May 26, 2003
Smart Times at GeoSpatial World
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Message from the Editor

Welcome to GISWeekly! This week's industry news is devoted to coverage of the GeoSpatial World Conference held in New Orleans, May 19-21.

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, Awards, Appointments, New Products, Featured Downloads, Around the Web, and Calendar.

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

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Smart Times at GeoSpatial World

Each conference has a tone, a tone established with each keynote. But even before that keynote, you can gain a feel for the mood of the conference, before you even know what will be discussed.

It was my first time at GeoSpatial World. I regularly attended the IGUG conferences when Intergraph's international user conference encompassed all its product groups. This year's conference was held for the first time in New Orleans, a wild-edged southern city that boasts fried catfish, fried chicken and probably just about anything else you can fry--and some other good things like mint juleps and Cajun food and music. The chill of air conditioning, and sunny, humid days are what the South is about for me. It's green (a color I still miss here in my southwest home). That's the setting, now what about GeoSpatial World?

GeoSpatial World drew over 1,000 attendees from over 40 countries around the world to hear about “Smart Solutions - Smarter Decisions.” The exhibit floor was small, mainly showcasing Intergraph's Mapping and Geospatial Solutions wares, but also those of their partners. Vendor shows have become the norm, the largest of which for GIS is of course, ESRI, which is a fanfare for the common individual in that it really does present a feeling that anyone can do GIS.

You do not get that feeling at GeoSpatial World. Rather, Intergraph has a long profitable history in GIS -- over 30 years experience in this industry with a focus on delivering geospatial technology and industry specific solutions worldwide for very specific markets. Their solutions are highly customizable and the company is very service oriented.

The Keynote

Preetha Pulusani
Intergraph's President of Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions Division (IMGS) Preetha Pulusani gave a broad overview of the company, stating that they had in the past year added an Intellectual Property Division to their various divisions in the company and that Z/I Imaging is now wholly owned by Intergraph. They have a solid balance sheet with virtually no debt. As of Friday, their stock was trading at 21.56, which they are proud of in this tough economy.

IMGS also has worldwide sales management team offices and worldwide distributors. For 2003,
global GIS revenue is forecasted at $1.9 billion with a growth of 8%. Intergraph is the second largest vendor of GIS solutions in the world; and Pulusani assured the audience that, although there will be consolidation in the industry, Intergraph will remain a leading vendor.

Said Pulusani, “We have spent a lot of effort maintaining a vast amount of data, and that data is an undervalued asset today. It could be a true treasure chest as that geospatial information gets used within the business divisions in organizations. The problem is it's in many different formats and systems, and it's not only geospatial data that is important with the organization.”

Because of this, GIS professionals must stop thinking GIS-centric. “We began there,” said Pulusani, “and what we want is for industries to become information-centric.”

This is important because in an enterprise the user only cares about getting the information where it came on. This sets a greater importance on the accuracy and reliability of the database; yet in this context, geodata is just another data type.

“We need to see geospatial become embedded in organizations over time,” Pulusani charged.
“As a community we need to make sure it goes mainstream.”

She stressed the importance of industry standards and for geotechnology and IT to merge. That requires proprietary barriers be removed in organizations, and for organizations to migrate away from the stovepipe solution.

Intergraph has invested in industry standards and is playing a leadership role in the development and adoption of Open GIS specifications. By investing in standards, such as the Spatial Data Infrastructure, metadata, and data access and interoperability (GML), we will have better data, open solutions, enterprise solutions and ROI. “Sharing data means sharing costs and investments and making data available,” said Pulusani.

Intergraph's fundamental vision:

--Data is users' most valuable asset

--Data and application interoperability must exist for this industry to reach its true potential

--The only thing standing between a user and data should be SQL statement no proprietary middleware

Ways in which Intergraph is moving toward achieving this vision:

--With GeoMedia, the company has an “open technology platform”

--Work to strengthen spatial databases by working with Oracle an Workspace Management Systems

--Customization using open development environments

--Exploiting the geospatial web

--Value added partnerships for best of class solutions

--Focus on high performance technology and returns with such products as Digital Mapping Camera, G/Technology. GeoMedia WebMap, and TerraShare

The company offers solutions for geospatial resource management, geospatial data management and cartography, location based services, infrastructure and resource management, land information management, geospatial intelligence and also rely on partners.

The products they offer include the core GeoMedia Desktop products, GeoMedia Web, G/Technology Suite, InServer Suite, IntelliWhere, Digital Cartographic Suite, Map Publisher, Partner Products, and Z/I Imaging products.

In an interview with Preetha Pulusani that afternoon, she expanded on certain areas of her presentation: “We are a solutions company; we are not just selling products we are really delivering solutions which is a combination of the products that we have with services. So we have a rough breakdown where our revenues are: 50/50 services and products.

There was mention of the old Intergraph product MGE, which the company is no longer developing. “We maintain it for our customers, but we are not advancing it. It was developed on MicroStation J, and it's stayed on that. Most of our MGE customers are also GeoMedia customers. They use it in a kind of hybrid mode where they may use MGE for collection of data but they use GeoMedia for web applications and Geomedia Web. We have assured our customers that we will continue to maintain MGE in the long term, and in fact Greg Bentley and I sent a joint letter out to our MGE customers assuring them that that version of MicroStation will be maintained because of MGE. We're not pushing users in
direction, but now a lot of them are considering moving to GeoMedia. One of the fundamental reasons is so they can take advantage of Oracle Spatial and other databases as a database repository and derive the benefits from that.”

GeoMedia also has CAD productivity tools that can capture, validate and collect data but with the power of a database at the back end. Much of the functionality available on some of the legacy products is now available in GeoMedia, with the added advantage of GeoMedia having the database behind it. All the geospatial products work together interoperably. The product is highly customizable.

The new products, according to Pulusani, have drawn customers over the past three years. About 50% are new customers.

“In the utility and telecommunications industries, customers will use G/Technology for their maintenance and WebMap for data distribution,” Pulusani explained. “We need products like GeoMedia and GeoMedia WebMap to be able to access that database and that can also go to an outside database for MapInfo, Autodesk, or MGE data.”

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-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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