July 27, 2009
ESRI User Conference: Exhibit Floor Technology Wrap
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

ESRI User Conference: Exhibit Floor Technology Wrap

By Susan Smith


The ESRI User Conference held in San Diego last week focused on 3D GIS and imagery; energies rallied around the coming ArcGIS 9.4 release, heralded as a true 3D GIS. Understandably, ESRI partners have been working to provide support for the release. ESRI is leveraging third party partners such as ITT to achieve such tasks as automated image extraction into the geodatabase and create highly scalable image data.


In keeping with those announcements, more emphasis was placed on virtual cities.


Another area that was covered at the conference was GIS in mobile. This area is growing rapidly and ESRI’s ArcGIS Desktop, ArcPad for the field, and ArcGIS Mobile for focused tasks fill out the complement of solutions for that area. ArcGIS 9.4 will offer customized applications for mobile, available for the tablet and iPhone as well as other mobile devices.


Partnerships


Computing power took the shape of partnerships such as ESRI’s partnership with
Microsoft in the development of their Fusion Core Solution, which provides technical capabilities for public safety and homeland security professionals to do a better job of identifying and preventing terrorist action, crime and responding to natural disasters. The information management and collection, analysis and modeling and information sharing that these tools are designed to address target all governments: municipal, county, regional, state and federal for use in intelligence and fusion centers.


Rolta Canada and
ESRI Canada announced a strategic partnership and OEM agreement for North America combining Rolta's OnPoint Enterprise web-GIS solution with the ESRI's ArcGIS Server technology. Rolta’s role will be to provide the joint solution to enterprise accounts in North America.


Rolta’s Geospatial Fusion solution was also exhibited, which enables government agencies to analyze data by establishing linkages among these agencies and their data in a secured manner. The solution retrieves and fuses data that resides in multiple geodatabases in various formats, gathered from many different locations and agencies. This offers a Common Operational Picture for those decision makers and emergency responders tasked with responding to both human-generated and natural disasters.


In a recent GISWeekly
First American Spatial Solutions (FASS) was profiled with the announcement of their National Parcel Database for the U.S. First American Spatial Solutions (FASS) has deep roots in the insurance industry.


At the conference, ESRI and FASS announced the release of Risk Analysis Solution for ArcGIS, designed as a location-based risk analysis solution for the insurance industry. The solution is developed on ArcGIS and insurance companies will be able to use Risk Analysis Solution to view and analyze data at the portfolio and policy level. The National Parcel Database is one piece of the larger picture offering multiple risk layers for insurance, plus the parcel layer that feeds the geocoder that they acquired from Proxix about a year ago.


“We are trying to give risk information at a property level,” explained executive vice president Scott Little. Going forward, the company expects to bring in more application developers to create more vertical solutions for such industries as oil and gas.


The upcoming version of ESRI StreetMap Premium will include
Tele Atlas digital map data. The enhanced street database adds to ArcGIS geocoding, routing and high quality map display.


ESRI’s Smart Data Compression format is behind the optimized data structure of StreetMap Premium which results in the use of geocoding, cartographic display, route planning and driving directions with ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Desktop.


3D GIS


Dale Lutz and Don Murray of
Safe Software are both happy that they began working on the infrastructure for 3D in their FME technology two years ago, otherwise, they say they would have behind the curve. ESRI was one of Safe’s first 3D customers (Oracle being the other one), and they have supported 3D in the geodatabase since the beginning. ArcGIS 9.4 will be a true 3D GIS and Safe plays a vital role in getting 3D data into and out of the geodatabase. Data integrations are also part of the geodatabase, and users will be able to take advantage of increased performance in ArcGIS 9.4 to input different types of data: orthophotos, LiDAR, digital elevation models, textured objects and georeferenced
video, to name a few. Clearly, building city models could become ubiquitous with this 3D GIS technology.


Besides its role in ArcGIS 9.4, Murray said that one of the primary uses for their technology continues to be to translate shapefiles to shapefiles for data use.


For a look at what is in store in ArcGIS 9.4, take a look at this
video from the ESRI UC Plenary session.


Imagery


The addition of Lawrie Jordan, original founder of
ERDAS, to the ESRI team has helped to spearhead the integration of imagery with GIS at the company.


ITT Corporation announced their new image processing product for GIS professionals. The new product, ENVI EX, is the first image processing and analysis solution resulting from a partnership with ESRI. The product is tightly integrated with ArcGIS, and is designed to be easier to use and integrated with GIS workflows. The demo shown was a classification workflow with vector data in ArcMap. To use it, Richard Cooke, president of ITT’s Visual Information Solutions group, said, you don’t need to know image science. “No longer are imagery and GIS living in separate worlds.”


This technology integrates the ArcGIS projection engine into ENVI.


An important announcement was
LizardTech's LiDAR Compressor, which enables users to transform huge point cloud data into MrSID files that retain 100 percent of the raw data at 25 percent of the file size. Key to this announcement is the fact that the LiDAR Compressor can reduce LiDAR File sizes by 75 percent, while retaining all the points and point precision and accuracy of the original file.


Dubbed MrSID Generation 4 (MG4) the new compressor uses an improved version of the MrSID technology. This version, known as MrSID Generation 4 (MG4), uses wavelet compression similar to previous versions of MrSID to efficiently compress large LiDAR data sets. The time it takes to compress a LiDAR dataset vs. a comparably sized raster file to MrSID is nearly identical, according to director of marketing, Jon Skiffington. Developers will definitely be able to use MrSID SDKs to decode and view MG4 data.


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