February 09, 2004
An Integrated Look at Geospatial Technology
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! “Technology does not only replace one tool with another. It alters philosophies, policies, the way we live.” Integrated Geospatial Technologies provides an integrated look at geospatial technology, at how GPS data is used, where to use remotely sensed data, acquiring data and using data on the internet. Clear descriptions of what to expect from geotechnology and definitions of commonly used words and phrases make this book really quite enjoyable reading. 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, Alliances/Acquisitions, Announcements, Appointments/Resignations, New Products, Going on Around the Web, and Upcoming Events.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

An Integrated Look at Geospatial Technology

Book Review

By Susan Smith

Integrated Geospatial Technologies - a Guide to GPS, GIS and Data Logging by Jeff Thurston, Thomas K. Poiker and J. Patrick Moore


John Wiley & Sons

Published September, 2003

ISBN: 0471244090

“Geotechnologies provide a means to collect, manage, and analyze spatial information that is later visualized in two, three, or four dimensions.”

This book does what it sets out to do: provide an integrated look at geospatial technology, at how GPS data is used, where to use remotely sensed data, acquiring data and using data on the internet. It covers definitions of terms such as 'enterprise technologies' which span many different departments within one organization, and are expected to interact with many other types of administrative technologies. It has answers to questions such as, how can data be acquired on the Internet? What data can be used for visualization purposes and how do you acquire it? How do spatial technologies integrate?

Clear descriptions of what to expect from geotechnology and definitions of commonly used words and phrases make this book really quite enjoyable reading. “Study of the Earth's physical shape is called geodesy. The shape of the Earth affects how geospatial information is collected and represented.”

“The determination of lines, along with their distance and direction with respect to boundary areas, is called cadastral or boundary surveying.”

Challenging problems that arise with geotechnology applications are addressed. A common example cited is that people have collected GPS points in the field, then downloaded them, only to find they don't align properly with an existing map. The reason for this may be that the map may have been generated using measurements based on a datum other than the one used for the GPS collection of points. Geospatial data users also need to know the coordinate system and projection that data are in so they can make accurate measurements or overlay other data.

A discussion of GPS, differential correction, data logging and geocoding shows practical use for these technologies and also how GPS data can become “nonuseful” in GIS.

“Technology does not only replace one tool with another. It alters philosophies, policies, the way we live.” The book offers many examples of ways in which this statement is proved true. One of particular interest is the fact that the modern map has depth and various layers with which users can interact and fly through. 3D visualization environments with GIS functionality are a goal of the technology, complete with interactive database access. 4D visualization includes x,y,z coordinates as well as the element of time, which could mean real time or data depicting change over time.

What makes GIS different from other database systems? It includes spatial functionality. A summary of what goes into a GIS is clearly laid out on charts and illustrations. The popularity of spatial data servers has increased as users found they don't want to store that information on local machines. Other methods such as sensors and instrumentation, laser offsets used to collect GPS waypoints, data loggers and telemetry are used to capture spatial information for analysis.

For people working in geotechnology who are very focused on their own area of expertise, this is a good book for them to acquaint themselves with the larger world of geotechnology, how it can be integrated and what the future might hold. It would also be most helpful to those newly introduced to the topic. Each chapter closes with a series of exercises reviewing the contents of the chapter and asking pertinent questions about the content. For students, this approach provides a clear overview to a broad, fascinating and quickly growing subject.

Map India 2004 Coverage (

One of our GISCafe representatives attended Map India 2004 January 28-30 at the Hotel Taj Palace in New Delhi, India. Map India 2004 is the 7th Annual International Conference and Exhibition in the field of geographic information technologies like GIS, GPS, Aerial
graphy and Remote Sensing. This year's theme was Geospatial Democracy. From the press release came this description:

”'Government of the people, for the people and by the people' constitutes the basic ingredient of 'democracy' and encompasses in itself greater guidelines for code of conduct within the various fields of democracy. We understand that every human being has some 'geospatial reference' by birth. Every citizen identifies oneself with a 'geographic boundary' and eventually everyone develops a level of 'geospatial possessiveness'. Every nation needs 'geospatial information' in some manner to perform efficiently.

In comprehension of this emerging truth that 'democracy' in contemporary times need to recognize the concept of Information Democracy, Map India 2004 proposes deliberations on 'Geospatial Democracy : Geospatial Information for the people, of the people and by the people'.”

Keynotes stuck to this theme and encompassed discussions of Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing and all related technologies. Keynote addresses were delivered by John Allen, director, BAE Systems; Brad Skelton, VP of Software Engineering Leica Geosystems GIS and Mapping LLC; and Dhirendra Khurana, Hewlett-Packard India.

Two topics made up the Plenary sessions. One was geospatial democracy-how important it is for citizens of a nation to understand their country's geography and resources. Information Democracy is directly tied into geography--in order for a country to become developed, it needs to have geographic data that is accessible and available to a vast majority of the population. Amitabha Pande, Joint Secretary, Dept.of Science & Technology for the Government of India, Xavier Lopez, Director, Spatial Technologies for Oracle, Inc., and Preetha Pulusani, President, Intergraph Mapping & Geospatial Solutions spoke on this topic.

The second plenary topic centered on the changing role of national mapping organizations, and how most GIS producing organizations in India and surrounding regions have focused on data generation, storage and maintenance, without much emphasis on distributing data. Presenters challenged the audience to consider re-thinking the issues of data dissemination and security issues, mandates and mechanisms for functioning for national mapping organizations. This included taking a look at revamping their public image. Vanessa Lawrence, Director General and Chief Executive, Ordnance Survey, UK; Dr. Prithvish Nag, Surveyor General of India; K. K. Singh, Chairman cum Managing Director, Rolta
India Ltd.
and Bob O'Neil, Acting Director General, Canada Center for Remote Sensing, Natural Resources Canada all spoke on this topic.

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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.

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