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January 14, 2008
2007 -- A Year in Review; 2008 - Looking Forward
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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Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

2007 -- A Year in Review; 2008 - Looking Forward

by Susan Smith

2007 brought some surprises in terms of consolidation in the marketplace with a spotlight on personal navigation devices and mapping data. Services continue to grow and the availability of development platforms such as Google Earth, Open Source, and Oracle Spatial as well as the proliferation of navigation devices and applications for them, are fueling that growth. Standards have also spurred development.

Geospatial is not just extending into other markets, and not just into developers’ laps, but also off the beaten path, into off-road, where there has been a severe lack of mapping data available.

The topics profiled here are the ones that received highest readership at GISWeekly and highlighted significant changes in the industry this year.

Acquisitions and subsequent market consolidation

Pitney Bowes Inc. announced in March it was entering into a merger agreement to
acquire MapInfo Corporation for approximately $408 million in cash, net of expected cash on MapInfo’s balance sheet at the time of closing. MapInfo is a leading global provider of location intelligence solutions and was the largest acquisition Pitney Bowes has ever made. Steve Walden, VP and GM of Business Geographics for Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software and Michael Hickey, CEO of MapInfo, headquartered in Troy, New York talked about the agreement and their thoughts on what is coming up. The Group 1 software arm of Pitney Bowes is in Boulder,
Colorado. Walden was one of the executives of Pitney Bowes who was instrumental in putting together the acquisition of MapInfo.

According to Walden, the geocoding and geospatial capabilities came along as part of Group 1 and were a piece of what led up to this acquisition of MapInfo. “We are trying to change people’s perspective from Pitney Bowes, the mailing machine company to Pitney Bowes, the global technology company,” said Walden.

This year, the race was on to be able to own maps provided with in-car and handheld navigation devices. Makers of navigation devices announced their intent to acquire mapping data suppliers as the number of personal navigation devices (PNDs) sold climbs, and is now forecasted to jump from 19.8 million in 2006 to 65.1 million in 2012.

The first such acquisition announcement was made in July, when
TomTom, Europe's leading maker of personal navigation devices, announced it would buy
Tele Atlas, the supplier of most of its mapping data, for $2.8 billion in cash and debt, or euro 21.25 a share.

Industry watchers warned that the acquisition would greatly impact the navigation device market, with NAVTEQ being most affected. Personal navigation device providers such as TomTom, Magellan and Garmin rely on either NAVTEQ or TeleAtlas for updated and accurate street maps.

The TomTom acquisition set off a domino effect – in October Nokia and NAVTEQ announced an agreement for Nokia to acquire NAVTEQ.

In what was to become perhaps a knee-jerk reaction to the TomTom acquisition, or was possibly already in the works, in October, Nokia made an offer to pay $78 in cash for each share of NAVTEQ including outstanding options for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $8.1 billion (euro 5.7 billion), or approximately $7.7 billion (euro 5.4 billion) net of NAVTEQ existing cash balance. Nokia is the provider of mobile devices, and with the addition of NAVTEQ, Nokia will be able to offer advanced mapping data on those devices as well as
“innovative, context aware Internet services.”

With the acquisition of NAVTEQ, Nokia planned to broaden from mobile navigation devices to pedestrian navigation and automotive navigation systems, internet-based mapping applications and government and business solutions.

Not to be outdone, in November, according to a press release, Garmin Ltd. announced its intent to make a
cash offer  for all the outstanding shares of Tele Atlas N.V. on a fully diluted basis at an indicative offer price of euro 24.50 in cash per share, implying an equity value for the Company of euro 2.3 billion, which is 15 percent higher than the offer for TeleAtlas made by TomTom in July. Garmin planned to launch the bid before December 4, which was when TomTom’s offer expired.

In November, the following occurred: Garmin announced in a press release that its subsidiaries, Garmin International Inc and Garmin Corporation, signed a six-year extension to their agreement with NAVTEQ. The agreement allows Garmin to continue using NAVTEQ data through 2015, with an option to renew for an additional four-year period. In addition, Garmin also announced that in light of these developments it does not intend to pursue its offer for Tele Atlas N.V.

Growth in Services

At the ESRI UC 2007 Plenary Session, President and CEO Jack Dangermond stated that ESRI creates data products almost as a sideline but it has become a main business. Consequently there is more need for customization than out-of-the-box solutions.

Support services are growing by 30 percent. In ArcGIS 9.3, diagnostic reporting will be added as low level code in the release that will generate reports and get better software to users. Sounds like the stuff of dreams, but users will have complete access to the ESRI bug list on a daily basis, and there will be a more active online community in a sort of one stop shop/online support center.

The demand for services and the subsequent ability to be able to create complex systems quickly that are supported by standards is driving product development.

click to enlarge [
The Carbon Project
previewed its new product for OGC Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) 1.0 interoperability for ESRI’s ArcGIS 9.2 software, CarbonArc PRO. CarbonArc PRO was preceded by a smaller product to test the market about a year and a half ago, CarbonArc Lite.

“We’ve created a set of products for ArcGIS that supports that SDI 1.0 baseline,” said The Carbon Project president and CEO, Jeff Harrison. For more complicated data producers, SDI 1.0 includes familiar OGC standards such Web Map Server, GML, WFS, and additional unfamiliar things like filters and catalogs, that allow users to put together complex systems much faster and at much lower cost than they have been able to do in the past.

The Carbon Project’s flagship product, CarbonTools PRO, is an extension to the Microsoft .NET framework that supports advanced location content handling, mapping and sharing, and is the underlying toolkit CarbonArc PRO. CarbonArc PRO works only with ArcGIS 9.2 and adds a whole suite of OGC capabilities.

Currently CarbonArc PRO is available only to ArcGIS 9.2 users, but The Carbon Project’s intention is to make the tools available on every Windows based desktop system.

Government agencies are now using the standards and have multiple implementations in place.

Although SDI 1.0 is targeted at GIS and geospatial power users, some elements are expected to make their way to the consumer. “The trick is to wrap the complexity into something that consumers can use without worrying what GML is or what WFS stands for,” Harrison pointed out.

Google is a good example of how they wrapped complex functionalities under a user friendly interface. KML is somewhat similar in some elements to GML and has its own complexities.

Autodesk Topobase, Autodesk’s infrastructure design and management solution, is built on AutoCAD Map 3D and Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise. It has a very powerful desktop platform based on AutoCAD Map 3D and a web based platform that allows you to share that information using a simpler client, on the web. At the back end is the Oracle Spatial database that helps to manage that information effectively.

Most importantly, in a business value analysis white paper written by analyst IDC, Topobase was heralded as a standout: “The payback period from deploying the Autodesk Topobase solution averaged 11.6 months for the companies surveyed, yielding an average return on investment of 518%.”

This figure on ROI is significant and included users of all Autodesk products including AutoCAD, AutoCAD Map3D, Autodesk Utility Design, MapGuide, and Topobase. The largest area of benefits came in hard costs reductions. According to IDC, they found that the companies surveyed were able to increase benefits of $2.9 million per year, increase their project load by 31% yet reduce their equipment and operational costs by an average of $1.8 million per 100 users. Half of the companies surveyed were government organizations, and as such their revenue was controlled and growth was limited. Even so, on average, companies were able to increase their revenue by almost $100,000 annually per 100
Autodesk users.

click to enlarge [
Click to Enlarge ]
How these figures were arrived at: IDC interviewed six end user companies from the United States and Western Europe, including public and private utilities averaging 1,200 employees. The companies all deployed Autodesk’s infrastructure design and management solutions, with a focus on real costs of managing spatial information across multiple departments and calculating the benefits of the Autodesk Topobase solution, which is Autodesk’s infrastructure
design and management solution.

GE Energy announced a collaboration with Oracle to maximize taking advantage of Oracle’s geospatial database and application server mapping software. Readers might remember that GE acquired Smallworld in 2000, and according to GE, Smallworld will continue to provide the industry application layer.

In an interview with Robert Laudati, marketing program manager, electric software products for GE Energy, he said there is a need in the industry for very standards based tools, more importantly a geospatial environment that is truly standard and interoperable across the utility enterprise.

But issues driving GE to offer a solution based on Oracle in addition to Smallworld include the following: 1) There are lots of trends in the marketplace around outsourcing and budget constraints which call for standards. 2) Oracle’s technology is maturing to a state that can support the development of robust utility style geospatial applications.

What customers are wanting, according to Landati, are standardized products that are easier to maintain. The introduction of the Network Data Model into Oracle Spatial has made it possible to use it for utility customers and take advantage of its full power. And what that means for GE and probably other vendors in the future is that they will cut out the GIS based middleman, and everyone will be focused on providing the best utility.

A platform that garnered substantial interest this year in GISWeekly was CrossView Earth Surfaces for ArcGIS from A-Prime Software, a new cartographic wizard-based tool for ArcGIS users that allows users to do topographical and subterranean cross sections at a cost effective price point. A-Prime Software is a newly launched division of DPRA with a focus on developing unique technologies to assist with their outreach, production management, and data analysis that work directly within the ESRI platform. DPRA is a government contractor tasked to aid in large-scale environmental restoration efforts.

click to enlarge [
Click to Enlarge ]Simple and Intuitive Wizard Interface Within ArcGIS
Whether it was creating a topographical profile or actually show the subterranean layers water layers, DPRA found there was no workflow within the ArcGIS workflow, so they created internally a piece of software to optimize their operations, according to marketing manager for A-Prime Software, Matt Gale.
click to enlarge [
Click to Enlarge ]Standard Sub-Surface Output Within ArcGIS

To simplify what had become a laborious analysis process, the company took what they had in their GIS platform such as editing tools, symbolizations, coloring, labeling, etc., and changed the perspective for the user, adding functionality around it. The resulting CrossView Earth Surfaces for ArcGIS is a wizard based system.

click to enlarge [
Click to Enlarge ]Standard Topographic Surface Output Within ArcGIS
3D Mapping Off-Road

Intermap announced a 3D map product called AccuTerra, which will provide existing outdoor GPS and PND devices with 3D maps and off-road points of interest (POI), including forest roads and trails. AccuTerra integrates maps integrated with interactive 3D rendering software. AccuTerra’s map content is developed from Intermap’s highly successful NEXTMap countrywide 3D digital mapping program and includes data from other sources. “We are creating a product for off-road that will go on any device, that will have a 3D off road network,” said E. Ted Garlock, senior manager, Global Marketing Communications. “Because of our elevation model,
we’ll be able to put line of sight information, and safety features for being lost, or injured, to be able to tell if you have cell phone signals or not, and where to go to get them.”


In summary, 2007 has highlighted the continuing push for standards, a heightened demand for services and platforms in development, while at the same time addressing a rising demand for architectures that can be accessed by the non-GIS professional customer.

For 2008, the movement of geospatial into new markets will likely continue, and in-car navigation technologies will become more sophisticated. Open source, Google Earth, Oracle Spatial and other platforms allow for the development of more complex tools with a more friendly interface, furthering the reach of geospatial. The development of tools using OGC standards will allow users to create more sophisticated applications more quickly and cheaply than previous processes.

Top News of the Week

This week our top news includes two free products: ArcSketch sketch tools from ESRI and Radius Check Lite from 1Spatial.

ArcSketch is a free sample extension for ArcGIS that allows you to quickly create features in ArcMap using easy-to-use sketch tools. You simply select a sketch tool and an associated symbol, and then draw the feature. ArcSketch automatically manages the drawing environment, allowing you to conceptualize what to draw, as opposed to how to draw it.

1Spatial have released Radius Check Lite™, a simple health check tool for Oracle-based spatial databases. This tool is available for free from the
1Spatial website. Working on both Oracle Locator and Oracle Spatial this tool provides a simple and easy-to-use way of validating the set-up of a spatial database. It is suitable for any user from a DBA through to the GIS user, and has the added benefit of actually educating the novice user about the conditions required for a spatial database


Enspiria Solutions has signed an agreement with Pepco Holdings, Inc. (PHI) in Washington, D.C. to assist with its AMI technology and end-point installation system acquisition.

PHI has plans to implement an AMI solution as an integral component of its Blueprint for the Future, an ambitious proposal for investing in innovative technologies and initiatives that will help PHI’s electric utility customers manage their energy more effectively, reduce the total cost of energy and protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. AMI will also help PHI customers by identifying and resolving outages more quickly, improving system reliability, and facilitating programs that help customers save energy.

Descartes Systems Group, a global on-demand software-as-a-service (SaaS) logistics solutions provider, announced that it has acquired privately-held Burnsville, Minnesota-based RouteView Technologies, Inc.

RouteView provides technology solutions in a recurring revenue model to help small- and medium-sized organizations manage their delivery operations. RouteView's map-based routing software combines with wireless/GPS and automated call-out technology to help numerous customers, particularly in the home delivery and distribution industries, with a comprehensive delivery management solution.

Atheros Communications, Inc., developer of advanced wireless solutions, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets and certain liabilities of u-Nav Microelectronics, a privately held fabless semiconductor company specializing in global positioning system (GPS) chipsets and software that enable mobile location-based products and services. The acquisition of u-Nav immediately expands Atheros’ growing product portfolio in mobile wireless communications which also includes mobile wireless LAN (WLAN), Bluetooth and PHS.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, announced the addition of American Digital Cartography, Inc. (ADCi) as a Zone Partner on the NAVTEQ Network for Developers (NN4D) site. ADCi joins current NN4D Zone Partners Autodesk and DeCarta in providing NN4D members with the resources and support needed for rapid development of next generation, location-based applications.


Tele Atlas, a global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location-based solutions, named the finalists for the Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series “Attendee Choice Awards at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2008.” Based on the usability, innovative use of location information and market potential of their LBS applications, three finalists were selected to demonstrate their new location-based solutions in the Tele Atlas booth (#9841, Central Hall) at CES.

The featured finalists are:

JotYou: a location-based messaging system for mobile phones that allows users to send messages to friends at specific locations and times, set geo-reminders, and manage geo-games, road rallies, scavenger hunts and more using mapping and tracking;

SmarterAgent: a service that combines mobile location technology, such as GPS, with information about real estate, neighborhoods and interesting places around a given location; and

Socialight: a location-based social media platform that lets mobile phone users access and share local information, personal experiences and media from any source, including the community around them.

The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) has issued a Request For Quotations and Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP) to solicit proposals in response to requirements for the Empire Challenge 08 Pilot (EC08 OGC Pilot).

The EC08 OGC Pilot RFQ/CFP documents can be downloaded
here .

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC(R)) and buildingSMART alliance(TM) have issued a call for sponsors from the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner, Operator (AECOO) community for a testbed to advance progress on communications interoperability for Building Information Models (BIM) over the building and capital facility life cycle. Sponsors define interoperability requirements to advance testbed objectives including the development of use cases, technology objectives, and schedule. Sponsors contribute resources - funding, personnel, and facilities. Testbed roles are defined in OGC's and buildingSMART alliance's presentation to attendees at
the Fall 2007 AEC-ST Conference about the AECOO Testbed that is available
here .

MAPPS has announced that Jack Dangermond, President and Founder, Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), will be the keynote speaker at the association's 2008 Winter Conference in Rancho Mirage (Palm Springs), CA. The conference is January 31 through February 4, at the Westin Mission Hills Resort, with Dangermond's keynote presentation on the afternoon of Thursday, January 31 at 4:30 pm (PST).

Blue Marble Geographics announced a free
web demonstration  of Geographic Calculator v7.0 on January 31, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. EST. Space is limited, so sign up now. Blue Marble’s coordinate conversion technology 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.


Peter Croswell, former President of the Urban and Regional Information System Association (URISA) and long-time IT and GIS practitioner and consultant, has formed a new consulting practice doing business as, Croswell-Schulte Information Technology Consultants. Mr. Croswell and his associates will carry out IT assessments, design, planning and implementation support for state and local government, regional agencies, and utility organizations. Projects will focus in enterprise IT design, geographic information systems, records/document management, asset management, business process evaluation, and organizational development.

Rodney Cope has been named Director of Federal and Civilian Services for SPOT Image Corp. He will be responsible for all federal and civilian accounts in the United States. Rodney comes to SPOT Image Corp. from MJ Harden, a GeoEye company, where he served the last three years as a Senior Account Manager, covering the federal and state markets.

New Products

ATP, a manufacturer of DRAM and flash memory solutions, introduced the new GPS Photo Finder - a portable photo accessory that allows for convenient 'geotagging' of digital photos taken by any digital camera. Geotagging is a new cutting edge feature in digital photography which allows users to associate images with the locations where their pictures were taken.

CG-Survey 9 and CG-Survey 18 are now available from Carlson Software. Developed by land surveyors for land surveyors, CG software solutions are known for their precise management of the field data and coordinate files, the heart of any surveyor’s project.

Among the top new features of these newest versions of CG-Survey – either for the AutoCAD version, CG-Survey 18, or for CG-Survey 9 with AutoCAD on board – are their VISTA and AutoCAD 2008 compatibility, deed reader, point manager, all new lot labeling routines, shrinkwrap, enhanced CG symbol editor, and new polyline tools. In addition, users get the ability to create 3D face from TIN, edit coordinates in spread sheet format and create a Carlson grid file.

As the presidential election season begins, the coming year promises a series of primaries, caucuses and straw polls, culminating in a general election in November. Local and regional watchdog organizations will be monitoring and reporting on the integrity of these democratic activities. Next week, Philadelphia will inaugurate a new mayor and city council. The election that ushered them into office was monitored by the Philadelphia-based
Committee of Seventy , which turned to Avencia Incorporated , an award-winning, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and software development company to help geographically record, map, and analyze election day incidents in real-time, for the first time in the 103 years of Committee of Seventy.

Group 1 Software, Inc., a Pitney Bowes Company introduced Centrus Points and Parcels data solutions for U.S. properties. Utilizing these advanced data products, businesses in a wide range of industries including financial services, insurance, real estate, telecommunications and utilities are better able to locate properties, assess risk, determine eligibility for services and manage assets.

Around the Web

Thief Steals GPS Unit, Gets Busted When Police Hit 'Home' ButtonAOL News, December 31, 2007, Terrence O’Brien

Upcoming Events

Date: January 10 - 11, 2008
Place: ExecuTrain 2901 K St

Ste 450, Sacramento, USA
Participants will learn how to easily create thematic maps of their own data and display spatial trends in information.
Date: January 16 - 17, 2008
Place: ExecuTrain 9841 Airport Blvd,

Ste 524 , Los Angeles, USA
Participants will learn how to easily create thematic maps of their own data and display spatial trends in information.
Date: January 21 - 24, 2008
Place: QE II Conference Centre

Westminster, London, United Kingdom
DGI 2008 is Europe’s annual gathering of the defence geospatial intelligence community. Bringing together Heads of GeoINT, GIS, J2, C2, Imagery and Analysis, Reconnaissance, METOC, Operations and ISTAR, the conference provides a unique forum to discuss and debate the development of geospatial intelligence capabilities across the globe.
Date: January 23, 2008
Place: ExecuTrain 2005 De La Cruz Blvd,

Ste 200 , Santa Clara, USA
Participants will learn how to easily create thematic maps of their own data and display spatial trends in information.
Date: January 25, 2008
Place: University Business Center 5245 N Backer Ave,

PB 193 , Fresno, USA
Participants will learn how to easily create thematic maps of their own data and display spatial trends in information.
Date: January 31 - February 1, 2008
Place: ExecuTrain 210 Spear

San Francisco, USA
Participants will learn how to easily create thematic maps of their own data and display spatial trends in information.
Date: January 31 - February 4, 2008
Place: Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa

Rancho Mirage, CA USA
The Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) is the only national association of firms in the surveying, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. MAPPS member firms are engaged in surveying, photogrammetry, satellite and airborne remote sensing, aerial photography, hydrography, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS and GIS data collection and conversion services. Our associate members include firms that provide products and services to our member firms, as well as other firms world-wide.
Date: February 6 - 8, 2008
Place: Doubletree Hotel Sacramento

2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA USA
Join your colleagues for this year’s California Regional User Group Conference to explore the latest software solutions and industry trends. Network with GIS professionals, meet with ESRI staff, and gain real-world insight, strategies, and skills critical to your field.
Date: February 6 - 8, 2008
Place: India Expo Centre, Expo XXI

Noida, U.P., India
Map India, the most successful series of conferences on geospatial technologies held in India since 1998, is poised to enter a new period beginning 2008. As India strives to achieve the outlined goals of overall social and economic development in its 60th year of Independence, Map India too aims to take the development and penetration of geospatial information technologies to an unprecedented level, not just in India but in the entire South Asian region.
Date: February 7 - 8, 2008
Place: India Expo Centre

Greater Noida, India
LOCATION INDIA, a B2B platform in the field of Fleet Management, Navigation and Location Based Services, has been designed to provide an opportunity for the industry to come together on a single platform to discuss business, network and benefit from research, analysis and debate on critical market trends and issues.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.