[ Back ]   [ More News ]   [ Home ]
July 04, 2005
Announcing Yahoo! Maps API
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!

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! Developers can now create customized maps by overlaying a variety of content onto an existing Yahoo! Map including weather reports, school district boundaries, open houses, garage sales, vacation photos, and more with the Yahoo! Maps API. Also two new announcements from competitors Microsoft and Google: an agreement with ORBIMAGE will add expanded international satellite coverage to Microsoft's MSN Virtual Earth, while Google's Google Earth was launched this week. Read about these announcements in this week's Industry News.

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, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Appointments, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.

GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at
Managing Editor

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Announcing Yahoo! Maps API

By Susan Smith

Paul Levine, general manager of Yahoo! Local spoke to me about this week's announcement of Yahoo! Maps API, an extension of the Yahoo! Search API (

The press release announced that Yahoo! Maps API gives developers of all levels free public access to Yahoo!'s SmartView Technology - enabling them to see their own geographical data on Yahoo! Maps. Developers can now create customized maps by overlaying a variety of content onto an existing Yahoo! Map including weather reports, school district boundaries, open houses, garage sales, vacation photos, and more.

“We announced this week is developer APIs for maps which is about spurring participation from the developer community. We have a fully supported, documented, free map API that allows unlimited access to any developer in the U.S.,” said Levine. “It allows developers to use Yahoo's mapping platform and mapping service and plot points and enrich content around those maps.”

According to Levine, what sets Yahoo! Maps API apart from other efforts includes the following:

1) The use of open standards - the existing RSS standards and the GeoRSS standard that was pioneered by the W3C Consortium
2) There is no requirement to submit lat long information. You can submit it but don't need to. Yahoo does do the geocoding if you submit street addresses

3) The system is designed for developers to leverage the Yahoo infrastructure. Yahoo is basically hosting the maps and encouraging users to point to their maps.

Some examples can be found here:

Bay Area Traffic Cams

http://api.maps.yahoo.com/Maps/V1/AnnotatedMaps?xmlsrc=http://www.chrisyee.com/trafficcam.xml When you click on Yahoo! Traffic as part of the
Traffic CAM, it demonstrates a live example of how traffic is traveling in a given location. This may be useful to ambulance drivers or police when responding to an emergency call.

A tribute to Sideways (the movie)


Yahoo! Maps API is part of a larger strategy for Yahoo!, said Levine. “We are really building in our local services an architecture of participation that encourages consumers, merchants, and developers to participate in the building out of the product. We've done a number of things such as encouraging users to submit content in the form of rating reviews. We announced a service back in April where merchants can come and every merchant in the U.S. can have access to building a free website which helps them build their business and awareness and also gives us great content to integrate into our local search experience.”

Levine summed up Yahoo!'s direction this way: “The overall spirit is similar to other recent announcements from other companies, in that there is so much innovation that can be done surrounding content and mapping or local services. We want to open our system to encourage other developers to innovate and show us new services.”

New Earth Products to Incorporate New Satellite Views

Both Google and Microsoft have been in the news a lot lately with their respective “Earth” products. I've copied in part a selection from each of this week's “Earth” announcements below, with a commentary following them:

Google Inc. announced the launch of Google Earth, Google's new satellite imagery-based mapping product that combines 3D buildings and terrain with mapping capability and Google search. Based on Keyhole technology, Google Earth enables users to fly from space to street level views to find geographic information and explore places around the world.
Key features of Google Earth include-
- Free software download available at

- 3D buildings in major cities across the United States

- 3D terrain showing mountains, valleys, and canyons around the world

- integrated Google Local search to find local information such as hotels, restaurants, schools, parks and transportation.

- Fast navigation

- Video playback of driving directions

- Tilt, rotate, and activate 3D terrain and buildings for a different perspective on a location

- Easy creation and sharing of annotations among users.
GISWeekly has covered the
underlying technology of Google Maps and
what makes Google Maps so speedy and responsive. We look forward to reporting more on the addition of Google Earth to this powerful technology offering.

Microsoft and
ORBIMAGE announced plans to deliver expanded international satellite coverage for MSN Virtual Earth (written about
here, a key component of MSN Search.

Under the terms of the 5-year agreement, Microsoft and ORBIMAGE will enable access to satellite images to give customers current, high-resolution imagery for nearly any place in the world. ORBIMAGE collects data from several satellites, including one that orbits the earth every 94 minutes.

Under the terms of the 5-year agreement, ORBIMAGE will allow Microsoft to incorporate ORBIMAGE's global library of satellite images into MSN Virtual Earth. Microsoft will also have an exclusive source of updated imagery that ORBIMAGE will continue to produce with its OrbView-2 and OrbView-3 satellites as well as new satellites it plans to place into service in the next 18-24 months. The OrbView-3 satellite, the newest high-resolution commercial imaging satellite in operation today, can collect up to 210,000 square kilometers a day of panchromatic (black and white) imagery at one-meter resolution, and color imagery at four-meter resolution of virtually any area on earth.


Although most of these companies claim to not know what the competition is doing, they each have already earmarked a profound change in the way data is developed, exchanged, received and viewed. The availability of large amounts of geospatial data in specific map layers to people who would not otherwise have access to them is an exciting development in and of itself. What Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! will gain in terms of traffic and new data on these sites can only be imagined.

Web Layer Maps for All

Many government agencies and municipalities now have their own web mapping portals for use by citizens as well as planners, utilities, fire, police and other professionals who need to gain access to maps with layers.


Barnet is one of the largest boroughs in London, situated to the North West of the City, bordering on Hertfordshire. The web site for Barnet has a GIS system which is explained to the public in
What is a GIS? You can zoom into the maps, search for individual properties and streets and view planning application details. Property professionals and planners, those needing Census Data and geography will find this interesting.

The site is easily navigable and employs a standard web browser, and some free software from Autodesk - MapGuide for accessing detail and functions.


Collier County's GIS allows you to view geographical areas and see whether or not they are in the 100 year flood zone or 500 year flood zone for flood risk. The web layers include FEMA 96 maps, imagery, physical county boundaries, parcels, address points and major roads.


Dallas County, Iowa is one of the top 10 fastest growing counties in the United States. They are using Intergraph Web mapping solutions to speed delivery of customer requests for geospatial data. The county created a new, easily navigable Web site,
http://geodallas.co.dallas.ia.us/, enabling users to create maps and visualize other location-specific information from their own computers. The site features interactive mapping, map gallery and GIS data pricing. It was not evident that the maps on this site are layered, however, the currently available maps range from transportation to fire, flood, landform, election precinct maps, zip code and conservation.


Orion Technology and Azteca Systems announced a strategic partnership to provide integrated solutions for asset and maintenance management. The two companies have partnered in response to an increased need for a solution that encompasses asset, maintenance management and web-GIS delivery. Azteca's GIS-based asset maintenance management system, Cityworks®, and Orion's web-GIS product OnPoint™ combine as a perfect fit for this niche.

NVision Solutions, a provider of mission-critical, GIS-based decision support systems, and FirstCall Network Inc.,emergency notification services provider, entered into a strategic agreement to create an integrated solution for the emergency management and homeland security industries.

Pictometry International Corp., digital, aerial oblique imagery provider and Positron Public Safety Systems, provider of fully integrated, end-to-end public safety solutions for call handling and dispatching, announced that Pictometry's measuring software and digital aerial photo databases will be embedded as a built-in component of the Positron Power MAP product. Under the terms of the joint business partnership agreement, the combined product offering will be available via both companies to new and existing Positron customers who want to add it to their Power MAP system.

BAE Systems has signed an International Distributor Agreement with International Computer Systems (London) Ltd. (ICS), to distribute its Geospatial Exploitation Products (GXP) in Jordan and United Arab Emirates (UAE) through sister companies in Amman and Dubai. The distributor agreement with ICS extends BAE Systems' commitment to involve international partners to distribute its technically advanced photogrammetry and image analysis software, which includes SOCET SET(R) and SOCET GXP(TM).

DM Solutions Group, a provider of smart online mapping solutions and developer of MapTools open source technologies, and Horizon Marine, Inc., a leader in marine data collection and analysis, announced the launch of a mapping solution for online, interactive yacht race tracking for iBoatTrack.com.


ABI Research's study, "Satellite Positioning Systems and Devices", covers all the current uses of GPS and more. "What makes this study popular," notes Solis, "is that it examines virtually all current applications for GPS, not just telematics and mobile phones." The study's latest edition has broadened its coverage to include agricultural and construction machinery GPS systems, as well as the many kinds of human and animal tracking.

Founded in 1990 and headquartered in New York, ABI Research maintains global operations supporting annual research programs, intelligence services and market reports in automotive, wireless, semiconductors, broadband, and energy. For information visit
www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

Telcontar, a supplier of software and services for the LBS industry, announced the Telcontar Developer Zone, an online service that enables quick and easy prototyping and development of location-enabled applications. The service allows access to software, sample code, documentation and various tools, including use of map data from leading vendors. Developers can now write applications that make LBS queries to a shared Drill Down Server® (DDS), Telcontar's leading geospatial software platform, via the Internet. Using Telcontar's recently released standards-compliant Web Services Application Programming Interface (WSAPI), Telcontar Developer Zone participants can focus their
resources on developing advanced location-based applications, without having to install geospatial servers or software and acquire map or points of interest data.

Intergraph Corporation announced Digital Mapping Inc. (DMI), a West Coast firm in Huntington Beach, Calif., specializing in photogrammetric mapping, has purchased the company's Z/I Imaging DMC(R) digital mapping camera. The DMC provides DMI the flexibility that comes from a digital acquisition platform. This fully digital production environment shortens the delivery cycle of projects from small-scale orthophotos to large-scale engineering mapping products to multispectral products for remote sensing applications. With the purchase of the digital mapping camera, DMI is one of the first companies on the West Coast to provide mapping products that take advantage of the accuracy
and quality offered by a completely digital, end-to-end photogrammetric process.

Laser-Scan's User and Partner Conference 2005 offers a range of impressive guest speakers and experts from the GIS arena. Day 1 speakers include Keith Murray (Ordnance Survey Great Britain), Trevor Steenson (Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland), Colin Bray (Ordnance Survey Ireland) and Stuart Gilliland (No. 1 AIDU, RAF, UK). The conference will take place on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th July 2005 at the Robinson Centre, Bedfordshire, UK.

NOAA's two operational GOES spacecraft - GOES-12 hovering above the equator in the east, and GOES-10, above the equator in the west - provide continuous environmental observations of North, Central, and South America and surrounding oceans. The satellites supply data critical for fast, accurate weather forecasts and warnings, detecting solar storm activity, relaying distress signals from emergency beacons, monitoring the oceans and scanning the landscape for the latest drought and flood conditions. When GOES-N reaches orbit, it will be renamed GOES-13, and put in a storage mode as a backup to GOES-10 and GOES-12 until it is called into service.

Increasing use of intelligent geographic data as a foundation for business and government is highlighted in Ordnance Survey's Annual Report and Accounts presented to Parliament 23rd June 2005.

The national mapping agency reports encouraging market growth in the take-up of data, particularly in the private sector, with partner channels showing a 14% rise.

The growth helped to offset an anticipated fall in overall trading revenue (down £1.3 million to £100.4 million), which was due to the effect of payment profiles agreed in advance under long-term licensing agreements.

Rockland County is going to receive a $25,000 state grant for a US Geological Survey study of the county's water resources, County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef announced yesterday.

Senator Thomas Morahan secured the funding, which will allow the county's Department of environmental Health, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the county's water supplier, United Water New York, to participate in a comprehensive analysis of Rockland's water resources to support resource management and development decisions.


Pictometry International Corp., announced that the company plans to provide a limited number of grants that can be used by counties as part of their funding for Pictometry technology. The company also announced that it has added additional grants news and information services to its website that enable public safety agencies to search for and find details about national and regional grants. Agencies can also contract with the provider of the grant information, Grants Offices, LLC of Rochester, NY to write their grant applications.

RADARSAT International, an MDA Company, announced the appointment of David Green to Sales Manager, North America East. In this position, Mr. Green will serve clients from a wide range of markets in the eastern North American region, and in particular, meet the geospatial needs of federal agencies in Canada and the USA.

Avineon, Inc. recently hired Scott Warner as Director of Geospatial Services.

Mr. Warner brings nearly twenty years of experience in GIS data acquisition and management to Avineon. His previous employment entailed executive and project-level management of hundreds of staff at domestic and international locations. Geospatial activities for which he has been responsible include aerial photography, photogrammetry, data conversion, and data maintenance. In this capacity, he successfully completed projects worth millions of dollars for a variety of government and utility customers.


ESRI announced the winners of its ArcWeb Services Challenge. Chosen out of 29 contenders, Argo Navigation, Ecology and Environment, and Sportsim were selected for the usefulness, ease of use, and originality of their applications based on ESRI's ArcWeb Services products.

The first-place winner, Argo, a business solutions company focused on enterprise location-based services, created Fleetspy3.

Ecology and Environment , an environmental engineering firm, won second place with its Greenride application. Greenride is a Web-based application designed to reduce automobile dependency and promote the use of alternative transportation.

Third-place winner, Sportsim , created a free global application that allows users to analyze their outdoor activities by viewing them on a map. These activities can be viewed along with time-stamped pictures, points of interest with hyperlinks, and personal comments. For athletes, heart rate information can also be displayed.

Avenza Systems Inc., the developer of MAPublisher map production software, announces the
2005 MAPublisher Map Awards. This competition is a forum for MAPublisher users to showcase their work, receive recognition, share ideas and compare their productions with other MAPublisher users from around the world.

Submissions will be accepted until September 2nd, 2005 midnight EST. Winners will be announced by or on October 15th, 2005.

New Products

Proxix Solutions, an innovator in developing GIS data, applications and Web services, announced the availability of FIREbreak(TM), its first comprehensive tool for accurately assessing risk determination for urban/wildland areas. Insurers have a growing concern with the increased losses due to brushfires, and since most brushfires usually start at the urban/wildland interface, the boundary between built-up areas and undeveloped, nonagricultural land with significant fuel loads, Proxix developed FIREbreak as a stand-alone product or to use in conjunction with its Brushfire/Fuel Rank product.

ObjectFX Corporation announced availability of version 4.1 of SpatialFX(R), the company's innovative and patented Java/J2EE spatial enterprise software platform. The new release is being demonstrated this week at JavaOne, Sun Microsystems' Worldwide Java Developer Conference (
http://java.sun.com/javaone/sf ). Version 4.1 includes enhanced spatial "rule and event" processing, a new 3D visualization option, and compatibility with North American street level data from NAVTEQ(TM).

ESRI announced that the latest release of the Military Overlay Editor (MOLE) is capable of rendering Military Standard (MIL-STD) 2525B, the standard symbology for military mapping, from an Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.™ (OGC™) Simple Feature, Web Feature Service (WFS), or Geography Markup Language (GML). In addition, MIL-STD 2525B symbology can be rendered into an OGC Web Map Service (WMS).

CARTASITE, a technology solutions provider that empowers the enterprise with time and place intelligence to deliver an immediate operational advantage, announced the availability of Data2Map, a software application that enhances the power of Microsoft MapPoint 2004. Data2Map fully takes advantage of MapPoint 2004 to deliver enriched data layering capabilities. Data2Map enhances the MapPoint 2004 position of an enterprise mapping platform.

Merrick & Company announced a $1.8 million contract to deliver a total turnkey LIDAR solution to Lidar International Partnership, Ltd. (LIPL) Marketing rights of the turnkey LIDAR solution in the Australasia region have been granted to Merrick Mars Lidar Proprietary Limited (MMLPL) of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

PCI Geomatics® announced the newest release of Geomatica® 9, Version 9.1.7. Geomatica is PCI Geomatics' flagship image-centric geospatial software solution capable of handling both large- and small-scale geomatics projects.

Blue Marble Geographics announced the release of an off-the-shelf version of their award winning BeyondGeo Internet Mapping technology. Known affectionately as BeyondGeo-In-A-Box, The Blue Marble 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 world-wide for their geographic software tools and in particular their coordinate conversion technology and expertise.

Around the Web

The Supreme Court handed down decisions in two key cases for the U.S. technology sector this week: FCC v. Brand X, which freed cable companies from being forced to share their networks with competitors, and Grokster v. M.G.M., which decreed that makers of file sharing software can be held financially liable for copyright infringement by customers using their products.

“The Brand X verdict, while officially hinging on a technical distinction between different categories of network services, could have a dramatic effect on broadband growth and the future of the U.S. economy as a whole,” said
Braden Cox, Technology Counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “When telecommunications companies can be assured that they will control access to their own networks and are able to set prices accordingly, we can expect to see a significant increase in funds invested in broadband deployment.”

Read more on possible solutions to the legal and technological challenges of the file sharing debate in
James Plummer's recent study,
'Expanding the Markets Role in Advancing Intellectual Property.

Upcoming Events


Date: July 4 - 7, 2005

Place: Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, Australia

NARGIS 05 attempts to provide a forum which will bring together people from a range of disciples that will come under the umbrella of the spatial sciences in Northern Australia.

GML Days 2005

Date: July 18 - 22, 2005

Place: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

GML Days 2005 will be the fourth annual conference on the OGC Geography Mark-up Language (GML) and Web Services for GIS. GML is rapidly emerging as the world standard for the XML encoding of geographic information and is the foundation for the Geo-Web. GML is being applied to a wide range of geographic applications including homeland security & critical infrastructure protection, integrated land and resource management, location-based services, telematics and intelligent transportation systems, and oceanography.

CoastGIS 2005

Date: July 21 - 23, 2005

Place: AECC Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

6th International Symposium Computer Mapping and GIS for Coastal Zone Management Defining and Building a Marine and Coastal Spatial Data Infrastructure As a major event, the CoastGIS series of conferences attracts an international audience of coastal researchers, managers and practitioners who use one or more of the geospatial technologies. CoastGIS 2005 will be held in Aberdeen, Scotland at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC).

25th Annual ESRI User Conference

Date: July 25 - 29, 2005

Place: San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA USA

Discover a community of peers eager to share their ideas, expertise, and practical applications of GIS in their organizations at the largest GIS event of the year.

Eighth Annual Society for Conservation GIS

Date: July 31 - August 2, 2005

Place: Asilomar Conference Grounds Pacific Grove, CA USA

The conference will discuss and promote the use of geospatial technologies for the conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage throughout the world. Technical applications of GIS in conservation, as well as recurring philosophical and ethical issues faced by conservationists, will be explored.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.