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August 23, 2010
Starting with the Map in Accela Automation
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!

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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, New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.

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Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Starting with the Map in Accela Automation

By Susan Smith

GIS professionals may welcome this new release from Accela, Inc. which extends geodatabase editing capability into the hands of field-based professionals and frees up time in the office for data management.

This may also open the door to do better collection and management of what citizens have to offer, according to Brian Wienke, lead GIS product manager, Accela Inc. and Paul Davis, public relations director, who demonstrated their update release of Accela Automation - 7.0.5 and Accela Citizen Access at Esri this year.

The update back office web-based release extends geodatabase editing capability out to non-GIS, field-based professionals (e.g. maintenance, inspection, code enforcement teams, etc.) who are familiar with their assets. The release is also section 508-compliant which makes it accessible for disabled users. By extending geodatabase editing capability beyond traditional GIS editors, GIS professionals can focus their time on the management and maintenance – rather than collection – of the data.  According to Davis, data collection and updates will occur in tandem with the ongoing daily work of field teams and therefore can be processed by the GIS teams in a way that
is staggered and manageable.

Accela 7.0, the company's flagship enterprise application, was released in February of this year, sporting many changes within the product for geospatial mapping, data management, mobile technology and a new look and feel. No matter what module of the product, such as permitting, emergency response, asset management, there is a map shelf available with the ability for citizens to use maps via the internet.

The product update in July included Section 508-compliant features and Accela also added numerous features designed to improve navigation, empower mobile public access, as well as extend real-time editing of GIS map data to field-based workers.

Run on Silverlight, Accela 7.0 and 7.0.5 can do geocoding and save, print and search from various sources such as ArcGIS Server and Bing Maps.

In 7.0 there is the capability to start from the map where the user can create a new inspection, a new record, or if it's an asset they can create a work order against it, make a buffer selection of a bunch of parcels, and can export this to a common separated value file. From an Excel file one can create a mailing list, and then use it to let people know they are trying to rezone this parcel. From this data, letters can be mailed out to surrounding neighbors and landowners.

According to Wienke, most people who come to the planning office or land office don't know their parcel ID, but they know their address, and so with Accela 7.0.5 the transaction is started from the address, and other layers such as floodplain then be turned on. Research and analysis can be started from the map.

At that point, the user can move into the tabular view and get a list where some of these, in this case, building permits are located. The list view is now replaced by the map and map markers identify what they are with the permit number, building demolition, the address, date opened, etc. Its location can be seen on the map.

From here an action can be performed again on this map marker, and the user can create an inspection, then the program will refresh the page and take the user to inspections. There is a submission form so the user can pick up the inspections he wants to perform on the permit.

“The same kind of functionality is in our Mobile Office product,” said Wienke. “The map control will feel the exactly the same whether you're in the office, or on the internet. If out in the field, the application will look different because it's specific to a field worker -- basically it's a little bit more streamlined and has large buttons for touchscreen interface and high contrast, but it's going to be the same map control.”

Wienke added that routing happens in the back office as well as out in the field that uses the network extension from ArcGIS Server which has a good quality street centerline file.

In 7.0.5 the ability to do editing makes it possible to create shapes in GIS on the map, and create new permits, work order, service requests from that new created object either from back office or from the web. As an example, “From the browser based application, I have a customer out in Miami who is basically creating geometry and attaching that geometry to the new permit that the applicant is applying for,” said Wienke. “In Miami they're doing operational permits, sometimes a deck or dock goes into a waterway, and they want to be very specific about where the permit is being applied for.”

From the address, the user can create a new GIS object or new geometry, and can use the permit edit layer and configure it to automatically turn on and choose the specific tools, or go in and turn them on once the user is in there. The user can draw it, give it an ID and description, create geometry then hit Submit.

When the user comes to the permit intake form, it will automatically attach that shape that he created to that permit. “Some of the fields can be auto-populated from the GIS as well, so you can bring those in and populate the form. That would give you the true location of the permit,” said Wienke.

With the Mobile Office product field workers can also create new geometry out in the field, not just for permits, work orders or code enforcement, but also create new assets. This extends the GIS editing capabilities across the enterprise beyond the different GIS editors that serviced an entire agency to field workers who can take ownership of their own data.

While in the field, a field worker can create the geometry for signs, hydrants, etc. and start building the geodatabase for the assets he wants. In the map there is a GPS capture button, so while the worker is out in the field creating the new asset, he can capture the location of it and include date and submit it. It will be placed right into the new sign inventory record, and right into the Accela Mobile Office form, and it goes into the geodatabase and doesn't have to be entered again.

“This paves the way for the next generation release which will bring that same map control out to the Citizen Access product,” said Wienke. “That may scare some of our GIS editors at cities and counties, who may say 'I don't want citizens creating geometry in my geodatabase,' but if they ease into it, by collecting data they need for their individual departments, it will prepare them for the tidal wave of data coming in from the public. By doing it first with your different departments, you're really preparing the city or county GIS departments for this influx and they can manage it a bit better.”

Wienke suggests that what most customers want to receive from the public is data about abandoned vehicles, graffiti, potholes and possible dangers, and where those are located.

Davis said that some GIS departments in city and county agencies say they're not ready for the influx of volunteer data coming as their network or geodatabase isn't ready. But in many ways, GIS departments are already dealing with this data.

“In the San Francisco area there's a phone line to call the San Francisco Chronicle and Twitter feeds where people can call or write in to report infrastructure that needs to be repaired and how long it's been like that,” said Davis. “So there's a massive wave of public input already there, but not coming in ways that are connected to the back office.”

“The [departments] have to figure out how to get into their assignment roster and assign to the right department, and so the flow of data is going to be coming at these people in many cases regardless,” Davis pointed out. With this new functionality, they can start to extend the GIS editing to different departments and ease themselves into the “greater crowdsourcing capabilities of the future.”

Accela's Citizen Access product will address a shift in the way information is delivered, from people calling on the phone or showing up in the office, to using the web. In the next release of this product, users will be allowed to select assets on the map and say this streetlight is out, while it allows the agency to take that spatially selected object that has an ID and the ID can be attached to a service request, which can be attached to the work order that gets generated.

“What I suggest is they take it another step further, allow the citizens to create geometry --where are the potholes? Where's the graffiti? Let citizens have a voice and show you where these things are at,” said Davis.

At the Accela User Conference earlier this year, Accela President and CEO Maury Blackman talked about communities in which:
  • business owners can arrange licenses or permits from their jobsite, rather spending hours in lines;
  • parents can report downed stop signs with smart applications that know where they are and inform governments of which actions to take;
  • contractors can quickly respond to their customers and communicate instantly with cities to arrange inspections;
  • and government departments can instantly share and act upon information in order to maintain quality neighborhood services.

  • Top News of the Week

    DigitalGlobe announced the appointment of Jeffrey Goebel as vice president of Geospatial Value Added Products and Services and Jack Hild as vice president of U.S. Defense Strategy. Both Goebel and Hild have held prestigious careers with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and bring a strong degree of knowledge and skill to DigitalGlobe.

    NAVTEQ announced availability of the NAVTEQ Mobile Marketing Platform to U.S. TV and radio broadcasters. The easy-to-use, self-serve Mobile Marketing Platform enables broadcasters to cross-market program and advertising content to mobile phone users and to create new ways to monetize by extending advertising opportunities to the mobile channel.

    Autodesk, Inc. reported financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2011.

    Revenue was $473 million, an increase of 14 percent compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2010 and approximately flat sequentially. See
    press release

    Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

    The European Environment Agency (EEA) and Esri have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The agreement supports the design and development of ways to share and access essential geographic environmental data provided by the agency's 38 European member countries.

    EEA, which already uses Esri's geographic information system (GIS) products, will now work closely with Esri to improve the agency's cloud environment map services. European countries will share their environmental data more easily, while nations, agencies, scientists, and policy makers will be able to quickly access and consume the data for viewing and analysis.

    Telvent and Open Access Technology International, Inc. (OATI) jointly announce the strategic integration of Telvent's advanced data acquisition and distribution management smart grid solution suite with OATI's webSmartEnergy solutions for smart grid and energy markets. The combination of the companies' leading-edge solutions will enable utilities around the world to efficiently and effectively balance network optimization and energy costs while maximizing regulatory, environmental, security, and customer service performance.

    ITT Visual Information Solutions (ITT VIS), a subsidiary of ITT Corporation, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Creative Software Systems GmbH, (CreaSo). CreaSo provides software solutions for data analysis and visualization and distributes ITT's IDL, ENVI and IAS software products in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

    TerraGo Technologies achieved a 24 percent increase in total year-over-year revenue and adding $3 million in funding from investors in 2010. TerraGo also added new customers in and beyond its core U.S. government business, bolstered its government sales team, and made significant solution enhancements with new and upgraded geospatial collaboration products.

    Infotech Enterprises Limited (Infotech) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Infotech Enterprises America Inc., has acquired Wellsco Inc. (Wellsco), located in Paragould, Arkansas.

    Infotech is an acknowledged global leader in the Geospatial and Engineering Services market space and over the last 18 years has built strong network engineering, product engineering, and content engineering businesses in over 20 countries worldwide. Leveraging these skills, Infotech has established a very strong presence in various verticals, including Power Utilities and Telecoms.

    PCI Geomatics is pleased to announce that PT Barrata is now an official distributor of PCI products for customers in Indonesia.

    Located in Bandung, Indonesia, PT Barrata's staff is focused on remote sensing and GIS related business. PT Barrata will promote PCI Geomatics technologies including Geomatica and GeoImaging Tools software to customers throughout the country.


    The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) members are seeking comments on the "Earth Observation Satellite Tasking Extension for OGC Sensor Planning Service (SPS)." The SPS configuration proposed in this profile supports the programming of Earth Observation (EO) sensor systems. The candidate standard describes a single SPS configuration that can be supported by many satellite data providers who have existing facilities for managing sensor system programming requests.

    The candidate OGC Sensor Planning Service Application Profile for Earth Observation Sensors and information on submitting comments on this document are available at the
    website. The public comment period closes on September 16, 2010.

    The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announces that Dr. Robert Austin has assumed the position of President of the association. In accordance with association bylaws, Austin will complete the unfilled term of his predecessor then serve his regular term through the end of 2011.

    Dr. Austin, Manager of Enterprise Application Integration, City of Tampa, has a long history with GITA, including serving as chair of the 1991 Annual Conference in San Diego when the association was known as AM/FM International. He has previous experience as a member of the board of directors and has participated in nearly every committee within the association. Long active on the international front, Austin also was instrumental in facilitating the creation of the Australia/New Zealand affiliate in the early 1990s. More recently, Austin assisted in GITA's Geospatially Enabling Community Collaboration (GECCo) initiative and also helped organize the Central Florida Chapter of GITA.

    Azteca Systems, Inc. reports visible growth indicators including expanded corporate office space, increased staff, and a growing number of customer sites as well as continuing expansion at existing sites. Azteca credits strong and continued success to the powerful yet flexible nature of Cityworks, its industry-leading product line, the company's customer-driven approach, and the market need for automating work flow processes.

    SuperGeo Technologies develops 'Economic and Social Indicator GIS' for Academia Sinica, the most preeminent academic institution in Taiwan. It is an integrated platform with thematic maps and statistical charts on WebGIS, providing important references for researchers and policy-makers.

    The Research Center for Humanity and Social Science, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, plans to integrate economic and social indicators with a WebGIS platform, called Taiwan Economic and Social Indicator GIS.

    GeoEye, Inc. announced that it completed its offer to exchange Senior Secured Notes registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, for all of the Senior Secured Notes that were previously issued in a private placement.

    New Products

    AccuWeather.com introduces SkyGuard Online, an interactive mapping system that uses the ESRI, Inc. ArcGIS 10 Enabled technology to help businesses track how weather will impact their operations.

    Bluesky has added more than 100,000 aerial photographs to its online collection of historically important images following an agreement with Land & Property Services (Northern Ireland) to supply the entire Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland photographic archive. The newly available archive includes complete countrywide coverage from 2002 onwards together with a vast array of mainly urban areas dating back to the 1950's. With scales ranging from 1:20,000 up to 1:3,000 visitors to
    www.oldaerialphotos.com will be able to view and download images to help with boundary or property disputes, site investigation, historical research or genealogical studies.

    Masternaut has launched a feature rich web-based vehicle tracking service for the Apple iPhone and iPad. This is the first in a series of free apps for Apple products from the global telematics and mobile resource management innovator.

    Around the Web

    GISCafe Today Blog

    Benton redesigns website to ease access to property data August 18, 2010, St. Cloud Times.com

    Google Sued in Spain Over Data Collecting by Raphael Minder, August, 17, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)

    City continues 'Access Madison' program with online GIS August 17, 2010, Madison County Record

    Putting a Value on Geospatial Information in the UK August 16, 2010, Spatial Source

    Google Leads, You Pedal by Lionel Beehner, August 10, 2010, The New York Times (registration required)


    Date: August 23 - 25, 2010
    Place: Indiana Government Center South

    302 West Washington Street , Indianapolis , IN 46204-2211 USA

    The HAZUS Conference provides a unique opportunity for users of all levels in a wide variety of professions (e.g., first responders, local government decision makers, planners, GIS specialists) to share expertise and experience in the development and use of HAZUS-MH. Visit the HAZUS Website at
    www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/hazus for other available HAZUS resources.
    Date: August 26, 2010
    Place: Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

    3rd Floor - Allison Hall, 1201 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, TX TX 77380 USA

    The GeoGathering conference provides a venue for oil and gas gathering system operators to share their experiences in applying GIS technology towards data management and integrity management initiative.
    Date: August 27, 2010
    Place: Regus Business Centre, Level 5, City Central

    Tower 2, 121 King William Street, Adelaide - Murray Boardroom, Australia

    ntergraph’s Local Government Solutions allow you to merge data from separate disparate databases into a single geospatial environment for viewing, analysis and presentation via the web – no translation required.

    Time: 8:30am - 12:30pm
    Date: August 30 - September 2, 2010
    Place: Las Vegas

    NV USA

    Join Intergraph technical experts and industry peers for four exciting days of exclusive technology previews, a showcase of best practices, inspiring keynotes, and unlimited networking. Enter a world of opportunities with Intergraph solutions. Reserve your spot today!
    Date: September 1 - 3, 2010
    Place: University College

    Cork, Ireland

    In 2010 the first joint UK Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society and Irish Earth Observation Symposium conference will be held in Cork, Ireland. It will be hosted by University College Cork and the National Maritime College of Ireland from 31st August to 3rd  September 2010.
    Date: September 1 - 3, 2010
    Place: 3/38 Cordelia St, PO BOX 5740

    SOUTH BRISBANE QLD 4101, Australia

    It is with great pleasure that we invite you to participate in the Queensland Surveying and Spatial Conference (QSSC) 2010. From 1 – 3 September we will be showcasing Emerging Trends in Spatial Business and Technology and have an exciting, innovative program you are sure to enjoy!
    Date: September 5 - 7, 2010
    Place: Baska, Krk Island

    Croatia (Hrvatska)

    Although the conference covers all aspects of satellite navigation, the following special sessions

    will be organised in order to address particular causes of GNSS vulnerabilities:

    - Core and augmentation satellite navigation systems

    - Safety-critical applications

    - Space weather and ionospheric effects

    - Location-based services (LBS)

    - Intelligent transport systems (ITS)
    Date: September 6 - 9, 2010
    Place: Palau de Congressos de Barcelona (Fira de Barcelona) – M1

    Avda. Reina Maria Cristina s/n , Barcelona, Spain

    FOSS4G is heralded as the international "gathering of tribes" of open source geospatial communities, where developers and users show off their latest software and projects.

    The spatial industry is undergoing rapid innovations and the open source spatial community is one of the forces driving the change. The FOSS4G conference is more than a melting pot of great ideas it is a catalyst and opportunity to unite behind the many successful geospatial products, standards and protocols.
    Date: September 9 - 12, 2010
    Place: Serres


    The basic purpose is to offer an occasion for all of those interested in the teaching and learning of GIS in Europe (and beyond) to share ideas, best practice, and innovation. The social aspect will be important as this will be a meeting of old and new friends with a shared interest and passion.
    Date: September 9 - 10, 2010
    Place: Palm Beach County Convention Center

    West Palm Beach, FL 33401 USA
    Theme -  GIS: Ride the Wave

    Always FREE to attend

    Date: September 12 - 14, 2010
    Place: Omni Shoreham Hotel

    Washington, DC USA

    IMTA (AMERICAS) Conference & Trade Show will be highlighted in Americas' most famous and beautiful city, Washington, DC
    Date: September 12 - 16, 2010
    Place: Marriott Minneapolis City Center

    Minneapolis, MN 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 14 - 17, 2010
    Place: The Ranch

    5280 Arena Circle, Loveland, CO USA

    Announcing the call for papers for the 2010 GIS in the Rockies conference.  The conference will be held September 15-17th in Loveland, CO.  The theme of this year's conference is "Endless Opportunities for the Next Decade".  As we close out one decade and start a new one, we want to celebrate the accomplishments of the geospatial industry and look forward to new opportunities for growth in this increasingly geo-enabled world.
    Date: September 14 - 15, 2010
    Place: Crowne Plaza

    San Jose, CA USA

    Join MTV Networks, AT&T Interactive, Yahoo!, Bloomberg, Palm, Nokia, Ogilvy, Open Street Map, Gartner, Brightkite, Layar, SCVNGR, Booyah and many more key executives at North America’s biggest LBS business conference. Following on from last years incredibly successful conference (Metaplaces) this will bring you everything you need to make sure your business capitalises on the LBS boom.
    Date: September 15 - 17, 2010
    Place: Crowne Plaza Columbus North

    6500 Doubletree Avenue, Columbus, OH 43229 USA

    OGRIP is made up primarily of volunteers who share a common interest in the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and use of geographic information in Ohio. These volunteers include representatives of several state agencies, local and regional governments, utilities, universities, private organizations and other interested individuals.
    Date: September 16 - 17, 2010
    Place: Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe

    10111 Bellamy Hill, Edmonton, AB, T5J 1N7 Canada

    ESRI Canada is pleased to invite you to join other GIS professionals for this exclusive opportunity to learn about the latest advances in GIS technology and hear first hand how other in your community are using a geographic approach in their work
    Date: September 19 - 21, 2010
    Place: G-spatial EXPO exhibition hall

    PACIFICO Yokohama, Japan

    Visitors will enjoy the feeling of becoming part of G-spatial society. There will be a video presentation describing the G-spatial society concepts. Here the exhibition zones ““Measuring Land and Water”, “Making Life Comfortable”, “Securing Our Lives”, “Linking to the Future” are introduced. There are many areas in the hall to experience G-spatial information.
    Date: September 20 - 23, 2010
    Place: Summit hotel

    Gaeta, Italy

    It is our great pleasure to invite you to the Xth Anniversary International Scientific and Technical Conference «From imagery to map: digital photogrammetric technologies». Over the past years the conference has become noticeable event at the world GIS market and has obtained the recognition worldwide. The latest news in digital airborne and space cameras, remote sensing data, innovations in software development, and practical methods for using digital photogrammetry and remote sensing for different economic activities and integrated geoinformatic solutions will be on tap at September's Conference.
    Date: September 20 - 23, 2010
    Place: Centre de Congrès Pierre Baudis

    Toulouse, France

    Attend SPIE Remote Sensing, the largest European meeting focused on cutting-edge remote sensing research. Participate and further your work by getting immediate access to the latest results.
    Date: September 21 - 23, 2010
    Place: Duxton Hotel Perth

    WA USA

    GIS in Mining and Exploration 2010 covers strategies for the effective use of GIS for the improved efficiency and efficacy of your operations. Case studies and technical experts from across the sector will allow for an interactive improvement opportunity where you can hear from the best in the business on how to implement and utilise GIS in innovative, cost-effective ways.
    Date: September 21, 2010
    Place: USA
    Display your gINT subsurface data in 3D with MicroStation visualization tools. In this presentation, you will learn how to create meshes for representing the top of soil layers; create fly-through subsurface layers; cut sections; turn meshes into solids for 3D visualization of strata; and calculate stratum volumes for soil excavation and replacement, plum modeling, and much more.

    Date: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Time: 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EDT

    Cost: FREE

    Date: September 22, 2010
    Place: Knight Conference Center

    Newseum, Pennsylvania Ave. and 6th Street N.W , WA USA

    Location Intelligence for Geospatial Cloud Computing Executive Symposium.

    On the horizon for geospatial technology is the potential for hosting applications using a cloud computing solution. We introduced this topic at Location Intelligence 2009 and it was by far a topic that needed additional discussion.
    Date: September 22, 2010
    Place: Newseum’s Knight Conference Center

    Washington, DC USA

    Topics will address Software as a Service (SaaS), virtualization, Platform as a Service (PaaS), OGC web standards, business models, geospatial data delivery and other topics.
    Date: September 23 - 24, 2010
    Place: Hotel Arts

    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

    The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) is bringing geospatial solutions to Canada. The GIS for Oil & Gas Calgary Conference will build on the momentum from GITA’s 2008 and 2009 GIS for Oil & Gas Calgary Conference. Canada and the U.S. have significant differences in rules and regulations. Now, there is a place to get real solutions to Canada’s biggest oil and gas challenges.
    Date: September 23 - 24, 2010
    Place: Ocean Center

    Daytona Beach, FL USA

    In keeping with the changing economic and environmental concerns, the 2010 Workshop Program intends to focus this year on  Multi-tiered Government Collaboration, the Environment and Public Safety. We are adding a new tract - GIS in Education - in view of the Workshop's goal to reach out to local schools as part of the GeoMentor Program.

    The Call for Papers opens April 1st, and we look forward to hearing from you on not only the focus areas, but also on all aspects of GIS in your organization.

    You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.