June 04, 2007
Bentley BE Conference 2007 - Where Geospatial and Infrastructure Engineering Meet
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Bentley BE Conference 2007 - Where Geospatial and Infrastructure Engineering Meet

by Susan Smith

This year, I was unable to attend Bentley BE Conference in Los Angeles, so this article will attempt to recapture the essence of what was discussed in the Geospatial arena at the conference. Richard Zambuni, Global Marketing Director, Geospatial said that this year Bentley did not have the same sense of novelty in geospatial as they had last

year, when they came out with their new strategy and marketing pitch based around advancing GIS infrastructure. Last year’s technology release (Version 8 XM) profoundly affected geospatial platform products. “We plan to stick with that,” said Zambuni. “This year we were just sophisticating that story; telling people what’s new and what’s going on in the geospatial side of things.”

The code-named, upcoming Athens release of MicroStation – how does that affect geospatial? “The Athens release doesn’t really change things dramatically for geospatial. The biggest geospatial story within the Athens release is the fact that MicroStation and all of our products will allow you to georeference your designs natively in MicroStation. So really that is an outflowing of our geospatial capability and technology to embrace the entire design and engineering community for those who want it. It provides a lot more location intelligence and georeferencing to any design. If you’re going to start exchanging data between some of the gulfs that exist now, say

between BIM across to CAD platforms to GIS platforms, then you need that kind of georeferencing. That shows that Bentley is committed to supporting that kind of interoperability across platforms and functions and across applications.”

Zambuni said they are now building Bentley Map, in addition to the Geospatial Server and the Geospatial Extension, on the Version 8 XM platform,. They anticipate all three products to be available in August of this year.

Bentley Map has taken longer than expected, but it is a core product and ultimately supersedes aspects of MicroStation Geographics.

MicroStation Geographics will continue to be supported but will no longer be developed. Bentley is developing Geospatial Extension as the “go forward” version of MicroStation Geographics and Bentley Map will be the added value GIS platform that the company does not currently have.  ProjectWise for geospatial is called Bentley Geospatial Management, which will be renamed Geospatial Server, a spatially enabled version of ProjectWise.

Last year’s platform XFM modeling technology allowed Bentley to become more object based in the way they can structure their products, how they can exchange data, parcel data up and move it around . “That was a huge step forward, also to allow us to do integrations which don’t need upgrading with each release that comes out, either a release from Bentley or from a partner or companion software product that we’re integrated with.,” Zambuni pointed out. “That’s a huge step forward.”

Bentley has rolled out XM editions of a number of products including GeoWeb Publisher and Cadscript. The two latest products that launched based on the XFM capability have been Bentley Electric and Bentley Expert Designer XM. Bentley Electric uses a lot of the new Bentley Map technology.

Zambuni said that electric gas and utilities is the area where Bentley geospatial has made the most progress in terms of technology. “We now have core Bentley Electric, Bentley Expert Designer, Substation Design Solution, and ProjectWise to manage their engineering data, both within their organizations and outside and through third party organizations they interact with.”

Bentley Electric and Bentley Expert Designer are the blueprint for the way the company plans to develop all their different industry applications such as Bentley Water and Bentley Telco. On top of those core platforms will sit the high productivity design environments that allow you to do the more automated engineering. More modeling and analysis products will be introduced as time goes by.

As was cited last year, GIS infrastructure is Bentley’s strategic mantra which basically states that the company will focus on the intersection between GIS technology and infrastructure engineering capabilities. Zambuni pointed out that “we don’t do location based intelligence, we don’t do things which GIS that allow you to understand where you’re going to put a new supermarket or how you’re going to market to customers. We have a commitment to GIS capabilities but we’re not going to be extending our reach beyond the infrastructure engineering world, that’s a big enough world in itself for us.”


Bentley has become a principal member of OGC this year, and was involved last year in a number of projects such as the OWS-4 Project. This year the company is involved in the CAD/BIM/GIS Project.

Open Source

As for Open Source, “We still believe that customers would prefer to pay to have us support our product streams and not go to Open Source,” Zambuni concluded. “The nearest we go to Open Source at the moment is support of OGC standards so we support the concepts of open standards, interoperability across platforms but we’re not yet in the open source world. We may go there, but at the moment that’s not something we’re not committed to.”

Top News of the Week

As of June 4, 2007, the

USGS will be releasing selected Landsat 7 image data of the United States through the
web or
here. These data are of high quality with limited cloud cover. This Web-enabled distribution of new and recently acquired data is a pilot project for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM), currently projected for launch in 2011. The project will allow the Landsat data user community to help refine the distribution system planned for the upcoming LDCM. Each scene will be registered to the terrain, or "ortho-rectified," prior to being placed on the Web. Copies of these data will also be available on CD or DVD at the cost of reproduction.



Environment Agency (EA) has been working with
1Spatial and its system integration partner Scisys to evaluate data re-engineering for the National Flood and Coastal Defence Database (NFCDD) system during 2006. The changes approved through this evaluation have now been implemented and are live.

In January the latest release of the NFCDD application provided by Scisys to the EA contained new functionality to perform simplification, geometric and topological validation against EA data. These processes make use of Radius Topology™ software from 1Spatial.

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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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