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October 24, 2005
National Digital Orthophoto Program Meeting
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 the National Digital Orthophoto Program (NDOP) held their Steering Committee Meeting here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The National Digital Orthophoto Program (NDOP), chartered in 1993, is a consortium of Federal agencies for the purpose of developing and maintaining national orthoimagery coverage in the public domain by establishing partnerships with Federal, State, and local agencies and tribal organizations. Read about this highly successful program 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/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, Competitions, Training Programs, New Products, Moves, Letters to the Editor, 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

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

National Digital Orthophoto Program Meeting

By Susan Smith

This week the National Digital Orthophoto Program (NDOP) held their Steering Committee Meeting here in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the National Park Service Building. Generally, the meeting convenes twice a year in locations where the state or city is working on an orthoimagery project. In this case, New Mexico is working on a statewide orthoimagery project.

According to an overview presented by George Lee of the USGS and George Rohaley of the National Resources Conservation Service (USDA/NRCS), the National Digital Orthophoto Program (NDOP), chartered in 1993, is a consortium of Federal agencies for the purpose of developing and maintaining national orthoimagery coverage in the public domain by establishing partnerships with Federal, State, and local agencies and tribal organizations. Currently, the NDOP consists of representatives from the following agencies: Farm Service Agency (USDA/FSA), National Resources Conservation Service (USDA/NRCS), Forest Service (USDA/FS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Census Bureau (USCB), Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC).

Since its inception, NDOP has been at the forefront of orthoimagery production and technological development. Accomplishments include: orthoimagery standards and specifications, funding initiatives, project planning methods, partnership development, contract administration and increased public access to imagery.

The purpose and mission of the NDOP is to
- Meet various agency program requirements digital orthophotography through partnerships

- Provide a seamless and consistent national image base

- Make the ortho base available to the NSDI framework.

- Serve as a focal point to coordinate aerial and satellite imagery requirements among federal and state organizations.

The use of aerial photography goes back to the 1920s. In the '40s, agencies began to use rectified aerial photography, mosaics and base maps. During the 60's to the 80s analog orthos were used. When GIS got going, ortho got going. The need for an accurate digital basemap for digitizing became apparent, and it was determined that orthoimagery is very cost effective as a common base map. DOQs are more up to date than line maps and now there are many GIS applications for orthoimagery.

In 1990 a national digital orthophoto program was originally proposed by USGS, FSA and NRCS. The NDOP was chartered in 1993 by FSA, NSGIC, NRCS, USFS and USGS. The first orthoimagery pilot project was Dane County, Wisconsin. Minnesota became the first state completed under NDOP. The original goal was to finish all private lands by 2002, and all federal lands by 2004. Orthoimage coverage for all private lands over the entire continental United States was first achieved in 2002. Conterminous coverage of all private and federal lands was completed in 2004.

The NDOP believes that by developing partnerships between Federal agencies and state and local governments, they can provide greater orthoimagery coverage and lower the costs by sharing the costs among several partners. Data can be collected once at the highest resolution desired and re-sampled to lower resolutions to meet other orthoimagery requirements. Orthoimagery can be maintained and served from local databases that meet the needs of all levels of government and the public.

For example, within the last two years NDOP has partnered with the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Vermont. In 2003 the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) was implemented. In 2004 the web based NDOP- National Digital Elevation Program (NDEP) project tracking system was developed.

There are several programs that fall under the auspices of the NDOP. These include NAPP (National Aerial Photography Program administered by USGS) and NAIP (National Agriculture Imagery Program administered by the USDA-Farm Services Agency). NAPP imagery was the primary source of the original DOQs. Today, most Federal imagery is acquired by USDA through NAIP. There are also many other projects that involve the combined efforts of each agency as well as state and local participation. In fact, many state agencies administer their own contracts while partnering with NDOP Federal agencies.

The original DOQ product was a black-and-white DOQ, 1:12,000 scale, one-meter GSD and horizontal accuracy to within 10 meters. Within the last few years though, this specification is on the rise with 1-foot resolution in many urban areas and a natural color one- and two-meter resolution for NAIP. The DOQs today are generated from both aerial film and digital sensor systems. Public domain data is one of NDOP's primary operating principles and hence licensed satellite data or other licensed commercial data has not been the orthoimagery source for the program. DOQs are FGDC metadata compliant. The primary delivery mechanism for DOQs are DVD, fire drive and the internet, because of the
large amount of data to be handled. They use primarily MrSID compression. MIT developed the OrthoServer and Microsoft developed the TerraServer primarily to test and develop an IT system capable of delivering large datasets.

Currently, replacement coverage is generally on a 5-year cycle. “In less than ten years, we have complete coverage,” said Rohaley. “That's pretty cost effective.” Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Pacific Basin are not included in the 5-year plan.

Other technological advances that were initiated by the NDOP orthoimagery program include: seamless county mosaics; the need for digital sensors, airborne GPS and inertial measuring units; and faster ways of moving large imagery files via the internet. Also, the imagery generated by NDOP has led to the creation of many value-added companies that develop new products from the orthoimagery.

Orthoimagery trends that NDOP sees are:
- More value added products especially 3D visualization.

- Increased interest in digital sensor collection

- Storage and processing costs going down

- Online access and viewing

- Partnerships are desirable but not always the best solution

- Ortho processing software will be widely used like other desktop office applications.

- Satellite supply will continue to increase especially when .25 meter resolution is available.

- More data sources for imagery, for example, Google Earth, Pictometry, and Microsoft Virtual Earth

- Satellite companies easing licensing restrictions to compete with airborne systems.
NDOP feels that it must continue to meet the challenges of sustaining funding for program stability, constantly educating agency leadership to the value of orthoimagery, adopting key government executives, Congress and the private sector to support the legislation for orthoimagery, continuing to award best value contracts and improve the QA/QC process to speed up data delivery to users.

Among NDOP's future goals:
- Initiate one-foot GSD nationwide on a 5-year repeat cycle.

- Instantaneous orthoimagery products - as soon as an area is flown, the orthoimage is created and delivered.

- High resolution DEMs for the entire country.

- Continue to leverage funds with state agencies, and, at the same time pursue making orthoimagery a national asset funded by Congress.

- Establish private-public partnerships for new orthoimagery

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Bob Mesko, cartographer CP of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spoke on the mission of the Corps' geospatial elevation program, which involves rapid response, full service geodesy, cartography, hydrographic, photogrammetric mapping to civil works, military design, construction activities and environmental restoration. The program was established to maintain technology to provide rapid response and full expert support with the use of CONUS and OCONUS A/E contracts. They have $5 million worth of contracts related to the hurricane right now. Geospatial is just a sub-group of the Corps, according to Mesko, who said that the primary job of the Corps is engineering and construction.

The Tec Imagery Office is to monitor/coordinate all army commercial imagery purchases to save the Army money. Their goals are to acquire commercial satellite imagery at no cost and to prevent duplicate purchases among their customer base.

During Hurricane Katrina and Rita, their mission was
- to acquire imagery permitting identification of damaged roof in support of a temporary roofing mission

- to interpret imagery for damage to roofs with symbols for damaged roofs

- create street maps and /or image maps with damage symbols

- imagery was also provided to other agencies providing disaster support including EROS Data Center for distribution via fire wire via National Map.

- Imagery has wide application for wide range of other missions such as debris volume estimate, initial damage assessment, coastal and wetland, damage, high water marks and mitigation.
The Corps contracts out 100% of all photogrammetric production work. The question was asked, what triggers rapid response for the Corps (as in the case of Hurricane Katrina), Mesko replied, “When FEMA recognizes a national emergency, that's the trigger for rapid response.”

BLM - Monitoring Rangelands

Allan Bollschweiler of the Santa Fe BLM, introduced Enrique (Tres) Montano of BLM who spoke about the issues of monitoring rangelands. The questions they ask are: how are rangelands changing over time? How are federal rangeland managers making decisions? What tools are available? Can the decision process be improved?

The BLM use fusion of Vegetation Monitoring and Analysis Program (VMAP) Rangeland Condition Observations and satellite imagery for real time monitoring of rangeland. VMAP is a centralized database of rangeland monitoring data collected since 1980. The BLM works with HDHR, MODUS and AVHR and will use the orthoimagery of the State of New Mexico after it is delivered out this winter.

In the old view of regarding rangelands, there was the belief that if you had fire, grazing pressure, climatic or other pressures; if you removed them, you would return the land to a more desirable state. The new view recognizes that you can't just hope for recovery by removing pressures. Many new grass types emerge after fires or overgrazing for example, and many thresholds become alternative states.

There are three states that the land of New Mexico or perhaps the west can be in:
State 1 - grassland

State 2 - sagebrush steppe

State 3 pinion, juniper

Montano said that you can't return land to a previous state. There are no truly undisturbed grasslands in New Mexico. VMAP monitors vegetative production, ground cover and plant frequency, and is presently text based.

Raster Data Management

Mark Hardy of SANZ Inc. spoke on advanced raster image processing with their product EarthWhere, and Tony Kimmet of the USDA-NRCS embellished that with a report on NRCS raster data management using EarthWhere. EarthWhere is based on a server based application called OSSIM developed for the DMA/NIMA/NGA. It is COTS software designed to improve the function of provisioning, according to Kimmet. With EarthWhere, users can combine raster data cataloging image processing and storage management into a data provisioning application. A resource data gateway has been packaged for end users and supports raster data types.

Katrina Imagery Support

Glenn Bethel, USDA remote sensing advisor and Paul Rooney of FEMA, spoke on “Katrina Imagery Support,” listing what imagery was available from what sources and what it might be useful for.

An example: the NRCS-NCGC has
- Pre-Katrina mosaics for 36 parishes using 2004 CIR NAIP orthoimagery.

- They completed 5 composite mosaics for Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas using pre-Katrina/Rita data from 2004 from NAPP/NAIP imagery.

- They have provided geodata to many disaster relief agencies.
The USDA is assisting in asset damage assessment with the federal, state and local agencies on matters such as livestock, agricultural land issues, and watershed assessment. (This report was quite extensive and will most likely be the topic of another report.)

New Mexico Orthoimagery Project

Gar Clarke, New Mexico State Engineer and State GIS coordinator and Mike Inglis of the University of New Mexico (UNM) reported on the progress of the New Mexico Statewide Orthoimagery Project. Incidentally, the project is not being done through NDOP, but NDOP will benefit by using the orthoimagery collected as part of their complete map of the U.S. I learned that the reasons New Mexico may have undertaken this alone was because so much of the land is federal land under the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and also there is not much farm land compared with other states, to merit NAIP coverage.

The project is a one meter DOQQ project initiated three years ago, and is viewed as a “collaborative opportunity.” Funding limitations drive the need for multi-agency cooperation. Previously DOQQs were the result of a federal program. Indian lands in the state are substantial.

Because there is a high priority for digital data coordination in the state, in 2003 Governor Bill Richardson signed into effect a Geospatial Data Acquisition Coordinate Committee to assess and coordinate acquisition of aerial and mapping data for the state of New Mexico. This dictum was designed to meet the state's mapping priorities and requirements, assess, prioritize and request aerial and mapping data and coordinate these needs with NM congressional delegation, and identify funding sources.

What has transpired is a collaborative effort involving a number of state agencies working to get this initiative off the ground, including the office of the State Engineer, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety, Finance and Administration, Cultural Affairs, Energy Minerals and Natural Resources, Tax and Revenues, State Land Office, Game and Fish and others. Federal contributors included the Farm Service Agency (FSA), NRCS, USGS, Jicarilla Apache Reservation, BLM, FEMA, Kirtland Air Force Base, and Bureau of Reclamation.

The challenge for this initiative is to move money which has already been allocated between state, federal and local entities to the subcontractors. As with other bureaucratic efforts, the state must have money in place before a task order can be initiated.


ESRI and Soluziona, an international technology and professional services company, announced an agreement to integrate their respective software solutions to better serve the electric utility market.

They will work together, to integrate ESRI's ArcGIS technology with Soluziona's Open Utilities solution suite and, through joint sales and marketing efforts, introduce these solutions to both the United States and international markets. This will provide utility companies with better enterprise asset management capability, from network planning and design to operations and service restoration.

EarthData, a mapping, remote sensing, and GIS organization, announced the acquisition of operations from LJT & Associates' wholly-owned remote sensing unit, Emerge Remote Sensing Services, Inc. (Emerge), an Andover, MA-based provider of digital orthorectified mosaic imagery products. Assets conveyed as part of the acquisition include digital aerial sensors, computer hardware, mapping backlog, and a business portfolio that encompasses both government and private sector customers.

Green Hills Software, Inc., real-time operating systems (RTOS) and device software optimization (DSO) provider, announced that it has established an agreement with NAVTEQ, to offer integrated solutions to developers of telematics and infotainment systems requiring navigation. As part of the agreement, NAVTEQ map data and other technologies have been integrated with Green Hills Software's royalty-free INTEGRITY and velOSity real-time operating systems. The combined solution from NAVTEQ and Green Hills Software has already been selected by several tier 1 suppliers to the automotive industry and deployment is targeted for certain vehicles for model year 2006.

Group 1 Software, Inc., a Pitney Bowes Company announced that it has entered into an alliance relationship with EuroDirect in which Group 1 will be the exclusive reseller of EuroDirect's CAMEO geodemographic classification data in the US and Canada. The agreement provides for the integration of EuroDirect's CAMEO USA & Canada databases into Group 1's Centrus Demographics suite. With the agreement, Centrus Demographics batch, Web and Client/Server users will have access to the most current and powerful information for consumer classification to better profile and target the American and Canadian consumer markets.


NAVTEQ Corporation reported record revenue for the quarter ended September 25, 2005.

Revenue in the quarter rose 26% over the third quarter of 2004 to $123.0 million. Operating income grew 38% over the year-ago period to $30.4 million. Net income in the quarter rose to $101.1 million, compared to $13.6 million in the prior year's third quarter. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter grew to $1.07, compared to $0.15 in the prior year's third quarter. See
press release for more details.

NAVTEQ also announced that its expansive digital map data for North America will be available in the new HP iPAQ hw6500 series Mobile Messenger. With NAVTEQ premium data 'giving it direction', HP's iPAQ hw6500 Mobile Messenger with integrated GPS receiver(1) offers users route guidance nationwide from one destination to another.

In last week's GISWeekly, there was a typo in the hyperlink to the Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean Tsunami Response Map Viewer, which should read
http://www.pdc.org/tsunami . This was corrected in last week's issue.


PCI Geomatics has recently announced several leadership appointments within the Sales department, stemming from its expansion into the image-centric solutions market and the ongoing commitment to its suite of Geomatica geospatial products.

Brad Schmidt, formerly the department's senior director, is now Vice President of Sales.

Michael Agnes has been promoted to Director of Software Sales.

Trevor Taylor has accepted the responsibility of Director of Strategic Sales, an expanded role to his previous position as Director of GeoCapacity Solutions.

Cary Lichtman has joined the Sales team as Account Executive and has responsibility of software and solution sales in the Eastern United States.


NASA announced that Diamond Data Systems, Inc. (DDS) was awarded a Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) contract for development of a new and innovative method to leverage LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) terrain & elevation mapping data. There are many uses for LIDAR data including disaster prevention through flood hazard mapping and planning, emergency management, weather studies and high-resolution mapping and analysis.

Leica Geosystems announced that it has won an order for 30 GPS 1230 surveying systems from Wolf Survey and Mapping, a division of Destiny Resources Services Partnership in Western Canada.


Definiens announced that all of its eCognition training courses will be available in the U.S. starting this year. The first courses are scheduled for December 5 - 6 and December 7 - 8. The 2006 course offerings will be announced soon.

Register online

New Products

MapInfo Corporation announces the release of MapInfo Exponare™ v2.4, an enterprise application that enables customers to distribute, access and share corporate data, using a map enabled portal.

ObjectFX(R) Corporation announced the general availability of FleetFX(TM), a software solution for visually monitoring transportation operations. FleetFX is designed to give executives, managers other personnel greater visibility into their operations to help them make better business decisions. The FleetFX solution is based on SpatialFX(R), the company's patented Java/J2EE spatial enterprise software platform.

NAVTEQ released a new data set, specifically tailored for the trucking industry, that provides truck access restriction and recommended truck route information linked to the NAVTEQ(R) map of North America. This data enables transportation and logistics solution providers that leverage NAVTEQ maps to enhance routing solutions, multi-vehicle optimization applications and truck navigation products. The first version of this data set is available with the Q3 2005 release of the NAVTEQ map of North America.

MapText, Inc. has made several modifications to SmartLabel, the company's integrated text placement software for MapInfo Professional.

MapText's release of SmartLabel generated great interest and intense feedback from MapInfo users. Based on this user feedback, MapText implemented several modifications to the software. These include automatically substituting fonts that are not currently supported, by Arial, improved window management, and a progress bar.

East View Cartographic (EVC) announced the availability of a custom map collection intended to support the international community's efforts to control the spread of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus. The bird flu map collection is available in paper and digital versions in a variety of the most commonly used scales. The authoritative package includes coverage of Southeast Asian countries most directly affected including Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Other worldwide and regional collections including Eastern Europe, Russia, and China are also available. Reliable geospatial reference information in the form of maps and GIS data is considered an essential tool in support of
cooperative efforts to control the spread of the disease.

Around the Web

Open Source Movement Gets a Lobby by Chris Preimesberger, Eweek, October 16, 2005 -- The open source software industry gained a new government lobby Friday with the launch of the National Center for Open Source Policy and Research

Upcoming Events

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.