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October 15, 2007
Introducing WeoGeo
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, Around the Web, and Events Calendar.


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Susan Smith, Managing Editor


Industry News

Introducing WeoGeo

by Susan Smith


In a discussion this week with WeoGeo CEO Paul Bissett, GISWeekly learned about this unique e-commerce platform which may revolutionize the way mapping products are discovered, customized and delivered. The goal of WeoGeo is to “create an active exchange where the supply and demand is high enough where people can see where they should be putting their efforts,” said Bissett.


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PB: WeoGeo is about enabling people to discover and customize and deliver their mapping products. We have two ways to do that – WeoGeo Market where we’re building an entire platform for people to buy and sell and communicate amongst each other. These are mapping products for which we provide our unique discovery and customization and delivery tools to the market and charge a flat fee for the listing and delivering those products between buyers and sellers. Consider it an eBay approach to enabling people who make maps to connect with people who want maps. Most of the mapping products supplied in the mapping industry today typically go through a single point of
sale, where you’re a governmental program manager who goes to a single GIS firm and says “make this for me.” That product is delivered back to that purchaser and then the product either on the supplier side disappears in an archive somewhere and on the purchasers side, may or may not be open to public use.
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What we’re attempting to do is to tear down the vertical nature of those silos, of buyers and sellers communicating with each other, and allow people to see more of the mapping products in the world that’s out there, these would be the consumers of mapping products and allow the providers to see more of the people who are looking for maps, such that the skills that the mapping providers have are more generally applied across many niches, allowing them to generate more revenues for themselves. On the other side, the purchasers of these maps are seeing more supply, so on average, the cost of their maps comes down. So it becomes a win win situation for everyone concerned if
there’s more supply in the market and better pricing and better content.


The second component of this is the WeoGeo Server, which provides a network appliance into an institution or enterprise that may have hundreds of thousands of maps internally but may have trouble knowing where those maps might be or how they’re related to other maps. Much like the Google Search appliance, it allows users to archive their mapping products in such a way that they’re discoverable amongst themselves or can serve them out to user groups outside the internet.


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GW: Can you also deliver CAD?


PB: Yes, as long as it can be tied to a point on the ground we can serve and deliver it.


GW: What sets WeoGeo apart from other vendors?


PB: There are organizations that are offering raster and some vector products. They typically are either offering their own archives or they’re out cutting deals with other content providers. They take a very large fraction of the selling price and it’s usually a percentage of the selling price. I saw one where 70% of the selling price goes to the market maker and the rest goes to the content provider. We’re turning that whole thing on its head in that our listing fee is $3 per six months and we’ll even host your data for you, which is another $3 per gigabyte per six months. Our whole infrastructure is built on Amazon web services. It’s
completely scalable, so you don’t have to worry about where our data farm is. Amazon has it for us.


On the listing side, to the vendor of the content, our portion of whatever they think the price is worth is fixed at a $1 rate. You can set the price high or low. We’ll have a low flat cost. We have a transaction cost on the other side, but that’s small too, depending on the size of the data and the complications of serving it and the processing. It’s usually between $5 and $10 on the transaction side. For the product, the vendor of the content is the person who sets the price and we don’t get involved in that at all. We’re just there to keep the cost as low as possible and get the market moving to a point where we’re focused on having lots of supply
and lots of people making content for others.


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The second thing that sets us apart is the functionality of our site, for discovery, customization and delivery. The whole process of discovery of maps that you’re interested in, the customization of exactly what part of the map you want and the delivery mechanism – order it and it is sent to your desktop – is unique and far more advanced than anything I’ve seen out there.


We’re trying to offer an exchange and functionality. You’re the marketer of your data which allows you to connect to as many purchasers as possible.


The third thing is, in building an exchange you have to deal with digital rights management. The way licensing on this site works is that everybody that provides information on this site is essentially saying to the users on the other side you may buy my data and you get to use it one time for something, a single purpose commercial license. If you choose to re-use that in a commercial setting, then you owe me royalties, the full royalty of the price of what I sold to you. Now that allows the users on the other side to be able to make derivative products, so they could take that hyper spectral data, for example, and now with some algorithm that they’ve developed that’s unique
to hyper spectral data, create a vegetation map of seagrass and bathymetry and put that map back up for sale. They can say to the public, I bought this hyper spectral data for $15, I added my own work to it which I think is worth $20 so if anyone wants to buy this map of vegetation or seagrass it will cost you $35. When somebody buys that map, the person who created the vegetation map gets their $20 and we immediately send to the original hyper spectral data provider their $15 as part of their licensing of digital rights management.


For content providers we create a entire licensing and revenue mechanism that protects them in their royalty flow, at the same time doing all the automatic calculations of those transactions and sending them a check so they don’t have to worry about it. These content stacks can get larger and larger, and everyone in the stack can become compensated for the work they’ve done.


Anybody who is making maps can create an entire network outside their own capabilities to do these point of sale transactions that far exceeds their own abilities to sell and market their products.


How it works:


If you go to the
site, type in a location entry. Every one of the maps is linked to one another. In the global navigation window you can move the box around and all the maps move accordingly, and you can do that in the regional view as well. Geospatial data is linked to a point on the ground. The fastest way to search is to move to the area of interest. You can also type in a name that will take you there, if you zoom in on the regional window, you can see the database of all the mapping products, subsetted by the geographical window on panel 2. You see every map that touches panel 2, and they are now in panel 3 in the database
selections. You will get the spatial extent of the data set you are looking at by clicking on the black box in one of the database selections. In three panels, you will find the place in the world you are interested in. You can zoom into that region, and the database has been subsetted with all the areas of interest. In panel 4 you have the metadata associated with that map. WeoGeo is the seller of that particular map.


At the top right of panel 4 is more information about what was collected and how it was collected. Additional hyperlinks can be opened that will describe the data set further. After you close that you can roll over to panel 5 to interrogate the data set more. The panels are linked, so you can move by grabbing the map on the inside of panel 5 and move it with your mouse, or you can go to panel 4 and move the box and just move it around.


If the information in panel 4 is in an area where you had other datasets you can click on the low resolution KML which is on the bottom of panel 4. Using Google Earth or some other 3D viewer that could read a KML file you can open up panel 4 in a KML or 3D viewer of your choice.


Panel 5 has a hyperspectral data set and the whole mosaic is about 40 gigabytes. Because it’s large, you might want to download only a small piece of it. The layers button offers 156 bands.


Amazon web services has the grade of disk storage and computer services to power this ecommerce solution, in the form of EC2 and S3.


WeoGeo is still in private beta, and should be available to the public by the end of the month.


Top News of the Week


Research and Markets has announced the addition of "Geographical Information Systems - Portfolio Analysis" to their offering.


The Portfolio Analysis - Geographical Information Systems is a comprehensive evaluation of the UK market. The revised and updated 2007 edition analyses the financial performance of the companies important to the success of your business. Using the most up to date information available, the analysis is ideal both as a tool to benchmark your own company's results and to study the market in more depth.


ESRI (UK), the provider of geographically enabled software solutions to local authorities, has announced the launch of TrafficFlow, the first traffic order management system that enables local authorities to manage the entire traffic order process and realize the full benefits brought about by Decriminalized Parking Enforcement (DPE).


Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances


NovAtel Inc. and Hexagon AB have entered into a definitive agreement under which Hexagon has agreed to acquire all the outstanding shares of NovAtel for US $50 per share.

NovAtel is a leading provider of precision Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) components and subsystems. NovAtel develops quality OEM products including receivers, enclosures, antennas and firmware that are integrated into high precision positioning applications worldwide. These applications include surveying, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping, precision agriculture machine guidance, port automation, mining, timing and marine industries. NovAtel's reference receivers are also at the core of national aviation ground networks in the USA, Japan, Europe, China and India.


Announcements


From emergency response to land management, state and local governments are using the GeoPDF geospatial data distribution and collaboration format to get geointelligence into the field faster and easier. Join TerraGo Technologies for a two hour workshop in major cities across the country.


In an effort to promote greater interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in schools across the globe, Innovation First, Inc., a leader in educational and competitive robotics products, has teamed up with Autodesk, Inc. to launch Robotevents.com. The new Web site is designed to encourage students and educators to explore the exciting world of robotics and bring real-world experience to STEM learning.

Any secondary or post-secondary student or educator with a valid education email address can join the
Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community  .

Students and educators can start exploring the world of robotics today at
Robotics Events.


People


Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging is pleased to announce that Christopher Tucker will join the management team as Senior Vice President, National Programs, with purview over U.S. Defense, Intelligence, Homeland Security and associated Federal Programs.


CARIS, provider of marine and hydrographic software, has appointed James (Jim) Page as Senior Business Developer to focus on fostering business opportunities for the company’s complete ping to chart product line across Latin America.


Michael Baker Corporation has appointed Jeremy N. Gill, vice president-information technology of the Company, effective October 22. He succeeds Andrew Verone, executive vice president and chief information officer, who will resign from the company to pursue other business interests.


New Products


Pitney Bowes MapInfo, global provider of location intelligence, today announced the release of its next-generation demographics, providing organizations in retail, restaurant, financial services, insurance and media with reliable, consistent and timely data to support site selection, marketing, distribution, product development and other key business decisions. By integrating MicroBuild(TM), a household geodemographic product from The Gadberry Group, Pitney Bowes MapInfo now provides clients with more dependable and up-to-date household-level information to support more insightful business decisions.


Wallingford Software, the leading developer of hydraulic modeling software for the water industry, has announced the immediate availability of a completely new InfoWorks product, InfoWorks SD (Storm Drainage). Also launched simultaneously with the release of InfoWorks v8.5 is a completely new and fully integrated module, InfoWorks 2D. This module is available for InfoWorks CS v8.5, InfoWorks SD v8.5 and InfoWorks RS v9.0. Other important developments announced today include the availability of Unidirectional Flushing as a core function within InfoWorks WS.


Aerials Express, the provider of annually updated aerial imagery of US metropolitan areas, announced today the release of ECEY View™ Aerial Mapping Software. ECEY View™ was designed with the look and feel of familiar office software, making it easier to use than other GIS applications. ECEY View™ encourages a more fluid role for aerial imagery within the workplace. Any level of employee within an organization can share results with clients and co-workers via email, prints, flyers, posters, and software presentations.


3D Laser Mapping, the UK based specialists in laser measurement technology and software, has launched the most advanced laser profile measuring system yet. Achieving high accuracy measurements at ranges of up to 6 kilometres the Riegl LPM 321 is ideally suited for inhospitable, inaccessible and dangerous environments such as those encountered in mining, engineering and archaeological projects. The Riegl LMP 321 uses laser beams to measure the position of features and surfaces, recording up to 1000 points per second with millimetre accuracy the system is robust yet lightweight, easy to use and includes an integrated Canon digital camera for capture of fully referenced
images of the scene being surveyed.


Around the Web


GIS Maps to Communicate Emergency Preparedness: How Useable Are They for Inner City Residents? Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Vol. 4, Issue 3


Google tools to power virtual worlds, CNet News.com, October 9, 2007


Upcoming Events


Date:
October 15 - 17, 2007
Place: Huntsville Marriott ,5 Tranquility Base

Huntsville, Alabama 35805, USA
Huntsville, Alabama, "the Rocket City", is home to a diverse blend of technology from aerospace, defense, research and development, and private industry. This technology base provides the foundation for hosting the "Rocket City Geospatial Conference". The unique relationship between NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), the Redstone Arsenal, the University of Alabama-Huntsville, and the many private firms in the region supports a variety of R&D projects affecting government, education and commerce.
 
Date:
October 21 - 24, 2007
Place: Palm Springs, CA USA
Citilabs is pleased to invite you to Futura 07, the annual Citilabs International User Conference, from October 21 to 24, 2007. This is a unique opportunity for you and your colleagues to meet other users and share your knowledge and the successes you have had with Cube and other Citilabs software. Citilabs will also hold optional pre-conference and post-conference software training which will extend the full activities of Futura 07 from October 20 to 26, 2007.
 
Date:
October 21 - 24, 2007
Place: Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center

San Antonio, TX USA
The annual GEOINT Symposium, hosted by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), is the Nation’s Premier Intelligence Event. Each year, more than 2,500 attendees visit GEOINT to discover cutting-edge geospatial intelligence technologies, converse with top leaders in the intelligence community, learn from academia, and network with government, industry, academic, and military leaders.
 
Date:
October 28 - November 1, 2007
Place: Ottawa, CA Canada
The American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (ASPRS) and the Canadian Remote Sensing Society (CRSS – a society member of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute) are organizing an exciting conference around the theme of Our Common Borders - Safety, Security and the Environment through Remote Sensing. This conference will showcase mapping, imaging techniques and associated remote sensing projects in both countries that are promoting and enhancing cross-border geospatial cooperation.
 
Date:
October 29 - 31, 2007
Place: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, Oman
The event will host GIS professionals and end users from around the Middle East and North Africa, as well as hardware vendors, GIS solution providers, and local government agencies all keen on demonstrating their products and solutions. The user paper presentations provide a forum for attendees to share their experiences, problems, solutions, and methodologies with users who share similar requirements. Users will be invited to present their best map products/posters produced using GIS over the past twelve months in a dedicated display area at the conference.
 
Date:
November 2 - 3, 2007
Place: Gold Coast International Hotel

Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia
 
Date:
November 5 - 7, 2007
Place: The Mirage

3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd. , Las Vegas, NV 89109 USA
Surveying, Engineering, Construction, and Mapping professionals: process integration, new positioning solutions and advanced communications technologies are changing the competitive landscape.

Process integration, positioning and communication technologies will profoundly impact surveying, engineering, construction and mapping professionals. It’s ideally suited for:

Aerial Photography and Photogrammetric Mapping Services, Earthmoving Contractors, Foremen, Supervisor, Grade Checker and Site Engineer.
 
Date:
November 5 - 7, 2007
Place: Adam's Mark Hotel

Denver, CO USA
Be a part of the 2007 Homeland Security GIS Summit to learn and share how GIS can be applied for critical infrastructure protection planning—a data fusion and analysis solution and for prevention/protection and response/recovery measures within an emergency operations center.

The ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit provides a forum for you as professionals in local, regional, state, and federal government; utilities; and the private sector who establish priorities and set directions for your organization, and work to improve systems for public protection and business continuity.
 
Date:
November 8, 2007
Place: University of Southern Queensland

Toowoomba, Queensland, USA
Application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS, GPS) to:
Natural resource and environmental management
Water resource management
Agriculture
Education
Local government
Forestry
Asset management
Emergency Services
other...
 


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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