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April 14, 2003
Ruggedized Computers, Part 2
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 week's GISWeekly will feature the second story in a two-part series on Ruggedized
Computers. These computers are playing a vital role overseas in the War in Iraq as well as in many industries such as
government, utilities, public safety, construction, transportation and distribution - anywhere a computer can be subjected
to extreme climate conditions, or vibration.

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
Email Contact

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Ruggedized Computers, Part 2

This is the second in a two-part series on ruggedized computers. Many of these computers are being used by the military in
the War in Iraq and GIS industries such as utilities, public safety, construction, transportation and
distribution. Computing devices are now smaller than they have ever been for wartime use, plus they are optimized for
wireless. This week we feature the companies Itronix and Amrel, established vendors who provide ruggedized computers built
to rigorous military standards and customized to serve other various markets.


Today, high speed internet lines allow soldiers and journalists to make connections from almost anywhere. Now digital images
are being delivered from surveillance satellites and spy planes, and computers can transmit position. A networked tracking
system using Wi-Fi bar code scanners and handheld computing systems can track soldiers' supplies such as fuel and
ammunition. Yet ruggedized computers need to be able to do all this and much more.

Itronix, in business for over 20 years, makes a variety of notebook and handheld ruggedized computers. "All we do is
implement wireless mobile computing solutions," claims Matt Gerber, VP Marketing and Business Development for Itronix.

The company's customers include telecommunications, utilities, commercial field service, government - both federal and
non-military and civilian applications as well as city, state and local, as well as the insurance marketplace. GIS related
applications are part of almost all of these markets.

Gerber said that what makes Itronix products different is a very deep set of implementation capabilities. "What that means
is that for most of our customers, in addition to providing them with a rugged computer, we provide them with a whole host
of other things that helps them save money on an implementation, helps them implement a system more quickly and helps them
lower their risk of implementation. Things we do to that effect include helping them cost-justify the project, helping them
plan a project, develop software, integrate wireless capabilities, project management related tasks, aging equipment,
managing their software load, and post sales services, up to and including first line help desk support. We help trouble
shoot hardware as well as provide software."

The small end of the Itronix product family starts with the ultra rugged Q100 which is a QVGA pocket PC ultra rugged
handheld. "The ultra rugged Q100 can be immersed in water, if you wanted to clean it because you dropped it in the mud you
can take a pail of water and literally stick it under water and move it around and pull it out," said Gerber. "It was on CNN
this morning. The host actually dunked it in water for the entire segment as it continued to operate."
Recently the company received an email from a Marine using one of their GoBook laptops who was thrilled because in the
foggy, dusty tent the computer wasn't even affected by the sand and dust.

Because there are varying levels of ruggedization, many customers will ask, "What kind of ruggedized computer do I need to

At the large end of the range is the GoBook MAX, an ultra rugged, wireless notebook computer. The Gobook II notebook
computer was just launched recently as their most advanced wireless rugged computer largely because of its concurrent
support for up to three wireless technologies and its Pentium IV processing power.. They also have a semi rugged notebook
called GoBook Pro, and another handheld called the H206, which is a half VGA rugged computer.

The functionality of the handheld is different from the notebook computer in that there are two very different core
technologies. The handheld uses Microsoft Windows CE Operating System and laptops run Windows XP 2000, what you find on a
standard commodity laptop.

All machines are designed for field use, and used in a variety of environments. "The reason we design different levels of
ruggedization into the machines is typically they are used in different applications," explained Gerber. "The ultra-rugged
GoBook MAX would be used by a soldier on the battlefield. The computer might be in a foxhole or command bunker in all kinds
of weather, sitting in the mud or snow. It's designed for exposure to pretty harsh environments. The GoBook II is designed
for applications where it would be mounted in the vehicle, subject to occasional drops and a lot of vibration."

Dust and water protection are measured by what are called IP ratings - the IP rating denotes just how much dust and water a
machine can withstand. The ultra rugged products are rated IP 65. The machines are sealed depending upon the level of
ruggedization required for that product.

Itronix offers a limited amount of customization, such as unique radios that customers will ask to have integrated into
their computers. The company recently won an award with their partner Trident as part of the latest Defense bill to help the
military develop and deploy "mounted situational awareness systems" - on the handhelds Q100 and H206, used by foot soldiers
in the front lines of the battlefield. This system is a computer attached to what they call a "SYNCGARS" radio that has GPS
capability. The soldier will put his coordinates into a terrain map and at the same time be able to view all of the other
information on the terrain map that's been input by other soldiers at the command headquarters. GPS is part of the system,
so that all the soldiers can see where they are on the map as well as where all the friendlies are and where the enemy and
enemy assets are. That information gets relayed back up to the local command post. Instead of having soldiers relaying voice
information back to him or her, the officer in the command post gets this very accurate and current reading of where
everybody and everything is in the field.


Amrel designs so many types of rugged computers, it wouldn't do the company justice to list them all here. A quick trip to
their website will clarify the various designs that are targeted towards a diverse audience of military/federal, law
enforcement, fire, utilities and telecommunications customers.

Rugged computer units designed for the military must endure rigorous testing to ensure that they are able to withstand
shock, vibration, water, humidity, dust, sand, altitude, temperature extremes and thermal shock. Amrel's Federal Computer
Group (FCG) was established to address the specific needs of the military and federal government. The ROCKY Patriot computer
line of fully rugged laptops, fixed on-board and tablet computers are certified to the MIL-STD-810F, which prescribes
testing that equals the abuse a computer will receive out in the field. The Patriot line is only available to the federal
government and the military and is offered as a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) product The FCG also develops industry
specific solutions based on customers' needs, which they refer to as their "Customized COTS" Program.

According to Linda Talcott, director of marketing at Amrel, the ROCKY Patriot product line is also certified to
MIL-STD-461D, this standard establishes the design requirements for the control of electromagnetic emissions.

Although Amrel has different product lines for law enforcement, utilities, and telecommunications, all their lines have
certain common characteristics. For instance, the notebook has an "Advanced Modular Platform" design - this modular design
allows for easy upgrades, device integration and field servicing. If the unit had a problem you could actually service it by
replacing swappable components (CD-ROM, FDD, HDD etc) rather than having to send the system back in. The motherboard on the
notebook computer can be upgraded easily with a faster CPU and/or higher memory so that for example, three years from now,
customers can just upgrade without having to replace the entire unit. This also saves IT costs since there is no need to
change out new systems, reinstall software, and retrain users on new systems. The notebook also includes a Amrel's unique
"Fault Tolerant Isolation" Design, an encapsulation process that seals internal chambers, providing special protection
against water and dust penetrating to the motherboard.

Amrel's fixed on-board computer system has a DVI (Digital Visual Interface) that allows the display unit and keyboard to be
mounted up to 32 feet from your actual system unit which is the CPU. This is useful because normally a user can only move
5-6 feet from the display to CPU without getting distortion. In law enforcement this is a distinct advantage because the CPU
and other peripherals can be put into the trunk of the vehicle, leaving more room in the cab for the officers.

"Amrel also offers the first system combining a fixed-on board and fully rugged notebook computer all in one,"said
Talcott. "This system gives the user all the advantages Amrel's notebook and on-board systems have to offer," continues

The Patriot V Tablet, Amrel's newest release, weighing in at only 3.7 lbs. is the lightest fully rugged Windows 98/2000/XP
Platform Tablet PC on the market.

The Apex is Amrel's industrial version, which is similar to the Patriot V except for some of the ruggedization options and
industry specific features, such as the Patriot's military HC connectors. The ROCKY Apex, meets the needs of those who
require a lightweight mobile computing system that is as robust as a regular PC.

Besides the unique features and benefits the ROCKY lines have to offer, the other major difference between Amrel and their
competitors is the company's commitment to addressing the client's special needs. "Our application engineers work with our
customers to provide specific solutions to their particular integration and customization requirements" said Talcott.


Helskinki company Fastrax Ltd., a developer of GPS receivers for optimal utilization of the Global Navigation
Systems (GNSS), and Suunto Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of sports and navigational instruments and a
of Amer Sports, a leading global supplier of sporting goods equipment, announced a partnership to develop new-generation
sports instruments equipped with pioneering position-aware features.

NavCom Technology, Inc. announced the inking of a sales representation and distribution agreement with
Navtech Seminars & GPS Supply Company to make NavCom's line of StarFire(tm) dual frequency GPS receivers
more widely available throughout North America.

Geographic Data Technology, Inc. (GDT), a developer of map databases, and geoVue, provider of location intelligence
solutions, announced a substantial expansion of their long-standing data partnership. geoVue, which has used elements of
GDT's map intelligence in its progression toward open data standards since early 1999, will be fully operational on GDT as
of the first quarter of 2003, making GDT the sole provider of U.S. and Canadian geographic data for geoVue customers.

PlanGraphics, Inc. (
has been awarded a contract with Chengdu Municipal Waterworks Company in China's Sichuan
Province. The contract calls for PlanGraphics to deliver project management, design and implementation services to implement
a geographic information system (GIS) to manage Chengdu's water distribution system.

Integrated Services Group (OTC-PK:ISVG) announced an exclusive license agreement to integrate the patent pending
"Lock-in-Load" system to protect hazardous material shipments from unauthorized terrorist-type activity, theft or tampering.

Today's "lock box" security for tanker trucks is really only a band-aid approach which thieves can easily bypass with bolt
cutters. Lock-in-Load prevents this security threat through relocating the release mechanism from the unprotected trailer
and into the secure drivers cab.


I almost passed over this piece of news since Spatial Corp, a Dassault Systemes (Nasdaq:
(Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company and provider of 3D subsystems, is often in the news in the MCAD arena but rarely in a way that is applicable
to GIS. This week, Spatial Corp. and Vexcel Corporation, an internationally recognized remote sensing company, announced
that Vexcel Corporation has become a new Spatial Component Application Architecture (CAA) V5 Adopter and is planning to
integrate their FotoG(TM) product into the CATIA(R) environment.
Vexcel's FotoG is known to GIS users as a close-range photogrammetry system, but it is also used by professional engineers,
designers, and skilled technicians in a variety of industries, including the petrochemical, process engineering, automotive,
shipbuilding, aerospace, and forensics sectors. FotoG allows users to make highly accurate measurements, and create 3D
as-built CAD models directly from photographic imagery. This provides users with a way to deliver increased measurement
accuracy, decreased project costs, reduced on-site measurement time, faster CAD modeling, and overall shortened project

In its role as Spatial CAA V5 Adopter, Vexcel will modify FotoG to create 3D models from hand-held photography directly
within Dassault Systemes' CATIA product.
In a recent press release, Avineon, Inc. announced the expansion of its photo interpretation and environmental
services. Using photogrammetric technology, various imagery sources including digital orthophotography, and field data
collection, Avineon now offers an extensive array of services to clients interested in the acquisition of aerial imagery and
environmental GIS data.

MapInfo Corporation (Nasdaq:
announced that its technology is being used to power the first wireless vehicle
service for public and private transit providers. Next-Shuttle, developed by Bridge Technology, Inc., enables airport
shuttle services, public and private transportation organizations, and municipalities to monitor their vehicles at all
times. In another announcement, MapInfo Predictive Analytics demographers have uncovered interesting demographic trends
related to wealth, financial assets and household income, including where the wealthiest households call home, why Alaska
ranks high in wealth and financial assets and how Billings, Montana has become one of the fastest growing areas for
accumulating financial assets. PSYTE(R) U.S. is MapInfo's neighborhood segmentation system which incorporates data from the
most recent U.S. Census with MapInfo's location-enhanced lifestyle and consumer demographic data.
Interest in risk analysis is at an all-time high with the nation's attention on security. With this in mind, MapInfo will
demonstrate its risk management solutions at the RIMS Annual Conference and Exhibition this week. By providing a complete
view of all company data, MapInfo's technology enables risk management professionals to quickly assess customer information,
recognize location patterns and trends and perform detailed data analysis. Based on this valuable insight, risk managers can
protect their portfolios, attract and retain customers, manage customer profiles, improve call center operations and make
sound business decisions. MapInfo will demonstrate these solutions in its booth at RIMS (#1462), April 7-10 in Chicago.

Rand McNally & Company, a household name in mapping, routing and trip-planning tools, announced that it has completed
financial restructuring and recapitalization, and has emerged from Chapter 11. With the consummation of the reorganization,
Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, now owns a majority interest of the company.
Michael K. Hehir, President and CEO of Rand McNally, said: "Today's emergence from Chapter 11 marks a landmark step forward
for Rand McNally and is great news for our customers and employees. We are now a considerably stronger company with
significantly less debt. With our improved capitalization and Leonard Green's sponsorship, we are positioned to expand on
our leadership role in the mapping industry. The support of our customers, employees and creditors has made this successful
recapitalization possible and allowed us to focus on the things that really matter - innovation, customer service, and

Laser-Scan, in conjunction with its partner GDC, have devised a program to help local authorities prepare
their data for
efficient and effective use throughout their organizations. What many organizations have found is that although one
department's data is well suited to use within that department, it may not be compatible with data from other
departments. Also, they have learned that their own in-house data doesn't always fit the OS MasterMap dataset as seamlessly
as they would like.
A bill that would have included photogrammetry, geographic information systems and land information systems within the
practice of land surveying in the State of Illinois has been amended through the efforts of MAPPS.

Senate Bill 698 passed the Senate unanimously on Thursday, April 3 with the MAPPS language added in Amendment 3. The
amendment exempts photogrammetric services and removes references to geographic information systems and land information
systems within the practice of land surveying.

"SB 698, as originally introduced, would have required that only land surveyors perform numerous photogrammetry, GIS and LIS
services in Illinois, without any provision for grandfathering current practitioners. It literally would have legislated
dozens of firms out of business in Illinois," according to MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello. "The bill did not
follow the NCEES model law, nor the recommendations of the task force created by MAPPS, ASPRS, ACSM, NSPS, ASCE,
particularly with regard to a grandfather provision."

GE Power Systems announced at the Hannover Fair that it is launching the GE Network Solutions ENMAC(tm) system to the
power utility industry. ENMAC is a distribution management solution that provides state-of-the art information tools to
utility control room staff and management, enabling them to manage the real time operation of their distribution networks
more efficiently.

ESRI and Geographic Data Technology (GDT) are sponsoring a free seminar on April 11, 2003. "Managing
Risk: Lessons Learned
From 9/1" will immediately follow the 41st Annual Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) Conference and Exhibition,
which will be held April 6-10, 2003, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.

More ESRI news: ESRI announced that SICAD Utilities has begun full integration of ESRI's ArcGIS technology into the
product offerings. The two companies' development efforts will be used not only to integrate the technologies of their
current product offerings but also to create a next-generation geographic information system (GIS) utility standard based on
ESRI's technology.

The creation of the European Virtual Resource Pool (EVPool), and the availability of an Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) was
announced by the Open GIS Consortium (Europe) Limited (OGCE). Participants in EVPool will undertake critical work to
increase understanding of the benefits of OpenGIS. specifications in European business and government pre-procurement
settings. EVPool is intended to provide technical support for OGCE projects where strategic evaluation about future
investments of interoperable geoprocessing will be made. The
is available to European companies, universities and
independent consultants.

Other OGC news: BAE SYSTEMS has renewed its Strategic Membership in OGC. Strategic Membership is the highest level of
membership in OGC. BAE SYSTEMS joined OGC in 1995 and has been a Strategic Member of the Consortium since 2001.

Safe Software is a sponsor of the Open Data Consortium (ODC), an initiative adopted by the GeoData
Alliance. The ODC's
objective is to create a model data distribution policy to be used to guide local governments that make digital geographic
information available to the public.

For more information on this project or to participate in this process, contact Bruce Joffe at
Email Contact,
or visit
You may download "ODCone-pager.pdf" from
FTP://joffes.com, or check out the article in the January
issue of
GeoSpatial Solutions


From Canada comes the news that NovaLIS Technologies, provider of integrated land records management solutions has
won the
ESRI Canada Business Partner of the Year for 2002. NovaLIS received the award from ESRI Inc., at the ESRI Business Partner
Conference in Palm Springs, California in March. The company is applauded for its successful delivery of Parcel Editor and
its entire suite of ESRI-based integrated land records management solutions worldwide.


Jesse C. Jay and Scott F. Zieber, M.C.P., were recently named directors at GeoDecisions, an Information Technology
(IT) consulting firm that specializes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Jay was named the transportation director,
and Zieber was named the IT director.

Based in the firm's Austin, Texas office, Jay provides direction on GeoDecisions' transportation projects, in addition to
being involved in business development. Jay currently serves as a senior project manager, project director, and GIS

Based in the firm's corporate office in Harrisburg, Pa., Zieber's job is to identify and recommend the best practices for
hardware and software, to create and manage a development/test lab, monitor computer usage, and develop methodologies and
best practices. His new role enhances GeoDecisions' service and communication capabilities.

New Products

A new evaluation kit from Sarantel allows OEM users of the company's DioHelix-F GPS receiver module to characterize
within their system using a simple PC interface. The DioHelix-F module, which combines Sarantel's omni-directional GPS
miniature antenna with the Fastrax iTrax02/4 GPS receiver, measures only 66 x 30mm and weighs 30g. The output of the module
gives a digital geographical position anywhere on the earth to an accuracy of about +/-10 metres and applications range from
leisure products to vehicle navigation and logistics.
SGI (NYSE: SGI) announced that the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., has installed
Visual Area Networking (VAN) technology, enabling individual users or teams to access the advanced visualization,
high-performance computing and complex data management capabilities of a centralized visualization server. NCAR's new
visualization lab is powered by an SGI Onyx 3800 graphics supercomputer running SGI OpenGL Vizserver software.
The VisLab, managed by NCAR's Scientific Computing Division (SCD), combines people, computers, tools and techniques with the
goal of advancing the atmospheric and related sciences by direct application of state-of-the-art collaborative
visualization. The software for the project is SGI OpenGL Vizserver, which enables a single SGI Onyx 3000 series graphics
supercomputer to distribute visualization sessions to virtually any kind of client. The rendering, compute and I/O power of
the SGI Onyx 3000 series systems is made available on any end-user client device, including laptops, PCs, workstations,
wireless tablet devices and, in the future, PDAs.

Aero Asahi Corporation, a company offering GIS intelligence solutions, has announced the release of ATOM 4.0, the
version of the company's flagship product.

ATOM 4.0, based on COM (Component Object Model), spans the full spectrum of GIS requirements, from small applications
designed for single-user desktop to sophisticated multi-user enterprise-wide systems. Developers can use ATOM 4.0 to create
applications with developing tools for Windows, e.g., Microsoft Visual Basic and Microsoft Visual C++.

ESRI, announced that
ArcWeb Flood Map Reports can now be ordered and downloaded. ArcWeb Flood Map Reports are created using
Federal Emergency Management Agency Q3 flood data and GDT Dynamap/2000 street data. The reports assist in screening property
addresses and/or other locations in approximately 1,200 counties across the United States to determine their flood-prone
status. The flood maps help identify whether or not a specific location falls in or near a Special Flood Hazard Area
(SFHA). SFHAs are areas subject to inundation by a 100-year flood.

On the subject of floods, on March 21 British Waterways launched their GeoScaN system, a system designed to offer the
world's first boat mounted inland water 3D spatial survey system.
Developed by the Technical Services Department of British Waterways at Leeds, the GeoScaN system will provide information on
the canal and river beds, heights of banks above water level and provide information on bank protection. Research has been
ongoing into the dredging of river and heights of flood banks and the effects on recent floods.

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Around the Web

Domestic Security: The Line Starts Here By Philip Shenon,
NY Times, April 06, 2003 Charles E. McQueary will influence how
the government will spend billions of dollars on technology to defend America from terrorist attacks.

Silicon Valley Hikes Wireless Frontier
By Steve Lohr, NY Times, Monday, April 07, 2003

To view the great Building Information Modeling Debate between Phil Bernstein of Autodesk and Keith Bentley of Bentley
Systems, click here:

Intergraph Corporation (Nasdaq:INGR) will provide an online, real-time Webcast of its 1st quarter 2003 operating
conference call to be held on Wednesday, April 30, 2003, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. Listeners to the webcast will be asked
to pre-register and should plan to visit
Intergraph Corporation 5 to 10 minutes before the broadcast of the conference
call. A replay of the Webcast will also be available for on-demand access an hour after the initial Webcast and continuing
until May 30, 2003. Intergraph Background Information

Additional reading in print:

Wired "Oh, Nooo! What If GPS Fails?" by Andrew Zolli, 5/2003, page 040. "John Petersen doesn't like surprises, but he
studies them for a living. The director of the Arlington Institute, a scenario-planning outfit in Virginia, helps the
government think about the unthinkable. His latest inquiry: What if the US Global Positioning System stopped working?"

Wired "The Race Back To the Moon" by Tom McNichol. 5/2003, page 144-148, 161. After 15 years of trying to get a
lunar mission off the ground, LunaCorp cofounder David Gump is slated to take off next year. Eventually, roving
"telepresence portals" will beam back the full experience to Earthside theme parks"

Going on in April
Date:April 7 - 11, 2003
Place:Freiburg, Germany
Following the first International Antarctic GIS workshop in Wuhan, China in 2000 the Geospatial Information Group within the
Geoscience Standing Scientific Group of SCAR plans on holding a second GI Technical Experts Meeting of SCAR.
Date:April 7 - 10, 2003
Place:Coeur d'Alene Resort Coeur d'Alene, ID USA
Date:April 9 - 11, 2003
Place:Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, CA USA
"The Evolving State of GIS" hosted by So Cal URISA and BAAMA (Bay Area Mapping Association)
Date:April 10 - 11, 2003
Place:Toronto, Canada
MAPublisher training using MAPublisher 5.0 on Adobe Illustrator 10 on Windows. Given by Avenza technical and training staff.
Date:April 21 - 23, 2003
Place:Portland, OR USA
For the past eleven years, the Oregon chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and the
Columbia River Region of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) have held a conference dealing
with current issues on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from a regional perspective. A full day of workshops will lead
off this year's conference followed by two days of plenary and concurrent educational sessions.
Date:April 21 - 22, 2003
Learn from the source how to use the core components of FME through hands-on training.
Date:April 24 - 25, 2003
Place:Washington D.C, USA
MAPublisher training using MAPublisher 5.0 on Adobe Illustrator 10 on Windows. Given by Avenza technical and training staff.
Date:April 28 - 30, 2003
Nevada State GIS Conference, Reno, Nevada. This thirteenth annual conference, attracting GIS professionals from throughout
the state and eastern California, exhibits the latest GIS technology and features introductory and advanced education
sessions. For general information contact the conference committee chair; Sally Kleiner, phone: 775-954-4629, e-mail
Date:April 28 - 30, 2003
Place:San Diego, CA USA

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.