February 16, 2004
Microsoft MapPoint Web Service 3.5 Debuts
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| 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 week Microsoft MapPoint Web Service 3.5 was released for developers. With the Web Service, the customer doesn't have to manage data locally. It's managed for them in the Web Service using the interactive visual tools. See what it's about in this week's Industry News.
In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau released some mouthwatering statistics about Valentine's Day, and the New Products section features a review of Thales' Navigation's MobileMapper GPS/GIS unit. GISWeekly will, from time to time, review products of interest to our readers. Next week look for details on an
made by DigitalGlobe and Keyhole of an a agreement to provide DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite imagery and Keyhole's Internet-based 3D earth visualization solutions to customers. Following that will be a review of Keyhole, a decision support tool for business people that takes advantage of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery.
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, Alliances/Acquisitions, Announcements, Appointments/Resignations, New Products, Going on 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
Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Microsoft MapPoint Web Service 3.5 Debuts
By Susan Smith
This week Microsoft MapPoint Web Service 3.5 was released for developers. I spoke with Steve Lombardi, Technical Evangelist for the Microsoft MapPoint Business Unit about the new release.
Here's an overview of what the Web Service features:
*No user interface constraints
*Developers can work on a lot of different platforms such as all Windows platforms, LINUX, and programming languages from Visual Basic to JAVA.
*The Web Service comes with all the cartographic, point of interest data built right in. Developers can start in right away by using simple APIs to do maps and reverse geocoding
Interestingly, we are told almost simultaneously what the product is not as well as what it is.
The most important new enhancements of MapPoint Web Service version 3.5 are:
1) Updated map data for Europe and North America with new countries added
2) New API functionality which includes the capability to search for points of interest along a route, allowing for powerful proximity searches. This is referred to as “Find along route functionality” - business travelers using an application built by an enterprise, can build a trip covering the territory, say, from Houston to Dallas and may want to do a “find along that route” within five miles of that route, looking for wi-fi hot spots, for example. “This is a feature that was in the Vicinity platform that we migrated into MapPoint Web Service,” explained Lombardi. “Not only is it a great feature for mobility but also is great for the Vicinity
customers who used it on the Vicinity platform and who want to now migrate over to the MapPoint platform.”
3) The Customer Service site has been improved to handle customer data better. “At the Customer Service site, our developers can not only do things like manage their accounts, or transactions, they can do all kinds of sophisticated reporting to find out what are their most popular query locations and things like that,” according to Lombardi, adding: “But what's really cool is the addition of data management features. In the past an organization could do some basic data management. We had a batch geocoder here that was free for their use. They could upload an Excel spreadsheet of addresses or other attribute information for stores who have automatically batch geocoded and
made available for use
in their private accounts. Now we have full interactive data editing that includes the spatial data as well as other attribute data, so they can upload their data, their points of interest into the service and then visually manage and give them away to store managers who may have local knowledge of where a store is really located or an automated geocoder may put it at the end of the block. It's really a shopping mall down at the other corner. Because it's a huge block and there's a mall there - that's where the store manager out in the field can use this tool and visually move the point around. Finally there is the ability to automatically upload their data to the service.”
All this was a manual drag-and-drop operation in the past, Lombardi said, a capability which is still available, yet now the customer can choose to do it interactively on the Customer Service site. A lot of organizations wanted to automate the upload of their data into the MapPoint Web Service which this new API allows them to do. For example, someone managing their data with an Oracle database, or a SQL server database wants to use it with MapPoint Web Service can now do a nightly job run that exports the data and imports it silently up into the MapPoint Web Service and it's immediately ready for use.
4) Enhanced proximity searching and advanced filter expressions allow users to query points of interest or place data, as demonstrated in 2).
5) Enhanced support for rendering maps on mobile devices is included. New map styles for Smartphones and Pocket PCs allow users to easily view maps on mobile devices and also are available in high resolution for printing purposes.
The MapPoint Web Service should not be confused with MSN Maps & Directions; “it's a lot more than just a viewer locator platform,” concluded Lombardi. The product is optimized to be used with MapPoint Location Server, a product that is still under development. “We're really pushing into enterprise applications. Our dealer locator market is certainly strong and it will continue to be that way, but we're definitely going to push for enterprise applications for both intranets, individual desktops as well as mobility applications or the enterprise.”
Also, it should not be confused with Microsoft MapPoint 2004 which is a business mapping product. MapPoint 2004 is a mapping tool for the marketer who wants to be able to drag and drop a set of market results for mass mailing and see how they did region by region.
Pricing really hasn't changed: still platform access starts at $8,000 per year. For this amount an organization gets ½ million transactions on the Web Service. For higher volume applications where they need more than ½ million they can purchase additional transactions in buckets of 100,000 and that starts at about a penny/per transaction and they scale down to about a ½ penny transaction, for higher volume. MapPoint Location Server will be a component of MapPoint Web Service and therefore there will be no extra charge for it.
With the Web Service, the customer doesn't have to manage data locally. It's managed for them in the Web Service using the interactive visual tools. “Someone without GIS experience can geocode a large dataset, get it set up in a web application or mobile application,” Lombardi pointed out. “It's really easy for someone using the same API and dataset they've uploaded to perform the same functionality or more consumer focused functionality on a pocket PC or perhaps a Smartphone. This is what a business user might use when they're mobile to locate hotspots or they may want to take out their phone and do a quick search based on their current location for a hotspot so they can
drive there and sync their mail over broadband as opposed to the narrow band of their phone.”
Lombardi also illustrated that MapPoint Web Service is on its own merit, a developer tool designed for developers to build very user friendly applications for end users and consumers. The MapPoint Web Service enables developers to integrate location-based services, such as maps, driving directions and proximity searches, into their applications and business processes.
A big selling point for this product is its service level agreement, according to Lombardi. The Web Service must be up and bullet proof, “no one else offers service level agreement, guaranteed uptime and performance, guaranteed since service has gone live, no planned downtime, intentionally for any kind of maintenance.” Microsoft has a large server farm, and is prepared to handle high volume websites. The same IT group that hosts Microsoft.com and MSN.com hosts MapPoint servers as well. “That's how we secure that the system doesn't go down at all.”
A couple of years ago, Microsoft acquired Vicinity and integrated their sales team into the MapPoint team, which apparently helped strengthen MapPoint's technology team and has combined the advantages of both platforms into the Microsoft MapPoint Web Service. The Vicinity platform will be phased out by December 2004 and MapPoint will continue to sign contract renewals for the Vicinity platform until mid-2004. A QuickStart program was designed to help Vicinity customers to migrate quickly from the Vicinity platform to MapPoint WebService.
Sanborn CEO John Copple announced that the company, a geographic information system (GIS) and photogrammetric services industry company, has won two update mapping projects-one in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and one in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Both cities have an existing GIS, rely heavily on the technology, and are looking to enhance their systems with updated data.
With the approval of the Board of Trustees, the Northeast Ohio Sewer District will partner with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in a grant funded research effort that will develop better tools to predict beach water quality. Specifically, the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) has accepted the District's request for $202,958 over a three-year period to improve the science of recreational water-quality monitoring and prediction. The District will provide $30,000 in matching grant funds as well as $20,000 in kind services in the form of sample collection, lab analysis, technical assistance and grants management. The District and USGS will conduct the study at
three area beaches: Edgewater and Villa Angela in Cleveland and Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula.
LizardTech, Inc. announced three key U.S. resellers for its geospatial image solution, GeoExpress 4.0 with MrSID. They are: California CAD Solutions, GeoData Services, and GIS Workshop. LizardTech and Mapping Science announced that they have reached a settlement in LizardTech's ongoing lawsuit for claims against Mapping Science for misappropriation of trade secrets. As part of the settlement agreement, Mapping Science will cease its operations and transfer all assets to LizardTech. LizardTech will assume responsibility for support and transition of Mapping Science's existing customers.
ITT Industries, Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) business from Eastman Kodak Company for $725 million, significantly broadening its own well-established space payload and service product offering for U.S. military as well as other science, government and commercial customers. RSS is the world's leading supplier of high-resolution satellite imaging systems and image information processing services. The combination of the two businesses will create a full-spectrum satellite payload provider with the latest visible and infrared satellite imaging technology in the $6 billion remote sensing market. The transaction is
subject to U.S. regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, in collaboration with the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE), announced the second Intergraph research grant opportunity for AGILE members. The grant is open to any member using or intending to use Intergraph's GeoMedia(R), IntelliWhere or ZI technology as the foundation for geographic information science (GIS) research. The Intergraph Research Grant Program will award $5,000 (U.S.) cash funding and a $50,000 software donation in recognition of an exceptional and innovative applied research proposal submitted by an AGILE member in an effort to further the implementation and evolution of GIS.
Thales Navigation announced that it has received the CNET Editors' Choice award for its Magellan(R) RoadMate(TM) 700, the first portable vehicle navigation system to deliver built-in nationwide map detail for seamless coast-to-coast routing. The Magellan RoadMate 700 provides voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions and a color, touch-screen display for unrivaled ease of use, plus WAAS accuracy so drivers are precisely guided to their destination.
NavCom Technology, Inc. announced that its strategic partner C&C Technologies, Inc. has entered into a service contract with the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide GPS service for use in defense and government bathymetric surveying. Terms of the contract provide for C&C Technologies to supply its C-Nav® GcGPS (Globally-corrected GPS) positioning services, equipment and training to the Royal Navy Hydrographic Squadron.
Tele Atlas announced that it has teamed with Space Machine, Inc., to power Space Machine's latest Release 3 of the PocketMap Navigator USA 2004. The PocketMap Navigator is a powerful yet easy-to-use GPS navigation software for the Pocket PC that conveniently travels with users wherever they go. With this new Release 3, PocketMap Navigator users can now enjoy stunningly brilliant 3D visual maps with advanced text-to-speech voice instructions at every turn for an overall satisfying navigation experience.
Happy Valentines Day! From the U. S. Census Bureau comes this tidbit of information: One legend has it that Valentine's Day originated to commemorate the anniversary of the death of St. Valentine, a Roman clergyman who was executed on Feb.14, about 270 A.D. for secretly marrying couples in defiance of the emperor. According to another, the holiday began as a Roman fertility festival. Americans probably began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther Howland (1828-1904), a native of Massachusetts, began to sell the nation's first mass-produced valentines.
Since then, 1,040 locations produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2001. These
establishments employed 45,913 people. California led the nation in the number of such establishments (with 116) followed by Pennsylvania (with 107).
There were 3,839 confectionery and nut stores in the United States in 2001. They are among the best sources of sweets for Valentine's Day. And if you wondered why you haven't lost that extra 20 pounds, in 2002 alone the per capita consumption of candy by Americans is 24 pounds. A large portion of that candy is consumed around Valentine's Day, but candy consumption has actually declined over the last few years: in 1997, each American gobbled or savored more than 27 pounds of candy a year.
And lest we dwell too much on our stomachs this Valentine's Day, the wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers in 2002 for operations with $100,000 or more in sales was $410 million. Among states, California was the leading producer, alone accounting for about two-thirds of this amount ($279 million).
InfoMapper, powered by Earth Resource Mapping's Image Web Server, is a new breed of Internet application that makes full use of the government's Broadband initiative to provide all schools with Broadband Internet Connectivity. Based on Ordnance Survey Digital Maps and Aerial Photography, InfoMapper provides a way of viewing large images online as well as a mechanism whereby all InfoMapper users can create their own websites, linked to digital maps and photographs. InfoMapper has been recently short listed for the UK's educational industry's prestigious BETT award.
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced E.ON Bayern AG (E.ON) has chosen Intergraph's G/Net, the company's next-generation G/Technology-based industryware for German utilities, as the company standard for consolidating its electric facilities network data. Serving more than two million customers and the largest regional power supplier in Germany, E.ON produces approximately 30 billion kilowatt hours over a 165,000-kilometer network. G/Net will replace five existing systems with an open, integrated solution, which will significantly reduce operational costs through savings on maintenance and administration expenditures and standardize internal operational processes -
project engineering, building and operational management of the company's facilities. In addition, the new system will provide consistent and up-to-date information about the company's power network, which will optimize workflows and lead to additional cost savings.
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions' (NASDAQ:
) Cartographic Excellence Awards Program is now accepting entries. The competition recognizes innovative, technically advanced mapping projects and Internet presentations created by cartographers and mapping professionals worldwide using Intergraph's technology. For complete competition guidelines, award information or to download an entry form, visit
World 2004, visit
DMTI Spatial announced their panel for the Great Canadian Mapping Challenge $10,000 Scholarship Program. Papers will be reviewed by experts from government, private industry, academia, and publishing. The eleven judges will review submissions made from September 1, 2003 to April 30, 2004 with the scholarships being awarded in July 2004. The scholarship is an invitation for students from all disciplines to submit a paper that uses Geographic Information System (GIS) tools as well as DMTI Spatial datasets.
Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) continues to prepare for its Annual Conference 27, set for April 25-28, 2004, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center in Seattle, Wash. One of the premier geospatial events of the year, this year's conference will follow the theme “Information, Strategy, Vision
Building Performance for a New Age.”
Garmin Ltd. announced record revenue and earnings for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 27, 2003.
According to Dr. Min Kao, CEO of Garmin Ltd. “Within the consumer segment we experienced 34 percent revenue growth during the fourth quarter and 29 percent during 2003, which led to overall revenue growth of 23% for the year. During the fourth quarter we experienced a 15 percent growth in EPS from the prior year quarter when excluding the effects of foreign currency." Including the effects of foreign currency, the fourth quarter diluted EPS growth rate was 22 percent. Net income for the fourth quarter increased to $54.6 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, compared to $45.5 million or $0.41 per diluted share in the prior year. Foreign currency losses were $6.7 million in 2003.
currency effects, diluted EPS for fiscal year 2003 was $1.69. Including foreign currency effects, diluted EPS for the year was $1.64, which compares to a diluted EPS of $1.32 for fiscal year 2002.
The second annual ESRI Survey and GIS Summit will be held August 7-10, 2004, in San Diego, California. The summit will provide opportunities for both users and surveyors that are nonusers of ESRI technology to learn about integrating surveying and GIS. Land surveyors, engineers, educators, and other professionals will hear about and experience the latest technology advancements and other key issues in the industry.
Last year's summit
was a huge success, according to Mike Weir, Surveying Industry Manager for ESRI.
UCLID Software plans to officially launch its Business Partner Program at the ESRI Business Partner Conference, held March 6 - 9 in Palm Springs, California. The program was developed to better serve end-user needs and strengthen relationships with fellow ESRI Business Partners. IcoMap for ArcGIS, UCLID's time-saving parcel mapping extension, is available to partners at a hefty discount. Visit
to learn more about the UCLID Business Partner Program.
John Copple, chairman of Sanborn, announced that Melinda Brown has joined the company as vice president of marketing, effective immediately. In this position, Brown will be responsible for developing and managing the company's overall marketing strategies and programs. She will report directly to the chairman.
I originally wrote about
, Thales Navigation's new handheld data capture GPS, when I saw it last year at the ESRI Conference, and again when it first debuted. Over the holiday break I had an opportunity to explore it here locally.
The unit has an appealing price point for what it does - it offers GPS, mapping and data capture all in the same package. It has been compared to Trimble's GeoExplorer Series and Leica GPS/GIS technology, but has a $1,500 price tag rather than the high price ($5,000-6,000) of the competing products. Its internal WAAS/EGNOS receiver provides real-time accuracy to within 3 meters, it is smaller than high-end competing products and has a color display. It is positioned between those high end GPS/GIS products and the lower end GPS like Garmin. It has more memory
than a Garmin and data goes directly to digital format.
According to Stig Pedersen of Thales, customers were interested in the GPS/GIS technology but it was too costly to outfit an entire team of field personnel. More people were interested in reusing a lot of the data they already have in the GIS out in the field. Although most users currently using GPS/GIS technology are GIS professionals, Thales hopes that MobileMapper will snag another piece of the market such as utility workers, government employees, and law enforcement officials who can realize some benefit from the use of spatial data in their jobs.
MobileMapper is a waterproof unit and ruggedized, but also lightweight. MobileMapper Office, MobileMapper Transfer and Feature Library Editor software come with the unit (see
). The product does not come with topo maps loaded; however, you can buy Mapsets TOPO USA, and a street database of the whole U.S. from the Magellan side of the company. The unit software is standardized in shapefile format. The MobileMapper Office software will accept any Shapefile and upload it to the MobileMapper receiver. You can also upload background maps to the receiver. For those who want to try it
out, there is a sample job already on the unit that allows you to collect some data such as polygons, points and lines.
As I don't have any ArcView data, I asked Greg Olsen, owner of the Travel Bug here in Santa Fe if he would be so kind as to look at that capability.
The guides and manuals (two print manuals-Read me First and Getting Started Guide) that came with the product were very easy to understand. I could install the batteries and configure the system using the Quick Start Guide, and it was, as promised, quick. I got a fix very quickly, the satellites knew exactly where I was. Also the batteries are supposed to last 8 hours, and I found that they may last even longer in some instances. Although the more in-depth documentation is good, it is a PDF file totaling 128 pages. I think most of the users will find the PDF cumbersome and will want a printed version available from the get-go.
According to Greg, the strength of this product is its ability to directly output to a shapefile and be able to label attributes. The GPS part of the product was very similar to other GPS products on the market.
First, he loaded up MobileMapper Office and clicked on “Download from GPS” to download the GPS data into ArcView. MobileMapper Transfer which can run independently of Office shows you your GPS files on one side and computer files on the other side, and you can simply drag the GPS files over to the hard drive then use Office to open them. It saved lines and waypoints simultaneously. ESRI shape files in full-color maps can also be displayed on the MobileMapper receiver, making it easy for users who are not GIS professionals to work with GIS data sets.
“You really know what you're logging,” said Greg. “You can export GIS data and can export to various file formats. You can take lavish notes onscreen. To have your data show up in ArcView is a big deal.”
Greg mapped a simple trail near his home up and back, and then downloaded it to a USGS aerial photo map he had in ArcView using MobileMapper. He has created an up-to-date street map of Santa Fe in ArcView. In the past, Greg has demoed the Trimble GeoExplorer products and felt that Trimble's touchscreen makes it easier to make field notes than with this unit. Also he felt that Garmin's display was more ergonomically sophisticated. “If you're logging information in the field, a keyboard like on a Palm Pilot or touchscreen would be great.”
But apart from that, Greg found the unit impressive. “If I was doing a lot of data collection,” said Greg, “I'd buy it.”
Thales also offers bicycle mounts and various vehicle mounts for the MobileMapper unit. The ability to be able to take notes onscreen and download it into ArcView simply and easily, coupled with affordable pricing, makes this a product to watch for those whose job it is to collect data and have access to spatial data out in the field.
Bradshaw Consulting Services, Inc. (BCS), a provider of advanced digital solutions for GIS and an ESRI(R) Business Partner, is soon to release its latest product for the Mosquito Control Industry - Mosquito.Mobile - a total Mobile GIS solution providing a seamless integration of office administration and field data collection
Space Imaging released its top 10 images from its IKONOS satellite taken during 2003. The
include Baghdad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom; a 17th-century fortress in Bourtange, Netherlands; El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, Calif.; the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center; Lake Arrowhead during the devastating 2003 California fires; Mount St. Helens, Wash.; the Vatican City, featuring St. Peter's Basilica and Square; the Taj Mahal in India; Akkeshi Lake in eastern Hokkaido, Japan; and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, South Africa, one of the 'Seven Natural Wonders of the World.'
Going on Around the Web...
scientists announced Thursday that they have built a prototype of a silicon chip that can switch light on and off like electricity, blurring the line between computing and communications and bringing sweeping changes to the way digital information and entertainment are delivered.
More on Map India 2004...
I was there at Map India 2004 at the Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi from 28-30 January, 2004.
It was a great show. Around 850 paid delegates were there and about 100 of those were from India. There were several hundred attendees who were invited by different companies and given guest passes.
The companies who participated in the exhibition were: HP, Rolta, Bae Systems, Speck Systems Limited, Elcome Technologies, RMSI, PCI Geomatics, ESRI India, Intergraph and a few small Indian companies.
I attended sessions on Water Resources ( Integration of Thematic Maps Though GIS for Identification of Ground water Potential Zones), Defence & Internal Security, Interoperability ( A practical Implementation of Open GIS standards), GPS, Disaster Management ( An Integrated approach with GIS and remote sensing techniques for landslide hazard Zonation), Technology Trends, Marine Application (Semi-automatic multi-level approach for extraction of tidal channels from aerial photographs and hyperspectral data), Geology(Relationship between Lineaments Identified on Space Images and Epicentres : Case Study Arabian Rift Zone). They were going parallel so it was not possible to attend all at the same
The show was perceived as a successful and useful event by the people who attended.
In all, the show was good and well arranged with good opportunities for people involved with GIS and related technologies.
You can visit this
Date: February 17 - 19, 2004
Place: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL USA
The former A/E/C SYSTEMS International and Computers for Construction have been combined to form a reinvented, revitalized and refocused single event, A|E|C Systems...Technology for Design & Construction.
Date: February 25 - 27, 2004
Place: Charlotte, NC USA
The conference focuses on the effective application of information technology in public works departments. The two-day educational program will feature full day of pre-conference workshops.
Date: March 11 - 12, 2004
Place: Surrey, Canada
Join our two-day (1/3 lecture, 2/3 exercise and problem solving) course and learn to unlock the powerful features of FME to more effectively manage your data translation and data transformation challenges. FME Training can help open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. Questions are encouraged throughout the class and attendees are welcome to bring their own sample data files.
Date: March 11 - 12, 2004
Place: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Join our two-day (1/3 lecture, 2/3 exercise and problem solving) course and learn to unlock the powerful features of FME to more effectively manage your data translation and data transformation challenges. FME Training can help open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. Questions are encouraged throughout the class and attendees are encouraged to bring their own sample data files.
Date: March 16, 2004
Place: Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers New York City, NY USA
Whether you are a power user, developer, manager or are new to using MapInfo, MapWorld 2004 is the place to be.
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here
To read more news, click here
-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.