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February 18, 2008
Autodesk World Press Day 2008 – Engineering Geospatial
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!

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Industry News

Autodesk World Press Day 2008 – Engineering Geospatial

by Susan Smith

Autodesk’s approach to GIS is different than that of many other GIS companies in that it comes out of engineering. “Those people who have an affinity for Autodesk Geospatial are generally coming from an engineering background,” said Geoff Zeiss, director of technology for Geospatial at a presentation held at Autodesk World Press Day 2008 in San Francisco this past week.

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Consequently, the same global trends that affect the AEC industry: aging infrastructure, aging workforce, urbanization, climate change – impact those professionals working in the geospatial field.

Autodesk’s strategy naturally focuses on how engineering drafts people use geospatial and Map 3D. The second part of the strategy is about democratizing their database access. The way that MapGuide and Map 3D consume Feature Data Objects (FDO) data sources, democratized application development – makes it easier for ISDs to develop solutions.

Core markets include:

- cable & telecommunications

- energy

- water and wastewater

- government

- engineering & construction

Applications include:

- network engineering

- asset management

- public works

- land management

- transportation

Alan Saunders, senior industry manager, Utilities and Arnab Ganguly, senior technical marketing manager spoke during the Geospatial Industry Workshop on supporting utility industry initiatives:

- intelligent grid

- mobile workforce

- enterprise information management

- sustainability

Within this framework, customers want better ways to roundtrip information from field crews into the office. They want to get information from a number of IT systems to bring together asset, design and geospatial data, and respond to customer inquiries.

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The latest versions of the software solutions in the geospatial platform include AutoCAD Map3D 2009, Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2009 and AutoCAD Raster Design 2009, which are all interoperable with other CAD, GIS and IT systems. All have open data access and are built on an open architecture that preserves data integrity. The idea is that the geospatial platform is now easier to use, with design and spatial asset information flowing in and out of systems easily.

The platform is designed for solutions that are purpose built for utilities. Another announcement was the validation of Map 3D 2009 with Citrix Presentation Software though the Citrix Ready program.

“Our objective is to get people up the value chain from AutoCAD, to Map 3D and MapGuide and FDO data access technology,” said Saunders. Map 3D is built on AutoCAD, so that customers can just move their AutoCAD data up the value chain.

click to enlarge [
Starting with AutoCAD mappers, customers move up to using MapGuide to publish their data, and can move to building geospatial applications using the Topobase framework using an Oracle database. GIS users can use Map 3D immediately.

Saunders said that there are five things that represent what Map 3D is about:

- native access to CAD, GIS and raster data formats via FDO data access technology

- AutoCAD tools for precision editing of GIS data

- GIS tools for map creation and stylization

- Powerful, flexible and open data management tools

- Direct Web Publishing via Autodesk MapGuide technology and DWF file specification

Added to 2009 are better performance, data access, data management and better API.

Performance –

In the past Map 3D has not been known for its speed, due mainly to the slow way that AutoCAD handles large files. It has traditional loaded an entire file into memory, which works fine when editing, but not when you have all the Census polygons for the U.S. to load. The new enhancements focus on speed of performance and the ability to load large datasets for mapping and design functions. Map 3D is 7 times faster to load data via FDO.

Spatial and Tabular Operators –

provide engineering staff with core GIS Functionality to access, edit, and analyze CAD and GIS data.

Data Management –

This allows users to work with data in DWG and other data formats, improve data flow and usage inside and outside of project teams. You now have direct import/export DWG data to/from SDF and Oracle.


Completed design data and maps can be shared with users throughout your organization. DWFs are georeferenced and can be marked up now.

Metadata – You can create and use industry standard compliant metadata. There is now the ability to view, create and manage metadata, and automatically create metadata for DWG and FDO data stores.

Extended Data Access – Because most users need to integrate and work with variety of existing data, the solution is to combine CAD capabilities with geospatial data access.

New to 2009 is the ability to utilize third party and open source FDO data providers

(e.g. – OGR, GDAL, FME) or data formats (e.g. ESRI personal geodatabase, MapInfo, TAB)

Additionally, FDO Geospatial Data Access allows you to take data in many different formats, such as aerial photos, utility data from an SDF file, property data form a Microsoft SQL Server, zoning data from ArcSDE. With FDO you can to put it all together without doing any file conversion, and write back to those databases in their native format.

AutoCAD Raster Design 2009 extends the capabilities of raster design in Map 3D, and makes it possible to do raster vector conversions, rubber sheeting, and insert imagery in common formats. In terms of functionality, the new enhancements offer more tightly integrated formats with AutoCAD Map 3D and Civil 3D, added better vectorization, and better support for multispectral images.

Utility Design is an intelligent rule based CAD design tool for the design and layout of networks, powerful engineering rules and calculations, automated cost estimation, standardized materials ordering, all built on Map 3D.

Topobase is a solution for integrating infrastructure, design and management with verticals for water, wastewater, electrical and gas. It stores CAD design data in a spatial database, allows you to enter asset data using step by step workflows, maintaining proper relationships and topology between assets.

MapGuide Open Source has to its credit 23,000 downloads over the first 8 months. Version 1.10 was released in January with Google KML Support.

MapGuide Enterprise is an off cycle release that shares the FDO Framework with Map 3D and Raster Design. Topobase extends Map 3D and MapGuide,

”The latest release of MapGuide Enterprise incorporates Flexible Web Layouts, based on the recent contribution of Fusion technology to the MapGuide Open Source community by DM Solutions Group,” according to the press release.”Flexible Web Layout technology helps speed development of Web mapping applications created with Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2009 and with MapGuide Open Source 2.0.” Flexible Web Layouts make it possible for Web designers and software developers to create Web mapping applications without geospatial application development knowledge.

As one half of the workforce is eligible for retirement right now, a way to bring younger professionals on board is by using Open Source. Although Geoff Zeiss said that Open Source is big with federal governments, it is slower to catch on with states and smaller municipalities. Yet the possibilities are boundless: Open Source makes it possible for the smallest city to have access to technology and get productive with Open Source and FDO technology for CAD and GIS at a reasonable price point.

Zeiss said that Autodesk’s Geospatial Platform is for everyone, “we’re not trying to replace other geospatial systems, but this is an opportunity to leverage those systems’ existing assets and resources.”

Please see
AECWeekly for the complete AEC report on World Press Day.

Top News of the Week

At its World Press Days event, Autodesk, Inc. announced the latest versions of its geospatial software solutions, which provide users in utility and telecommunications organizations and government agencies with a powerful, affordable and flexible geospatial platform. Enhancements in AutoCAD Map 3D 2009, Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2009 and AutoCAD Raster Design 2009 software applications build on the solutions' fundamental properties of open data access and interoperability with other design, GIS and IT systems. In addition, the new products offer an enhanced, intuitive user environment and new tools to help organizations quickly capitalize on their staff's expertise
with AutoCAD software and with existing spatial data.

Yellow Book USA announced the launch of a completely redesigned Yellowbook.com. Unveiled Friday, the new yellowbook.com is powered by a simple easy-to-use consumer interface designed to enhance the overall user experience and return even greater relevancy in search results.

The redesign incorporates Microsoft Virtual Earth's highly interactive maps with high-resolution satellite and aerial images, up-to-date location information and driving directions. Also included are new predictive drop down boxes to expedite visitors' searches and a layout that places most advertisers above the fold, providing users a quick view of search results.


Intermap Technologies announced an agreement with FS Dreamscapes, a third-party provider of terrain mesh and photoscenery downloads optimized for Microsoft(R) Flight Simulator X. The agreement calls for the creation of highly detailed terrain modules for the United States and Europe called "NEXTMap ProMesh". The ProMesh line is based on terrain data collected as part of Intermap's country-wide NEXTMap 3D digital mapping program. With a vertical accuracy of one-meter or better, the data will provide users with a uniquely realistic viewing experience.

IFS, the global enterprise applications company and a global supplier of enterprise asset management solutions for utilities, announced its established relationship with world-wide geographical information systems (GIS) specialist ESRI. By combining the capabilities of the two corporations, utility companies will be able to improve efficiency and reduce costs in asset management, while improving customer service levels.

uLocate Communications announced that they have acquired Zync, a Boston based start-up that develops predictive web-based technologies that provide users with recommendations for local events and activities based on the preferences of like-minded individuals. Combined with uLocate’s award winning location based mobile products, these technologies will accelerate the delivery of next generation mobile and web applications. The Zync team will play an integral part in this convergence by joining uLocate’s existing team of mobile and location based service experts.

modu and Tele Atlas, a leading global provider of digital maps, dynamic content for navigation and location-based solutions, have forged an alliance to support the development of modu-enhanced GPS products, adding mobile voice and data capabilities to personal navigation devices. The announcement was made at the Mobile World Congress, taking place in Barcelona, Spain.


ESRI officially opened the doors to its Sacramento, California, satellite office on January 15, 2008. The new location will allow ESRI to better support its users in central and northern California and Nevada and will provide a convenient site for agencies, to spend time learning how to leverage GIS.

Safe Software, the industry leaders in spatial ETL (extract, transform, and load) solutions, announced that they are hosting Peter Batty, renowned GIS visionary, as the keynote speaker at their annual FME Worldwide User Conference on March 6 and 7 in Vancouver, BC.

Pixxures, Inc., a division of XçDAR Corporation, a provider of geospatial services including data acquisition, processing, image analysis, data storage and Web services, announced that Steve Jennings has joined Pixxures’ staff as Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

buildingSMART alliance, the OGC and Sponsors of the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Owner and Operator) Testbed have issued a Request for Technology (RFT). This document provides global software and research communities, business trade organizations and their membership an opportunity to identify their technology solutions relevant to the testbed's three focus areas:

1. Decision support and general communications - connecting building models with business processes

2. Energy analysis during design

3. Cost estimation during design

New Products

Océ, a global leader in digital document management and delivery systems, announces the availability of the Océ TCS4XT color scanner, which supports rigid and thick originals up to 0.6” thick while retaining all the functionality of the current Océ TC4 scanner.

TerraServer has announced that digital satellite and aerial image files are now available to be delivered on various backup storage devices, including CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, HD-DVD, USB Flash, and Hard Drive. This allows TerraServer customers to easily create custom imagery discs, which can be used offline without an Internet connection and provide extra security/redundancy for data backup and recovery.

Around the Web

Online map tools help interpret a busy week, by Ryan Underwood, Feb. 10, 2008, The Tennessean

Britain's horse riding routes being mapped Feb. 8 2008, horsetalk.co.nz

The GeoTools 2.4.0 release is available for download:


Upcoming Events

February 19 - 20, 2008
Place: Hyatt Regency Downtown

Indianapolis, , IN USA
Mark your calendars for the 2008 Indiana GIS Conference. Professional development opportunities abound, with exciting sessions, technology discussions, forums, student poster competitions and more!

February 20 - 22, 2008
Place: Washington Convention Center

Washington, DC USA
Learn from your colleagues about successful GIS applications in many government agencies that can provide new ideas and inspiration.

Be a part of this once-a-year gathering where you can connect with other federal GIS users and increase your GIS knowledge.

What You'll Experience

  • Attend presentations given by GIS professionals from around the country.
  • See state-of-the-art hardware and software solutions at the GIS Solutions EXPO.
  • Build relationships with your peers and ESRI staff.
  • Experiment with new techniques.
  • Get updated on industry trends.

  • Date:
    February 21 - 22, 2008
    Place: Adam’s Mark Hotel

    Denver, CO USA
    The ILMF is the premier event for the LIDAR industry attracting professionals from all over the world. This 8th annual summit is the focal gathering of industry leaders, pioneers, experts from government, academia and professionals from industries looking to invest in and benefit from LIDAR technology and services.

    February 22 - 25, 2008
    Place: Houston Marriott Westchase

    Houston, TX USA
    Be a part of the annual gathering of petroleum GIS users February 25-27, 2008 to discuss your recent challenges and GIS technology solutions.

    Be inspired as you learn from your colleagues about successful GIS applications in petroleum and pipeline businesses.

    February 24 - 27, 2008
    Place: Marriott Tampa Waterside Hotel & Marina

    Tampa, FL USA
    The Utility Management Conference™ was formerly called the Joint Management Conference.The 2008 Conference, Tomorrow's Water, Today's Issues, will offer a multitude of beneficial workshops, sessions, and panels that convey innovative tools, explore successful techniques, and share emerging solutions for addressing today's water and wastewater needs and future challenges.

    February 25 - 28, 2008
    Place: Sheraton New Orleans

    500 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130 USA
    The International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) are pleased to announce the 12th Annual Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference, to be held February 25–28, 2008 in New Orleans. This conference is designed to foster collaboration and integration of data, technology, and functionality.

    February 25 - 29, 2008
    Place: University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

    St. Augustine, Port of Spain, Spain
    GSDI conferences are opportunities to meet and exchange views about implementing and developing spatial data concepts and practices. From national and international agency perspectives to local grassroots initiatives, the conference provides an occasion for interaction and cooperation among disciplines and practitioners that use and develop spatial technologies and databases.

    GIS, spatial data infrastructure concepts, and affiliated tools and technologies are being utilized worldwide to help address all of these issues.

    March 1 - October 31, 2008
    Place: California, Hawaii, Nevada, USA
    ESRI invites you to attend a one-half day event featuring demonstrations of ESRI’s latest technologies that illustrate how these tools can be deployed to address common organizational needs.

    If you are responsible for making decisions about GIS in your organization, attend the showcase to evaluate the fit of specific ESRI products. If you are focused on applying GIS technology, the showcase offers content to help you be more productive with ESRI tools.

    8:30 a.m.—Noon

    March 6 - 7, 2008
    Place: Vancouver

    We invite you to join us in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada for the FME Worldwide User Conference on March 6-7, 2008. As we explore the theme New Dimensions in Spatial ETL (extract, transform and load), you’ll learn more about new developments in the industry and in FME, including 3D geometries and spatial data federation.

    March 9 - 12, 2008
    Place: Washington State Convention Center

    Seattle, WA USA
    The Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference's technical program will include interactive half-day seminars, educational sessions, user forums, panel deliberations, and networking socials. The corresponding exhibition will feature the leading geospatial hardware, software, and services vendors.

    Anyone who is interested in using geospatial information technologies is invited to attend. The conference program will address topics of interest to executives and managers in government agencies; electric, gas, and water/wastewater utilities; telecommunications companies; pipeline companies; the public sector; and other organizations interested in using geospatial information to enhance their bottom line.

    March 9 - 12, 2008
    Place: Annapolis

    MD 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.

    March 9 - 12, 2008
    Place: Seattle, WA USA
    GITA is pleased to announce the Geospatial Dimensions of Emergency Response Symposium, a unique forum taking place in conjunction with the association’s Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference (formerly Annual Conference). This event will be the first ever to address the application of mapping technologies such as GIS, GPS, and remote sensing to emergency and disaster response.

    March 12 - 14, 2008
    Place: Perth Convention Exhibition Centre

    Western Australia, Australia
    WALIS Forum is one of the premier GIS events in Australia, attracting over 650 participants from a diverse range of professions.

    Held every 18 months, the Forum provides an opportunity to address issues related to the collection, management and application of geographic or spatial information. The Forum is open to everyone, however, is targeted to people working with geographic information (GI) or those who would like to find out how they can harness GI to improve their business.

    March 15 - 18, 2008
    Place: Wyndham Hotel and Palm Springs

    Convention Center, Palm Springs, CA USA
    The 2008 ESRI Worldwide Business Partner Conference (BPC) will be held March 15–18, 2008, in Palm Springs, California. Jack Dangermond, ESRI president and CEO, will share with you the future of GIS business and technology that will help you drive your business. You'll gain insight into ESRI's products, services, data, and technology innovations.

    March 17 - 19, 2008
    Place: Houston, TX USA
    The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials sponsors the annual GIS for Transportation Symposium. It is a chance for persons in government and private industry who are interested in the use of GIS for transportation purposes to get together and share experiences, see state-of-art software, and learn more about this field. The Symposium annually attracts over 400 Symposium registrants in addition to the 50 exhibitors in the technology hall.

    You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.