December 21, 2009
Geospatial Summary 2009
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| by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to GISWeekly! This will be the last issue of GISWeekly for 2009. Look forward to an issue of GISWeekly on January 11, 2010. GISCafe wishes you a happy holiday season and a joyous New Year.
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, Top News of the Week, Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances, Announcements, People, Awards, New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Geospatial Summary 2009
By Susan Smith
Taking stock of 2009 takes into account all those shifting expectations as geospatial looks at how far it has come in a difficult year, as well as what there is to look forward to in the coming years. In speaking to geospatial professionals, most say that they expect change for the better, but that the economy will “never be as it was.”
Nothing ever is what it was, for that matter. Change is the only constant in life, if I was to wax philosophical about it.
The following technology trends have been in the limelight this year, signaling a shift in the way we implement, store and process geospatial information.
Cloud computing - The cloud is talked about in every technology industry today as a way to be able to access software without that software having to reside on your desktop computer, or company server.
ESRI’s Scott Morehouse outlined the company’s approach to cloud computing at ESRI UC 2009:
“Software as a Service (SaaS) in context of the Cloud, where you as user don’t need to worry about the layers beneath that. ESRI abstracts that for you and the same is true with the cloud environment,” said Morehouse.
“There are initiatives to replicate the same principles within your firewalls,” Morehouse said. “ArcGIS Online is ESRI’s cloud computing platform for GIS, we want this platform to become more powerful for you without you needing to know about underlying areas.”
“It ranges from using it build very simple web apps. You can build apps without software installed on your machine.” Content can come from maps and different services, viewed as classified content for the Cloud. GIS tools include locators and geoprocessing.
ArcGIS Online is a simple content online provider for everyone, which allows you to view and query web maps, save your web map or mashup, share your maps easily, without the need to install software. All you need is a browser.
Autodesk CEO Carl Bass considers cloud computing – or web based computing, an enabling technology which is “becoming as cheap and reliable as electricity, so we can take greater advantage of computing power.” It is a very big platform shift, and he said a shift like this comes along every ten to 20 years.
An example of the use of this computing power is Autodesk’s Project Twitch, currently in Autodesk Labs, utilizing cloud computing so that users can access Autodesk software directly from the web running on a distant server.
Multi-core computing - This technology is touted by hardware vendors such as Dell, HP and others, offering multi-cores that can do separate tasks at the same time. The parallel programming that is required to execute this dual or multiple tasks at the same time is still difficult, according to technology sources. Many software programs have not caught up with “parallelization” but the technology does hold hope for the future. Dual-core processing involves two cores, quad-core involves four cores. The cores are typically integrated onto a single integrated circuit die (known as a chip multiprocessor or CMP), or they may be integrated onto multiple dies in
a single chip package.
Visualization/Simulation – We are seeing more of this technology used, particularly by the U.S. federal government and other governments.
Martin Hogeweb, project and product management, ESRI, active in GEOSS and GeoPortal, spoke on improving access and use of imagery using open and interoperable off-the-shelf technologies. Hogeweg said that international collaboration is essential for exploiting the potential of earth observation for decision making.
Richard Cooke, president of ITT’s Visual Information Solutions group, said, you don’t need to know image science to use their new product ENVI EX, an image processing and analysis solution resulting from a partnership with ESRI. “No longer are imagery and GIS living in separate worlds.”
The addition of Lawrie Jordan, original founder of ERDAS, to the ESRI team, has spearheaded the integration of imagery with GIS at the company. This technology integrates the ArcGIS projection engine into ENVI.
Rob Mott and Leah Wood, Defense and Intelligence for Intergraph, spoke at Intergraph 2009 on integrating video into a geospatial environment where other types of geospatial intelligence type of data – imagery – aerial photos, queries, databases, human intelligence can all brought in. The company’s Motion Video Analyst product was launched formally at the GEOINT conference.
Motion Video Analyst is integrated into Intergraph’s Geomedia and provides more rapid decision making and organization. “All the other data can help understand what’s going on in the video, so it will determine things like street locations, street names, point data that can be overlaid with video, and annotations can be collected from that data while it’s playing. That can be in real time or can be from some stored files,” said Wood.
Intergraph worked with EcoStorm to ingest and then integrate a wider format of video formats. “One of the challenges we’re facing now is it’s a fairly new industry and there are many different versions of the video data, frame rates or the telemetry or a lot of the attribution that go along with the frame to understand where that frame fits on the ground, it’s not standard across the different sensors and platforms,” said Mott. “We’re following the evolution of these standards through motion industry standards board participation but we know it’s a very rapidly evolving industry, so by working with EcoStorm we can still nail a variety
of formats while there is standardization activity.”
Democratization of geospatial – Geospatial is becoming further democratized as more consumers reap the benefits of GPS technologies and easy-to-use online mapping systems. As maps move to personal navigation devices and to iPods and iPhones, the world of geospatial information use becomes much wider. This also may be seen in the use of geospatial websites to inform the public of public planning, roadway closures, and other changes that affect a broad spectrum of people.
Thanks to search engines, added to the collection of data accumulated by databases is “volunteer geographic information,” volunteered by citizens, consumer generated content in the specific context of geographic information. Other names for this are collective intelligence and crowd sourcing. What is significant about this content is that it does not come from an authoritative source, but from millions of private citizens who are not GIS experts and who know virtually nothing about geographic information, and receive no reward for collecting this data.
The acquisition of TeleAtlas by TomTom NV and the acquisition of NAVTEQ by Nokia have catapulted these companies into a whole new realm of data collection from a community of mobile phone users, launching capabilities that range from offering updated road geometry on streets as well as traffic conditions.
TeleAtlas, a subsidiary of TomTom NV, has announced their first map database that contains new and adjusted roads based on map user feedback. Previous announcements of the database were primarily focused on updating attribution on streets which improved street names and information about them. The new Tele Atlas MultiNet 2009.02 uses GPS measurements to change the geometry of the TeleAtlas database. The essence of the release it that it has a huge number of road geometry changes as opposed to just attribution on street changes. The GPS measurements provide a much more accurate depiction of what the streets are.
NAVTEQ featured the Mobile Millennium pilot in 2008, which included NAVTEQ Traffic and employed data gathered from GPS enabled Nokia phones. This technology increases the quantity and quality of traffic information beyond what is available commercially, and includes side streets and rural areas that consumers frequent. NAVTEQ calls their technology traffic “probe data programs.” The data provided not only extends the availability of road data, it extends coverage for roads and times of day that consumers want to know about. Technological advances will keep consumers up to date with efficiencies and offer privacy protection for mobile phone users.
Google moved into the GPS turn-by-turn navigation market for mobile phones, with its announcement that it will offer a free service for the new Motorola Droid called Google Maps for Mobile. Google will offer this service to more phones soon.
This announcement is profound for a number of reasons:
1) it picks up where standalone GPS devices and the subscription services offered by cellphone carriers are lagging, actually punches them in the gut by offering consumers a free service with which they cannot compete;
2) the announcement also signals a broader shift toward consolidation in the gadget world, according to The New York Times;
3) mapping data becomes an ever increasingly important piece in the entire navigation/location arena.
Prior to this announcement, Google had begun to create its own digital maps of the U.S., ending a contract with map data provider TeleAtlas. It was unforeseen by most in this industry that this would happen; we were accustomed to the sparring of TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ over the mapping data market, but did not think that space left any room for competitors. It is, after all, time consuming and expensive to gather this type of extensive data.
Furthering the democratization of geospatial are virtual websites developed for government and communities, alerting them to activities going on in their areas.
A site that embodies much new technology such as cloud computing and 3D visualization, employing Google Earth, ArcGIS, MapInfo, Global Mapper, SQL, Oracle Spatial, WMS, GeoRSS, RESTful services, html, KML and more is Virtual Alabama. Virtual Alabama was created in 2005, yet it has become a pilot for government sites and is actively participating in a Regional Operational Pilot Platform for information sharing sponsored by the U.S. DHS S&T. The next phase will be a pilot for the Pacific Northwest with five states of FEMA Region X plus Montana participating.
According to program manager Chris Johnson, currently, Virtual Alabama provides access to a government audience only. “We are developing the concept to provide public access information as needed. Aside from that, I believe the greatest contribution to our success is that Virtual Alabama has provided the right mix of tools and capabilities free to the government end user which allows them to collaborate and share information in a secure, non-threatening manner. Collaboration on this scale affords Virtual Alabama a very robust set of geospatial data that is continually repurposed through the end user community for their operational needs.”
Virtual Alabama experienced over 43% growth in the past 12 months with no slow down in sight, said Johnson.
Social networking – Another piece of the democratization of geospatial is the addition of geospatial capabilities within social networking sites such as Twitter. Location awareness has come to Twitter - with geospatial information on Twitter able to inform shoppers of what stores have what bargains, and where they’re located, and where parking is available close to stores you may want to frequent. This has all come about just in time for the holiday shopping season.
Sustainability and Stimulus Funding – Sustainability is an area that is being covered a great deal in the built environment, and Stimulus funding is earmarked for geospatial research as well.
The economic stimulus bill, H.R. 1, the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," became Public Law 111-5 with President Barack Obama's signature on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. According to an analysis conducted by MAPPS, the association of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems fields in the United States, the bill includes more than $73 billion in programs that will require geospatial data, technology, services and applications in at least 24 Federal agencies.
MAPPS executive director John Palatiello, said they have conducted an analysis of the entire stimulus bill and identified programs that would create a demand for some type of geospatial activity “whether it’s data products, services or applications,” he said. There are over $73 billion in programs that will require geospatial – “not necessarily all dollars that will go to geospatial but all dollars that we can readily identify will require some geospatial application.”
According to the press release, the MAPPS summary, compiled by John Byrd, the association's government affairs manager, includes bill language, itemized funding amounts and accompanying conference report language specifying Federal agency programs and spending in the stimulus bill. MAPPS members can access the report on the MAPPS website.
Recovery.gov which is the site of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus reports information on how much money has been allocated to various states, and how many jobs have been generated or saved. It does not seem to have a breakdown of what industry technologies are needed to fulfill the jobs or how much will be spent on them.
It shows a breakdown by state, top recipients, and top federal funding agencies. 74 percent of government data is location-based, according to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s Federal Enterprise Architecture framework. State and local figures are higher than that, closer to 80 percent.
Stimulus funding is the tail wagging the dog; where the money will be spent is where the industry will likely head in the future.
Top News of the Week
ERDAS announces new releases of two of the industry’s leading geospatial desktop authoring solutions: ERDAS IMAGINE and ERDAS ER Mapper 2010. This release also includes IMAGINE Feature Interoperability, a new ERDAS IMAGINE module, and IMAGINE SAR Interferometry, a new collection of products in the IMAGINE Radar Mapping Suite.
ERDAS IMAGINE is available in three tiers: IMAGINE Essentials, IMAGINE Advantage and IMAGINE Professional. This release also includes joint licensing between IMAGINE Professional and ERDAS ER Mapper, providing both products when either is purchased. This allows users of either product to utilize the powerful tools in both solutions simultaneously.
SuperGeo Technologies is pleased to announce the release of SuperGIS DataRectifier 3. SuperGIS DataRectifier 3 is a set of data rectification tool for vector and raster layers. Like SuperGIS DataManager 3 and SuperGIS DataConvertor 3, SuperGIS DataRectifier 3 is the application of SuperGIS 3 products. Once you install any SuperGIS 3 series product, you can use the data rectification tool.
SuperGeo recently donated SuperGIS software and map data to Taiwan Environmental Information Association (TEIA). Established in 2001, TEIA is a non-profit NGO in Taiwan. The mission of the organization is to build the path to a world where human beings can live with the Nature harmoniously.
Having been devoted to the environmental protection since the establishment, TEIA organizes many events and activities in promoting environmental information. Among these events, one specific conference sponsored by SuperGeo with its SuperGIS software gathered the faculties from community colleges to discuss the issues of water control and regulation by means of GIS and spatial technologies.
Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances
PCI Geomatics is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with Rolta India Limited. This agreement, which includes source code, will enable Rolta to develop cutting-edge Earth Science Solutions by using the most advanced geo-imaging and photogrammetry capabilities available on the market and authorizes Rolta to market these solutions throughout the world.
IceWEB, Inc. is now manufacturing ESRI's latest version of the ArcGIS Data Appliance. To date, IceWEB has built over 1 Petabyte of ArcGIS Data Appliances for the ESRI community. IceWEB has an agreement to produce purpose built data appliances pre-loaded with imagery, which ESRI delivers to clients worldwide.
AirSage, Inc. and Dewberry have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on a new generation of products and services for the Emergency Management (EM) community including federal, state, local and private entities.
deCarta announced its partnership with Samsung Electronics to provide developers with market leading location geoservices on the new bada smartphone platform. Samsung bada enables developers to create applications for the next generation of mobile devices from Samsung. Through the partnership with deCarta, developers will be able to add maps, location-based search and routing instructions to any application designed for bada-enabled mobile phones. Consumers will benefit from the variety of location-powered applications - available in the Samsung Application Store in the first half of 2010.
Hanley Wood Market Intelligence and DataMap Intelligence enter into an agreement to exchange proprietary new home development data that each company collects in an effort to strengthen both parties flagship products.
Hanley Wood Market Intelligence will be overlaying DataMap STREETS geospatial data project shapes onto existing mapping features in the Builder InfoTools strategic planning solution. The DataMap geospatial project shapes can then be easily be layered onto the underlying map, creating an easy to read visual. Builders and land developers can now see the exact location of virtually all new residential developments within a specific area, the street layout, size and position of lots, types of lots approved for the area, approval dates and other valuable data overlaid on aerial imagery. This will revolutionize the way builders and land developers explore opportunities.
Business Xpansion Journal (BXJ) and GIS Planning Inc. are pleased to announce a technology partnership providing Business Xpansion Journal readers with direct access to GIS Planning's ZoomProspector.com national database of local communities.
GeoCue Corporation of Huntsville, Alabama announced that it has acquired Qcoherent Software, LLC of Colorado Springs, Colorado for cash and other considerations. The transaction closed on 10 December 2009.
On December 9, 2009, ESRI president Jack Dangermond opened an online discussion about the value of geographic information systems (GIS) to develop programs for carbon accounting and environmental sustainability. The conversation runs concurrently with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark. ESRI's hosted
will provide an engaging online venue for environmental professionals to weigh in on their vision for geospatial technologies' role in meeting the climate change crisis.
ERDAS Inc. is pleased to announce that industry veteran Joel Campbell will join the management team as the new President in January 2010, reporting to the ERDAS Board of Directors.
Intermap Technologies announced that the Company had been named a recipient of a 2009 Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Award by MAPPS, the national association of private geospatial firms. Intermap won the award in the category of Airborne and Satellite Data Acquisition for its submission “Intermap Technologies Completes Acquisition of NEXTMap Europe,” which detailed how the Company collected digital elevation data for all of Western Europe. Totaling 2.4 million square kilometers in its border-to-border coverage for every country in Western Europe, NEXTMap Europe is history’s first regional digital elevation dataset accurate to 1
Timmons Group, a leader in enterprise geospatial products and services, has developed a state-of-the-art mobile application using ESRI ArcGIS Mobile technology to facilitate GPS collection and analysis of traffic signal data. Timmons Group’s traffic engineers, as part of an existing contract, are inspecting and inventorying traffic signal heads at 220 signalized intersections for the City of Richmond, Virginia. Inventory and analysis tasks will be followed by development of a cost analysis and implementation plan for replacing incandescent signal bulbs with more energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting. The LED lights require approximately 90%
less energy to operate than comparable incandescent light bulbs. Incandescent signal lights have less than a 1-year life expectancy compared to a 5-to-10-year life expectancy for a new LED signal light. This translates into fewer maintenance calls to replace bulbs and reduces the exposure of maintenance staff and the traveling public to work zones and lane closures.
DeLorme announced the availability of a downloadable trial edition of the latest release of its XMap 7 GIS Enterprise software. This thirty-day evaluation copy provides all of the features of the standard Enterprise software version and includes a sample of DeLorme’s topographic base map data.
Spatial Insights, Inc. presents the newest release of CartoUS 2010, an up-to-date, affordable nationwide mapping database ready to ship or download. Based on the US Census Bureau TIGER files just released in October, CartoUS 2010 boasts 54 layers of enhanced and reformatted mapping data conveniently packaged into seamless layers by county, state, region, or nationwide. An additional 18 tables of attributes complete the dataset.
Digital mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) software developer Cadcorp has announced that Symology, a Cadcorp business partner and value-added reseller, has begun the customer roll-out of the latest version of its integrated infrastructure asset management system.
Insight Version 3.1 includes the latest version of the Cadcorp SIS - Spatial Information System ActiveX Control to provide users with sophisticated, integrated digital mapping capabilities. Insight is used extensively by highway authorities, utilities and contractors throughout the UK.
The People’s Map has launched its map of London, covering over 400 sq km stretching from Richmond Park in the South West to Epping Forest in the North East. This is a truly independent map of the nation’s capital city, free of Crown Copyright and derived data issues with a fresh new take on licensing. It is suitable for use by anyone whether they be a marketer, cartographer, GIS professional, web guru, graphic designer or member of the public. The remainder of London, within the M25, will be available in early 2010.
GEOMAP GIS America just announced the details surrounding the latest version of its GoMap solution version 2.0. GoMap allows organization to efficiently and easily manage and deploy web mapping sites based on MapGuide Open Source or MapGuide Enterprise. The technology as recently been adopted by large organizations such as Canadien National (CN), Environment Canada, the Ministère des Affaires Municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du Territoire (MAMROT) and multiple other customers to manage their web mapping sites containing more and more data and maps in order to manage them more efficiently.
Around the Web
Citysearch and Twitter Team Up to Offer Business Tools
by Claire Cain Miller, December 7, 2009, The New York Times
|January 6 - 8, 2010
Join us at the world’s first GeoDesign Summit January 6–8, 2010, at ESRI in Redlands, California. The summit will be a gathering of pioneering professionals and academics involved in transforming technology, engineering, and planning in a rapidly changing world.
|January 17 - 20, 2010
|United Arab Emirates
GIS in Oil & Gas is specifically designed to enable operators to optimize GIS strategies and technologies. This enhances oil and gas planning and operations which is crucial for mature assets in the Middle East, ensuring the success and cost-effectiveness of an organization.
|January 19 - 21, 2010
At Apparel House, Sector 44, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
Map India 2010, the 13th Annual International Conference and Exhibition on Geospatial Information Technology and Applications will be based on a visionary theme - 'Defining Geospatial Vision For India'. Through this conference, we are trying to assimilate the developments within the domain and steer the future direction that geospatial technologies can provide to the various vertical in the country.
|January 21 - 23, 2010
With the rapid pace of urbanization, the percentage of India’s population living in cities and urban areas has almost doubled to 27.8% in 2001 from 14% at the time of Independence. This is expected to accelerate even further, and by 2021 over 40% of Indians will be living in urban areas. The scale of urbanization in India can be seen in 6 mega cities (5 mn plus), 29 metro cities (1 mn plus), 500 cities (100,000 plus), with a total of over 5000.
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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.