February 05, 2007
GIS for the BlackBerry
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| by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to GISWeekly! The TDC Group, Inc. announced recently that its web mapping application, Freeance, has been extended so that users can now create GIS and database applications for Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry handsets in a no-programming environment. Read about Freeance Mobile 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, People, New Products, and Events Calendar.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
GIS for the BlackBerry
by Susan Smith
The TDC Group, Inc. announced recently that its web mapping application, Freeance, has been extended so that users can now create GIS and database applications for Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry handsets in a no-programming environment.
A commercial-off-the-shelf software application, Freeance has approximately 200 clients throughout the U.S. which have been web based. (Freeance Web) clients are state and local governments, utility and code enforcement customers.
Where Freeance Mobile Fits in –
Freeance Mobile, as the new capability is called, allows clients to have real time GIS maps and real time databases out in the field. Those clients in code enforcement, for example, can view new inspections as they come up during the day because their BlackBerry is reading their enterprise database. They can also browse data stored in ArcGIS or ArcSDE and then use custom forms to read/write to their enterprise database. “It’s very easy to maintain on the IT side, it’s all plug and play,” said Chuck Bridgman.
The reason TDC went with BlackBerry was because it is the leading handheld for the local government market. Taking advantage of the existing databases and GIS services such as ArcIMS, and the GIS servers, TDC ships software to this market and they install it on a web server at their location.
Once it is installed, the BlackBerrys can communicate over standard BlackBerry service, or data service channels by any courier. If you ask the BlackBerry to show you a map, then ArcIMS or the ArcGIS server will port back a map, or go out to Oracle or SQL Server and bring back a record or report, then it will push it back to the BlackBerry. A data communication goes out to the databases to collect data.
Three Freeance applications run on the BlackBerry:
1) MapViewer, which behaves basically the same as a GIS web browser. You can pan, zoom, turn on orthos, turn layers on and off, select location, all on a BlackBerry for any ESRI server based mapping. System administrators can create custom map viewers within a few hours.
2) Users can use custom forms that write back to enterprise databases with GPS Collector. Users can populate forms in the field and add GPS points. In terms of placing GPS points, the end user can either grab GPS from the BlackBerry or for more accuracy, TDC has built a very slick connection to any Bluetooth GPS receiver so clients can use a Garmin for 6 foot accuracy or go out with a Trimble XT and get subfoot. The Freeance software in the BlackBerry will automatically detect whether the user has a Bluetooth GPS receiver.
3) A search feature allows mobile users to locate records within the enterprise database in their organization. A Report Generator allows users to go to Microsoft Access and find every record issued that week to that same databases. The database connections are live and connect directly to all the major enterprises databases such as DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL., and MySQL.
How it Works—
For the demo, an “emulator” was used, which is essentially like a BlackBerry except that it’s onscreen.
Once the Freeance software applications such as Search, GPS Collector and MapViewer have been downloaded, they are on the system. When you go into Map Viewer, you can view the data of any county in the U.S. The example was in Shelby Co., TN. You can go to this location and look at their data, such as an ArcIMS server in this location. You can start this application. The Freeance application loads the map, so that now this BlackBerry is looking at the ArcIMS Server in Memphis. You can pan around, move the cursor over and up, zoom, select, point. You have ArcIMS on your BlackBerry, using any carrier.
The map viewing component of Freeance Mobile allows you to turn off groups of layers at one time. The browser window is the administration software, which allows the IT administrator, GIS coordinator to build the application in five minutes. You can hook up to a map resource such as Santa Fe County’s ArcIMS, then make a map configuration to push out to the BlackBerrys quickly, and hit apply to create a profile and give it a name. “I can build these applications in 60 minutes and push them out to field crews right away,” explained Bridgman.
The GPS Collector allows you to make any form you want. In the example given, Birmingham Water uses this for their field crews as they go out and turn off and on water valves to turn service on and off for their customers. Often, the water valves get lost under bushes, or cemented over, etc., so they want to ID these valves, with such information as what type of valve it is, manufacturer, location, etc. They can fill in these forms, and grab the GPS point to identify the location, then submit the record and push it back to their enterprise database. For code inspections, a user can field inspect 1,000 houses and push these records back to their enterprise or ArcSDE database.
“As people are out in the field collecting these points, they show up live on my application, so for example, a police department can track their police officers, they can record records, but they can get their BlackBerry to track vehicles or pedestrian officers. They can start to do AVL tracking with it,” Bridgman said.
“In any county, you can drill down into their application and create a virtual map service with Freeance, so it looks different to me, but the county is not going to have their application altered. You can add map configurations inside their ArcIMS, you can put in a search.”
In order to write back to SDE, the administrator must set up in advance the type of database they want the users to write back to. They must know the address, user name and password. For the user, once this is set up , the process of writing back to the database is just point-and-click.
Matthew Reddington Jr., CEO of TDC Group, summed up the efforts of the company: “ RIM Blackberry and Microsoft are the two platforms of choice in North America,” he said. “We’re taking some very complex technologies and pulling them together into a very simple and easy to use package that IT and GIS staffs can use to display live data while adding the ability to display and search records that have been created in the field by mobile workers.”
Top News of the Week
Trimble introduced the Trimble(R) VX(TM) Spatial Station, an advanced positioning system that combines optical, 3D scanning and video capabilities - - Trimble VISION(TM) technology -- to measure objects in 3D to produce 2D and 3D data sets for spatial imaging projects. The new Trimble VX Spatial Station revolutionizes the scope of services that surveyors, engineers, mapping and geospatial professionals can offer as well as provide them with an entry into spatial imaging applications to enhance business opportunities. The Trimble VX Spatial Station enables users to blend extremely accurate ground-based information with airborne data to provide comprehensive datasets for
use in the geospatial information industry.
Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging announced that Geosystems France is now an authorized distributor of Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging software products. Geosystems France will specialize in the areas of remote sensing, digital photogrammetry and 3D applications.
Getmapping has signed a contract to supply aerial photography to FOCUS, the UK’s number one provider of commercial property information.
Using Getmapping’s data, Focus, part of the American CoStar Group will drive their 14 environmentally friendly Toyota Prius cars across the country collecting information on commercial properties.
A partnership between data capture specialist GeODC and digital mapping expert Lovell Johns has secured a contract with Wiltshire County Council (UK) to capture essential planning, highways and land charges records. The contract, thought to exceed £200,000, covers the capture of 70,000 textual records and 19,000 plans and will form the building block for a countywide project to meet e-Government and e-Planning targets, improve customer service and support internal IT improvements.
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC(R)) has issued a call for sponsors for the OGC Web Services, Phase 5 (OWS-5) Interoperability Initiative, a testbed to advance OGC's open interoperability framework for geospatial capabilities. Interested organizations are invited to an all day planning meeting on February 9, 2007 in Herndon, Virginia.
If your organization is interested in participating, register for the meeting at this
or contact Raj Singh at email@example.com.
Education Development Center (EDC) will host educators from 33 states who have cultivated youth interest in science and technology, to share their strategies after four years in a $73 million program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Participants in the Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program will talk about their projects and experiences at a symposium February 6-8, along with policymakers and research and business leaders interested in boosting youth interest in science-related careers.
Trimble announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2006, ended December 29, 2006. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $234.1 million, up 25 percent from revenue of $186.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2005. Fiscal 2006 revenue was $940.2 million, up 21 percent when compared to fiscal 2005 revenue of $774.9 million. See
DigitalGlobe(R), provider of high-resolution imagery and geospatial information products, announced that General Howell M. Estes III has been appointed to the DigitalGlobe board of directors, effective immediately. General Estes will serve as a strategic guide in the defense and intelligence markets for the company as it continues its business development and growth strategy.
NAVTEQ, global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, announced the addition of Amreesh Modi as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Modi is responsible for setting the technology vision and driving Research and Development for the company. He will be based in the Chicago headquarters and will report to Judson Green, President & CEO.
GeoDecisions, an award-winning leader in the information technology industry specializing in geospatial solutions, is pleased to announce the promotions of two key staff members. Susanna Kodlick was promoted to manager of geographic information systems (GIS) and Steven Korzekwa was promoted to director of advanced technologies.
GeoAge, Inc announced the appointment of Steve Clark as Director of Sales. Steve brings more then 25 years experience in project management, product development and business development to GeoAge, with a strong background in the technology industry.
Tensing USA, a provider of mobility solutions for utilities, local governments and other organizations with field personnel, has moved to a new location in Rockville, Maryland, USA. The relocation to new offices was precipitated by a significant growth in business.
Clients are advised that both the business address and phone number have changed. Sales and technical support are handled from the new Maryland office: Tensing USA
9900 Belward Campus Drive
Rockville, MD 20850 USA
With definitions written, developed, and contributed by more than 150 subject-matter experts, A to Z GIS: An Illustrated Dictionary of Geographic Information Systems, published by the ESRI Press, includes the following:
More than 1,800 terms
Nearly 400 full-color illustrations
Seven encyclopedia-style appendix articles about annotation and labels, features, geometry, layers in ArcGIS® software, map projections and coordinate systems, remote sensing, and topology
A to Z GIS is an indispensable guide and companion for anyone involved in the expanding field of geographic information systems technology.
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East View Cartographic (EVC) announced the release of two new solution offerings, listed below as:
MetaLog: Geospatial Data Management Solution, and
MetaLog Store: Geospatial Data E-Commerce Solution
Each solution product is available as a turnkey system or hosted service from East View Cartographic. The solutions are designed to support diverse geospatial information holdings and collections including satellite imagery, aerial photography, maps of all types, vector data, as well as publications such as books and atlases.
NAVTEQ has announced a broader set of data to complement its navigable NAVTEQ map. This new map, named Entry Map, is focused on providing basic road coverage. Entry Map has been developed for applications in global Geographic Information System (GIS), fleet, and location applications for wireless and internet uses. It has been harmonized to the standard formats commonly used in NAVTEQ maps. Entry Map allows one-stop shopping and integration of map data around the world. Users will be able to visualize their location and plan a route on the road network through applications that use map display, geocoding and reverse geocoding functionality.
NAVTEQ achieved the major milestone of 100% complete Detailed Coverage of Western Europe. With the Q4/06 release of complete Detailed Coverage for Western Europe, all navigable and named roads in Western Europe have been fully verified to the NAVTEQ(R) data specification. One hundred percent Detailed Coverage is NAVTEQ's highest database specification level meaning all roads in the road network are included and database attributes have been verified. Attributes allow navigation applications to avoid legal and physical restrictions and provide important driver information such as number of lanes in each direction of travel, speed limits and special speed situations. Also included are
over 60 categories of Points of Interest (POIs) throughout Western Europe that assist users in selecting their destination and routing to more than 1.5 million businesses like restaurants, stores and gas stations.
Tele Atlas , a global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location based solutions, announced the availability of digital maps for Saudi Arabia and Egypt, bringing the number of countries that Tele Atlas maps cover to 64 across six continents. The total amount of road coverage in the company's database now stands at 21.3 million kilometers or 13.2 million miles, the same number of miles as 528 trips around the earth's circumference at the equator.
PlanGraphics, Inc. announced that it formally released Xmarc 7.0 on Jan. 3, 2007, following six months of beta distribution. Xmarc is a suite of "middleware" products providing access to data from a variety of sources and in a wide range of formats. Enhancements in this release are:
-- A layering system added for graphic windows. The layer structure has
multiple attributes that can be manipulated, including transparency,
-- Auto-labeling of graphic features.
-- Transparency and brightness attributes applicable to individual
-- Symbology enhancements, including angled images, graduated color
-- Anti-aliasing of polyline and text features.
-- Improved language facilities for structure membership array analysis.
-- Extensions to dynamic tree window capabilities
Mechdyne Corporation announced that its VRCO software division released Conduit for Google Earth Pro 4.0, a visualization middleware package that enables stereoscopic display of desktop-based imagery and viewing in multi-planar, large-scale immersive and interactive displays such as the walk-in CAVE® and reconfigurable FLEX wall-size display systems available from Fakespace Systems, VRCO's sister company.
Graphic Technologies, Inc. (GTI) announced that it will release Version 7.0 of its flagship software product GTViewer(R) on January 31, 2007. GTViewer 7.0 includes over 120 improvements, 94 additional methods, properties, and events to speed application development, and full integration with GT/Field. This seventh major release of GTViewer provides more functionality while offering a no-impact upgrade path from the previous version.
|Accela’s free Webinars (online seminars) offer valuable information for everyone from current customers to interested prospects. In addition to live Webinars, some events will be recorded and posted online for viewing at your convenience. Minimum requirements to attend are an Internet connection and phone line.|
|February 12 - 13, 2007|
|Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel
Baltimore, MD USA
|The International LIDAR Mapping Forum (ILMF) has become the premier event for the LIDAR industry. This "Summit" is the gathering of industry leaders, pioneers, experts from government, academia, and professionals from myriad industries looking to invest in, and benefit from, LIDAR technology and services|
|February 12 - 15, 2007|
|Fira de Barcelona - Montjuic
Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina, s/n 08004 , Barcelona, Spain
|The 3GSM World Congress is the world's premier mobile event and attracted over 50,000 people in 2006. 3GSM World Congress 2007 promises to be the most exciting and stimulating yet, reflecting the pivotal point that this industry, which serves nearly one third of the world's population, has now reached. |
|February 15 - 17, 2007|
|Indian Institute of Technology
Kharagpur,West Bengal, India
|The Conference will be held in the sylvan surroundings of the campus of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in the State of West Bengal, located in the eastern part of India. The campus is at a distance of about 5 km from Kharagpur station, a major Division of South Eastern Railway.|
|February 19 - 22, 2007|
Osage Beach, MO USA
|You're invited to the 11th annual Missouri GIS Conference. Come meet your colleagues in the Missouri geospatial community while taking advantage of one of the best conference deals around. What better chance is there to foster communication and sharing of geographic technologies, techniques, data and information within the Missouri user community? |
|February 19 - 21, 2007|
|Crown Plaza Hotel, AlMurjan Hall
|The conference provides a forum for users of geographic information systems in Kuwait and the Gulf region. Past conferences have featured presentations and keynote addresses on a variety of topics, from resource and environmental management to education and other emerging spatial science applications. |
|February 23 - 24, 2007|
|Salzburg Congress Centre
|February 23 - March 2, 2007|
|Benton Convention Center
Winston-Salem, NC USA
|The North Carolina GIS Conference is celebrating 20 Years of Spatial Vision, 1987-2007. Sponsored by the North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NC CGIA) and the Carolina Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (Carolina URISA) the 10th Anniversary program promises to be our best. |
|Inter Expo Center Sofia
|After three successful events in Belgrade (2004, 2006) and Zagreb (2005) we warmly invite you to INTERGEO EAST 2007. In 2007, we will open another (new) market place for you in South-Eastern Europe. Sofia, Bulgaria will host INTERGEO EAST for the first time. The most important forum for product and knowledge transfer in the land management, geoinformation, building industry and environmental sectors will open from 1 – 2 March 2007 at the Inter Expo Center Sofia. The Conference starts on 28 February. With its proximity to the borders with Greece and Turkey, Sofia is the ideal location for INTERGEO EAST 2007. |
|Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
San Antonio, TX USA
|GITA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition is the the most highly regarded educational event for geospatial professionals. Annual Conference 30 will provide you with better ways to plan, design, manage, and maintain your geospatial systems and operations.|
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here
To read more news, click here
-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.