[ Back ]   [ More News ]   [ Home ]
March 14, 2011
File Geodatabases Join Shapefiles in Cross Platform Support
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!

Each GISWeekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting.

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

File Geodatabases Join Shapefiles in Cross Platform Support

By Susan Smith



The shapefile, created by Esri, has been a defacto standard for geospatial and GIS data transfer and exchange for the past 20 years. Of course it has had its limitations, as is today associated with Esri’s older products, wherein now more than ever there is the need to be able to run applications on computers that do not have an ArcGIS or ArcObjects license.

Now with the beta release of the highly anticipated Esri
File Geodatabase API developers can improve the interoperability of applications. According to the press material, the API allows developers to create applications that can interact with a file geodatabase without using ArcObjects so that applications can be run on computers that do not have an ArcObjects license.

“Not only are we putting out a specification, we are putting out an API that goes along with it,” explained John Baleja, Esri senior product manager. Esri hopes that users replace their shapefile implementations with the File Geodatabase API only where appropriate so they can take advantage of the additional capabilities of the file geodatabase. The company is continuing the support the shapefile format and have no plans to halt support or development of the shapefile format.

The idea behind File Geodatabase API is that its adoption will be as widespread as that of the shapefile as a data transfer, in this case, between various GIS systems.

The file geodatabase does not support some of the RDBMS related features of the enterprise geodatabase, such as versioning, replication, and archiving. Also, it can support multiple editors, as long as they are working on separate datasets. Please see
http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/geodatabase/single-user-geodatabase.html for more information.

This API enables organizations to interact with the  File Geodatabase outside of the ArcGIS system. “We are hoping the File Geodatabase will become a defacto standard as well,” said Baleja.

The File Geodatabase API will invariably allow those who don’t have Esri software to be able to work with data within the File Geodatabase. For example, a customer of Safe Software or open source, who doesn’t want to use ArcObjects which is the underlying development environment for the ArcGIS system, to access data, can do it through the API.

Developers themselves are probably going to use the ArcGIS database unless they are using  one of the open source GIS projects. “Several of our competitors are already in our beta program,” said Baleja. “We also have a few large organizations who have a number of large GIS systems and want to be able to exchange data. This gives them a way to do that.”

Esri customers who need to share data with their outside contractors who may not have ArcGIS software or the open source GIS community, competitors, and data transfer companies like Safe Software, have been big advocates for this release.

Previously for open GIS software projects to be able to access data in the File Geodatabase, they would have to buy a copy of ArcGIS. With this API, these developers can build something into their app that would be able to read in data from the File Geodatabase. Safe Software with their ETL software can actually now have an API that they can actually include as part of their package.

The File Geodatabase is to be made available free of charge to anyone. The final release is set for late March or early Arpil.

“These are out of cycle products so they’re not tied into a specific ArcGIS system release,” Baleja pointed out. “I’m expecting we’ll get one out as requirements come in and we add new features, but we have a much more flexible schedule, and it will be downloadable from our File Geodatabase resource page. Anyone with a Esri Global ID can download it.”

ArcGIS users will use the API to build their apps as it is a full development environment that allows you to build apps that will have the reach and capabilities of the ArcGIS system enterprise geodatabase.

Baleja said that since the press release they have released a 64 bit version for Windows, and have two new platforms. For the second update of the beta they extended support to 64 bit, and then they had a third update that extended support to 32 bit Linux systems. “We plan to eventually support 64 bit Linux,” said Baleja.




The File Geodatabase API is a C++ library that allows developers to
  • Create, open, and delete file geodatabases.
  • Read the schema of file geodatabases.
  • Create and edit schema for simple feature objects within a file geodatabase.
  • Read, edit, and delete simple features in a file geodatabase.
  • Perform attribute and limited spatial queries.

  • The API only creates and supports file geodatabases from ArcGIS 10 and is only supported on Windows and Linux. Esri still recommends using ArcObjects, a library of software components that form the foundation of ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Server, and ArcGIS Engine, to create and interact with file geodatabases.

    For more information and to download the API, visit the Geodatabase Resource Center at
    Geodatabase Resource Center.


    Top News

    Real Estate Portal USA, a provider in Web-based real estate information for searching and mapping parcels, announced  that its national coverage now includes more than 100 million parcels (property boundaries), encompassing more than 70 percent of the United States population.


    TomTom announces multiple partnership agreements with business listing providers. These partnerships further TomTom’s goal to roll out a pan-European service to make it easier for users to choose and find their destinations. The partnerships cover sharing of data as well as distribution of their high quality business listings via TomTom Places.

    Cityworks | Azteca Systems, Inc. announced the integration of Cityworks and SeeClickFix, a mobile application for citizen requests.  This integration is currently being utilized at the City of New Haven, Connecticut, with great results. 

    Securus, Inc. announced  that its wholly-owned subsidiary has acquired substantially all of the assets of Zoombak, LLC from TruePosition, Inc. Zoombak is a leading seller of personal GPS tracking devices that help people track the things that are most important to them, from teenage drivers to employees and automobiles.

    NAVTEQ announced  that it has established a reseller agreement with Tango Management Consulting, LLC (TMC), a full service management consultancy providing technology solutions for retail, commercial and corporate real estate clients.

    Telmap, pioneers in mobile location-based services,  announces that it has partnered with Das Örtliche, Germany’s leading local directory to integrate Das Örtliche’s local businesses database into Telmap mobile location companion to provide richer points of interest (POI) information in Germany.

    PCI Geomatics announced that the company has been awarded a contract valued at over $520,000 (CAD) through the Canadian Space Agency's Earth Observation Applications Development Program (EOADP).

    Trimble announced  that it has acquired a suite of software solutions from Mesta Entreprenør AS, a subsidiary of Mesta Konsern AS. Mesta Konsern AS is one of Norway's largest contracting groups for road and highway construction as well as related operations and maintenance. The software suite includes office, field data collection and on-machine solutions specifically designed for the Nordic construction market. Financial terms were not disclosed.


    CalGIS announced Don Cooke as the closing keynote speaker at the 17th Annual California GIS Conference in Fresno, March 28-31, 2011. Donald Cooke is Community Maps Evangelist at Esri.

    Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) is embodied in operations ranging from the Open Street Map to user feedback channels for Google Maps and personal navigation devices. The biggest challenge for VGI is turning a large number of citizen reports into the kind of authoritative data that we’ve grown to expect from maps.

    Is your GIS ready for Gov 2.0? The results of Esri Australia’s Gov 2.0 Benchmark Study are in. According to Australia’s local governments, Gov 2.0 is here to stay, and GIS will play a key role in enabling the concept.

    The Benchmark Study, which surveyed councils from around Australia on how they use GIS, had a resounding consensus that GIS is an important ingredient in bringing the concepts of community engagement, transparency and government accountability to fruition.

    Intermap Technologies announced the completion of their 3D Roads – the only dataset to provide highly accurate 3D models for every road, from the largest highway to the smallest urban and rural roads, throughout Western Europe. Derived from a radar-generated 2D road network combined with height information from the Company’s NEXTMap digital terrain model, 3D Roads is the first accurate, seamless, and comprehensive collection of road data available to the region.


    DigitalGlobe, Inc. reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2010.
    press release

    Intermap Technologies Corporation reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2010.
    press release

    Bentley’s First Annual Corporate Update, SACS Acquisition and Sustainable Licensing AECWeekly


    AeroMetric is pleased to announce that Paul Brooks has been elected a 2011 ASPRS Fellow. This honor is awarded by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing for exceptional service in advancing the science and use of the mapping sciences, in addition to making outstanding contributions to the society. Only two ASPRS members have been awarded Fellowship in 2011 from a membership base of over 5,000.

    DigitalGlobe has appointed Jeffrey R. Tarr as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective April 5, 2011. Tarr succeeds Jill Smith, who, in September 2010, announced her intention to leave the company and was both the company's CEO and Chairman. DigitalGlobe also named current DigitalGlobe Board Member General Howell M. Estes III as its new non-executive Chairman.

    Manuel Jahn and Sebastian Müller are the new heads of GfK GeoMarketing's location- and real estate consulting division. Both are long-standing employees who are well regarded in their field and benefit from substantial management experience. Sebastian Müller will track market developments and ensure that the real estate consulting division is synchronized with GfK GeoMarketing's other company divisions. Manuel Jahn will focus on providing customer support and quality control for the division's consultancy services.

    New Products

    TomTom  unveiled a new navigation device for the North American market designed for businesses to deliver clear bottom-line benefits. The PRO 7150 from TomTom Business Solutions, the business unit of TomTom dedicated to commercial vehicle fleets, offers improved route guidance and faster route calculation to help drivers save time spent on the road.

    Pitney Bowes Business Insight, a global leader in customer data, analytics and communication software and services,  announced a major version upgrade to its Portrait Customer Analytics product line in the form of Portrait Miner 6.0, the industry’s most visual and automated software solution for accurately predicting customer behavior. By deepening customer understanding and automating the predictive modeling process, Portrait Miner empowers customer insight professionals to improve campaign targeting and profitability and increase ROI from sales and marketing campaigns.

    SuperGeo announces that the latest network objects—SuperNetObjects 3 is officially released worldwide.

    SuperNetObjects 3 is a component library based on network objects, enabling developers to design various network analysis functions. SuperNetObjects 3 supports developers to apply program languages, like Visual Basic, Delphi, Visual C++, C#, etc to define, store, and analyze diverse geographic network situations in the real world. The network related issues, therefore, can be effectively solved.

    Getmapping has announced a new monthly account for its online ‘Planning Required’ planning map service (
    www.planningrequired.com). Architects, home improvement companies and professionals who are regular users of the service will benefit from significant savings when they sign up for accounts. With a single bill for multiple transactions the monthly account will deliver both savings and convenience.

    Maponics announced its groundbreaking Subdivision Boundaries product with plans for vast U.S. coverage by mapping more than 500,000 by year-end. The real estate industry has long recognized that the immediate area surrounding properties significantly impacts quality of life and home values. In suburban settings, the smallest defined area around properties is typically the subdivision—which can include everything from a few homes within a gated community to a development with hundreds of properties.

    Avenza Systems Inc. announced the release of MAPublisher 8.4 for Adobe Illustrator. The latest version of this mapmaking software used to produce high quality maps from GIS data for both print and electronic distribution now includes a powerful thematic mapping feature called MAP Themes. Like the name implies, it produces dot density maps and uses stylesheets to symbolize choropleth maps based on various types of data classification. In addition, it can easily create custom charts using data attribute values.

    MPSI announced the release of a new product, TrafficMetrix Current Year Estimates, providing predictions for more than 750,000 traffic count locations.  Through its TrafficMetrix product, first released in 1999, MPSI has become the premier provider of the largest database of published traffic count data in the nation.  Each quarter, new published traffic count data is incorporated into TrafficMetrix; however, it is not uncommon for the data to be at least one year old at the time it becomes available.  There are also many counts that do not get updated on a regular basis as there are no guarantees that the 6,000 plus organizations that MPSI relies on to
    collect this data will have the need and budget to invest in new counts each year.

    Qbase LLC., just six months after acquiring MetaCarta,  announced the second generation of its
    MetaCarta GeoSearch Toolkit for Solr. The GeoSearch Toolkit which brought true geospatial document search to Solr, the open source enterprise search engine, now adds polygonal search as well as confidence and relevancy scoring to its offerings.

    Fugro-Jason  announced EarthModel FT 4.2, the latest version of its geologic modeling software. EarthModel FT is built upon the UpdateAbility and TrackAbility capabilities that allow geomodelers to quickly update their subsurface models to keep pace with the changing understanding provided by new interpretation, wells, production information, and other field data. Fugro-Jason is a leader in integrated reservoir characterization technology for the oil and gas industry.

    GeoDecisions, an award-winning leader in the information technology industry specializing in geospatial solutions, has released version 7 of its patented IRRIS technology. IRRIS 7 has transformed the way users perform their daily missions by simplifying workflows and providing powerful spatial analysis capabilities while significantly improving performance.

    TerraGo Technologies, Inc. has released TerraGo Publisher for ArcGIS version 5.6 for both desktop and server environments. TerraGo Publisher extends leading geospatial applications such as Esri ArcGIS to create highly portable, interactive TerraGo GeoPDF maps and imagery.

    Trimble introduced  the ThingMagic Mercury6 (M6)4-port, multiprotocol RFID reader as the latest addition to its RFID product family. The M6 is based on the ThingMagic M6e embedded RFID reader module and operates with the ThingMagic MercuryAPI, providing OEMs, VARs and end users with high-performance RFID and a common programming interface for enterprise RFID solution development.

    Around the Web

    GISCafe Today Blog

    Socket Technologies Inc. Combines GIS Integration with New Mobile Solutions, PR-USA Net

    India Launches New Satellite Spatial Source

    Satellite Mapping Project Wins Recognition March 8, 2011, University of Texas at Dallas News Center

    Med body to map mosquitoes in state March 6, 2011, Times of India

    72,000 buildings in Dhaka at high risk of earthquake March 7, 2011, Financial Express Metro

    Green Investment Summit Shanghai Hedgweek



    Date: March 14 - 16, 2011
    Place: Convention Centre of Al Bustan Rotana Hote

    Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    GISWORX is our proactive technical support delivery mechanism. This annual 3-day event provides a unique indepth learning environment on different aspects of GIS to both beginners as well as advanced users through several technical workshops on focused topics. It helps the organizations take full advantage of their software investment by enhancing the knowledge and skills of their GIS professionals. It also addresses key issues related to implementation of GIS in specific industries. Over the years, GISWORX evolved to be the premier GIS event in the Middle East region.
    Date: March 15 - 18, 2011
    Place: EcoCenter Sokolniki

    Pavilion 2 , Moscow, Russia

    The 8th International specialized forum of the latest technologies in the field of geodesy, cartography, geographic information systems, intelligent transport systems and satellite navigation, geology and geophysics, tunnel construction and underground utilities
    Date: March 21 - 24, 2011
    Place: Myrtle Beach

    SC USA

    Coastal GeoTools is the conference series that focuses on the technical information needs of the nation's coastal programs.
    Date: March 21 - 24, 2011


    Access the change agents in engineering, construction, manufacturing, and security who embrace new technologies in 3D capture, processing and delivery and drive new work process within their organizations.  SPAR attendees are leaders in driving productivity and safety benefits for their organizations and their clients.  Attendees come to SPAR to make things happen.  You won’t find this level of engagement at any other conference.
    Date: March 28 - 30, 2011
    Place: Hershey, PA USA

    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials sponsors the annual GIS for Transportation Symposium. It is a chance for persons in government and private industry who are interested in the use of GIS for transportation purposes to get together and share experiences, see state-of-art software, and learn more about this field. The Symposium annually attracts over 400 Symposium registrants in addition to the 50 exhibitors in the technology hall
    Date: March 28 - 31, 2011
    Place: Radisson Hotel & Conference Center

    Fresno, CA USA

    CalGIS is definitely the place to be to learn about the Best in California GIS. A comprehensive educational program (for beginners and advanced professionals), networking events and an exhibit hall are all featured at CalGIS. Make plans to attend the 2011 conference in Fresno!
    Date: March 30 - 31, 2011
    Place: Wyndham , Chicago, IL USA

    Join Google, Oracle, ESRI, IBM, Bloomberg, Jones Lang LaSalle, SAP, GIS Cloud, FortiusOne, TeleCommunicationSystems, Netezza and many more top industry leaders. This event is the key meeting place for all location and enterprise professionals who are looking for the best way to monetize their service and get to grips with the leading business models of the future.
    Date: March 30, 2011
    Place: The Emirates

    London, United Kingdom

    GeoDATA is a FREE series of one day educational seminars. It provides the perfect platform for you to come and explore the latest innovative tools and techniques to help you get the most from your geospatial data investment.

    Whether you are new to geographic information or simply looking for smarter, more cost-effective solutions and best practice advice, this is the event for you.
    Date: March 31 - April 1, 2011
    Place: New York, NY USA

    Whether you are new to MAPublisher, an experienced user or simply thinking about a purchase, MAPublisher training is worthwhile experience. Avenza offers MAPublisher training at hands-on computer labs around North America.
    Date: April 5, 2011
    Place: Aston Conference

    Birmingham, United Kingdom

    GeoDATA is a FREE series of one day educational seminars. It provides the perfect platform for you to come and explore the latest innovative tools and techniques to help you get the most from your geospatial data investment.

    Whether you are new to geographic information or simply looking for smarter, more cost-effective solutions and best practice advice, this is the event for you.
    Date: April 6 - 7, 2011
    Place: Holiday Inn London-Elstree

    London, USA

    Each year, the No.1 GEO Event combines the UK's only dedicated national geospatial trade exhibition with a packed programme of free seminars, live product demos and, of course, great networking opportunities, including a
    Gala Dinner of good food, fun and games. The organisers work with the geospatial industry to create an event that attracts visitors through the door year after year.
    Date: April 7, 2011
    Place: Park Plaza Hotel

    Leeds, United Kingdom

    GeoDATA is a FREE series of one day educational seminars. It provides the perfect platform for you to come and explore the latest innovative tools and techniques to help you get the most from your geospatial data investment.

    Whether you are new to geographic information or simply looking for smarter, more cost-effective solutions and best practice advice, this is the event for you.
    Date: April 10 - 14, 2011
    Place: Grapevine, Dallas, TX USA

    Since last year's event, we have overhauled the entire conference – the program, the presenters, the networking opportunities – everything. This effort has been in response to clear feedback from you that our conference must be contemporary, credible and comprehensive. Here is what we have done to address your concerns

    You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.