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April 24, 2006
New Municipal License Subscription Program Makes GIS Work for Infrastructure
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! In a press conference this week, vice president Bentley Geospatial, Styli Camateros, announced the company's new Municipal License Subscription (MLS) program, which offers municipalities “all the software they need for the mapping and engineering of all their infrastructure” for a fixed annual fee, based on population: the number of people in a local government area. What this program addresses is the distinct need of local governments to be able to manage all the diverse information for their assets from the same environment, by having all the software available to them promptly, in the same interoperable, package deal.


Also read about the highlights of this year's GITA 29 Conference held in Tampa April 23-26 in this week's Industry News. Hope to see many of you there.


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


Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor




Industry News


New Municipal License Subscription Program Makes GIS Work for Infrastructure

by Susan Smith


In a press conference this week, vice president Bentley Geospatial, Styli Camateros, announced the company's new Municipal License Subscription (MLS) program, which offers municipalities “all the software they need for the mapping and engineering of all their infrastructure” for a fixed annual fee, based on population: the number of people in a local government area. What this program addresses is the distinct need of local governments to be able to manage all the diverse information for their assets from the same environment, by having all the software available to them promptly, in the same interoperable, package deal.


“What we've noticed in the last 3-5 years is, GIS is widely implemented and has solved real problems,” said Camateros. However, the manner in which it has been applied to infrastructure has left a lot to be desired. The problem lies in the fact that infrastructure exists for a long time, and the information about its design, operation and maintenance must be accessible to those who need it during its lifecycle.


What this means, according to Camateros, is that the planning, designing and building of infrastructure generates a lot of information that has to endure for that asset's lifecycle. The information must be organized so that it can be used as the asset is managed. “There is work to do to make GIS work for infrastructure,” he noted, and Bentley has earmarked five drivers for that change as follows:
- diversity

- 3D

- multi-disciplinary projects

- openness

- engineering users
Diversity


There is a huge amount of disparate information in infrastructure that is not strictly GIS information. “GIS systems have fallen short of being able to consolidate that richness and present to the user a way of finding that information,” said Camateros. “20% of the time on a project can be spent looking for what has been done before or what is in process. Making sure people can find information thirty years from now is critical.”


A lot of Bentley's inspiration for organizing disparate information comes from Google. Google's “federated information management” concept, i.e., indexing information rather than trying to transform it, has revolutionized the way people retrieve and find information. This ability can be applied to GIS for infrastructure, so that a system can manage both GIS data and other types of data such as design and operation and maintenance.


3D


3D has become very cost effective, said Camateros. “Some of our big local governments build models of their cities, and are seeing returns-on-investment that are quite considerable, as they avoid errors in design and construction using 3D. We need to think of GIS in a 3D context, and get away from symbolization that 2D maps represent. Those 3D models are more interpretative, communicating with citizens what their environment will look like.”


Multi-disciplinary projects


Local governments are actually owner/operators of assets, and possess the most diverse assets of any market segment in geospatial. “They must manage buildings, space, water networks, parks, cadastral information, etc., so they need very large multi-disciplinary teams that work on these projects,” said Camateros. Fortunately, software companies have realized that asking customers to adhere to one vendor is not a viable solution. “The idea is to put in place a technology architecture that allows people to work in their best-of-breed tools, but also allows them to share and synthesize information.”


Openness


Open standards and interoperability are key to being able to function in that environment. The OGC, GML, WMS and WFS are all vital to this effort, “but we also need to look at de facto standards,” Camateros pointed out. “I place Oracle 10g in that category, as a large vendor of databases. It has a spatial database that is standard, in the sense that if you put information in that database, anybody can write an application to use it. Looking at openness in that sense, your data investment is really protected. This will become truer as infrastructure related projects increasingly count on Oracle 10g to be that standard platform that they can all work from.”


Engineering users


There is a lot of engineering in infrastructure, and a lot of friction has been created between those who design and build the asset and those who manage the asset. Camateros attributes this friction to the fact that engineers adopted CAD platforms, which focus on design. When relational databases were developed about 20 years ago, people promptly built GIS systems on top of them. Those in the planning and facilities management roles used the databases to manage their facilities, but it created a gap between themselves and the engineers working on CAD as these two technologies required different work processes, yet each needed some information from the other. “What we should be doing
is creating environments where someone can plan, model, design and do facilities management from the same environment.”


Geospatial represents 30% of Bentley's total revenue. Bentley has been in the local government market since its flagship product, MicroStation, was partly owned by Intergraph. “Those who have a municipality don't just do cadastral mapping, they do public works, civil engineering, architecture, or plant design,” noted Camateros.


MLS


With the MLS program, Bentley has looked closely at the types of problems municipalities have. Local governments are plagued by silos of disparate data, slow procurement cycles which translates to slow starts on new projects, need for cross-departmental workflows, slow adoption of new technology, a need for web publishing.


The MLS portfolio includes integrated geospatial and engineering solutions for:
- Surveying, site and terrain modeling

- Land management

- Mapping, imaging and document conversion

- Road and highway design, rail and transit system design

- Water and wastewater management

- Architecture and facilities management

- Communications network design

- Plant design and operation

- Urban visualization, Web publishing, and much more
The MLS program aims to increase the quality of service to community and citizenry. The fixed price subscription is invoiced once a year, which means lower administration costs. The program allows for an unlimited number of users across many different platforms.


Many times administration costs are daunting for municipalities. Just administering all the different software licenses and licensing agreements can be time consuming and expensive. The MLS removes that headache. “We are able to deploy all the software a local government needs for GIS and engineering functions from one vendor,” Camateros said.


The aggressive pricing model makes it possible to have as many licenses as they need to be efficient. Customers who are already using MicroStation or ProjectWise can leverage their investment and try out the additional Bentley softwares. As part of the MLS subscription, customers can use the Enterprise Training Subscription (ETS), which provides all the training they need to get their new software deployed quickly.


15 customers have signed up for the MLS already, according to Bentley. Among them are City of Edmonton, City of Helsinki, Amherm (NL) and Kotka.




Getting Ready for GITA 2006

By Susan Smith


No Barriers: Connected. Responsive. Prepared


Prompted by the Asian tsunami, and then later, Hurricane Katrina, the GITA Board felt that the theme of this year's conference held in Tampa, April 23-26, should reflect the geospatial industry's call to service and support its ability to respond, stay connected and be prepared for any eventuality.


This year's program circles back to this theme repeatedly. Some of the highlights of the show:
- Last July, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) earmarked for funding the 14 highest growth industries - geospatial among them. GITA was awarded a $700,000 grant to conduct a study of workforce readiness for jobs in the geospatial sector. The grant, a result of President Bush's High Growth Job Training Initiative, was initiated to prepare people to take jobs in the high-growth areas of the American economy.


- According to GITA executive director, Bob Samborski, the study was to define the geospatial industry and its needs, challenges and priorities, for which GITA developed the Geospatial Industry Workforce Information System (GIWIZ).


- The study so far has narrowed down to four definitions of the geospatial industry. To offer feedback on the definition, go to


- There will also be three major panels discussions on Tuesday: “Defining and Communicating Geospatial Workforce Demand,” and “Interoperability: Choosing the Right Approach,” which will offer opportunities to discuss workforce issues and GIWIZ.


- A Geospatial Workforce Center will be available on the exhibit floor. Representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Association of American Geographers, and KidZ Online/Geospatial 21 will be on hand to provide an update and videos.


- Birds of a Feather User Forum Breakfasts will focus on specific areas, including electric, gas, GITA Cheetahs (young professionals), public sector and telecom.


- Conference sessions include titles such as “Planning for Mobility,” “GIS and Disaster Management 101,” and “One Call Connection.”


Top News of the Week


The City of Phoenix Aviation Department recently awarded Woolpert, Inc. with a contract to create an enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) for the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
Over the next 42 months, Woolpert will be creating and merging data and developing 14 different applications in order to provide the airport with a scalable solution to integrate key processes, data and systems into a centralized GIS. The firm will be performing systems integration, data conversion, photogrammetry, facilities planning, survey and indoor LiDAR (light detection and ranging) services. “Using our unique blend of services, we intend to create a world class information system for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that will produce rapid return on investment,” said Woolpert Vice President and project manager John Przybyla.


John Copple, CEO of Sanborn, announced that the company has been selected to provide light detection and ranging (LiDAR), and digital elevation models (DEM's) for the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.


Sanborn was contracted to provide high density LiDAR data for the purpose of generating a high resolution DEM that will be used by the State of Minnesota in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for improving floodplain maps and to act as base data for regional hydrologic modeling projects.


Geographic Technologies Group, Inc. (GTG) announced that the Town of Abingdon, Virginia has procured products from GTG's GIS software suite. The Town will be implementing GISmo. This application is a desktop GIS solution that will provide Town staff the ability to map and analyze existing GIS data.


Skyhook Wireless' Loki, the mass consumer LBS application that automatically incorporates a user's exact location into Internet search through the use of WiFi access points, has been selected by NAVTEQ as a category winner in the Navigation Applications Category of the Global LBS Challenge. Executives from wireless carriers, hardware and device manufacturers, and other influential players in the wireless industry served as the official judges and based their final decisions on three criteria: usability, applicability and ease of use. Skyhook Wireless' Loki took highest honors and was named the official winner in its category.


A new, citizen-created online atlas called Platial is bridging the virtual world of online communities with the physical environments of real life by enabling anyone to map their personal experiences and the little corners of the universe that are meaningful to them.


Platial (pronounced PLAY-shul) adds a new dimension to online blogs and journals, letting people map and tag their experiences, memories and opinions to specific places that others can explore. Thousands of people worldwide are discovering places and sharing maps related to hundreds of topics, such as adventure, history, politics, music, architecture, and various life experiences.




Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances


Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has completed the acquisition of Geo-Spatial Technologies, Inc. (GSTI), a Springfield, Va., and Seattle, Wa., firm that is a leader in the research, development, and application of novel geospatial technology for advanced 3-D imaging, reconnaissance, remote sensing and mapping systems. The acquisition enhances SAIC's capability and industry position in the area of next-generation system development and integration for urban warfare and homeland security applications and operations.


Every ambulance trust in England is to benefit from greater access to Ordnance Survey's most detailed digital geographic information (GI) from this month. It follows the launch of a pilot agreement aimed at encouraging the use of computerized mapping across the NHS. The plan is to ensure health providers have the reliable information they need to improve patient care while making the most efficient possible use of their resources.


The agreement between the mapping agency and The Information Centre for Health and Social Care, acting on behalf of the NHS in England, was signed in November 2005. It covers more than 600 health services, including primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, NHS trusts and cancer registries. So far 330 have applied to be part of the pilot. Now 31 ambulance trusts are eligible to join.


Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has completed the acquisition of Geo-Spatial Technologies, Inc. (GSTI), a Springfield, Va., and Seattle, Wa., firm that is a leader in the research, development, and application of novel geospatial technology for advanced 3-D imaging, reconnaissance, remote sensing and mapping systems. The acquisition enhances SAIC's capability and industry position in the area of next-generation system development and integration for urban warfare and homeland security applications and operations.




Announcements


MapInfo Corporation, global provider of location intelligence solutions, will hold its second quarter fiscal 2006 conference call on Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 a.m. PDT. The conference call will be Webcast live at
www.mapinfo.com/investors or
www.investorcalendar.com. The second quarter earnings announcement will be issued at 7:00 a.m. EDT on April 27, 2006. See
press release


A new report from the National Research Council (NRC) stresses the importance of spatial thinking in everyone's life. -Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the
K12 Curriculum recommends embedding spatial thinking across the K-12 curriculum. According to the report,
GIS technology can play a powerful role in promoting spatial thinking.


The study, supported by grants from the USGS, NASA, National Geographic Society Education Foundation, National Science Foundation, and ESRI, began in 2000 and brought together experts in geographic education and educational psychology. The panel heard from key organizations and individuals active in GIS education and outreach including instructors and developers who promote integrative and problem-based inquiry approaches to education. As constant proponents of the value of GIS and geographic inquiry in education, ESRI and a number of educators who use ESRI technology gave substantial input.


The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC(R)) has released a Request for Comment on a new candidate OGC standard: OpenGIS(R) Catalogue Services Specification 2.0.1 - ISO Metadata Application Profile. This document specifies a catalogue application profile based on ISO19115:2003/ISO19119:2005 metadata with support for XML encoding per ISO/CD TS 19139 and HTTP protocol binding.




Financials


Trimble announced results for its first quarter 2006, ended March 31, 2006. Revenue for the first quarter of 2006 was $225.9 million, up approximately 16 percent from revenue of $195.4 million in the first quarter of 2005.


Operating income for the first quarter of 2006 was $33.1 million, up 10 percent over operating income of $30.2 million in the first quarter of 2005. See
press release




Contract Awards


GeoEye announced its partner European Space Imaging (EUSI) received an additional contract from the European Commission to supply OrbView-3 high-resolution map-accurate imagery. The contract was awarded on April 5, 2006 and is valued at $2.15 million (EUR 1.8 million) over the next four years. The imagery will be collected by the company's OrbView-3 high-resolution earth-imaging satellite. Together with its recently renewed three-year contract to supply imagery from GeoEye's IKONOS high-resolution satellite, EUSI continues to be one of the largest suppliers of commercial satellite imagery to the European Commission.


ESRI is pleased to announce that National Fuel Gas Company, a diversified
energy company with headquarters in Williamsville, New York, has selected ESRI to provide a core enterprise GIS platform to support the company's transmission and
utility operations.
ESRI technology is already in use at National Fuel's Timber segment.




New Products


KOREM, a provider of development and integration of web-mapping solutions and geographic information systems, announced that Push'n'See v4.7.1 now supports raster images in ECW and MrSID formats.


MapInfo Corporation has recently released a patch for MapXtreme v. 4.7.1 allowing support of ECW and MrSID image formats. This patch is supported by Push'n'See. It can easily be installed and allows for publication of ECW and MrSID images directly from MapInfo Professional to Push'n'See. The publication process is as smooth as publishing any other image formats or native tables.


ImageCat, Inc., a DigitalGlobe business partner and provider of advanced technologies for risk and disaster management, has released its 3D-City(TM) model for the City of London, United Kingdom. Created as a tool for managing corporate risks within vulnerable urban and industrial environments, the 3D-City suite is now enhanced with the addition of 3D-London(TM), the first 3D model of its kind for the famous international city. 3D-London was developed using DigitalGlobe's QuickBird imagery.


PCI Geomatics and eSpatial will jointly announce the integration of PCI Geomatica® Image Management System (GIMS) with eSpatial iSMART. The integrated technology will be showcased for the first time at a Solution Spotlight event at GITA.


MobileDataforce Inc. , provider of customized mobile software applications and Rapid Application Development Solutions for Mobile Environments (RADS-ME), and DeLorme, a leading provider of mapping products and technical solutions for the consumer and professional markets announced the integration of the PointSync mobile application development kit and XMap that together provide a full featured GIS mapping and field service development environment.




Around the Web


Seismic Science, April 18, 2006, CNET News.com Special Coverage - On the centennial of the massive quake that shook San Francisco on April 18, 1906, many people are asking how a repeat rupture might affect the Bay Area today. Technologies that help scientists predict quakes and determine potential damage are central topics this week at a seismology conference in San Francisco.


Mashups for Fun -- and Profit?, by Elinor Mills, April 19, 2006, CNET News.com -Mashup Web sites, from celebrity stalking sites to an online pedometer for running enthusiasts, are certainly all the rage. Now comes the hard part: making money off these things.


“Japan Sky-Mapping Satellite Back on Track,” Forbes -April 17, 2006 -- A Japanese satellite orbiting the Earth will start mapping the sky in May after scientists fixed a glitch in the navigation system, an official said Friday.


Japan launched the 13.4 billion yen (US$112.6 million; euro93.1 million) Infrared Astronomical Satellite on Feb. 22, and had planned to start mapping the sky using infrared wavelengths from mid-April.




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.


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