August 21, 2006
Plans Ahead for Land and Property Professionals
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| by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Message from the Editor -
Welcome to GISWeekly! James Cutler, one of the founders of eMapsite, spoke with GISWeekly on the company's origins and the development of
, the latest online service from eMapSite providing up to date and detailed mapping for Great Britain, based on the Ordnance Survey's 1:1250 scale MasterMap. Read about it in this week's Industry News.
GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top News of the Week, Announcements, Contract Awards, Awards, People, New Products, Letters to the Editor and Upcoming Events.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Plans Ahead for Land and Property Professionals
by Susan Smith
James Cutler, one of the founders of eMapsite, spoke with GISWeekly on the company's origins and the development of
, the latest online service from eMapSite, which provides up to date and detailed mapping for Great Britain, based on the Ordnance Survey's 1:1250 scale MasterMap, targeted to professionals across the land and property sector.
GW: Tell me how eMapSite originated.
JC: The founders of eMapSite, Justin Saunders and myself, had been working for many years with GIS, image processing and digital mapping in an international environment at what can only be described as a pretty rudimentary level - needs assessment, data capture, image interpretation, basic overlays, simple analysis, map production - mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East (the company is still out there -
In this time we had worked very closely with ER Mapper on the imaging side and consequently were among the first to see their Image Web Server application back in 1999. Here was a technology that enabled what was still then a high volume, hard to share, difficult to distribute thing (raster data!) to become far more accessible. Having not been in the data market place per se we took our time researching the possibilities, developing partnerships with key public sector information holders (PSIHs as they're now called) such as Ordnance Survey, before developing and launching eMapSite in June 2000.
As the founders had previously worked for and very closely with “professionals” (engineers, surveyors, environmental consultants, architects and so on) eMapSite was positioned as a B2B service to make their life easier, with the product offering and procurement modules being aligned with users tasks and business processes. The whole organisation, from the investment team through the technical team to the sales team, has a professional services orientation that reflects the needs, aspirations and attitudes of our markets.
To this day, this focus has remained central to our approach. As an organisation we are unencumbered by legacy software tools or commitments to vendors, confident that our long-term investment in and commitment to web services provides the platform that our customers need. eMapSite retains an independent, flexible, responsive service that continues to evolve to meet the needs of a growing market increasingly aware of the business drivers for and opportunities afforded by spatially enabling their applications and their enterprise. Plans Ahead is simply the latest manifestation of this.
GW: What generated the development of Plans Ahead?
JC: Our wider market place is dominated by users in what can be described as the “land and property” domain, a sector where eMapSite has had a growing presence since our inception, owing to its inherent overlap with our core markets. This wider market can be mapped as four interwoven groups: plan, design and build; disposals and acquisitions; asset management and investment; resource users. While the whole market continues to expand, owing to widely differing requirements, the challenge has been to meet the disparate needs from a coherent platform.
As your readers will know, Great Britain has arguably the most detailed national mapping base of any country in the world, courtesy of Ordnance Survey. In 2000, Ordnance Survey announced the release of OS MasterMap, a total re-engineering of their map base; the result was a GML encoded digital database of over 425 million features.
eMapSite was among the first to adopt this new generation of digital mapping and invested heavily in being able to provide our customers not only with the product itself but also with new ways of exploiting it. This investment has been embraced by our core users for use in their CAD and GIS systems where they now make up the bulk of OS MasterMap users outside local and central government.
In addition, the wider market place (at both ends, enterprise and consumer) has access to full colour detailed mapping never before available, thanks in part to our relationship with MultiMap (we provide the Buy Map services for GB locations) but more significantly thanks to our fully OGC-compliant WMS platform. As systems integrators and others wake up to the role of geography, it is the ability to provide access to all scales of mapping and all types of digital map product, including OS MasterMap that distinguishes eMapSite and makes our web services approach so powerful.
This has been confirmed by our market research which also indicated that there is an ongoing requirement for a range of additional geoinformation related services, in particular:
- street mapping for property particulars (our StreetsAhead service)
- the ability to preview of detailed mapping including OS MasterMap and aerial photography - to confirm what is there and enable more accurate definition of an area of interest (to save a few cents) site
- plan printing
- location based information aggregation and presentation
The latter would be reason enough for Plans Ahead, but what is so exciting for eMapSite is the opening up of a genuine gap in the market place that we are, as a genuine multi-vendor map portal, well placed to capture. We have the ability to bring together detailed data from many sources (courtesy of our investment in web services) in response to a locational query and to present that data in a variety of ways using the same tools services, a requirement hitherto unmet.
GW: Who is the primary customer for Plans Ahead?
JC: As the foregoing would suggest our primary customers for Plans Ahead are professionals across the land and property sector, including conveyancers, estate agencies, property developers, surveyors, planners, landscape planners, architects and so on. However, the creeping acceptance of web services in local and central government as well as across larger enterprises opens up a raft of opportunities for those organisations unwilling to invest in the creation of their own OS MasterMap based architecture. Consequently, we are receiving high levels of interest both in Plans Ahead and the underlying component services from systems integrators and others.
GW: Are there varying levels of usage for the service, for example, do people need to have a certain level of expertise to use it, or is it designed for a wide variety of users with varying degrees of depth in terms of adding information, manipulation, etc.?
JC: In principle all our services are developed with the user in mind and with no presumed level of competence. Familiarity with maps and spatial concepts will always be an advantage when publishing tools that enable users to define their area of interest, buffer those areas or alignments, create plans, choose formats and so on. Our core market place of professional CAD and GIS users does tend to have a technical bent and we endeavour to accommodate demands for functionality and flexibility as they emerge. As our user base broadens, issues of usability and navigation have become increasingly important and are reflected in recent developments, although we do not shy away from the need for
plug-ins (ActiveX for the main site, Java for Plans Ahead) for our online applications. Licensing restrictions mean that previewing of large scale data in Plans Ahead carries a charge; we allow users to add credit to enable them to avail of this service or to choose a product for which there is no view charge.
GW: What sorts of investigation can users do with Plans Ahead?
JC: The web services that underpin Plans Ahead and that we provide as components to a range of customers enable the user to answer questions relating to “where is my nearest,” “what information exists for this location” and “adjacency” information pertaining to the following:
- administrative and political information
- environmental information
- ground stability
- planning applications
- statutory areas (such as nature reserves)
- choose from 756 classes of points of interest (including health and education)
This content is continuously being added to. The key point to note is that in general, the professional seeks to add their own value to the information that we provide through integration and interpretation before advising the end user, rather than relying on a standardised report. Plans Ahead is eMapSite's response to the needs of our customers in terms of the services and content they seek.
GW: What kinds of customization can be implemented?
JC: We will be adding “free to air” search services over the coming months, coupled to live paid for services. In terms of customization we use a fully OGC compliant WMS and an evolving WFS to provide a range of bespoke web services to systems integrators and third parties for integration of mapping elements into enterprise wide solutions, ranging from property management to transportation systems.
GW: Do you have plans to implement Plans Ahead with another national database other than OS MasterMap?
JC: All of our suppliers provide national cover, be it Great Britain or England, and their data sets are available through Plans Ahead. Although we currently have no plans to roll-out this model outside our own shores, we are aware how extensible the platform would be for other territories.
Top News of the Week
Placebase(TM), Inc. announced availability of the Dynamic Layers application programming interface (API) for Pushpin LE. This API makes Pushpin LE the first Google style mapping service with advanced layer control. Through layers, the service natively supports advanced graphical elements such as dynamically shaded regions. For example, tints representing sales by territory, demographics by block group, or housing prices by zip code can be slipped underneath the streets on the fly. With other Google type mapping systems, shading would have to be placed on top, obscuring elements below and destroying the legibility of the map.
The City of Pasadena Water & Power Department has awarded an enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS) program management contract to MWH, a global environmental engineering, program management and construction firm.
Under the terms of the contract, MWH will serve as the overall program manager and lead implementer in coordination with Pasadena Water & Power for this $5.5 million, 21-month program designed to help the City gain valuable insight into the lifecycle management of its water and power asset base.
According to a survey released by Tele Atlas, a global provider of geographic content, good old-fashioned road trips are not dead yet, and digital navigation tools are helping drivers find out more about what's on the road around them. Survey results found that men and women as well as the young and the old continue to have drastically differing perceptions about maps and navigation. However, despite gender or age, American drivers agree that maps enabling them to find more points of interest along the way enhance their travel experiences.
EarthData International, Inc. (EarthData) announced its role in last week's release of the critically-acclaimed, World Trade Center, Oliver Stone's portrayal of five Port Authority police officers who battle the devastation of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Central to the movie are three-dimensional renderings of the collapsing towers, which Stone uses to recreate the police officers' perspectives and help audiences comprehend the horror of being trapped in the underground inferno. The renderings were created by integrating architectural blueprints of the twin towers with aerial-based laser (lidar) terrain models and imagery acquired by EarthData in the days immediately
following 9/11. The film's studio, Paramount Pictures, also used EarthData's three-dimensional model of Manhattan for scene planning in advance of filming and to visualize the final effects shots for the film.
NAVTEQ, a global provider of digital map data for location-based solutions and vehicle navigation, is presenting the NAVTEQ LBS Developer Conference on September 11, 2006. Openwave, a leading independent provider of software solutions for the communications and media industries, is collaborating with NAVTEQ as the Signature Sponsor of the conference. This day-long event prior to CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment provides a unique forum, bringing together key industry experts and business development companies to help developers launch location services for both consumer and business applications.
The conference agenda includes breakfast, lunch, and cocktail reception immediately following the day's closing remarks. Registration also includes a pass to CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment, keynote sessions and exhibitor hall preview and entrance. To register or for additional information, please visit
HP announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2006, with net revenue of $21.9 billion, representing growth of 5% year-over-year, or 6% when adjusted for the effects of currency. GAAP operating profit was $1.5 billion and GAAP diluted earnings per share (EPS) was $0.48 per share, up from $0.03 in the prior year period. GAAP financial information for the third quarter 2005 reflects a tax adjustment resulting from HP's decision to repatriate $14.5 billion in cash from foreign earnings. See
Intermap Technologies Corporation (the "Company"), reported second quarter results for the period ended June 30, 2006. All amounts in this news release are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted. See
Analytical Surveys, Inc. (ASI), a provider of utility-industry data collection, creation and management services for the geographic information systems (GIS) markets, and an emerging participant in the oil and gas industry, announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter and nine months ended June 30, 2006. See
Orion Technology Inc. announced that Rif Jiwani has been appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer effective October 16, 2006. He will succeed his elder brother, Zul Jiwani, who has decided to spend more time on his Voluntary Humanitarian Assistance Activities. The company announced that Zul will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board and as advisor on key projects. Zul has served as the Company's President and CEO since the founding of the Company in 1998.
Preetha Pulusani announced her retirement from the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) Board of Directors. She recently resigned as president of the Security, Government & Infrastructure (SG&I) division at Intergraph Corporation to pursue career interests outside the geospatial industry. She is now CEO and President of InterThink Solutions, Inc. "It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve on the Board of Directors of the OGC. My fellow directors are truly an outstanding group of people and it has been a remarkable experience to see the positive impact that board, staff and members have had on the geospatial industry. I wish you and all my friends at OGC much success in
DigitalGlobe(R), provider of the world's highest resolution commercial satellite imagery and geospatial information products, announced two additions to its senior management team. Marc Tremblay has been appointed as General Manager of DigitalGlobe's Commercial Business Unit, where he will be responsible for the management of global commercial sales via direct, channel and web distribution. Steve Larned has been appointed Chief Marketing Officer for the company. In this role, Larned will oversee worldwide marketing, product management, and strategy development and execution. Tremblay and Larned will report directly to Jill Smith, Chief Executive Officer of DigitalGlobe.
ESRI announced the development of a new ArcGIS extension to support local governments participating in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program for the 2010 Census.
The Census Bureau LUCA program is a 2010 Census geographic partnership program that will allow the Census Bureau to benefit from local knowledge to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the 2010 Census by providing digital data and a review and update tool to approximately 40,000 local governments. The LUCA program is also expected to be one of the key cost-saving programs of the 2010 Census.
DMTI Spatial, one of North America's leading providers of Location Intelligence solutions, challenges marketers to “Go Deep” with its innovative Platinum Postal Suite, the next generation in postal data solutions for marketing services and distribution companies.
The Platinum Postal Suite is a bundled solution containing the most comprehensive and detailed collection of Canadian postal geography products available including enhanced Forward Sortation Areas (FSA) boundaries and enriched Postal Code Points. Platinum Postal Suite is the first solution to include Local Delivery Units explicitly represented as block group service areas, delivering unsurpassed precision down to the neighborhood level. This “market first” enables organizations to optimize their marketing campaigns, expand into untapped markets and improve their bottom lines.
For Palm(R) Treo(TM) smartphone users and GPS enthusiasts, Palm Inc. announced the Palm GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition, featuring new TomTom NAVIGATOR 6 software. Drivers using the new GPS Navigator with their Treo smartphones can rely on voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions to easily find their destinations as well as millions of points of interest, including gas stations, restaurants, parks, airports and more. TomTom NAVIGATOR 6 is available exclusively for Palm's GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition.
ZipRealty, a national full-service residential real estate brokerage, announced it will work with Microsoft to incorporate the Virtual Earth commercial online mapping solution into the search tools for ZipRealty's popular Web site. ZipRealty's clients, along with visitors to the company's Web site, www.ziprealty.com , are now able to use this mapping tool to view homes listed on local MLS systems. Nearly one million property listings in ZipRealty markets are expected to include this improved mapping functionality.
Claritas Inc., the provider of intelligent marketing information and target marketing services, announced the latest version of its iXPRESS analytical software application -- iXPRESS 3.1 -- an expansive upgrade to an already powerful retail site selection marketing tool. iXPRESS provides fast access to Claritas information necessary for geographic analysis, business analysis and consumer segmentation and market analysis.
MapViewSVG, the well-known tool for web mapping with ESRI ArcGIS and ArcView GIS is now available in Version 5.3 Again many improvements reflecting the feedback from MapViewSVG users are included in the new version. The new functionalities of MapViewSVG make the program even better in handling.
Some of the most exciting new features of MapViewSVG 5.3 are the support of WMS-layers, the new address search functionality and new design functionalities for displaying attribute data and maps with time series.
LeadDog Consulting, LLC announced the release of geographic databases of city streets for the Indian cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Noida, Farridabad, and Ghaziabad to support asset-tracking, government, military, and commercial GIS applications. Designed to help companies track their assets and provide accurate base level mapping, LeadDog's product provides numerous vector layers and attributes such as:
- Streets at 1:7,500 scale
- Street names
- Street classifications
- Extensive Points of Interest (government ministry offices, banks, hotels, etc
- Park, Water, and Landmark polygons
- Neighborhood points
LizardTech, a division of Celartem, Inc., and a leading provider of software solutions for managing and distributing digital content, announced the release of GeoExpress 6.1 at the 2006 Annual ESRI International User Conference held at the San Diego Convention Center. This updated version comes equipped with non-uniform color balancing, geography markup language (GML) for JPEG 2000 (JP2) support and enables users to easily load imagery directly into Oracle Spatial via the GeoExpress graphical user interface (GUI).
Around the Web
Open source grows beyond its roots by Martin La Monica, August 14, 2006
, CNET News.com
- One of a growing cadre of open-source companies, Zimbra will add joint document creation and sharing to its messaging and collaboration software at the LinuxWorld conference on Monday.
Israel: Technology's Promised Land
, CNET News.com
- A culture of survival drives growth
New at Google: Local Coupons by Saul Hansell
, The New York Times
, August 15, 2006 - Starting today, Google will let any business offer discount coupons to people who use its Google Maps service, which also acts as an online yellow pages. A business will be able to upload information for coupons, including images, and Google will display a link to those coupons when the business name is displayed. Users can then print the coupons and take them to the merchant.
Date: August 29 - September 1, 2006
Place: Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Bangkok, Thailand
The Asia and Pacific region is the largest developing region in the world in landmass, population and aggregate income. Its 48 countries have nearly three fifth of the worlds total population. Each country in the region abounds in rich natural capital and has comprehended the true potential of Geospatial information in leveraging this capital to its utmost economic viability. The Asian region is forging a path of development and economic growth as a function of establishment of infrastructural capital. The region demands and offers scope for application of the various Geographic Information technologies like GIS, GPS, Remote Sensing and Imaging
Date: September 5 - 6, 2006
Place: Beijing International Conference Center Beijing , China
The forum will be mainly conducted in Mandarin. Proceeding and press material will are printed in Simplified Chinese. Speaker using foreign language is recommended to present with simultaneous interpreter. The organizer's staff, who can speak English, can provide basic assistance and interpreter in necessary.
Date: September 6 - 8, 2006
Place: San Francisco, CA USA
This unique, hands-on workshop teaches the fundamentals of how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) in a way that is particularly relevant to social service providers, planners and researchers. Participants learn to make thematic maps of their community, geocode addresses and perform spatial queries and analysis. Participants also learn to extract and map Census variables such as race, poverty, language, education, health and many other demographic variables. Exercises are designed for beginners. Intermediate Excel skills required. Each students is assigned a computer on which to work for the day.
Date: September 11 - 16, 2006
Place: Los Angeles, AR USA
This year's event is scheduled for September 11th -16th, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. Engineers, surveyors, photogrammetrists, and GIS/LiDAR professionals alike are invited to take part in this comprehensive and affordable learning opportunity.
Date: September 11, 2006
Place: Los Angeles Convention Center Los Angeles, CA USA
As the exclusive sponsor of LBS at CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment, NAVTEQ is presenting the NAVTEQ LBS Developer Conference 2006. This daylong event prior to CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment will provide developers the opportunity to network with top industry decision makers. Attendees will gain valuable insight on trends and opportunities as well as advice on how to effectively launch location-based services in today's wireless world.
Date: September 12 - 14, 2006
Place: Business Design Centre London, Islington, N1 0QH United Kingdom
Year on year, the AGI conference and exhibition is acknowledged as the most significant event for all organisations with an interest in geographic information, regardless of sector. Conference Chair Sallie White (Ordnance Survey) commented; 'this world-class venue enables the integration of a vibrant conference with a bustling trade exhibition, which creates a great environment for learning, networking and commerce. I am delighted to be Conference Chair and look forward to welcoming you to AGI2006 in September'.
Date: September 12 - 15, 2006
Place: INVESCO Field at Mile High Denver, CO USA
Historically, attendees include representatives from: local, state and federal government, the utilities industry, environmental services, surveying professionals, the oil and gas industry, retail and business marketing professionals, and other related fields. So bring a friend, spouse or coworker and join professionals in the fields of GIS, facilities management, remote sensing, photogrammetry and surveying to learn about the latest developments in the Geospatial Industry.
Date: September 14 - 15, 2006
Place: Perth Convention Exhibition Centre Australia
WALIS is proud to present WALIS Forum 2006. Held every 18 months, the Forum provides an opportunity to address issues related to the management of geographic information. The Forum is open to everyone, however, is targeted to people working with geographic information (GI) or those who would like to find out how they can harness GI to improve their business. The Forum aims to provide opportunities for people within and associated with the industry to learn, network, identify potential solutions and to share and debate strategies for the future.
Date: September 14, 2006
Place: Holiday Inn Harrisburg Hershey, PA USA
This year's conference theme is of concern to both governmental and private agencies: How Safe is Pennsylvania? Speakers will focus on how the state, communities, and the private sector are using data for planning and emergency preparedness.
Date: September 17 - 20, 2006
Place: St. Julien Hotel & Spa Boulder, CO USA
Date: September 18 - 19, 2006
Place: Civic Reception Room Cairns City Council Building, Spence Street, Queensland, Australia
The non-profit group 'Far North Queensland GIS User Group Inc.' (FUNGIS) is pleased to announce the 2006 Seminar - 'Sandbags and Sandals - An Emergency Spatial Information Management Forum in the Tropics'.
Date: September 20 - 23, 2006
Place: Münster , Germany
It will be the follow-up meeting to the highly successful GIScience 2000, 2002, and 2004 conferences with over 300 researchers attending each time. GIScience 2006 will again bring together scientists from academia, industry, and government to analyze progress and to explore new research directions. It will focus on emerging topics and basic research findings across all sectors of geographic information science.
Date: September 21 - 22, 2006
Place: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Block off September 21-22, 2006 now to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn new tips and techniques that will help you maximize your return on investment and improve your productivity with Safe Software products.
Date: September 26 - 29, 2006
Place: Vancouver Convention Center Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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.
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here
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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.