February 24, 2003
Homeland Security and Duct Tape
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.
| by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by GISCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!
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Homeland Security and Duct Tape
Last week, consumers were encouraged to go out and buy plastic sheeting and duct tape with the express purpose of sealing doors and windows in the event of a chemical or biological weapons attack. Don't get me wrong, I think duct tape is an extremely useful thing to have around. Duct tape and velcro make the world go round. But trying to duct tape yourself into an airtight room in order to avoid being contaminated by some kind of airborne virus makes almost no sense.
When it appeared that consumers were going a little overboard, emptying stores of duct tape and plastic sheeting, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge made the statement, "we just don't want folks sealing up their doors or sealing up their windows." Mr. Ridge went on to say that the emergency supplies should be kept at the ready, but not used. President Bush suggested that citizens prepare themselves with an emergency kit that consisted of a flashlight, bottled water and a can opener. This week, Mr. Ridge announced a $1.2 million “ready” campaign, with a website
; and a toll-free telephone line (800) BE READY-designed to give citizens easy access to information during a crisis.
Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, the only doctor in the Senate, advised people to play cards or something else they like to do, and "Exercise regularly, eat well and get a good night's rest."
While some of this may sound amusing, the Code Orange alert shed light on the fact that funding for Homeland Security has not been made top priority in the White House, and consequently police departments, fire departments and other emergency-response agencies declare that they have not received adequate funding for communications technology needed to properly respond to a terrorist or other emergency.
On the other hand, the technology exists. Companies such as MapInfo, GE Network Solutions, Intergraph, Bentley, Autodesk, ESRI and many others continue to work hard on providing integrated Homeland Security solutions that are at the ready and hopefully easy to implement. My question is, if the government is not funding emergency response agencies so they can implement life-saving solutions before an emergency, how effectively can these wonderful tools be deployed when and if there is a need for them?
New product announcements from Intergraph and Bentley head this week's industry news.
Version 5.1 of the GeoMedia(R) product suite has just been released by Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions. The enhanced GeoMedia suite of products for the desktop and the Web will be available during the first half of 2003. Intergraph is now shipping version 5.1 of GeoMedia and GeoMedia Professional.
Pete Crosbie, GeoMedia product manager for Intergraph, was kind enough to answer some questions I had about the new product release.
The press release states that GeoMedia version 5.1 incorporates many important productivity and usability enhancements that eliminate the need to use separate CAD packages or plotting applications. Can you expand on that?
There are two new toolsets now included as part of GeoMedia functionality that enable spatial data collection and plotting to uniquely address data maintenance and plotting workflows.
For GIS users who are currently capturing spatial data using other CAD packages, this means that GeoMedia Professional has added even more GIS-focused, CAD-like productivity tools that allow them to address those workflows from one software package. This benefits users by eliminating the need to purchase separate CAD packages and also helps them increase software operator productivity and GIS workflow productivity. We've included CAD functionality specifically related to GIS tasks. CAD packages, by definition, contain an abundance of functionality that is not always needed for GIS workflows.
There will be a set of users who will specifically demand a CAD environment for their daily work. CAD integration is extremely important for these users and that's why GeoMedia and GeoMedia Professional continue to interoperate seamlessly with major CAD packages. The data servers still call up data from these packages without any required translation and further, GeoMedia products will display it correctly referenced with other GIS data in other formats. GeoMedia 5.1 also continues to support export to DXF, DGN, and DWG. All of this can be accomplished using a standard RDBMS as the spatial repository.
As to the reference to the plotting applications, this means that many of our customers are using CAD packages for their plotting workflows. GM 5.1 adds a new batch plotting utility, as well as a number of other plotting enhancements, and can now address the great majority of plotting functionality needed without the need for separate CAD packages or CAD plotting utilities.
What specific enhancements in the product are the direct result of user input, or customer demand?
With each new release we work closely with our customers' feedback to determine new functionality needed, so all our enhancements are the result of customer demand either directly or indirectly. Some of the most highly requested enhancements that are incorporated in GeoMedia 5.1 were:
Presentation improvements for plotting to enable higher quality cartography
- the ability to reuse styles across multiple GeoWorkspaces
- batch plotting
- Zoom and pan map information in the layout window
- Export the layout window as a raster file
- Presentation symbology improvements
- Legend placement service for creating legends in layout window
- Support weight ramps in thematic dialog.
- Set the styles for all entries of a thematic.
- Symbol creation tool
- CAD data capture and editing for productivity improvements
- Extend 2 lines to intersection
- Intersection snap
- Insert Circle
Have any of your beta testers tested the Tablet PC support and if so, what have been their findings?
Intergraph has performed full testing in-house on the Tablet and GeoMedia is fully compatible with the Tablet PC.
How does the Oracle support expand interoperability between data sources?
Intergraph's GeoMedia products don't use any proprietary middleware, or create any non-standard data in an Oracle database that other applications would not recognize. This means that data written to the database by GeoMedia Professional is completely Oracle-compatible. Any triggers or stored procedures that might exist in the database are fully supported. There is no circumvention of database management and security mechanisms. Other applications can come in and read and modify the data without invalidating the data. This allows GeoMedia Professional to be a maintenance application without preventing the applications from accessing and manipulating the data.
This is not true of other GIS software which stores a lot of the GIS intelligence in middleware applications; causing any modifications to the data in Oracle to be made by the GIS application to avoid invalidating the data for the GIS.
Specifically with 5.1, we have added support for Oracle read/write views. Oracle views were supported in GM 5.0 as read-only.
The V8 World Tour is a venue for some important technology releases from Bentley Systems, Incorporated, not the least being the global, synchronized release of its V8 Generation products. This type of release has been much sought after by customers, who have had to wait for releases of applications for six months or more after receiving the flagship new product release. For AEC software vendors, this ambitious delivery schedule has been an impossibility up until now. This combination of products will include MicroStation® V8.1, its applications, and all Bentley collaboration servers, and offers up the grand plan of fully integrated functionality for the building, civil,
geospatial, and plant vertical markets.
Also coming out of the V8 World Tour is the announcement of Bentley Systems, Incorporated's V8 Generation version of Bentley® PowerDraft and the new family of PowerDraft applications. Based on PowerDraft technology, Power products are for users who want drawing-oriented, domain-specific functionality at a very reasonable price.
This new product line natively supports both DGN and DWG and should make it easier for cartographers, mapping professionals, surveyors, operations and maintenance managers, and many others, to contribute and view far richer content than they can with other drawing tools.
Interestingly enough, available immediately is the first Power product, Bentley® PowerMap, a full-featured mapping and geospatial application. Bentley PowerMap allows users to create highly accurate large scale maps using its 2D geometry and editing environment. It is also a robust development platform for other geospatial applications.
Telcontar, location-based services (LBS) platform provider, and telematics software company Televoke announced a merger between the two companies to create a supplier of software and related services for powering location-based services in the United States and Europe. Together Telcontar's spatial software platform and Televoke's Automated User Interface will enable customers to produce powerful mobile safety, security and convenience (MSSC) services.
A distribution agreement for the sale and service of Leica Geosystems' GPS/GIS and GPS Reference Station products in Virginia was announced by Leica Geosystems and Loyola Enterprises.
Loyola Enterprises has established a new Precision Spatial Systems Division, headed by former Leica Geosystems sales representative Brian Daniel, to serve the growing GPS/GIS market. Loyola's plans also include providing a broad range of services that will complement the Leica GPS/GIS product line including GPS to GIS data processing, aerial and satellite image processing, and will offer technical and programming services to design, install, operate and manage web-based GIS.
Laser-Scan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with leading professional services consulting firm, Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) to develop its presence in Australia.
As a result of a partnership agreement between TeleAtlas and Wanadoo, Wanadoo users throughout Europe now have access to the most accurate and up-to-date maps on the Internet. A popular French Internet service, Wanadoo Maps' services are produced in 6 languages and are aimed chiefly at a European audience. This agreement opens access to all TeleAtlas' European databases and maps. TeleAtlas was chosen by Wanadoo for its 9 million active customers as well as its portals and the suitability of its mapping data. Complete, correct and up-to-date data enables users to generate detailed maps whose features include the direction of traffic, the rail network, rivers and lakes.
Professional Surveyor's Publishing Company (PSPCI), publisher of Professional Surveyor Magazine and GIS Monitor, announced the acquisition of Earth Observation Magazine (EOM). The acquisition of EOM broadens the platform of PSPCI's highly respected position in the North American geomatics industry.
In print since 1981, Professional Surveyor Magazine has grown several hundred percent in recent years, according to the press release. Roland Mangold, past president and publisher of EOM since its launch in 1993, has signed a multi-year employment contract with PSPCI and will remain as a full-time member of the editorial team.
Viewscape3D Graphics Ltd. announced the appointment of Brad Desaulniers as CEO. A Vancouver native, he was educated at Harvard University in Cambridge. Also a former world champion squash player, Mr. Desaulniers has received management experience from Xerox and London Life and Uniglobe Travel. He also co-founded and operated the world's largest value added reseller for Maximizer Software (Multi Active Vancouver) and was the acting Canadian Marketing Manager for an $80 million USD consolidator of Microsoft Certified Training Centers.
Chris Duncombe, Viewscape3D's new Vice President of Technology who recently joined the company in its first acquisition (ATP Engineering Inc.) commented, “Brad's considerable experience adds knowledge, strength, and diversity to our growing team of committed management professionals.”
MapInfo Corporation (NASDAQ:
)'s technology fully supports the White House's Office for Homeland Security (OHS) call for open standards and IT interoperability, according to an announcement made this week. MapInfo's location-based technology can access data from GIS or enterprise database systems without any proprietary interfaces.
This non-proprietary approach is especially advantageous in the sharing of location-based information -- such as data on people, assets and facilities - when rapid response and accuracy is essential in critical emergency situations. Generally different agencies and departments keep a tight hold on their information in various formats. Because of this, the Department of Homeland Security has called for the development of information integration architectures that will make it easier to share homeland security information with state, local and private organizations.
In another announcement, MapInfo revealed that MapInfo miAware 2.0 is the industry's first mobile location services platform to adhere to Mobile Location Protocol specifications set by the Location Interoperability Forum (LIF), which is now part of the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA). MapInfo also supports the Open GIS Consortium's OpenLS-proposed specifications and has been helping to develop specifications in the Open GIS Consortium since 1997. miAware enables wireless carriers to create customized mobile location services, and is currently being used by Vodafone in several different sites.
The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announces a Request for Comment (RFC) on the proposed Web Map Context Documents Implementation Specification. This proposed specification describes a standardized approach to enable the capture and maintenance of the context - or state information - of a Web Map Server (WMS) request so that this information can be reused easily in the future user session. Those interested in this RFC are invited to comment on the document, which is located at
. Comments must be submitted to OGC no later than 21 March 2003.
Analytical Surveys, Inc. announced financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2002. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, first quarter revenues for first fiscal quarter were $4.3 million versus $5.6 million of the same time the year before. The Company reported a first quarter net loss available to common shareholders of $817,000, or 99 cents per diluted share, versus net earnings of $4.0 million, or $5.80 per diluted share, in the first quarter last year. Last year's first quarter results included a gain from the extinguishment of debt totaling $9.6 million and a write-off of goodwill of $3.6 million.
PlanGraphics, Inc. (OTCBB:
) announced a net loss of $291,257 on revenue of $1,649,639 for the quarter ended December 31, 2002, as compared with net income of $37,934 on $2,120,218 a year prior.
Revenue for the current quarter, down $470,579, or 22 percent from the prior year, continued to be constrained by several contracts for the company's geographic information systems (GIS) solutions held in abeyance by key local government customers pending receipt of federal funding and resolution of changes in clients' administrative policies and procedures. The first quarter loss was less than one cent per share, based on 98,214,418 weighted average shares outstanding versus net income of less than one cent on 64,228,797 weighted average shares outstanding a year ago.
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community (IGUC) announced the inaugural Geospatial Achievement Awards program. Intergraph users who have developed innovative, technologically advanced mapping and geospatial solutions to better serve their communities or constituencies have an opportunity to be recognized by these awards. Organizations that help to set the standard for the industry's future will be highlighted at the event. All organizations are encouraged to submit entries by April 1, 2003.
Award recipients will be officially announced at GeoSpatial World 2003, the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community International Training and Management Conference, May 19-21, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Winners will receive a special recognition award and one complimentary registration to GeoSpatial World 2003.
For complete program guidelines and instructions on submitting an entry, visit www.intergraph.com/gis/community/awards/achievement.asp. For more information on GeoSpatial World 2003, visit
Laser-Scan's web-based flight information service for No.1 Aeronautical Information Documents Unit (No.1 AIDU) of the Royal Air Force, gained RAF accreditation.
With the NOTAM Display System (NDS) aircrew can input routing information via an ordinary web browser, and to retrieve and display all NOTAMs (Notice To AirMen) that are pertinent to that flight. This NDS provides aircrew with an effective method of identifying only those NOTAMs that are relevant to their particular journey, according to a variety of search criteria.
Although NDS has been available for military usage over the web via an Internet service since September 2002, and via a limited-access AIDU Intranet service since October 2002, with this accreditation the Internet service is switched over to the high-bandwidth RAF Local Data Communications Network.
GeoConcept SA announced the opening of its Swiss subsidiary, GeoConcept International Software SA Switzerland. The new subsidiary results from a friendly takeover of its partner, SIT Conseil in Geneva. Under the leadership of Guillaume Beauregard, the new company has six staff including four former members of SIT Conseil.
As a result of this move, GeoConcept SA becomes owner of the leading edge solution, Edilis, a tool for local government management which will become available to its international distribution network. GeoConcept International Software SA Switzerland will distribute GeoConcept¹s entire product range.
Haestad Methods announced the launch of its 2003 Tour of Europe by exhibiting at the Water & Wastewater Europe (W&WE) conference in Nice, France, March 4-6. This customized tour was launched to maximize Haestad Methods' support and services to the European market through strategic conferences, localized training, and onsite visits to top water distribution companies.
More positive quarterly reports: Dell (Nasdaq:
) ended its fiscal 2003 by posting best-ever quarterly product shipments, revenue and operating profit in the period ended Jan. 31.
Dell gained almost three points of global market share from one year ago -- more than three points in servers -- and nearly five share points in the United States. All customer and product categories were strong.
Fourth-quarter unit shipments were 25 percent higher; without Dell, the global industry grew less than 1 percent. Shipments in strategically important countries China, France, Germany and Japan increased a combined 39 percent. Dell server growth in those markets was 47 percent.
Quarterly revenue was $9.7 billion, up 21 percent from last year. Company earnings were 23 cents per share, an increase of 35 percent. Full-year net earnings were $2.12 billion, on record revenue of $35.4 billion. Earnings per share for fiscal 2003 reached 80 cents, up from 65 cents absent a special charge in the prior year.
Contributing to Dell's success was the company's 28-percent increase in shipments of PowerEdge servers -- more than five times larger than server volumes for the rest of the industry.
Instructors at several civil engineering schools- the University of Dayton, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and the Oregon Institute of Technology - recently selected Autodesk® Land Desktop software for their classes in surveying, design, and modeling. The choice was made because, according to school representatives, the majority of the engineering organizations in their regions use the solution, making knowledge of this tool a necessity for success in the civil engineering field.
“In a survey of our advisory board members - who are professionals in civil engineering - the vast majority told us that they are using Autodesk solutions,” said Dr. Joe Saliba, chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Mechanics department at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. “So, in order to prepare our students properly for the positions they will seek after graduation, we must ensure they are proficient with the tools adopted by the industry.”
Joining the Bentley V8 Generation World Tour as sponsors and participants are Adobe Systems Incorporated, Microsoft Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation and others, according to Bentley Systems Incorporated. The tour has already visited London and Orlando, FL, and will visit more than 70 cities around the world over the next three months, culminating at the Bentley International User Conference, May 18-22 in Baltimore, MD. A full list of tour dates and venues can be found at
The Smart Card Alliance announced a new white paper, “Privacy and Secure Identification Systems: The Role of Smart Cards as a Privacy-Enabling Technology” at the Mid-Winter Conference held in Salt Lake City. The white paper emphasizes how smart cards can serve as a tool to help protect the privacy of individuals, and is available free to members and non-members on the website at www.smartcardalliance.org . In two weeks, another white paper will be issued entitled, “Contactless Technologies for Payment: Applications, Technology, and Transaction Models.”
EMERGE, provider of digital imagery and cost effective digital sensor technology, received a contract with Obsidian Group to deliver color and color infrared imagery of 31 U.S. Naval training and education sites covering 360 square miles.
According to Dan Van Slyke, President of Obsidian Group, this is a huge challenge because the bases range anywhere in size from less than one square mile in area, to more that 30 square miles and from densely built-up areas to heavily forested rural ones. The sites span the South from Texas to Florida, and run as far north as Illinois. Many sites are survey and ground control “unfriendly.” EMERGE's process requires no ground control, thus was a natural fit for this rugged terrain. EMERGE was also able to provide imagery for all 31 sites at the cost of providing one or two via traditional photogrammetry.
U.S. Census Bureau has just created three new packages for researching American demographics:
- Census 2000 - designed for the person who only wants current 2000 data - but wants all of it
- Census Reference - created for the researcher who wants all of the Census data, as it was released, for 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000).
- Census Time Series Research - ideal for the researcher/analyst who needs to do time series analysis and wants all of the data from 1970, 1980, and 1990 converted to the 2000 boundaries for ease of use in comparing to the 2000 data.
GE Network Solutions announced the release of its Smallworld PowerOn Remote Dispatch 2.0 software product. As a main component of the Smallworld PowerOn product suite, the Smallworld PowerOn Remote Dispatch software is a web-based tool for dispatching work crews from remote service centers. The product provides full access to the Smallworld PowerOn map window and allows users to view outage orders, maintenance orders, crews, and network status information from a web browser. The Smallworld PowerOn Remote Dispatch 2.0 software features remote dispatching, planned switching, trouble call management, crew management and reporting capabilities.
GISCafe has many popular downloads in various categories that can be accessed directly by going to
Visitors are encouraged to go to the site and add new downloads or update their old ones.
Here are some web mapping downloads that you might not have noticed on our site.
RPC UkrEngGeodesy --GSRMS applet is a client part of WEB cartographic server. It can get data directly from database (Oracle Spatial) or from local files (ArcView shapes)
uismedia Lang & Müller-- MapViewSVG is an extension for ArcView 3.x and ArcGIS 8.x by ESRI. It gives you the opportunity to convert maps from ArcView/ArcGIS into the SVG format. You can then use these SVG files to publish them on the Web or on CD-ROM. MapViewSVG does not need any additional software on your Web Server.
Technologica, Ltd. -- Pure Java software for creation and management of applications delivering GIS services in an Internet/Intranet environment. Allows processing, extracting and visualization of data stored in Oracle Spatial, ESRI Shape files, and raster images. Free trial version is available
Letters from Readers
RE: GIS Report from Europe - An Interview with Jeff Thurston, February 3-7, 2003
Enjoyed your article, but it seems odd that Jeff is unaware of the significant project under the US Bureau of Land Management "
National Integrated Land System" (NILS)
I am currently managing a provincial public/private data sharing project- with some similarity to SANGIS in San Diego County and METROGIS in the Minneapolis tri-cities area.
Also some significant work has been done in Canada in relation to public benefit from "free" against "chargeable" access to land data.
The Canadian equivalent to NILS is
, naturally with much smaller budget. However they did commission a very comprehensive study on the issue of data cost recovery that your readers should know about. The report is available at
Dilsher S. Virk
General Manager, ICIS
Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it. While the
National Integrated Land System (NILS)
is formed and will be quite useful, it too is dependent upon participants contributing to the effort. I did look at NILS prior to writing the article but noticed it did not cover the whole U.S. and did not cover all types of data - more or less surveying data only. Nevertheless, it is a very good system and I am glad you wrote.
However, the problem that remains is - how does a whole country acquire seamless data that is kept up to date? And how do we go about acquiring it and maintaining it fee or not? I may be wrong Dilsher, but I do not believe BLM or USGS is receiving additional funding for this project. Instead, it revolves around agencies and companies developing a system to access information - which by the way is wonderful! For those people in the western U.S. this is a good source of cadastral information.
For those of you not familiar with a recent study in Canada regarding spatial information I would draw your attention the document prepared by KPMG entitled Geo-spatial Data Policy Study (
). For those interested in recent papers and the discussion of similar issues in the U.K. you can find these at the British Ordnance Survey (
For other cost recovery related information look to Geoconnexion (
). Similar arguments are often put forward for 'Free GIS' software (i.e. under GNU license), but there are varying opinions about what constitutes 'free'. In a data context, free must embrace elements of quality. Free outdated and poor quality data is not much use. The cost of providing high quality, useful data is the point and lies at the heart of the issue - and how that gets paid for.
Maybe we should hold an open forum on GISWeekly on the issue! It would be interesting to read and hear the comments. There are advantages and disadvantages to every side.
Jeff Thurston, MSc.
Dear Susan-- Great idea and format. It is concise and makes it easier to be aware of the tech market. I am just finishing my ed. in MCSE and this helps keep me better informed. Thanks --Michael Waters
Around the Web
Papers for CORP2003&GeoMultimedia03 are available online-
The Bush administration signed off Friday, February 14, on the final version of the United States' strategy for protecting the Internet and securing information systems. The policy statement, called the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, calls for the government to work with private industry to create an emergency response system to cyberattacks and to reduce the nation's vulnerability to such threats.
Nokia is laying off 550 employees in its network equipment-making division because of a "reduced need for hardware R&D work," according to the handset maker.
upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. announces the launch of Tailoring IntelliCAD
, the first e-book written for new and experienced IntelliCAD users. The 160-page e-book contains step-by-step tutorials for learning how to customize the popular CAD (computer-aided design) software. Tailoring IntelliCAD i
s published exclusively in Adobe Acrobat format
Going on this Week
Date: February 21 - 22, 2003
Place: Budapest, Hungary
Planning, Documentation, EU-Subsidies (InVeKos), Logistics and Precision Farming with easy to handle GIS-Programs of the European Specialist.
Date: February 25 - 28, 2003
Place: Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
CORP is an interdisciplinary event with participants coming from various fields, e.g. spatial planning, geography, economy, transport, computer science, architecture, humanities, etc.
Date: February 25, 2003
Place: Auckland, New Zealand
Date: February 27 - 28, 2003
Place: Indianapolis Sheraton Hotel and Suites
Indianapolis, IN USA
The theme of the 2003 conference encompasses many aspects of a robust GIS framework for Indiana, stressing emergency management, economic development, land and water resources, data access, infrastructure, partnerships, technology, and funding.
Date: February 27 - 28, 2003
Place: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Whether your a beginner or experienced FME user, GIS professional, or developer, our hands on course and professional training materials will show you how to get the most out of FME. Register early, space is limited!
Date: February 27 - 28, 2003
Place: San Francisco, CA USA
7th Annual Conference features more than 40 speakers from Nextel, Verizon, Cingular and other major corporations.
Da<>e: February 28 - March 1, 2003
Place: Budapest, Hungary
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here
To read more news, click here
-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.