[ Back ]   [ More News ]   [ Home ]
September 03, 2007
Navigating Virtual Worlds with 3D Navigation Devices
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!

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/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, People, New Products, 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

Navigating Virtual Worlds with 3D Navigation Devices

by Susan Smith

In the spring, 3Dconnexion
announced that its line of 3D navigation devices were supported by the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform, enabling customers to fly through the Live Search Maps 3D world by using a controller cap instead of a mouse and keyboard. The navigation devices, such as SpaceNavigator™, allow users to navigate immersive 3D environments within a browser interface without having to switch tools to change directions or maneuver the mouse. Using one hand on the mouse to control the cursor, the other hand uses the 3D navigation device to control the viewpoint and to navigate the 3D scene or objects. These navigation
tools are popular with 3D artists and computer-aided design (CAD) professionals, but are gaining interest among the geo crowd as they make traveling through virtual environments easier.

click to enlarge [
According to the press release, “the SpaceNavigator device is a companion to the mouse and is held in the alternate hand. Users apply very slight movements to the device’s controller cap to simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate 3D objects.” The 3Dconnexion product line is supported by numerous popular 3D applications, including Adobe® Acrobat 3D, Adobe Photoshop® CS3 Extended and all major 3D CAD applications.

Ziva Nissan, director of product marketing at 3Dconnexion answered some questions about the company’s line of 3D navigation devices.

1) I thought 3Dconnexion already provided support for Virtual Earth but not specifically Live Search Maps. How is their support of Live Search Maps different from the support offered before?

ZN: 3Dconnexion announced its line of 3D mice was supported by Microsoft Live Search Maps and Virtual Earth in April 2007. Prior to this announcement, Microsoft Virtual Earth did not support the 3Dconnexion product line.

2) Do you have a breakdown on users of 3Dconnexion devices?

ZN: We don’t have a clear picture of the breakdown between Microsoft Live Search Maps, Google Earth and NASA World Wind. Predominantly 3Dconnexion sells to business, with government and consumer being less than 15% of our current customers. Yet, government and consumer purchases are growing very quickly as we build awareness of these new solutions with government, education and scientific markets.

3) As you have a number of devices, which do you recommend for which uses?

ZN: 3Dconnexion’s entire product line, including SpacePilot, SpaceExplorer, SpaceNavigator, and SpaceTraveler, is supported by numerous applications, from e frontier Poser, for 3D animation, to Adobe Acrobat 3D to Google Earth, Live Search Maps and NASA World Wind, for a wide variety of 3D design and geographic uses.

The SpaceNavigator, 3Dconnexion’s entry level 3D mouse, is the newest addition to 3Dconnexion’s product line and has a retail price of $59. SpaceNavigator is targeted at students and 3D enthusiasts using entry level 3D applications, and is the only 3D mouse offered by 3Dconnexion that supports Mac OS X based 3D applications. It also supports Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended, enabling creative professionals working with 3D objects in Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended to simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate camera views and 3D objects.

The SpacePilot and SpaceExplorer offer greater productivity through pre-mapped function buttons and tight integration with complex CAD and 3D design applications. These devices automatically update function buttons when switching between applications or between modes within applications. These products are ideal for 3D professionals including design engineers, interactive designers, game developers, CG artists, and anyone who requires greater speed and productivity when designing in 3D.

SpaceTraveler is a mobile 3D mouse. SpaceTraveler’s light weight and hard travel case make it a portable companion for people doing 3D design on a laptop. It features 8 programmable function buttons that give greater access to application commands and menus.

4) I would like to see how the 3D device enhances viewing of Live Search Maps.

ZN: There is currently a video on YouTube demonstrating the SpaceNavigator on Live Search Maps, which you can

Top News of the Week

Google announced the launch of Sky, a new feature that enables users of Google Earth to view the sky as seen from planet Earth.

With Sky, users can now float through the skies via Google Earth. This easy-to-use tool enables all Earth users to view and navigate through 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies. High resolution imagery and informative overlays create a unique playground for visualizing and learning about space.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital map data for location-based solutions and vehicle navigation, has announced the launch of Digital Terrain Model and Satellite Imagery which enable richer, more realistic map display in location-based and navigation applications. These are in addition to NAVTEQ's 2D Landmark Footprints, Enhanced 2D Footprints, 3D City Models and 3D Landmark products.


DigitalGlobe announced that it will partner with Bushnell Outdoor Products to enhance the navigational capabilities of the company's devices, including the industry-leading ONIX200 and next-generation ONIX200CR and ONIX400, with easy access to DigitalGlobe's vast library of satellite imagery.


The Carbon Project announced its Gaia 3 software was selected to support the 2007 National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) under a project grant called “Framework NSDI and Beyond”.

The “Framework NSDI and Beyond” Project is a collaborative effort between the North Carolina Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR), the City of Charlotte, NC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CubeWerx, The Carbon Project and the geoLeaders Network.

Azteca Systems, Inc., the provider of GIS-centric management solutions, announced that the Eighth Annual Cityworks User Conference will be held June 16-18, 2008 at the Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort in Snowbird, Utah. Pre-conference training being held on June 13 and 14 in Sandy, UT.

Attendance is open to all Cityworks customers and Business Partners and by invitation to potential customers and others. Early Bird registration information and additional details will be available online soon on the


ESRI (UK) has appointed Jackie Loudon as Customer Services Manager, Natalie Jenkins as Product Marketing Manager and Angela Baker as Community Programmes Manager.

With the recent acquisition of Earth Resource Mapping (ER Mapper), Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging is pleased to announce that Guy Perkins, former CEO, will join the executive management team as Vice President, Global Services.

GeoDecisions’ intelligent transportation systems (ITS) staff continues to grow with the additions of Wayne G. Spaulding and Gregory L. Cross. GeoDecisions is an information technology company specializing in geospatial solutions.

UK based Dotted Eyes is celebrating after taking on a record number of new staff.

Owen Powell has joined the Commercial Team as an Account Manager, with responsibility for the Transport vertical. Software Engineer Jon Hawkesworth has traded Capgemini for Dotted Eyes where he will be working in the Development team, delivering projects built on ResponseMX web mapping technology.

In response to increased demand for corporate wide GIS implementation, Chris Allison has joined the company as Project Consultant. The Company’s youngest recruit, Andrew Brittan, joined immediately after graduating from the University of Birmingham with a BSc in Geography.

New Products

Tele Atlas and Zagat Survey, LLC announced an agreement to make Zagat Survey ratings and reviews available for Tele Atlas digital map users.

NVision Solutions Inc., The Boeing Company, and NAVTEQ recently demonstrated a prototype emergency management “common operating picture” at the 2007 Pacific Northwest Asymmetric Warfare Initiative.

The federally-funded Center for Asymmetric Warfare (CAW) designed the annual regional emergency-management drill to increase protection against terrorism and provide shared working experience for thousands of first responders, military and other homeland defense professionals responding to a crisis.

Blue Marble Geographics announced the addition of support for 3-D ESRI Shapefiles (SHP), as well as enhanced support of 3-D AutoCAD files (DWG/DXF) and 3-D MicroStation Design files (DGN). GeoTranslate users can also look forward to enhanced layer level renditions and other minor enhancements. Blue Marble’s coordinate conversion technology is the basis of GeoTranslate 5.0, and is used worldwide by thousands of GIS analysts at software companies, universities, oil and gas companies, civil engineering, surveying, technology, enterprise GIS groups, government and military organizations.

NavCom Technology, Inc. announced the release of the SF-2110M and SF-2110R modular L1 StarFire GPS receivers. Using StarFire, the world's first global satellite based augmentation system for use with single and dual GPS frequency receivers, NavCom's SF-2110M and SF-2110R receivers provide instantaneous 50 cm accuracy, anywhere in the world, anytime.

IDV Solutions launched a new public facing demo, the Demographics Visualizer. The demo provides users with complete access to a sample composite application to visualize and explore current US demographics data. The Demographics Visualizer is designed to give users the opportunity to experience IDV Solutions’ Visual Fusion software capabilities and its ability to solve their business problems.

A new Mobile GIS field software program -- TopPAD 7.0.1 – from Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) allows users to take GIS layers into the field for verification and update. When installed on Topcon's hand-held GMS-2 or a Topcon field controller, TopPAD can collect and update position and attribute information using customized forms.

Garmin has launched the Edge 705 and Edge 605 – the latest innovations in the popular line of integrated personal training systems for recreational and advanced cyclists. The Edge 705 and Edge 605 provide mapping capabilities, street navigation and a 2.2” color display in addition to tracking vertical profiles, climb and descent, altitude, speed, distance, and time.

Upcoming Events

Date  : August 29 - September 1, 2007 
Place  : Assembly Hall

Jakarta Convention Center, Pusat DKI , Jakarta , Indonesia
CLEAR invites your involvement in our 27th annual conference, "Promoting Regulatory Excellence." We are accepting session proposals relating to critical issues in professional regulation that are designed to help our attendees carry out their vital shared mission of public protection
Date September 9 - 12, 2007 
Place  : Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center

San Antonio, TX USA
APWA invites you to join us at the 2007 Congress! We’re combining the Best Show in Public Works with the Big State of Texas to bring you the “Biggest and Best Show in Public Works!” Join us in San Antonio to mingle with your peers and learn how you can improve your agency’s performance.  
Date  September 11 - 14, 2007 
Place : Newcastle University

United Kingdom 
In recent years remote sensing and photogrammetry have seen a revolution in the technology and range of products available. The focus of the 2007 annual conference will be to explore the means by which these new data sources can be exploited to their full potential. The meeting aims to encompass a broad spectrum of interests, from sensor design and advanced analytical techniques to commercial utilisation and data management. The conference will include sessions sponsored by ISPRS Working Groups I/4 (Airborne digital photogrammetric sensor systems) and IV/9 (Mapping from high resolution data). 
Date  September 12 - 14, 2007
Place  : INVESCO Field at Mile High

Denver, CO USA
The Rocky Mountain region's premier geospatial information and technology conference. The 20th annual GIS in the Rockies conference will be held at INVESCO Field at Mile High September 12-14, 2007 
Date  September 13 - 14, 2007 
Place  Hotel Kowloon Shangri-La

Hong Kong 
Location Asia 2007 is an International Conference and Exhibition in the field of positioning, navigation and timing technologies, organised by GIS Development and Co-Organised by Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Navigation and Positioning technology is an enabling utility that can markedly improve human activities. It is a key element fuelling growth in both infrastructure provision and location related business sevices. As we stand at the exciting horizon of ‘Tagged World’, there is a need to create awareness about the potential of navigation and positioning technology and build capacity of the local industry to design and develop products to meet the
future requirements. 
Date  September 13 - 14, 2007 
Place  One Glenlake Parkway

Suite 200, Atlanta, GA USA 
This workshop is customized for each city in which it is taught.

Audience: Beginners, anyone interested in mapping their community  
Date  September 13, 2007 
Place  Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey

604 Station Road, Grantville, PA 17028 USA 
PAMAP is a continuation of a long standing mapping tradition in the United States. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources-(DCNR) Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey (BTGS) has, for more than a century, cooperated in the joint funding and production of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) topographic quadrangle maps. Now, PAMAP is part of an ambitious program of the federal government called The National Map, an effort coordinated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to provide publicly available mapping. 
Date  September 15 - 18, 2007
Place  University of Central Florida

Pegasus Ballroom, Orlando, FL USA 
The conference brings together governmental, non-profit, and private sector GIS users in the 10 county area to coordinate issues of common concern, encourage data sharing, and present information on current events. Pre-conference events include ESRI authorized training in ArcGIS and URISA workshops. Events include ESRI presentations and workshops, user paper presentations, map gallery exhibits, vendor exhibits, user group meetings, evening social, luncheon, raffles and prizes including lots of software giveaways. 
Date September 18 - 20, 2007 
Place Thistle Marble Arch

London, United Kingdom 
Defence Imagery brings together the intelligence community within NATO and European countries to address current/future challenges and developments in the collection, exploitation, and dissemination of imagery based intelligence. Defence Imagery offers military case studies from a variety of countries and organisations including end user perspectives. The event also seeks to showcase technological progress and innovative thinking from outside defence with presentations covering disaster management, international and domestic policing, weapons proliferation monitoring, and homeland security. 
Date  September 19 - 23, 2007 
Place  Melbourne Business School

Mount Eliza, Melbourne, Australia 
At the conference, results from recent research are presented and discussions about advanced work in progress take place. The conference program is established by an international and multidisciplinary program committee. Papers are selected through a rigorous review of full paper contributions by internationally renowned reviewers, based on relevance to the conference, intellectual quality, scientific significance, novelty, relation to previously published literature, and clarity of presentation 
Date  September 20 - 21, 2007 
Place  New Horizons Computer Learning Center

1585 Kapiolani Blvd,Suite 1000 , Honolulu, HI 96814 USA 
This workshop is customized for each city in which it is taught.

Audience: Beginners, anyone interested in mapping their community 
Date September 23 - 27, 2007 
Place  The Madison Concourse Hotel

Madison, WI USA 
The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is an organization committed to efficient and effective government through the prudent adoption of geospatial information technologies (GIT). Members of NSGIC include senior state geographic information system (GIS) managers and coordinators. Other members include representatives from federal agencies, local government, the private sector, academia and other professional organizations. 
Date  September 24 - 27, 2007
Place  Victoria Convention Center

Victoria, Canada 
The 2007 Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) conference gathers developers and users of open source geo-spatial software from around the world to discuss new directions, exciting implementations, and growing business opportunities in the field of open source geo-spatial software. Focused on the practical "make it work, get it done" world of open source application development, this annual conference boasts a very high concentration of geo-spatial technical opinion leaders 
Date   September 26 - 28, 2007 
Place    Stockholm, Sweden 
We welcome you to the ESRI European User Conference 2007! We are committed to making this a very special event, not just another conference. If you attend ONE conference 2007, make this the ONE!  

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.