May 03, 2004
Special GITA 27 Annual Conference Report
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Special GITA 27 Annual Conference Report

By Susan Smith


The GITA 27 Annual Conference's Opening Session opened with some rock music from Seattle musicians, as well as a short introduction by Robert Samborski, GITA executive director. Samborski cited the work GITA had done in the past year such as the formation of the Geospatial Leadership Coalition (GLC), which addresses the need for data sharing. He also announced that the sixth annual Geospatial Technology Report is available. The 133-page report contains information on GIS projects being implemented at 204 infrastructure based organizations.


Conference attendance was up this year, evidenced by the number of people who attended the seminars and technical sessions. One of the things that is particularly special about GITA is their choice of a motivational speaker who is completely off the charts - last year it was Amanda Gore with her magic wand and this year it was Ben Glenn, an internationally known speaker, humorist and artist. His presentation included a chalk painting which he executed in front of a rapt audience - in only 12 minutes and 33 seconds!


With such a strong focus on education in the seminars, it is heartening to hear a positive message from someone outside the industry, who may not be as intimately involved as the rest of us with the pressing challenges of critical infrastructure protection or technology trends.


I covered GITA 27 for the GITA Conference News that was distributed to all attendees at the conference, and that coverage is available
here. This coverage details the Opening Session (including keynote address and awards).


It also covers a couple of notable seminars that I may refer to in GISWeekly in the next week or so. Comments from users are included in this article.




A Look at New Products at GITA 24


First of all, I did not get around to see all the new products showcased at GITA. But here are some of the ones that I did see and/or learn about:


Autodesk announced that AutoCAD Map 3D 2005 is shipping. As Autodesk has been working with utilities since before they had a map product, they have tailored the product to the requirements of that industry. The product has enhanced 3D capabilities so that you can share your 3D design data and spatial data, and any change made to the data source is immediately updated throughout the surface. Also the product boasts greater interoperability with Autodesk and competing GIS products. It has full DWG compatibility.


The strength of AutoCAD Map 3D 2005 is as a platform for highly customized applications with an improved API. Other Autodesk applications running on AutoCAD Map benefit from the product's speed and greater interoperability. For example, Electric Utility Solution running on Autodesk Map, automates design layout by automating your utilities' design standards, creates objects on your design layout that maintain associations with each other and together with engineering results create a bill of materials, plus much more.


Perhaps more importantly, Autodesk announced that it will be working with Gatekeeper Systems of Pasadena, California, to provide a new solution called Gatekeeper Navigate, a complete mobile asset management solution for integrating operations data. According to David Salzberg, customer solution manager for Autodesk's Infrastructure Solutions Division, “This solution will allow customers to distribute and manage data in the field and in the office.” Navigate will be able to integrate data from disparate sources and view, edit and share the data with field teams. “There are 578,000 people who work in their trucks,” noted Salzberg. “The guys in the field can now
respond to routine customer inquiries as well as emergency calls with reliable, current information.”


Another product Autodesk released last week was DWF Composer, which is more than DWF Viewer (a free product). DWF Composer can view, print, extract information and add redline and integrate 2005 real time redline information into files. With DWF Composer users can take information from different file formats and read 2D data. Target customers for this product include downstream users using published data, perhaps sales people. DWF is intended to replace the need for Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) files, which, in most industries, are a semi-standard format for exchanging documentation.


Adobe, creators of PDF, and various CAD (including Bentley) vendors are working together to make the PDF file format friendlier towards CAD drawings. A new official group to this end, PDF Engineering (PDF/E) Working Group, hopes to create an ISO standard by 2006.


I
wrote about DWF and PDF recently, thinking that it wouldn't be long before someone came up with an enhancement for PDF that would address the GIS industry's needs. Layton Graphics, Inc. has done that with the introduction of MAP2PDF for Adobe Acrobat, a product that enables the geo-registration of PDF maps, then converts them into intelligent GIS documents. “78% of GIS professionals use PDF,” noted Phil Lee, executive vice president of Layton. Basically, the product allows you to take any files such as AutoCAD files, and convert them to geo-referenced PDF
files. The way
MAP2PDF works is that a user selects at least two points with known coordinates, indicates the datum and projection used in production of the map, and enters those numeric values of the coordinates. Any point on the map can be selected and the chosen coordinates will display. A geo-registered map then gives the user access to information about the objects in the map from databases with spatially enabled data. That data can then be embedded to be viewed with Acrobat or Adobe Reader.


Customers can easily find maps they're looking for by street intersections, street address, or by zooming in on a larger map. The product sold at the special GITA price of $995 for attendees and thereafter is $1395.


GE Energy demonstrated its Smallworld 4 product suite, designed as a GIS solution for complex utility and telecommunications networks. The Smallworld 4 product suite offers better usability and business process support, more efficient architecture than past releases and mobile applications.


Intergraph has been driving home its message for a year or more now, and that is that it no longer emphasizes the product. Customers no longer want or need proprietary software. This year Intergraph demonstrated the openness and interoperability of their Geospatial Resource Management (GRM) solutions for utility and communications companies and municipalities. The solutions promise to be scalable and allow customers to capture, design and analyze network asset information in an open environment. GRM serves as an “umbrella” for GIS, outage management, mobile workforce management, and engineering analysis software. G/Technology is the enabling core technology for GRM, and
offers
commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components, open data format and scalability. More will be covered on this and other Intergraph solutions in the coming weeks when I cover Geospatial World.


Hitachi Software announced the release on March 1 of its open spatial data integration solution, Any*GIS 3.5,
covered in a December 2003 issue of GISWeekly . The release is based on OpenGIS standards and allows organizations to adopt open standards while at the same time, allowing legacy data and workflows to remain. Although Any*GIS has always supported OpenGIS standards, version 3.5 expands that solution to include facility and resource management as well as field data access.


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