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February 03, 2003
Image Management + Wireless Location-Based Services = Mobile Potential
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 featured industry news story focuses on a partnership made between AirZip and ESRI, for ESRI to resell AirZip Accelerator, designed for fast delivery of large images and other data over a network as part of ESRI's Geography Network. Expect to see more of this type of technology that will enhance functionality of LBS and wireless mobile solutions and services.


Other interesting news includes InfoNetrix's announcement of the publication of its fourth quarterly Business Horizons™ Report of 2002 covering GIS & Mobile Computing Solutions (GMCS) project activity at electric utilities across the United States and Canada. InfoNetrix analysts interviewed managers at nearly 300 utilities and documented their current and planned GMCS project activity.


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, Awards, Announcements, New Products, Downloads, Around the Web, and Calendar.


GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Ultimately, we would like to include a Letters department at some point in the future. Send your comments to me at
Email Contact.


Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor



Industry News



Image Management + Wireless Location-Based Services = Mobile Potential


Mobile devices and services have had various barriers to their growth but one that really stands out is the management of images. With the increasing potential of mobile devices, wireless location-based services, and web-based GIS applications, it makes sense that image management would be the next step in adding to a whole cloth of mobile flexibility for professionals and consumers.


This week AirZip(tm) Inc., creator of software for securing and speeding networked information, and ESRI, announced an agreement in which ESRI and its partners will resell AirZip Accelerator software as a key component of ESRI's family of GIS solutions, including the flagship ArcGIS and ArcIMS products. According to Doug Keiller, Director of Product Marketing, AirZip Accelerator can deliver media such as maps, graphics and other images up to 800 percent faster than standard delivery solutions using AirZip's patent-pending compression technology.


"Fast image delivery is fundamental to ensuring that we offer the most robust solution possible to
our customers," said Mike Tait, director of Internet services for ESRI. "Not only is this true for emerging web-based GIS applications, but also for the new wireless data solutions, such as location-based services, which require large images like maps to be delivered quickly and efficiently to small devices. With AirZip those maps can not only be large but they can be quickly delivered with layered real-time GIS data for added intelligence and interactivity."


AirZip has 87 customers for AirZip Accelerator and the agreement with ESRI now makes the product potentially available to 300,000 customers worldwide. GISWeekly spoke with Doug Keiller about the new agreement.


Obviously ESRI has been using the accelerator until this point, now what makes this relationship different?


We've only been a partner of ESRI for about a year, and we've moved quickly in working with them. We signed an agreement with them in which AirZip acceleration is being used as part ESRI's Geography Network service. The Geography Network as you know, is a series of web services, many of which are maps. AirZip Accelerator was installed in the Geography Network's ASP to make compressed maps available to any Geography Network user for faster delivery. The two benefits of the Accelerator are: 1) higher productivity - users are able to access more maps in a given amount of time, thus they get more work done. 2) network costs - big customers, such as Homestore.com, a real estate website, have
huge network costs moving maps across their network, and it helps reduce those costs as well.


So we signed Geography Network the beginning of last year, began to move forward with ESRI, became a business partner at that time, then we completed this reseller agreement late last year. What the new agreement does is expands our relationship with ESRI so that ESRI now resells AirZip's boxed product, so we have taken our Accelerator and put it in a box, so you can buy it like other software products and install it on your web server running ArcIMS.


So this reseller agreement means that ESRI can use it with any customer running an ArcIMS server?

Yes.


What did ESRI do before using AirZip?


ESRI was using standard image compression formats, particularly with web based GIS. With ArcIMS, before AirZip was available they would use .png or gif, or jpeg compressed for browser users and Java client users.


What exactly does your software do?


Two things: We actually take the map image in any format such as .gif image or .png and process it so it becomes smaller even in the same compression format. We'll do color reduction. The image is very legible in the web based application, but it's about 1/4 the original size. This size depends on the image and level of compression you select. The user can control the amount of image processing going on and we offer five levels - no image processing all the way to maximum image processing for the best compression but a little lower quality image.


There is a progression in GIS from workstation and specialized GIS staff toward more of a broad user base. An example is a forestry company in Sweden that uses GIS to manage forestry services, but the users of the applications are field workers not GIS specialists - they need a map that's good enough for them to get the basic information they need. It doesn't have to be extremely detailed, but they need to be able to take layers away or add them. For many ArcIMS applications lots of users are willing to accept lower quality in return for much better compression. Even lower quality is very legible.


The City of Laguna Beach in California have deployed an ArcIMS application publicly so anybody with internet access (such as AOL) can view the general plan of the city, with multiple layers, photos, layered on top with water, sewage, endangered species, trails, habitats, etc. The average public is not interested in the same level of detail that the highly trained GIS user might be. In this way, we enable more users on the system.


What makes Accelerator faster?


Speed is achieved with image processing that includes, among other things, converting the image from a standard compression format to our own format - AZP. So through the image processing and converting it we are able to get the image file size to 1/8th its original size. It's the faster delivery of the image from the ArcIMS server to the user by shrinking the file size to 1/8th its original size. It also works on other servers, it can be any application server.


If the software is on the server and also on the client side, you'll get the maximum benefit but you can also use it without the client side.


What does the user needs to access the Accelerator?


For an end user to take advantage of our highly compressed format they need to have a small piece of client software. It offers plug-and-play acceleration across all networks and devices.


What are your plans for wireless?


AirZip products work great with wireless applications today. We are integrated in to ESRI's new wireless solutions, their LBS solution that they sell to wireless carriers.


We are working with RIA, a partner of ESRI, and see a lot of interest in wireless from ArcIMS customers who have web based solutions.


What are your plans for the future?


A new release of our software which will enable use with ArcGIS users as well as ArcIMS, will be released soon. If you have ArcGIS application where the users are accessing an ArcIMS server as their web service they can take advantage of our software.


This week, InfoNetrix, market research and consulting firm, announced publication of its fourth quarterly Business Horizons™ Report of 2002 covering GIS & Mobile Computing Solutions (GMCS) project activity at electric utilities across the United States and Canada. The report is based on interviews conducted by InfoNetrix analysts between October 2002 and January 2003. They interviewed managers at nearly 300 utilities and documented their current and planned GMCS project activity. This report also includes a year-end summary of all the quarterly reports covering the GMCS market. Findings are summarized in the table below.




The quarterly GMCS Business Horizons™ Reports series are published in January, April, July and October of each year. This final report of 2002 encompassed AM/FM/GIS Systems, Mobile Computing (including Outage Management and Work Management Systems), Consulting Services and Conversion/Mapping projects planned by electric utilities throughout the United States and Canada. Reflected in the 2002 Utility Survey Chart to the left, of the 965 utilities surveyed in 2002, substantially all investor-owned utilities (IOU), federal and state power districts (FSD) and the largest municipal (MUNI) utilities and rural electric cooperatives (REC) were interviewed along with a variable cross
section of the smaller utilities.The survey provided valuable information about more than 560 projects of a variety of types and sizes, totalling nearly $188 million in aggregate value.



InfoNetrix™ is a market research and consulting firm with clientele in the following industries-- energy and utility automation suppliers; energy companies; electric, gas and water/wastewater utilities; technical and financial consulting firms; and others with automation market interests.



Alliances/Acquisitions


Maporama, provider of location-centric applications, and Danem, editor and re-seller of mobile software, announced a new partnership to develop and market new generation mobile applications for companies managing mobile personnel in the retail and services industries.


Mobile personnel such as sales force, technicians, maintenance and delivery teams, will be the able to use these products to access detailed street level maps as well as turn-by-turn itineraries, thereby localizing destination addresses.


Mapcom Systems and TeleSphere announced the signing of a co-marketing agreement, merging the benefits of Mapcom's GIS-based M4(R) Solutions with TeleSphere's customer records and billing service. This is a non-exclusive agreement allows users of M4(R) Solutions to drill down into any cable, fiber, network element or structure and immediately see its correlation to customer's records available in TeleSphere's billing application. Other features users may find useful are geographic customer look-up, instant DSL qualifications and real-time line assignments.


"In today's competitive and changing telecommunications environment, telcos must gain efficiency while further enhancing customer service," said John Granger, President of Mapcom Systems in making the announcement.


According to Dave Christiansen, General Manager of TeleSphere, "With the seamless integration of TeleSphere and M4(R) our clients will have a complete system from end to end. It gives clients the ability to increase revenue by leveraging the subscriber information along with the geographic information to target specific customer groups with specific types of services. The integration of TeleSphere and M4 will also allow a client to have greater control over plant construction from work order design through inventory, requisition, purchasing and reporting of materials and labor."


Forest Technology Group announced that it has signed an agreement with Trimble (Nasdaq:
TRMB) making the company an authorized Mapping and Geographic Information System (GIS) business partner. With this agreement Forest Technology Group can integrate its proprietary software with Trimble's global positioning system (GPS) hardware and software, as well as resell Trimble Mapping and GIS products.


Awards


GE Network Solutions has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract by the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) in Columbus, Nebraska, for the implementation of GE Network Solutions'.


Smallworld Core Spatial Technology(tm) software. GE's Spatial Technology software will provide NPPD with an end-to-end network management solution for managing its power assets and operations throughout its statewide service territory.


NPPD, Nebraska's largest electric utility, partners with the state's rural public power districts, cooperatives and municipalities to provide retail or wholesale electric power to about 800,000 citizens.


Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions' 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 mapping and geospatial solutions. Intergraph customers as well as students are invited to submit entries by April 1, 2003.



Announcements


Trimble announced its expectation to report revenues of approximately $124 million and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) between $0.26 and $0.27 for its fiscal fourth quarter ending January 3, 2003. Previous guidance given in the Company's October 24, 2002 earnings release and subsequent conference call was for revenues of $113 - $115 million and adjusted EPS of $0.18 - $0.20. On a Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis the company expects EPS to be $0.13 - $0.14. Adjusted EPS excludes amortization of intangibles, a restructuring charge associated with ongoing cost cutting initiatives and a write down in a minority investment of $1.45 million. Both GAAP and adjusted
EPS were calculated using approximately 29.5 million shares.


The fourth and first quarters are typically Trimble's weakest due to seasonal weakness in many of its end markets. It is anticipated that despite this pattern, the Component Technologies segment will report record quarterly revenues in the fourth quarter, due to the shipment of two large orders for wireless infrastructure products. Other contributing factors are the continued demand for its GPS land survey and machine control products in the quarter.


Trimble will hold a conference call on Tuesday, February 4, 2003 at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time to review its audited fourth quarter and year-end results.


Space Imaging announced that John R. Copple, CEO since 1995, has resigned from the company to pursue other opportunities. Copple will continue his relationship with the company under a consultant agreement negotiated by the Board of Directors.


Albert E. Smith, Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, and Terry Heil, Vice President of Business Integration of Raytheon Company, both Board members of Space Imaging, Inc., expressed their appreciation for Copple's service to the Company: "Space Imaging owes a tremendous debt to John Copple for his leadership of the company during its formative stages. Under John's leadership, Space Imaging has become recognized both in the U.S. and abroad for the unique quality of its imagery products and services. We respect John's decision to leave the company as CEO to pursue other interests, and look forward to our continuing association as he serves the company as a consultant."


Haestad Methods officially announced its Engineering Scholarship Program, which gives students the opportunity to "Earn and Learn." Haestad Methods will award up to six scholarship finalists $1,500 (USD) in 2003. Scholarships will be awarded to full-time students based upon outstanding academic achievement as well as the quality of a required paper. Papers should combine water resources engineering principles and modeling using one or more of Haestad Methods' hydraulic and hydrologic modeling software programs. Haestad Methods will provide qualified applicants with the software and technical support necessary for the project.


Upper class and graduate engineering students are invited to submit an application and a proposal for their final paper to the Haestad Methods' Scholarship Committee at the earliest possible date. All of the applications and papers submitted to the Scholarship Committee will be judged by a team of experts in the field of water resources engineering and modeling. Haestad Press staff will work with the authors to publish the winning papers. The first deadline for application and proposal submittal is April 1, 2003.


For more information or to download an application form and guidelines for the 2003 Engineering Scholarship Program, visit...

http://www.haestad.com/pr_schl_030123-K2CPJN43



New Products


Northern Geomantics Inc, (NGI) has developed a digital parcel editing application that allows two state agencies to work collaboratively and eliminates duplication of effort. In the past, the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) and the Property Tax Division of the Maine Revenue Service (MRS) worked separately to track parcel boundary changes in Maine's 470 unorganized townships. With the Parcel Editing Tool both agencies can access and edit a single set of digital parcel boundaries. Parcel boundary changes and attribute information are documented and entered only once, thereby eliminating redundancy and reducing errors.


GEOCOMtms, architect of theA.MAZE solution that optimizes the execution of fleet operations, announced Jmonitor, a solution that captures exceptions, fault codes, and performance data for immediate or scheduled transmission to the dispatch room. This is of specific interest to fleet managers and dispatchers who will enjoy having greater direct control over their trucks and operators to ensure safe driving, theft security and decrease the costs of wear and tear of their fleets.


Dangerous situations can be relayed to the dispatcher immediately in real time. Jmonitor imports data directly into the client's fleet management software and streamlines the maintenance scheduling. The new functionality also allows remote control of optional digital input/output devices that can stop truck thefts and when activated can help recover the vehicles.


Motorola, Inc. announced location-based services software to be delivered to consumers, wireless carriers, auto manufacturers and other enterprises while they are mobile. The "ViaMoto" software can be customized depending on a consumer's personal preference, and should be made available for virtually any environment and on a variety of wireless phones or other devices.


Laser-Scan and Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions have created a new interactive demonstration to show the capability of Radius Topology when working with GeoMedia(R) WebMap Professional 5.0. Radius Topology is an advanced spatial processing environment, which extends the Oracle9i database and improves the speed and consistency of spatial data handling. The demonstration gives users the chance to see how Radius Topology can be used to enhance spatial queries with advanced spatial relationship management. The demonstration can be accessed via the Radius Topology Web site. Visitors can request their free username and password at
www.radius.laser-scan.com/demos/intergraph_demo.htm.



Downloads


GISCafe has many popular downloads in various categories that can be accessed directly by going to
http://www10.giscafe.com/link/display_categories.php

Visitors are encouraged to go to the site and add new downloads or update their old ones.


Geographic Calculator coordinate conversion tool from Blue Marble Geographics offers FREE conversions and full functionality in the evaluation mode.
http://www10.giscafe.com/link/display_links.php?query=Geographic+Calculator&type=search



Around the Web


A new website,
CarpoolTool.com, launched by a research group at the University of Waterloo, using DMTI Spatial data, aims to change the way commuters throughout Canada set up and manage carpools. The website offers free ride-matching to the entire country.


Benefits of the website include: promoting a positive effect on the environment, as well as the health of Canadians, by reducing the number of vehicles on the road and consequently, their greenhouse gas emissions. In addition the site addresses commuter concerns over increasing traffic congestion and the skyrocketing costs of operating a vehicle.


Because It's There: Putting Everest Online (New York Times, January 23, 2003, by Nancy Gohring)
“This year, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's first ascent of Everest, climbers on the mountain will have the chance to connect with the world below by e-mail. That is because Tsering Gyaltsen, the grandson of the only surviving Sherpa to have accompanied Hillary on that famed climb, is planning to build the world's highest Internet cafe at base camp.”


Personal Data Is Pirated From Russian Phone Files (New York Times, January 23, 2003 by Sabrina Tavernise)


“It is a prime nightmare of the digital age: Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of customers of Mobile Telesystems, a Russian mobile phone company, have been discovering firsthand how it feels to have all your personal information --- credit card numbers, home address, Social Security number - stolen and passed around, or perhaps even posted on the Internet for anyone to see. The company acknowledged on Tuesday that it had suffered a huge security breach that led to pirated CD's, purportedly containing its entire database of five million customers, appearing on the streets of Moscow….”



Going on in February


FME Training from Safe Software

Date: February 6 - 7, 2003

Place: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


SmartCard Alliance Mid-Winter Meeting & Educational Institute

Date: February 12 - 13, 2003

Place: Hilton Center Hotel, Salt Lake City, UT USA


Preceding the meeting on Feb. 11th, the Alliance will offer its Smart Cards 101 and 201 courses.


International PROGIS Conference 2003

Date: February 21 - 22, 2003

Place: Budapest, Hungary


Planning, Documentation, EU-Subsidies (InVeKos), Logistics and Precision Farming with easy to handle GIS-Programs of the European Specialist.


CORP2003 & GeoMultimedia03

Date: February 25 - 28, 2003

Place: Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria


CORP is an interdisciplinary event with participants coming from various fields, e.g. spatial planning, geography, economy, transport, computer science, architecture, humanities, etc.


"Evolving Technologies for Spatial Asset Management" GITA Aus/NZ Workshop

Date: February 25, 2003

Place: Auckland, New Zealand


Case studies, technology update and hands on session. See and use
  • mobile hardware and software
  • enabling software for integration with work and asset management
  • wireless communications
  • OpenGIS and web applications for sharing geographic information and services Contact
  • Email Contact to register.


    Evolving Technologies for Spatial Asset Management

    Date: February 25, 2003

    Place: Auckland, New Zealand


    GITA Aus/NZ Workshop - case studies, technology update and hands on sessions.


    Indiana GIS 2003: Securing Our Future

    Date: February 27 - 28, 2003

    Place: Indianapolis Sheraton Hotel and Suites Indianapolis, IN USA


    The theme of the 2003 conference encompasses many aspects of a robust GIS framework for Indiana, stressing emergency management, economic development, land and water resources, data access, infrastructure, partnerships, technology, and funding.


    FME Training

    Date: February 27 - 28, 2003

    Place: Calgary, Alberta, Canada


    Whether you're a beginner or experienced FME user, GIS professional, or developer, this hands on course and professional training materials will show you how to get the most out of FME. Register early, space is limited!


    GPS Wireless Conference

    Date: February 27 - 28, 2003

    Place: San Francisco, CA USA


    7th Annual Conference features more than 40 speakers from Nextel, Verizon, Cingular and other major corporations.


    IMTA (EAME) Tenth Annual Conference and Trade Show

    Date: February 28 - March 1, 2003

    Place: Budapest, Hungary





    You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.


    To read more news, click here.



    -- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.