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January 24, 2005
Responding to Florida's 2004 Hurricane Season
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
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Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! What was GIS used for during Florida's heavy hurricane season in 2004? According to Jon Hansen of Autodesk, GIS was employed for the preparation or pre-impact damage assessment, during impact and post-impact for search and rescue, damage assessment and throughout the ordeal, and getting critical information to the public during the four hurricanes. Read about it in this week's Industry News.

Also this week, many GIS companies are getting involved in the tsunami disaster relief and response effort. Find out what's new on the emergency response and relief front.

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

Responding to Florida's 2004 Hurricane Season

By Susan Smith

What was GIS used for during Florida's heavy hurricane season in 2004? Jon Hansen of Autodesk, and former Assistant Rescue Fire Chief for Oklahoma City, best known for being the “voice” of Oklahoma City during the Murrah Building bombing, is well versed in dealing with emergency response in critical situations. According to Hansen, during the hurricanes, GIS was employed for the preparation or pre-impact damage assessment, during impact and post-impact for search and rescue, damage assessment and throughout the ordeal, and getting critical information to the public during the four hurricanes.


Screen capture of the public site at a time when Hurricane Ivan was just about ready to make landfall. Notice the school closings, for example.
Of course, any solutions are reliant on what stage of the disaster they are called upon to respond to, which depends upon advance notice. In one Florida county, Hansen said, a MapGuide system had been developed to prepare for the onslaught of the recent hurricanes. MapGuide is designed to manage and distribute geospatial information across the internet to all team members, emergency responders and the public. The system, consisting of Crisis Command on top of MapGuide, with information on predesignated shelters, evacuation routes, is also capable of doing some analysis on predicting some storm surges and damage. It also has built in warning systems. “If a storm hit in a certain area
and it
was a category 2,3, 4, etc., they could load that in the system and get a pretty good idea what buildings would be damaged, so they could plan before the hurricane hit how they were going to restore some of that critical infrastructure once the hurricane had past,” said Hansen.

A MapGuide based
website in the Florida Emergency Operation Center (EOC) allowed Florida citizens statewide to log on and get the latest information on the status of the storm, what precautions to take, some evacuation routes, and shelter identification. Autodesk Applications Engineer Curtis Egli was able to identify problems and make improvements in the couple of days preceding the hurricane, as well critique afterwards to see what could be done better if it should happen again. According to Egli, the EOC already had a good system in place, so he simply worked with their technical staff at the EOC making changes and adjustments.

Because there were a number of different kinds of solutions and software used for disaster response, Autodesk has been working to put together solutions that will handle all of the emergency response needs and integrate the different solutions--from a GIS perspective and a CAD perspective. The goal is to gather information from inside and outside the building and compile it in one great set of emergency response software. “We used this technology during the response to the Oklahoma City Murrah Building bombing,” noted Hansen. “We're working on getting a complete suite of options to the emergency responder so that he or she can help make decisions prior to the incident
happening, during the incident happening, and to help try to recover from the incident as well.”

“After Hurricane Charley hit, we went down to Florida to see what some of the needs were and to look at what some of the emergency responders were using,” Hansen said. “We found that some emergency responders were just using paper maps--some they'd drawn prior to the event to do some grid searches in terms of searching buildings right after the storm had passed.” Of course, the type of emergency response systems used by responders varied from county to county.

Egli said that the Autodesk products such as MapGuide and Crisis Command formed a solution that worked as an information hub for longtime Autodesk customer, Florida EOC. Autodesk Crisis Command is designed for first responders and emergency response officials and provides functionality for incident reporting and notification, administration, work orders and time reports, critical asset tracking, resource information, pre-planning, dynamic 3D visualization and command and control, besides fire-specific capabilities. In concert with MapGuide, the EOC was able to create, update and disseminate maps and geospatial data about the hurricanes to all involved parties who had an internet browser.

As the EOC knew there would be more hurricanes coming (that geographical area is known as “the Bowling Alley”), they asked Autodesk to look at their existing system and see if they could make it more effective during the 2004 hurricane season. Primary objectives included:
1) assessing the system and determining what could be done to alleviate the “funnel” that occurred where only a few people had access to the files. This presented a bottleneck of problems when, for example, a person only needs a plot, but because of the funnel where only a few people know how to do one task, they can't get the work done that they need quickly enough. In a disaster where there are a lot of people all trying to respond to it and react to it, they don't get what they need in terms of the information and planning that needs to happen ASAP.

2) Creating a centralized information “hub” that could be accessed on different levels by multiple people using a browser.
Egli's job was to evaluate the system and make it “less of a funnel.” “Our solution is about making an information hub that multiple people can zoom into to see the resources and where they stand.” Field data came in as a constant flow for a variety of assets and personnel. For example they needed to track tree cutters, trucks of ice, trucks of plywood, generators, etc. as well as status of school closings, hotel room availability, government closures, county evacuation status and local state of emergency. With the information hub, “they can see where they need to move their own folks, plywood or tree cutters or ice, etc. They can make their own decisions
without having to query the few
people who would be running desktop applications that are not Autodesk solutions.”

The Florida EOC is allowed to call on any personnel they need from other agencies during a time of disaster. Egli reported that in the GIS lab where he was working, there was a full time staff comprised of network operators, system administrators and the GIS coordinator, only a few of whom were full timers, the rest had been grabbed out of the other agencies and asked to come help. Those agencies included the Department of Health, Animal Control, and Department of Environmental Protection. In a case like this where they knew what the disaster could be and were preparing for it, the staff from those agencies would be assigned to the areas they knew best. For example, the Department of Health
people would be involved in mass care, and evacuation of nursing homes and other facilities to empty facilities such as schools and auditoriums. They would also take stock of what was needed in the temporary facility such as blankets, ice, etc.

“Our solution sits in the middle of these disparate systems, and each one of these people from differing agencies would bring their own tool with them. If they were using ArcGIS, they could set up in another cubicle and continue to use what they already were using,” said Egli. “But then our solution would sit in the middle and point at their graphic files, so if they drew a boundary, for example, and if they put something in the database about 32 blankets, or 14 tons of ice, we would point at it. Somebody tapping in who is not a computer guru, or another 100 or 1,000 people who needed to know where those blankets were had the authority to see both the map and the database
behind it. So without having to go into the GIS lab, people could make decisions on moving resources around.”

The Florida EOC are responsible for hurricanes and any kind of disaster, and have broken down their MapGuide site into different business units such as:
a. Military Support,

b. Communications,

c. Hazardous Materials,

d. Food & Water,

e. Energy,

f. Fire Fighting / Search & Rescue,

g. Mass Care / Health,

h. Operations,

i. Meteorology,

j. Information & Planning,

k. Public Information (press briefings and PR),

l. Volunteers & Donations,

m. Law Enforcement,

n. Animal Protection,

o. Finance & Administration,

p. Logistics (such as generators coming into the region and new sites of operations, etc.),

q. Transportation & Public Works,

r. Advanced Recovery
“All of these units with the exception of Finance and Public Information keep maps and databases of assets associated with their discipline. Many of these were point references on the map that came from a Lat/Long or state plane X/Y,” explained Egli. “Consequently, for example, the Animal Protection unit knows where every farm is that has cows, who owns the farm and how to contact them, etc. All that information can be called up in the MapGuide site. You lay that information over the anticipated / pre-impact windswath from the Meteorology Unit and you can make decisions for your unit.”

Hurricanes move slowly while out at sea, but once they make landfall they speed up. The EOC breaks down the analysis of the event to pre-impact and post-impact. “On pre-impact, the meteorological unit would say here's where we predict it will make landfall, it is a category 4 and will have 135 mph winds. Then the people who are in charge of the tree cutters, for example, to get trees off electrical wires, deployed the tree cutters to get on the edge of the hurricane, park and wait it out. When post-impact happens they're already there to respond with the tree cutting. We also saw 15 or so generators
that can power whole hospitals going deeper into the area.” Coordinating such events as making sure those generators got there, and that they were already in place before the hurricane hit so they were as close as could be without getting damaged, and they had enough fuel to be able to fill back up with diesel once that was gone, are all issues that needed to be dealt with efficiently during and after the hurricane.

Breaking down the complexity of the response effort into units made it easier to find critical information when it was needed.

Customizing in Preparation for Multiple Hurricanes

Some of the customizations that the Autodesk made on the system were an address finder, status of hotels so people could be properly routed, and a farming mechanism that would route data into a more robust database. The EOC has two websites, one internal site that has power plants, farms, nursing homes, etc., and then they have a public site that only has a few layers exposed, such as the map with the evacuation layers exposed, and typical boundaries such as for counties. They expose about five layers that are changing on the hour, depending upon what the database says, and the five layers are school closings by county, government closings, EOC status, hotels being full or not. “If
you were
getting evacuated out of county A and were going to be sent to County C you could look at this and see that all the hotels there were already full. You wouldn't spend your time calling every single hotel in that county, you would then call the next county instead.”

Egli set up a farming mechanism that would take collected data about the hotels from Excel to a SQL server so that MapGuide could query it instead of querying spreadsheets. This served as a master database to pull all information into. Another engineer set up an address finder in the public site so that users could type in their own address and jump down to their own address without having to see a map of Florida and zoom down to Tampa or wherever to see what their status was.

Consequences Assessment Tool Set (CATS) software developed by ESRI and SAIC, generated shapefiles of windswath and surge. Surge is the waves against the shores, and for the windswath CATS would put out a polygon of wind speeds. If you looked at the map it would look like a big red area of polygon and then a big yellow area around it with a green area around that, illustrating wind speeds around the movement of the hurricane. “In MapGuide we would take what they generated in that ESRI file format and lay that over the top of our map so anyone could see at any given time what the wind speeds were and where we were on the map,” Egli explained. “They only exposed that to the
internal folks, not
to the public site. And consequently if you were in charge of getting ice or baby formula to an area you could tell that wind speeds were over 100 miles an hour in this area, so these buildings are probably going to have their roofs blown off. You could assess the extent of damage, and be better informed to come up with solutions.”

The Autodesk team was able to farm this data into the MapGuide system from the desktop application. They created a duplicate MapGuide system and put it on two banks of servers that they rolled out the door and put in an RV to make a mobile unit that could be taken to another location. This could have been very useful had they lost connectivity
or had building damage at the EOC. This type of redundant system can now be restaged in a matter of 20 minutes, if MapGuide is already installed elsewhere.

Technical Challenges

Autodesk Map 3D 2005 was used in the GIS lab to improve the performance of the response time on the MapGuide site and to combine two different key identifying standards used by Florida state workers. “Some reports in place within the EOC used a 5 digit code and some a 7 digit code to identify a county. (The 7 digit FIPS code is the 5 digit county code PLUS the 2 digit State code). This code provides the lookup into the associated database to report back themes of color-coding in the MapGuide system and textual reports of selected items. There were a couple of ESRI products in place that used one or the other so we didn't want to make the ESRI users change the way they were working.
So we
used Autodesk Map 3D 2005 to tag both FIPS codes (5 & 7 digit) onto each county polygon boundary before saving it back out to SHP for use on the MapGuide site. That way we could pass IDs to either database column convention.”

Working with disparate data and people using different file formats was a challenge but one that the EOC and Autodesk had anticipated. “The county boundaries were in ArcView SHP format and were being fed up directly (without translation) into the MapGuide site. But the level of detail (number of vertices along a polygon boundary) was way more detail than was necessary for the zoom level. We imported the SHP file into Autodesk Map 3D 2005, did a 'generalize' and 'simplify' on the polygon boundaries to create a new boundary that was fewer kilobytes, appropriate to web traffic/bandwidths. The resulting boundaries show up much faster in the home owners' browser where they might only
have a
28.8 modem connection. Then we used the original, higher level detail boundary within MapGuide for *close* zoom levels. The resulting Autodesk Map map was exported back out to SHP for posting on the MapGuide site.”

The Advent of Data Sharing

These critical emergency situations invariably point to the need for data sharing, which is a hard concept for many federal, state, county and city agencies to swallow.

Solutions such as Oracle or SQL Server that allow interoperability between disparate systems promise much in the way of cost savings and an ability to streamline the flow of data and disseminate it to many different people. According to Curtis Egli, before pre-impact when Hurricane Ivan shifted and came into Mississippi over the Florida border, it was evident that there would be damage across Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. Florida immediately began to shift over their people and equipment to be able to help other states. The county has granular level information that the state doesn't have, such as where a water pipe is, and so its ability to share that with other agencies is
already vital.

As many experts realize, the main challenge to interoperability and data sharing is changing the way organizations fundamentally operate. Being under siege of hurricanes and other disasters may be just the impetus that government and other agencies need to ensure the safety of our future.

More on the Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief Efforts

Many GIS companies are getting involved in the tsunami disaster relief and response effort. Intergraph Corporation is one of those that has assembled a team of resources and technology dedicated to establishing a geospatial command centre in the areas affected by the disaster.

The company is also offering the use of its software to aid in the organization, management, and delivery of disaster relief. It has established a geospatial support program to provide technical assistance to users. To request assistance, please submit your request to
Email Contact.

In addition, ESRI (Thailand) Co. Ltd. volunteers traveled to the Phangnga province in Thailand to help search teams and analyze the damage using those tools at their disposal-GPS, GIS and remote sensing technology. A command center was established at the Takua Pa district office, in the heart of the most damaged part of Thailand, under the responsibility of the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MONRE). The most critical priority after the tsunami hit was to search for survivors and locate the dead. GIS data was not available but maps were generated of one-square kilometer sections of the area and printed up. Orthophotos were included in the maps along with vector data
containing local landmarks and data layers from ArcData Thairoad.

At the UK
MapAction website, maps are freely available for disaster relief and development agencies along with any other bona fide user.

According to Applied Analysis Inc. of Billerica, Massachusetts, contaminated sediment has impacted a large number of inland water bodies in a tsunami-affected area of Porto Nova, India, near Sri Lanka, and is evident more than two kilometers offshore in the Indian Ocean. Revealed in an analysis of recent satellite
imagery from IKONOS processed by Applied Analysis, was the devastating impact to local water quality. The technology measures clarity of water, and can process images to determine potentially clean water sites by showing suspended mineral and chlorophyll content.

As additional satellite imagery becomes available, this technology will be helpful in the near term by identifying potential clean water sites, as well as those areas with the highest concentrations of likely contaminants. In the weeks and months ahead, the same process can be used to determine the overall impact on aquaculture zones and, in offshore waters, the extent of sediment and debris that will most certainly affect the reefs and other living organisms so prevalent in the area.

In a National Geographic article, Tsunami Redraws Indian Ocean Maps , author Brian Handwerk described the impact of the tsunami on the geographic features of the Indian Ocean - both above and beneath the water's surface.


Telenor Satellite Services and Global Relief Technologies LLC(GRT) of Portsmouth, NH, are working with International Medical Corps (IMC) to provide an integrated support system for immediate collection and dissemination of in-the-field data and information.

Tele Atlas, a provider of digital map data and location content, and Clear Channel Radio, announced that they will provide Clear Channel-Tele Atlas dynamic traffic content to Audiovox navigation solutions through the use of RDS/TMC - the standard radio broadcast technology for the distribution of traffic and travel information to motorists. The solutions will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 6-9, 2005 in Booth #11006.

ACD Systems International Inc., makers of ACDSee(TM) photo management software and Canvas(TM) technical illustration software, announced its affiliation with the ESRI(TM) Business Partner Program.


IKONOS has taken thousands of images this year, and Space Imaging is asking the public to help pick the 10 most spectacular images of 2004. This is the fifth year Space Imaging has named the Top 10 Images, but it's the first time the public has been asked to help select the Top 10 Images through voting.

Online voting for the Top 10 Images can be easily done
here. To make the job a little easier, Space Imaging pre-selected 23 images to choose from. The final Top 10 Images of 2004 will be announced in late January.

Cadcorp has announced that during the Association for Geographic Information (AGI) annual dinner and awards ceremony, held on 25 November, 2004 in London, its business partner ISL won the AGI Innovation and Best Practice in the Private Sector Award 2004, sponsored by Oracle.

IONIC has been awarded a GSA IT schedule contract to make IONIC's Open Geospatial (OGC) compliant “RedSpider” products available to US federal and other agencies that use the GSA schedule. The GSA Schedules are the premiere buying tool for the U.S. Government, the largest customer in the world. This contract will simplify and speed acquisition and payment processes as well as decrease red-tape bureaucracy for buyers looking to implement OGC standards-based solutions.

Advantica has been awarded a contract by Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison) for the design and implementation of a pipeline integrity information management system (PIIMS). The four-phase project involves the establishment of a geospatially-enabled system based on Advantica's family of Uptime™ integrity management products that will encompass all of Con Edison's transmission mains.


SANZ Inc. Geospatial Solutions Group, provider of spatial data provisioning solutions, announced the completion of the implementation of its EarthWhere(TM) Spatial Data Provisioning software for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) - Albuquerque District, Albuquerque, N.M. By enabling access to vital imagery datasets, this implementation will facilitate inter-agency collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Rocky Mountain Mapping Center, as well as a number of other partners (including federal, state, county, city, university, and tribal agencies).

The new live training seminar from ESRI Virtual Campus, “Geoprocessing CAD Data with ArcGIS,” is designed for users who are familiar with ArcGIS Desktop software and want to know more about integrating computer-aided design (CAD) data into their geographic information system (GIS) as well as experienced CAD users who are new to ArcGIS. The free seminar will take place on February 17, 2005, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced keynote speakers for GeoSpatial World 2005 will be Intergraph CEO and President, Halsey Wise; Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions President, Preetha Pulusani; and The Delphi Group President and Co-founder, Thomas Koulopoulos. Themed "Enabling the Spatial Enterprise," the fifth annual conference will be held April 26-28 in San Francisco, Calif. The international training and management conference, sponsored by Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and the
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced Water Department of Cobb County, Georgia, has deployed Intergraph's mobile resource management (MRM) solutions to automate the sorting and routing of work orders and to track, manage and assign jobs to field crews performing routine maintenance and troubleshooting on the Department's network of water and wastewater assets.

The State of Oregon has formally endorsed the GIS Certification Institute's (GISCI) certification program for GIS professionals. Oregon has joined North Carolina as the two states to offer endorsements of the program. During the early months of the GIS certification, Oregon kept close tabs on its development and was the first to consider the GISCI program and its value to GIS practitioners within the state. Even before the program went live, the state analyzed the GISP requirements to ensure it provided the necessary rigor and assessment they desired from a GIS certification program. Finding that to be the case, the Council adopted the GISCI certification as part of its GIS
professional certification strategy.

MapInfo Corporation, provider of location-intelligence solutions, will hold its first quarter fiscal 2005 conference call on Thursday, January 20, 2005 at 10:00AM (EST). The conference call will be Webcast live at
www.mapinfo.com/investors or
www.vcall.com. The first quarter earnings announcement will be issued at 7:00 AM (EST) on January 20, 2005.

Sun Microsystems, Inc. reported results for its fiscal second quarter, which ended December 26, 2004.

Revenues for the second quarter were $2.843 billion, a decrease of 1.6 percent as compared with $2.888 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2004. Total gross margin as a percent of revenues was 42.3 percent, an increase of 0.5 percentage points as compared with the second quarter of fiscal 2004. Net profit for the second quarter of fiscal 2005 was $19 million or $0.01 per share as compared with a net loss of $125 million or a net loss of $0.04 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2004. This Q2 fiscal 2005 profit includes a charge of $24 million for previously announced workforce and real estate restructuring, a $9 million gain on
equity investments, and a $6 million benefit for related tax effects. Excluding these amounts, net income for Q2 fiscal 2005 on a non-GAAP basis was $28 million or $0.01 per share as compared with a net loss, on a non-GAAP basis, in Q2 fiscal 2004 of $99 million or a net loss of $0.03 per share.

Cash generated from operating activities was $52 million for the quarter, and the cash and marketable debt securities balance increased to $7.464 billion.

DigitalGlobe(R) announced that Kearny County, Kan. retained the Native Communities Development Corp. (NCDC) to use DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite image products for mapping Tamarisk, an invasive plant species that has infested the banks of the Arkansas River. The effective management of Tamarisk has critical implications for human water supply, wildfire prevention and environmental preservation.
Tamarisk, also known as Salt Cedar, is a non-native shrub that has invaded stream banks and waterways throughout the southwestern United States. It consumes about twice the amount of water as native plants and dries up water sources by lowering water tables.

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) has recently posted the application materials for its prestigious Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIGTM) Awards. The awards recognize exceptional achievements in the application of information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services. Applications may be submitted in two categories, Single Process and Enterprise Systems.

Applications must be submitted by June 6, 2005. Winners in each category will be recognized at URISA's 43rd Annual Conference, October 9-12, 2005 in Kansas City, Missouri.

For more information or to review last year's winning submissions, visit the
website or call (847) 824-6300.

Association of American Geographers announced that Barry Lopez, National Book Award winning author of Arctic Dreams; Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator and Undersecretary of State and current President of the United Nations Foundation; and Chip Groat, Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, will address the more than 5,000 attendees expected at our 2005 Annual Meeting, to be held in Denver from April 5 to 9, 2005. The meeting kicks off the AAG's second century of geographic research, education, and applications.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced that the exhibit floor for its Annual Conference 28 is more than three-quarters sold out. With more than 7 weeks to go before the event, set for March 6-9, 2005, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, over 75 percent of available exhibit space has been assigned to exhibitors.


Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping division announced Jim Farley has joined the company as Vice President, Business Development. Leveraging his rich, diverse background in the geospatial information industry, Farley will continue building Leica Geosystems' position as the provider and partner of choice for all geospatial solutions.

Tele Atlas announced the addition of two key new members to its global Executive Team: Bruce D. Radloff as Chief Technology Officer (CTO); and, Michael J. Mitsock as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). These senior executives round out the staff of President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) George Fink, and complete the senior-level team driving growth and expansion arising from the company's refinancing and the acquisition of Geographic Data Technology (GDT) in mid-2004.

New Products

Blue Marble Geographics is pleased to announce an update to their GeoTransform software developer tool kit 5.1. Blue Marble has been writing GIS software tools and solutions for over 10 years and considers GeoTransform a great addition to any geographic software development project.

Ricoh Corporation launched the Pro G3. The Pro G3 is a high-resolution digital camera that embeds captured images with GPS coordinate information received from either its on-board GPS unit or from external GPS devices.

MM Postman, a solution developed by mapping and digital information specialist MapMechanics will benefit organizations whose employees do house-to-house deliveries by developing the most efficient walking routes for staff. With the launch of SmartVector by MapMechanics, digital mapping in advanced vector point-and-line format can now be delivered over intranets or the Internet to Web browsers. When vector mapping is viewed in most browser-based GIS systems, the user receives a raster image which has been created from the vector on the server. Now, with new SmartVector from GeoConcept, the definition of the vector data can be sent to the browser and recreated locally, so some of the
processing is performed at the client end using an ActiveX plug in.

Trimble introduced the Trimble(R) S6 Total Station, an advanced surveying instrument based on a completely new design platform. The cable-free Trimble S6 Total Station includes new features for surveying applications -- Trimble MagDrive(TM), SurePoint(TM) and MultiTrack(TM) technologies.

Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. introduced the iQue 3600a, the first Palm Powered(TM) aviation device that is ready to navigate right out of the box. The iQue 3600a package includes a yoke-mounted cradle as well as built-in basemap, terrain, obstacle and Jeppesen® databases -- all of which turn this full-featured PDA into an aviation navigator without any complicated set-up procedures. In addition, the device features all of the automotive turn-by-turn capabilities and personal information management (PIM) applications of Garmin's iQue product line.

Idevio announced that RaveGeo is available for ArcGIS. This means that ESRI users now can benefit from fast, streaming access of geographic data, something that previously only been available in advanced military systems.

ESRI announced the release of ArcGIS 9.0.1 . This release represents the latest version of ESRI's integrated collection of GIS software products for building a complete GIS for organizations. With the release of ArcGIS 9.0.1, ESRI extends the supported platforms for ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Engine, and ArcIMS ArcMap Server from Windows-based operating systems to the Linux and Solaris platforms. ArcGIS 9.0.1 also updates the ArcIMS Web Map Service (WMS) Connector.

NowAuto, Inc. announced that it has begun shipping Navicom GPS tracking units to distributors and retailers across the US. Navicom has recently changed its sales model to become a supplier to distributors and retailers rather than direct sales. This strategy should significantly increase sales, lower costs, and generate greater monthly service fees. The program is expected to increase Navicom's subscriber base significantly in 2005.

u-blox AG announced the introduction of the new GPS receiver module: TIM-LL. This new programmable OEM GPS receiver module with ANTARIS(R) technology is an improved and cost-optimized version of the TIM-LP, first introduced by u-blox in 2003.

@Road(R), Inc., provider of mobile resource management (MRM) services, announced the launch of the @Road Solution Suite for Transportation and Distribution, a comprehensive set of bundled services and features that combines GPS tracking, route compliance, electronic driver logs, vehicle diagnostics and more.

Letters from Readers


Re-Autodesk Product

Autodesk Loyalty Program: Mark Strassman didn't mention that you can only get it [the upgrade discount] if you pay for a subscription too. So you get the AutoCAD at a discount but then have to pay to go on subscription too. So it works out to being around a 20% discount. Although you get the next release as part of that subscription.

It's confusing!

Martyn Day

Autodesk's response: Any customer - not just subscription customers - with a product that retires but doesn't qualify for the step-up program, can participate in the Legacy program.

Hi Susan,

I just wanted to say congratulations on the 100th issue of GISWeekly! What a great accomplishment!! AND congratulations on your new position at AECWeekly! This must be a very exciting time for you. I look forward to working with you again soon.

Take care,

Jamie Lee

Waggener Edstrom

Email Contact

Around the Web

Motorola Partners with Sunglass Maker Oakley, January 14, 2005, CNET News.com --Motorola has been making deals lately to jazz up its image. The deal with Oakley, a company that makes sunglasses and other accessories, is part of a plan to create wearable Bluetooth-enabled communication products. Motorola recently cut a deal with a Burlington, Vt. Clothing manufacturer to develop outerwear that uses interactive cell phone and portable music technology.

Scientists Watch for Iceberg Collision Reuters, by James Gruebel, January 17, 2005 - Scientists were watching for a collision between a giant iceberg and an Antarctic glacier, which could free up sea lanes to America's McMurdo Station and help penguins reach crucial feeding areas.

How do you stop a disaster becoming a crisis?, Reuters AlertNet, January 17, 2005, by Katherine Alerie - Natural disasters have killed about 730,000 people in the past 10 years, taking into account the Indian Ocean tsunami. But the death toll is coming down due to better preparation and prevention. Simple measures -- even in the poorest communities -- can save lives, from early warning systems, evacuation and rescue training to first aid.

Upcoming Events

GIS 2005 Ostrava

Date: January 23 - 26, 2005

Place: VSB-Technical University of Ostrava, Institute of Geoinformatics Czech Republic
By interoperability to mobility

DistribuTECH 2005

Date: January 25 - 27, 2005

Place: San Diego, CA USA

Make plans now to attend the 15th annual DistribuTECH, the leading utility industry event. Now encompassing automation and control systems, IT, T&D engineering, power delivery equipment and water utility technology, no other event can provide you with more of the current resources, tools and networking opportunities in today's utility industry than DistribuTECH.

A 3-Day Summit on Internet Protocol version 6. The Summit will be in coordination with the Department of Defense's Day of IPv6. Leaders in industry, military, government, academia and research are coming together to discuss the deployment of IPv6 and the future of the "New Internet." There will also be an exhibit hall filled with cutting edge IPv6 technology.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.