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September 17, 2007
Visual Fusion: Visual Composite Applications
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!

“Fusion” has become a popular tag in our society, what with Asian and other “Fusion” style foods tempting us. The term is liberally used in the geospatial industry as well, as it becomes more apparent that some information becomes more valuable if fused with other information--such as maps, datasets, visualizations, spreadsheets--into a cohesive fabric.



IDV Solutions has spawned the Visual Fusion Suite, comprised of Visual Fusion Server and Visual Fusion Client, which brings to the market visual consolidation of disparate data sets into a compelling, interactive web-based application


Visual Fusion Server is a composite application server, which connects to enterprise and government databases such as SQL Server, Oracle and HR, and pulls those databases into one web based portal. The information in those databases can be overlaid on a Virtual Earth based map so that companies can see their data dynamically and interactively displayed. They can also bring in third party applications, and WMS Feeds, Geo RSS feeds, and real time weather. Visual Fusion Client is a “rich internet application product developed for a standard web browser, displaying information in a dynamic interface. Visual Fusion Suite combines the two products to provide a platform for bringing data
together in an intuitive, user-friendly mapping and information display.”


Last week, IDV Solutions launched their Labs site, IDV Solutions Labs. According to the press release, “The new lab focuses on the emerging technologies in visual composite applications. Established to serve as a research vessel, the site will be IDV's forum for experiments to continue to drive innovation in the evolving world of composite applications…The lab will function as a forum for topics related to composite applications, location intelligence, visualization products and services, etc.”


IDV Solutions is the first company to bring to my attention the tag, “visual composite applications.”


Labs will focus on technology and what the IDV Solutions products can do with other technologies. The first lab involved finding out if their flagship Visual Fusion Suite product can be used on an iPhone, i.e., can you see points on a map through SharePoint with the technology on the iPhone?


Other opportunities to contribute and talk about technology with IDV Solutions are on the two blog sites hosted on Microsoft Spaces, according to Sarah Wicker, marketing director for IDV Solutions.


Examples of IDV Solutions’ applications can be viewed on their
website. Other examples include a Hurricane Management System for BP after Hurricane Katrina. BP needed a solution that would provide decision makers with a big picture of what’s happening across the eight platforms the company operates in the deep-water continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico.


IDV Solutions took all their assets in the Gulf Coast region: oil rigs, people, stations, etc., and pulled them together, and placed them as points on a Microsoft Virtual Earth map. “They’re dynamic so as you click on an oil rig out in the Gulf Coast, the information populates and the details pan and you can have a real time camera showing a live feed of information from that rig,” explained Wicker. “The product will pull the people in real time on that rig, overlay real time weather and predictive hurricane weather. As hurricanes are moving through the Gulf, the decision makers can see in a quick instance – they know up to the minute when they need to
close a rig down and when they need to get their people off of that rig, so it’s saving them a lot of time, productivity and costs.”


“BP became acquainted with IDV’s prowess in stitching technologies together using Virtual Earth, SharePoint and SQL Server, and exposing them this way,” Marise Mikulis, global energy industry manager at Microsoft, said. “IDV had the secret ingredient, the know-how that became the catalyst to help BP get where they wanted to go, using the technology investments they already had.”


Once the BP team saw how the Microsoft technology enabled them to draw data from any number of locations and display it for users however they chose, they realized how it could prove useful in integrating the mind-numbing stream of data that faces regional managers during storms and other catastrophic events.


The solution would draw on geographic information from ESRI data and would include past hurricane information, along with information on people, platforms, pipelines, buoys, vehicles and offices.


Using IDV’s Visual Fusion Suite, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth global imaging platform, IDV was able to bring more than 25 data sets into a single application and provide a unified, geographic view of the entire Gulf region that can be analyzed, sorted, filtered and collaborated upon — from Houston all the way to London, and anywhere else on the planet.Currently, IDV is working with the NGA to create the Avian Influenza Mapping system to track Avian flu.


Reuters created a better mapping systems for their news system using Visual Fusion. With the lat long capabilities Visual Fusion Suite software has, they can pinpoint those stories on a map so people can see where the story is coming from add get more locally related information based on these stories.


IDV Solutions sells its products out of the box. A company will need some coding in order to hook the visual composite software into theirs. Visual Fusion for SharePoint product basically takes Microsoft’s Office SharePoint server and Visual Fusion to create a visual composite application with our software and SharePoint and manages it from an easily manageable SharePoint list.


There are three web components within the product. The Visual Fusion client, which is basically the portal web part; the map web part, which has the Virtual Earth base map and then the flash layers that are overlaid on the Virtual Earth map. There is the right side panel which has the details, panels or feed manager and the bottom has anything the organization wants to bring in. “If it’s hooked into an HR database, they can click on a specific asset on the map and it pulls in employees that are at that location,” said Wicker. “Some of it takes more customization, but that depends upon what the client is looking for.”


Wicker said Visual Fusion works with any kind of base map. They have a product called Visual Fusion Tile Server where if there’s an organization that has their own imagery that they would rather use as their base map they can use the product to do that. Although IDV is a Gold Certified Microsoft partner, they also can build an application based on a client’s needs. They use Microsoft products such as SharePoint, which falls in line with the Visual Fusion for SharePoint product, and SQL Server, and are starting to build with Silver Light and other emerging Microsoft technologies.


The basic premise behind Visual Fusion is the ease of the user interface and design, said Wicker. There is no training required for users. “If an application has a very easy design but it’s also interesting and dynamic, you’re more apt to get the information out of it, and your managers and company will use it more.”


Top News of the Week


Applied Science Associates, Inc. (ASA) announced the next release of its breakthrough extension tool for ESRI’s ArcGIS industry standard GIS software. ASA’s TimeSlider is an extension for ArcGIS 9.1 and now offered for ArcGIS 9.2 that provides functionality to animate feature data that has date and time information.


When ASA first offered the TimeSlider extension for ArcGIS 9.1 in July, positive response and overwhelming demand ensured that ASA would develop and offer the tool for ArcGIS 9.2 as freeware as soon as possible. “One of the challenges with managing 2 and 3-dimensional geospatial data is displaying and understanding data as it evolves over time,” explains Eoin Howlett, ASA’s CEO, who recently assigned a dedicated team to expand ASA’s freeware and GIS tools development.


Pictometry International Corp. announced that it will formally introduce two new products for the assessor and appraiser communities at IAAO 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia from September 9 – 12, 2007.


The integration of Pictometry’s Electronic Field Study™ (EFS) measurement software with new products provides an even more compelling set of solutions for assessors and appraisers. These new products include:


Eco-View™ - Combines the diagnostic power of near infrared (NIR) technology with high-resolution oblique aerial images from Pictometry. Eco-View™ is a uniquely effective tool in remote sensing that is useful for assessment and appraisal. This proprietary software tool is easy for anyone to self learn and can be used to assess the potential impact of watershed developments, and wastewater and toxic leakage on future land use and values. Eco-View integrates into Pictometry’s Electronic Field Survey (EFS) for ease of use.


Real3D™ - Pictometry’s Real3D Suite of models and specialized modelers provide a new and unique tool to aid assessment. Simulated fly - throughs so realistic that they seem like the user is flying in an airplane, provide multiple views of a property, as well as revealing characteristics of immediate and nearby areas that can increase or decrease property values, such as beachfront, mountain views, and commercial or industrial development. These models are created from Pictometry’s oblique aerial imagery, and a variety of options are available to meet specialized needs.


Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances


Pitney Bowes MapInfo, the global provider of location intelligence, have aligned with Exclusive Analysis, the leading strategic intelligence company, to provide the insurance industry with TerrorRisk™, a unique and powerful terrorism risk assessment tool. TerrorRisk, combining Exclusive Analysis’ terrorism forecasting expertise with Pitney Bowes MapInfo’s leadership in location intelligence, employs fact-based, location-specific metrics developed by Exclusive Analysis to score the maximum likely severity of violent risks to more than 3,700 global points of interest. Armed with Exclusive Analysis’ insight and the location
intelligent capabilities delivered by Pitney Bowes MapInfo® technology, insurers and risk managers are able to make more insightful underwriting, rating, coverage and risk selection decisions.


Pitney Bowes Inc. announced that its Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software and Pitney Bowes MapInfo business units, acquired separately, will combine into a single software company. The move is effective immediately, and the businesses will merge operations over the next several months.


Mike Hickey, currently president of Pitney Bowes MapInfo, will become president of the combined entity, which is called Pitney Bowes Software. Chris Baker, who has served as president of Group 1 Software during two years of strong growth, will be transitioning into a broader innovation role within Pitney Bowes after leading Group 1 Software through a transformation that created a structure for sustained customer and shareholder value.


Genasys and b-Spatial signed an agreement for the distribution of GenaMap’s products in Australia and New Zealand which came into effect on 1st. of July, 2007.


The company b-Spatial will provide technical support to GenaMap clients in Australia and New Zealand. The agreement will give b-Spatial exclusive reseller rights for GenaMap licenses in those areas.


A new alliance between ESRI and Jane’s Information Group, an IHS company, will give Jane’s customers the ability to extract valuable geospatial intelligence from Jane’s data by giving them new ways to visualize, understand, and exploit the information.


Intermap Technologies Corp. announced that their long-time business partner, Denver-based Primus Geographics, Inc., has renewed its contract to distribute Intermap's uniformly accurate 3D digital elevation data and geometric images.


Announcements


The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC(R)) has issued an addendum to its May 11 Request for Quotes/Call for Participation (RFQ/CFP) for the OGC Web Services, Phase 5 (OWS-5) Interoperability Initiative. OWS-5 is a testbed to advance OGC's open geospatial interoperability framework. The addendum and the original RFQ/CFP are available at the
Open Geospatial Requests for Quotes/Call for Participation page .


The Carbon Project announced its CarbonArc software was selected by GeoConnections to support the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) Interoperability Pilot. CarbonArc is an interoperability extension for ESRI's ArcGIS, the world's most popular geographic information system (GIS).


ESRI announced that the ArcWeb Services Flex Application Programmer Interface (API) is now available as a public beta. Built using Adobe Flex 2, this API offers significant benefits for organizations looking to change the way they do business. These new capabilities let developers focus much less on presentation and layout and spend more time on integrating content that is relevant to a particular business problem or end user workflow.


New Products


Digital Reasoning® Systems Inc., the intelligence-software innovator, announced the release of GeoLocator™, version 2.0.


GeoLocator 2.0™ promises commercial customers the same powerful geotagging tools that were built and are currently used by various US intelligence agencies.


Scott David, Vice President of DPRA, announced the launch of a new division of the company, called A-Prime Software. A-Prime will now provide enhancement technologies that address the limitations of the current ArcGIS ESRI platform used by so many GIS professionals–from environmental engineers and mining analysts to geologists and construction developers.


Tiltan Systems Engineering announced the release of its TLiD solution, the next generation in LiDAR data processing tools. Tiltan Systems Engineering Ltd. is a leading provider of 2D- and 3D -image generation systems and derived applications.


Canon U.S.A., Inc., a provider of office imaging systems, inkjet technology and digital photography equipment, announced two new large format printers - the imagePROGRAF iPF710 and imagePROGRAF iPF610 - for Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) applications as well as general office large format printing. The new imagePROGRAF iPF710 and iPF610 large format printers will be on display at the Graph Expo 2007 tradeshow in the Canon booth, # 2400.


Maptuit Corporation announced KLLM Transport Services will be deploying FleetNavTM Directions throughout its national fleet of 1400 trucks providing its driver’s with the industry’s best-in-class truck-to-dock turn-by-turn directions. KLLM is joining the growing number of leading trucking companies that are taking advantage of FleetNav’s highly sophisticated routing technology which ensures driver safety, improves fleet efficiencies, providing greater fuel savings and improved overall customer satisfaction. KLLM also expects to upgrade to Maptuit NaviGo® in the very near future. Maptuit NaviGo is the first and only truck specific real-time, hybrid
navigation solution that offers spoken turn-by-turn directions and uses the nation’s most accurate dynamic road network.


Magellan introduced the MobileMapper CX, a handheld GPS receiver for GIS users that offers Magellan's exclusive Mobile Mapping application software, a phone-like keypad for convenient data entry, and outstanding communications. This sub-meter real-time receiver enables unprecedented productivity at a cost significantly lower than competitive receivers.


ThinkGeo LLC is pleased to announce the release of Map Suite Pocket PC Edition 2.0, a GIS mapping control for the .NET Compact Framework that enables .NET developers to build full-featured mapping presentations for portable devices. Built on the latest .NET Compact Framework 2.0, Map Suite Pocket PC enables non-GIS developers to author mapping applications for portable computing devices such as Pocket PCs and PDAs.


DeLorme, a long-time leader in GIS innovation, announced the release of the XMap® 5.2 GIS Enterprise suite, with breakthrough GPS features that put aerial imagery, recent topographic maps, and GIS layers in the palm of your hand.


This latest XMap release supports the unique Earthmate® GPS PN-20 color-screen receiver. The PN-20 delivers a unique array of data layering and display features that are indispensable for remote navigation, field data collection, and updating GIS data files.


HP enhanced its lineup of multi-processor-based server systems built to improve performance and cut costs.


Based on the new Quad-Core Intel(R) Xeon(R) processor 7300 series, these energy-efficient servers are designed for customers running data-intensive business applications such as databases, business intelligence, enterprise resource planning and large mail and messaging platforms in virtualized environments.


Around The Web


For Networks, Thin Is In, by Steve Lohr, September 12, 2007, The New York Times (registration required) - Years of progress in hardware, software and networking have enabled thin computers to mimic the user experience of PCs for most tasks.


Upcoming Events

Date :  September 15 - 18, 2007
Place : University of Central Florida

Pegasus Ballroom, Orlando, FL USA
The conference brings together governmental, non-profit, and private sector GIS users in the 10 county area to coordinate issues of common concern, encourage data sharing, and present information on current events. Pre-conference events include ESRI authorized training in ArcGIS and URISA workshops. Events include ESRI presentations and workshops, user paper presentations, map gallery exhibits, vendor exhibits, user group meetings, evening social, luncheon,
raffles and prizes including lots of software giveaways.
     
Date : September 18 - 20, 2007
Place : Thistle Marble Arch

London, United Kingdom
Defence Imagery brings together the intelligence community within NATO and European countries to address current/future challenges and developments in the collection, exploitation, and dissemination of imagery based intelligence. Defence Imagery offers military case studies from a variety of countries and organizations including end user perspectives. The event also seeks to showcase technological progress and innovative thinking from outside defence with presentations covering disaster management, international and domestic policing, weapons proliferation monitoring, and
homeland security.  
     
Date : September 19 - 23, 2007
Place  : Melbourne Business School

Mount Eliza, Melbourne, Australia
At the conference, results from recent research are presented and discussions about advanced work in progress take place. The conference program is established by an international and multidisciplinary program committee. Papers are selected through a rigorous review of full paper contributions by internationally renowned reviewers, based on relevance to the conference, intellectual quality, scientific significance, novelty, relation to previously published literature, and clarity of presentation  
 
Date : September 20 - 21, 2007
Place : New Horizons Computer Learning Center

1585 Kapiolani Blvd,Suite 1000 , Honolulu, HI 96814 USA
 This workshop is customized for each city in which it is taught. Audience: Beginners, anyone interested in mapping their community 
     
Date : September 23 - 25, 2007
Place : Philadelphia PA USA
Join IMTA (Americas) in the heart of America's most historical district. Walk the cobblestone streets and return to days of the colonies.
     
Date : September 23 - 27, 2007
Place : The Madison Concourse Hotel

Madison, WI USA
The National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) is an organization committed to efficient and effective government through the prudent adoption of geospatial information technologies (GIT). Members of NSGIC include senior state geographic information system (GIS) managers and coordinators. Other members include representatives from federal agencies, local government, the private sector, academia and other professional organizations.
     
Date : September 24 - 27, 2007
Place : Victoria Convention Center

Victoria, Canada
The 2007 Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) conference gathers developers and users of open source geo-spatial software from around the world to discuss new directions, exciting implementations, and growing business opportunities in the field of open source geo-spatial software. Focused on the practical "make it work, get it done" world of open source application development, this annual conference boasts a very high concentration of geo-spatial technical opinion leaders  
     
Date :  September 25 - 28, 2007
Place : The Peabody Hotel

Three Statehouse Plaza, Little Rock, AR 72201 USA
The Annual Conference is designed to provide topics of current interest to Board members and staff involved in the regulation of contractors. The conference also provides a forum for participants to interact and exchange information on licensing issues.
     
Date : September 25 - 27, 2007
Place : Leiptzig, Germany
GeoERP is the first GIS-ERP integrated solution for the management of Land, Properties, Roads and Underground Infrastructures (Water, Gas/Oil, Cables, Electricity etc.).


- A powerful GIS environment; each main spatial data (Land, Road or Pipe) is located on the regional map and linked to its data

- User friendly windows-based application running over the internet or in a Local Area Network

- All data items are correlated and accessible through a unique quick navigation interface

- Modifiable meta-data – all menus, data objects, data fields & tabs are dynamically loaded from the database, enabling complete flexibility in modifying the application

- simultaneous multi user functionality

- Unlimited storage capacity
 
     
Date  : September 25 - 27, 2007
Place  : Leipzig, Germany
The annual change of venue is an important factor in the success of the INTERGEO. Running the 13. INTERGEO conference and trade fair in Leipzig gives the event an even greater international importance.  
     
Date  : September 26 - 28, 2007
Place  : Stockholm, Sweden
We welcome you to the ESRI European User Conference 2007! We are committed to making this a very special event, not just another conference. If you attend ONE conference 2007, make this the ONE!
     
Date  : October 1 - 3, 2007
Place  :  Kansas City, MO USA
The 2007 GBA Master Series Annual Conference & Training (ACT) will take place October 1-3 in Kansas City, Missouri. We're headed back to our home town this year and we're excited to show it off.
     
Date  : October 1 - 2, 2007
Place  : 219 Bray Hall, SUNY-ESF

1 Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210 USA
The conference has a long standing tradition of providing attendees with an opportunity to meet fellow New Yorkers active in the GIS field, exchange information and real experiences, and seek solutions to your geographic data management needs. Professional networking opportunities help you develop a network of fellow GIS users which will continue through the years. In the exhibit area, GIS vendors and consultants display the latest in GIS hardware, software,
analytical techniques, and services.
     
Date  : October 2 - 3, 2007
Place  : Missoula, MT USA
Visual Learning Systems cordially invites you to take part in the VLS Users Conference to exchange ideas and experiences related to the VLS software: Feature Analyst®, LIDAR Analyst®, and Urban Analyst™. This fourth annual event will be held October 2-3, 2007 in scenic Missoula, Montana.
     
Date  : October 4 - 5, 2007
Place  : Palm Beach County Convention Center

650 Okeechobee Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 USA
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a horizontal technology that intersects all industries. It blends the geographic sciences with information technology. This conference is for the novice to the analyst, the technologist to the executive. Disciplines of interest include:Regional, municipal and county government agencies Environmental resources Engineering - Surveying Land management Information technology
     
Date  : October 7 - 10, 2007
Place  : Firesky Resort & Spa

Scottsdale, AZ USA
The Health GIS Conference October 7-10, 2007, in Scottsdale, Arizona, brings health and human services professionals together to share and discuss successful approaches to using geography to improve research, management, policy decisions, public health and hospital preparedness, and health care delivery.

The ESRI Health GIS Conference provides a forum for you to examine specialized capabilities and opportunities for managing and sharing geospatial data and analysis in a GIS framework for community health programs, health care delivery, hospitals, epidemiology, disease surveillance, health research, and more.
     
Date  : October 8 - 11, 2007
Place  : Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

Nashville, TN USA
Be part of the 2007 EGUG annual meeting October 8–11, 2007 in Nashville, Tennessee, to explore how GIS serves electric and gas utilities. Discussions will examine desktop usability, spatial data management, server-based GIS, mobile solutions, and Web services.
     
Date  : October 10 - 12, 2007
Place  : Mayo Civic Center

Rochester, MN USA
The event will feature structured workshops, technical sessions, panel discussions, technology demonstrations, project updates and local and national speakers. All are geared toward professionals interested in learning more about geographic information systems and land information systems technology in Minnesota and beyond.

The objective of the conference is to provide GIS/LIS related informational and educational opportunities for anyone in business, government, or education interested in spatial analysis technologies.


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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