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May 21, 2007
Pitney Bowes MapInfo and WSI Partnership Equals Weather Risk Information
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Message from the Editor: Pitney Bowes MapInfo and WSI Partnership Equals Weather Risk Information


Welcome to GISWeekly!


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, People, Around the Web, New Products, and Events Calendar.


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Susan Smith, Managing Editor


Industry News

Pitney Bowes MapInfo and WSI Partnership Equals Weather Risk Information

by Susan Smith


click to enlarge [

WSI's real time radar (delivered through a web service) - the purple boxes represent actual client policies.
Real-time weather information has garnered a lot of attention in the geospatial news frequently lately, not surprisingly in light of the catastrophic weather events we have had over the past few years in the world. Across all different lines of business, real-time weather information has become critical, and severe weather that disrupts any type of business is dependent on where it occurs geographically.


Craig Bedell, director of Pitney Bowes MapInfo’s Global Insurance Vertical and Adam Champion, national account Manager for WSI’s Insurance and Risk Services, spoke about the announcement this week of an alliance between Pitney Bowes MapInfo and WSI, which will integrate real-time and forecasted weather information into the PB MapInfo desktop and web based location intelligence solutions.


click to enlarge [

The forecasted track of a hurricane with the associated wind bands, each color represents a different maximum wind gust - the purple boxes are policies.
“PB MapInfo and WSI announced our partnership jointly which ultimately came about as a result of the insurance industry’s need to make better use of weather information with regards to anticipating major events, to be able to analyze the impact of those events on their portfolios (the policies they’re currently writing) and to help them better understand the financial repercussions of an events,” explained Bedell. “Also, we wanted to help them be able to prepare for and respond to an event, i.e. have adequate staff on board to field the “first notices” of loss (FMLs) that would be called into their call center, but then also be adequately staffed
for the claims adjusters and various staff people necessary to go out and conduct their disaster response activities.”


MapInfo’s desktop solution has the capability for clients to be able to subscribe to real-time weather feeds coming from public sources like NOAA, etc. and those are valuable in those own right for analysis, said Bedell. “What’s especially valuable from the standpoint of WSI, is that we’re getting from the global leader forecasting a feed that is polygonal in nature, so we can take an event such as a hailstorm and use the polygon relative to their forecast and use it for a cookie cutter to spatially query the policies that are in a portfolio. The beauty of WSI’s services includes a damage index along with it so we not only know the footprint, but we know the severity of that event, so our clients can apply that index against the policies to be then able to calculate what we refer to in the insurance industry as a ‘PML - Probable Maximum Loss.’ A lot of Bedell’s discussion centers around the insurance industry but he is quick to point out that this technology is valuable for any user of location intelligence. “The biggest need our clients have is to be able to understand the financial ramifications of catastrophe and near catastrophe events, but most importantly provide timely and thorough services to their customers, i.e. policyholders, so that they are able to deliver the services people have paid for in an
expeditious way.”


click to enlarge [

The legend is on the side where you can see what mph of winds are associated with what colors.
What makes this integration of real-time weather into desktop and web based location intelligence solutions is web services. Because of web services, WSI is able to wrap this information in a WMF file and send it to MapInfo with it being spatially indexed along with their forecast insight and a damage index that can be implemented in a map or spatial query behind the scenes in the policy management system.


One MapInfo client, a re-insurance global leader using MapInfo’s Location Integration Component, the bidirectional integration for BI tools, is providing a web service that allows portfolio risk managers to do real-time analyses on their portfolio using the MapInfo Envinsa web services platform. Envinsa receives the messages from WSI real-time and allows the user, through a web portlet, to do various types of analyses. “That’s where it takes on critical value because the analyst who may have used the thick client, MapInfo Professional, to set up certain scenarios and certain rules by which business decisions would be made, can deploy on a web services platform and
share across an organization or from one group to another the real-time weather,” noted Bedell.


Champion said that they have noticed how critical real-time weather information has become and how important it is to understand the actual boundary of an event and its geographic location. Knowing where your properties or assets are located and where the weather is, or where forecasted weather is going to be, can be critical. “By making our real-time severity indexes and footprints of severe weather available through MapInfo’s Location Intelligent platforms, the end users can have a real-time actual understanding in relation to their particular business of where the severe weather is, where it’s going and depending upon the severity, how specifically it’s going
to affect their business,” Champion said. “Then they can make whatever critical business decisions they need to better prepare themselves.”


As the business-to-business arm of a weather group that includes The Weather Channel and weather.com WSI focuses on the actual operational forecasting 24/7 365 days per year as well as ‘weather analytics research and development,’ which is adding value and enhancing the ability to interpret the weather. Located 25 miles north of Boston, WSI is a subsidiary of Landmark Communications and represents the largest private weather organization in the world, serving industries including aviation, energy, media, financial and insurance.


In their Andover, Mass. headquarters, WSI has a meteorological operations center where all the weather information from around the world is gathered. They have a team of roughly 45 full time meteorologists working 24/7 who Q/A all the radar data, analyze it to make sure everything coming through has been cleaned up before it gets sent out, and then analyze all the different proprietary models plus all of the public models that are available in the U.S. “You’ll see whole walls covered with screens where we’re looking at different outputs on different screens, then interpreting them all and bringing them all together for a consensus forecast that we then send to our
clients,” said Champion.


MapInfo chose WSI to partner with because parts of their customer base include most of the major airlines for flight path forecasting, plus 85% of the weather information seen on broadcast TV (that’s not counting their affiliation with The Weather Channel), and they’re also global. MapInfo is also focused globally and especially in the insurance arena. Major insurance markets for MapInfo are the UK, Australia, Canada and the U.S.


“We see the appetite for real-time weather growing,” concluded Bedell. “The use of weather will become more mature, particularly in the insurance and financial markets, so over time we see the utilization growing within an insurance organization, beyond catastrophe management and disaster response activities, and additionally we see the growth geographically.”


Top News of the Week


MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., a provider of essential information solutions, announced that it has acquired Vexcel Canada Inc., a small expert company in advanced radar satellite image applications. Financial terms will not be disclosed.


Founded in 1981, Vexcel Canada is based in Ottawa, Ontario, and specializes in providing advanced products and services using the latest radar image data sources. The company is a subsidiary of Vexcel U.S. that was acquired by Microsoft in 2006.


Alliances/Acquisitions/Agreements


TerraGo® Technologies announced that the company has raised $6.3 million in a Series A round of financing led by early-stage venture capital firm RedShift Ventures, with participation from CNF Investments, the private equity and venture capital arm of Clark Enterprises, Inc. and In-Q-Tel, the independent strategic investment fund that identifies innovative technologies to support the missions of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the larger U.S. Intelligence Community.


Spatial Business Systems Inc. announces that they have entered into a strategic business relationship with Fichtner Group of Stuttgart, Germany. The broad agreement includes joint technology development, resource sharing and business development. The arrangement also includes an equity investment in Spatial Business Systems, Inc. and the transfer of Fichtner ORACLE Spatial based software and competence to SBS. As a result of this agreement Spatial Business Systems will be the delivery channel for Fichtner solution offerings on ORACLE Spatial and ORACLE Fusion in North America, Australia and New Zealand.


i-cubed, the rapidly growing leader in the world of value-added imagery aggregation and managed dissemination technologies, is excited to announce new investments from strategic partners SPOT Image Corporation and ESRI.


i-cubed has been a partner of Spot Image for many years and is a key supplier of online imaging services and web technologies including DataDoors™. Through this agreement, the Spot Image group is establishing a solid partnership to build on these new technologies. This investment will strengthen the group’s longstanding relationship with i-cubed and boost the deployment of its geoweb strategy.


Announcements


The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC(R)) has issued a Request for Quotes/Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP) for the OGC Web Services, Phase 5 (OWS-5) Interoperability Initiative, a testbed to advance OGC's open geospatial interoperability framework. The RFQ/CFP is available at the
website .


Based on sponsor requirements, the OWS-5 initiative is organized as six threads over two initiative phases:
  • Sensor Web Enablement (SWE)

  • Geo Processing Workflow (GPW)

  • Information Communities' Semantics (ICS)

  • CAD/GIS/BIM

  • Agile Geography

  • Compliance Testing (CITE)
  • Trimble announced it has been selected by the Greek National Cadastre, KTIMATOLOGIO S.A., to supply Trimble VRS(TM) network hardware and software to establish a nationwide Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) infrastructure network for the country of Greece. Trimble will also provide complete network set up, deployment and operation during the initial start-up period. The Trimble VRS network will provide a fixed geospatial infrastructure for surveying, engineering and Geographic Information System (GIS) professionals that enables high accuracy real-time kinematic (RTK) GNSS positioning, significantly increasing efficiency and productivity.



    Financials


    SAN Holdings, Inc., a nationwide data storage consulting and system integration company, reported results for the first quarter ending March 31, 2007.


    For the March 2007 quarter, the Company reported revenue of $8.6 million and a net loss available to common shareholders of $3.4 million or $(0.03) per share compared with revenue of $14.3 million and a net loss available to common shareholders of $10.2 million or $(0.09) per share for the March 2006 quarter. The March 2006 quarter results included approximately $8.6 million of non-cash charges associated with the Company's 2006 private placement equity transaction. See
    press release 


    Intermap Technologies Corporation (the "Company") reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007. All amounts mentioned are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.


    For the first quarter, Intermap reported an increase in total revenue to $6.2 million, as compared to total revenue of $2.1 million for the same period in 2006. The increase was the result of revenue recognized on a number of contract services projects. The contract services revenue component of total revenue in the first quarter increased to $5.2 million, compared to $1.0 million for the first quarter of 2006, reflecting an increase in fee-for-service work in Asia.
    press release 


    NovAtel Inc., a precise positioning technology company, reported its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2007. Revenues in the first quarter 2007 were CDN $20.3 million (US $17.5 million) compared to CDN $18.5 million (US $15.8 million) in the similar period a year ago. Net income for the first quarter 2007 was CDN $5.4 million (US $4.6 million) or CDN $0.61 (US $0.53) per share (diluted) compared to a net income of CDN $5.2 million (US $4.5 million) or CDN $0.59 (US $0.50) per share (diluted) in the similar period a year ago.
    press release 


    People


    The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC)’s Community Geomatics Centre (CGC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ken Lee to the GIS Business Development Manager position. Ken will be working extensively with the CGC and private sector Geographic Information Systems (GIS) firms in the region to identify, drive, and close new business opportunities.


    Pavan Kalvala, the newest member of WilsonMiller’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Business Unit, has a strong academic background in the technology WilsonMiller uses to manage and analyze spatial data. As a WilsonMiller GIS Analyst, Kalvala will join his professional colleagues in using specialized computer hardware and software to design applications that solve complex spatial problems and support better decision-making.


    GeoEye, a leading producer of satellite, aerial and geospatial information, announced the appointment of Uyen Dinh as senior director for Government Affairs. Ms. Dinh is responsible for the overall development and execution of the company's Legislative Affairs and Government Relations program. She was born in Saigon, Vietnam and immigrated with her family in 1975. Ms. Dinh's career includes government and private practice experience in antitrust law, and ten years of distinguished service in the U.S. House of Representatives.


    New Products


    GeoOptics Announces 100-Spacecraft Array to Deliver Critical Hurricane & Climate Data GeoOptics LLC and Broad Reach Engineering announce a partnership for an Earth remote sensing satellite constellation named CICERO: Community Initiative for Continuing Earth Radio Occultation. GeoOptics is an international consortium formed to deploy and operateCICERO, which will consist of 100 micro-satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) performing Global Positioning System and Galileo atmospheric radio occultation (GNSS-RO). CICERO will deliver critical data on the state of the
    Earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere in near real-time to forecasters and researchers worldwide at an accuracy and vertical resolution 20 to 50 times greater than is possible with the current operational space based systems.


    Latitude Geographics, a leading internet geography applications provider announces Geocortex Essentials 1.1, an extension to ESRI’s ArcGIS Server and Web ADF. Geocortex Essentials is engineered from the ground-up as extension software for ESRI’s ArcGIS Server 9.2 and ADF technologies. Developed in .NET and designed to extend and complement the process of building ArcGIS Server applications, Geocortex Essentials provides cutting edge tools, processes and features to simplify the process of creating and managing multiple applications and provide ArcGIS Server developers a powerful jumpstart when implementing their web-based geographic information system.


    ER Mapper is pleased to announce the release of Image Web Server version 8.1. This latest release adds new Web 2.0 functionality as well as enhanced ESRI(r) product support. ER Mapper Image Web Server is a high-speed application specifically designed to make geospatial imagery more accessible and more versatile. Image Web Server can manage and deliver thousands of gigabytes of imagery to thousands of concurrent users at unparalleled speeds. Image Web Server works in tandem with GIS systems to provide faster access to a complete geospatial information picture.


    SRC, LLC, a leading developer and provider of geographic business intelligence technology and solutions, announced unprecedented access to China 2000 Census Data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics of China through
    www.DemographicsNowChina.com,
    the industry's leading online market and demographic analysis Web site. For the first time, subscribers will have Web access to comprehensive market information and analysis to better understand business and consumer marketing opportunities in the People's Republic of China. Detailed demographic variables related to births, age, housing, dwelling characteristics, presence of children, occupation, and unemployment of China's 1.3 billion people will be provided in collaboration
    between SRC and the China Data Center, a University of Michigan initiative to advance the study and understanding of China.


    HP expanded its graphic arts portfolio to offer customers an even wider range of digital solutions that feature industry-leading productivity, print quality and color consistency.


    The new solutions, which focus on accelerating HP's growth in key areas of the printing market, enable customers to offer high-quality services, differentiate from competitors and, in turn, increase revenue opportunities. Highlights of the news announced at the 2007 HP Graphic Arts Summit include: two new HP Indigo presses, the company's first branded finishing accessory, the HP Indigo UV Coater, the HP mPrinter 1700c, the company's first process-color device for original equipment manufacturer partners, the HP Designjet T Printer series, offering new levels of print quality and dependability to the technical market; and the HP Designjet Z6100 Printer series, which offers a
    market-leading combination of speed, quality and consistency to print service providers and technical work teams.


    GeoAge, a leading supplier of mobile automation solutions, has released a new version of FAST™ (Field Adapted Survey Toolkit), a program designed to rapidly capture data and respond effectively with instant mapping and reporting. New version 3.2 adds key performance capabilities to strengthen project management through improved data visualization and summarizing.


    Around the Web


    Handhelds help turn kids into marine biologists, by Stefanie Olsen, May 10, 2007, CNET. News.com


    Photos:
    Student whale watchers with wireless 


    Upcoming Events

    Date: May 15 - 29, 2007 
    Place: Allen Instruments, 7114 E Earll, Dr, Scottsdale

    AZ 85215 USA
    Allen Instruments is pleased to offer a series of in-house training seminars. The training seminars are designed to provide geospatial professionals focused training on GIS and GPS topics. Whether you are new to the technology or just want to refresh your skills, our short seminars will introduce you to what’s new and shed new light on familiar topics.
       
    Date: May 20 - 23, 2007
    Place: Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)

    New Orleans, USA
    The abstract submission deadline has passed. More than 100 abstract submissions were received and the conference committee will review and organize the program, from the submissions, by the end of this year. Expect the conference program and registration information to be available by January 2007. Exhibit information will also soon be available.
       
    Date: May 21 - 24, 2007
    Place: Nashville

    TN USA
       
    Date: May 28 - 31, 2007
    Place: Mobile Mapping Summer School

    PADUA, Italy
    We are glad to announce that the 5th International Symposium on Mobile Mapping Technology will be held in Padua, Italy. The core objective of the conference will be to discuss most recent technologies, exchange experiences and promote future research, development and production in fields related to mobile mapping. We look forward to see you in Padua!
       
    Date: June 4 - 6, 2007
    Place: Palm Springs

    CA USA
    With an expanded educational program and a grand-scale exhibition, ITS America’s 2007 Annual Meeting & Exposition promises to be one of our best events ever. Next year’s meeting will also feature dozens of innovative mobility solutions first seen at the 12th World Congress on ITS.
       
    Date: June 4 - 7, 2007
    Place: Four Point Sheraton,Bolzano

    Bozen, Italy
    Second workshop geological hazards in mountanous areas with excursion to the Dolomites, 8-9 June, Bozen, Italy (back to back with the 27th EARSeL sympoisum)
       
    Date: June 5 - 9, 2007
    Place: San Francisco Bay Area

    CA USA
    Digital Earth is a visionary concept for "spaceship Earth" sparked by R. Buckminster Fuller, grokked by the Apollo astronauts returning from their moon missions, and popularized by Vice President Al Gore.
       
    Date: June 5, 2007
    Place: Minneapolis, MN USA
    This workshop offers an opportunity to answer questions for GIS specialists, managers, and decision-makers – especially those who represent local government –on what remote sensing is, how it can work with GIS, what resources are available and what details are important to know about in working with the data or contracting to have it collected.
    Date: June 11 - 13, 2007
    Place: Convention Center

    Rosemont, IL USA
       
    Date: June 12 - 13, 2007
    Place: Banglore, India
    Location India 2007, 3rd International Conference and Exhibition on Vehicle Tracking, Locational Intelligence and Surveying will serve as a platform where the technology provider, application developers and users will converge to discuss and deliberate on the potential and usage of these technologies
       
    Date: June 12 - 13, 2007
    Place: Gluckstr

    Hamburg, 53a 22081 Germany
    One year after the first deegree day which has been a great success the > next convention of deegree users and developers to support the community process will held June 12/13 2007 in Bonn. Developers will present both current and upcoming features while users will show he latest project solutions. A chance to discuss pressing open issues in technology, communication, and project organization will be presented on June 12th. In addition to the concept of first deegree day there will be specialized hands-on workshops for developers and adminstrators on June 13th.
       
    Date: June 16 - 17, 2007
    Place: San Diego, CA USA
       
    Date: June 16 - 17, 2007
    Place: San Diego, CA USA



    You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.


    To read more news, click here.



    -- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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