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August 04, 2008
Data Transformation Comes to Cloud Computing
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! This week GISWeekly staff will be attending ESRI UC in San Diego. Look for some highlights of that conference in our Top News of the Week. I hope to see many of you there.

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, Financials, People, New Products, Around the Web 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

Data Transformation Comes to Cloud Computing

By Susan Smith

Cloud computing enables organizations to take advantage of and provide internet services without having to own infrastructure themselves. This capability alone opens up all kinds of possibilities – and is why Safe Software entered into a partnership with WeoGeo, a one-stop marketplace for the mapping industry as well as a recognized provider of cloud computing expertise, to bring the powerful data transformation capabilities of FME technology to the cloud. This combined offering will make it easier to bring spatial ETL to a broader audience of users.

The focus of this partnership is two pronged: first, it will strengthen WeoGeo's data download web site by introducing the data transformation power of Safe’s recently released FME Server on
www.WeoGeo.com. WeoGeo supplies surveyors, engineers, cartographers, and scientists with the ability to store, search, and exchange global mapping and geo-content.

Secondly, organizations will have the option to deploy FME Server via WeoGeo's cloud computing expertise using the resources of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Organizations will be able to use FME's data integration and distribution capabilities on the cloud for sharing spatial data with online data consumers on an infrastructure that automatically sizes to match current demand. The data is made available in a structure and format that is immediately usable to consumers.

Around the same time of this announcement, Microsoft announced the beta of its cloud computing option called Live Mesh. According to Don Murray, president of Safe Software, WeoGeo’s expertise includes understanding of a variety of cloud platforms and developing the expertise to deploy on the cloud. “Part of the big benefit for us with this announcement is that WeoGeo is working with us to figure out how to put the FME Server on other cloud platforms besides Amazon. Our clients who want to take advantage of deploying this technology will be able to have a different set of options as far which cloud infrastructure to use.”

The partnership represents a significant development for those who wish to use Spatial ETL. “Let’s say you’re in a business, and at 3 p.m. every day you have to be able to support ten thousand users because maybe there’s an event that’s happening on a regular basis maybe once a month with a peak activity,” suggested Murray. “Whereas if you have your own infrastructure, you would have to have all your own hardware and your own bandwidth to handle that peak, but of course in off time you still have all that infrastructure, machines and bandwidth not being used which you’re still paying for. By using Amazon Cloud services and other
ones, you’re able to effectively pay for what you use. If you have a peak period where you need more machines, then automatically new computing resources are spun up just as part of the service that Amazon gives you, so you pay for that. But the rest of the time when you have less bandwidth requirements and less processing, you basically don’t have that hardware just sitting there. You only pay for the actual CPU, bandwidth and disk storage you use.”

“It’s very interesting technology for us,” Murray noted. “For some clients it really levels the playing field. If you want to put a servce out there and you’re not too sure how well it will do so you aren’t sure how much hardware to buy. If your service becomes wildly successful, then you’ll be getting revenue from your clients, but if it doesn’t then (with the cloud) you’re not going out on a limb.”

What’s more, this partnership is the first of its kind in terms of bringing spatial ETL capabilities to the cloud. FME technology will serve as the basis for WeoGeo’s data distribution offerings in their marketplace, making it possible for users to restructure their spatial data into the required format and data model they need to be able to share it out to those who need it.

What this means is that organizations will be able to use FME Desktop “to author spatial data flows that convert and integrate spatial data.” They can then publish them to FME Server on the cloud, which will manage the transformation process and make any resulting datasets available to consumers as they need it. “We think it will be more cost effective for organizations as well, because the nice thing about cloud computing is it’s a Web service and consumers don’t have to manage it in-house,” said Murray.

“People can use FME on the desktop to author data and so they would need it to be able to access the FME Server on the cloud,” said Murray. “The plan is to have a no charge FME that people can download that will enable them to author and test stuff before they push it to the cloud. They wouldn’t actually be able to do the final running on their desktop with this version; that’s targeted specifically at the cloud.”

Another issue is that cloud computing addresses is the amount of real estate that servers take up in an organization. Plus, generally costs will go down as staff won’t be needed to keep the machines running, and the costs of running the machines won’t be there.

There are a couple of important points to this announcement:

1) WeoGeo has its own data distribution site right now, www.weogeo.com, which has some minor transformation capabilities. “The first thing that will happen is that it will be moved to our FME Server technology and as part of that the client who wants to author their own transformation, will be able to download from that site on FME Desktop. That will be a special version of our full one where you can run a whole bunch of transformations locally. But it will be set up to the mode where you will be able to develop and run locally so that you can ensure when you push it to the cloud it will work at no charge. Then you’ll be able to publsih these spatial ETL scripts to the
WeoGeo site and then run them there, as part of the cloud, as part of the WeoGeo website service. The plan is to have that by Q1 of next year.”

The current plan is that it would be a free download. This will make it easy for people to author their own transformations with the goal of pushing them to the cloud. “Then some users will decide they need FME on their desktop as well to run periodic jobs. For that scneario they would need to buy FME to run on the desktop.”

2) WeoGeo will work with Safe’s clients to deploy FME technology in the cloud.

From Safe’s standpoint, the company would like to focus just on the spatial ETL aspect as they have a lot going on with all the different platforms and web servers. By WeoGeo taking on this aspect of deploying their technology in the cloud, it benefits both companies.

Top News of the Week

Topics to be covered at this year’s ESRI User Conference may include GIS and the GeoWeb, and the rise of volunteered geographic information or “neo-geography.” Because the GeoWeb allows access to GIS for everyone and consequently the sharing the GIS data over a broader user base, more geospatial information will be available to more people to use for mashups, search and discovery. Jack Dangermond said that the next five years of web based mapping will be “revolutionary” as people transition from simple mapping and geospatial services to full geoservices on the Web (or GeoWeb).
ArcNews Summer 08

Along the same lines, look for director of Software Products Clint Brown’s Technology Keynote entitled “Framework for Implementing GIS on the Web.”

click to enlarge [
The Map Gallery's special displays are always a special treat, taking place right after the Monday plenary sessions. According to the press materials, this year, the
2008 ESRI UC special displays will demonstrate, in museum style, how geographic information systems (GIS) are essential to the work of astronauts, botanists, conservationists, and professionals in many other intriguing fields. The Map Gallery will be open Monday, August 4, through Thursday, August 7, and will display the following exhibits:

The American Public Gardens Association and National Medal of Science winner Peter Raven will share the beauty and value of the world's plants and the special role that botanical gardens fill in their communities, he lping people develop a sense of place and connect deeply to the natural world. GIS specialists from zoos and botanical gardens will explain how you can help your local garden or zoo by sharing your own expertise with the new Alliance for Public Gardens GIS.

The Nature Conservancy displays will explore how information and experience can be integrated with GIS to advance sustainable development and conservation within an industry or agency. See how GIS is an integral component to the work of this leading conservation organization as its members work to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

The National Academy of Sciences exhibit will feature studies on climate change, energy, the environment, agriculture, disaster preparedness, and national security based on studies by the nation's top experts.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) special display will explain GIS activities in JPL, the leading U.S. center for robotic exploration of our solar system. Delve into the fascinating work of NASA's GIS experts who build space-based datasets that are now freely available to the public.

The Department of Homeland Security will present a mixed-media display of its Integrated Common Analytical Viewer, a geospatial-intelligence analytic tool used to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made disasters.

The QuickBird satellite Where in the World? exhibit will challenge conference goers to decipher which city or place is depicted in 12 different satellite images.


This week Microsoft Corp. and ESRI announced that ESRI ArcGIS users will enjoy access to the robust mapping and imagery content provided by the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform inside ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server. Virtual Earth will be seamlessly integrated into ArcGIS 9.3 Desktop, so that ArcGIS users can add base maps, which feature rich aerial and hybrid views, to perform data creation, editing, analysis, authoring, and map publishing with one-click access.

Vericom Technologies, a provider of Mobile Resource Management (MRM) solutions, announced that it has partnered with deCarta, the award-winning and leading provider of advanced and comprehensive geospatial software platforms, to increase its mapping capabilities. Vericom's new advanced mapping capabilities will be launched to all customers later this summer in the company's new MRM solution offering, VeriVision MRM.

Rolta TUSC Inc., a wholly own subsidiary of Rolta -- one of India's leading IT companies -- announced the signing of an agreement to acquire WhittmanHart Consulting, the consulting Division of WhittmanHart Inc., a premier Chicago based company providing value driven solutions in digital communications, process improvement, and enabling technologies, for over 20 years. WhittmanHart Consulting (WHC) is a management and technology consulting services firm that delivers solutions with a unique blend of industry relevance, business process innovation and technology expertise. The company is recognized today as an industry leading provider of consulting services in the
Business Intelligence (BI) arena, particularly focused on the Hyperion software technology acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2007. WhittmanHart, Inc. will retain and continue to operate WhittmanHart Interactive, its leading interactive agency, in a standalone capacity.

In partnership with Maponics, a leading provider of GIS map data, AWhere, Inc has added a ZIP Code map data layer to its geo-analytic software for businesses. Now AWhere Express and Professional users have a cost effective way to map and view their business data by ZIP Code, without having to purchase an expensive geographic information system (GIS system).


ESRI will offer a complimentary Web seminar this month on how to use the new ArcGIS JavaScript APIs to build high-performance, easy-to-use online mapping applications.

The live training seminar Building Mashups Using the ArcGIS JavaScript APIs will air on
ESRI's Education and Training Website on July 31, 2008, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. (Pacific daylight time).

NITF for ArcGIS seamlessly integrates with
ArcGIS Desktop 9.3, ESRI's latest software release, to provide users with a proven solution for accessing and creating NITF data, a common data format used by federal, defense, and intelligence agencies. The new extension permits geospatial imagery analysts to read and write NITF data within the ArcGIS environment.

ESRI will offer a complimentary Web seminar this month on how to use the new ArcGIS JavaScript APIs to build high-performance, easy-to-use online mapping applications. The live training seminar Building Mashups Using the ArcGIS JavaScript APIs will air on ESRI's Training and Education Web site at
ESRI's Education and Training Website on July 31, 2008, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. (Pacific daylight time).

Pictometry International Corp., a provider of georeferenced aerial image libraries whose proprietary technology is used globally to capture oblique image libraries, announced that it is offering a new scholarship opportunity to a Rochester, NY-area college student studying in the field of geographic information systems and related subject areas. In memory of Dr. Robert W. Loss, Jr., a Pictometry Board member and a strong advocate of lifelong education, Pictometry will be providing one prepaid registration for its Pictometry FutureView 2008 User Conference taking place in San Antonio, TX from October 27 – 29, 2008. Airfare, accommodations and meals will be
provided to the selected recipient.


Trimble announced revenue of $377.8 million for its second quarter of 2008 ended June 27, 2008. Revenue was up approximately 15 percent from revenue of $327.7 million in the second quarter of 2007. See
press release


DigitalGlobe, a provider of high resolution satellite world imagery products and services, announced the appointment of Judith McHale and Warren Jensen to the DigitalGlobe board of directors, effective immediately.

New Products

ESRI's newest version of BusinessMAP Financial now includes up-to-date map and financial services data and has been enhanced to work with Microsoft's most current operating system, Windows Vista. This latest version of the software continues to bring easy-to-use database mapping software and datasets to financial services analysts, planners, and managers who want to visualize and analyze customers, branch locations, and competitor data.

Launching a geographic information system (GIS) involves more than investing in GIS software and a bank of computers. Organizations must first design the system infrastructure, a process succinctly spelled out in
Building a GIS: System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, new from ESRI Press.

A new ESRI Press book, GIS Tutorial for Homeland Security, teaches homeland security professionals about cutting-edge GIS technology with easy-to-follow lessons.

IceWEB, Inc announced that the company has begun shipping the new ESRI ArcGIS 9.3 data storage appliance. The new Appliance will ship with the upgraded proprietary InLINE 2.0 DSP Tools, which provides High-speed data ingestion and easier configuration management.

Davenport Group, an ESRI partner focused on IT integration, and ESRI announce the launch of a system architecture assessment to help GIS users determine their organization’s IT needs for effective enterprise GIS deployment. The no fee, no obligation assessment helps GIS users and IT departments ensure a smooth rollout of ESRI’s ArcGIS software by identifying any network, storage or data backup challenges in their current IT infrastructures. Davenport Group representatives will be located at Booth 215 during the ESRI International User Conference to provide information about the assessment and answer questions.

Infoterra Ltd, a leader in the provision of geographic information products and services, has announced the availability of satellite mapping identifying oil slick data for petroleum exploration rounds, offshore India and Bangladesh.

Infoterra has screened over 3 million km2 of offshore India, including the NELP VII offshore exploration blocks, and all 28 blocks - 8 shallow water blocks and 20 deep sea blocks – in the offshore Bangladesh licensing round. Within all of this data over 1,000 oil slicks have been located, with several areas showing high confidence repeatability.

GeoLytics’ StreetDVD 2007 provides quick and easy downloads of the latest 2007 TIGER/Line Shapefiles. This 6 DVD product includes the economic census boundaries and updated voting districts. You get all of the latest Census Bureau updates and geographic layers in this very easy to use data set.

With Street DVD 2007, you’ll quickly export any layers from the 2007 TIGER/Line Shape files for seamless importing of geographic data into Argos and MapInfo. Celtics' software interface lets users choose and export boundaries and layers in seconds. You can also view and map the layers with the product’s built-in map viewer.

Micrometry International Corp., a provider of dereference aerial image libraries whose proprietary technology is used globally to capture oblique image libraries, announces the launch of Micrometry Calculus. This new Micrometry suite of products combines Micrometry’s proprietary oblique image capture process with its extensive photogrammetric experience and state-of-the-art Optec Gemini Liar system. Combined, these features form Calculus which was designed to give customer three distinct, high accuracy data sets (oblique and ortho-mosaic imagery as well as LiDAR).

1Spatial is pleased to announce the recent launch of a new Environmental Reporting system for Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi), which has been developed in part by 1Spatial. This new facility forms part of the new corporate website for OSi, launched by Seán Power, Minister for State at the Department for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The new site also incorporates other ECommerce functionality for OSi.

Intermap Technologies and FS Dreamscapes announced the release of the first products in the NEXTMap ProMesh series for California, Hawaii, Mississippi, Florida, and the United Kingdom.

NEXTMap ProMesh features terrain mesh and photoscenery downloads optimized for Microsoft Flight Simulator X, and is based on terrain data collected as part of Intermap’s country-wide NEXTMap 3D digital mapping program.

TDC Group, Inc. announces release of its Freeance Mobile 2.0 for ArcGIS Server 9.3 software in September 2008. Freeance Mobile 2.0 allows organizations map features to ArcSDE records using a PostgreSQL database and GPS enabled BlackBerry smartphones. Freeance Mobile 2.0 incorporates ESRI’s ArcGIS Server 9.3 Postgres database integration. BlackBerry smartphone users can now access ArcGIS Server 9.3 map services to field map point features to ArcSDE records in a Postgres database using GPS enabled BlackBerry smartphones.

Freeance Mobile displays ArcGIS Server maps and enterprise database records on Blackberry Smartphones.

Pitney Bowes MapInfo, the global provider of location intelligence solutions, announces the official release of its unique new routing capabilities. The new capabilities deliver unparalleled benefits by converting the OS MasterMap Integrated Transport Network (ITN) layer to server-based and desktop routing solutions.

Around the Web

China Information Security Technology, Inc. Wins $4.6 Million in Contracts for Aerophotogrammetrical Surveys and Digital Mapping, Quamnet, July 29, 2008


Date: August 4 - 8, 2008
Place: San Diego Convention Center

San Diego, CA USA
Join us at the 2008 ESRI UC, where GIS users from industries worldwide come to discover solutions, share information, and learn best practices, tips, and tricks. Whatever your industry, position, or GIS experience, you will come away with ideas, insight, and inspiration to launch or grow your GIS projects. The ESRI UC brings together more than 14,000 professionals who work with or are interested in GIS solutions for their organizations or communities. Come see how ESRI technologies
can help you meet your goals. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

Date: August 12 - 15, 2008
Place: Asilomar Conference Grounds

Monterey, CA USA
Be part of a community focused on conserving natural resources and cultural heritage with GIS. Join ESRI at the Society for Conservation GIS Annual Conference, where GIS users will gather to e style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana; mso-fareast-font-family: 'MS Mincho'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: JA; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;">xplore how geospatial technology is addressing contemporary issues facing conservation efforts at all levels. Discover solutions and share your ideas during this active, enriching forum that focuses on our changing world.

Sanborn LIDAR seminar series
Date: August 14, 2008
Place: Albany Marriot Airport

189 Wolf Road, Albany, NY 12205 USA
Please be our guest! Sanborn would like to invite you to our first annual LiDAR Seminar Series–featuring a brief introduction into the basics of LiDAR, it's latest technological developments, and a comprehensive overview on application trends. We will also be hosting a live software demo for customizable 3D and cross section viewing.

We are very excited and are confident your attendance will bring you nothing less than a valuable, informative experience. There is no charge to attend this event and a continental breakfast will be included. I would like to announce the location and time for the last two seminar events.

The seminar in Albany NY will take place on August the 14th from 8-11 AM

Date: August 19 - 22, 2008
Place: Las Vegas, NV USA
Start making plans now to join us next August at the exciting Venetian Hotel Resort Casino in Las Vegas. Join hundreds of Accela users and staff, government leaders, and special guests for an educational and fun-filled opportunity to connect with the people, products, and trends at the forefront of the government technology industry.

Date: August 19 - 21, 2008
Place: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC)

Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia
The Asia and Pacific region is the largest developing region in the world in landmass, population and aggregate income. Its 48 countries have nearly three fifth of the worlds total population. Each country in the region abounds in rich natural capital and has comprehended the true potential of Geospatial information in leveraging this capital to its utmost economic viability.

Date: August 25 - 29, 2008
Place: Ritz Carlton,

Seven Mile Beach,, Grand Cayman, USA
URISA is now accepting abstract submissions for its 2008 Caribbean GIS Conference. Share your expertise, gain visibility, and enhance your professional growth. You are invited to share your knowledge with others who strive to improve our world through the use of information technology.

Date: August 25 - 26, 2008
Place: Room No 211, Van Der Sterr Building

Rhodes Avenue, Mowbray 7705 Private Bag x10, Cape Town, South Africa
Map Africa 2008 is the 3rd Annual African Conference & Exhibition on Geospatial Information, Technology & Applications. The conference promises to provide a platform to all stakeholders - Researchers, Users, Technology Developers, and Policy Makers to discuss, deliberate, exchange knowledge, experiences and collaborate for benefit of all in the Geospatial domain. The conference aims to strengthen the African Community in the adaption and usage of geospatial technologies for planning and development activities.


You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.