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October 03, 2005
ORBIMAGE Acquires Space Imaging
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! Space Imaging has been for sale for a few months, but no one knew which company would be lucky enough to purchase all their assets. On September 16, ORBIMAGE announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Colorado-based Space Imaging LLC, a leading supplier of space imaged visual information products and services. The total assets come to approximately $58.5 million less amounts paid by Space Imaging on its existing debt prior to closing. Read about ORBIMAGE's plans to maximize those assets 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.

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

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

ORBIMAGE Acquires Space Imaging

By Susan Smith

On September 16, ORBIMAGE announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Colorado-based Space Imaging LLC, a leading supplier of space imaged visual information products and services. The total assets come to approximately $58.5 million less amounts paid by Space Imaging on its existing debt prior to closing.

Space Imaging has been for sale for a few months, but no one knew which company would be lucky enough to purchase all their assets. In a conversation with Gary Napier of Space Imaging earlier this year, I learned that Space Imaging has a number of assets that other space imaging providers do not have, and that both ORBIMAGE and DigitalGlobe were seriously considering it. ORBIMAGE president and CEO Matthew O'Connell expressed excitement about the Space Imaging acquisition.

Galveston braces for the effects of Hurricane Rita. The weakening Category 3 storm is expected to be the strongest hurricane ever to hit Texas.

Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite took this image of the area September 22, 2005.
“There are three asset groups in Space Imaging: 1) IKONOS and the production system - it's a great satellite and has a great production system; it has a good two more years to run and should run 'til the end of '07. It has one capability that OrbView-3 does not - it has the ability to do pan-sharpened multi - the lay people call it “colorized black and white.” That's a product that's in demand right now. 2) We get a terrific pool of talented employees, that's a great help. We have been growing rapidly and we've been looking for the kind of people that we're going to get at Space Imaging. Here in the (Washington D.C.) beltway we have to compete against all the big aerospace and defense companies and we also have to deal with the high cost of living in Northern Virginia. Picking up a pool of talented employees, many of whom have classified clearances, is a great leap forward for us in the HR world. (3) We can download directly overseas with Orbview 3. Space Imaging can download directly overseas with IKONOS; we have three international affiliates, they have several more international affiliates. We think if we pool those international affiliates, we will have a terrific portfolio of affiliates in the international world and we like to balance our revenue 50/50 U.S. government and regional affiliates in foreign countries. We have a great international
base to build on.”

ORBIMAGE had started a major effort in the international arena, according to O'Connell, “but buying Space Imaging really accelerates that.” What will Space Imaging do with all these assets? “We are very interested in continuing to grow by adding new products,” said O'Connell. “Obviously, if you have a big customer base it's easier to add new products. Acquiring Space Imaging gave the industry a good balance. I think we'll comprise about 60% of the market. I think DigitalGlobe will comprise about 40%. ORBIMAGE has a good value added production capability, and we want to keep working on new products we can sell to people, not just sell pixels.” Although
pixels will continue to be an important part of ORBIMAGE business, ORBIMAGE wants to add to that the sale of more value added products.

O'Connell quoted Bobbie Lencowski, who runs the NGA production facility in St. Louis. When ORBIMAGE won the NextView contract, she said, “we're excited about the future because NextView will produce more and better pixels. With those more and better pixels we can figure out more and better things to do.”

Both ORBIMAGE and competitor DigitalGlobe have created partnerships of interest lately that suggest a move into a more commercial arena -
ORBIMAGE and Microsoft penned an agreement to make ORBIMAGE the exclusive provider of satellite imagery for
MSN Virtual Earth, while
DigitalGlobe partnered with Keyhole in a similar agreement. The idea between ORBIMAGE and Microsoft coming together was to bring their two companies together with the sole purpose of combining software and satellite imagery expertise for the developer community to see what they might develop. “Let's make it easy for people to get this terrific information and see what developer community develops,” explained O'Connell.

Four years ago, O'Connell was sent by Merrill Lynch to “clean up” ORBIMAGE and at that time the economy was coming off the cusp of what Alan Greenspan termed “irrational exuberance” in the capital markets. “We had the internet bubble and everyone though we could sell dog food over the internet,” noted O'Connell. “My attitude was, let's cut way back and not promise anything on the consumer side. Now I think we will see more on the commercial side.”

Currently, defense and Intel U.S. are ORBIMAGE's primary group of customers, but equally important are defense and Intel Overseas. O'Connell cited increased interest in agricultural monitoring and environmental monitoring, real estate monitoring, and pointed out what all three satellite companies were doing around the clock during Hurricane Katrina. “We're delivering that imagery to the NGA, but it wasn't for defense and Intel, it was for another threat - an environmental threat. Sen. Allard of Colorado (a supporter of space imaging) was talking today about the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers' maps of wetlands are all out of date. That's something we can help them with.”
O'Connell said they are less interested in the retail consumer who goes to Google to look for their house, for example. “There's revenue there, but we're more interested in business to business information services that we can use our satellites for.”


Yvent Networks, Inc. (Yvent) and AccuWeather.com (AccuWeather) announced a content distribution partnership agreement to provide AccuWeather content to consumers "on-the-go." Yvent's content delivery service, ROBAND(TM), will support all major Personal Media Player (PMP), Windows®-based devices, according to Dr. Fathy Yassa, founder and CEO of Yvent Networks.

MapQuest, Inc. and TomTom Inc. announced the launch of the MapQuest Personal Navigation Device (PND). Combining the latest GPS technology with preloaded detailed maps, the MapQuest PND(R) will deliver highly accurate, turn-by-turn, voice-guided directions in an easy-to-use portable device. With the MapQuest PND consumers simply turn it on, tap in the destination and drive. This announcement further extends the company's popular maps and directions beyond the desktop and builds upon its presence in the location-based services arena.

Pictometry International Corp., digital, aerial oblique imagery and measuring software provider, announced that it has signed an agreement with Blom ASA (Norway) that will license the company's technology to Blom for ten years with the option to renew.

The agreement grants Blom the ability to use Pictometry's patented imaging technology to digitally photograph 13 countries in Europe. Pictometry will be helping Blom to establish a separate corporate structure under Blom with the name Pictometry Europe. This entity will create appropriate sales distribution channels for the aerial imaging technology.

Inrix, Inc., the first company to deliver real-time and predictive traffic information, announced at CTIA Wireless 2005 that it has partnered with Tele Atlas, a provider of digital geographic content, to deliver Inrix Traffic Services to Tele Atlas partners and customers through a reseller agreement. As part of the agreement, Tele Atlas will also provide Inrix with the rights to resell and internally use Tele Atlas map data with Inrix's services.

SYS Technologies, provider of real time information technology solutions to industrial and U.S. government customers, has acquired the ForceViz visualization package from Lomasoft Corporation. In addition, James R. Gambale, co-founder of Lomasoft has joined the Net-Centric software division of SYS.


ORBIMAGE Inc., a wholly- owned subsidiary of ORBIMAGE Holdings Inc. has received new orders totaling $6.1M under its ClearView contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). These new orders represent increases in the volume of high resolution commercial imagery that will be collected with ORBIMAGE's OrbView-3 commercial satellite or supplied from our existing commercial archive holdings. In addition, ORBIMAGE will supply high accuracy multi-source imagery products derived through fusion of both commercial satellite imagery and government imagery.

The Carbon Project, leader in Open-Geospatial .NET technology, announced a successful demonstration of location-based content sharing using open-geospatial web services.

The demonstration was conducted on September 22, 2005 at the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Geospatial Applications and Interoperability Working Group meeting hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 1200 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, DC.

Managed by geoLeaders, the demonstration highlighted next-generation open-geospatial web services from CubeWerx, The Carbon Project's new CarbonArc extension for the popular ESRI ArcGIS platform and Gaia open-geospatial .NET viewer. In the demonstration, these tools were used to access a new reference implementation of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) through a CubeWerx Web Feature Service (WFS) and a new profile of Geography Markup Language (GML) designed to make it easy to share location-based content.

NAVTEQ, a global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, is providing Nokia with map data for its newly launched Nokia Wireless GPS Module LD-1W through NAVTEQ's Chinese joint venture, NAV2. The Nokia LD-1W offers a complete integrated solution for mobile navigation in the Chinese market. It is a compact and lightweight product which integrates the hardware, software and digital map data needed for a navigation experience. It is compatible with all smartphones based on the Series 60 platform, and a wide range of compatible PDAs or PCs. The Nokia LD-1W will be available in China in the fourth quarter of 2005.

NAVTEQ also announced the launch of a Consumer Content Program. The new content will initially include pedestrian and location data that enhances localized search and mobile applications -- enabling solutions that turn any user into someone who knows the neighborhood like a long-term resident.

Dynamix Corporation, an SBA Certified Small Disadvantaged Business and HUBZone Business Enterprise that specializes in providing Bio/environmental, Information Technology, and Geospatial Information Services (GIS) to federal and local government entities, has received ISO 9001:2000 certification from Bureau Veritas Quality International (BVQi) Inc.

Dynamix was awarded the ISO 9001:2000 certification for GIS data management and integration, information security, network support, software optimization and maintenance, hardware and network maintenance, data center relocations, disaster recovery and technical staffing.

The U.S. Geological Survey is alerting state and federal agencies to the increased potential for landslides on September 24-28 in the Ozark-Ouachita mountainous regions of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri due to anticipated heavy rainfall from Hurricane Rita. The slope of the land, the type of geology, ground saturation, and rainfall intensity and duration all play major roles in triggering landslides. Currently, a Quantitative Precipitation Forecast by NOAA/NWS forecasts up to 7.6 inches of rainfall within the 24 hour period stretching from September 25 to September 26 (Sunday through Monday), through the mountainous parts of the Ozarks. From September 24-29 (Sunday to Thursday) a
total of 21.8 inches of rain are forecasted. If rainfall intensity-duration exceeds this predicted value, then more numerous landslides could occur in mountainous areas along the projected path of the storm in the States of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

URISA's GISCorps recently got involved in a project to “improve communication between short and long-term medical missionaries working in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Guatemala.” Medical Mission Exchange (MMEX) is a non-profit organization that seeks to facilitate referrals of underserved patients to appropriate medical specialists in developing countries. The NGO does not currently have GIS capabilities but they would like to have geodatabases in each of these countries and also have a GIS map for each country on the MMEX interactive website, which is the current vehicle by which MMEX missionaries communicate. Right now they are relying on tabular
information, but must get spatial information from the web and other resources. There is a lack of good spatial data for these countries.

In his evaluation of the project, Juna Papajorgji, Co-chair of URISA's GISCorps said that they need research time to find the right data. The data will be used to create the maps that will ultimately be placed on the website. For more information about URISA, visit


Total E&P Nederland B.V., an oil exploration and product company, has won a 2005 BE Award for its Geospatial Index to E&P Documents project in the Netherlands. The award category was "Geospatial: Managed Environment."

The goal of Total E&P's project was to make all of its geoscience study files automatically searchable by spatial location. It accomplished this using Bentley ProjectWise Geospatial Management, which easily handles the geoscience division's ESRI ArcGIS MXD files and MicroStation drawings.

New Products

NowAuto Group announced that wholly owned subsidiary, Navicom GPS announced its commercial launch of its new Microburst, GPS and q network . Over 100 pre-ordered units of Navicom's Navitraq V shipped this week and are being installed across the country. Completion of existing orders will be shipped in the next week.

Ordnance Survey launches Landplan Data for desktop delivery Ordnance Survey launches a desktop data product that is ideal for property professionals such as architects, civil engineers, construction companies and estate managers.

Landplan Data enables detailed analysis of project sites from 1 km² to 25 km² anywhere in Great Britain based on up-to-date survey information.

MapText, Inc. announced that its low-cost text placement software SmartLabel 1.0, is now compatible with MapInfo Professional v.7.0 or above. The previous version was restricted to v.7.8 and above.

EKAHAU INC, announced Ekahau Tracker, a software application that provides real-time tracking and management of mobile assets and people throughout the enterprise campus, indoors and outdoors. Ekahau Tracker is the latest addition to the award winning Ekahau RTLS (Real Time Location System) application suite, a complete wireless location-tracking solution that leverages the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.

ESRI and IDV Solutions announce that Pulte Homes, Inc., the second largest builder of homes in the United States, recently revealed its new Web-based tool that assists potential home buyers in quickly locating a new home in a desirable area. The tool allows house seekers to navigate an interactive map, eventually “drilling down” to an image of the desired home along with relevant information. The tool, built by ESRI business partner, Michigan-based company IDV Solutions, will assist those looking for new houses in more than 45 real estate markets across the United States.

Pinebush Technologies, Inc., developer of high performance printing and plotting software for semiconductor, CAD, GIS, A/E/C, and other technical markets, announced the availability of HyperXpress 5.0. HyperXpress is a high performance software raster image processor (RIP) designed to enhance productivity by dramatically decreasing the time it takes to print large, complex raster and vector images. HyperXpress is seamlessly integrated into design environments to enable fast, high quality printing to any desktop or wide format output device.

Graphic Technologies, Inc. (GTI) announced the release of Version 5.0 of its flagship viewer and application platform GTViewer.

GTViewer offers a simple and engaging user interface, astonishing performance, and easy data management. GTViewer has gone beyond being just a viewer: it is a platform for developing sophisticated GIS applications including data collection, facility inspections, network tracing, spatial analysis, and data validation. GTViewer's ability to work with data from disparate GIS sources provides a unifying force in an increasingly complicated work environment.

Around the Web

Microsoft's nightmare inches closer to reality by Jim Kerstetter and Elinor Mills, CNET News.com, September 23, 2005 -- In an extensive memo called "The Web is the Next Platform" that was introduced as evidence in Microsoft's antitrust trial five years ago, Microsoft engineer Ben Slivka described a "nightmare" scenario for the software giant.

Upcoming Events

geoVue User Conference 2005

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.

GITA Southeast Chapter 12th Annual Conference

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.

12th Annual South Florida GIS Expo

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".

URISA's 43rd Annual Conference

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.

Trimble Dimensions 2005

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.

Pecora 16

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.

Trimble Dimensions 2005

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.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.