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March 28, 2005
Between Two Worlds: GIS and Knowledge Management
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! This month, MetaCarta won a one-year contract with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Directorate of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) to provide their Knowledge Management tool for managing unstructured text for geographic intelligence. Founded by a team of researchers from MIT in 1999, MetaCarta has developed a geoparsing software that finds documents related to geography and in essence, combines keyword search with mapbased search. Read about it 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.

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Managing Editor

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Between Two Worlds: GIS and Knowledge Management

By Susan Smith

This month, MetaCarta won a one-year contract with the Department of Homeland Security's 9 (DHS) Directorate of Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) to provide their Knowledge Management tool for managing unstructured text for geographic intelligence.

MetaCarta's tool is valuable to the DHS because the IAIP “identifies and assesses current and future threats to the homeland, maps those threats against the nation's vulnerabilities, issues timely warnings and takes preventative and protective action.”

When I spoke with Randy Ridley, Vice President and General Manager of the MetaCarta Public Sector Systems about a month ago, this contract was not yet a topic for discussion. However, MetaCarta has already among its customers, the Department of Defense, National Intelligence Security Framework, EPA, federal and civilian sectors, plus the energy and oil and gas markets, agencies and industries that have a lot of unstructured documents and also a lot of geography. Founded by a team of researchers from MIT in 1999, MetaCarta has developed a geoparsing software that finds documents related to geography and in essence, combines keyword search with mapbased search.

“We put documents on maps,” explained Ridley. “Underneath it has to do with understanding the human language that people write naturally, i.e., if you write an email, report, or message, you usually write it in a language like English and not in lat/long. You might say I went to Baghdad over the weekend. We would go to the unstructured text and in a fully automated fashion, extract all the geographic names in that document and plot them worldwide instantly. You take 50 million documents with our technology and folks in a small village in Afghanistan can find every document that's ever been written about that village in any way, shape or form, or even surrounding
countryside or individual blocks.”

This information, although similar to doing a Google search, brings up all the topics on a certain subject related to a particular geographic area so that you don't have to sift through volumes of extraneous unstructured text. When you go to the
MetaCarta website, you can do a live demo and find your location and what is available in the area. The product automatically identifies geographic references, using advanced natural processing (NLP) from any type of unstructured content such as email, newswires, reports, web pages or cables. It assigns a latitude and longitude to each of these references so that users can analyze the text using geographic maps, keywords and time as filters. On a map, the results of a query are shown with icons representing the locations found in the natural language text of the documents and as a text results list (below the map). Both the icons and the
text summaries are hyperlinked to the documents they represent.

“Where this technology has been used extensively is in intelligence, defense, and law enforcement because it demonstrates patterns and because the automatic feature sifts so quickly through this information using knowledge and the natural language processing,” Ridley noted. Also, “Everything the government does is tied to geography. These are all agencies that are concerned about things moving on the ground, the enemy or toxic spill, etc. Our technology has the ability to track and understand those things whether they are activities, events, or people. We can analyze those things instantly and give a picture to our customers.”

Law Enforcement

MetaCarta is doing a pilot project with the state of Arizona on law enforcement. They have the ability to take all their case files, focus on those geographic patterns and decide where to put the police and answer other questions such as: How are homeland security issues important at the state level? In what areas is there a lot of activity? “All this raw information comes in in basic natural language, like email,” Ridley explained. “We link directly into ESRI products, ESRI's ArcGIS products mainly, so when we get deployed all the ESRI users in the enterprise can see all these documents on top of the GIS system.. Our main fit is to look at unstructured text and bring that
in to focus geographically.”

Geographic Text Search is a very geospatially oriented activity, according to Ridley, “we exist between two worlds, on one side is GIS (MapInfo and ESRI) and on the other side we have knowledge management: text search, content management, document management. We're sort of the glue that holds the two areas together.”

MetaCarta's product can go through criminal reports and find out where the hot spots are, for example, why did we pick up someone five times in a row in the same block? Why are 3 different surveillance teams watching the same building? Users to not have to spend time putting metadata into documents because it is automated in the geographic text search.

“We create metadata -- we don't require metadata,” confirmed Ridley. “We created our indexing system, the GeoTagger product that pushes out XML tags.”

How It Works

MetaCarta sells an appliance-based software product that fits in a rack with server and uses a Web Service to provide turnkey functionality. It can be up and running within hours. The customer decides how much license they want and where they want it deployed, then MetaCarta comes in and makes it work for them. The appliance delivers a thin client web browser GUI. “With this one client we probably have 15,000 people using the software and they're using it through our provided browser GUI that they can access directly deployed across the enterprise. It's very quick and understood by everyone since everyone can understand a browser. It comes with worldwide maps. We can do a lot of
integration with GIS but we have good turnkey start up capability,” said Ridley.

How does the text search capability differ from what we're accustomed to with a regular browser, or rather, how do you search for text with the technology?

“We deploy this in government agency X. bring in the appliance, put it in a rackmount server rack, then we would tell it where the documents are in the enterprise. We would then go through a process called “ingestion”- that means we create copies of the documents on the appliance, we don't manage it, we just create copies for our own purposes, and then we go through each document at a time. It's very fast, we can do a million or so a day, depending upon the size of the documents, then we display those results to anyone that the system administrator grants access to by web browser. So they could type in “restaurant” or “terrorist organization” as a
key phrase and find out what that organization is doing across that enterprise. They can search every document and have every document be an intersection between the geographic area of interest - for example, “Iraq,” and that word, “terrorist organization.” We find that subset of documents that are both in Iraq and talk about that topic. We can zoom in and down as far as the customer wants.”

The government has various fields they are using for experimentation with different types of corn. With the Geographic Text Search users can point at the field where research is taking place and retrieve every experiment that has taken place there, so researchers can then begin where the previous study left off.


The basic end user of MetaCarta technology is someone who may or not be a GIS expert. The product offers straightforward GIS functionality by bringing the fusion of knowledge and unstructured documents with digital mapping into one platform, right on the desktop.


Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, in partnership with the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE), announced its annual Intergraph research grant opportunity open to any AGILE member using or intending to use Intergraph's GeoMedia(R), IntelliWhere(R) or Z/I Imaging(R) technology. The Intergraph Research Grant Program will award $5,000 (U.S.) funding and a $50,000 software donation in recognition of an outstanding and innovative applied research proposal submitted by an AGILE member. This program reaffirms the organization's continued commitment to progressing the implementation and advancement of geographic information science.

Roaming Messenger(TM), the provider of mobile messaging technology, has been certified as a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Disaster Management Information System (DMIS) collaboration partner.

Sanborn CEO John Copple announced that the company has combined technical services with American Forests to jointly market Urban Ecosystem Analysis (UEA). The partnership allows Sanborn and American Forests to work together to provide communities with data and tools that improve their environmental conditions while lowering the cost of managing air and water issues.

gate5, Socket Communications and Tele Atlas announced a partnership to provide a complete mobile navigation solution to US consumers. The partnership is key to gate5's launch of smart2go(TM) Mobile Navigator, an affordable, high performance GPS-driven navigation system for smartphones and PDAs that separates itself from the competition by providing functionality inside and outside of the car. The partnership will also bring useful city content to help consumers choose where they want to go.

ESRI announced that Binspy Systems, a business solutions company focused on enterprise location-based services, has licensed
ArcWeb Services for the mapping data and geoservices behind their Fleetspy3 mobile resource management platform.

Binspy's Fleetspy3 allows businesses and organizations of all sizes to manage their mobile workforces and fleets with an easy-to-use online software application.


Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, in partnership with the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE), announced its annual Intergraph research grant opportunity open to any AGILE member using or intending to use Intergraph's GeoMedia(R), IntelliWhere(R) or Z/I Imaging(R) technology. The Intergraph Research Grant Program will award $5,000 (U.S.) funding and a $50,000 software donation in recognition of an outstanding and innovative applied research proposal submitted by an AGILE member. This program reaffirms the organization's continued commitment to progressing the implementation and advancement of geographic information science.

The new ESRI Virtual Campus live training seminar,
Editing in ArcGIS 9: Tips and Tricks, is designed for experienced
ArcGIS software users who want to better understand ArcMap editing tools as well as tools available on the Advanced Editing and Spatial Adjustment toolbars. This seminar will take place on March 24, 2005, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.

Navigation solutions will drive growth for telematics in the premium car segment and EU safety regulations could open the volume market for embedded telematics solutions after 2009, according to a new report from Berg Insight.

The report reviews the status of the European market for telematics solutions for the premium car segment. Car navigation and routing solutions have reached maturity and are becoming increasingly common in the premium car segment. Owners of exclusive high-end cars are more and more frequently installing GPS-aided security solutions that enable tracking of stolen vehicles. Safety related services such as automatic emergency calls have however failed to attract customers and as a result previous service offerings from some car manufacturers have either been reduced or withdrawn. Remote diagnostics and maintenance services are only being introduced slowly and have a far way to go before they
enable continuous remote monitoring of vehicles.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced Serco Integrated Transport (Stockton-on-Tees, UK), a world-leading developer of Intelligent Traffic Management Systems, has selected Intergraph's transportation solutions to develop a new Web portal, called Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads (ESDAL), for the Highways Agency (HA) in Great Britain. The ESDAL will be a one-stop, Web-based portal for assisted route planning and automated notification of abnormal load movements.

URISA Board of Directors recently approved the slate of candidates for its Spring election.

The Dynatel cable/pipe/fault locators 1420, 2250M-iD and 2273M-iD from 3M now are compatible with select GPS/GIS field mapping instruments for real-time mapping of underground facilities. This integrated solution from Dynatel simplifies the mapping process and allows a generalist field technician to perform real-time mapping with submeter accuracy.


ESRI announced that it is conducting an
ArcWeb Services Challenge. To participate in this challenge, developers are asked to create a Web application that uses
ArcWeb Services.

To learn more about the ArcWeb Services Challenge, visit
www.esri.com/arcwebchallenge. To learn more about ArcWeb Services and try a free evaluation, visit

ESRI congratulates Bones in Motion for receiving the grand prize award in the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge. ESRI also congratulates LOC-AID Technologies LLC for receiving the Peer-to-Peer/Find Me application category award in the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge. The LBS Challenge was a location-based services (LBS) application development contest held in conjunction with the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association).


In a ceremony held last week during its annual conference, the ASPRS installed Ms. Karen Schuckman as its 2005 president. ASPRS is the mapping and remote sensing industry's largest association, with membership of over 7,000 professionals from government, academia, and private sectors.

New Products

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced GeoMedia(R) Grid 5.2, an advanced, fully integrated grid analysis toolkit for GeoMedia, is now shipping worldwide. GeoMedia Grid provides seamless integration of vector and grid data formats for viewing and analysis and is ideally suited for carrying out complex spatial analysis, such as site location in urban planning, corridor planning for designing highway improvements and hot spot detection for environmental management and public safety.

Microsoft Corp.'s MapPoint Business Unit released Microsoft® MapPoint® Fleet Edition 2004, providing new licensing options for customers who locate, track and manage their fleets with MapPoint 2004. Customers are only required to purchase a MapPoint Fleet license for each desktop and or laptop that is used to directly locate, evaluate or modify data from vehicles that are being tracked. Fleet Edition licensing was created so Microsoft development partners and customers could cost-effectively incorporate MapPoint 2004 location acquisition, visualization and data analysis capabilities into their fleet solutions and business processes. The end result is a more effective fleet
management solution that helps companies improve decision-making, increase efficiency, and reduce risk and cost.

Avenza Systems Inc., producer of MAPublisher cartographic software, is pleased to announce that the new MAPublisher online knowledge base is now active on the Avenza website. The MAPublisher Knowledge Base is an initiative of Avenza and Dutch reseller, eXQte, who started the compilation and construction of the knowledge base in 2003. The goal was to create a central location where relevant information on MAPublisher can be gathered and stored in a format that users can query and search over the Internet. A knowledge base like this offers numerous advantages to resellers and users alike:

Avenza Systems also announced the release of MAPdata World, a 3 part set of royalty-free GIS map data covering the world at 1:15 million scale.

Splinex™ Technology Inc., a provider of visual communication software and technology, has announced the immediate availability of nVizx for Mathematica. The software delivers integrated and affordable high-end dynamic visualization and simulation capabilities, to users of Wolfram Research's pioneering technical computing product Mathematica. nVizx, which can also be used with data from spreadsheet products like Microsoft's Excel®, is available for free trial or purchase from

ESRI announced that Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) has deployed ESRI ArcWeb Services to supply mapping and geographic data for its Trimble Outdoors software applications for PCs and global positioning system (GPS)-enabled mobile phones. The Trimble Outdoors service is an innovative trip planning, photomarking, and location-based blogging application that serves the outdoor enthusiast community.

Tele Atlas, a worldwide leading provider of digital map data and location content, has established a close co-operation with the Roskartographia agency, which is supervised by the Ministry of Transport in Russia. The result is that Tele Atlas is uniquely able to provide navigation maps for driving in Russia in a joint project under the supervision of the Ministry, an essential factor in map making of Russia. The first map, to be available in April 2005, is of the city of Moscow.

ACD Systems International Inc., makers of Canvas(TM) technical illustration software and ACDSee(TM) photo management software announced the immediate availability of Canvas X. Known as the only cross-platform, fully integrated graphics application, Canvas X provides an optimized workflow for the cost- effective creation, enhancement, presentation, and distribution of technical illustrations and graphics across a broad range of industries.

Around the Web

Google courts open-source developers by David Becker, March 17, 2005, CNET News.com - Google has launched a new site intended to serve as a central resource for developers working on applications related to the popular search engine.

Homeland Security Officials Refute RFID Reports, by Jacqueline Emigh, March 17, 2005 , CIO Insight-- U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have hotly denied reports by some other publications that the agency's upcoming ID cards will use radio-frequency identification. Instead, the DHS will deploy another type of RF technology known as "ISO/IEC 14443," which is soon to be required for all federal employee ID cards-and which carries a far shorter coverage range.

GPS Phone to Take the Stage at CTIA by Carol Ellison, Eweek, March 10, 2005 -Moments after the tsunami struck the shores of Sri Lanka in December, the Tidal Wave Rescue Center launched an effort to locate as many victims as possible through its cell phones. This was not very successful. At the CTIA show in New Orleans, Siemens Communications and Wherify Wireless showed a phone that eases the task-so much that even home users will be able to track the whereabouts of the phone by accessing a protected Web page on the Internet.

The Road Trip Effect 1.2.7 Free download on USA Today site allows you to create video travel logs of all the places you visit and then turn them into movies that other movie editors will recognize (QuickTime format). Comes with 16 quality maps from all over the world that you can use as is, or customize for your specific needs. You can also use your own maps. Configure and customize to your heart's content, as you have full control over: how many stops, trail color, vehicle icon (choose from our stock or use a custom icon), trail width, fade length (or no fade), opacity, and effect
duration. Supports both NTSC and PAL.

Upcoming Events

The 2005 Annual Meeting of the AAG

Date: April 5 - 9, 2005

Place: Denver, CO USA

The Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers is a Professional and Scholarly meeting of over 4000 attendees. Nearly 3000 attendees present their research in over 700 sessions scheduled throughout the meeting.


Date: April 14 - 17, 2005

Place: Scottsdale, AZ USA

COFES is the engineering software industry's only annual think tank event which brings executives from design, engineering, architectural, development and technology companies together to understand the role engineering technology will play in the future survival and success of your business.

FIG Working Week 2005 & 8th Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Conference(GSDI-8)

Date: April 16 - 21, 2005

Place: Intercontinental Semiramis Cairo, Egypt

From Pharaohs to Geoinformatics The Global Spatial Data Infrastructure supports ready global access to geographic information. This is achieved through the coordinated actions of nations and organizations that promote awareness and implementation of complimentary policies, common standards and effective mechanisms for the development and availability of interoperable digital geographic data and technologies to support decision making at all scales for multiple purposes. These actions encompass the policies, organizational remits, data, technologies, standards, delivery mechanisms, and financial and human resources necessary to ensure that those working at the global and regional scale are
not impeded in meeting their objectives. Call for papers - deadline 20 November 2004

8th GSDI Conference

Date: April 16 - 21, 2005

Place: Cairo, Egypt

"From Pharoahs to Geoinformatics" --"The role of spatial data and spatial data infrastructures in an information society" is a major theme. The GSDI Association (Global Spatial Data Infrastructure) will hold this conference in conjunction with the Federation of International Surveyors (FIG).

2005 ESRI Business GeoInfo Summit

Date: April 18 - 19, 2005

Place: Chicago, IL USA

Learn how to integrate consumer data with GIS to make better business decisions.

21ST Annual Louisiana Remote Sensing & GIS Workshop

Date: April 19 - 21, 2005

Place: Lindy C. Boggs Conference Center University of New Orleans, LA USA

The annual Louisiana Remote Sensing & GIS Workshop (LA RSGIS) is the State's premier event for professionals using geospatial information technologies, including automated mapping/facilities management, cartography, land use and land management, geographic information systems, remote sensing and photogrammetry, and other related geospatial technologies.


Date: April 20 - 22, 2005

Place: John Asuxaga's Nugget Sparks, NV USA

"GIS Makes Nevada Spatial"

2005 Delaware GIS Conference

Date: April 21, 2005

Place: The Atlantic Sands Hotel & Conference Center Rehoboth Beach, DE USA

2005 Symposium and Exhibition on Best Practices in Mass Appraisal

Date: April 21 - 22, 2005

Place: Bangkok, Thailand

The symposium is designed to provide a forum for investors, professionals, academics, and other professionals who use CAMA and GIS tools in their real estate appraisal work to come together and share experiences from around the world. The event will feature presentations, panel discussions, a product exhibition, and a study trip. We are currently accepting papers for the conference (see website for more details).

The International Lidar Mapping Forum

Date: April 25 - 26, 2005

Place: Astor Crowne Plaza New Orleans, LA USA

The International LIDAR Forum (ILMF) is an industry group whose goal is to advance the education and knowledge of LIDAR mapping technology and applications. To further this objective, the ILMF holds an annual meeting that brings together LIDAR professionals from around the world to network and hear about the latest technologies and issues affecting LIDAR mapping.

GeoSpatial World 2005

Date: April 26 - 28, 2005

Place: Hilton San Francisco San Francisco, CA USA

Sponsored by Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community, GeoSpatial World is the annual international training and management conference for Intergraph customers and individuals who are interested in learning more about managing and applying geospatial technology, information, and solutions.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.