BE Conference 2007 -- Geospatial and Applied Research
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BE Conference 2007 -- Geospatial and Applied Research

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Industry News
BE Conference 2007 – Geospatial and Applied Research
by Susan Smith

Current Applied Research project: To prototype a general framework for geolocating remote sensing devices and providing capabilities for managing and accessing those devices using ProjectWise

Bentley’s BE Conference 2007 held in Los Angeles in May attracted over 2,000 attendees. Some new venues were held, one being the BE Executive Symposium, a panel moderated by SparPoint’s Bruce Jenkins. The four diverse presentations of the symposium were presented by Buddy Cleveland, senior vice president, Bentley Software, who spoke on the newly formed Applied Research Group at Bentley and the direction it is taking; Doug Eberhard, CIO of Parsons Brinckerhoff, who presented their approach to dealing with some issues facing infrastructure professionals with sustaining both physical and professional infrastructure; Sarah Slaughter, a doctor and profession at the MIT Sloan School, who talked about how research can work with industry to explore and test theory that industry doesn’t have time to do. Jim Amerault, retired vice admiral with three stars, spoke about his work for MELE Associates as COO, planning for smooth and coordinated response to natural disasters.

Bell South has been combining GIS and GPS technologies to be able to sustain their COMS infrastructure. After a major hurricane, there are many services to get back up and running as soon as possible. In many cases is people send a surveyor out to the site, looks at the site, the site perhaps wasn’t recognizable as the same place he visited the last time he was there, and he perhaps doesn’t have the information to tell him specifically what should be there. This can make it difficult for him to know which types of people and what kind of supplies need to be sent out there to fix it. Bell South has all their assets catalogued and located inside a geospatially managed database. They drive down the road with their GPS and their GPS communicates with the GIS database. MELE Associates is exploring ways for the Navy to catalogue all their landbased assets.

Applied Research Group

Buddy Cleveland presented a talk on the new Applied Research Group at Bentley. Bentley has always invested in research, so what is new about this group? Cleveland said that their past research has been very much product focused, which makes it subject to product delivery deadlines and schedules. Without an exclusive focus, said Cleveland, it’s nearly impossible for the company to distinguish research from product development, difficult to gauge the magnitude of our research investments on the one hand, much less the return on these investments on the other.

The Applied Research Group, from a business point of view, is intended to help Bentley increase the visibility of its investments to make sure they are aligned with their business objectives and the customers’ business objectives.

Bentley’s mission is to look “beyond the next release of software, and to identify white space in solutions, determine where we can bring new technologies to you, in support of improving the world’s infrastructure.”

The mission will be executed on one project at a time, some will involve internally prototyped development, others will be joint projects with other organizations, technology providers or partners.

A project around the concept of Digital Pen & Paper, licensed from Anoto
Examples of types of Applied Research projects:

1) Projects to implement new software that uses new capabilities in existing areas and provide capabilities in new areas. Although it is does not have anything to do with geospatial, Bentley’s GenerativeComponents (GC) is an example of this type of project. GC is “an associative design system, giving designers and engineers new ways to efficiently explore alternative building forms without manually building the detail design model for each scenario,” according to its chief architect and spokesperson, director of Research & Senior Scientist at Bentley, Robert Aish. GC is also Bentley’s first true research project. Aish is now a colleague in Applied Research, and the first version of the software will be released soon.

2) Incorporating new technology into existing Bentley products, example: a project around the concept of Digital Pen & Paper. Licensed from Anoto, this technology incorporates a special pen that accurately captures and stores marks made by that pen, and does it by way of special optics in the pen that can record where that pen is based on a microdot pattern embedded into the paper. This microdot pattern is unique over an extremely large area, roughly the size of Europe and Asia combined. “Our project is focused on validating and prototyping the integration of this technology into our project content management and plotting capabilities,” said Cleveland. “If successful, this will enable users to use their standard paper plots to electronically record and manage their comments and as built information as if they had been done on computer with an application like Bentley Redline.”

Update on where Bentley is with the project to date: the idea is to open ProjectWise plot organizer, sign into ProjectWise, open plot set of project drawings, pick some plots to send, user will just say I want to enable Digital Paper. Once plots are generated user can use pen and pick up the paper and start writing with the pen. They don’t have to tell it which drawing they’re writing on, they can go to next sheet, they don’t have to tell it they’re going to another sheet. The paper itself looks a little gray with microdots. Once it’s done, the user can upload the pen marks into ProjectWise using Bluetooth, once loaded, log into ProjectWise, ProjectWise knows automatically, and has related the microdot pattern to the actual version, and the plot number is plotted, so when it opens the pen marks it knows what file was being marked up and creates a Bentley Redline file. The user can check the redline file and make any comments. Then the user can check that into ProjectWise. Mark Smith is the principal researcher on this project.

This may be useful to those in engineering who need to access geospatial data at some point in time.

3) Application of existing products in totally new areas. Current project: To prototype a general framework for geolocating remote sensing devices and providing capabilities for managing and accessing those devices using ProjectWise, alongside all the other content that ProjectWise manages. The devices could range from remote video, environmental sensors of all types. “The objective of this project is to bring together real time information from diverse types of sensors and understand how they fit within the context of the infrastructure asset, not just physically where they are, but in the context of design data, analysis data, documentation , software applications and emergency procedures,” said Cleveland.

The example of the floor plan of building 1 of the Exton campus was given, including icons for security cameras which are registered in ProjectWise and are geolocated on the floor plan. If the user would like to open that camera using the interface, he/she can use the mouse and drag the camera around to look around the room.

“We’ve implemented this prototype within the standard project XM with the geospatial extension version of ProjectWise, and we’re now in the process of extending this prototype to encompass a much broader range of devices,” Cleveland said. “Simply by registering and locating real time devices within ProjectWise, we can extend the scope of the content managed by ProjectWise to include the real time conditions of an infrastructure asset and really transform it into a real time asset.”

As we’ve mentioned before, GIS infrastructure is Bentley’s strategic mantra which basically states that the company will focus on the intersection between GIS technology and infrastructure engineering capabilities. This prototype may offer a unique approach to geolocation and the management of remote sensing assets in and around infrastructure.

Top News of the Week

ESRI announced that ArcGIS Explorer is available to the public. This unique lightweight application lets you not only connect directly to a variety of ready-to-use globes hosted by ESRI but also provides tasks that allow you to do more than just visualize a simple map. You can use ArcGIS Explorer to leverage data, services, and applications on the Web by easily connecting to your own ArcGIS services or those published by others. This application helps you extend the power of these Web-based services by fusing them with your local data.

TomTom announced the introduction of TomTom Map Share(TM) on the new TomTom GO 520* and TomTom GO 720. This unique new map improvement technology allows TomTom users to easily improve their maps as soon as they spot changes in the roads with a few touches on the screen of their device. Via TomTom HOME, TomTom Map Share(TM) users also receive all map improvements made by others, making their maps as dynamic as the world they live in.


Safe Software, makers of the FME® spatial ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) platform for geospatial data, today announced a joint agreement with Oregon-based TCI Software. The agreement will see TCI’s Curvefitter linear optimization technology integrated into the upcoming release of FME 2007, providing users with the capability to create smooth linework from "point to point" linework while reducing file size by up to 80 percent. File size reductions of this magnitude will result in much faster processing times for CAD and GIS data, and fewer processing problems caused by limited available memory. By intelligently inserting arcs into linework that depicts map features, Curvefitter technology also allows FME users to create more visually appealing maps.


Trimble announced today that it will hold its International User Conference November 5-7, 2007 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

In addition, Trimble worldwide users are invited to propose topics to present at the conference. Proposed titles and a short description of the presentation should be submitted to Trimble no later than July 13, 2007. For more information, please go to: Trimble events.
To find out more about Dimensions 2007 speakers, sessions and see other details about the conference agenda, visit Trimble events website.

TopoSys GmbH,
Biberach, Germany, has founded a subsidiary to strengthen its position in the North American LIDAR market. As of February 2007, TopoSys North America, Inc. has established its North American headquarters in Denver, Colo., a major hub in the world-wide geospatial industry, to serve as a sales and support center to meet the ever increasing demand for TopoSys LIDAR systems in the region.

TopoSys North America Inc. is managed by Roman Kathofer, a Geomatics engineer and photogrammetrist with several years experience in photogrammetric mapping and airborne sensing operations.

The German radar satellite TerraSAR-X is to be launched on 15. June at 04:14 (CEST) from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch of the satellite has been postponed a number of times due to technical problems with the Russian Dnjepr launch vehicle. However, teams of engineers from Europe’s leading space company Astrium and the German Aerospace Center DLR are now in Kazakhstan, preparing the 1.3-metric-ton satellite for lift-off.


NAVTEQ Corporation, a global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, announced that its President and Chief Executive Officer, Judson C. Green, has adopted a new pre-arranged stock trading plan. Mr. Green's prior pre-arranged stock trading plan was adopted in 2005 and expired at the end of 2006.

Under the new pre-arranged stock trading plan, which Mr. Green adopted on May 9, 2007, Mr. Green will sell approximately 9% of his combined, remaining shares of stock, restricted stock units and stock options over an eleven month period commencing on June 12, 2007, subject to market conditions and the terms of the plan, for tax planning and diversification purposes. The stock trading plan was adopted in accordance with the guidelines specified under Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.


DigitalGlobe announced the promotion of three vice presidents: Dawn Sienicki, government relations; Mike McGill, U.S. sales, commercial business unit; and, Barry Clapp, international sales, commercial business unit.

James W. Sewall Company
is pleased to announce that information systems specialist David A. Hannington has joined the company as Chief Information Officer. Mr. Hannington brings 24 years’ experience in strategic planning and operations, quality control and training for the U.S. Air Force, with specific expertise in geospatial data management and aerial navigation.

Contract Awards

geographIT™ is pleased to announce that it will assist the engineering firm Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson of Sparks, Maryland as a subcontractor providing professional geospatial consulting and software development services to the City of Baltimore Department of Public Works.

Merrick & Company,
a leader in LIDAR, digital ortho imaging, photogrammetry and GIS mapping won a contract to provide LiDAR data, 2-foot contours, a DEM, and digital orthophotography in the St. Cloud, Minnesota region. Administered by St. Cloud State University, multiple agencies including Crow Wing County and the Minnesota National Guard have teamed together to share costs and personnel resources in order to procure the data. Merrick will also provide Merrick Advanced Remote Sensing (MARS®) software for processing, analyzing and managing the LiDAR terrain data.

GIS Solutions, Inc., Springfield, IL has been awarded a contract by the City of Chicago Department of Water Management (CDWM) to complete a 5.3 million dollar data conversion project.

The CDWM manages the Chicago water distribution system. To facilitate better planning and management of this system, CDWM has determined that a GIS database and set of applications is necessary. The complete City of Chicago water system consists of approximately 4,200 miles of water main, 50,000 fire hydrants, and 50,000 valves within the 231 square mile area of the City limits.

Infotech Enterprises America, Inc. (Infotech)
has started their new fiscal year (4/1/07 – 3/31/08) with a record breaking performance. Within the last two months, Infotech has been awarded five major contracts that will require over 300 resources for multiple years and will generate over $10M during the life cycle of the projects. The awards include consulting and management of a field inventory project for a northeast based utility, conversion and maintenance for a large southwest cable provider, migration and maintenance for a major west coast electric and gas utility, planimetric compilation for a major city in the northeast, and a first-ever award for application development and testing from one of the world’s largest IT companies.

New Products

Data capture and conversion specialist GeODC has launched a new service to release decades worth of public authority records held on microfiche and other types of microform. The GeODC Microform Service will help councils improve services and meet government legislation for the online delivery of information. The service converts images and text stored on microform, including microfiche and aperture cards, into a digital format. The records are then made assessable via frontline information management systems such as GIS, CRM and online community portals.

Pitney Bowes MapInfo,
global provider of location intelligence solutions, today announces the release of MapInfo Professional® 9.0, the latest version of the company’s flagship application for business mapping and analysis. The enhanced MapInfo Professional offers several new advantages including support for the Microsoft Windows Vista® platform, enhanced database support, direct access to more data formats, and the power to combine time and location-based analysis.

SAFER Systems,
the recognized global leader in integrated software for chemical emergency response solutions, recently released its new Version 9.4 for SAFER Real-Time® and SAFER STAR®.

This release contains major improvements to the administrative tools and other important fixes and enhancements to Version 9.3. Some of the new features and enhancements include an updated STAR® Site Manager; more interactive editing of maps in the GIS Admin tool; and integration of the creation, management, and organization of predefined release scenarios into the Emergency Response program itself, instead of creating cases in one area and organizing in a separate application. Also built in to Version 9.4 are color coding of gas sensor alarm states, improved plume trajectory calculations for elevated releases in complex terrain, an expanded Data Configuration Toolkit, a standard 3-parameter Antoine formula for user-defined liquid mixtures, and a new data communication interface for several data systems.

Around the Web

Google Zooms In Too Close for Some
by Miguel Helft, June 1, 2007, The New York Times (registration required)

Upcoming Events

The 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth (ISDE5)
Date: June 5 - 9, 2007
Place: San Francisco Bay Area
Digital Earth is a visionary concept for "spaceship Earth" sparked by R. Buckminster Fuller, grokked by the Apollo astronauts returning from their moon missions, and popularized by Vice President Al Gore.

GPS World Conference & Expo
Date: June 11 - 13, 2007
Place: Convention Center
Rosemont, IL USA

2007 Annual MISA Conference & Trade Show
Date: June 11 - 12, 2007
Place: 2001 University Avenue
Waterloo, Ontario, N2J 4A8 Canada
The City of Waterloo is delighted to have been chosen to host the Municipal Information Systems Association (MISA) Conference and Tradeshow June 10 thru 13, 2007 at RIM Park.

EdUC 2007
Date: June 16 - 17, 2007
Place: San Diego, CA USA

ESRI Survey & Engineering GIS Summit
Date: June 16 - 19, 2007
Place: San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA USA
GIS users will gather at the 2007 ESRI Survey & Engineering GIS Summit to connect, learn, and share June 16-19 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.

The 27th Annual ESRI International User Conference
Date: June 18 - 22, 2007
Place: San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA USA
The ESRI UC is unlike any other event. It’s the largest conference in the world devoted to GIS. Users from more than 120 countries come to learn new skills, share information and discover best practices and tips and tricks that they can instantly use. Be a part of this exceptional event.

2007 AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition (ACE07)
Date: June 24 - 28, 2007
Place: Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
After celebrating 125 inspiring years of safe water at AWWA, we now look to the future — to what challenges and circumstances the next 125 years will bring. We invite you to be an integral part of the future of safe water by coming to ACE07 — AWWA's Annual Conference and Exposition, the most comprehensive and diverse water conference in the world. Help shape the future of water by attending ACE07 in Toronto!

32nd International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE)
Date: June 25 - 29, 2007
Place: International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment (ISRSE)
Costa Rica, San Jose, USA
We are pleased to invite you to the 32nd International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment. The overall theme is the use of Earth observation systems in monitoring, understanding, and managing the environment with particular emphasis on achieving sustainable development. The symposium will include oral and poster sessions on vital issues of interest to research and educational institutions, government agencies, commercial entities, as well as resource managers, decision-makers in public and private sectors and scientists involved in remote sensing research and applications.

Geoinformatics Forum Salzburg 2007
Date: July 3 - 6, 2007
Place: Salzburg University,
Hellbrunner Strasse 34, Salzburg, 5020 Austria
The Salzburg University Centre for Geoinformatics has been organizing an annual regional conference dedicated to Applied Geoinformatics (AGIT) for over fifteen years. After several successful English speaking pre- and post-conferences on various topics, we have decided to follow our international partner organisations' suggestions to offer an annual English symposium co-located with AGIT and sharing the state-of-the art AGIT-EXPO exhibit. We invite you to attend GI-Forum 2007.