March 20, 2006
3D Dominates the News- @Last Software sold to Google- Bentley Announces Google Earth Tools Integration:  Connecting MicroStation to the Google Earth Environment
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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!

As Croser zooms around, he can access the generator on one of the Bentley buildings and link to the company that maintains it. He can move over to the main Thomas P. Bentley building and link directly to the PDF floor plan of the office building there. “Google Earth is providing a very simple, very intuitive, graphically rich environment for us to be able to move around our project and access a whole range of different pieces of information in the format which is most relevant to the person accessing the information, for example, 2D drawings in PDF, weblinks, images, and we could just as easily have links to Word documents and Excel files depending upon the needs of the audience that
we're publishing that information to.”

Saved views in MicroStation are also published to the Google Earth environment, so that you can turn on and of level information, turn on and off reference files to be able to see the additional information that was first added to MicroStation and later published to the Google Earth environment.

Moving location to central Philadelphia, shown in the demo is a model of a proposed extension to the Philadelphia Convention Center. Towards the top left hand corner there is another link, that upon a closer look, you see another link to planning details. “This is a complex junction,” Croser noted. “We want to have a different file format here that would communicate a different level of information to the reviewer. By following the link I can open up a 3D PDF file which is a richer model that is already rendered, and we can have a pre-defined animation in here and interact with it dynamically. We just created this model at a different level of detail and illustrate the
different purposes so we can see how the various components might be assembled.”

Moving across the country to San Diego, you can see the utilities grid overlaid across the imagery in San Diego. Here you can turn levels on or off and include simple block modeling of the existing city buildings within the Google Earth environment. You can also zoom in and rotate in Google Earth to see how the utilities information overlaps the city grid.

It would seem that CAD data would slow transmission across the internet considerably. By using the KML format from Google you can optimize your MicroStation content, and selectively determine what content you want to publish to that KML file. Bentley has used 3 Mb as a practice example.

Features of MicroStation Geographics coordinate systems are exported to the correct locations in Google Earth. Raster references can be added to DGN and DWG files and be published in the KML format within the Google Earth environment. MicroStation levels are also transferred to the KML file as are the saved views in MicroStation to make it easier to move around to pre-defined positions. “Very importantly, url links in MicroStation are published as Google Earth placemarks so it means that we really can treat the model that has been initially prepared in MicroStation and publish to Google Earth as a fabulously rich and intuitive graphical environment for navigating models, finding other
extended pieces of information and being able to communicate that to a wider audience, and make far more informed design decisions about projects in their context.”

In order to place MicroStation information in the correct location, the user must define one or more points by going into Google Earth, and importing those points that signify where in MicroStation design they're located. Then it will calculate the projection for you. This does mean that you're registering your CAD file to Google Earth, which is done once as a one time use.

It all sounds good, but what about access control, an issue that has been raised around Google before? “We're publishing the KML file and integrating into the MyPlaces on the Google Earth interface. At this point I don't think there is any level of access control in the free download - you certainly could control access to the KML file through any of our tools in ProjectWise systems,” lead developer, Ray Bentley, noted.

Beta testing took place at 150 sites for about 1 ½ months. As the product is part of the MicroStation V8 XM toolset, it will continue to be part of the product and enhanced, based on user feedback worldwide.

What do you have to buy? Everything demonstrated on the website works in the readily available product that you can download from Google Earth's
website. The Bentley Google Earth Tools Integration is available right now for existing SELECT subscribers and the tools will be included in the V8 XM edition of MicroStation when it's released in May.

Top News of the Week

Intergraph Corporation announced a new version of the ImageStation(R) suite of products, which increase customer productivity with an enhanced user interface, improved computation performance in triangulation, automatic Digital Terrain Modeling (DTM) and improved orthophoto processing.

Key features of the new ImageStation release include:

Added different GPS/inertial measurement unit (IMU) correction models, enhanced exterior orientation (EO) analysis tools and increased speed of bundle block adjustment

Consolidated sensor modules to a single product - ImageStation Satellite Triangulation

Decreased automatic DTM generation computation time of color imagery by approximately 40%

Added distributed processing capability to orthophoto software - enabling true ortho and mosaicking as well as multi-threaded support for mosaicking

Increased speed of mosaicking and true ortho processing - freeing users to focus resources on other areas

Added support for expanded MicroStation V8 design plane - simplifying customer processes

Experienced and novice software developers will convene March 17-18, 2006, to advance their abilities and learn about the future of
GIS applications at the 2006 ESRI Developer Summit. Aside from technical sessions, networking opportunities, and other events, the summit will host several keynote presentations by experts in the field including Martin Nally, an IBM distinguished engineer, and Eddie Amos, senior director of the Developer and Platform Evangelism Group at Microsoft Corp.
For more information about the 2006 ESRI Developer Summit or to register, visit

MapText, Inc. has announced that Label-Web, the Company's high-quality text placement engine that labels web-based maps on the fly, is now compatible with Intergraph's GeoMedia WebMap 6.0 environment.

The new version of GeoMedia WebMap provides powerful visualization capabilities and analytical tools, as well as the opportunity to easily create and configure industry-standard web services.

MapInfo Corporation, global provider of location intelligence solutions, released demographic insights into Baby Boomers, an influential demographic group that is watching its first members turn 60 this year. See


GlobeXplorer, provider of online aerial, satellite and map data, has expanded its reach by partnering with, a new real estate information Web site. provides free valuations and data for more than 60 million U.S. homes, including high-resolution satellite, aerial and parcel images in many areas, provided by GlobeXplorer.


The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announces the availability of two online multimedia demonstrations documenting the milestones achieved in the OGC Web Services Phase 3 Initiative, (OWS-3). The focus of the presentations is to share the OWS-3 goals and to provide a synopsis of the final demonstration. The presentations are available as interactive Flash and Web-streamed video and illustrate the use of a variety of draft and approved OpenGIS(R)standards in an emergency response to a fictitious wildfire threat in Southern California. The presentations are available at announced it will use Apple's QuickTime 7 to stream and playback weather videos via the highly popular video section on The initiative makes the first website in the weather industry to offer city forecasts and breaking weather news using MPEG standard H.264/AVC clips that deliver high resolution video at low data rates and further underscores's standing as a technology leader in the weather sector.

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To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.


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