July 28, 2008
New Autodesk 2009 Geospatial Tools Drive Data Accuracy
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Additionally, Topobase comes with a web capability built on MapGuide that allows the utility to deploy spatial data throughout the enterprise. Autodesk suggests that in the future, there will be fewer mapping and GIS professionals in the industry, but people still need geospatial information, and not necessarily in the GIS department only. Today, more people need geospatial information in customer service, marketing and other areas of business. With Topobase Web, a utility can provide all sorts of levels of intranet access, all the way from simple maps to very sophisticated analysis through a web platform.

“One of the aspects of Topobase is it’s focused on specific utility workflows but underneath it has a very flexible and open API,” said Smith. “We find customers and our partners are extending the product to meet the specific needs of utilities. If customers need more sophisticated and complex analysis tools, they can develop those with the API.”

New features in Topobase 2009 include:

This release is dubbed “the utility release,” although the product also handles a few asset management tasks such as land management and cadastre. Over 50 utility enhancements are included in this release, for example:

The water/wastewater inspection tool. Through Topobase you can now generate and manage schematic diagrams. There is also the concept of Station internal, where you can map and have connectivity between your outside distribution or transmission network look inside substations or switch cabinets. This is live design data that can be connected topologically to the outside network. The other major enhancement is lowering the cost of ownership of spatial capability.

Other areas in this release include vertical modules that users can buy separately in the future. What’s new is that customers who don’t have an enterprise license of Oracle are able to use Topobase now. In the past Autodesk has supported the Oracle Spatial module which required customers to have the Oracle enterprise license. For the mid-tier market, which is the sweet spot for Autodesk, that sometimes represents a big financial decision but now Autodesk can support any version of Oracle that has the simplified Locator technology. “We’ve made Topobase more Windows like and supports that look and feel just like AutoCAD, leverage that user experience we find in
the utility partners,” explained Labay.

This enhancement represents the “democratization of spatial technology.” What this means to Autodesk is “We’re trying to make our software for more people in the utility, and also occasional users, provide ease of use, purpose built tools and being able to work on all forms of Oracle,” said Laudati.

Topobase allows customers to integrate data with other products outside Autodesk products, and also facilitates the integration of CAD and GIS data so that data is available as soon as engineers create it, making the as-built database more precise. FDO provides seamless data integration which is available in both Topobase and AUD.

Besides making sure you can design exactly what you need for the utility market, another sustainability issue addressed by Autodesk is the management of distributive generation devices on the network to make sure you have the right amount of grid to support someone who wants to build solar panels on their home, for example.

Top News of the Week

Trimble introduced a significant advancement in high-accuracy, in-the-field mapping with its new Trimble VRS Now H-Star service. This service provides instant access to H-Star corrections throughout Germany, Great Britain, and the Madrid region of Spain. A subscription to the Trimble VRS Now H-Star service gives users working in utilities, local government, natural resources, and land management the ability to obtain real-time, decimeter level accurate positions consistently and directly at the job site. With instant access to H-Star corrections on demand, field workers can be more efficient and high-accuracy mapping projects can be up and running in minutes to increase

Infoterra Ltd, sole distributor for ERDAS desktop software products in the UK and Ireland, is pleased to announce that
Compass Informatics Ltd will be its reseller in Ireland from 1st August 2008.

Compass Informatics, based in County Dublin, provides a suite of integrated spatial & information management services focused primarily on environmental and natural resources management, location and planning applications.


Safe Software, leaders in spatial ETL and the makers of FME, together with WeoGeo, known for its marketplace and cloud computing expertise, announced that they have partnered to bring the powerful data transformation capabilities of FME technology to the cloud. This combined offering will make it easier than ever before for spatial data to be accessed when, where, and how it's needed.

eSpatial, a global enterprise geospatial software and technology company and
Ação Informática, a leading Brazilian Distributor, announced the signing of an exclusive Reseller Agreement. Under the agreement, Ação Informática will act as master distributor for iSMART, eSpatial's leading GeoSpatial software suite for development of integrated, enterprise grade spatially enabled applications, throughout the Brazilian Marketplace and South America Region.


Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has issued a Request for Quotes/Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP) for the OGC Web Services, Phase 6 (OWS-6) Interoperability Initiative, a testbed to advance OGC's open interoperability framework for geospatial capabilities. The RFQ/CFP will available at

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) has held its biennial election and two new directors, Lisa Campbell and Dr. John C. Curlander, have been elected to the Board of Directors.

Lisa Campbell is vice president in charge of Autodesk’s Geospatial Solutions. In her role at Autodesk, she is responsible for the company’s vision and strategy for geospatial technologies and solutions serving the Utility, Telecommunications and Government markets. Dr. John C. Curlander is internationally recognized for his work in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems and data processing. His research led to many of the operational techniques currently used in today’s SAR processors.

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that PCI Geomatics has upgraded its membership level from Principal to Principal Plus. PCI Geomatics' decision to participate at this new level underscores its commitment to geospatial interoperability, the geospatial industry, and the OGC. PCI Geomatics (as PCI Remote Sensing) was one of the eight charter members of OGC at its founding in 1994.

Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that on May 15 and 16, 2008, more than 40 researchers, members of the GEO (Group on Earth Observations) Secretariat and representatives of the European Commission met at the GEO offices in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss concepts, ongoing activities, and requirements for future progress in the domain of Sensor Webs (
http://www.opengeospatial.org/ogc/markets-technologies/swe). Organized by GEO Task DA-07-04 (Sensor Web Enablement), led by the Meraka Institute in South Africa and supported by the GEO Secretariat, the workshop was also supported and endorsed by: the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Pretoria, South Africa; the European Commission through the SANY and OSIRIS integrated projects; and the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC).

Snowflake Software will be reporting on an innovative pilot project the company has been implementing with the UK Met Office during GeoWeb 2008. The pilot project was a response to the needs of the UK’s highways’ authorities to respond to continuously changing weather conditions on the roads. This is particularly important during the winter months, when awareness of possible adverse conditions is of utmost importance: not only to ensure the dispatch of gritting trucks and snow ploughs as needed; but also to ensure that they are not needlessly (and expensively) deployed if not required.

United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is now accepting submissions for participation in the 5-year anniversary of the GEOINT Symposium. This call for papers invites entries on topics including emerging technologies, the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and industry perspectives. Details are available at

ERDAS Inc. has announced support for WorldView-1 satellite products in ERDAS IMAGINE and LPS. By supporting WorldView-1 imagery, ERDAS IMAGINE and LPS will empower ERDAS users such as GEOINT and military analysts, state and local governments, civil organizations, first responders and non-governmental organizations to transform the satellite information into timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence.



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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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