January 20, 2003
ArcPAD and ArcGIS Meet the Tablet PC
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.
| 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! For those of you just tuning into GISWeekly for the first time - it is a
weekly newsletter available at your desktop every Monday morning - and GISCafe's new offering for 2003. GISWeekly will examine select current topics, top news each week, pick out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature an interview with Jeff Shaner of ESRI on ArcPad, ArcGIS and the Tablet PC; an article entitled “Imagery Maps Arctic Tundra Environment” from Imaging Notes Magazine; Industry News, Alliances/Acquisitions, Awards, New Products, Announcements, Downloads 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
Susan Smith, Managing Editor
ArcPAD and ArcGIS Meet the Tablet PC
Last week the article The Notebook of the Future: Focus on the Tablet PC focused on the Compaq Tablet PC TC 1000 and Autodesk's plans for the Tablet PC with its Onsite technology.
This week GISWeekly spoke with Jeff Shaner, Lead Product Specialist for the Tablet PC and Lead Product Specialist for Topology and Editing in ArcGIS who has been with ESRI seven years. Jeff filled us in on ESRI software operating on the Tablet PC.
Is ESRI doing anything to optimize their software solutions for use on the Tablet PC?
JS: The operating system for the Tablet PC is called Windows XP Tablet PC edition. Since it's already a Windows operating system all the ESRI software will run on it.
ArcPAD is one application that runs both on Windows CE devices and on Windows so the Windows platform with the Tablet PC is just another platform that is supported for the field use of ArcPAD. We haven't done anything specific for the ArcPAD software to work with the Tablet PC, but we have with ArcGIS.
ArcGIS is a COM-based system and ArcMap is one application within the ArcGIS framework. ArcMap is an application that lets you view and create maps and edit GIS data as well as capture GIS data. For ArcMap we have a download that's available on our website that's free of charge, that adds the inking functionality as a part of the Tablet PC to ArcMap. What really makes the Tablet PC stand out is the inking experience.
A Tablet PC is just another laptop computer, with this Tablet that you can ink on top of. It supports different widths and the addition to the operating system lets you recognize handwriting as text.
We took the Tablet inking SDK and built this extension that you can download and add on to ArcGIS. Either in the field or office, if you're running ArcMap, you can use that pen and ink on top of a map, and it will recognize that difference and give you the same experience. You can use that ink to either capture notes on top of the map and store them as graphics inside of your map, or you can draw with ink and make features with it. What really sets our inking capabilities apart from other ink technology, is that when you create that ink it's actually stored inside the coordinate system of the map, so we handle all the projection issues and store projection information with ink.
In the office perhaps you have several urban planners inking on top of existing maps and sharing them across their enterprise database. That's one potential use of inking inside of ArcMap.
In the field, the latest version of ArcGIS, 8.3, which will be released really soon, will support what's called disconnected editing of the geodatabase. I can take a piece of my enterprise database, disconnect that piece from the main enterprise and go into the field with the Tablet, capture notes using ink or features using ink, and then store the ink in the database and bring it back and share that ink with other users.
There have been concerns that some of the Tablet PCs are hard to use in the field because they aren't easy to see in daylight. Can you comment on that?
There are Tablets made for the office and Tablets made for the field. A company that makes a really nice illuminating screen for the field is Walkabout Computers. They make a ruggedized version of the Tablet with a 'transflective' display. They showed us one that had been run over by a truck at 20 mph.
Earth Resource Mapping announced that Research Systems, Inc. (RSI) has incorporated native Enhanced Compressed Wavelet (ECW) support in their latest release of their image processing software - ENVI v3.6. ENVI users now have the ability to access ECW image datasets and can therefore work with very large images. The ECW format can compress images with high quality and in a timely manner.
Landata Group Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Information Services Corp. , has merged two operating entities to form Stewart Geo Technologies, a multifaceted international provider of geospatial solutions with product lines in mapping services, geographic information systems (GIS) application development, GIS consulting, and Internet data integration and publication.
Stewart Geo Technologies also has acquired the assets of GlobeXplorer Inc., provider of satellite images and aerial photography via the Internet.
Group president for Stewart real estate information (REI) says that the merger gives the newly formed company a technology and systems platform “designed to deliver on our vision of an Internet accessible real estate information portal -- a single Internet site where the real estate professional and consumer can access a wide variety of critical real estate information.”
The former firms' business models will be consolidated and refocused into an end-to-end geospatial solutions provider. The hope is that by combining forces the professionals in each organization will be able to complement one another better and better serve customers.
Navigation Technologies announced the receipts of 30 patent awards in 2002. To date, the company has received 84 United States patents and several non-US patents that cover diverse aspects of digital cartography and its applications from map data collection to delivery and use.
MapQuest® announced the launch of MapQuest Enterprise v2.0 for mapping and location-based businesses. With the locally hosted MapQuest Enterprise v2.0 businesses will be able to map and route-enable their Web sites, extranets and wireless applications, utilizing the product's mapping, routing, geocoding and spatial searching engine that fully integrates and leverages the highest quality geographic data available.
MapQuest Enterprise v2.0 makes use of APIs and geographic data in order to deliver greater security options, and integration flexibility. MapQuest Enterprise allows customer mapping software and geographic data to reside on the client company's own network environment, so that businesses have control over their applications and servers. Developers can customize the mapping and routing functionality themselves as well as the look and feel of applications to streamline them to a given company's requirements.
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions' (Nasdaq:
) IntelliWhere division announced IntelliWhere LocationServer 5.0's availability. IntelliWhere LocationServer, a server-side software development platform based on Intergraph's GeoMedia®, location-enables and automates data delivery to an organization's mobile workforce.
Version 5.0 takes advantage of features in the latest version of Intergraph's suite of geospatial solutions to streamline enterprise workflows. IntelliWhere LocationServer 5.0 allows field crews or dispatch staff to request mapping and asset data and have it delivered to a hand-held device for use with IntelliWhere OnDemand.
CartêGraph released MAPdirector® for ArcGIS® to provide ESRI clients with an integrated and powerful extension to CartêGraph's series of transportation and utilities infrastructure management applications. This ArcGIS extension is CartêGraph's GIS component for its line of applications to manage inventories and maintenance activities for public works assets.
MAPdirector for ArcGIS provides a live link between a CartêGraph database and the ArcGIS environment. CartêGraph's MAPdirector for ArcGIS extension provides the functionality to create layers displaying information such as pavement management plans, sign replacement schedules and signal intersection timing data with Add Asset Wizard.
CartêGraph applications help create detailed databases of asset information that include history, features, inspections, images, locations and reports and their software can manage the entire workflow of an organization.
Graticule announced the release of PostcodeAnalyst for mapping and gaining geo-intelligence from mail address lists in Great Britain. PostcodeAnalyst aims to give managers ready and cost-effective access to geographical information already available in their address lists. From this information, managers can reveal geographical patterns by viewing maps and analyze maps in relation to various business factors such as location, proximity to outlets, regional sales revenues, gaps and changes over time, promotional campaigns, etc.
A number of products were announced this week at the 2003 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), January 9-12 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This year attendance was at an all-time high-116,687 attendees from over 128 countries.
Televigation announced the debut of TeleNav, North America's first GPS navigation service for mobile phones. With TeleNav, users of certain Java (J2ME) mobile phones will be able to navigate turn-by-turn to virtually any street address in the continental United States using a combination of real-time voice and graphical directions delivered directly to their phone. Wireless phone users will be pleased to note that TeleNav is user-centric rather than vehicle-centric, so that TeleNav subscribers will be able to take the service with them from one vehicle to another. The service is $7.00/monthly for the basic service (not counting the subscription to a wireless data service from
their wireless carrier).
Thales (TAL-less) Navigation, announced the worldwide availability of the full-color handheld GPS receiver, the Magellan Meridian® Color. The Magellan Meridian Color offers memory expansion through industry standard Secure Digital (SD) memory cards for downloading data. The full-color, large LCD screen allows access to a built-in, 16 MB database of maps and other navigation information for land and water travelers.
Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd., showcased the third-party applications that will initially be available on the company's award-winning GPS-enabled PDA, the iQue 3600. The new applications suite transforms the iQue 3600 from an organizer/navigator to a full-life PDA. Applications developers include LinksPoint, Infinity Softworks, Astraware, DataViz, SplashData and Vindigo.
Garmin's iQue 3600 will be the first PDA to incorporate StarCaddy, a leading handheld golf application from LinksPoint Inc. Using the iQue's integrated GPS capabilities, StarCaddy pinpoints a golfer's exact position on an electronic map of the course and provides accurate distance to the center of the green and other course features like doglegs, sandtraps and water.
Socket Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:
), the Mobile Connection Company, today announced the Bluetooth GPS Navigation Kit featuring Socket's MyNavigator complete in-car navigation software for Pocket PCs, as well as the Socket Bluetooth GPS Receiver (announced November 18, 2002) are now available. These tools enable drivers to plan their trips quickly utilizing current map information and a highly intuitive user interface. Large graphics and clear voice prompts offer turn-by-turn instructions so that drivers don't have to read handheld maps while driving.
Spatial Insights, Inc. announced the release of a block centroid database based on the 2000 Census, in response to response from their customer base who wanted basic demographics at very detailed levels of geography. The block centroid database is available by county, state or nationwide. In addition to the coordinates and census identifiers, total population and the number of housing units are included with each of the block centroids. There are over 8.2 million block centroids nationwide. This contrasts with the roughly 208,000 block groups that provide complete coverage of the US.
Paradigm announced the availability of its new "Earth Domain Imaging" suite of 3D pre-stack depth migrations, to complement the latest release of its GeoDepth® velocity model building and depth imaging system. GeoDepth 7.2 is part of Paradigm's November 2002 Release, a collection of upgrades to products running on Paradigm's epos 2.0 integration framework.
Two announcements from The Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC): the organization recently launched its Conformance and Interoperability Test and Evaluation Initiative (CITE). CITE is the first of a series of initiatives addressing interoperability verification and validation. The OGC expects to produce an OGC-approved process by which software vendors can test and validate their products' conformance with OGC's Web-based OpenGIS® Specifications. OpenGIS Specifications specify common interfaces, encodings and schemas that support the development and deployment of interoperable geospatial solutions, services, data, and applications.
Secondly the OGC announced that Phase 2 of its Critical Infrastructure Protection Initiative (CIPI-2) began with a successful kick-off meeting recently. CIPI plans to test the application of interoperable technology to help national, state, provincial, and other local governments, commercial, and non-government organizations better manage critical emergency situations. This will be accomplished by coordinating geospatial data and services to meet critical infrastructure protection needs. OGC's rapid-prototyping process will be used by the Geography Division of the U.S. Census Bureau, sponsor of CIPI-2, to develop two prototype systems: an online system to update governmental unit boundary
information for existing incorporated places, and a system based on OpenGIS® Specifications for serving Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER®) data.
Intergraph, as a key vendor sponsor, will provide geospatial software, training, and support for the Spatial Information Cooperative Research Centre recently formed by the Australian Government with a $6.2 million (U.S.) award. The Centre joins the research programs of the four major research universities in Australia, along with key Government departments and the military. The Centre aims to facilitate spatial information exchange and use to promote better government and environmental management as well as build new commercial opportunities for Australian businesses both locally and internationally.
RMSI has officially changed its name to changed to RMSI Private Limited. This is an addition to the company's ongoing branding initiatives revolving around the RMSI brand.
Senator Clinton Town Hall Meeting - "Homeland Security and Business Continuity"
MapInfo, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and a group of distinguished panelists will gather for a town hall meeting to discuss the important topics of Homeland Security and Business Continuity. The meeting and panel discussion will be Webcast live “sometime in early 2003.”
LocatioNet's CEO, Gadi BenMark, will speak at Marcus Evans' Wireless Positioning and LBS Summit on January 22nd @ 3:00pm at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, California.
Around the Web
Imagery Maps Arctic Tundra Environment
By Gita J. Laidler, masters of science candidate, and Paul M. Treitz, assistant professor, Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont., Canada [
Covering approximately 6 million square kilometers of the Earth's surface, tundra vegetation is an increasingly important component in the context of global climate change. Although arctic tundra environments are thought to be sensitive to climate changes, the actual response is unclear. Climate changes may cause vast tundra environments to release previously sequestered carbon into the atmosphere, potentially shifting the global carbon budget.
As concerns rise, research is more focused on understanding and mapping tundra vegetation in polar regions. Remote sensing is playing a key role in such endeavors because of its capacity to collect data related to vegetation phenology over broad expanses of land where field research is limited due to study site remoteness, financial constraints, transportation issues and weather.
Arctic tundra landscapes are characterized by multiple scales of spatial heterogeneity. Microscale surface irregularities and disturbances produce a fine-grained patchwork of arctic plant distribution that's difficult to estimate, much less quantify, without high-resolution remote sensing data. Furthermore, tundra plant communities tend to be compact, wind sculptured and less than 1 meter in height. Therefore, image spatial resolution of at least 9 meters is required to adequately capture tundra vegetation communities.
Four-meter multispectral IKONOS data were incorporated into biophysical remote sensing research to study Boothia Peninsula, Nunavut, Canada, to evaluate its utility for estimating biophysical properties of vegetation communities, such as biomass and percent cover. The region's frequent cloud cover and limited growing season make optical remote sensing challenging. Even so, two cloud-free IKONOS images were acquired on July 23 and 27, 2001. The data were georeferenced and mosaicked to generate a single, composite image of the study area.
Arctic landscapes-coastal plains, polar deserts and foothills-are defined by climatic and hydrological influences and may extend over hundreds of kilometers. Each of these landscapes constitutes a mosaic in which vegetation types are found at scales ranging from 100 meters to 1 kilometer, but microsite variations may occur within centimeters to meters, such as changes in relief due to hummocks and frost action in tussock tundra , as well as variations in soil texture, moisture and exposure.
In this study, the IKONOS data linked field data collected at the 100-by-100-meter plot level with 30-meter resolution Landsat 7 ETM+ data for landscape-level community structure analysis. The IKONOS data provided detailed spatial estimates of plant community biomass and percent cover suitable for the multiscale studies required to cover large expanses of land while providing localized precision and accuracy. IKONOS imagery also captured previously challenging features such as water tracks and snow bed communities, demonstrating significant promise for future localized vegetation mapping in areas not easily accessible.
Initially, researchers thought that IKONOS data would increase spectral separability of vegetation communities for supervised image classification. However, the high spatial detail resulted in increased within-plot spectral variance, making unique spectral signatures difficult to define. This is a function of increased heterogeneity in spectral response, a function of improved spatial precision. As a result, unsupervised classification of IKONOS data was employed and demonstrated significant potential for local-scale vegetation and terrain feature mapping.
IKONOS data were instrumental in relating field-based measurements with Landsat 7 ETM+ data. Georeferenced IKONOS data provided a suitable medium for coregistering the Landsat data and field plots, the coordinates of which were collected with a GPS. This allowed subsequent correlation analysis relating IKONOS and Landsat digital values to field measurements.
Biophysical Mapping, Modeling
For analyses employing a spectral vegetation index (VI), IKONOS multispectral imagery offers four channels spanning the visible and near-infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. These bandwidths correspond well with Landsat 7 ETM+ channels, making multiresolution analyses possible (Table 1). Furthermore, the most common VIs utilize the red and near-infrared spectral channels-simple ratio (SR), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), soil-adjusted vegetation index (SAVI), modified soil-adjusted vegetation index (MSAVI)-and are easily derived with IKONOS data and offer superior spatial information.
When analyzing VIs, NDVI was compared with SAVI and MSAVI to determine the degree to which exposed soil or rock was impacting measured vegetation spectral response. Exposed soil tends to artificially elevate VIs due to high reflectance in the visible and near infrared, as opposed to general vegetation, which shows significant absorption in the red and high reflectance in the near infrared. As a result, VIs may be misleading. Analyses showed no significant decrease of soil-adjusted VIs, compared with NDVI, across a range of community types or in dry environments. A significant decrease of soil-adjusted VIs is present, however, in moist/wet environments where the color and moisture content of
exposed soils or organics are impacting the spectral response of vegetation communities. With regression analyses, IKONOS predictions of percent cover values across the broader study area were improved over Landsat. The greatest advantage, however, is the capacity to visualize results and distinguish more precise canopy coverage variations over the larger study site.
A Promising Future
IKONOS imagery was a key element in the Boothia Peninsula biophysical research. The imagery's high-resolution capabilities helped researchers examine relationships between local- and landscape-scale biophysical parameters. The imagery's ability to resolve local surface variability and act as the crux for multiscale remote sensing applications shows significant promise for expanding arctic baseline data, particularly with respect to vegetation community mapping.
Preliminary investigations suggest that these data can create detailed renditions of localized tundra vegetation communities that may improve efforts to monitor and model the effects of changing vegetation patterns at more regional scales.
Goward, S.N., J.G. Masek, D.L. Williams, J.R. Irons and R.J. Thompson (2001). The Landsat 7 mission-Terrestrial research and applications for the 21st century. Remote Sensing of Environment, 78, 3-12.
Hope, A.S., J.S. Kimball and D.A. Stow (1993). The relationship between tussock tundra spectral reflectance properties and biomass and vegetation composition. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 14, 1861-1874.
Jacobsen, A. and B.U. Hansen (1999). Estimation of the soil heat flux/net radiation ratio based on spectral vegetation indexes in high-latitude Arctic areas. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 20, 445-461.
Laidler, G.J. and P.M. Treitz (in press). Biophysical remote sensing of Arctic environments. Progress in Physical Geography.
McFadden, J.P., F.S. Chapin and D.Y. Hollinger (1998). Subgrid-scale variability in the surface energy balance of arctic tundra. Journal of Geophysical Research, 103, 28,947-28,961.
Space Imaging (2001). IKONOS Statistics [
Stow, D.A., B.H. Burns and A.S. Hope (1993). Spectral, spatial and temporal characteristics of Arctic tundra reflectance. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 14, 2445-2462.
Vierling, L.A., D.W. Deering and T.F. Eck (1997). Differences in arctic tundra vegetation type and phenology as seen using bi-directional radiometry in the early growing season. Remote Sensing of Environment, 60, 71-82.
Walker, D.A. (2000). Hierarchical subdivision of Arctic tundra based on vegetation response to climate, parent material and topography. Global Change Biology, 6, 19-34.
The Boothia Peninsula research was funded through an Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Post-Graduate Scholarship (type A), NSERC Research Grant, Northern Scientific Training Program and Natural Resources Canada. Field work logistical support was provided by the Polar Continental Shelf Project and the Nunavut Research Institute. Images were acquired from Space Imaging (Thortnon, Colo.) and RADARSAT International (Richmond, B.C., Canada).
Table 1. Satellite band wavelengths
[credit-Space Imaging, Goward et al.]
Originally published in Space Imaging's Imaging Notes magazine.
Downloads this Week
GISCafe has many popular downloads in various categories that can be accessed directly by going to
Visitors are encouraged to go to the site and add new downloads or update their old ones.
from Luca S. Percich of rea (applied ecological researches)
tool for publishing maps and related data in a format readable by a web browser.
Download page for English version:
Main page (Italian with link to English version):
Going on This Week
Date: January 22-24, 2003
Place: Anaheim, CA
Sample plenary session: GPS Modernization: Plans vs. Needs: Dr. Bradford Parkinson, Stanford University
Date: January 23-24, 2003
Place: Orlando, FLA
Date: January 24, 2003
Place: Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA USA
Public and academic librarians and planners concerned with library services will learn how using GIS can improve decision making and planning.8:30-12 p.m
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here
To read more news, click here
-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.