May 17, 2004
Special Geospatial World 2004 Report, Part 1
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Welcome to GISWeekly! In a press release issued Thursday, Intergraph announced that Geospatial World 2004, held in Miami, May 11-14, drew attendees from 56 countries, 39 states and one territory - with more than a 20 percent attendance increase over last year. Read about the conference in this week's Industry News.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Special Geospatial World 2004 Report, Part 1
By Susan Smith
In a press release issued Thursday, Intergraph announced that Geospatial World 2004, held in Miami, May 11-14, drew attendees from 56 countries, 39 states and one territory - with more than a 20 percent attendance increase over last year. Someone told me that attendance was up around 1400 this year, and certainly the technical and plenary sessions reflected a large crowd. There was standing room only in Wednesday's opening session, until hotel employees added more chairs.
The plenary sessions began on Wednesday when Halsey Wise, president and CEO of Intergraph, spoke about his 10-month experience with the company and his view of the future with an eye to the current market and business climate. He reminded the audience that Intergraph used to be a hardware company and that it had successfully transitioned from hardware to software and now to “solutions,” and is focused on a new mission, vision and culture. Throughout the conference this message seemed to be reflected in many ways, even down to the new business card design which reminded me a lot of Lockheed's business cards from another time.
Halsey quoted a phrase used by Lieutenant General James Clapper, USAF (Ret) of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), "Now, Next and After Next" to refer to the present and future.
He used that title to outline Intergraph's changes as follows:
New vision, mission and culture
Capital structure and allocation review
Corporate (marketing, PR, strategic planning, board involvement, and governance)
Return to growth
Improved operating margins
Prepare the company for a day without litigation
Changing the industry perview of new applications
Strong balance sheet
Significant customer base
Wise cited the phrase, “It's not so much where you stand today but where you're headed,” by Oliver Holmes, to describe Intergraph's direction.
Prior to joining Intergraph, Wise served as CEO, North America for Solution 6 Ltd. While there, he had the responsibility of strategic planning, sales and marketing, product development, support and finance, and administration.
Wise's keynote was followed by that of Preetha Pulusani, president, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions (IMGS), whose talk was entitled “Open. Solutions. Exchange.” She began by introducing the executive management and sales management, and worldwide distributor network - from Southeast Asia to Latin America.
Over the past 24 months, Pulusani said, IMGS has merged in two new business units: Utilities and Communications and Z/I Imaging.
“Some months ago we asked our users what geospatial solutions do you need in your business today?” she told the audience. There was a lot of commonality:
Databases around the world are deep and amazing, but people want the following features:
“It is beyond my comprehension why people would not want to store data in open standard database technology,” stated Pulusani. “Oracle Spatial and Microsoft have invested heavily in this.”
She went on to add that data availability is very important, but so is reliable and standardized data. “Accurate, assessable metadata becomes extremely important as it is protecting that important data investment you've made.”
On the power of mobile computing, she gave an example of mobile computing enabling Canadian military forces to complete landmine clearing more successfully.
Sensor technology and the sensor web will be something we will see more in the future, according to Pulusani. The sensor web will make these sensors available all the time: it is to sensors what the internet is to computers. “Think of the mini bar where they have sensors so they know if you even touch something in there. Haven't figured out how to apply geospatial technology to it yet ”
Interoperability is important if you want to use data used in different departments. “Our customers drove us to do this: to deliver interoperability kits for multi-application enterprise based on Oracle Spatial. Interoperability really broadens the use of geospatial data. OGC Web Services is addressing the growing demands of data access.”
Standards, not just OGC, make geospatial data part of the enterprise. “Where we began was very GIS-centric; that was important twenty years ago. Our focus was on creating digital information and managing it,” Pulusani explained. “Today we need to expand the geospatial sphere of influence, with a vision of taking GIS as an island into mainstream IT will help geospatial infusion. We have many areas where location information is very important to information systems. We need to work on how to make geospatial information more accessible to these other systems.”
Pulusani cited the strengths of Intergraph's open foundation strategy:
Foundation products include Geomedia, G/Technology, InService, Z/I Imaging, Terrashare, Intelliwhere, Digital Cartographic Studio and Map Publisher, and the legacy products - MGE and FRAMME.
Geomedia 5.2 boasts over 100 more enhancements in plotting and has “super easy” visual authoring for Web Map. It delivers over 200 new functions for user productivity. Geomedia 5.2 is a suite of products that consists of 17 products for maintenance, visualization, distribution and analysis designed for local and regional governments, national and federal government, and military and intelligence, utilities, communications, and transportation. Its main strengths appear to be spatial analysis, image exploitation, and data management.
David Holmes, Director of worldwide product strategy, Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, has this to say about Geomedia 5.2: "At the end of the day, our customers--small- to large-sized enterprises alike--want to have a paper map, map report or some sort of visual representation of data. With this release, we are delivering on our promise to make mapmaking as easy as possible. The new release of desktop products is loaded with usability enhancements for map layout and plotting. And, we are including functionality in our Web-based products to mainstream Web map publishing and Web services."
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