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March 06, 2006
Quality Certification with Radius Studio
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! Just launched in the UK is Radius Studio™ from Laser-Scan, a component-based data integration and quality management tool that complements existing applications using Oracle Fusion Middleware, i.e. Oracle Database, Oracle Application Server and Oracle MapViewer. Read about it in this week's Industry News.

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

Quality Certification with Radius Studio

By Susan Smith

Just launched in the UK is Radius Studio™ from Laser-Scan, a component-based data integration and quality management tool that complements existing applications using Oracle Fusion Middleware, i.e. Oracle Database, Oracle Application Server and Oracle MapViewer.

Laser-Scan has a long history of providing their own object oriented software and database environment, and is well known for its role in reengineering projects, such as OS LandLine® to OS MasterMap® and the recent award-winning APS solution for No1. AIDU, Royal Air Force (RAF) UK.

Steven Ramage, Product and Marketing Director of Laser-Scan, said that when he joined the company, his role within the Radius Programme was to take some of this technology already proven in Laser-Scan's own database environment, and move it into a mainstream IT environment. “At that time we decided Oracle was the way to go as it was the market leader and technically it provided the functionality we needed to provide our first product, Radius Topology (launched in 2002), a transparent, interoperable engine that could do on-the-fly or batch mode data validation and processing.”

Radius Topology highlighted the fact that many errors could be detected and, depending on how you set up your rules, you could automatically fix 85-90% of the data errors. “Many organizations don't want to automatically fix the data, they want to maybe resolve or determine the reason why the error is there,” explained Ramage, “or maybe these are not errors, i.e. they are exceptions to the rule.”

This led to Laser-Scan's realization that there was a lack in the marketplace for some kind of meaningful quality certification process. This process would need to identify patterns in spatial data and provide data discovery tools to determine the rules behind them, and to then check rule conformance with data and provide fix up tools.

The end result was Radius Studio. It is a “meaningful” or “intelligent” data certification tool - you can quantitatively measure your data quality levels “because you can check data conformance against the rules that exist,” Ramage said. “We can do the certification on behalf of an end customer, or system integrators can also use the tool to certify spatial data quality levels.”

Chris Tagg, Product Manager, performed a demonstration of Radius Studio, using Internet Explorer 6 with no additional downloads. Starting with some data layers in Oracle that are currently being used for different purposes in different departments, the goal is to enable web access to multiple databases with centralizsed rule management.
The data came with some metadata that allowed you to see where the data came from, where and when it was captured and where it has been used.

According to the metadata, a couple of the data layers used - building and curblines - were both captured about 10 years ago using aerial photography. They have been used in different departments for that length of time and have been edited.

Tagg brought them together in Radius Studio to see how they will match up, i.e. conflated the data sets. “With Radius Studio we can bring these two layers together and analyze the relationship between them and identify potential data problems to see if the quality of the data is up to the standard that we need it to be, in order to make any sort of planning decisions in this example,” Tagg explained.

He continued: “Radius Studio has a number of different components to allow us to analyze the data, create and apply business rules and measure the data quality. For instance we have Rule Discovery (data mining), which will allow us to find dominant patterns in the data, and we have the Rule Builder where we can actually define spatial and attribute rules using a very simple rule builder. In both cases, we can obtain results without needing the knowledge of a software developer. We also have an Action Builder to fix up non-conforming data and bring it back into conformance.”

By going into Data Stores, Tagg saw a number of different stores that are essentially Oracle databases situated both locally and remotely. “I can view the data I am interested in on this particular Oracle server here,” he signaled on the demonstration. “Radius Studio gives me a snapshot of that data. On the left hand side are the layers as they are in the Oracle schema, so it is just Radius Studio presenting me the tables and the attributes that are available to me to carry out the rules-based processing.”

“On the right hand side, I can change the names of features and attributes as I'd like them to be in Studio. When I bring it into the Radius Studio cache, I can change that name to anything I want it to be, so if you have an Oracle database where you have features or table names that are meaningless to anyone else, you can actually bring them in here and define the rules based on the features and attributes you have defined.”

Not only can you change the names, you can change the data types internally. “Once I've got the data mapping, I go to sessions [a sequence of tasks that describe a workflow],” said Tagg. “I think of it as a shopping basket, where you can bring in any number of different tasks. I'm going to bring in an Open Data task that will allow me to bring my Oracle data into my session. This is just for me, a private session just for my user, and it will read in the data from the remote Oracle data server into my Radius Studio cache on the application server.”

“When I have the data there, I can start to create rules against which I want to check the validity of the data. First I'm going to run the Rules Discovery, which is basically an algorithm that allows us to identify the spatially dominant patterns within data. It's got a number of different parameters that we use to tune the algorithm, we can change it slightly so it will only show me things that are meeting the minimum criteria, the minimum support levels and rule probability levels. So if there are patterns below those thresholds it won't present them to me, it will just throw them away. We can change how much and how little we see in a Discovery algorithm.”

In the demonstration session, Tagg brings in a data Discovery task, all the data that was brought into his cache, looks at the building and curbline layers (for a user-defined number of objects, in this case 200 objects of each class in random areas) and tells what the relationship is between them. “It presents us with an html report, as it has found a couple of relationships. In this example it has found that 97% of the time there is exactly one curbline object where the building geometry is contained inside the curbline. We can now create that as a rule inside Radius Studio if we think it is a valid relationship that we should enforce throughout the data coverage. It makes sense to
me that buildings should be contained inside curbline objects and that there should be no overlaps.”

“Not everybody knows what their rules are and they can run the Rules Discovery component and get a good idea what the relationships are between the data layers,” noted Ramage.

In the Rules repository, there are a number of different folders, which are logical groupings of rules. The Radius Studio interface mimics that of the Windows Explorer interface by using a tree of folders and subfolders to store rules and actions. The demo folder that is created in a Rule Builder will automatically just come from the Rule Discovery. “The way we build up Rules in Radius Studio is via a number of different elements in this tree hierarchy, using things called conditions, values, relationships and spatial relationships. Through a combination of these things we can build up quite complex and powerful spatial rules using attribution checks as well. Using the rule that the
Rule Discovery has created, I can alter it very easily to now identify all curbline objects that have a building that overlaps it.”

Using the Rule Builder you can check for the existence or the non-existence of a particular condition(s). This can then be applied as a Conformance Check in a session to identify non-conforming objects. In this particular case, it contains numbers of how many objects passed the rule and how many failed (as numbers of objects and percentages), and it has object IDs of all the curblines that have a building intersecting them. Each object ID also has a link that drives the user to the non-conforming object using Oracle Map Viewer. This gives people the ability to quickly visualize the data without having to have a desktop GIS application installed, but it will work with existing GIS packages
as well.

This is what is meant by “meaningful and quantitative data quality measurement,” according to Ramage; the ability to measure data quality against a set of rigorous business rules is vital to ensure that the data is certified for a particular use.

It's also possible to drag and drop and quickly build up the repository of rules, i.e. by copying from one rule set to another rule set. You may also need to go back and refine your rules as you find out more about your data. Importantly, all changes to rules and actions are stored as metadata in Radius Studio so that they can be easily tracked. The number of non-conforming objects is reduced because rules can easily be fine-tuned depending on what is understood about the data in the process of certifying it.

Radius Studio has its own geoprocessing components, which allow you to not only identify and measure relationships and spatial relationships, but to also potentially fix data that is non-conforming. If we have buildings that overlap the curblines and we know that the curblines are the accurate “Gold Standard” data by which all things are measured, we can modify the non-conforming building geometries so that they are contained inside the curblines. This allows the automation of what would be a time consuming manual process. Obviously not everyone will want to automate the fix-up of data, but Radius Studio gives people the flexibility of either producing detailed reports on
non-conforming objects that a user can then quickly navigate to and manually correct, or offers an automated solution.

However the data is corrected, Radius Studio gives people the ability to measure the data quality in percentage terms throughout the data quality improvement cycle. At the end of the cycle it then allows the certification of data against a rigorous and accurate rule base.

The beauty of the system is that it allows you to rigorously check each object inside the cache of the Radius Studio geoprocessing environment. Once the data is in the cache, you can do a comparison on an object-by-object basis, depending upon what the rule is. It is possible to have a number of sessions open, reading from different databases and checking on them simultaneously.

Top News of the Week

Intergraph Corporation announced a new version of G/Technology that provides significant usability enhancements for mobile users and flexible licensing for Web users. The new version further demonstrates Intergraph's commitment to addressing market requirements for mobilizing field workers and extending data access via the Web.

G/Technology MobileViewer supports field-based, round-trip workflows so that users in the field can create intelligent redline sketches, generate cost estimates related to the designs and send all this information back into the asset database via automation using XML. MobileViewer also supports pre-configured applications for the field, such as vegetation management and field inspection, with requisite data traveling round-trip to the field and back with changes to the asset database.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, announced the North American semi-finalists for the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge(TM). The Challenge is a program encouraging application developers from around the world to build innovative location-based service (LBS) applications that work with portable devices using dynamic positioning technology and NAVTEQ(R) maps. See
press release

Photo Science was recently awarded a five-year, indefinite delivery contract to provide coastal geospatial services nationwide for the NOAA's Coastal Services Center located in Charleston, SC.

This contract requires a wide range of geospatial services to support various local and regional coastal resource assessments, estuarine and watershed analysis, environmental characterization, habitat conservation, and management of coastal zones throughout the United States. To date, Photo Science has provided LiDAR elevation data collection to support regional floodplain mapping efforts; land cover and land cover change data creation in support of NOAA's Coastal Change Analysis Program; geo-regulations development for the geographic footprint of coastal and ocean related legislation and agency jurisdictions; and satellite imagery acquisition to support shallow water coral ecosystem
mapping. This contract has a maximum ceiling of $10,000,000.

The Carbon Project announced that The Carbon Portal, home of the Open-Geospatial .NET Community, has grown to over 2000 registered users in just six months after launch.
TheCarbonPortal provides an online resource where anyone can join at no cost, download free tools, exchange ideas and software code and find support among others seeking to advance geospatial interoperability.

Michael Baker Jr., Inc., an engineering unit of Michael Baker Corporation (AMEX:
BKR), announced the award of a contract from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), to conduct Statewide Data Warehouse and Maintenance for the Bureau of Transportation Data Development.

The three-year, $1.24 million contract directs Baker to provide services including database management of several programs, data updates, field inventory and/or attribute data collection, Geographic Information System (GIS) updates, interagency coordination, documentation, and quality assurance/quality control.


PCI Geomatics announced that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Antrix Corporation Ltd. to develop an interface that integrates CARTOSAT-1 satellite data products in Geomatica®, PCI Geomatics image-centric geospatial software.

Trimble announced that it has acquired intellectual property assets from privately-held The XYZs of GPS, Inc. of Dickerson, Maryland, in an all-cash transaction. The XYZs of GPS develops real-time Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) reference station, integrity monitoring and dynamic positioning software for meter, decimeter and centimeter applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ekahau Inc. and Symbol Technologies Inc., The Enterprise Mobility Company™, announced a solution to help organizations more efficiently track the location of inventory and assets with radio frequency identification (RFID). The first implementation of this new application will use Symbol's MC9000 mobile computing RFID reader, which incorporates Ekahau location-enabling software designed to locate where RFID tags are being read.

East View Cartographic (EVC) announced an agreement with SPOT Image Corporation to become an authorized reseller of SPOT satellite imagery products. SPOT provides a wide range of medium-resolution imagery ideal for uses such as land management, telecom planning, or creating new street level vector data. SPOT satellites have been collecting imagery since 1986. The SPOT archives now include more than 10 million images covering most of the Earth's surface several times over.

Orbis Integrated Solutions Inc., a business consulting and technology integration firm which focuses on Investigative Solutions and Data Management Solutions, announced the partnership with ARCBridge Consulting & Training Inc. (arcbridge.com) a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) solutions firm, to deliver wireless GIS mapping solution leveraging handheld PDA technology.

Webraska, a provider of mobile GPS navigation solutions and high-end geospatial software platforms for wireless carriers and major service providers worldwide, announced that its has signed a partnership agreement with Terralink International, New Zealand's leading GIS data integrator, to power GPS navigation, internet mapping, LBS, local search and fleet management offerings in New Zealand.

Terralink International will sell and support Webraska's Smartzone Geospatial Platform and Webraska Navigation 6 in New Zealand. The platform will be enabled with Terralink data, New Zealand's most comprehensive and trusted navigation dataset. Terralink location data is used day-to-day by New Zealand's first response emergency services.

Ricoh Corporation, a leader in specialized digital imaging solutions, and GlobalSat Inc., an industry leader in GPS technology, announced a strategic relationship to provide unprecedented GPS accuracy of geo-coded digital images. GlobalSat's BC-337 is a highly portable CompactFlash GPS Receiver, which utilizes SiRF's Star III low-power chipset. When combined with Ricoh's GPS-Ready Pro G3 Digital Camera, high-resolution images are embedded with precise GPS coordinates.


Intergraph Corporation announced that Intergraph customer Instituto Geografico Militare Italiano (IGMI), one of the national institutions providing the Italian government with digital cartography and integrated feature data, used Intergraph software to aid in the security operations at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

IGMI's task was to integrate and validate data from multiple sources to assist in securing Olympic venues, which spread across Italy from the city of Turin to the mountains bordering France. IGMI collected, validated and integrated mapping data to create valuable location-specific information for use by security personnel in the prevention and response to critical incidents.

Two new maps give first responders, land use planners, decision makers and Bay Area residents a new and more detailed look at the risk of "liquefaction" in the soils underlaying buildings and other important components of the Bay Area infrastructure, such as roads and pipelines.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is releasing two new digital maps of the densely populated central part of the San Francisco Bay region. These maps are designed to give the first responders, as well as the general public, those responsible for maintaining utilities and other "lifelines," public officials, emergency response personnel new and better tools to assess risk from earthquake shaking damage. The maps also serve as the baseline data for the California Geological Survey's Seismic Hazard Zone maps.

(From the press release) According to a survey carried out by Genasys in the Latin American telecoms market, despite years of build-up and hype, location based services were still in an early stage of slow growth at the beginning of 2005. From about the year 2000, only a handful of operators worldwide had launched location based services for their enterprise and individual subscribers. However, the recent introduction of 3G network technology in many markets (and many more to come) coupled with the emphasis on boosting data revenues, it seems like the stage is finally set for widespread rollouts during 2006 and 2007.

According to respondents, 62% of operators are currently evaluating LBS services, vendors, and business models in preparation for roll-outs to take place in the next 12-24 months. Highlights of the survey include:
- Only 31% of respondents who do not currently offer LBS are interested in a 100% onsite installation financed by infrastructure investments. The rest are interested a mixed-model solution that requires lower capex investment offset by higher opex.

- Mobile Resource (or Fleet) Management applications, like the TrackWell TracScape, are the most in demand while local chat seems to holds the least appeal in the markets where these solutions have yet to be implemented.

- Usability ranked highest as a key factor for the uptake of location-based application. It was followed closely by reasonable cost and practicality/usefulness.
A summary of survey results are available for free


Autodesk, Inc. announced financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2006. For the fourth quarter, Autodesk reported record net revenues of $417 million, a 17 percent increase over $356 million reported in the fourth quarter of the prior year. On a constant currency basis, revenues increased 23 percent.

Fourth quarter net income was $83 million, or $0.33 per diluted share on a GAAP basis and $91 million, or $0.37 per diluted share on a non-GAAP basis. Fourth quarter non-GAAP net income excludes $8 million in-process R&D expenses related to the acquisition of Alias and $1 million amortization of purchased intangibles. Net income in the fourth quarter of the prior year was $66 million, or $0.26 per diluted share on a GAAP basis, and $75 million, or $0.30 per diluted share on a non-GAAP basis. See
press release


CARIS has announced a workshop series called Ping to Chart World Tour 2006. This World Tour will be a unique series of five-day hands-on CARIS software training workshops that cover the workflow of hydrographic information from the echosounder "ping" through to the production and distribution of the "chart".
See website.


WhiteStar Corp. introduced Brad Taggart as Director of Technology. Taggart, who brings two decades of experience related to geographic information and digital mapping in the petroleum industry, will oversee production of WhiteStar's growing line of digital cartographic products for oil & gas, pipeline, and natural resource customers.

Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, will be a featured speaker at the MAPPS Federal Programs Conference, March 13-15 in Washington, DC.

NAVTEQ, a global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, announced that Andrew J. Green, Chief Executive of BT Global Services, has been elected to the NAVTEQ Board as Director, effective March 16, 2006. BT Global Services is a division of BT Group plc with more than 25,000 employees and annual revenues in excess of $10 billion. Mr. Green's election to the NAVTEQ Board furthers the company's goal of adding key business leaders who bring diverse expertise and a unique vantage point to the company.

New Products

Safe Software announced that its spatial data translation product, FME, now supports reading and writing of TOP10NL, the Dutch standard format for sharing GIS data across multiple platforms.

TOP10NL is based on GML 3.1 and employs a multiple-geometries-per-feature data model. Because few commercial GIS applications can support this directly, Safe Software has developed a set of data model transformations that allow six different commercial systems to import and export TOP10GML using FME; additional configurations for other vendor systems could easily be added. The configurations were developed for Autodesk AutoCAD DWG/EED, Bentley MicroStation GeoGraphics, ESRI Geodatabase, Intergraph GeoMedia, MapInfo TAB, and Oracle Spatial, and can be downloaded from the fmepedia, a Safe Software-sponsored "wiki" or community website for FME users, at

Red Hen Systems announced the release of its spatial Digital Video Recorder (sDVR). The sDVR is a dramatic improvement in the way video is recorded, collecting time and location along with the video, resulting in an information rich data set.

Tensing USA announced the availability of its SPY .NET suite of mobile products, the first mobile GIS solution that is 100 percent based on the Microsoft .Net Framework. This platform-independent suite will run on any Windows-driven device that utilizes the .NET Framework 2.0 or .NET Compact Framework 2.0.

Open Spatial Inc. announced the release of Munsys 9.3 Standard Edition, a cost effective solution for small utilities and local governments to manage their engineering data.

Munsys Standard Edition (Munsys SE) is optimized specifically for the Locator spatial functionality provided in Oracle 9i and Oracle 10g Standard Editions. It uses Oracle's Locator functions to store, retrieve and analyze utility data in an Open GIS format offering the customer a cost effective yet complete off-the-shelf infrastructure information management solution.

GeoSpatial Experts unveiled a new GPS photo mapping product bundle that includes a Pentax digital camera, Garmin handheld GPS receiver and the GeoSpatial Experts GPS-Photo Link software. The Pentax-Garmin package is the third GPS-Photo Link mapping product bundle offered by GeoSpatial Experts, the one-stop shop for photographic mapping needs. Due to relatively low cost of the camera and GPS receiver, GeoSpatial Experts views this as the perfect hardware/software combination for first-time photo mapping users.

Ekahau Inc., provider of a Wi-Fi based Real Time Location System (RTLS) solution and Site Survey tools, announced the new version 2.2 of Ekahau Site Survey (ESS). The updated version can now provide large enterprises with better survey capabilities for large-scale networks.

Webraska, a provider of mobile GPS navigation solutions and high-end geospatial software platforms for wireless carriers and major service providers worldwide, is pleased to announce that Orange has renewed its confidence in Webraska by selecting Webraska's new Webraska Navigation 6 software for the upcoming version of its Orange Navigation solution.

MapInfo Corporation, global provider of Location Intelligence solutions, introduced Envinsa™ version 4.0, a scaleable web services platform for delivering mapping, geocoding, routing and enhanced spatial capabilities across the enterprise. Envinsa v4.0 enables organizations in all industries to combine Location Intelligence with core analytical and operational processes, resulting in better decision-making, lower costs, enhanced efficiencies and improved service.

Boeing has released version 4.1 of its SoftPlotter(R) digital map production software, enabling users to provide more accurate and efficiently produced digital mapping products to their defense and commercial mapping customers.

SoftPlotter's engineering-based, map development products drive civil works projects, commercial real estate and highway development, and are used to support the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Global Geospatial Intelligence program with digital mapping production services.

Around the Web

Push to Create Standards for Documents, by Steve Lohr, March 3, 2006, The New York Times-(registration required) With government records, reports and documents increasingly being created and stored in digital form, there is a software threat to electronic access to government information and archives. The problem is that public information can be locked in proprietary software whose document formats become obsolete or cannot be read by people using software from another company.

Upcoming Events

GITA Annual Conference 29

Date: April 23 - 26, 2006

Place: Tampa, FL USA

GITA's Annual Conference and Exhibition is the most highly regarded educational event for professionals involved in geospatial information technologies.

PROGIS-Conference 2006

Date: April 19-20, 2006

Place: Vienna, Austria

The event explores background, legislation, needs and technologies for farm advisory systems, as they are necessary to comply with the new situations like commitments regarding Cross Compliance, documentation needs to ensure food- and feed-traceability, to calculate, to map etc..

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.