December 22, 2008
Geospatial Technology Overview – 2008
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on GIScafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
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 GISCafe.com. 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!


Product in Space


On Saturday, September 6, GeoEye, Inc. announced the successful launch and deployment of GeoEye-1,which owns the distinction of being “the world’s highest resolution, commercial Earth-imaging satellite,” from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 11:50 a.m. (Pacific Time).


GeoEye-1, financed in part by a $500-million NextView contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and built by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Gilbert, Ariz., has the highest resolution of any commercial imaging system - 0.41-meters ground resolution black-and-white (panchromatic) images or 16 inches.


The importance of the GeoEye-1 launch is underscored by the products that the satellite will produce, coupled with how broadly the products will be used in new and emerging markets. GeoEye-1 imagery is now available on the website.


Bentley and Autodesk Interoperability Agreement Announced


A notable announcement made this year was that Bentley and Autodesk agreement to expand interoperability between their portfolios of architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) software. The agreement stated that Autodesk and Bentley will exchange software libraries, including Autodesk RealDWG, which Autodesk uses to read and write in their own products, “to improve the ability to read and write the companies' respective DWG and DGN formats in mixed environments with better accuracy.” As a result, Bentley will be able to work directly with the Autodesk code to read and write DWGs. In the other direction, Bentley has exchanged comparable DGN libraries with Autodesk.


According to Chris Barron, vice president, Corporate Marketing, Bentley, “It’s been acknowledged that Autodesk’s handling of DGN files hasn’t been quite as smooth as our ability with DWG, so I think this will improve the fidelity of Autodesk users’ ability to access DGN files.”


Autodesk CEO Carl Bass concurred in a press conference at AU that Bentley and Autodesk share many customers in common, “they are our largest third party developer.” “We’re willing to share data with any vendor in the industry regardless of size.”


The two companies will also facilitate the work process interoperability between their applications by supporting the reciprocal use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). This should improve AEC workflows so that information can be reused by more stakeholders in the AEC process, and project teams will be able to access more software possibilities.

In response to this news, many users in both camps say “it’s about time.”


Digital Cities


As part of Autodesk’s Digital Cities initiative, Autodesk launched its infrastructure modeling offering, LandXplorer, which derives from the acquisition of 3D Geo GmbH of Potsdam, Germany, the privately held maker of intelligent 3D urban modeling software. An out of the box product, LandXplorer allows a city to create a city or infrastructure model in a very short time, according to Doug Eberhard, senior director and industry evangelist for Autodesk. A 3D infrastructure model can be created within 30 minutes. In addition to supporting AutoCAD products, LandXplorer brings in 3ds Max for buildings and texture mapping.


Not only does LandXplorer appear to offer some real value to both CAD and GIS users, Autodesk is hoping that it will alter the mentality of users by allowing them an expanded level of data sharing.


Conclusion


Data appliance computing power from the BI industry, together with the presence of the Visual Fusion Server and cloud computing pack a punch for the geospatial industry going forward. More geospatial content for more devices puts a demand on the industry to produce tools to make the transition from server to desktop to handheld GPS or iPhone easier, for greater visibility of high resolution maps generated from satellite imagery. The addition of “volunteer geographic information” to the mix of disparate data sources adds a new and exciting dimension to how we create, manage and consume data. Standards have become living entities that need to be flexible enough to accommodate
the ever changing complexion of geospatial information. And interoperability between the two top CAD vendors hopefully heralds what is to come for GIS, a recognition of the need to break down barriers between products so that it will no longer matter what software is used to originate information, the data can be used for collaboration on projects without the need for translation. Digital Cities is an exploration into that possibility, with its attempt to bring CAD and GIS data together into one model of one city, demonstrating to stakeholders just what their city could look like, in one year, or in ten.


So yes, it is very difficult to predict the future from where the economy is poised right now, however, the traction that geospatial information has in so many different market areas today suggests that although times are tough, the industry is one of rapid growth and will weather the downturn.


Top News of the Week


ParcelAtlas.com, a new website offering property information lookups and web services access to a nationwide property parcel data set was launched .
ISC has joined forces with
Boundary Solutions, Inc. to offer property parcel mapping and information services at ParcelAtlas.com. ParcelAtlas.com will provide individual property information lookup, a parcel query web service, and access to parcel map tiles for its subscribers.


With its new high resolution touch screen, big 3.2 megapixel camera, microSD memory card slot and unlocked GPS, the
BlackBerry Storm is the perfect mobile platform for GIS. And with the ability to run
ESRI ArcGIS Server software, the BlackBerry Storm can perform GIS tasks usually done with a laptop computer with an aircard. View live GIS maps, GPS field map points with digital photos, and track vehicles and personnel using Freeance Mobile software on the BlackBerry Storm to save time, money and resources.


Oblique aerial imagery captured by
Pictometry International Corp., a provider of geo-referenced aerial image libraries, is featured in a Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) Proof of Concept project completed earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).


The Proof of Concept focused on expanding emergency call answering capabilities to include an efficient way for emergency responders to answer calls from people using voice, video, text messaging and other increasingly popular consumer technologies. Participants in the project, including prime contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, include the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), L. Robert Kimball & Associates, Texas A&M University, and Columbia University.


Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances


With the recently launched Point2Point personal navigation device, Middle Eastern consumer electronics leader
Hügel GmbH and
Tele Atlas, a global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location-based solutions, are well positioned to meet the growing need for GPS devices in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


Global Technology Transfer Group, Inc. (GTT) is pleased to announce an acquisition opportunity in the “Location Aware” Networking space. This opportunity represents an essential patent portfolio, technology, and human capital acquisition. In development for over four years, the technology constitutes a quantum leap forward in Location Aware Systems, displacing global positioning and ancillary systems. The technology directly applies to all terrestrial and airborne wireless devices, allowing all such devices to simply know where they are through normal communications alone.


Intermap Technologies announced that it has entered into a partnership agreement with
Lowrance, a provider of outdoor navigation and wholly-owned brand of Navico Holding AS to offer AccuTerra maps for the Brand’s enhanced outdoor GPS devices. Under the terms of the agreement, AccuTerra GPS maps will provide users with detailed roads, trails, terrain, topographic contours, points of interest, and land management maps.


1Spatial is pleased to announce that CSI-Piemonte has chosen Radius Topology as the key component to support the implementation of Italy's GIS TopographicDB Specification under the Intesa GIS initiative.


This project will be the first topological geodatabase to support public services in the Piedmont region, structured in accordance with Intesa GIS, Italy's GIS TopographicDB Specification. Regione. CSI-Piemonte is the project leader and their objectives are to design an information system geared towards service integration and interoperability. In order to comply with one of the basic tenets of INSPIRE, and therefore those of Intesa GIS, the solution has to provide the facility for data to be gathered once and used many times. A convenient and efficient data maintenance system for keeping the data current is also
essential. Oracle is the master database for storing their data.


You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.


To read more news, click here.



-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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