November 17, 2003
Linking CAD/GIS Documents to a Digital Map
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Message from the Editor

Welcome to GISWeekly! For those users such as firefighters who need to view CAD drawings of a building on fire to create rescue plans, or those users out in the field who need the geographic location of a pipe or fire hydrants, a viewing and linking component that links CAD and GIS to a digital map is a viable solution. Read about it this week in our 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, New Products, Going on Around the Web, and Calendar.

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Linking CAD/GIS Documents to a Digital Map

By Susan Smith

CompassCom Inc. is known for its fleet tracking, dispatching, mobile positioning and AVL solutions (see
The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District) but the company also offers a CAD/GIS viewing and information linking component that is very useful to users out in the field. I've been covering CAD/GIS interoperable products lately, and this one, although not designed for field data collection, will be helpful to those users such as firefighters who need to view CAD drawings of a building on fire to create rescue plans, and utility users who might need to know the exact location of a pipe or fire hydrant. Users aren't passing back and forth
GIS and CAD files marked up for review with this solution, only viewing CAD files that are linked to the GIS database.

CompassRespond - document linkage feature displayed of a building floor plan
In a conversation this week with Christian Solomine, Director of Sales and Marketing, he demonstrated to me how products such as the vehicle tracking CompassTrac Mobile, and the CompassRespond Module, work.

CompassTrac is a viewing client that can reside either on the workstation, or on a laptop or other mobile device. It offers full support for satellite and aerial imagery, measurement tools if you want to measure the distance between two points, geocoding and reverse geocoding, searching by address or an intersection or lat/long. “We also support text messaging to the vehicle from dispatch or from mobile to mobile and we can hook in with computer aided dispatch systems,” explained Solomine.

CompassTrac Mobile is the mobile display that is all touch screen-capable, and optimized for in-vehicle use, including NightView, a feature that makes viewing at night easier for users, plus text messaging and changing of vehicle status. The cost of CompassTrac mobile is $600 per seat ($1,000 per seat with the document linking feature), while the workstation version is $2500 per copy. According to Solomine, most customers buy 5-10 copies of the workstation version and however many seats they need for their fleet of trucks or people in the field.

CompassTrak Mobile with imagery
The CompassRespond Module, a $10,000 administration tool that allows users to link documents to a digital map, is designed to be used with the CompassTrac client. For example, if you want more information on any feature on a map - i.e., a building, a lake, you can click on that building have a list of documents pop up that can be linked to it. The documents could be CAD drawings, bit maps, jpegs, Visio, Word, Excel, etc. The viewer supports over 200 file formats. The main purpose of this application is to give both mobile and workstation users access to all sorts of digital documents and link directly to the GIS so it's all in one system and all intertwined. They do not have to be GIS or
CAD professionals to use it. “Once the document is pulled up they can zoom in and zoom out,” Solomine said. “They can scroll through multiple pages or multiple floors if they are looking at floor plans, for example. There is also a search feature to search for text fields in that document.”

Are they able to make any changes on these CAD documents, I asked. “Not out in the field, it's just a viewer.” Solomine added, “It's a universal linkage. We have an administrative module which allows users to link documents to a map. Now if they already have a records systems or a database system with a whole bunch of documents in it, we can create a filter that autopopulates this but if they don't, they can link any type of document to their map display. And then synchronize with all the other map displays out there so anyone who wants to access that system can do it.

CompassTrak Mobile with imagery
Synchronizing the maps and data from field to office (if data has been changed at the office) can be done by clicking a button, explained Solomine. Currently most of CompassCom's users are using only the viewing capability.

“Right now probably 50 percent of our customers are first responders, which include fire departments, police, EMS, state, local and federal government.,” said Solomine. “Secondary customers would be public works organizations and third would be public utilities.”


With ESRI Geoinformatik AG Redlands, California-ESRI, announced that the Swiss Confederation has signed a countrywide site license agreement with its national distributor, ESRI Geoinformatik AG, to promote GIS education throughout its secondary school system, ultimately introducing the technology into more than 200 high schools across the country.

SiRF Technology, Inc., provider of GPS enabled silicon and software location platforms, announced that its GPS technology is at the heart of HP's iPAQ Navigation System. The product, unveiled at the ITU Telecom World show in Geneva this month, is expected to drive the next wave of location based mobility features into the mainstream.

ESRI announced that HNIT-Baltic GeoInfoServisas (HB-GIS), its distributor for both Lithuania and Latvia, along with HB-GIS's partner as subcontractor ENVIROTECH, were awarded the software contract for development of the GIS-based Land Parcel Identification System (LPIS) for the Rural Support Service (RSS) in Latvia.

MapInfo Corporation (Nasdaq: MAPS) announced that it has entered into a strategic alliance with Business Objects (Nasdaq: BOBJ), the world's leading provider of business intelligence (BI) solutions, to offer enterprise users a comprehensive location-based business intelligence solution. By adding location components to business intelligence software from Business Objects, the integrated solution helps organizations perform expanded analysis of customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM) information. MapInfo will be showcasing the integrated solution at booth #301.

Laser-Scan announced a partnership with Computer Solutions and Finance Group plc (CSF), a leading full services IT solutions provider. Whilst Laser-Scan and CSF have already worked together on several initiatives, this agreement enables the two companies to form a comprehensive framework to effectively exploit commercial opportunities. The partnership will concentrate initially on the UK market, primarily in public sector, utilities and defense.

Intermap Technologies Corp., Denver, announced a plan to map the entire continental United States with its Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR) technology. The NEXTMap USA project will provide elevation data and orthorectified radar imagery with one meter or better accuracy covering nearly 4.9 million miles of the United States.


The focus of a webcast seminar on Nov. 18 hosted by the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) will be: “The August 14th Blackout: A Perspective on the Future of Utility Automation and IT” and will include presentations from senior executives with decades of experience in power engineering, automation, utility industry security, and power markets. The webcast, offered at a special price of $55, will take place Thursday, Nov. 18, 2003, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. More information on the webcast, including registration instructions, can be found at

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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