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November 20, 2006
New Social Mapping Tool from Platial
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: New Social Mapping Tool from Platial

Welcome to GISWeekly! Originally, Platial.com, a “user-based atlas,” offered a free resource for users to build maps with others in their communities. The site has already attracted 75,000 users, who have asked for a way to do this on their own websites and blogs. The newly released MapKit lets them build maps and “mashups” the same way they did on Platial.com but in a more personalized way on their websites.

GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Top News of the Week, Acquisitions/Alliances/Agreements, Announcements, Financials, Contract Awards, Contests, People, 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
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Best wishes,

Susan Smith, Managing Editor

Industry News

New Social Mapping Tool from Platial

by Susan Smith

Services that are fun and free generally get the attention of the consumer market. Last week Platial.com announced MapKit, which is a free social mapping tool that allows users to put geotags on their websites and blogs. As geocaching became an enjoyable pastime for those with a GPS, geotagging is becoming a popular activity for those with a browser and websites and blogs of their own.

Originally, Platial.com, a “user-based atlas,” offered a free resource for users to build maps with others in their communities. They can also tag their experiences, opinions and other pertinent information to specific places that can be explored by other visitors. The site has already attracted 75,000 users, who have asked for a way to do this on their own websites and blogs. MapKit lets them build maps and “mashups” the same way they did on Platial.com but in a more personalized way on their websites.

Sort of like a Web 2.0 applet, MapKit is useful to both users who are coders and those who know nothing about coding.

Interestingly, the founders of Platial.com come from varied backgrounds. According to founder Di-Ann Eisnor, there are only seven employees, four of whom are engineers, two with geography backgrounds but “not geospatial specific.” One of their early investors was Jack Dangermond, who continues to be involved in discussions with Platial. Eisnor is from a more consumer based orientation, with social networking, marketing and grass roots outreach in her background.

The other co-founders have also been involved in using psycho-geography, building urban adventure games and urban exploration applications.

Platial uses parts of ESRI technology such as their geocoder, which is integrated into the Platial service. There may be a way that ESRI will be able to use Platial in their offerings as well.

The 75,000 non-GIS people who use Platial.com are the ready market for MapKit. “People who have their own websites and bloggers are our audience,” said Eisnor. “I don’t know if there’s a mainstream audience for everybody coming to be a mapper on our site, but if I’m a parenting site, I can share kid friendly places within the context of my own community. The same goes for birders, bikers and hikers, etc. The primary customer, if you can say that, considering it’s a free product, is the website owner and blogger.”

How does Platial.com expect to make money? “We’re just ramping up our local advertising program,” said Eisnor. “Each place within our system has a community bulletin board and local advertisers can come and host based on targeting through geography, keywords, and post their interactive business cards. These little community bulletin boards are attached to places, not just at Platial, but also ones that are on other sites. It’s an ad model.”

Another area that Platial is exploring is the use of their API. “We have an API now which is free for non commercial purposes,” said Eisnor. “We have recently gotten some interest from more commercial entities who would like to use it for their online purposes and we’re definitely figuring out if there’s something there for us.”

Like with other online services, Platial members are very active in letting Platial know what features they want. “We’re working on both presenting new richer features on the site and more ways to simplify MapKit for the end user,” explained Eisnor. “Our biggest challenge is making everything easy and compelling enough so that everybody wants to have it as part of their community.”

One of the areas they’ve been working on is “Resource Description Framework” or rather, the specific vocabulary that people want for their community, i.e., birders will talk about geographic locations using certain phrases that their community understands. Other changes made within the database include working with events in time, alternative base mapping to make the service more platform compatible, and performance and compatibility issues.

Eisnor said the company is working on making sure Platial.com and MapKit can be used widely with many different blogging platforms and other social networking site platforms.

Top News of the Week

CH2M HILL’sEnterprise Spatial Solutions (ESS) business announced it has partnered with Google to present a Webinar showing how the visualization power of Google Earth can aid in effective project management. CH2M HILL ESS is a global practice within CH2M HILL’s Communications and Information Solutions Business Group. CH2M HILL will introduce their GeoSite solution, a cost-effective, secure, easy-to-use project management Web portal, Thursday, November 16 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time

Registration & Information: Brad Jones, CH2M HILL,
Email Contact

Intergraph Corporation, a global provider of spatial information management (SIM) software, announced that Intergraph and the other named defendants have entered into a memorandum of understanding with plaintiffs' counsel in connection with two purported class action lawsuits, previously consolidated, that have been filed in connection with the proposed acquisition of Intergraph by an entity primarily owned by entities affiliated with Hellman & Friedman LLC and Texas Pacific Group.


Opvantek announces that it has joined ESRI's Business Partner Program. Opvantek is currently using ESRI’s ArcEngine Development Kit to integrate the Optimain DS distribution integrity management product directly with an ArcGIS database for customers in the gas, electric & water distribution industries.

GeoAge, Inc. announced it has earned certified status in Microsoft Corp.’s Partner Program, with a specific proficiency in Mobility Solutions. As a Certified Partner, GeoAge has demonstrated expertise with Microsoft technologies and proven ability to meet customer needs. Microsoft Certified Partners receive a rich set of benefits that give them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.


In celebration of Geography Awareness Week, Google Inc. released new Featured Content for Google Earth that connects users to information about the history of the world through one of the largest private map collections in the US. Map overlays from the David Rumsey collection, which integrate historic cartographic masterpieces dating as far back as the 17th century, have been brought to life for the first time using advanced digitization techniques and innovative software tools in Google Earth. Also available with this release in partnership with National Geographic is an interactive geography quiz that enables users to test their knowledge of this year's Geography Awareness Week
focus region of Africa.

Intergraph Corporation announced its participation in the 2006 GEOINT Symposium, the premier annual event for the geospatial intelligence community. Produced and sponsored by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), GEOINT 2006 will be held at Nov. 13-16 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

Intergraph is participating in a panel and on-stage demonstration highlighting the importance of geospatial intelligence and the vital role Intergraph technology serves in today's security and military and intelligence industries.
GeoSpatial Training Services in conjunction with Landworks, Inc. is pleased to announce the availability of two new instructor led courses covering the Google Maps API and Google Earth. Both courses will be offered in the Houston and Denver offices in early 2007.

For more information regarding these courses please see our

Hyperspectral remote sensing is an established but sometimes under-utilized tool in the quest to cost-effective exploration using mineral mapping. Recent findings by a team of RMSI technicians has revealed new and refined techniques for remotely identifying ore-bearing landforms. These commercially viable techniques can now be applied to both the collection and conversion of data.


TerraGo Technologies, provider of GeoPDF and the MAP2PDF® family of products, announced that Brian Soliday has joined the company as vice president of sales where he’ll be responsible for expanding use of the company’s popular geospatial data distribution format, GeoPDF.

New Products

TerraGo Technologies announced that MAP2PDF for GeoTIFF is now available, allowing TerraGo customers to create GeoPDF® files directly from GeoTIFF files. These GeoPDF files are then viewable with the free Adobe® Reader® and include enhanced mapping functionality via the free GeoPDF toolbar.

The Carbon Project announced that it has included the source code for its powerful Gaia 3 viewer as part of the new CarbonTools PRO toolkit, enabling software developers to easily create innovative geosocial solutions.

Developers can get the Gaia 3 source code with CarbonTools PRO - a robust and extensible new software development toolkit that enhances the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 to support advanced location content handling and sharing.

Gaia 3 is a powerful new platform for accessing, visualizing and sharing raster and feature-based location content from numerous sources and formats. To preview Gaia 3, please visit the

LizardTech, a division of Celartem, Inc. announced the release of the ArcMap Plug-in for Spatial Express, an add-on to ESRI's ArcMap application. LizardTech's Spatial Express enables storage of MrSID and JPEG 2000 images natively in Oracle(R) Spatial 10g, an option to Oracle Database Enterprise Edition.

FortiusOne announced the availability of its beta web service for fast and intuitive map analysis, GeoIQ, on the website
www.geoiq.com. GeoIQ takes today's mapping technologies like Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth to the next level by giving people with no expertise a fast, simple way to filter, analyze and get more insight from geographic data.

Trimble announced the availability of its Geocache Navigator(TM) application, extending its Trimble Outdoors(TM) family of GPS-on-cellular applications. The unique Geocache Navigator application enables a diverse group of geocachers including enthusiasts, first-time users and families to embark on an outdoor hide and seek adventure with the convenience, security and cost-effectiveness of their GPS-enabled mobile phones. The product is supported with a new
website .

Claritas Inc., provider of intelligent marketing information and target marketing services, announced the release of the Claritas ATM Location Dataset, a proprietary dataset of MasterCard Advisors and MasterCard Location Services, that provides access to the most comprehensive, up-to-date and accurate ATM location data available.

MapInfo Corporation, global provider of location intelligence solutions, will unveil AnySite(R) Financial, a comprehensive display analytics solution for market analysis, performance assessment and target marketing, at the BAI Retail Delivery Conference & Expo, taking place November 14-16, 2006. The software application enables banks and other financial institutions to visually analyze and display demand, competition and site data for enhanced competitive analysis and decision making. MapInfo will demonstrate AnySite Financial at booth #1131 at the BAI Conference.

Thetus Corporation, a leading provider of knowledge modeling and discovery software, announced the release of Thetus Publisher 2.5, the company's flagship infrastructure software product. The new version includes dramatic improvements in performance and scalability; a highly-optimized semantic search engine; out-of-the-box integration with databases and other repositories; JSR168 portlets for dynamic web-based interfaces; and automated workflow for incorporating third-party analytics.

Caliper Corporation is now shipping the latest
5-digit ZIP Code boundaries for the entire United States ($495).

These boundaries reflect changes such as new housing and commercial development. The ZIP Code data are for use with Caliper's GIS products, including Maptitude and TransCAD.

NAVTEQ, global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, is supplying map data to Norwich Union for its innovative "Pay As You Drive"(TM) insurance scheme which could save drivers in the United Kingdom up to one third on their premiums.
Drivers are provided with in-car GPS devices coupled with NAVTEQ(R) street level maps, enabling Norwich Union to calculate insurance premiums for each journey, depending on time of day, type of road and mileage.

Leica Geosystem announced the introduction of the DISTO™ A8 for the most demanding indoor and outdoor measuring jobs. The DISTO A8 is the first handheld laser distance measuring tool with a built-in digital viewfinder and tilt sensor.

Around the Web

Helio adds new GPS-enabled phone, by Margaret Reardon, CNET News.com, November 8, 2006 - Helio, the mobile phone operator created for tech-savvy hipsters, plans Thursday to announce a new phone for its service that uses satellite location technology to help subscribers stay connected.

Upcoming Events

International Global Conference 2006

Date: November 14 - 17, 2006

Place: Singapore, China

Doing Business in the Business or WHERE You are in the World. The Singapore 2006 IMTA Global conference will encompass a comprehensive multi-stream presentation and workshop program featuring presenters from around the world sharing their knowledge and experience in all facets and aspects of our industry.

GIS DAY 2006

Date: November 15, 2006

Place: Everywhere, USA

GIS Day is a grassroots event that formalizes the practice of geographic information systems (GIS) users and vendors of opening their doors to schools, businesses, and the general public to showcase real-world applications of this important technology. The event is principally sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the United States Geological Survey, The Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett–Packard, and ESRI. GIS Day 2006 will be held on Nov. 15, 2006.

Islamic Countries eGovernment Summit

Date: November 20 - 22, 2006

Place: Dubai , United Arab Emirates

The Role of International Org’s in Supporting, Ensuring Efficiency, Effectiveness and Accountability in eGov projects undertaken by Islamic Countries.

You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.