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November 06, 2006
Integrating LIDAR Data into ArcGIS Just Got Easier
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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: Integrating LIDAR Data into ArcGIS Just Got Easier

Welcome to GISWeekly! Torin Haskell, director of Sales and Marketing for QCoherent Software, spoke with GISWeekly about the recent
announcement of LP360, the first LIDAR extension for the ESRI environment on the desktop. Read about how this product simplifies the integration of LIDAR data into ArcGIS 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, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Financials, Contracts, People, New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Integrating LIDAR Data into ArcGIS Just Got Easier

by Susan Smith

Torin Haskell, director of Sales and Marketing for QCoherent Software, spoke with GISWeekly about the recent
announcement of LP360, the first LIDAR extension for the ESRI environment on the desktop. Haskell said that in the past, LIDAR vendors would provide ESRI users with multiple deliverables, “typically ASCII and grid files with different classifications and maybe unclassified data sets, delivered in tiles. People were working with possibly six different files per tile of data. With LP360, the user no longer has to ask for those deliverables. They can just ask for the
LAS files and thereby integrate all those products on the fly in ArcGIS.”

LAS files are the LIDAR standard which has been adopted by the ASPRS, and is published by that organization.

A relatively new company, QCoherent was born at the beginning of 2006, for the purpose of developing LP360. The code has been in development for a year and a half. “We felt there was a missing component with the huge ESRI marketshare, and so we have developed our first product for that platform,” Haskell explained. “We ultimately hope to go to other platforms as well". Below are some of the highlights of LP360’s impressive list of benefits and features:

- Virtually limitless data architecture – LP360 uses a pyramiding concept for accessing the LIDAR data from the binary LAS files. It is not memory dependent when it works with point data. “That’s been the major problem with people trying to use large point data sets in that it crashes their system and renders it basically inoperable due to the memory requirements for working with all these points,” said Haskell. “Our architecture removes that problem, and that’s why we can bring in these huge datasets and work with them in the ArcGIS environment.”

LP360 is on the desktop. “If you had to take these point data sets and bring them into ArcGIS or any other CAD or GIS package, it brings it to its knees. LP360 changes that paradigm so that you no longer have this performance issue associated with large point data sets.”

The costs accrued by city and county governments who pay for LIDAR data that they can’t use fully has been astronomical, Haskell said. People haven’t been able to work with the full point cloud. People can now program their own code to leverage against other data sets, to bring the data into a remote sensing scenario and use other data sets to classify or take advantage of the LIDAR data they’ve paid for.

- Integrated extension for ArcMap and ArcCatalog: Previously LAS was not an accepted data layer in ArcCatalog, and you wouldn’t see it there. Now, as you go through ArcCatalog, you have the functionality to get the thumbnail and information on the file.

LP360 creates an LIDAR data layer in ArcMAP. “We created a custom LIDAR layer, the LAS layers, but we also added a tab to the table of contents. When you add multiple LAS files, because they’re often broken up into many tiny tiles, you can just select on and off the LIDAR, but you’re really toggling 300-400 tiles,” Haskell explained.

- GIS Fusion will work in the profile viewer as well as the 3D viewer but really the best functionality is in the 3D viewer. This allows you to take that TIN or the point cloud that you’re looking at in 3D and merge your GIS project to it. You can send up your GIS project with different transparencies and multiple layers point files, objects, icons, etc. You can set up in your project and can fuse that to the point cloud or the TIN in the 3D window or to the profile. This enables you to see certain things such as, if you have a boundary of a watershed, with Fusion you can see exactly where that boundary overlays on the point cloud.

Import and export functionality – “There is a value to having grid files or ASCII files for certain applications, so we’ve incorporated that into the product, the idea being that people no longer have to pay the service providers to generate these derivative data sets,” noted Haskell. “They can get the LAS files and empower themselves to do that, as they need it, as their project requires. We’ve built this functionality in, so we can export ASCII data and grid data through an export wizard, via irregular polygons, area of interest, custom extents, etc., anything we can think of people want to do to get export data out, and also to tile data on the

- Blending the imagery with other data layers – This capability is part of GIS Fusion for use in analysis and visualization.

In summary, Haskell said LP360 brings the point cloud to ArcGIS users. By not requiring users to take the LIDAR data to a proprietary format or to a grid, people can work with the point cloud, “which is untapped and we’re providing the first link to providing that full potential.”

Top News of the Week

MapFrame Corporation announced that it was named to Deloitte's 2006 Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies in North America. Rankings are based on percentage revenue growth over five years, from 2001 - 2005.

Autodesk, Inc. announced that JumpTap will utilize the award-winning Autodesk LocationLogic platform to offer location-based mobile search services to mobile operators in North America and throughout Europe. The strategic alliance between the two companies grew from JumpTap's involvement with the Autodesk Location Services Developer Program, where the two companies shared the vision, resources and support needed to harness the power of location- enabled mobile search. (see last week’s
GISWeekly for full story)

In addition, JumpTap announced that it has formed strategic partnerships with SuperPages.com, and WhitePages.com, Inc. Through all these partnerships, JumpTap is expanding its current mobile search and advertising offerings by providing mobile operators with enhanced, local search capabilities for their subscribers.


Maptuit Corporation announced it has partnered with PeopleNet to provide Maptuit NaviGoTM, truck specific navigation content via its newly announced Enhanced Driver Displays. The content will also be integrated into PeopleNet’s PACOS™ Geofencing platform which will allow for in-transit geo-corridor management and real time out of route alert monitoring for drivers and the back office.

Maptuit Corporation and Cadec Global, a leader in advanced transportation-technology solutions, announced a partnership to offer Maptuit NaviGo(TM) on Cadec's next-generation OBC (Onboard Computer), featuring a Windows(R)-based touch screen with a color display and high-resolution graphical interface.

Tele Atlas announced a license and distribution agreement with Beijing Changdi Youhao Mapping Technologies Co., Ltd., an affiliate of China-based Ritu Information Systems Inc. The agreement gives Tele Atlas Asia- Pacific full map coverage of 337 Chinese cities, complete with censor codes, and puts Tele Atlas in the lead position in the region with maps covering seven countries and territories and hundreds of millions of inhabitants.


Intergraph Corporation announced that Chief Technology Officer Peter Batty will present a keynote address at the ninth annual International Conference of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI-9) in Santiago, Chile on Tuesday, November 7, 2006.

Batty will address the role of geospatial technology and standards in reducing poverty and enabling sustainable development. By sharing examples of best practices from around the globe, he will illustrate the advantages of a cohesive, interoperable, and sustainable spatial data infrastructure. Batty will also explore hurdles to establishing an effective, multi-organization system, and the ways in which these technologies can be leveraged to promote growth and prosperity for cities, towns, regions and countries.

According to an international survey conducted by MapInfo Corporation, global provider of location intelligence solutions, and BusinessWeek Research Services, 64 percent of business executives believe that location intelligence can improve business processes, and a third of these already have solutions in the pipeline.

1,700 business executives participated in this global study to gauge the role that powerful, business-relevant location intelligence tool can play within leading organizations. The survey supports a new white paper, published by BusinessWeek Research, on emerging trends in enterprise wide location intelligence adoption.

In only 18 months, MultiVision USA has captured 10 percent of the U.S. market for oblique aerial imagery. A subsidiary of Greenman-Pedersen Inc., MultiVision USA utilizes an advanced aerial imaging system to acquire high-resolution oblique imagery for use in Property Assessment, Law Enforcement, Fire & Rescue, Emergency Management and other applications that benefit from multi-perspective and 3D viewing capabilities.

Magellan (formerly Thales Navigation) launched Magellan Professional, the new brand under which it will market its survey and GIS business. The Company was established as an independent company following the August 2006 acquisition by private equity firm Shah Capital Partners.


Ekahau Inc., announced that it has attracted a total of $16 million in financing in 2006, including $12 million in Series B equity funding and $4 million of venture loans and government funding. New investors include several large international investors, with founding investor Nexit Ventures participating. This funding will allow the company to continue its aggressive growth and international expansion in the Wi-Fi RTLS (Real Time Location System) and Wi-Fi tools markets. Ekahau provides wireless enterprise solutions across multiple industry segments to improve enterprise asset utilization, process workflows and employee safety and security.

NovAtel Inc., a precise positioning technology company, announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2006. Revenues in the third quarter 2006 were CDN $19.0 million (US $16.9 million) compared to CDN $14.3 million (US $11.8 million) in the similar period a year ago. The Company is reporting net income for the third quarter 2006 of CDN $5.6 million (US $5.0 million) or CDN $0.63 (US $0.56) per share (diluted) compared to a net income of CDN $3.2 million (US $2.6 million) or CDN $0.36 (US $0.30) per share (diluted) in the similar period a year ago. See
press release

Sun Microsystems, Inc. reported results for its fiscal first quarter, which ended October 1, 2006.

Revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2007 were $3.189 billion, an increase of 17 percent as compared with $2.726 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2006. Year over year revenue increase resulted from both acquisitions and increasing acceptance of the Solaris(TM) 10 Operating System, as well as growth in the services business. Computer Systems Products revenues increased 15 percent year over year, the third consecutive quarter of year over year revenue increase. See
press release

Garmin Ltd. announced a record quarter ended September 30, 2006. See
press release

Contract Awards

EarthData International (EarthData) announced the award of a $4.3 million contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to map portions of one of South America’s largest countries using the GeoSAR radar mapping system. GeoSAR, owned and operated exclusively by EarthData, will produce high-resolution image and terrain maps to support a variety of land and information management activities.

Intermap Technologies, Corp. announced that its Intermap Federal Services, Inc. subsidiary has received a US$1.3M contract to provide digital elevation data to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contract will deliver data collected as part of Intermap's ongoing NEXTMap(R) USA mapping program for various applications, including assistance in preparing soil surveys.


Infotech Enterprises America, Inc., formerly VARGIS, LLC, is pleased to announce the hire of Mr. James Fass as the new Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Fass brings over 22 years of experience with a broad background in the geospatial data services industry. At Infotech, Mr. Fass’s main focus will be developing and sustaining best practices for the delivery of photogrammetric and GIS services.

DMTI Spatial announced the appointment of Alex MacKay as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. MacKay brings over 20 years of experience in the sales and management of complex technology solutions and has held several senior management positions within high growth-oriented organizations. Before joining DMTI Spatial, Mr. MacKay was the President & CEO of Sofea Inc. and prior to that held Vice President and General Manager roles inside SAP, Siebel and Descartes.

MapInfo Corporation announced the appointment of John O'Hara to Executive Vice President of International Operations. In this role, Mr. O'Hara will lead MapInfo's expansion strategies in Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific, and implement MapInfo's global strategy focused on key vertical markets across these geographies to best serve its global customers.

New Products

OrthoVista is the premier software for fully automated color balancing and mosaicking of geo-referenced image blocks. The new OrthoVista 4.2 provides a number of new features for optimizing quality, speed and productivity.

Multi-band imagery, including the 4-band images from digital aerial sensors, can now be processed in one run, and different band combinations (e.g. RGB and CIR) can be generated in parallel.

DCSE announced the release of a new product called Field Mapplet. Field Mapplet is a spatially enabled mobile application framework for government and utility industry. Field Mapplet provides a cost effective platform for implementation of mobile field service solutions with emphasis on utility and government organizations. The Field Mapplet framework includes a .NET based application programming interface (API) which enables a utility to easily construct mobile solutions that include rule-based dispatching, custom workflows, navigation, optimal routing, atlas viewing, as-built and engineering drawing access, and red-lining of GIS data. The Field Mapplet framework supports both
connected and disconnected mobile access and includes automated GIS synchronization capabilities.

The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre Community Geomatics Centre (CGC) has developed an interactive map, publicly available on the city of Sault Ste. Marie’s website, to help the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie locate the correct voting locations for the upcoming municipal election.

NeoTerra Systems Inc. introduces SIGAsys a messaging and GPS based AVL software solution. SIGAsys is designed to operate with the SmarTrunk Systems ST-960 Mobile Manager. The ST-960 brings messaging and AVL (GPS) functionality to Motorola, Icom and Vertex radios.

Around the Web

Oracle CEO says Red Hat is in crosshairs, San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, October 25, 2006 - Oracle CEO Larry Ellison celebrated the corporation's 20th year as a publicly traded company today and then unveiled the latest target in his bid to expand the technology giant's reach.

A New Campaign Tactic: Manipulating Google Data, Tom Zeller, Jr. The New York Times (registration required), October 26, 2006 -- If things go as planned for liberal bloggers in the next few weeks, searching Google for “Jon Kyl,” the Republican senator from Arizona now running for re-election, will produce high among the returns a link to an April 13 article from The Phoenix New Times, an alternative weekly.

Upcoming Events

ESRI Middle East and North Africa User Conference

Date: October 31 - November 2, 2006

Place: Le Royal Hotel, Amman, Jordan

InfoGraph, ESRI's authorized distributor in Jordan and ESRI Inc, U.S.A are pleased to announce the ‘9th Middle East and Africa Conference for ESRI Users’. The main tracks will encourage focus on topics such as Transportation, Utilities and Energy, Health and Human Services, Cadastre, Education, Defense and Homeland Security and Emergency Services; many sessions will also appeal to a wider range of attendance interested in planning and resource management, communitywide mapping projects and technology in general.

GSDI-9 - 9th International Conference of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure

Date: November 3 - 11, 2006

Place: Diego Portales Convention Center, Santiago, Chile

Citilabs International User Conference

Date: November 4 - 7, 2006

Place: Palm Springs, CA USA

Citilabs is pleased to invite you to Futura 06, the annual Citilabs International User Conference. This is a unique opportunity for you and your colleagues to meet other users and share your knowledge and the successes you have had with Cube and other Citilabs software.

21st European User Conference

Date: November 6 - 8, 2006

Place: Hilton HotelAthens, Greece

The upcoming 21st European Conference for ESRI Users in Athens, Nov. 6-8, promises to become a vibrant event with many interesting highlights. The exhibition will feature many ESRI partners from Europe but also from further away. This event is always a great way to learn about new applications and to discuss your current projects with the vendor experts.

GIS in Financial and Electronic Crimes Training

Date: November 8, 2006

Place: 529 14th Street NW, WA 20045 USA

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) answers the where- integrating and translating the complex pieces of the financial and electronic crimes web into a coherent picture. At the GIS in Financial and Electronic Crimes breakfast , you will learn how GIS is uniquely positioned to model the patterns and trends in white collar crime. You will also learn how financial and electronic crimes data must be captured, stored and exploited to provide utility to the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

ACM-GIS International Symposium on Advances in Geographic Information Systems

Date: November 10 - 12, 2006

Place: Arlington, VA USA

The 2006 International Symposium of ACM GIS is the fourteenth of a series of symposia/workshops that began in 1993 with the aim of bringing together researchers, developers, users, and practitioners carrying out research and development in novel systems based on geo-spatial data and knowledge, and fostering interdisciplinary discussions and research in all aspects of geographic information systems. The symposium will provide a forum for original research contributions and practical system design, implementation, and applications of GIS. ACM-GIS 2006 will be held in conjunction with the 14th International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM; link unavailable at present).

International Global Conference 2006

Date: November 14 - 17, 2006

Place: Singapore, China

Doing Business in the Business or WHERE You are in the World. The Singapore 2006 IMTA Global conference will encompass a comprehensive multi-stream presentation and workshop program featuring presenters from around the world sharing their knowledge and experience in all facets and aspects of our industry.

GIS DAY 2006

Date: November 15, 2006

Place: Everywhere, USA

GIS Day is a grassroots event that formalizes the practice of geographic information systems (GIS) users and vendors of opening their doors to schools, businesses, and the general public to showcase real-world applications of this important technology. The event is principally sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the United States Geological Survey, The Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett–Packard, and ESRI. GIS Day 2006 will be held on Nov. 15, 2006.

Islamic Countries eGovernment Summit

Date: November 20 - 22, 2006

Place: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The Role of International Org’s in Supporting, Ensuring Efficiency, Effectiveness and Accountability in eGov projects undertaken by Islamic Countries.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.