September 26, 2005
New Mapping Software Company Bridges the Gap between GIS and Non-GIS Professionals- More on Hurricane Katrina Response
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| by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Message from the Editor -
Welcome to GISWeekly! Most people know of Layton Graphics as the folks who created MAP2PDF but now their recently announced software division, Layton GeoScience, has been separated from the parent company and formed a new company called TerraGoTechnologies. According to James Davis, president and CEO of TerraGo Technologies, TerraGo is a “new company with a history.” Read about it in this week's Industry News.
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, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Appointments, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
New Mapping Software Company Bridges the Gap between GIS and Non-GIS Professionals
By Susan Smith
Most people know of Layton Graphics as the folks who created MAP2PDF but now their recently announced software division, Layton GeoScience, has been separated from the parent company and formed a new company called TerraGoTechnologies. According to James Davis, president and CEO of TerraGo Technologies, TerraGo is a “new company with a history.”
“We are spinning out of Layton Graphics, which is a service oriented company that has been around for 30 years,” explained Davis. Layton Graphics is focused on the making of complex engineering drawings and GIS drawings for distribution to a mass user group. Since 1999, the company has developed software to help users distribute geospatial data, and two years ago, began to envision separating the software unit into its own company.
TerraGo Technologies is a full standalone company, owned by the principals of TerraGo. “It has all the assets associated with our GIS products,” said Davis.
Davis said that their focus on helping mass users allows them to take a different approach than that of traditional providers of GIS applications. The core of traditional GIS is still aimed at high end GIS users, even if they provide a product for larger user bases. In contrast, TerraGo's history serves it well - it has worked with non-GIS professionals for many years so they know that market well. They can also help GIS professionals utilize and unlock the great “treasure trove” of geospatial data they've been building. “Most enterprises have been collecting GIS information over the last 10 or 20 years,” Davis remarked. “The challenge is to get all the
professional data from the GIS pros out to their enterprise, and not just in 2D maps.”
The flagship TerraGo product, MAP2PDF, allows customers to create and publish georegistered maps-a TerraGo GeoPDF. Users can create a map with a variety of geospatial data embedded and use MAP2PDF to export the data to a GeoPDF. GIS professionals can then distribute the GeoPDF maps to anyone who has TerraGo's free Adobe Reader plug-in, utilizing the Adobe Reader most people already have to view maps, query attributes, display coordinates and create redlines and notes.
Most TerraGo customers have been in the federal government and “tens of thousands” of users have helped define the product, according to Davis. Now, he said, they will be making the product available to a much wider audience.
Citing Daratech figures, Davis explained that the GIS/geospatial market is a $2 billion market, with a million and a half active GIS seats. “We think there are an additional million and a half CAD seats, and geospatial components are becoming increasingly important as part of the CAD processes as well. Also the industry estimates that there are about 200,000 user organizations. For the past several years some of the third party analysts have estimated growth of 5-10% per year for the GIS market.”
“The conclusion we came to is that it is a large, mature, very stable marketplace,” said Davis. “It hasn't seen any major influx of growth opportunity and is primarily aimed at the GIS professionals. At the very core of that group is about one percent of an enterprise's employee base that are the highly trained GIS professionals who actually do the design and production. We estimate there are another five percent who are experienced GIS analysts who are also trained to work with this data and create very sophisticated maps and presentations. Those two groups of GIS professionals are the focus of this $2 billion market that is growing at 5-10% a year.”
“We're focused on everybody else in the enterprise that has a need to access geospatial data for mainstream business reasons. We believe if we can be successful in doing that, we can help the GIS industry move into the next layer of opportunity and experience a very significant growth. How do we extend all this geospatial data that's been developed and how do we make it a mainstream business resource? How do we give the GIS pros the ability to really be creative in how their data is leveraged? How do we allow them to be able to distribute data with a far more robust and ubiquitous enterprise context? Those are the questions we're addressing. It's also important to be able to make
functionality available in connected or disconnected mode. One thing Hurricane Katrina has shown us is that you must be able to do your work in a disconnected mode or you're out of luck.”
The need to distribute data in a format that people are already familiar with and using is paramount in the GIS industry. Also users need to be able to integrate the data with their existing GIS infrastructure. Currently, those applications that allow the authoring and distribution of data in a familiar format are provided by a vendor specific application. Then there are those users who do not have GIS. For all these users, the common format is paper or a flat PDF.
TerraGo Technologies does not “compete” with the GIS vendors and their authoring capabilities. Rather, they provide unique versions of Map2PDF that allow GIS users to export files from their GIS applications into the standard GeoPDF format which, translated, is Adobe standard PDF with an added extension that makes it a georegistered GeoPDF. “With our free MAP2PDF Reader, I have the ability to get access to all that geospatial data,” said Davis. Currently, MAP2PDF versions exist for Adobe Acrobat and ESRI's ArcGIS. Davis said more major GIS application versions are coming soon.
“When you have the georegistration information inside of the PDF platform, then you have a GeoPDF,” explained Davis. “And when you have that you are able to provide additional data in terms of layering so that you can look at details via layer, access to the object data, feature and attribute data, etc.”
Adobe has added additional functionality for comprehensive markup and commenting tools that TerraGo has leveraged in a geospatial environment to be able to provide markup capabilities optimized for geospatial.
Features of GeoPDF include:
- Integrates with existing GIS infrastructure
- Puts robust GIS capability in to the hands of non-GIS professionals
- Uses Adobe Reader which is on almost everyone's computer already
- Full functionality in disconnected mode
Now, with the GeoPDF pyramid of technology, you not only get the graphics but the underlying spatial data associated with it.
“As Adobe expanded the distiller in the late 90's to bring over all the rich intelligence inside Office, Word, PowerPoint, and Project, we've extended that over to the GIS side. So when I create my PDF file, it's going to be layered, and will include all the attribute info associated with those layers, and aliases if they're used. The GIS pro running ArcMap can publish this data to meet the needs of a non-GIS technician.”
In a demonstration conducted by executive vice president, Phil Lee, a large dataset was used to create a GeoPDF which, when made into a GeoPDF, was only 3.2 megabytes. The same file shown inside Adobe Acrobat and ArcMap was identical.
“With MAP2PDF, users have the ability of turning layers on and off, zooming in to show fidelity, which is the same as you would find in the original application,” explained Lee. “When I click on the MAP2PDF toolbar set and georegister, it brings up layers and has multiple map frames and asks what layers I want to modify. It has projections and/or datums that are used around the world. We also can bring over the projection and datum that we used inside the GIS environment.”
“As you move the cursor over the GeoPDF file, MAP2PDF's dual coordinate displays let users view both lat/long and UTM coordinates simultaneously. If the user wants to change the projection and datum of one readout, they simply click on the coordinate display and select one of the many other projections and datums we support, such as MGRS or Geographic and the GeoPDF system is changed, virtually on the fly. By clicking on the GeoDisplay icon, I can have three coordinate systems displayed at one time.”
This can be useful when multiple groups such as local authorities, FEMA or the Army Corps of Engineers are operating with different coordinate systems. They can all look at the same map with their own coordinate projection system displayed.
“Also under Geodisplay I can set a waypoint that is scale dependent; therefore the user can zoom out to the map's full extent or zoom back in to sub meter resolution to view the exact waypoint location. MAP2PDF is capable of utilizing web services. For instance, I can pass the GeoPDF coordinates of an area zoom to Google Maps and then utilize that application to view satellite imagery or detailed map views of the same area of interest.”
“Using MAP2PDF for Acrobat, users can add Geonotes that are time and date stamped with the user's name and export notes to .shp files. Then, they can export .shp files back to the master geospatial database to update the coverage with real time information.
“Users have the ability to measure distance, azimuth and compass bearing on the magnetic declination in multiple segments by moving the mouse cursor and selecting a point. If I right click, I can work my way backward.
“The GeoPDF also embeds the feature attribute data joins associated with the .MXD file. These can be viewed by either querying the GeoPDF with Adobe's Search Tool or selecting the Adobe's Object Data Tool and moving the cursor over a point, polyline or polygon area, the cursor will change to a cross hair and then by clicking, the user can view the associated feature data.”
Because you can do so much in Adobe Acrobat such as export changes to .shp files so that they can be reviewed and round tripped back into a master geodatabase, the need for non-GIS professionals to own GIS applications or know how to use them is eliminated and they can simply focus on integrating GIS data into their daily workflow.
TerraGo's strategic move to embrace both GIS professionals and non-GIS users and bridge that technology gap is a good one. Besides focusing on the needs of their existing customers, the new company expects to attract more investments for expansion of sales, marketing and product development.
MAP2PDF versions for various software packages are available for
and price starts at US$395.
More on Hurricane Katrina Response
Through a cooperative research program NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are exploring the use of innovative airborne laser mapping systems to quantify coastal change along the entire coastline affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Elevation data from these research instruments acquired before and after the hurricane are compared to determine the patterns and magnitudes of coastal change caused by erosion and destruction of buildings and infrastructure. Three Lidar surveys were collected using two different systems. The systems were NASA's Experimental Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL) and Army Corps of Engineers' Compact Hydrographic Airborne Rapid Total Survey (CHARTS).
In response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster, URISA's GISCorps was once again asked to provide GIS volunteers to the affected areas. This time the request was for nine additional volunteers to function as map production specialists. A few of the volunteers are now stationed at the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in Jackson, Mississippi, and several were deployed to five other county EOC offices (in Stone, Pearl River, Jackson, Hancock, and Harrison counties) on the Mississippi coast line. This group's average years of experience is about ten years and they come from Colorado, Arkansas (2), Texas (2), Alabama, Washington DC, Illinois, and Kentucky.
Two NASA satellites, planned for launch no earlier than Oct. 26, will give us a unique view of Earth's atmosphere. CloudSat and Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) are undergoing final preparations for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
CloudSat and CALIPSO will provide a new, 3-D perspective on Earth's clouds and airborne particles called aerosols. The satellites will answer questions about how clouds and aerosols form, evolve and affect water supply, climate, weather and air quality.
PCI Geomatics is pleased to donate its flagship geospatial software suite, Geomatics, to the scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center. Geomatica will be used to assist in the production of a high-resolution National Biomass and Carbon Dataset for the year 2000 (NBCD2000), the first-ever inventory of its kind. Through a combination of 2000 Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), topographic survey, land-use, land-cover, and extensive forest inventory data sets collected by the U.S. Forest Service, this dataset will serve as an invaluable baseline for carbon stock assessment and flux modeling in the United States. Geomatica will be instrumental in facilitating the successful
development of this project.
Safe Software Inc., provider of spatial data translation and data transformation solutions, has announced the introduction of its new community website,
This new online community, or wiki, will enable Safe Software staff and FME users to share information around issues relating to FME and spatial data interoperability. In particular, it provides a connection point for users to share detailed information on each of the over 150 formats FME supports.
Intermap Technologies announced that it has provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) with terrain elevation and imagery data of the Gulf Coast region for the Katrina rebuilding effort. The data will be made available to state, local and federal officials at no charge through 2005. Collected in late 2004 and early 2005 the data is part of Intermap's NEXTMap USA program which is the remapping of the entire continental United States and Hawaii. NEXTMap USA will result in the most accurate map of America ever created.
Queues at toll booths could be a thing of the past following a feasibility study into the use of satellite technology to monitor road usage in Dublin. The research, which will be undertaken by Mapflow with its co-sponsor, the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) is being funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and aims to establish whether satellite technology (GPS) can be used to correctly calculate road usage in the Dublin city.
This study is to be carried out under the ARMAS (Active Road Management Assisted by Satellite) project to develop a 'virtual' road toll system. ARMAS is a system that uses in-vehicle black boxes and global satellite positioning (GPS) data to help determine the exact route a driver has traveled, so that a fair and precise toll can be calculated after each journey. The system calculates the cars position in real time and sends data about location and journey length to a control centre allowing drivers to be charged for the section of roadway they traveled on.
The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced that it will host its first-ever online convention and exposition, beginning Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2005. Attendees will gather virtually to attend sessions presented by seven featured speakers. Participants can also visit the convention's exposition, where they can review information from companies who supply GITA members with software, hardware, and services. The virtual convention and exposition is free of charge. Further information and a registration form is available at
A huge collection of 50,000 maps and 1.5 million aerial photographs from around the world is destined for a number of new homes when it completes its transfer away from current custodian Ordnance Survey next month.
The Southampton-based agency's International Collection is made up of maps and survey information from more than 60 countries - some of it spanning more than 100 years.
DigitalGlobe announced it has named Thomas A. Hennig senior director of U.S. Defense Business Development. In this position, Hennig will interact with senior Department of Defense and intelligence community leaders to ensure that DigitalGlobe meets the needs of U.S. government organizations. Hennig's office will be located in the Washington, D.C. area.
Intergraph Corporation announced Tampa Electric, the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy Inc., has selected Intergraph G/Technology as the enabling engine for its geospatial resource management (GRM) environment. G/Technology provides an open database architecture that will support the integration of 15 key applications, and improve data access for Tampa Electric employees, such as project planners, inspectors, drafting staff and field maintenance teams. Tampa Electric expects the GRM system, with a foundation of Intergraph's G/Electric, to improve service delivery and processes.
ESRI announced that StreetMap Pro is now available. This new dataset provides high-quality display of commercial-level street data. StreetMap Pro is optimized for ArcGIS Desktop (ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo).
In The GIS Guide for Local Government Officials, a new book from ESRI Press and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), municipal GIS experts suggest practical approaches for incorporating this powerful mapping technology into a city or county, no matter what size. Case studies drawn from throughout North America illustrate how officials have successfully applied GIS to their specific needs, from monitoring storm drains in Hawaii to fixing potholes in Canada. In nontechnical language, the book describes how to plan, fund, and implement a local government GIS for in-house functions and community outreach. It also dispels myths about GIS and peeks
ahead at the technology's future.
New from ESRI Press Designing Better Maps: A Guide for GIS Users explores the techniques of mapmaking and the benefits of using geographic information system (GIS) technology and all its tools to create accurate, visually stunning maps.
ILOG(R) announced ILOG JViews(TM) Maps for Defense, a commercial graphics toolkit for creating sophisticated, highly-interactive maps for the defense industry that can be displayed on ordinary laptop computers. Designed for military command and control applications, JViews Maps for Defense can display real-time field data and supports video-like zooming, object animation, as well as more detailed and realistic terrain information, resulting in enhanced decision-making ability for military commanders. ILOG innovations in computer memory management allow for very fast zooming -- from satellite- to street-level views in seconds. ILOG JViews Maps for Defense also provides an extensible
library of symbols that can be automatically updated in real time to accurately reflect position and status data for targets and deployed assets.
MapLink Pro digital mapping toolkit has just been released by TENET Defence and is available across all major platforms including Microsoft Windows, Linux, UNIX and VxWorks. MapLink Pro Version 5.0 builds on the well established MapLink reputation of high performance digital mapping for Mission Critical Systems and now offers solutions to meet the next generation of advanced user requirements.
MapLink Pro is an open Standards-based Commercial Off The Shelf (S-COTS) product that provides a component-based software toolkit for the handling and display of maps, charts and live track data - specifically designed for application developers across the defense, aerospace and maritime industry. This latest software release enables highly effective solutions across command and control, mission planning, mission support, simulation and training, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. expanded its innovative StreetPilot i-series(TM) product line with the introduction of the StreetPilot i5(TM). The i5 offers customers the lowest priced GPS navigator that is pre- loaded with detailed maps of North America which includes the entire United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Navicom GPS has introduced its latest technology for personal GPS locating to compete in this exploding marketplace. The new unit is revolutionary with full-featured GPS capability that provides unlimited GPS tracking/locating, an E911-emergency feature, push-button concierge service, two-way voice speaker phone, programmable buttons for one-touch dialing, and is about the size of a key chain.
Around the Web
A Company Looks to Wean Computers Off the Wires
, Michel Marriott, The New York Times
, September 19, 2005 - While snaking cables are still a long way from becoming the buggy whips of the 21st century, a Silicon Valley technology company recently said that it had developed a wireless technology that might hasten their obsolescence.
Date: September 26 - 29, 2005
Place: World Trade and Convention Centre Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Hosted by CARIS, this year's 10th International User Group Conference and Educational Sessions will be the international training and management conference for CARIS customers and parties interested in exploring the benefits and application of spatial information management technology.
Date: October 5 - 6, 2005
Place: The Downtown Harvard Club Boston, MA USA
It's been an exciting year of new faces, new products and new innovations with the introduction of iSITE 2005.1 and MarketVue Portal V1.1. We look forward to showing you how to get the most out of your geoVue solutions, demonstrating how our modeling works behind the scenes, and introducing you to fellow geoVue users from across the USA.
Date: October 5, 2005
Place: Dave&Buster's Marietta, GA USA
This year's conference, with the theme “Field Automation - The Next Frontier”, emphasizes technology that enables field automation. Presentations on wireless technology, wireless service capability, and wearable computers will describe leading edge research and practical applications. A representative from United Parcel Service (UPS) will outline their field automation achievements and plans. A local utility will share the results of its field implementations. And the keynote presentation will stimulate out-of-the-box thinking by showing how GIS is used to document the history of a Civil War battlefield.
Date: October 6 - 7, 2005
Place: Palm Beach County Convention Center West Palm Beach, FL USA
Always FREE to attend, this year's theme is "Aren't we Spatial". Mr. Zul Jiwani, President of Orion Technology, Inc. has spent significant time and effort volunteering in assisting vulnerable communities using his vast expertise and experience in GIS. The keynote address Mr. Jiwani will be presenting for the South Florida GIS Expo is "Assisting the Vulnerable - Using GIS for Preparedness, Mitigation and Response to Natural Disasters".
Date: October 9 - 12, 2005
Place: Hyatt Regency Kansas City, MO USA
Go beyond basic technology and applications and contemplate issues related to designing, managing and applying information technology - at its highest and best use - to improve our urban and regional environments. Join your colleagues, peers, thinkers and doers from around the world at URISA's Annual Conference.
Date: October 23 - 26, 2005
Place: The Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas, NV USA
The theme of Trimble Dimensions 2005 is Move Your Business Forward with an emphasis on improving productivity and lowering costs through the application of positioning, wireless and software technologies. The conference will feature a wide range of programs including presentations on the underlying technologies, sessions on applying technology to real world problems, introductory and advanced product training, and practical tips and techniques to help organizations grow their business and maximize return on investment (ROI). Many of the application sessions will utilize Trimble users to explain the practical use of technology in surveying, civil engineering, highway and heavy construction,
site preparation, and construction vehicle fleet management, as well as other emerging applications.
Date: October 23 - 27, 2005
Place: Sioux Falls, SD USA
"Global Priorities in Land Remote Sensing" Co-Organized by American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing The Pecora Conference series was established by the U.S. Geological Survey an NASA in the 1970s as a means of sharing ideas and experiences resulting from the use of remote sensed data. This year's conference will offer a program that honors this tradition of focusing on applications of satellite and other remotely sensed data to study, monitor, and manage the Earth's land surface while recognizing other priorities related to applying the science and technology of land remote sensing and ensuring its stable future.
Date: October 23 - 26, 2005
Place: The Mirage Las Vegas, NV USA
For the Surveying, Engineering and Construction Professional Trimble has been at the forefront of some of the most exciting and practical positioning technology applications of our time, leading the way with technical advancements and innovations that provide tangible results and measurable value. Reflecting this spirit, the Trimble Dimensions 2005 User Conference is designed to deliver lasting benefits to surveyors, civil engineering and construction professionals. A slate of prominent speakers will delve into the hottest issues surrounding positioning technology to enhance your business.
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here
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- October 09, 2008
Reviewed by 'Khubaib'
'New Mapping Software Company Bridges the Gap between GIS and Non-GIS Professionals- More on Hurricane Katrina Response