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February 26, 2007
Virtual Globes Update
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!

Welcome to GISWeekly! This week there were three notable announcements surrounding virtual globes: the release of Google Earth’s ability to search and view all KML files, the release of NASA’s World Wind, and an announcement by Intermap Technologies Inc. of an agreement to provide Microsoft Corp. with NEXTMap(R) Britain digital elevation data for use within Microsoft's Virtual Earth platform. Read about them 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, Awards, People, New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.


GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at giscafe-editor@IBSystems.com


Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor


Industry News

Virtual Globes Update

by Susan Smith


This week there were three notable announcements surrounding virtual globes: the release of Google Earth’s ability to search and view all KML files, the release of NASA’s World Wind, and an announcement by Intermap Technologies Inc. of an agreement to provide Microsoft Corp. with NEXTMap(R) Britain digital elevation data for use within Microsoft's Virtual Earth platform. The agreement enables Microsoft to create and deliver a Live Search Maps product powered by the most current and accurate digital terrain model of Great Britain.


Google Earth Search of KML Files


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First, from Google Earth is the newly announced ability to search through all the KML files. The way to try this out is to launch Google Earth, zoom to a location of interest, and type in a search query. The example given in Chikai Ohazama, product manager, for the Google Earth Team’s
blog was to go to New Zealand, and search for “Lord of the Rings.” You’ll see KML results below the local results in the search panel on the left hand side. If you click on the KML results you’ll be able to read more about the KML file in the pop-up bubble that comes up. Then you can layer that KML file over your Google Earth imagery if you want. The search and view KML files ability will soon be available in Google Maps as well.


There is a Q&A with Google Earth CTO Michael Jones on
Ogle Earth in which Jones answers some questions about Google’s place-search technology.


In short, Google Earth has changed the way we search for geospatial data, but being able to search KML files will further define how we search for that data. KML is a published format, customized sets of data that include additional information about specific locations, which may include images, polygons, 3D models, place markers with text descriptions. If KML files are posted on the internet, then they will be indexed by Google’s search engine. Users can search the internet for Google Earth layers that are stored as KML files. If searching specifically for KML files becomes part of the search, the search will encompass the entire web and will find more relevant data than would
previously be available.


NASA’s World Wind


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NASA’s World Wind will hopefully gain more notice now that it has been released. World Wind is a virtual globe similar to Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth that allows users to zoom into any location on Earth, from satellite altitude. LandSat imagery and SRTM data are used, with particular focus placed on ease of use. It is designed to run on PC hardware with 3D acceleration.


Features of World Wind include:


Blue Marble – A full copy of Blue Marble true color image of the entire Earth is on World Wind, the same image that is seen on NASA’s Earth Observatory: the Blue Marble. It can be viewed at 1 km per pixel resolution.


LandSat 7 is a seamless mosaic of image data collected between 1999 and 2003 at 15 m per pixel resolution. Color bands such as the infrared spectrum are included. The high resolution of LandSat 7 makes it possible for users to view their own city, neighborhoods and landmarks.


SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Mission) Data – Combined with LandSat 7 imagery, SRTM in World Wind allows users to “fly” across the world in any direction, with a view of the Earth at eye level. These views can be exaggerated so users can pick out details.


NASA SVS – A number of animations that display seasonal changes and weather patterns such as hurricanes have been produced by the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). These animations can be played directly on the Earth in World Wind.


MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) – MODIS produces time relevant data that is updated every day, which includes data for fires, dust, smoke, floods, storms and volcanic activity. In World Wind, this data can be viewed and is marked directly on the globe. The images can download publication quality material at a resolution of 250 m per pixel.


GLOBE – GLOBE data can be viewed and displayed in World Wind, which includes rainfall, temperature, barometric pressure, cloud cover, and each sample comes with a temperature scale.


Borders – World Wind contains a complete set of borders that traces precisely the borders of each country and state, and also shows where mountains and rivers define boundaries.


Place Names – Place names for cities, towns, countries, capitals, all update dynamically in World Wind’s catalog.


Visual Tools – Visual tools such as latitude and longitude lines, and precise coordinate data can be toggled on and off as needed.


Landmark Set – World Wind can display actual 3D models of landmarks on earth.


Intermap Technologies Agrees to Provide Microsoft with NEXTMap® Britain Digital Elevation Data


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Intermap Technologies Corp. announced an agreement to provide Microsoft Corp. with NEXTMap(R) Britain digital elevation data for use within Microsoft's Virtual Earth platform. The agreement makes it possible for Microsoft to create and deliver a Live Search Maps product powered by the most current and accurate digital terrain model of Great Britain.


From the press release: “Intermap's 3D digital terrain model data will serve as the base layer or foundation for the placement and alignment of aerial photography and other geospatial layers. Images are draped over Intermap's three-dimensional foundation to create a unique and accurate user viewing experience.


"The increasing popularity of Internet mapping applications has soared over the past few years, and the quality of data used to deliver unique solutions and an outstanding user experience is what will separate providers in this space," commented Eric DesRoche, senior vice president of strategic business development for Intermap Technologies. "Microsoft is committed to delivering the most accurate and highest quality product on the market and our NEXTMap(R) Britain countrywide elevation dataset will make this a reality."


The agreement also sets the stage for the future development of applications and solutions that rely on accurate digital elevation models that can serve a multitude of business and consumer needs around the world. These applications would have otherwise been unachievable prior to Intermap's creation of these 3D data sets.


As part of Intermap's worldwide proactive data collection efforts, Great Britain is currently in the Company's data library. Additionally, Intermap is now aggressively mapping Europe under their NEXTMap(R) Europe program.”


Top News of the Week


The North American auto club, AAA, now 50 million members strong, has rolled out its proprietary, best-in-class mapping tool to... everybody. Once reserved strictly for members, AAA's Internet TripTik(R) travel planner, located on AAA.com, links AAA's best-in-class mapping tool with the Auto Club's vast storehouse of travel knowledge and information to create the nation's first online travel agency for motorists.


ESRI invites developers to share their creativity and expertise with the geographic information system (GIS) developer community by submitting original code samples to the
ArcGIS Server Code Challenge. Developers will have an opportunity to review and vote for the top three entries based on creativity, applicability, and relevance of the code sample. Entries could include a simple task or tool or an attribute or spatial query.


Code Challenge winners will be announced at the
2007 ESRI Developer Summit, an event for developers who use GIS, mapping, and spatial
data. The summit will be held March 19–22, 2007, in Palm Springs, California. Developers will learn how to leverage ESRI technology to build, customize, and deploy spatially enabled applications.


Alliances/Acquisitions/Agreements


Trimble announced that the stockholders of @Road, Inc. have approved and adopted the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated December 10, 2006, by and among Trimble, @Road and Roadrunner Acquisition Corp., and approved the merger. Stockholders holding approximately 72 percent of the total number of shares of @Road issued, outstanding and entitled to vote at the meeting voted in favor of the agreement and the merger.


Following the approval of @Road stockholders, Trimble completed its acquisition of @Road for a total purchase price of approximately $493.1 million. Under the terms of the agreement and Trimble's previously announced determination of the merger consideration, @Road common stock holders will receive $5.00 in cash and 0.0447 shares of Trimble common stock for each outstanding share of @Road common stock.


RedPrairie Corporation, a consumer driven optimization company, and GEOCOMtms, Inc. have jointly announced that they have signed a definitive agreement, whereby RedPrairie will acquire GEOCOMtms. The combined companies, operating under the name RedPrairie Corporation, will integrate and support all products and services from both organizations within RedPrairie's end-to-end (E2e(TM)) suite. The acquisition will meet the fleet requirements of many industries, including: food and grocery, petroleum, retail, courier, and healthcare delivery. RedPrairie's Global Transportation Group will integrate and oversee GEOCOMtms's Quebec City and Atlanta offices
under the direction of RedPrairie Global Transportation Group President Tim Conroy.


Extending their proven track record of providing integrated, 3D software solutions for structurally complex petroleum reservoirs, Dynamic Graphics, Inc., creator of EarthVision(R), WellArchitect(R), and CoViz(R) 3D software, has licensed the OpenSpirit application and data integration Developer's Kit to offer EarthVision and CoViz users increased integration with third-party applications and data stores.


The GeoInformation® Group, publishers of Cities Revealed™ aerial photography announce their partnership with Getmapping to offer the MultiVision™ oblique imagery solution, which complements the Cities Revealed high-resolution vertical aerial photography.


Announcements


ESRI will showcase ArcGIS, the complete enterprise geographic information system (GIS), at the
Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) Annual Conference 30 in San Antonio, Texas, March 4–7, 2007. ESRI will demonstrate its unique approach to the management and use of geospatial knowledge that can benefit utility organizations of all sizes. In addition, ESRI president Jack Dangermond will present a paper called Enterprise GIS, Exploring the Possibilities for Mission Critical Operations. His presentation will focus on the latest trends in GIS and its impact on mission critical operations.


The seventh annual ESRI
Federal User Conference (FedUC) was held January 9–11, 2007, in Washington, D.C. More than 1,900 geographic information system (GIS) users gathered at the Washington Convention Center to learn about GIS solutions and network with colleagues.


The U.S. Department of Defense National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has issued a document,
"Enabling a Common Vision", which outlines the overall National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NSG) standards baseline. Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Specifications figure prominently in this U.S. Federal and national baseline.


OSI Geospatial Inc. announced that its mapping operations has been awarded new business valued at approximately US$2.8 million since September 28, 2006. This total does not include the previously announced prime contract with the U.K. Hydrographic Office valued at approximately $1.2 million.


Airborne 1 Corporation is expanding the office space of its California headquarters in a move to accommodate the company’s rapid growth over the last year.


Airborne 1, a leading provider of advanced LiDAR services, rentals, and software worldwide, has nearly doubled its staff from this time last year in response to market demand for their LiDAR products and services.


Awards


Russell G. Congalton, Alan M. Mikuni and Nancy K. Tubbs have been named the 2007 ASPRS Fellow Award winners. The ASPRS designation of Fellow is conferred on active Society members who have performed exceptional service in advancing the science and use of the mapping sciences (photogrammetry, remote sensing, surveying, geographic information systems, and related disciplines). The designation of Fellow is awarded for professional excellence and for service to the Society.


People


TerraGo Technologies, provider of GeoPDF®, the format for distributing geospatial intelligence in PDF files, announced that Jim Youker has joined the company as director of sales for the Defense and Intelligence communities. Youker has over 20 years of experience in the industry with expertise in aerospace and geospatial intelligence solutions.


Valtus Imagery Services, a division of North West Geomatics Ltd. announced that Ms Lori Ward has joined the Valtus team as Director of Distribution Alliances. The addition of Ms Ward continues and accelerates the company’s expansion into the United States.


New Products


ESRI is pleased to announce the availability of ArcReader 9.2. ArcReader is a free, easy-to-use desktop mapping application that allows users to view, navigate, and print maps and globes created with the ArcGIS Publisher extension.


ArcReader lets you distribute maps that stay up-to-date because the maps are dynamically linked to data on a local machine or a network (LAN, WAN, Internet, etc). It also lets you distribute maps bundled with data on a CD. This ability allows you to significantly increase access to geographic information.


Business Demographics 2007, a business database for making sound business decisions, supplies users with the most recent business and population data, coupled with easy exports of data and boundaries, as well as built-in mapping software for mapping trends and business markets. The Business Demographics 2007 now has the latest business and industry data from the 2004 Economic Census that was just released by the Census Bureau in January 2007.


TerraGo® Technologies, providers of GeoPDF® , the format for distributing geospatial intelligence in PDF files, announced that a new version of MAP2PDF for ArcGIS is now available giving customers compatibility with all ArcGIS 9.x versions, including 9.2.


MAP2PDF version 3.x enhancements include extended support of datums and support of user-defined datums, support for map book creation using DS Map Book or Production Line Tool Set (PLTS) for ArcGIS, improved raster support, automatic labeling support and enhanced compatibility with other third-party software.


The Map Network (TMN), in partnership with the Tourism Vancouver, has unveiled new Official Maps of Vancouver, becoming the first Canadian partner. A combination of state of the art technology and local, expert content, these interactive maps are available online at
here.. .


Around the Web


When It Comes to Innovation, Geography Is Destiny, by G. Pascal Zachary, February 11, 2007, The New York Times (registration required) --Google’s astonishing rise and Apple’s reinvention are reminders that, when it comes to great ideas, location is crucial.


Cuba to migrate to open-source software, by Richard Thurston, February , 2007, CNET News.com - The Cuban government is to migrate thousands of its computers to open-source software, a change that would further distance the communist nation from U.S.-based Microsoft.



Upcoming Events

Date: February 23 - 24, 2007 
Place: Salzburg Congress Centre

Salzburg, Austria
   
Date: February 23 - March 2, 2007
Place: Houston, TX USA
   
Date: March 1 - 2, 2007
Place: 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
   
Date: March 1 - 2, 2007
Place: Inter Expo Center Sofia

Sofia, Bulgaria
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.
   
Date: March 4 - 7, 2007
Place: 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.
   
Date: March 4 - 7, 2007
Place: Flamingo Hotel

The 11th Annual Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference will help assessment and appraisal professionals and GIS managers to visualize how they can work more effectively through the use of technology.


Attend the 2007 Conference to explore the important role that integration of GIS and CAMA systems plays in providing access to data and analysis of information so that you can make better decisions in your jurisdiction.
   
Date: March 5 - 8, 2007
Place: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
11th Annual CARIS User Group Conference and Educational Sessions
   
Date: March 8, 2007
Place: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

San Antonio, TX USA
GITA invites you to attend the Oracle Spatial Users Conference. If you are currently a user, solutions provider, or systems integrator who depends upon Oracle’s spatial technologies, or if you want to learn why thousands of organizations use Oracle’s spatial database and application server capabilities, this is one event you won’t want to miss.
   
Date: March 9 - 12, 2007
Place: Millennium Hotel St. Louis

200 South 4th Street, St. Louis, MO 63102 USA
The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), together with the Illinois Professional Land Surveyor Association (IPLSA) and the Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors (MSPS) invite YOU to attend their 2007 Annual Conference and Technology Exhibition.
   
Date: March 12 - 14, 2007
Place: Adams Mark Dallas

Lone Star Ballroom Pre-Convene Area, Dallas,, TX USA
The 2007 FAA Information Technology (IT)/ Information Systems Security (ISS)Partnership and Training Conference is in its 5th year and will feature many informative and exciting sessions, including a networking event in the exhibit area on Monday, March 12.
   
Date: March 13 - 14, 2007
Place: Crown Plaza Hotel and Conference Center

301 S. Illinois Street, Indianapolis, IN USA
   
Date: March 17 - 19, 2007
Place: Palm Springs, CA USA
ESRI's community of business partners is on the forefront of the GIS solutions and enterprise revolution. These innovative companies are helping drive the future of the GIS industry. Join ESRI and your colleagues in this exclusive opportunity to network and share ideas
   
Date: March 19 - 22, 2007
Place: Wyndham Hotel and Convention Center

Palm Springs, CA USA
Attend in-depth technical presentations led by ESRI staff who will give guidance on and insights into both intermediate and advanced topics
   
Date: March 21 - 23, 2007
Place: Washington, DC USA
The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) is pleased to announce that the association is partnering with the Open Geospatial Consortium, Wayland, MA, to organize the next in a series of Emerging Technology Summits (ETS IV) .



You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.


To read more news, click here.



-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.