service (WFS) with Filter Encoding 1.1.0
Geography Markup Language (GML) Simple Features SF 1.0
Catalog Services - Web (CS/W) 2.0.1
Web Map Context (WMC) 1.1.0
GeoRSS GML

To assist programmers in developing solutions, open source reference implementations were adopted for:
WMS 1.3.0
CS/W 2.0.1
WFS 1.1.0

Developers can download the TEAM Engine to test their implementations of the OGC's OpenGIS? implementation specifications in the developers' own environments.

The TEAM Engine, an open source program developed by Northrop Grumman, and the test suites and reference implementations, contributed by other OGC members, were among the results of the OGC's fourth OGC Web Services test bed activity (OWS-4).

Official OGC Compliance Testing can be done online for a compliance report and/or for submission of a product or service for certification and OGC Compliance branding. This site provides more information about the test suites. More information about the OGC Compliance Testing Program and trademark licensing is available here.

Pixia Corp., a provider of rapid image access technology, has been selected by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide a baseline capability for serving geospatial imagery via the Department's Integrated Common Analytical Viewer (iCAV) system. iCAV is a web-based geospatial analytical and situational awareness system that helps the DHS mission partners to better prepare, prevent, respond and recover from natural and man-made disasters.

Awards

The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is reminding colleagues in Academia, Industry, and the Defense and Intelligence communities that October 1 is the deadline to submit nominations for the 2007 USGIF Awards Program.

Award nomination forms for the Academic Achievement Award, Research Achievement Award, Government Achievement Award, Industry Achievement Award and Military Achievement Award are available to download on the USGIF Website.

People

PCI Geomatics, a developer of image-centric software and solutions for the geospatial industry, is pleased to announce the appointment of the Honourable Herb Dhaliwal to its Board of Directors.

Mr. Dhaliwal brings a wealth of diverse experience as a businessman and entrepreneur in both the private and public sectors. In 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced the appointment of Herb Dhaliwal, M.P., as Minister of Natural Resources and political minister for British Columbia. First elected to the House of Commons in 1993, Mr. Dhaliwal was appointed to Cabinet in 1997 as Minister of Revenue and in 1999 became Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

New Products

A product that generated special interest at ESRI UC in San Diego included Leica Geosystems' System 1200 real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS receivers and robotic total stations, High Definition SurveyingTM (HDS) scanning systems and, most notably, the multi-sensor, mobile GIS solution, MobileMatriXTM.

For the non-surveyor, as a 'field to finish' solution, MobileMatrixTM allows the surveyor to code descriptions of data as they are collected in the field, export the data to an ASCII file to be read by the software application, which then automates the drawing process.

MobileMatriX is multi-sensor mobile GIS software designed to operate on Tablet PCs as an extension to ESRI's ArcGISTM desktop platform. It is uniquely equipped with integrated survey processing functionality in the ArcGISTM environment with real-time links to a variety of surveying instruments, such as GPS sensors, total stations and digital levels.

ThinkGeo LLC announced the release of Render USA, a .NET GIS plug-in for ThinkGeo’s Map Suite product line that automates the process of building maps of the United States. Designed with the non-GIS developer in mind, Render USA gives .NET developers the ability to build full-featured, detailed maps of the United States in just 3 steps.

GeomMatters Technologies announces TuxedoDB 1.2 Version for ArcGIS ArcSDE. TuxedoDB for ArcGIS ArcSDE is a powerful graphical, unique and specialized tool that centralizes ESRI ArcGIS ArcSDE Administration duties.

Blue Marble Geographics announces the release of their latest GIS data conversion developer tool, GeoTranslate 5.0. This Windows C++ vector file translation and feature manipulation tool, which may be easily embedded in custom GIS applications, introduces a new level of scalable spatial data translation. Based on the GeoConvert component that was formerly part of the GeoObjects developer toolkit and the basis of Blue Marble’s Geographic Translator application, GeoTranslate provides all of the original GeoConvert functionality and much more. Blue Marble’s coordinate conversion technology is the basis of GeoTranslate 5.0, and is used worldwide by thousands of GIS analysts at software companies, universities, oil and gas companies, civil engineering, surveying, technology, enterprise GIS groups, government and military organizations.

ESRI’s Web-based on-demand analysis product, Business Analyst Online and ESRI’s 2007/2012 demographic data provide faster and better results for professionals in all industries. New capabilities of Business Analyst Online include interactive features such as live thematic mapping and more flexible definitions of study areas. The addition of ESRI’s 2007/2012 demographic data to this release enhances the timeliness and accuracy of results produced by Business Analyst Online.

ISC announces the release of MapDotNet Server 6.1. Using the MapDotNet GIS application development platform, ISC works with commercial and government organizations to deliver high performance and innovative data visualization and mapping applications integrated with Microsoft’s newest technologies. The 6.1 release includes additional support for Microsoft Virtual Earth® 5.0, which was recently released by Microsoft.

Getmapping Plc is to deliver a simple and cost effective product, which will allow its high resolution imagery to be made available to the general public via council websites, powered by iShareMaps.

The solution uses industry-standard protocols, to deliver a seamless and map-accurate layer of geographic data from Getmapping’s servers, removing much of the effort of integration and computation from local authorities. It will give councils compelling content to drive citizens to their websites, and provide a powerful vehicle for communication between the public.

From Services, LLC, the fourth edition of the ebook on the Google Maps API covers everything you need to know about programming Google Maps to create dynamic web mapping applications with today's hottest mapping technology. You will learn how to create maps, add map controls for user interactions (zooming, and panning), programmatically alter the map extent, add points of interest to the map, add custom icons, geocode addresses on the fly, read addresses from a database or XML file, display aerial photography, AJAX fundamentals, and event programming. New material in the fourth edition includes instructions on adding driving directions and traffic overlays in Google Maps, integration of Google Earth KML files, efficient management of large number of markers, and much more.

To download a free copy of "Mashup Mania with Google Maps", please visit this website.

Telmap, a leader in mapping and navigation solutions, today announced that Telmap Navigator 3.0 will be available on Blackberry(R) 8800(TM) through the online store found at www.telmapnavigator.com. With an embedded GPS, the Blackberry 8800 combined with the fully featured Telmap Navigator software is the perfect device to be at the forefront of the move towards personal navigation on communication devices.

Upcoming Events

Diving into GIS and Earth Observation Technologies
Date: July 11 - 21, 2007
Place: Santa Cesarea Terme
Italy
The International Summer School DIGEO “Diving into GIS and Earth Observation Technologies” will take place during the 11th. - 21st. of July 2007 in the mediterranean locality of Santa Cesarea Terme in Italy. The main objective is to provide participants with the know-how needed to: - create and manage Geographic Information Systems (GIS), - integrate Remote Sensing - Satellite Image interpretation and GIS - collect underwater data while obtaining an International scuba SSI certificate
The Second ICA Workshop on Geospatial Analysis and Modeling
Date: July 12 - 13, 2007
Place: Xiaobai Angela Yao, and Bin Jiang
Athens , GA USA
The International Cartographic Association (ICA) workshop series aims to bring together researchers from academia and industry to present leading edge research findings, exchange ideas, and stimulate new research efforts around geospatial analysis and modeling.
National Association of Counties (NACo)
Date: July 13 - 17, 2007
Place: Richmond, VA USA
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Registration for the 2007 NACo Annual Conference and Exposition will open in mid-February.
The 2007 Wireless & Mobile Expo and Conference
Date: July 17 - 18, 2007
Place: Ontario
Canada
The 2007 Wireless & Mobile Expo and Conference, being the global meeting place for the wireless industry, attracts key decision-makers to learn and purchase the latest products and solutions, offered by innovative technology vendors and service providers.
GEOBrasil Summit 2007
Date: July 17 - 19, 2007
Place: Imigrantes Exhibiiton Center
S©o Paulo , Brazil
Created in 2000, GEOBrasil Summit is, by far, the biggest and most important annual meeting of buyers, specialists and suppliers of solutions connected with geotechnologies of Latin America.
GeoWeb 2007
Date: July 23 - 27, 2007
Place: Vancouver, BC
Canada
We encourage the attendance of anyone and everyone working in the public and private sectors that match the following description: You are interested in the development of technology to enable the convergence of Web technologies, XML, Web services, and GIS. You are interested in the multitude of applications associated with the convergence of Web technologies, XML, Web services, and GIS You are interested in the impact of businesses and government policies associated with the convergence of Web technologies, XML, Web services, and GIS. You are interested in the emergence of new business models leveraged by the convergence of Web technologies, XML, Web services, and GIS.

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