December 08, 2003
Autodesk University News
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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In a press session held on Monday (most of which is under non-disclosure at this time), Chris Bradshaw, Infrastructure Solutions Division (ISD) VP, spoke specifically about CAD-GIS integration. The two goals of that effort are
  • To create operating efficiencies
  • Move to a 3D model based civil design - which will be easier, faster and better.
  • The Infrastructure Solutions Division used to be the GIS group but since they encompass more than GIS, such as civil and lifecycle management solutions, the name was changed and broadened.

    According to Bradshaw, traditionally, Autodesk has served an engineering and construction market, which is still the case and is still the predominant market for ISD. Communications and utilities, transportation (high end ones such as DOTs, port authorities, airports) and government are other strong markets.

    Pressing challenges for Infrastructure Solutions include:
    1. Bradshaw noted that it will take “$1.6 trillion to bring infrastructure up to snuff in the U.S. and it should be close to that amount in Europe as well.”
    2. Significant electric grid failures have been experienced in the UK, Italy and the U.S.
    3. Infrastructure management now involves security, safety and total cost of ownership.
    4. As a result of 9/11, local governments have a different interest in local assets and emergency response services. Cities are the most progressive customers in terms of implementing total cost of ownership. Globally, infrastructure holds great possibilities. In China alone, the government has detailed plans on how to build infrastructure for the next ten years. The government wants to move 70% of the country's population to the cities, and rather than moving them to existing cities, they are building entire cities in the west. They are planning huge highway systems running from east to west.

      Domestically, industry firm trends include:

      Increased competition
      • Shrinking operations margins
      • E&C firms, telco worldwide are participating in projects in other countries
      • Leveraging core expertise into new areas
      • Consolidation
        • Large firms getting larger
        • Firms expand to Design/Build/Operate
        • Of the top ten E/C firms in the world, there is only one U.S. firm on the list-Bechtel. Five are Japanese. Their operations margins are much smaller than they were a year ago. One Japanese E/C firm has included its range of services to include the management of such things as concessions and parking garages at stadiums that they have built.

          Bradshaw discussed emergency response solutions which are built on integrating CAD and GIS. “CAD is in the files, and 3D is stored in a model. Eventually,” he predicted, “we will share one original model.” Another goal is to have the ability to interoperate with competing formats, which is demonstrated in the alliance Autodesk has entered into with Laser-Scan, Intergraph and Oracle.

          “E/C firms are spatial data experts already,” claimed Bradshaw, and what they need to do is offer new services for clients, new operating efficiencies for the various phases of the lifecycle. Between civil engineering and mapping, there is “infrastructure lifecycle management” (ILM) which saves time and money in an industry that loses 40% revenue every year. Why is this? “It's due to lost information and lawyers and other things,” said Bradshaw. ILM spans departments which have a heterogeneous environment of IT vendors involved. The challenge has been to have one spatial data server that can synchronize both file management with spatial data.

          Autodesk University Third Party Vendor Announcements

          In terms of new products with relevance to GIS shown at Autodesk, Matrox demonstrated their Parhelia HR256 graphics card which offers, for high resolution flat panel displays, maximum refresh rate support. This card has a quad single-link DVI interface, which enables a quad DVI or dual LFH-60 direct connection, without adapters.

          Hitachi demonstrated their AnyGIS enterprise GIS solution that allows integration between multiple GIS data sources. Using three-tier client server architecture, the product enables users to access, analyze and modify information from any location or file format.

          LizardTech introduced the new GeoExpress 4.0 product which includes increased mosaicing options, innovative previewing, and flexible encoding for improved workflow and measurable cost savings.


          IDELIX(R) Software Inc. and Paragon Imaging announced a partnership agreement that will see IDELIX's award-winning Pliable Display Technology (PDT) integrated into Paragon's industry leading ELT(R) (Electronic Light Table) Series software. PDT will be integrated into the entire ELT Series of software, a family of products that includes ELT 5500 and ELT 5500 Pro. Developed with guidance from the U.S. Intelligence Community, ELT/5500 Pro includes the most advanced functionality required by U.S. Intelligence Analysts. The integration of PDT is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2004.

          Kinetic Solutions has been awarded a contract by the City of Alton, Illinois, to implement the award-winning SafeCity™ crime mapping and analysis application and website, for their law enforcement program. The Alton SafeCity™ website will be accessible to the public and will provide vital information about crime and calls for service in the area. The public will be able to query the system through easy-to-use web pages by selecting various search options based on types of crimes or street addresses. Moreover, the crime analysis and reporting features of SafeCity™ will enable the city's law enforcement community to more effectively allocate their patrol resources
          and examine their efficiency and effectiveness.

          Optimal Solutions and Laser-Scan announced a partnership agreement following the implementation of Laser-Scan's Radius Topology product by Optimal Solutions at the Northern Ireland Water Service (NIWS). Optimal Solutions has been working for NIWS to deliver a fully integrated, corporate solution, based upon Oracle Spatial, which will radically alter the way it plans, manages, operates and develops its extensive assets. This advanced solution will enable NIWS to greatly improve the efficiency and delivery of water supply and sewerage services to the general public.


          The Members of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) have overwhelmingly approved new Terms of Reference and the addition of an eighth Technical Commission. The fields of photogrammetry, remote sensing and spatial information science now each have two Commissions, one for research and one for applications, complemented by two overarching Commissions.

          (From the press release): Some of the most popular digital map data datasets available through Kingswood MapMechanics have been significantly enhanced in their latest releases, gaining additional attributes and extra detail. Rural settlement “sprawl”, for instance, is introduced for the first time in AA map data, and height data is offered free with NAVTECH vector map data. These refinements come in addition to more fundamental structural updates in the latest versions.

          A noted historian has told a respected scientific organization that the Celtic cross was more than a religious symbol. Crichton E.M. Miller said it was a device for navigation, astronomy, mathematics and surveying. His research shows it was used in building the pyramids, the henges and possibly the discovery of America.

          Crichton showed the London Questing Conference of scientists and researchers from the United Kingdom and America (Nov. 15) a working replica of an instrument based on the Celtic cross which he believes was used for navigation, astronomy and surveying. He describes his research and studies in his book, The Golden Thread of Time (Pendulum Publishing) available

          Asked how he discovered the working cross, he replied, "Providence, diligence and an open mind. The knowledge and wisdom were locked in stone for us to discover."

          "It seems that many scientific and religious minds are locked in stone too or we would have known of it earlier," he said.

          Leica Geosystems has been selected to supply a GPS Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) network for the Dallas District of the Texas Department of Transportation. The Dallas TXDOT system includes six Leica RS500 permanent reference stations with AT504 choke-ring antennas, and Spider network control software. The six stations have been placed in strategic locations so as to provide coverage for the seven counties which are in the Dallas TXDOT region.

          With the signing of the FY2004 Defense Authorization Bill, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) officially became the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA. Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, NIMA accelerated the convergence of various analytic tradecrafts (cartography, geospatial analysis, imagery analysis, marine analysis, aeronautical analysis, regional analysis, geodesy) into a new intelligence discipline-geospatial intelligence, or GEOINT-that is clearly greater than the sum of its parts. GEOINT provides customers a more complete visualization of geographically referenced areas on the Earth. The
          application of GEOINT has helped to shorten military
          operations and save lives. The NGA's customers now understand, and in fact, now demand GEOINT as a critical part of their
          Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace.

          You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

          To read more news, click here.

          -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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