[ Back ]   [ More News ]   [ Home ]
November 15, 2010
Killer Apps with Visual Fusion 5.0
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,  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

Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

Killer Apps with Visual Fusion 5.0

By Susan Smith

The world of Business Intelligence software can go one step further with IDV Solutions’ new release, Visual Fusion 5.0, (VF 5) business intelligence software that unites data sources in a web-based, visual context to allow users and developers to create applications with interactive data visualization. Visual Fusion makes it possible to get business data into online maps easily and can be used anywhere -- from marketing to crisis response.  One of the great things about VF 5 is its integration with Microsoft SharePoint.

In an interview with Scott Caulk, product director of IDV Solutions, he spoke about the role of the latest release of Visual Fusion.

Scott: IDV Solutions has been around since January 2004, and from the beginning the company focused on interactive data visualization. We started off focusing on maps and essentially getting business data into online maps, and doing it in such a way that was easy to user, as opposed to the GIS technician or IT person, our success has been in giving them something that was enjoyable to use – that’s essentially what Visual Fusion is.

GW: How would you describe Visual Fusion today?

Scott: Right now we’re describing Visual Fusion as business intelligence software that’s used to build out the Microsoft stack. Our customers use it for a unique killer app so that could be around marketing, security, many different uses, especially when combined with the Microsoft stack. What Microsoft SharePoint and Visual Fusion have in common is that you can unite content coming from almost any data source, whether that’s internal or external to the organization and you can bring it together in a very visual interactive context. The context of location is powerful and with Visual Fusion in that interface for the end user, it’s not just a map anymore,
it has a timeline. With VF 5 it’s got analytics charts and maps so the end user can do what they want. In order to help them interact with that data to answer a question they may have or arrive upon insight that’s valuable to them, they indicate that they have that full context application time, and analytics, or one of those or a portion of those.


GW: What is in the new release?

Scott: What’s new in VF 5 is the analytics portion that is all out of the box, so where it used to be it would take a couple of days or weeks to get your charts and maps integrated with your map view and time line view, now it takes five minutes.  We have stuff right out of the box that you can use to get a view on the data. So the analytics portion is huge for VF 5. Also we have data offerings out of the box, so now from the interface, whatever your application is, you can add new content or edit existing content right back to whatever data source you have internally. If you’re inside SharePoint, all happens right out of the box, you don’t need to do
anything as long as you have permission it will work. If you are using SQL, Oracle or ArcSDE then you just have to set up according to the server you’re using. With SharePoint you don’t have to do anything, it just happens automatically because of the integration with SharePoint. And the third new feature for this release is the SharePoint 2010 integration – some of the new functionality they have in that we’ve adopted in our product.

Analytics, authorship and SharePoint 2010 are the biggest features of this release.


GW: How would a user use VF 5 to create apps?

Scott: For example, you have stores across the U.S., and you want to see the performance of each store. When you first look at the information on the map it is color coded, and tells you how a store is doing. I get a tool tip and can look at it in more detail. We have our data sources on the right hand side of the screen. In the last version we added filters. It’s easy for the end user to set up a filter out of the box that allows you to move to a different time period and see that information update on the map.

The two things we’re trying to do with VF 5 is give more power to the business user, so they get more out of data, and secondly, make it easy to build great apps quickly. If you are a developer you can build apps much quicker than with other products. Instead of weeks and months, it can take hours and days.

Quick queries and finds allow you to filter your data as you need to. There are authoring draw tools that are integrated with the product, that create, read, update and delete capability for internal data stores. The end user can do that without having to go to a separate interface.

You can switch from one year to another and the software automatically updates. Once you have your data source identified, you can tie a time filter to a particular data attribute because the XML code is ready to go, and all the developer or end user has to do is go into XML and specify which data attribute they want to tie it to. Another type of attribute is the slider bar. You can trim the data down on the map to only the territories that have the performance for against the 10 year average or whatever the scenario is.

GW: How does the SharePoint data enhance capabilities for VF 5?

Scott: Visual Fusion 5.0 geospatially-enables SharePoint 2010 functionality--like Lists, Search, and Alerting--and takes advantage of SharePoint’s broad infrastructure for content management, security, and rapid application development. New Visual Fusion applications can be built in minutes within SharePoint. Also, users can create and store drawings of points, lines, and territories inside SharePoint, which eliminates the need for investment in spatial databases.

If you’re within your SharePoint environment, all of the data is in your SharePoint field, where you can concatenate different fields you want to see. You can type in some text, pick which column you want to show that has the data in it, or you can reference a link to more content.

We’ve added the notion of content, so the filters, the legend and the interactivity has been there. Content gives you all the points that are on the map with a timeline involved. Whatever information in the map and in the timeline will also be over in the feed control.

You can stack your tools on each other, and sort them based on underlying data attributes. You can use an input box to trim results down to what interests you most.  For example, with Borders stores, as you type in it starts to trend down your list, so this allows you to go in and get different groupings of the data and look at them that way.

There may be sales reps associated with these stores so you can set these up to go against any of your data attributes, and that way you can quickly subdivide by information. You can also use some out of the box charts, which respond to activity on the map, activity in the timeline, activity in filters.

Scatterplot is one type of chart, another one is Bar Graph, and another one is Frequency Graph. You can look at the minimum value of revenue to the maximum value of revenue and chunk it up into equal buckets. In terms of the number value, and it’s going to throw each of the stores into whatever number value they belong in.

Letting the end user manipulate data is one aspect, empowering the developer to set this up in five minutes another aspect.

The same charts and graphs are available for all data sources. We also have a spatial query also out of box, which will function as a filter. If you swap out an area on the map and that immediately updates on the map. It’s easy to update, and see those updates in the graph as well. There are other options like a free form query or a default query. Another query we’ve added this time is Quick Query, which allows you to take any polygon on the map and turn it into a query, so if I want to see Texas, at the bottom I have a take action area with different things I can do with this data item, let me edit this area, send email to all contact points. This is set up out of the box,
and all polygons will have this. I can click on query and then it does exactly what you want – filters down by chart and list and only within the items that are in Texas.

The end user can filter their data based on polygons that already exist. For the developer turning a polygon into a query happens automatically. The default query in tools menu also happens out of the box, so the developer doesn’t have to do anything. They can “slice and dice” the data any way they want.

GW: What other features do you envision for VF?

Scott: Side by side bar graphs, so you can interact with each individual county.

Editor’s Note: After this interview IDV Solutions announced
Retail Analyzer, a retail performance demonstration built on
Visual Fusion 5.0 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010.

Retail Analyzer demonstrates how Visual Fusion empowers the business user to visualize and interact with data such as retail sales, profit, and other performance indicators in the full context of location, time, and analytics. According to press information, Microsoft’s
Bing Maps serves as the canvas for visualizing all the retail information in the informative context of location.

The demonstration highlights some of the features of VF 5 talked about in the interview.

Top News of the Week

CompassData, Inc. announced at the 2010 GEOINT Symposium, November 1 - 4, the RS Suite of Remotely Sensed Ground Control Points (RSGCP) that will allow for the collection of ground control points in areas of the world that were previously difficult, if not impossible, to map due to access or geopolitical influences. The RS Suite empowered by TerraSAR-X technology from Infoterra GmbH, makes mapping points in these sometimes dangerous and unreachable locations possible; and allows for two categories of accuracy: Precision RS-1 (up to one meter accuracy) and Precision RS-2 (up to three meters accuracy).

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) announces the formation of a GeoSynchronization Service Standards Working Group (SWG).

Frequently, geospatial content providers must collaborate with outside entities to collect new data and/or update their existing data holdings. This may be the case, for example, when municipal, state/provincial and/or federal agencies synchronize their data with closest-to-source providers. Another case is when content providers are crowd-sourcing (see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdsourcing) their data production or supporting volunteer geographic information (VGI).

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently signed an enterprise license agreement (ELA) with Esri, making ArcGIS software tools available for unlimited use by authorized NASA employees and contractors. The agreement reflects NASA’s extensive and growing use of Esri’s ArcGIS software to bring geospatial intelligence to a wide variety of mission-critical efforts, from streamlining operations to enabling research and exploration.


OpenGeo announced  at GEOINT 2010 that it has received a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract from the General Services Administration (GSA). The new contract, number GS-35F-0034X listed on the GSA Information Technology Schedule 70, makes the OpenGeo Suite and related support services available to US government purchasers at discounted prices.  This would be the first time a complete, supported open source geospatial software solution has been listed on the GSA.   

Esri president Jack Dangermond received the Arthur C. Lundahl Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) last week in New Orleans, Louisiana at GEOINT.


CoreLogic announced a net loss of $93.4 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2010 compared with net income of $24.4 million in the second quarter of 2010 and net income of $55.4 million in the third quarter of 2009.  Diluted earnings per share was a loss of $0.80, compared with income of $0.22 in the second quarter of 2010 and income of $0.59 in the third quarter of 2009.

GeoEye, Inc. announced  strong revenue results for its fiscal third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010.
press release

China Information Technology, Inc. announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2010.
press release

New Products

Hie Electronics introduces the TeraStack Solution to the geospatial intelligence community. “The intelligence community can benefit greatly from the TeraStack Solution to manage and store critical long-term data,” says MGen Mike Lynch (USAF Ret), Hie Electronics Vice President of Government Sales and Business Development.

Mapping Solutions, LLC is proud to announce its newest product, MapperD, a low cost demographic report generator for MapInfo Professional 9.5 or newer.  Reports are sold on a per report basis.  You only pay for reports you actually need and generate, and not for data you may never use.

BAE Systems recently migrated a server-based mission application into a virtualized data-center environment to increase reliability and reduce operating costs, completing the first task order under the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) Total Application Services for Enterprise Requirements (TASER) contract.

Trimble introduced  the next generation of the Trimble Nomad outdoor rugged handheld computers. The Nomad 900 series adds a 5MP auto-focus camera with flash, enhanced GPS performance, and new Wi-Fi capabilities. These new features, along with the its rugged construction and computing power, make the Trimble Nomad 900 series ideal for mobile workers in forestry, public safety, surveying, construction, mapping, field service, utilities, and other outdoor or service-related fields.

Trimble  introduced  its Trimble MX100G GNSS+XPS Receiver, an integral part of the Trimble Terralite XPS System, which enables open pit mines to maximize operational efficiency by increasing positioning coverage in areas where satellite visibility is limited due to terrain. This unique receiver tracks GPS and now GLONASS constellations as well as Trimble's Terralite "ground satellites" for machine control and guidance applications used in mining operations that require high accuracy positioning with maximum availability.

Trimble introduced  the new Trimble Municipal Reporter system, a complete hosted solution for managing issues found throughout a municipality, including potholes, broken streetlights, graffiti, pest infestation and illegal dumping.

SuperGeo Technologies developed a WebGIS system that allows users to view the population structure at a specific time in a specific area. The platform assists scholars in population comparison between different areas or different times via the Internet.

ADC WorldMap announced the release of ADC WorldMap Digital Atlas version 6.0. This major release features the addition of level two administrative boundaries for many countries along with up to date country and level one political boundaries for the entire world. The new product also includes worldwide demographic data and statistical information for economy, communications and military; updated airports with runway polygons; and improved cities, roads and coastlines.

OnTerra Systems introduced Route Savvy Beta -- a new route optimization tool for small business fleets, business professionals who drive to multiple destinations for their work, and individuals organizing errands, carpools, and other multi-destination trips. RouteSavvy is based on Bing maps Web mapping technology. The Beta version of RouteSavvy is free, and available immediately on Bing.com at the following link:

Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) introduces its new generation of robotic total stations, the QS Series (Quick Station). The QS Series – featuring the X-TRAC 8 prism tracking technology – is designed to “provide unprecedented power and speed to dramatically enhance productivity and save time and money on every job,” said Denny Welch, senior vice president of the TPS survey business unit.

Around the Web 

GISCafe Today Blog

Google Claims U.S. Excluded It From Contract The New York Times November 2, 2010

Do Believe the Hype OpEd by Thomas Friedman, November 2, 2010, The New York Times

Gujarat govt launches investor facilitation and support tools   November 08, 2010, IndiaInfoLine

Brilliant use of GIS to show impacts of discrimination, disinvestment & sprawl October 27, 2010, NRDC Switchboard

JCJC forestry students get technology lesson October 28, 2010, Hattiesburg American.com

Apple's real estate, data center plans grow October 27, 2010, MacWorld

ISRO’s help sought for preparing environmental database October 27, 2010, ThaiIndianNews

Caxton launches independent research unit Biz Community.com, October 27, 2010

News.Lake County GIS Department seeks help to fund aerial photography, October 21, 2010 The News-Herald



Date: November 15 - 19, 2010
Place: Doubletree Hotel

Orlando, FL USA

A special Symposium of AutoCarto 2010 and the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) Technical Commission IV, "Geodatabases and Digital Mapping". Sponsored by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) and the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS), this Symposium will include special participation from ISPRS, the International Cartographic Association (ICA), and the International Geographical Union (IGU).
Date: November 16 - 17, 2010
Place: Davidson Center for Space Exploration

Huntsville, AL USA

The Rocket City Geospatial Conference presents a wide range of key topics of local and regional interest from the Southeaster United States. Now in its fourth year, the conference draws approximately 200 geospatial professionals from state and local governments and supporting solution providers.
Date: November 17 - 18, 2010
Place: Delta St. John's

120 New Gower Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 6K4 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: November 17, 2010
Place: USA

Free webinar to learn more about the value of presenting your content or service at the hyper-local neighborhood level.  We’ll discuss how to make the business case for adding new hyper-local search and display options to your web site or mobile app.  We’ll illuminate the conversation with real use cases and show neighborhood boundaries in action within cool map displays.  Register today!

Time: 1:00pm to 2:00pm ET
Date: November 17 - 18, 2010
Place: The University of Houston, Central Campus, 2nd Floor,

Calhoun, Houston, TX TX 77004 USA

Come see “real-time” applications of Geographic Information Systems  (GIS) as used in the greater Houston Region.  See over 25 exhibitor booths representing the fields of  health, planning and development, engineering, transportation, law enforcement, area government, private industry, education and more.  Keynote speaker Drew Stephens, Executive Director of the GIS Institute, will speak on the role of GIS in the emergency management of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.  Speaker presentations and a map gallery are available as well, all for free admittance.
Date: November 23 - 25, 2010
Place: The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC

Cape Town, South Africa

Map Africa conferences has been striving to create a common platform for the African people where they can learn about the latest in the Geospatial domain and learn about creative applications from experiences of others. Map Africa 2010, which is the 5th Annual International Conference and Exhibition on Geospatial Technologies and Applications scheduled to be held from 23 - 25 November, 2010 at Cape Town, South Africa aims to look into many aspects of this technology. This year, GIS Development, the organiser of Map Africa has joined hands with the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs, South Africa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA), Ethiopia and
Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), Kenya to co-organise this conference.
Date: November 24 - 26, 2010
Place: Cologne-Am Stadtwald

Dürener Straße 287, Cologne, 50935 Germany

It is a great pleasure to invite you to take part in the GeoFARMatics 2010 on Geo-Information and Information Management for Farms, Agribusiness and Administration, which is to be held in Cologne, Germany, from 24th-26th November 2010. This conference is being initiated by the EU funded projects FutureFarm, agriXchange and the CAPIGI-network.
Date: November 29 - December 3, 2010
Place: Tunis, Tunisia

A fifth GeoTunis session in front of distinguished scientific users of GIS and remote sensing for the most recent experiments and applications in scientific fields.

The congress will include 4 major scientific themes that address the various uses and applications of geographic information systems as well as numerous practical workshops supervised by the major international institutions active in the field.
Date: November 30 - December 1, 2010
Place: The Hague


 A major, two day technical conference focussing on the use of LiDAR to support transport, urban modelling, coastal zone mapping, asset management and GIS applications. Alongside there is an associated international exhibition for system and component manufacturers, operators and service companies.
Date: November 30 - December 2, 2010
Place: Mandalay Bay Hotel

Las Vegas, NV USA

AU 2010 will be here before you know it, so start planning now to attend. Each year, the Autodesk University (AU) User Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas brings together thousands of Autodesk enthusiasts from around the world to learn, network, and celebrate the power of Autodesk technology and the international AU community.
Date: December 6 - 10, 2010
Place: Cascadia Conference Centre

Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago

The conference program is developed with submissions received through the Call for Presentations. Please make note of the deadline to submit abstracts, August 20.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.