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December 05, 2005
From Autodesk University 2005: Infrastructure Solutions Division Update
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!

Message from the Editor -


Welcome to GISWeekly! The Industry Session on the Infrastructure Solutions Division (ISD) at Autodesk University (AU) 2005 included the announcement that Autodesk is releasing the code for MapServer Enterprise, the company's new web mapping platform, as open source. Some may wonder why Autodesk would do this, but it is not all that surprising in view of the direction many governments are taking with regard to open source (see GISWeekly's
Free Open Source Moves In). Read more about this and other ISD announcements in this week's Industry News.


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, Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, Appointments, Awards, Contracts, New Products, Moves, Letters to the Editor, and Upcoming Events.


GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me
Here.


Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor




Industry News


From Autodesk University 2005: Infrastructure Solutions Division Update

By Susan Smith


In a press conference at Autodesk University 2005 this week, Chris Bradshaw, vice president of the Infrastructure Solutions Division, asked the audience what the difference was between a first world and a third world country. His answer: three days. He noted that it took three days for New Orleans to decline into anarchy after Hurricane Katrina. The decimation of a source of fresh water and the inability to dispose of wastewater safely became critical. “We take this for granted in a first world country,” said Bradshaw. “But third world countries don't have this.”


While you may have a “yes-but-what's-that-got-to-do-with-me?” type response, the truth is, the hurricanes have shown us in a very short space of time what it might be like to not have all those gifts that we take for granted. What Bradshaw brought to our attention is the critical need for infrastructure - refurbishment and building-- globally. Whether first or third world or in between, governments worldwide recognize the need to develop an underlying technology structure independent of software vendors that can serve their infrastructure requirements.


The Industry Session on the Infrastructure Solutions Division (ISD) included the announcement that Autodesk is releasing the code for MapServer Enterprise, the company's new web mapping platform, as open source. Some may wonder why Autodesk would do this, but it is not all that surprising in view of the direction many governments are taking with regard to open source (see GISWeekly's
Free Open Source Moves In). As reported in that article, Norway's Minister of Modernization Morten Andreas Meyer announced at a press conference in Oslo in July that "Proprietary formats will no longer be acceptable in communication between citizens and government." His new information technology plan in Norway - "eNorge 2009 - the digital leap", charges all government institutions, both at the national and local level, to work out a recommendation for the use of open source code in the public sector by the end of 2005. By the end of 2006 everyone working in the public sector in Norway must have
in place a plan for the use of open source code and open standards.


I reported back then that “After announcements such as this, you can hardly expect the big players to remain silent.” Microsoft had already been working with open source products and has shown interest in adopting some aspects of the open source model. The product, DotNetNuke from Microsoft, is open source. The company expects to expand its release of source code for open source (which it has already begun). Hardly a surprise, then, that other software vendors would follow suit.


At AU, Bradshaw said that the MapServer Enterprise source code is available for viewing. through the MapServer Foundation, an independent non-profit organization whose mission it is to support and promote open source web mapping. Charter members of the foundation include MapServer Technical Steering Committee members, Autodesk, DM Solutions Group, and the University of Minnesota MapServer Project.


MapServer has been around a long time, originally known as the University of Minnesota (UMN) MapServer or simply "MapServer". Created by Steve Lime, chair of the MapServer Steering Committee, it has been available as an open source web mapping environment since 1997. Now called MapServer Cheetah so as to differentiate it from MapServer Enterprise, it was developed as a “small, fast, and customizable web map server built on top of other popular open source software libraries including: GDAL/OGR, Proj.4, Shapelib, GD, FreeType, among others. It supports dozens of vector formats through OGR and over 40 raster data formats through GDAL. Natively it supports ESRI shapefiles, TIFF/GeoTIFF,
JPEG, and EPPL-7 raster formats and ArcSDE, PostGIS, and Oracle Spatial databases. It can run as a CGI application using Apache or IIS web servers or scripted through several programming languages including Perl, Python, PHP, Java and more. MapServer Cheetah is known to run on Linux, most versions of Unix, Microsoft Windows and Mac OSX.”


The development community has enhanced MapServer Cheetah since its initial release with capabilities such as dynamic reprojection, support for multiple formats and interoperability standards (Open Geospatial Consortium's web services specifications and OPeNDAP, the scientific community's interoperability protocol), scripting/programming interface (MapScript), and support from thriving client-side tools. MapServer Cheetah is primarily a server-side software application with basic but highly customizable facilities for making client interfaces. It now enjoys more than 10,000 downloads a month.


According to the press literature, MapServer Enterprise (previously code named “Tux”) is a new web mapping platform that enables developers to “rapidly develop and deploy valuable spatial applications. It works with the latest PHP, .NET, and Java tools to quickly build powerful applications for Microsoft Windows or Linux server environments (the same code exists on both platforms). Developers can also easily publish spatial views internally or over the web, using either an AJAX-based viewer or Autodesk's DWF plug-in viewer for offline portability.” Users can also browse using Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.


Autodesk plans to offer a commercial version of the product called Autodesk MapServer Enterprise in 2006, along with an authoring environment which will handle geospatial data collection and preparing data for distribution over the internet. Autodesk MapServer Studio will allow users to collect geospatial data, author maps and layers to be stored in one place.


It is billed as the replacement to Autodesk MapGuide, which will still be available and supported for those who want it. However, MapGuide will go into more of a maintenance mode. In comparing the two, Bradshaw said that MapGuide had only ActiveX technology, whereas MapServer Enterprise will have DWF and AJAX. AJAX has no ActiveX functionality, however, it is raster based. The DWF viewer is vector based, and provides the ability to print to scale, mobile, offline support, is tied to Internet Explorer and is Windows-based. Otherwise, DWF and AJAX have the same functionality, i.e., dynamic pan zoom, scale dependent detail, feature selection, tool tips and hyperlinks.


With MapServer Enterprise, users will be able to write their applications within their server environment and work with either viewer on any client. The MapServer Enterprise supports enhanced stylization, i.e., - true color support, polygon fill transparency, advanced labeling, segmented lines, etc. Feature data objects allow access to ArcSDE, Oracle, SQL Server, etc.


The company's R&D focus will go into MapServer Enterprise and the applications that can be built on top of it. Where Autodesk intends to make its money, obviously, is on the applications they can build on top of the platform and, as with other open source offerings, in service and support.


A preliminary release of MapServer Enterprise, including full source, is available by visiting MapServer Enterprise
overview to
Download MapServer Enterprise source code, installers and documentation. Also visit
Autodesk ISD for Map Server Studio and Enterprise.




Civil 3D


7700 units of Civil 3D shipped last quarter, according to Bradshaw. The product is “very strong” in the transportation market, which has not been Autodesk's strength until Civil 3D came on the scene (their other product, not specifically civil, is Land Development Desktop, still going strong). Autodesk hosts weekly Civil 3D webcasts.


Popular features in the next release include the ability to create your own subassemblies, survey and site.


A new courseware book called Autodesk Official Training Courseware - Residential Grading is available on the e-store.


According to Joe Hedrick, civil solutions group manager at Avatech Solutions, a company that develops implementation, packages and offers consulting and process based training, Civil 3D has many pilot projects in the works and some hard ROI numbers to support its purchase.




Map 3D


Charlie Crocker, product manager for Map 3D, has been at Autodesk for three months but his past experience belies his focus on GIS, building large and small databases. He spoke on the most underutilized features in Map that can drive productivity:
- Connection to a variety of data

- Projection - can handle over 800 projections and feature classes

- Organization - feature classes

- Publication - getting maps out to the masses
Using Map as the front end for Oracle or ArcSDE, allows those who have a solid GIS database background to manage the data while those who don't, do not have to worry about it.


By classifying and organizing your data you ensure that your data is in the right place.
Crocker said that with Map you can take control of spatial data in a way that more people can get access to.


With data classification and modeling - you can move your data into Map and classify DWGs in Map. Map 2006 can handle large datasets. Map can theme an entire dataset based on area. You can bring in data from MapInfo, ArcSDE or Oracle.


2005 Innovation Awards were presented by Chris Bradshaw to Doug Younges, City of Reno, Nevada (geospatial); Jonathan Pickus, Las Vegas Valley Water District (geospatial); Paul Rae, R.F. Binnie & Associates, Ltd. (civil engineering); Conan Witzel, Garrett-Ihnen Civil Engineers (civil engineering).


For the full report on AU see this week's AECWeekly story entitled
Autodesk University 2005 Report.




Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances


MSOL (Marubeni Solutions Corporation) has signed a distribution agreement with the leading location tracking solutions supplier Ekahau, Inc., and starts reselling Ekahau's wireless LAN-based Real-Time Location System (RTLS) and site survey tools from December 2, 2005.


Ekahau's advanced products introduced to the market by MSOL are: Ekahau RTLS, including the Wi-Fi Tag T201, related application software, and Ekahau Site Survey (ESS).


Quantm Ltd., announced that it has signed a Term Contract (Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity, IDIQ) with the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (ADOT&PF), providing Alaska DOT&PF regions and their project managers with fast and easy access to the Quantm route optimization system.


AccuWeather.com announced that it has become a member of Forum Nokia PRO, a program that provides advanced technical, business development and marketing support to selected mobile software companies. As a member of Forum Nokia PRO, AccuWeather.com has the opportunity to further strengthen its relationship with Nokia, gain early access to Nokia technology and take advantage of specialized service and support provided by Nokia to help AccuWeather.com stand out in the marketplace.


Syntellect Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Enghouse Systems Limited announced the completion of its acquisition of Apropos Technology, Inc. for US $2.76 per common share of Apropos, in cash. As a result of the acquisition, Apropos is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Syntellect.




Announcements


Hummingbird Ltd. , global provider of integrated enterprise content management (ECM) and network connectivity solutions, announced that the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is deploying Hummingbird Enterprise(TM) for ESRI, its integrated content management and GIS solution with ESRI's ArcIMS(TM) software. The combined Hummingbird and ESRI solution enables USACE staff to manage, query, and spatially reference all documents pertaining to RFIs required for assisting military deployments and civil-military operations deployed within the area of responsibility.


URISA and the
International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) are pleased to announce several highlights of the tenth annual Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference, taking place February 19-22, 2006 in Orlando, Florida. This milestone event is themed, “Delivering Solutions: A Decade of Integrating Dreams & Technology”. The conference, jointly sponsored by URISA and the IAAO, has successfully brought together assessment and GIS professionals for education and networking for the past ten years.


URISA is also accepting online abstract submissions for it's 44th Annual Conference, taking place September 26-29, 2006 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The program committee is soliciting presentations in four general categories: Applications, Tools, Data, and Management.




Appointments


Leica Geosystems has announced the appointment of Valerie E. Richardson to the newly created position of vice president, strategic marketing and business development, Leica Geosystems, Inc., Americas Region, as part of a strategic initiative to enhance product marketing and planning in the Americas.


ESRI announced that Randy Frantz has joined ESRI as manager of Telecommunications Industry Solutions. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, Frantz was most recently manager of national telecommunications accounts at Osmose Utilities Services, Inc., where he worked with major utilities implementing GIS solutions.


ESRI also announced that Brent A. Jones, PE, PLS, has joined ESRI as Survey Industry Solutions manager. Jones comes to ESRI from James W. Sewall Company, where he was vice president of Energy and Telecommunications Services.


GeoSpatial Experts has opened a new headquarters office in Thornton, Colorado, to accommodate its growing staff and the expanding market for its GPS-Photo Link software and related products. New personnel include a Sales Manager and an Office Manager.




Awards


Japan Conservation Engineers Co., Ltd. has won a 2005 BE Award for its Examples of Construction of Landslide GIS project in the Akita, Yamagata, and Kanagawa prefectures in Japan. The award category was “Geospatial: Geospatial Modeling.”


The Yukon Territorial Government's Energy, Mines and Resources Department was recently presented with an Award of Excellence at ESRI Canada's 2005 Regional User Conference in Vancouver. Alex Miller, President of ESRI Canada, presented the Award in recognition of their use of GIS for integrating multiple sources of geographic data and making it available to staff and the public. Ross McLachlan, Acting Director, Corporate Services, Energy, Mines and Resources, Yukon Territorial Government, was on hand to receive the award.


Awards extended Nominations are being accepted for GITA's prestigious Awards Program. visit the
awards page of GITA's Web site to read the award descriptions, then fill out the appropriate online submission form. Due to numerous requests from our members, the deadline for nomination submissions has been extended to December 19, 2005. For more information on the awards or the nomination process, contact GITA Membership Services Manager Lisa Connor at 303-337-0513 or e-mail
Email Contact.




Contracts


Sanborn CEO John Copple announced the company has been contracted to provide digital land cover change mapping for the great lakes area of Pennsylvania and New York for NOAA's Coastal Services Center (CSC). CSC primarily serves state coastal resource managers. In developing products and services for the coastal management community, CSC collaborates with its state constituents and private industry to address issues such as hazard mitigation, coastal development, habitat restoration, environmental monitoring, water quality, and more.




New Products


GfK MACON has now completed the new digital maps for the Norway edition on 2005 status. The 2004 map material has not only been completely revised, it has also been expanded to include a map of the four-digit postcode districts.
The Norway Edition comprises all postal and administrative units as well as a large selection of topographical map layers, such as roads, railway lines, populated areas and elevations. The digital maps are provided as vector data records in the standard GIS formats Shape (ESRI), mid/mif (MapInfo) and RegioGraph (GfK MACON). All map objects are fully inscribed and include the national as well as the international terminology and characters where necessary.


Concrete Software announces the release of Driving Log. Driving Log, in its most recent version, marks a significant technological leap forward through the use of GPS based location tracking and server side reporting. Driving Log software is a major advance in the expanding role that mobile devices play in peoples' lives. Driving Log users can record dates, locations, times, distances and more with their mobile handset.


Linnet-The Land Systems Company, a provider of enterprise land management systems, announced the latest release of Woodlands - The System (WTS), the industry leading technology based supply chain solution for the forest products industry. WTS 4.2 delivers unprecedented flexibility, enabling companies to configure key modules to match their exact requirements at the exact level of detail they need. All this can be accomplished without the need for custom or product development and can be done by Linnet or your own resources.


osmoGIS Incorporated, specializing in e-commerce and data distribution solutions for the GIS community, has updated and released its shopping cart utility RevAnce. This will allow state, local, and regional organizations to more efficiently provide data to the public, in much less time than traditional methods, and easily recoup costs involved in the process of GIS data distribution.


Geographic Enterprises (GE) has launched the GeoPrinter Wall Map Digital Printing Service at
http://www.geoprinter.com making production of wall size map output fast, easy, and affordable. The GeoPrinter service provides high resolution digital map printing for PDF format files in sizes up to 9 X 12 feet.


The Orton Family Foundation and Placeways, LLC announced the release of CommunityViz Version 3.0, planning software that employs the shared language of visualization to improve the way land use decisions are made. In support of the Orton Family Foundation's mission to transform the land use planning system as a pathway to vibrant and sustainable communities, CommunityViz Version 3.0 offers planners and other civic innovators more capacity than ever to explore land use alternatives, analyze potential impacts and shape a common vision for their community's future.


Intergraph announced ImageStation Stereo for GeoMedia, the first geospatial imaging product on the market to offer stereo 3D capture capabilities while directly reading a wide range of geographic information systems (GIS) data formats and warehouses. Data collected using Intergraph's feature collection software is used in geospatial applications and map revisions and stores collected geospatial features in open databases so they can be easily accessed and used by third-party GIS systems.
ImageStation Stereo for GeoMedia provides modules enabling users to display and manipulate stereo imagery with photogrammetrically accurate 3D cursor tracking, stereo vector superimposition, stereo roam, image contrast and brightness adjustments.


Open Spatial Inc announced the release of Munsys Monitor and Munsys Archive - two powerful new tools that assist in the management of asset information stored in Oracle databases created with the Munsys asset mapping software.




Letters to the Editor


Subject: Newspaper Targeting


Interesting article about using geospatial analysis for marketing/targeting of newspaper subscribers. I live in Denver and the Denver Post sends an extra section once a week based on the area I live in (community articles, events etc..) They not only use GIS for advertising and targeting, but provide readers with items of local interest (based on zipcode?). They also have a online version (yourhub.com) where you can get area specific information - geography based.


Thanks

Mark Ellis




Upcoming Events


Homeland Defense Training Conference®

Date: December 5 - 6, 2005

Place: Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington, DC USA

GIS in Homeland Security: Interoperable COP

Including special segments on the role of Geographic Information Systems in Homeland Security response and recovery management! Timely, accurate information, easily accessed and capable of being shared across federal, state, and local political jurisdictions is fundamental to the decision making and response capability of those tasked with managing federal, state, local governments and including the homeland security mission. Homeland security will be enhanced once armed with real-time ability to quickly visualize activity patterns, map locations, and understand the multi-layered geo-spatial context of emergency situations.


United States IPv6 Summit

Date: December 7 - 9, 2005

Place: Reston, VA USA

A 3-Day Summit on Internet Protocol version 6. The Summit will be in coordination with the Department of Defense's Day of IPv6. Leaders in industry, military, government, academia and research are coming together to discuss the deployment of IPv6 and the future of the “New Internet.” The event will also feature an exhibit hall filled with cutting edge PIv6 technology. The Summit will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, VA, December 7-9, 2005.


You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.


To read more news, click here.



-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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