August 01, 2005
Connecting the Dots: Looking Back on the Week at ESRI UC
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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A company called Spotfire born out of the pharma industry, produces a software product which is an interactive, visual data analytics application and services that has segued into use in the oil and gas industry. The solution, DecisionSite, allows users to interact with data in a “different” way, querying and exploring data visually. Spotfire recently came to the attention of the capital arm of the CIA, who saw Spotfire's MapConnect which is a bridge between ArcView and DecisionSite that draws data from ESRI products.

Bridging the Gap - Third Annual Surveying and GIS Summit

This year, the Surveying and GIS Summit held on Saturday and Sunday, expanded their coverage to include engineering. Mike Weir, surveying industry manager for ESRI, said they had about 300 people in attendance for the event.

Gary Kent, PLS of Schneider Corporation gave a talk on the topic “Geographic Information Synergy” which focused on leadership and management roles in companies. He said leaders are responsible for creating the future, quoting some famous people. “Leaders who lack foresight commit a moral failure.” He called for a “shared sense of purpose,” interconnectedness, exchange of information, and to be constantly learning.

A very helpful series of talks entitled “What We Do” led by a GIS administrator, surveyor and engineer, helped define what those roles are in an organization. Director of GIS, Jack Avis, listed some tasks he is responsible for: creating cartographic maps and images, acquiring, creating and maintaining geospatial data layers, performing geographic analysis and modeling and developing enterprise GIS solutions and services.

Mapping and Surveying manager John Stock told the audience that surveyors find land, research public records, do field reconnaissance, measure with expert tools, make professional decisions about boundary locations, do topographic and bathymetric surveying, draw maps and plats.

Jim Hart of the Sanitary Management and Engineering Company, spoke on “An Integrated Vision of GIS,” quoting Einstein as saying “Any idea which at first does not seem insane is not worth pursuing.” He followed the growth of GIS from the traditional GIS to today where there are such products as “flexible displays” that might be completely ruggedized, holographic displays and reached into the fourth dimension, time.

Michael Dennis of Shephard-Wesnitzer, Inc. spoke on “The Perils of Positioning,” pointing out that modern positioning, particularly GPS, is complex. He warned the audience not to “surrender to the vendor” and not do anything on faith. It's possible to rapidly collect GPS data, but also very easy to generate erroneous positions. He showed numerous types of common errors and how they came to pass.

Tracy Lenocker gave a talk entitled "It's All About the Data," and showed where data generally comes from.

Panel discussions touched upon topics such as understanding the difference between “dumb” data and GIS data, understanding the value of the database, and mixed accuracy data.

The following material has been basically gleaned from press releases:

Relationships announced at ESRI UC this week:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) has chosen ESRI's Production Line Tool Set (PLTS) for ArcGIS 9.1-Aeronautical Solution as the basis to develop and implement an automated, database-centric aeronautical chart production system. ESRI, the world's leading geographic information system (GIS) software developer, will provide professional consulting, design services, and software customization during the project, which includes the evaluation, system design, and implementation of a central database for the Aeronautical Information Branch.

Xplore Technologies(R) Corp., an international rugged Tablet PC provider, announced that the company has signed ESRI of Redlands, California, as a worldwide Platinum Systems Integrator for Xplore. As a result of this arrangement, ESRI has introduced special market bundles of its industry leading mobile GIS application solutions with Xplore's rugged iX104C2(TM) family of Tablet PC systems.

Pictometry International Corp., a company offering digital, aerial oblique imagery solutions, and Orion Technology Inc., a provider of web-GIS software and integration services, announced that the two companies have signed a business partnership agreement. Under terms of the partnership, the companies will enable Pictometry's aerial imaging databases and software to be accessed through Orion's OnPoint web-based GIS solution. This will enable municipalities that have OnPoint to not only research and obtain vital information of their community, but to also have the ability to view Pictometry's high-resolution images of the area.

SANZ, Inc., a national provider of data storage management and system integration services, announced that it has received an additional order of $4,500,000 for data storage products and services on a major federal program. The company expects the program will generate more than $16M in revenue over a five-year period ending in 2009 and that near term impact will be between $7 million and $9 million of revenue in 2005.

Space Imaging has been awarded a $5.88 million satellite imagery capacity contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). This ClearView mid-year supplemental contract enables the NGA to acquire additional commercial imagery from Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite - the world's first commercial high-resolution Earth imaging satellite.

Intermap has won a contract to supply its three-dimensional digital terrain map of Scotland to the British Geological Survey (BGS). The contract comes a year after BGS purchased Intermap's digital terrain data of England and Wales. Since that time over 50 different uses have been developed within the BGS for the data providing the justification for the purchase of the Scottish terrain map.

ESRI and Thales announced that ESRI has begun selling ArcPad, its software for mobile GIS and mapping applications with Thales' MobileMapper CE to ESRI customers in the U.S.

At nearly half the price of competing systems, the MobileMapper CE GPS receiver offers an impressive array of high-performance features, including real-time, sub-meter GPS positioning, embedded Microsoft® Windows® CE .NET, Bluetooth® wireless technology, removable SD card memory and an all-day removable battery that make it attractive for a wide variety of demanding GIS data collection and mapping applications.

New Product Announcements at ESRI UC this week:

Orion Technology announced that the upcoming release of Orion's award winning web-GIS software OnPoint™, codenamed NG, is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2005. OnPoint™ NG is revolutionary in that it is the only web-GIS system that will seamlessly integrate data from ArcIMS, MapPoint, ArcGIS Server, OGC, Pictometry and Oracle Spatial and link that geographic data to multiple business systems' databases.

Logistic Systems, Inc. (LogiSYS) has announced the release of its Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) solution that utilizes ESRI files natively in its integrated mapping display. The product named NorthStar, allows Public Safety professionals to have at their fingertips, information that has previously been unavailable in Emergency Communications Centers. Information such as power, sewer, and water lines not traditionally seen as important can now be made available when needed by simply selecting a map layer for display. This simple function provides Dispatchers better data to make more informed decisions. Other information typically seen only in the planning department or assessor's
office can now be made instantly available by utilizing the ESRI Enterprise software solution, ArcSDE.

Avenza Systems of Toronto, Canada recently announced Geographic Imager, a new plug-in suite that adds geospatial functionality to Adobe's Photoshop image editing program. This product introduces image referencing and reprojection capabilities based on Blue Marble Geographics GeoTransform 5.1 software developer tool kit.

OneGIS demonstrated its Storm Damage Assessment / Incident Survey Application this week. The application was originally developed for Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO) following its encounter with the Category 3 hurricane, Fabian, which hit the island in 2003. BELCO wanted to streamline the recording and input of damage incidents into its newly acquired GIS. So OneGIS was approached in 2004 to develop the unique application in conjunction with their GIS implementation and support contract, which is still ongoing.

CarteGraph Systems, Inc., showcased a look at its new ArcGIS embedded products aimed at government and utilities organizations.

Northrop Grumman Corporation highlighted its suite of GeoEnterprise Solutions(TM) including geospatial intelligence applications, architectures and enterprise-wide solutions this week. In addition, Northrop Grumman's Information Technology (IT) sector showcased its Tracking Solutions software suite for monitoring time, motion and change for geospatial information sharing in military, homeland security, commercial and state and local scenarios. In conjunction with ESRI, Northrop Grumman IT is the developer of Tracking Analyst and Tracking Server. Tracking Analyst is a software desktop tool for visualizing, displaying and
analyzing temporal data. The Tracking Server application collects multiple data feeds and transmits real-time, event-based information to Web clients, customer applications and Tracking Analyst for in-depth analysis.

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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