September 19, 2005
API for Virtual Earth, New Release of MapPoint Web Service Aim to Get More Eyes on Search Engines
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.
| 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!
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API for Virtual Earth, New Release of MapPoint Web Service Aim to Get More Eyes on Search Engines
By Susan Smith
Developers have been awaiting the day when Microsoft would make available APIs for both MSN Virtual Earth and MapPoint Web Service 4.0. That day has now arrived, following closely on the heels of announcements of new developer tools for both Google Earth and GoogleMaps.
Next week at MSN's Developer Conference, new tools will be released that will allow developers to include MSN Virtual Earth and MapPoint Web Service 4.0 capabilities in their commercial applications.
MSN Virtual Earth
“Since the launch of the Virtual Earth beta in June, we've received tremendous response both from consumers as well as developers who want to include the Virtual Earth functionality in their applications,” explained Trina Seinfeld, lead product manager of the MapPoint Business Group. “They want to be able to include the aerial imagery, the pan and zoom and tiling of maps, and the geographic local search capabilities - the what/where boxes, that allow people to search for specific things in a certain geography. So developers were clamoring to have access to those for their applications.” In June, an API was made available to developers, but it only included the map
control for the aerial imagery and maps and was only available for non-commercial use.
Microsoft and its competitors in this space have been challenged to meet developers' demands for a solution for commercial applications. Although the word “free” comes up repeatedly in this dialogue, there is a cost requirement: Microsoft requires that developers include the what/where box, which is driven by their MSN local search, “so it increases our search traffic which we have been able to monetize with advertisements,” said Seinfeld.
Seinfeld summarizes the strategy as “really all about the battle for eyes on search engines. This is the step we're taking to increase the number of people that are using the local search capabilities from MSN.”
- In addition to the service being free, businesses have the opportunity to make money by placing advertisements on their sites in a revenue sharing model.
- If developers and businesses do not want to utilize the geographical local search capabilities or advertising, they have the option to sign a contract with Microsoft that gives them transactions at a low cost and a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for their MSN Virtual Earth-enhanced applications. This is the model used today for MapPoint Web Service
- Additionally, customers can utilize the MapPoint Web Service as their online mapping platform with millions of points of interest, mapping coverage for 27 countries, driving directions, numerous map styles, an SLA for enterprise reliability, and an extranet for uploading custom information.
In addition to the APIs, Microsoft has just launched a
Developer Contest for the Virtual Earth API
in the hopes of stimulating creative development of applications.
For more on MSN Virtual Earth see
MapPoint Web Service 4.0
The second part of the Microsoft announcement heralds the release of the next version of MapPoint WebService 4.0. In that release, there are some key features:
- Support for polygons so customers can create custom areas, whether they are sales territories, or delivery zones for the pizza delivery company to include in a call center type of application
- Real time traffic incidents for about 70 major metropolitan areas, which you can include those in your applications. They include information about severity, traffic flow diversion, expected duration, expected delay.
- Expansion into four new geographies with detailed address information for Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan, so that brings the total to 26 countries
- Support for four new languages, bringing the total up to 14 languages, the latest being: Czech, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian. That includes street names, etc. but also driving directions.
- Three new map styles for customers to use in their applications, the first being line drive maps - modeled after hand drawn directions that only show you the roads you need to get to the destination. A night time map style for customers who create applications that are used on mobile devices or on laptops, so in the night style map, the background of the map is black and the roads are a green color, so it allows your eyes to adjust more easily. The last new map style is static maps for 70 of the major travel destinations, which was a request of some of the travel site customers, where they wanted to give their customers an overview of a city from a geographical perspective.
MapPoint Web Service is purchased on a subscription model where customers purchase the subscription from Microsoft annually at a base price $8,000/yearly for all the above features, plus maps and points of interest information, also including 500,000 transactions. There is also a $15,000 option which includes all the above plus driving directions, that also includes 500,000 transactions. If you want to purchase additional transactions, “buckets” are available that can be purchased on a pricing waterfall.
Developers can purchase through the Microsoft Developer Network. In addition there is an entire MapPoint section which has sample codes, technical articles, and weblogs about what developers can do with MapPoint Web Service. Developers can also get a free developer account for the Web Service, so if a developer wants to write a map or test their application, they can get a free developer account first before committing to a purchase.
Who Can Benefit
. Any developer who is familiar with scripting languages can develop with this API.
The MapPoint Web Service is completely SOAP- and XML-based and is also accessible for a broad range of developers, such as PERL, JAVA and .NET developers.
GlobeXplorer announced that it has acquired a 100 percent interest in AirPhotoUSA LLC. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The combination of GlobeXplorer's earth imagery and property information Web services along with AirPhotoUSA's aerial map production and sales expertise is expected to provide customers a more powerful set of land information solutions.
Autodesk, Inc. announced it will provide integrated geospatial solutions with Oracle to enable customers to maximize operational efficiencies, based on a wealth of location and structural data. Autodesk will work with Oracle to market solutions in strategic markets such as government, utilities, telecommunications and transportation. The combined solutions, which include Autodesk geospatial software and Oracle database and spatial technology, offer customers the ability to create, manage, and share geographic information system (GIS) and computer automated design (CAD) data throughout the organization in a single, open, standards-based environment without costly additional investment
or expertise in proprietary software and systems.
"For many organizations, the process of creating useful spatial information and maps involves the time-consuming process of requesting information, then transferring or translating it from one system or format to another," said David Sonnen, Consultant to IDC for Spatial Information Management. "The combination of Autodesk and Oracle technology will help their customers save time and will enable broad spatial data sharing across the customer's organization."
Autodesk and Oracle infrastructure solutions are available immediately. For more information, contact Autodesk at
In an effort to broaden and accelerate the deployment of location-based services (LBS), SiRF Technology Holdings, Inc. and TruePosition, Inc., will collaborate on the integration of SiRFLoc(TM) -- SiRF's patented, multimode A-GPS architecture -- into TruePosition's location services platform, TrueNorth(TM) MLS (Managed Location Services). The anticipated result is that wireless operators can now deliver a lucrative LBS offering based on superior location technology more quickly and cost-effectively, with greater levels of accuracy and yield. Consumers, in turn, will benefit from reliable and ubiquitous services even in the most challenging of conditions. TruePosition and SiRF
will work to deliver these solutions to carriers on a global basis.
Hurricane Katrina Response and Recovery Announcements
GISCafé has put together a
Hurricane Katrina GIS Forum
to allow subscribers to post information pertaining to Hurricane Katrina relief. You can
to the Red Cross Katrina effort on GISCafe as well.
The NIEHS Hurricane Katrina Information Website
has a Global Information System that provides information on assessing and evaluating hundreds of potentially hazardous environmental pollutants that may pose a risk to human health. The website draws from information that NIEHS has acquired from a variety of sources including its research programs, as well as through its Superfund Basic Research Program, Worker Education and Training Program, and Environmental Health Science Centers.
The website also includes a link to a new Global Information System (GIS) that NIEHS is developing with several academic partners. The GIS will contain layers of data, including the locations of refineries, oil pipelines, industrial facilities, Superfund sites, Toxic Release Inventory Data, agricultural operations, as well as maps and satellite images of schools, neighborhoods, and medical facilities, that will help assess the short and long effects of Katrina on the Gulf region.
, a component of the National Institutes of Health, supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health.
GIS volunteers can sign-up or search for other volunteers from CA, CO, CT, DC, KY, MI, NY,
PA, TX, VA and WI
In a message from URISA we learned that less than one week ago, URISA's GISCorps sent out a call to recruit and identify volunteers to head to the region affected by Hurricane Katrina. It was posted that the ideal volunteer would have “enough GIS experience to work effectively in an emergency situation; have expertise in map production, performing analysis, data management, etc.; and have expertise in disaster management and working with GPS equipment.” More than 500 people responded to the Call for Volunteers! The GISCorps Committee worked tirelessly to identify 20 individuals with the right qualifications who are now volunteering their time and expertise at the Emergency
Operations Center in Jackson, Mississippi. The volunteers come from Ohio, Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, California, New York, Texas, Arkansas, and Colorado and have an average work experience of 8 years. They have had an immediate impact on the situation.
Report as follows:
Working with local universities, the team has been involved in the following (through September 4, 2005):
1. Search and Rescue. We translated more than 100 addresses/locations into GPS coordinates for the US Coast Guard rescue helicopter evacuation missions. Many of these location to GPS translations could only be done fast enough using GIS - (sometimes the calls come in as "I'm trapped at the water treatment plant in _____" or "I'm about 1 mile north of _____ and I can see a church steeple”.
2. Developed the
missing persons website report and database
to assist with the taking of missing persons reports (8,000 and climbing rapidly). These reports spit out a geocodable table that is letting us build a missing persons feature class. This feature is the "Last known location" layer helping to map and direct emergency response.
3. We built the initial indexed search maps for the initial responders and strike teams - printed nearly 200 maps in under 10 hours. We are now finishing a revised and expanded search map set that covers eight county areas and will be used for house-to-house.
4. We ran the initial HAZUS model that provided what's turned out to be an unfortunately accurate prediction of what has happened. This helped operational managers pre-position response assets out of harm's immediate way and still within range to help.
5. We have printed more than 5,000 linear feet of maps off of two plotters. Mapping support services include the location of critical infrastructure such as water well heads, water treatment plants etc
that cannot be easily located due to the amount of debris.
6. Generated the briefing maps being seen by everyone from the individual responder through the President and showing things such as power outages, location of trees road closures, etc
GISCorps continues to accept volunteer applications in preparation for the next request for assistance from the affected region. Visit
websites for more information.
Frequent volunteer updates will be sent in the coming weeks and a substantial presentation will be planned during URISA's conference in October.
Wendy Francis (
Intergraph Corporation announced it is working with local, state and federal relief agencies in responding to Hurricane Katrina's devastation by way of providing technical assistance and monetary aid in support of the relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Intergraph will donate $50,000 to the American Red Cross and has also established an employee-matching fund for up to an additional $50,000 to be donated to the American Red Cross. The company is also currently working to establish an "Intergraph Charitable Foundation," which will initially focus on providing assistance to the emergency first-responder community engaged in relief and rebuilding efforts.
Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that its contribution to the rebuilding after Katrina will be to “provide special assistance to architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms that have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina or are contributing to rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region.”
What this means is that Bentley plans to make available for free whatever Bentley design software AEC firms might need to get back to work. Bentley also makes this offer to other organizations who are helping to restore infrastructure along the Gulf Coast.
The software, which includes
, and 60-day renewable licenses are available for immediate download. All that's required is the completion of a simple registration process. For details, go to the
Dynamix Corp., an SBA HubZone Certified Small Disadvantaged Business that specializes in providing bio/environmental, Information Technology, and GIS services to federal government entities, has sent an eight person team to New Orleans in support of Hurricane Katrina cleanup. Dynamix has been contracted by Bio-Cleaning Services of America to support the restoration of New Orleans.
Galileo Group, Inc. and Forest One, Inc. have partnered to provide assistance to government agencies and private companies attempting to recover from Hurricane Katrina. The partnership offers rapid response mapping, remote sensing and GIS services to assist with the recovery efforts. Both companies are proven providers of specialized airborne data and remote sensing services for the Department of Defense (DoD), other government agencies, and commercial clients.
The USGS announced that the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center (NGTOC) will be located in the city of Denver. The NGTOC will consolidate the functions and operations currently performed in four USGS mapping centers (Menlo Park, Calif.; Rolla, Mo.; Denver, Colo.; and Reston, Va.) and other distributed sites to one location.
Further, USGS will conduct an A-76 study to compare the cost of providing the selected geospatial operations activities at the NGTOC “in-house” by a reengineered government workforce as a Most Efficient Organization (MEO), or under contract with a private sector firm. The public-private competition will evaluate current and future functions, and the number of personnel required by the NGTOC.
Research and Markets
has announced the addition of Location Based Services (LBS)/Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Market Research 2005 to their offering.
This report looks at the LBS/GIS market and covers the following key topics - LBS/GIS technology and applications, LBS/GIS industry chain, market scale, policy and criteria, and LBS/GIS providers. It provides in-depth analysis of LBS/GIS technology, market status and trends, providing detailed information to those enterprises aiming to enter this market.
LBS/GIS service is considered another killer service after SMS. It has a great market scale and a favorable profit potential; however, the real development is slow. Along with the perfect of industry chain, the LBS/GIS market is expected to become larger and larger. The global LBS/GIS market started to accelerate in 2005, and the revenue is expected to reach 11.7 billion USD by 2008.
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) presents the first draft of a newly created Street Address Data Standard for first review and comment by the geospatial community. The draft standard is available on the
. This is the first opportunity for members of the GIS Community to view the Federal Geographic Data Committee-approved effort to create a street address data standard.
David Lapp, Farallon Geographics' Vice President and Senior Database Engineer, recently joined the Board of Directors of the Oracle Spatial Special Interest Group. Mr. Lapp is Farallon Geographics' lead Oracle Spatial expert. He has integrated its extensive functionality with diverse applications for clients in many industries including state & local government, insurance, transportation, and homeland security.
Thales announced the appointment of Philippe Durand to lead the sales and marketing efforts for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region of its Magellan consumer business. Durand joins Thales' consumer business from Texas Instruments where he served as vice president of its Education and Productivity business and led the company's entry into new educational markets around the globe.
uLocate Communications, Inc., a technology provider in the development and delivery of location-based services (LBS) to the consumer and enterprise markets, appointed Walter A. Doyle, Jr. as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Doyle will also serve as a member of uLocate's Board of Directors.
Intergraph Corporation announced Hansa Luftbild Sensorik und Photogrammetrie GmbH (Hansa Luftbild), Germany's largest and longest established photoflight company, has selected Intergraph's Z/I Imaging(R) DMC(R) digital mapping camera to establish a fully digital photogrammetric workflow. One of the largest private European aerial survey companies, Hansa Luftbild provides a wide range of photogrammetric services to commercial and government customers. With the DMC, the company will be able to provide digital acquisition, speed delivery of high-quality imagery, and offer enhanced aerial image options - black and white, color and infrared imagery.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has purchased the Z Corporation's Z810 3D Printer to create color models of cities, mountainous areas and other complex terrain around the world in support of military operations and related applications.
The Government of Alberta, Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development (AAFRD) was recently presented with an Award of Excellence at ESRI Canada's Regional User Conference. Alex Miller, President of ESRI Canada presented the award in recognition of AAFRD's Agriculture and Climate Information Service (ACIS).
AccuWeather.com, leading commercial weather service, has received a 2005 Standard of Excellence WebAward for its free web site at
. The 2005 WebAward Competition is administered by WMA, the Web Marketing Association, to recognize the achievements of professionals who create and maintain outstanding corporate web sites.
Metrogas, the largest natural gas distribution company in Chile, has announced completion of their ArcFM implementation. This new solution is part of an enterprise GIS and provides the company a complete utility-specific system for modeling, editing, maintaining, and managing facility asset data.
John Copple, CEO of Sanborn, a geographic information system (GIS), photogrammetric and remote sensing services industry leader, announced that the company has been selected by The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC) to provide professional geospatial services in support of various local and regional coastal products, coastal resource assessments, estuarine and watershed analyses, environmental characterizations and habitat conservation for the coastal management community.
MWH Soft, a global provider of environmental and water resources applications software, announced the release of InfoSWMM Calibrator.
UK digital mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) software developer Cadcorp has announced the latest version of the Cadcorp SIS - Spatial Information System software suite, Cadcorp SIS Version 6.2. This latest version of Cadcorp SIS introduces many new and enhanced features designed to enable organizations to realize efficiency gains from increased productivity, improved information sharing and customer self-service.
Gearworks, a provider of on-demand mobile workforce management software, and salesforce.com , the global leader in on-demand customer relationship management (CRM), announced the availability of etrace(R) for AppExchange.
Planar Systems, Inc., a worldwide leader in flat panel display systems, is introducing the latest in stereoscopic 3D technology to address imaging applications in geospatial intelligence and photogrammetry where customers need 3D viewing to discern depth in the imagery and interpret spatial details. Planar designed its initial offering with these specific customers in mind due to the demand for a high-quality 3D imaging solution and the need to replace discontinued CRT-based systems.
Thales Navigation, makers of Hertz(R) NeverLost(R) and global provider of Magellan consumer GPS products, announced the Magellan RoadMate 360, the best value in a portable vehicle navigation system and the ideal solution for mobile professionals and cost-conscious travelers. At only $699 US, the color-touch-screen Magellan RoadMate 360 delivers a full set of navigation features, including preloaded, full-coverage detailed street maps with no need for PC configuration to gain door-to-door guidance in Canada, Puerto Rico and all 50 United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Drivers also gain the same intuitive user interface, derived from the Hertz NeverLost system, which has made
the flagship Magellan RoadMate 700 the leading portable auto navigation product in the United States.
ESRI announced that ArcIMS 9.1 Route Server, the latest version of ESRI's routing extension to ArcIMS, is now shipping. This new version is compatible with ArcIMS 9.1, which was released in May 2005. A key enhancement to ArcIMS Route Server is the ability to handle complex turn restrictions (for example, conditional maneuvers such as when a left turn is allowed but a left turn followed by a right turn is not allowed).
Blue Marble Geographics is pleased to announce that GeoMapServer, the COTS version of the award-winning BeyondGeo Internet Mapping technology, has been enhanced with an automatic web publishing tool. GeoMapServer is a complete re-write of the BeyondGeo MapServer that has been developed according to the Open GIS Consortium (OGC) specification, and is scalable and cost effective. Blue Marble is known worldwide for their geographic software tools and in particular, coordinate conversion technology.
ER Mapper, provider of enterprise geospatial imagery solutions, has launched the “RightLocal” Program. The new program provides a flexible, budget-friendly option for small and large local councils to manage, process and deploy their imagery assets using ER Mapper's award winning solutions.
Through an enterprise-wide access model, Local Governments can purchase unlimited use of the full suite of ER Mapper's imagery applications, including:
- ER Mapper application for image processing
- Image Web Server for image deployment / delivery
- RightWebMap for integration with image and GIS services
- Application plug-ins to provide additional power to desktop software
DAT/EM Systems International has enhanced the viewing capabilities of the SUMMIT EVOLUTION Digital Stereoplotter by integrating Planar's SD1710 3D desktop monitor as an optional component of the system.
The SD1710 3D desktop monitor is a novel stereoscopic monitor that has been developed combining the output of two active matrix LCD's into a stereo image through use of a unique beam splitter design. This approach creates a stereo/3D monitor that retains the full resolution, response time and color characterization of the component displays. The resultant flicker-free image, when viewed with passive polarizing glasses, provides an unprecedented level of viewing comfort in stereo.
MapInfo Corporation, global provider of Location Intelligence solutions, announced the newest version of Exponare, a suite of pre-built, highly configurable, easy-to-use map-enabled applications that extend the power of location intelligence across an organization. With this latest version of Exponare, an organization is able to easily and quickly deploy maps and control access to data over the Internet or an internal network, providing a cost-efficient mechanism to share information with internal and external customers.
Around the Web
Internet satellite imagery under fire over security concerns
by Panarat Thepgumpanat, Reuters (ComputerWorld
) September 7, 2005 - Asian governments have expressed security concerns about easy access to detailed satellite images on the Internet, such as those used by rescuers in New Orleans, saying the technology could endanger sensitive sites.
, which is the world's largest business-applications seller.
Date: September 15 - 17, 2005
Place: Poznan International Fair Poland
The International Geodesy and Geoinformatics Fairs (GEA) taking place in Poznan cover a wide range of diverse branches such as geodesy, forestry, building trade and architecture as well as companies dealing with energy, water and heat supply, telecommunication, road, rail, air, and water transport or professionals from such fields as ecology, geography, and spatial engineering. Geoinformatics, a rapidly developing branch of science, functions as the entity joining all those areas of interest.
Date: September 18 - 21, 2005
Place: Holiday Inn by the Bay Portland, ME USA
The Northeast Arc Users Group (NEARC) is one of several independent regional organizations that represent users of Geographic Information System (GIS) software developed by Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) of Redlands, California. ESRI software includes, among other things, such well-known GIS products as Arc/Info and ArcView. NEARC was formed in 1986; the geographic area encompassed by the group includes New England, New York and New Jersey, with some participation from users in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The twentieth annual NEARC is Sept. 18-21 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, Maine. Speakers include Joe Kelley of the University of Maine and Jeff Jackson and
Andy McDonald of ESRI. For the convenience of NEARC attendees, ESRI is offering two, two-day training courses immediately following the conference. Introduction to ArcIMS and Creating and Editing Parcels with ArcGIS will be taught on September 22 and 23 from 9am-5pm at the Portland Regency Hotel in Portland, ME. The Portland Regency Hotel is located within walking distance of the Holiday Inn By the Bay. Special pricing for these courses has been arranged.
Date: September 19 - 21, 2005
Place: JW Marriott Hotel Houston, TX USA
The 14th Annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition is the world's largest gathering of oil and gas GIS professionals. We had record-breaking attendance last year. Don't miss this year's event-it will be bigger and better than ever!
Date: September 19 - 20, 2005
Place: VSB-TU Ostrava, 17 listopadu 15, Ostrava-Poruba, Czech Republic
Dear GI-friends and sci-fi fans, We are organizing non-traditional conference concerned on geographic information science and technology. The goal of our conference is bring together people that are bored of traditional conferences in that area, that show usually solved problems from different points of view and applied in different areas. Our conference would like to present only ideas and views how geographic science and technology could look in the year 2025.
Date: September 21 - 23, 2005
Place: Invesco Field @ Mile High Denver, CO USA
The conference is organized by volunteers from the local chapters of the following professional societies: Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA, formerly AM/FM International), American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) Professional Land Surveyors of Colorado (PLSC). GIS Colorado A comprehensive program encompassing all of the society areas of expertise with workshops, technical talks, and an exhibitor/vendor hall. A third day consists of off-site events and tours to various GIS related venues.
Date: September 26 - 29, 2005
Place: World Trade and Convention Centre Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Hosted by CARIS, this year's 10th International User Group Conference and Educational Sessions will be the international training and management conference for CARIS customers and parties interested in exploring the benefits and application of spatial information management technology.
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here
To read more news, click here
-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.