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April 11, 2011
GIS News from Autodesk AEC Day 2011
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! From March 29-April 7, I will be traveling to two conferences, one of them will be the Autodesk 2011 Media Day Event. Keep a lookout for blog entries during the next couple of weeks.

GISWeekly examines select top news, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top of the News, 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

GIS News from Autodesk AEC Media Day 2011

By Susan Smith


Autodesk Galileo – Boston Photo credit: VTN Consulting

At Autodesk’s AEC Media Day 2011 held in Waltham, Mass., the opening discussion revolved around the various Design Suites which now the method by which Autodesk is delivering its products. According to Jay Bhatt, senior vice president, AEC Solutions, suites are a simplified way for customers to absorb their technologies.

With that said, the area of interest for geospatial users (even though the term “geospatial” is not used at Autodesk), is the area of infrastructure.

Paul McRoberts, vice president Infrastructure PLG, talked about the fact that Autodesk has really invested in the recession: “we have a $41 trillion need for infrastructure and have a $21 deficit,” he said.

What was at first a little disconcerting was that he began his discussion with a look at building information modeling (BIM), which is not a technology that GIS folks are really familiar with. The reason for this soon became clear: the bigger picture looks at the ultimate design of 3D cities, an area which is very dependent upon GIS data and analysis, but also will require the input from the architectural community, namely 3D models of buildings that will populate the newly designed city. Thus, the Infrastructure Design Suite currently includes the products Map3D, Civil3D, Navisworks, Simulate, and AutoCAD.


Autodesk Galileo Photo credit: VTN Consulting

The big news is Project Galileo, known as the product LandXplorer in its previous incarnation, still in Autodesk Labs (a laboratory setting that users can check out if try out if they want to), and the integration of Map 3D and Topobase.

How Products are Arranged

These are the advantages Autodesk feels their customers will gain from the suite, which have been divided into Plant, Building and Infrastructure:

•        Reduced cost

•        Improving compatibility

•        Ability to update (e.g. patches and service packs) apps all at once

•        Streamlines license management

What customers need in their products:

•        Flexibility to innovate

•        Economical and convenient

•        Comprehensive and sophisticated

The product suites are to to be sold in these packages:

Standard – AutoCAD based design and documentation

Premium – BIM for Building, BIM for Infrastructure added to the Standard package

Ultimate – simulation and analysis added to the Premium package

Autodesk Map Server, Map 3D

Infrastructure Planning 2012

Infrastructure planning is a process that precedes the detailed engineering design phase of a project and looks at the overall scope, feasibility and alternatives at an appropriate level of detail and scale to help make well informed decisions.

What is needed for infrastructure planning is data access, analysis and industry models, said McRoberts.

The mapping product for Autodesk has been Map 3D, which is able to access data from many different sources and is built on all different types of coordinate systems. It has 3,000 types of analysis that it can run such as traffic design flow analysis, storm and sewer analysis, and many others. Map 3D 2012 can use more data formats and includes access to the ArcGIS format, also surface contours, hydrology, parcels, roads, buildings, satellite imagery, drawings, design documentation, databases and spreadsheets. Industry models can be created and include GIS environments that have been modeled based on industry criteria.

The integration of the Map3D and Topobase environments gives coordinates xyz, GIS data, location and layers, relationships, time, and the past, present and future of Topobase. These capabilities are generally separate in a traditional GIS, but this integration leverages GIS data and provides what is thought by the company to be a better management environment.

AutoCAD Map3D
  • Querying
  • Spatial analysis
  • Cartographic styles
  • Data access

  • Topobase
  • Data models
  • Connectivity
  • Business rules
  • Forms & administration
  • DWG - ease of use & portability

  • “Map3D was based on the idea of a single coordinate where you layer in information,” said McRoberts. With Topobase no longer dependent on the Oracle database, Map3D as the product will continue to be called, will be able to have a data model, rules and relationship management. Also, it opens up possibilities to people who want to do GIS and community planning at the town or rural level and for smaller organizations. Topobase also adds the factor of time associated with rules.

    Again, because AutoCAD is Autodesk’s most successful customer base, the product is designed to be familiar to AutoCAD users but enable those users to use GIS data.

    Infrastructure Design

    Project Galileo, currently a technical preview on Autodesk Labs, embodies the best pieces of Autodesk LandXplorer augmented with Autodesk’s graphics capability, which is common to most of their products. Galileo is built on Feature Data Objects (FDO) technology and provides a type of sketching capability as well, allowing planners and organizations to be able to sketch out the type of environment they envision.

    “With Galileo, I want to be able to capture GIS information, model that city out in a short amount of time, say, 40 minutes to create a vision of city of Boston, then sketch in data – roads, highways, bridges,” said McRoberts. “This goes into the GIS database and I can then move this data through the design phase. This provides an information flow and information transfer for being able to plan.”

    The types of data that Galileo can bring in include 3D building information models i.e. Autodesk Revit models, that know exactly what they are. The technology allows city planners and others to do conceptual planning and look at the cost, environmental impact, tax zones, and other relevant data in a visual way.

    Arnab Ganguly, technical marketing manager, talked about “Conceptual Design for Infrastructure – Project Galileo,” outlining an electricity utility design technology they are working on that employs the rules engine that is in Topobase.

    In addition, using a lot of data that has already been captured in GIS, users will be able to do context model creation and configure what they want to, including adding BIM models where needed. This type of model creation can be very useful for providing a rich visual experience for public approval processes and other public venues.

    Laura Gutwillig, senior manager of the Building Business Line, spoke on the topic of cloud computing. The possibilities she outlined applied to the design process and renderings. As geospatial employs more visualization that is CPU-intensive, users will be looking for cloud computing offerings to free up computer power and boost productivity.

    Primary targets

    Primary targets for Galileo technology are planners – urban design, college planners, rural community planners, city and town planners. Secondary targets include developers and architects.

    McRoberts said they have received great interest from emergency response and the military.

    Cities of the Future

    James Moore, senior vice president of National Commmunity Planning & Urban Design and principal, HDR spoke on the topic, “Cities of the Future and the Future of Cities: Challenges and Opportunities.”

    He said the city of Boston is over 300 years old, but all parts of the city function pretty well, regardless of when they were built. “As things change, it doesn’t invalidate what was built before,” said Moore. “The technology used to build skyscrapers is not dramatically different than what is used to build the two and three story buildings in the North End.”

    Moore noted that at least 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. There is a need to grow future cities, as the post war American model for building cities is probably not sustainable. The goal is to “create high quality of life at very low consumption levels.”

    Being a sustainable community carries some responsibility – cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam have the right idea with their commitment to people riding bicycles to work and wherever else they have to go. As fuel prices are on the rise, working far away from home is not desirable and can raise the total cost of living. Moore said biking is the most energy efficient form of transportation.

    Energy, air, water, food natural resources, waste, buildings and facitiies , mobillity, economy, human services, knowledge, culture, land use and community form are all elements of a city.

    Moore said we lead with technical expertise instead of with vision. It is necessary to adopt a data driven approach. Data must support the vision that supports the integrated plan that supports an assessment.

    Technology used can include building information modeling, geospatial, sensor data, quantitative data and qualitative that can all be combined into a single entity.


    In recent years, we have seen Autodesk subsume their involvement in geospatial or GIS, in spite of the fact that they do have robust technology such as FDO, Topobase, LandXplorer and Map 3D to support GIS. They have been popular with cities and municipalities who needed a way to provide mapping for utilities, police departments, utilities and other public agencies, who could integrate them with existing Autodesk products.

    The new Galileo, seemingly a more pumped up version of LandXplorer, shows promise as a conceptual tool for designing 3D cities, something that traditional geospatial companies have had a hard time providing. The integration of Map 3D and Topobase and open database feature really opens up Map 3D to a host of new users who might never have thought about a GIS but needed one.

    Autodesk may not be aiming at GIS users per se with these technologies, but rather looking to extend the portfolio of products for AutoCAD users to include GIS, since the most common migration path to other Autodesk products is through their flagship CAD product, AutoCAD.

    Top of the News

    GeoCat, a geospatial software company specializing in Spatial Data Infrastructure development, and OpenGeo, the world leader in supported open source geospatial solutions, announced that the GeoCat Bridge software will now be available as an integrated component of the OpenGeo Suite.

    Planetek Italia is starting the activities to set up the INSPIRE Geoportal, the central portal for environmental information in the European Union. The company has been awarded the tender for the "Development of the technical components of the INSPIRE Geoportal at European Level", of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) - Institute for Environment and Sustainability.

    Software Technologies and SpatialTEQ released the next version of Map Business Online service. With this new version users can do spatial searches, organize customers data into groups or marketing lists, import selected customer information into CRM or contacts manager products


    Pitney Bowes Business Insight, has formed an alliance with Second Decimal, LLC, a leader in the tax automation space, to provide several geospatial sales and use tax rate determination and monitoring solutions. As a result, customers can now use location intelligence to streamline tax rate management, increase tax compliance and reduce operational costs.

    INRIX, a provider of traffic information and driver services, announced a partnership with service provider Targa Infomobility and Infoblu, the provider of traffic information in Italy. This partnership enables INRIX's customers to immediately benefit from Infoblu's Italian real-time traffic data. INRIX will combine its Smart Driver Network, expertise and technology with Infoblu's data in Italy to complete the coverage for the company's market real-time and predictive traffic service.


    The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) seeks public comment on the candidate OGC Open GeoSMS Standard - Core.

    The candidate OGC Open GeoSMS Standard can be found at:
    http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/requests/76. The period for issuing comments expires on 24 April 2011.

    The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) announces the formation of an OGC WaterML 2.0 Standards Working Group (SWG). (

    The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) membership has approved the Sensor Planning Service (SPS) Interface Standard 2.0 Earth Observation Satellite Tasking Extension standard as an official OGC standard. This standard is available for free download at

    When the Earth shook with a magnitude of 9.0 off the coast of Japan on Friday, 11 March, Olaf Kranz and his team at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen had to react quickly. In close cooperation with the International Charter 'Space and Major Disasters' and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, INTERGEO analysed the satellite data and drew up maps of the affected areas. The aim was to identify the damage and find ways of providing the best possible support for the local aid effort, says Kranz, Project Manager of the DLR's Centre for Satellite Based Crisis Information (ZKI). Providing maps quickly is a must for relief operations in the wake of
    natural disasters. Recent events in Japan show there is no alternative to intensive international cooperation, says Prof. Karl-Friedrich Thöne, President of the German Association of Surveying - Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management (DVW e. V.), issuing an invitation to the world's biggest conference trade fair for geodesy, geoinformation and land management from 27 to 29 September 2011 in Nuremberg. Taking as its theme 'Knowledge and action for planet Earth', INTERGEO has for years been making an important contribution to cross-industry dialogue and worldwide networking.

    INTERGEO exhibitor Astrium GEO-Information Services has announced the launch of four new satellites that will optimise the parameters for international disaster relief by enabling the flexible recording of larger areas, the accurate depiction of smaller areas with image products accurate down to 50 centimetres and faster availability of image data.

    Pictometry International Corp announced that the United States District Court of Minnesota has summarily declared that Pictometry’s oblique aerial image capture system does not infringe on GeoSpan’s patent.


    DigitalGlobe has appointed Amy Shapero to the newly created position of Vice President, Corporate Development. In the role, Shapero is responsible for identifying and managing acquisition and partnership activities worldwide to accelerate DigitalGlobe's growth in the imagery-based information services market. She reports to Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Yancey Spruill.

    DigitalGlobe has appointed Robert Keosheyan to the newly created position of Director, Corporate Communications and Public Relations. Keosheyan is responsible for developing and managing the company's external communications, including public relations.

    GeoEngineers is pleased to announce that Jaime Crawford is joining the company as an Associate in the Applied Technology team. She will be based in GeoEngineers’ Redmond, WA office.

    Avineon, Inc., a successful provider of IT, geospatial, engineering and program management services, announced the appointment of Rick Baumgartner as Director of Business Development – Geospatial Solutions.

    New Products

    Esri Press has released the fourth edition of
    Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, the seminal book on planning and implementing a geographic information system (GIS). Roger Tomlinson, widely known as "the father of GIS," has updated this edition to include the latest trends in geospatial technology.

    Pictometry Online™, is now enabling solar contractors to quickly, easily and accurately calculate solar exposure, panel placement, sizing, roof pitch and square footage—information that is essential for positioning panels for maximum sun exposure and energy output.

    Blue Marble Geographics announces the release of the latest version of GeoCalc 6.4.5 coordinate transformation library and toolkit. One of the major enhancements of this release supports time stamped coordinate reference frames, which are critical for highly accurate mapping in areas of the earth where there is tectonic shifting and movement of the earth’s crust. GeoCalc can be used alone or it can be part of Blue Marble’s developer tool kit, GeoCore 2.0, the all in one geospatial data management development package combining Blue Marble’s most popular and powerful software development tools. Additionally GeoCalc is a great tool for augmenting Esri’s ArcGIS
    with many interoperable features for adding coordinate objects and quality assurance for coordinate transformation results. Blue Marble’s geospatial data manipulation and conversion solutions are used worldwide by thousands of GIS analysts at software companies, universities, oil and gas companies, civil engineering, surveying, technology, enterprise GIS groups, government and military organizations.

    Skyline Software Systems is pleased to announce the formal product release of Skyline’s updated SkylineGlobe product suite. On Monday, March 28th, 2010, Skyline will be publicly releasing the TerraExplorer 6 family of products, part of the SkylineGlobe product suite. TerraExplorer is a powerful, easy-to-use 3D visualization tool for exploring, analyzing, annotating and publishing photo-realistic environments. The family of products includes TerraExplorer Pro, TerraExplorer Plus and Terra Explorer Viewer all of which can be used in standalone desktop, web-integrated or custom OEM environments.

    deCarta's MapSearch mobile application, which provides integrated maps, local search, and directions across a wide variety of handset platforms and countries, has hit the one million user milestone in less than two weeks after its launch on March 22.

    deCarta MapSearch offers a white label alternative to Google Maps and Bing Maps. The initial release of deCarta MapSearch is in 14 countries on Opera Mini, the world's most popular mobile web browser. Subsequent releases are set to expand the deCarta MapSearch audience to a wide variety of smartphones with native and HTML5 support in over 60 countries and will add exciting new location-based services.

    BAE Systems has added new capabilities to its geospatial-intelligence (GEOINT) software, providing enhancements that allow customers to import high-resolution imagery from scanned film and digital airborne sensors. The company’s SOCET GXP software automates image processing to make analysts more responsive in the operational environment.

    Trimble introduced the new Trimble LaserAce 1000 rangefinder, an easy-to-use handheld measurement tool combining a laser distance meter, digital inclinometer, sighting scope and Bluetooth wireless technology. The new rangefinder expands Trimble’s portfolio by seamlessly integrating with its Geographic Information System (GIS) data collection solutions.

    GeoIQ released GeoIQ Connect, the first geospatial product connecting an enterprise's internal data with external data stored in the cloud. Fusing multiple data sources into one interface, GeoIQ Connect simplifies the way businesses access, analyze and visualize geospatial data, allowing them to gain a better understanding of what is impacting the bottom line.

    TomTom announced the availability of the VIA Series in the United States and Canada. The new TomTom VIA navigation devices, previously announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, offer consumers a powerful navigation experience with a sleek new design, an enhanced software platform, and premium safety-enhancing features such as Intuitive Voice Recognition and Bluetooth Hands-Free Calling.

    Around the Web

    GISCafe Today Blog


    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
    Date: April 11 - 13, 2011
    Place: Munich, Germany

    JURSE 2011 intends to be a unique forum for urban remote sensing with respect to the Information Technology and Geoscience community. A continuously increasing amount of multiple sensory data offers opportunities to address new questions and solve existing problems more effectively in urban remote sensing.
    Date: April 11 - 13, 2011
    Place: Ritz Carlton Hotel

    Doha, Qatar

    Middle East - a region known for its world class infrastructure, great trade opportunities, multi-cultural population and willingness to adopt latest technologies is paving a path of sustainable development. In order to capitalize its available human and natural resources, it is adopting advanced technologies and applications serving various verticals. Geospatial technologies are one of the key technologies which are making remarkable contribution towards this effort. It serves as an excellent decision-making tool at various levels of governance and application domains.
    Geoinformatics has been identified to be vital for improving the economic productivity of a country. Efforts are being made to provide an enabling environment for the uptake of GIT in Middle East by promoting the development of technologies such as Spatial Data Infrastructure, Enterprise GIS, Web GIS, Mapping with Earth Observation Satellites.

    Date: April 13 - 15, 2011

    92 Sudakovo, Domodedovo District, Moscow, Russia

    You are welcome to the V Anniversary International Conference “Remote Sensing – the Synergy of High Technologies” to be held on April 13 to 15, 2011 in high-class ATLAS PARK-HOTEL near Moscow located in one of the most beautiful and comfortable places of Moscow Region, 15 minutes’ drive from Domodedovo airport (30 km from the Moscow Ring Road)
    Date: April 13 - 15, 2011
    Place: Munich, Germany

    The EOGC2011 Conference is jointly organized by the Technical University of Munich (Germany) and the Peking University (China), University of Waterloo (Canada); co-sponsored by International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), International Cartographic Association (ICA), International Association of Geodesy (IAG), and International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE). The local host for 2011 is the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
    Date: April 18 - 21, 2011
    Place: Houston, TX USA

    This unique annual forum gives you an opportunity to gain a more competitive edge in your industry. The conference is chockfull of valuable sessions and activities that foster problem solving and advancing GIS-driven results in your business.
    Date: April 19 - 21, 2011
    Place: Hyatt Regency

    Santa Clara, CA USA

    Where is business: where people live, where they go, and where, when, and how they spend their money are now key factors in business success. From product development to distribution, marketing, and sales, location technologies help companies identify, understand, and serve their markets far more effectively than ever before.
    Date: April 26 - 29, 2011
    Place: Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort & Spa

    Chandler, AZ USA

    Attend Field Service 2011 and tackle the latest strategies in core service functions including mobility, workforce management, technical support and knowledge management. Additionally be sure to gain as much insight to the new areas hounding service executives all over the world including innovative developments in e-Service, CRM, Data Management, developing service leadership and effective mobile resources management.

    Manufacturers: Register now for 3 days or more and receive 25% off your registration with promo code: 10723XZ965BA
    Date: May 1 - 5, 2011
    Place: Midwest Airlines Center

    Hyatt Hotel, Milwaukee, WI USA

    The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, May 1 to May 5, 2011, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the ASPRS 2011 Annual Conference. The conference theme "Ride On The Geospatial Revolution" will offer an outstanding program of general and technical sessions looking to the future of the geospatial industry.
    Date: May 2 - 4, 2011
    Place: Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront

    Jacksonville, FL USA

    Plan to join us for the 2011 ESRI Southeast Regional User Group (SERUG) Conference, taking place May 2–4 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Florida.

    Be sure to check back for the 2010 conference proceedings (coming soon) to see why this SERUG event is such a valuable forum.
    Date: May 9 - 13, 2011
    Place: Washington, D.C., DC USA

    Held annually in the Washington, D.C. area, GEOINT Community Week brings together stakeholders within the geospatial intelligence tradecraft for a week of networking, classified briefings, exhibits and learning workshops.

    The week begins at the USGIF Invitational golf tournament, with proceeds going to the USGIF Scholarship Program. AGIC begins on Tuesday, delivering four days of classified sessions and presentations. On Thursday, attend presentations on emerging technologies, and walk through an exhibit hall filled with USGIF members’ current innovations. Bringing the day to a close is the GEOINT Community Week reception. Concluding the week is another installment of the

    GEOINT Community Week provides valuable and unique opportunities for the GEOINT Community to experience and showcase the latest geospatial intelligence technologies and capabilities.
    Date: May 9 - 11, 2011
    Place: Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa

    3800 S Virginia St, Reno, NV 89502 USA

    The Nevada Geographic Information Society is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote professionalism, cooperation, mutual assistance and sharing of knowledge and experience. It is committed to providing a forum for the exchange of ideas, information and technology as they relate to the advancement of spatial data (GIS) and technology within the State of Nevada.
    Date: May 10, 2011
    Place: Universidad Católica Argentina

    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Aeroterra GIS, Oil & Gas presents an exhibition of products, services and solutions that target to the unique needs of the energy industry. Attendees will gain valuable information on the potential of GIS as a tool that provides instant access to information, greater efficiency and better decision-making capacity.

    You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.