January 9, 2003


Focus on New Technology and Technology Trends

• JPEG2000: What It Means for GeoSpatial Technologies
• New and Creative Uses of Geospatial Technology


• MapInfo Buys Thompson, Shows a Loss for Q1 2003
• Bentley Buys Infrasoft, Part of TransDecisions
• Certification Poll Results
• Tips for Readers Who Write
• Tips for Those Who Work with the Media

Letters, Points of Interest, Week in Review, Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

In December 2000 the International Standards Organization (ISO) accepted JPEG2000 as a new standard for image compression. The format is an update to the now decade-old JPEG standard. Geospatial professionals generally kept their distance from JPEG files because, though they were small, they were lossy, meaning that during compression some of the data was simply removed, and was never retrievable again. As more GIS vendors explore JPEG2000, expect to see the file format coming to an imagery or GIS application near you.

JPEG2000, unlike its older sibling, can produce a lossless image. That is, no data is lost during compression and the entire data set may be recreated bit-for-bit, which should appeal to those in imagery analysis and remote sensing. Depending on the data type, lossless compression ratios of 2:1 to 5:1 are possible. Visually lossless, though lossy in terms of pixel data value, compression ratios can go much higher, to over 100:1. JPEG2000 supports more than the 3 bands JPEG and other compression schema accept, and so it can easily handle hyperspectral and multispectral imagery.

Another feature of the standard should appeal to the GIS community. "Region of interest" compression allows a portion of an image to be compressed at one level while other parts of the image receive a different compression. That means that a large image could be provided for context (compressed aggressively using the lossy portion of the JPEG2000 algorithm), while the features of interest are maintained at the source level of detail through lossless compression.

The imaging world supports JPEG2000. Apple's Quicktime 6 supports it under MacOS X. Adobe Photoshop Elements supports it. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite as of release 11 supports it. For now, none of the major browsers support the format natively, but free plug-ins are available. The sense seems to be that support is imminent.

Sounds great, right? So why are most of us not yet using this format? A few reasons. First, the standard simply describes the definition of the new format. Software vendors need to figure out how to make JPEG2000 files and how to read them. Several companies offer toolkits for developers, including Aware, LEAD Technologies, LuraTech, and Kakadu. Only recently have end-user tools, aimed at imagery for mapping, come onto the market, from Seattle-based Mapping Science, Inc. Second, our industry has some compression formats that are widely used, including MrSID from LizardTech, and ECW from Earth Resource Mapping. Third, GIS and imagery vendors have to weigh the pros and cons, and then select a solution, or write their own, should they decide the format is important to their clientele. Fourth, the standard, while it has a "place to put" metadata, does not offer a standard way to do so for geographic metadata.

Mapping Science took a shot at the last problem by developing what they call GeoJP2. GeoJP2 is a format extension to JPEG2000 for embedding coordinate system and georeferencing information in a JPEG2000 JP2 format file. A "regular" JPEG2000 file has a .JP2 extension, as do these. And, to spread the word, Mapping Science now distributes the code necessary to add this information to files under royalty free license. Mapping Science's core tool will convert many file types to JPEG2000, while retaining georeferencing information. A free GeoJP2 (and regular JP2) viewer, an ArcView 3.x plug-in and sample imagery are also available.

GIS companies are taking to JPEG2000, if quietly. Back in June of last year MicroImages announced support for JPG2000 in its TNT products. MapInfo provides support in MapInfo Professional 7.0. A post from Frank Warmerdam at Remotesensing.org notes that his GDAL libraries, PCI's GeoGateway, and Mapping Science's products support JPEG2000 and Mapping Sciences georeferenced version, GeoJP2. A rep from 3D Nature, makers of World Construction Set, confirmed that company will support JPEG2000, but perhaps not right away. Z/I Imaging was working on testing JPEG2000 support back in November. Mapping Science signed a deal with Leica Geosystems GIS and Mapping Division in December to add JPEG200 support to its ERDAS IMAGINE products.

• Your cell phone may be able to determine its location, but at this point it can't determine which direction it faces. Enter GeoVector, based in San Francisco, with research teams based in New Zealand. The company is working on technology in that country (with support from Industry New Zealand) that will add heading information to cell phones and other navigation devices. As the company's marketing material puts it, "Location based services can tell you where you are, GeoVector can tell you what you're looking at."

With that information, devices can literally lead users to destinations (much like the arrow of a GPS). Another application: field workers or safety personnel could point the device at a building to receive details about it. Those interested in a film could point to the theatre, and see film times and order tickets via a mobile device. The company also has a long list of game developers who are interested in the technology. Development work depends on an iPAQ but the final embeddable devices should be considerably smaller.

• Forget satellites, try airships. According to an article at Wired, three companies are planning to send unmanned, spherical airships into the stratosphere to serve as relay platforms for two-way wireless broadband service. The ships will run into the tens of millions of dollars each, but their relative proximity to earth increases relay speeds. One vendor expects to have service available by 2004 for about $29 a month. The craft will serve a 300,000-square-mile area (about the size of Texas and Louisiana) and remain aloft for a year at a time.

• Leica's GPS system is now part of a real-time feedback system for mining machinery. The Leica Dozer 2000T integrated system provides a radio link between the engineer in the office and the machine operator working on site, allowing complete computer designs in the office to be sent directly out to the bulldozer. DEMS and design plans are sent to the machinery. Operators receive feedback on how well they are following the design.


• Ski souvenir: GPS map of your day on the slopes. SlopeTracker is a GPS tracking system currently available at Keystone, Colorado. Skiers attach the GPS to their arm at the beginning of their skiing day, do their thing, and return it at days end. For $24.99 they receive a full color 3-D look map of their path, along with statistics about their efforts compared to others on the mountain. The custom souvenir has been available for just a few weeks, but looks like a hit.

• Bluetooth in your ear. According to an article at Wireless NewsFactor Bluetooth may finally become a widely-used consumer tool. Jabra, a company that makes cell phone headsets recently released a Bluetooth version that allows the headset to communicate with the handset without wires. If the phone is not Bluetooth-enabled, a more expensive version includes an adapter. The cool part? The phone itself can be up to 30 ft away from the receiver. The not-so-cool part, the headset has a battery that must be recharged regularly. When will we have this for the Walkman?

• Blogs with maps. Blogs, short for weblogs or Web-based journals, gain new twists as technology changes, according to a Boston Globe article. "Moblogs" or mobile logs include images from camera-enabled phones. "Blogmapping" associates posts with locations on a map. Oregon-based Map Bureau's free software for blogmapping is a "melding of blogging software . . ., and Macromedia Flash MX, and GIS (geographical information systems)." A beta version is available.

• Time Europe reports on new data that those using precision agriculture might want to add to their models. A French company, Geocarta, produces a sensor that measures the electrical resistivity of the soil at three different depths. The data, collected every 10 centimeters, is used with other measurements to produce a 3-D map that can aid in more precise delivery of fertilizer.

• Declan McCullagh, writing at ZDNet, identified some new technologies under development that will further invade privacy. He points to spybots, under development by Lockheed Martin with a six-inch wingspan, weighing just 86 grams that will carry infrared and video sensors. They'll cost about $10,000. He also refers to an article in the Washington Post that suggests the federal government is considering using unmanned aircraft to monitor things here in the U.S.

MapInfo started the new year with the acquisition of Thompson Associates, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Thompson is best known as a retail business intelligence service provider, but the company also has a software division, AnySite, that has been a MapInfo reseller for more than a decade. The purchase is valued at $13 million and may include up to $6 million in payments over the next two years, depending on the profitability of the new division under MapInfo. MapInfo expects the acquisition to pull in $13 million in revenue or about one to two cents per share revenue in fiscal 2003.

Thompson has a number of Fortune 1000 customers, including Home Depot, AT&T;, and Jo-Ann Fabrics along with a fleet of supermarkets and restaurants. The company will join MapInfo's Analytical Customer Relationship Management (aCRM) business unit under the direction of Kevin Antram. With the 93 people from Thompson Associates, MapInfo now has 773 employees, a spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

Mark Cattini, MapInfo President and CEO, was straightforward about the acquisition, noting that the acquisition "further reduces its [MapInfo's] exposure to the communications industry. We plan to grow by extending Thompson Associates' analytical service expertise to vertical markets where MapInfo has an established presence and leveraging Thompson's client base for additional sales of MapInfo's products and services."

This is a move away from products and toward services. That's important since MapInfo, historically, has been a product-driven company mostly selling software and data. Location-based services, should they play out for the company, and the new business brought in from Thompson, should continue the shift toward services.

Directions Magazine reports that while the president of Thompson and other senior executives will stay on at MapInfo, layoffs have already occurred at Thompson and within AnySite.

Even as the acquisition press release was making the rounds, so was a second one announcing that MapInfo was expecting to report revenues of between $20.5 million and $21.0 million and a loss per share between $0.11 and $0.13 for the first fiscal quarter of 2003, ended December 31, 2002. Analysts had expected a one-cent per share loss. Cattini put it this way, "Business conditions in the Americas [are] the most challenging I have seen in my more than seven years at MapInfo." The company will announce final earnings on January 21 and at that time will provide "an update on our growth initiatives in aCRM and LBS." My guess at this point is that aCRM will be a target growth area and LBS may be scaled back.

This week Bentley continued a bit of a buying spree. In December the company purchased UK-based Bentley Integrator Cadac Limited, which focuses on AEC solutions. On Monday Bentley announced an agreement to purchase Infrasoft, the one-time distributor, then owner of Moss System's MOSS. On Tuesday word was out that the company was also purchasing a division of TransDecisions.

Infrasoft has two product lines. The MX product line includes a series of civil engineering applications for road design/renewal, railway engineering, site development, and landform design that run on AutoCAD, MicroStation and stand-alone on Windows. One big selling point is that data can be moved seamlessly from one platform to another. The other product line, Arenium, has won not one, but two CADENCE Show-Stopper Awards. Despite those accolades, I am not familiar with the product at all. Perhaps it simply fell into the black hole of other collaboration solutions that seemed to come out at exactly the same time in 2000. One positive note: this one is still around, which may attest to its quality. Several reviews are available at CADdigest and this review in CADALYST compares four civil offerings, including Infrasoft's.

Infrasoft's website notes that in 2000 the company had an exceptional year and won awards for its software and its business acumen. The company boasted 2000 seats at that point. Here in New England, Departments of Transportation in both Maine and New Hampshire are Infrasoft users. The MX line grew out of the old MOSS software. Because MOSS worked with GDS, which was used by both states, when the time came to move off that platform, part of the decision, it seems, related to being able to maintain access to MOSS' core tools. Both DOTs moved to MicroStation and MX software in the past few years.

The corporate backgrounder on the Infrasoft website notes that Infrasoft was chosen as Autodesk's Preferred Transportation Software Solutions Provider. That status may have changed since Autodesk purchased CAiCE last year. Also interesting in the backgrounder is the fact that Dave Arnold, founder of Softdesk, which was acquired by Autodesk, sits on the Infrasoft board. I recall that being the topic of raised eyebrows at the time it was announced in 1998.

Bentley's acquisition of Infrasoft confirms two things. First, Autodesk and Bentley are squaring off in the civil engineering/transportation arena. Autodesk offers products from its Softdesk acquisition and others from the more recent CAiCE acquisition. Bentley offers GEOPAK products (acquired in the acquisition by merger with that company), InRoads products (acquired from Intergraph) and now MX products. Both companies want to count as many DOTs as possible among their customers. DOTs provide steady income and relatively large seat counts. Moreover, once a DOT chooses a package, its consultants typically purchase seats, too. Both Autodesk and Bentley have to manage the challenge of acquiring incompatible tools. How they solve that, and present their product lines in the marketplace, will be part of the path to success or failure.

Second, this acquisition confirms that it's very hard to be a third party CAD software developer, even if you support both major CAD vendors. Infrasoft, CAiCE, as well as Bentley-acquired mechanical software provider, Rebis, support AutoCAD and MicroStation. Is it possible that committing to two, or in the case of Infrasoft, three platforms, was not cost effective and helped bring on the acquisitions?

One more comment on how these two CAD leaders might approach transportation in the future. Both have some work to do to integrate the solutions into GIS. Bentley does have a dynamic segmentation solution, but hasn't actively marketed transportation design data as a source or resource for GIS. Autodesk speaks about GIS data use throughout the lifecycle (to be fair, so does Bentley) but has yet to illustrate it completely. My sense is that CAD-developed transportation data is often used in other companies' products, perhaps GeoMedia Professional or GeoMedia Transportation from Intergraph, or ArcInfo or ArcView from ESRI.

Finally, was this a good buy for Bentley? Yes, it was. Some comments by Infrasoft CEO Rick Fiery, on the deal, describing how "we crafted a transaction that provides a real opportunity for our users and employees and continued substantial equity upside in Bentley stock for our investors" lead me to believe little or no money was involved. Second, the acquisition brings at least three more U.S. DOTs to Bentley, along with some overseas users. (MOSS Systems, acquired by Infrasoft in 1998, was based in the U.K. Infrasoft's headquarters are north of Boston, Massachusetts.) Bentley has also acquired an award-winning collaboration tool. Could that breathe life into the now relatively silent Viecon project, which addresses at least some of the same issues?

Once I digested this acquisition, I received notice on Tuesday of another acquisition for Bentley: the Department of Transportation Division of TransDecisions, Inc. TransDecisions is based outside Boston and does a variety of things related to GIS and location-based services. The last time I ran into the company was at an Autodesk event where the company highlighted its homeland security applications. TransDecisions senior leadership includes individuals with experience at Oracle with Oracle Spatial, several contributors to Intergraph's GIS products including GeoMedia Network, and the founder of GIS/Trans, LTD. The company lists Autodesk, Oracle, Intergraph, and MapInfo as partners, but not Bentley.

The portion of the company that Bentley is acquiring focuses on Departments of Transportation. The technology that's being transferred is called Linear Referencing System Extensions (LRSx) Software. It's a toolkit for managing dynamic segmentation data in Oracle. In 2001 the company offered a GeoMedia client for this backend system and promised an ArcView 3 and desktop client. In early 2002, TransDecisions worked with Tennessee DOT on a project that included a MicroStation front-end editor. Staying behind at TransDecisions are routing tools and fleet management offerings, including one built on MapInfo's MapXtreme.

With this second acquisition of the week squarely in the DOT space, I'd describe Bentley's tactic as "circling the wagons." It seems that the company does not want to be left without any of the tools that a DOT might want. And, the company is planning to guard the DOT territory no matter what happens.

That leads me to two theories. First, it may be that the investment in DOTs is aimed at a solid base income, no matter what happens in other areas of Bentley's marketspace. I do not actively follow the company's architectural or mechanical offerings closely, but all the talk of late that I have heard has to do with Autodesk's Architectural Desktop, Inventor (a mechanical product)and its acquisition of Revit. Bentley, at least to me, has been very quiet, not only in GIS, but in other markets, too. I expect Bentley will elaborate on its focus at its spring User Conference.

My second theory, and I'm not business expert, is that Bentley might consider taking just portion of the organization public. Perhaps, I'll suggest after a time, this newly merged transportation group might be a candidate. One benefit, the offering will not be Internet-focused, something that can be turn-off in the recent Internet bust.

Of the 82 participants in last week's poll, 62% said they planned to get certified under the new program or use certification in hiring decisions. That's a great push for certification!

I will suggest that GIS Monitor readers might skew a bit higher on the "yes" side only because I believe the readership more closely matches the target group for certification: "I'm a professional (planner, landscape architect, engineer, forester, real estate analyst, etc.) and spend most of my time doing GIS analyses and assisting others use GIS." Those who "use" or "frequently use" GIS are not the target, according the URISA website. Instead it's "for those professionals whose primary responsibilities involve the design, implementation, management, or support of GIS applications."

If you send an e-mail message or write a letter to an editor in regards to an issue in the publication, the editor can print it without your permission. As you can imagine, that can get you into trouble. I share this because it's something I didn't know until I became an editor.

If you want to comment to the editor "off the record" write, "not for publication" at the top of the communication. That means it's just between you and the editor. I try, except with the most innocent letters, to confirm that it's okay to use the letter. Other editors, however, do not.

If you do submit a letter for publication, provide your title, organization, or however you'd like to be referenced. Or, if you prefer, ask that the letter be published anonymously. Do be aware that some publications will not publish anonymous letters. I've seen complete addresses and home phone numbers published with some letters. If you don't want information published, say so, or simply don't include the information.

The Letters section of GIS Monitor is one of the most read and discussed parts of the publication. I hope you will keep those e-mails coming!

These are some suggestions for those who write and distribute press releases. Some of these suggestions are based on last year's worth of press releases that crossed my electronic desk.

• Ask the question "Is it news?" before preparing a release. I receive many releases that I consider not to be news and simply don't run them. One example: "We just finished a project." Ok, but why is it newsworthy? Was it done quickly? With new technology? Was it something no one has done before? These days, simply implementing a GIS project or a mapping website, in and of itself, is not news.

• Please be careful when using the words "its" or "their" when speaking about a company's product. Companies are singular - "Microsoft is…" "IBM has" "Sun released its latest version…"

• If you include a URL be sure it is active.

• If you want to provide images to accompany a release, include a URL where the images may be downloaded. Please do not include large (1 Mb or bigger) attachments without permission from the recipient.

• If you'd like a release published, don't use PDF. PDF is a format for reading, not for reprinting. Instead include plain text if at all possible.

• Check the date. I received a release in December 2002 dated 2001!

• Avoid superlatives like "world's first," "world's best," "world's leading," etc., because reputable editors will remove them.

• Make it easy for the press to find your releases and contact information on your website. I can't speak for other journalists, but use websites and passed releases as key resources, and get frustrated when I can't find that information.

For more tips, I recommend an article titled the Care and Feeding of the Press. It's worth your time if you work with the media.

• Peter Whitlock, OLIP, OLS wrote to share how GIS certification is being handled by surveyors in Ontario, Canada.

"Here in Ontario Canada, the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors has, via provincial legislation, created a Geographic Information Manager designation. This we believe will, in the future, carry more weight than a 'voluntary' certification."

• Richard White of EDR, Inc., who was previously with ESRI, shares some comments on a variety of topics raised in last week's issue:

"As a computer programmer who has focused his entire career on GIS, I have often wondered if it is better to hire a computer programmer and teach him / her GIS or to hire a geographer, natural resources, or business analyst (with some GIS experience) and teach him / her programming.

"Back in the days of AML, INFO, and Avenue, I leaned more towards the Geographer, but with MapObjects, ArcObjects, and SDE I've switched to hiring the programmer.

"That said, the biggest shortcoming that I commonly see is with GIS data knowledge. During an interview I like to ask the GIS applicant about the legacy of TIGER, how is DEM related to topographic sheets, or what are the differences between business geocoding and parcel based addressing. Data knowledge is something that you should be exposed to during your GIS college education and learn over the years as a GIS analyst and is something that I find very difficult to teach programmers. A computer science major, experienced with any GIS application, who also knows TIGER based data, makes the perfect candidate.

"I hope that companies like ESRI create internal programs to certify their own employees."

• Scott Grams, URISA Education Manager, sent some corrections and additions to my discussion of certification last week.

"Regarding your statement: 'I'm not aware of any GIS professionals who are required by their employers or states to update knowledge from year to year. Despite the lack of requirements, many GIS professionals work hard to get to conferences and training classes and take full advantage, even though they do not receive formal credit.'

"URISA and GISCI are well aware that there are a number of professionals who contribute to their profession without the carrot of certification dangling in front of their noses. This program was put together by a diverse committee consisting of a number of these individuals. Their aim was that these professionals, who need no added incentive, should serve as more of a model than as an exception. This program was not designed to make concessions to those who do not take an initiative even though there may be a multitude of them. It was designed to recognize and provide a benefit to those who see a need in sharing their knowledge with their peers.

"The Pilot Program will begin in February in Georgia. The program will include volunteers with a number of different backgrounds and point levels. It is not reserved to URISA members or GAURISA members. Instead it seeks applications from a variety of professionals whose portfolios will help to identify strengths and weaknesses within the current program. The Pilot is designed to be a preliminary test and we anticipate that we will learn a great deal about the program during its 3-4 month duration. The committee will then take the lessons learned and incorporate them into the final program that should be unveiled in late 2003, likely at URISA's 2003 Conference in Atlanta.

"Please be advised that this is not a 'URISA Certification' it is a 'GISCI Certification.' GISCI is an independent and fully incorporated association.

"URISA, GISCI, and the Certification Committee don't want certification to 'shake up' the professional community. The program is voluntary and is intended to provide an endorsement of a GIS professional's expertise. An endorsement that will hopefully add yet another signpost on the career path they have chosen."

• Todd F. Helt, President of Telemorphic wrote to add to my notes on GIS use in museums:

"I just wanted to add another great example to your 'Education and Career Notes' section in the January 3 edition of GIS Monitor, in particular to reiterate your point that 'Education does not always happen in the classroom. GIS has taken some bold steps in museums.' Taking it one step further, INTERNET GIS and Geographic Imaging technologies have made some revolutionary leaps forward in 2002 especially in the arena of on-line museums and libraries.

"The most well developed examples that come to mind are from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection Internet GIS sites. These public access sites integrate modern GIS and imagery from USGS, NASA, and others with georeferenced historical maps to deliver both rich geographic content AND interactive GIS and Geographic Imaging tools to anyone with a web browser and a good Internet connection. . . . Especially relevant this month during the bicentennial of the start (Jan. 18) of the Lewis and Clark expedition is David Rumsey's Lewis and Clark Expedition 200th Anniversary Internet GIS".

• The first
review I've seen of MapInfo 7.0 appears in GEOWorld. Fred Limp
highlights some new features, but remains disappointed in the direct read support of vector files.

• A Wired article explores the legality of tracking a spouse or friend using a GPS tracking device. Cops do it all the time, and so, apparently to suspicious spouses. Part of the reason? It's cheap!

• In India, non-government organization, Shelter Associates is making a presentation to develop GIS to help prevent and respond to slum fires. Pratima Joshi, founder of Shelter Associates was invited by the World Bank to make a presentation on planning tools and technology for urban planning at a recent seminar on Urban Development for Poverty Reduction at Washington. Officials, including the fire chief in Mumbai, are considering the proposal.

• IBSystems is replacing its monthly GISVision online magazine in favor of a weekly publication, GISWeekly. GISCafe and GISWeekly Managing Editor Susan Smith "will examine select top news each week, pick out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest announcements you might not find elsewhere."

• An article in the Santa Monica, California Look Out News details the "knee-jerk" reaction the city had after 9/11 to pull all of its maps off the Web. The maps were put up, and widely used in response the Northridge earthquake of 1994. As of now, virtually all the maps, save those of the water system are back online. Michael Carson, the City's GIS coordinator wants maps from the private utility companies free: "We don't want to pay for something that is already available and should be for free." My guess: if the maps were available, they'd not be on the Web either.

• WorldNetDaily reports that a citizen of Belarus was captured in northwestern Maine about 20 miles from the border back in August. He'd used a GPS to get into Maine from Canada through a remote part of the border. Officials suggest he was developing an immigrant smuggling route.

• Conservationist Mike Fay, who many met at ESRI's User Conference a few years ago when he spoke about his walk across Africa, was recently in an altercation with an elephant. He's recovering and expects to be fine. If you follow his story, you'll want to hear his telling of the tale, courtesy of NPR.


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• Announcements
ESRI Virtual Campus announced a new course, Turning Data into Information, that examines the scientific methods used to extract useful information from spatial data. It's a companion course to the GIS textbook, Geographic Information Systems and Science.

ESRI announced that Estimotion Ltd., a leading Israel-based provider of traffic forecasting technology, selected ESRI's location-based GIS technology to deliver highly accurate, real-time traffic information to mobile workforce and urban commuters worldwide. Systematics Technologies, ESRI's distributor in Israel, provided the software and support to Estimotion.

Applied Geographics, Inc. (AGI) completed the development of a Web-services based online mapping capability for the Town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The application draws on three servers - Tax Assessor's data served by Patriot Properties, Orthophotography served by MassGIS, and Parcel, Zoning, Census, and Precinct GIS Data Layers served by AGI. The application is one of the first in the Commonwealth to utilize MassGIS's new Web services that enable GIS data layers and orthophotography to be served directly from MassGIS to Internet applications.

Snowflake Software's GO Loader passed the GML relay "test" with flying colors. It was the only technology able to read the output files from all the other participants despite the fact that each system output its own flavor of GML. (More on that next week.) The relay illustrates moving GML data from one product to another.

PlanGraphics, Inc. reported a net loss of $393,120, on revenue of $8.2 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2002. The results compare favorably with a net loss of $1,123,602 on $7.6 million revenue, a year earlier. Revenue for the year, which rose $519,540, or 7%, over the prior year.

The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) is pleased to announce the society's role in a campaign designed to evaluate the new High Resolution Stereoscopic (HRS) instrument on SPOT-5. The international evaluation campaign is being jointly organized by ISPRS and Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) as an "HRS Study Team." The assessment program will begin with selection of study areas in January 2003.

Mapping Science, Inc. announced its Educational Partner Program. The Program offers discounts of up to 80% on MSI's GeoJP2 image compression software to colleges and universities and provides an opportunity for end users to submit feedback on product features and functionality.

MapInfo is pre-announcing a Town Meeting on Homeland Security hosted by Senator Hillary Clinton to be held in early 2003. Invited guests will attend the meeting in Troy, while others will participate via webcast. I saw this a few weeks ago, but was going to wait until the date was announced to post it. MapInfo started advertising it without a date, so I no longer feel obligated to wait.

The University of Texas at Dallas has been selected as one of 12 universities in the nation to house a center for spatial data management sponsored by Oracle Corp.

ESRI is hosting a free 60-minute Live Training Seminar on Thursday, January 16, 2003 titled "Introduction to ArcGIS Survey Analyst." Sessions are held at 9AM, 11AM, or 4PM Pacific.

Laser-Scan has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Magnasoft. This MOU will enable Magnasoft to exploit Laser-Scan's Radius Topology product as part of its application and services business in India.

Lakeview Technology Inc., active in the development and distribution of infrastructure software for the information enterprise, announced on December 3, 2002, a relationship with ESRI. Lakeview's OmniReplicator helps manage GIS data by automatically and seamlessly replicating data from where it is to where it needs to be, regardless of differences in source and target platforms and database structures.

According to a release, "Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions demonstrated the interoperability of GeoMedia technology by successfully participating in the recent Geography Markup Language (GML) Estafette sponsored by the Kring van Aardobservatie en GeoInformatie (Dutch Society of Earth Observation and GeoInformatics) and the technical university, TU Delft. The objective of the relay was to corroborate the Open GIS concept, emphasizing the easy, open exchange of spatial data using OpenGIS Consortium (OGC) standards such as GML."

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Autodesk in San Rafael was rated by Fortune magazine as No. 52 in the 100 Best Places to Work. The list appears on the Fortune website.

Osmose Utilities Services, Inc., a provider of predictive and preventative maintenance services for utilities, has established a new business unit that provides data solutions designed to help utilities increase the performance and reliability of their key operational support systems.

Geographic Data Technology, Inc. announced that Wayne St. Jacques, Information Technology director, has been recognized by IDG's Computerworld weekly newspaper as one of the business world's Premier 100 IT Leaders. GDT's production environment includes a Storage Area Network (SAN) providing a total of 8 terabytes of raw space for GDT's systems. GDT also maintains an adaptation of the MIT Orthoserver that stores aerial and satellite imagery for immediate "image-on-demand" use by GDT's database editors as source and verification tools for use in creating a North American street and address database. GDT also maintains a set of proprietary software tools to aid in the creation of its digital map products. St. Jacques has managed GDT's IT group for nine years.

Promoters of Rolta India (RIL) have reduced their holding in the company. Kamal K Singh, Aruna K Singh, Rolta Shares & Stock Ltd (RSSL), along with Rolta Ltd, held a 53.44 per cent stake in the company as on March 2001, but this stood reduced to 48.68 per cent in December 2002. Rolta had faced allegations of accounting discrepancies in the financial statements for the year 2001.

Bentley announced a 70-city "tour" titled "The 2003 V8 Generation World Tour", that will show off its latest offerings.

ESRI Virtual Campus presents Penn State Edition: Learning ArcGIS I, a new course that combines the convenience of online instruction with the added benefit of online support from a Penn State instructor.

ESRI is offering free seminars to professionals in the engineering and public works industries. The seminars will take place in various parts of the United States between January 14, 2003, and March 13, 2003.

COFES2003: The Congress on the Future of Engineering Software, will take place at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona on May 15 -18, 2003. Says Brad Holtz, president and CEO, Cyon Research Corporation, the hosting organization, "We've carefully crafted COFES to be the ideal place for MCAD, AEC, and GIS press, analysts, developers, and customers to cooperate in a framework that invites intense, fruitful discussions on the industry." Last year ESRI was the only pure GIS vendor in attendance and was joined by GIS Cafe, the only GIS press noted in attendance. This event, with its "Technology Suites" and special invitations to qualified individuals, sounds a lot like the Daratech events which also tried to court GIS vendors and press at one time.

• Contracts and Sales
The Korean Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) will fund a 90.8 billion won project to develop a national GIS (NGIS), modifying the national basic map and integrating maps of roads and underground facilities.

Bluegrass GIS, Inc. has been selected by Henderson County, North Carolina to migrate its legacy property addressing applications from ArcView 3.2 Avenue to ArcGIS ArcObjects.

Conclusive Strategies announced it has completed a pilot database marketing program in the Seattle region for Bassett Furniture Direct in Tukwila, Washington, and is currently in the process of assisting with roll-out of the program on a nation-wide basis. The program is an on-going drive-to-store prospecting system, based on a quantitative model of Bassett Furniture's best customers, including examination of geography of stores' catchment areas.

Digital Aerial Solutions, Inc., a full-service commercial provider of digital aerial photography and geospatial information purchased a Leica airborne data acquisition system (ADS40, GPro image processing workstation, and GeoVault data management system).

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. announced that the company's Information Systems Group has secured a major contract with Canada's Department of National Defence (DND) to deliver a new imaging and surveillance radar system for the country's fleet of CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft.

PlanGraphics, Inc., has been awarded a $628,911 contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support the Department's Enterprise Architecture (EA) practice.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development county offices have chosen GeoMedia technology as the core software for implementation of the department's META project. Project implementation is a joint venture between Siemens Business Services and graphIT, a Team GeoMedia Registered Solutions Provider, with support from Intergraph Czech Republic for the geospatial component. META includes more than 120 seats of GeoMedia Professional and additional licenses of GeoMedia WebMap.

@Road, a provider of location-enhanced wireless Internet solutions for mobile resource management (MRM), has been selected by Qwest to provide MRM services to help Qwest manage its field operations. Under the deployment plan, @Road will host and deliver a suite of MRM services to Qwest using the patented @Road LocationSmart technology platform.

Municipal Software Corporation added five new clients to its CityView user base: the Borough of Dormont, Pennsylvania, the Township of Brick, New Jersey, the City of Marathon, Florida, the County of Albemarle, Virginia, and the City of Encinitas, California.

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators, is sponsoring an Internet-based, point and click map registry of all Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). Digital Data Technologies, Inc. (DDTI) has designed and will maintain the map which profiles the current status of wireless E9-1-1 implementation across the United States.

• Products
Blue Marble released updated versions of the Geographic Transformer (now at release 4.5) and Geographic Calculator (now at release 5.2). Several new coordinate systems for Florida, Australia, New Zealand, and Fargo, North Dakota are implemented.


Europa Technologies announced the availability of its digital world map Global Insight, version 3.0. Enhancements include an updated political map, over 532,000 named places, population estimates for over 48,000 places, country and ocean names in French, German, Italian, Spanish & Dutch, time zone updates with Daylight Saving (DST) information and flags. Data is available in MapInfo (TAB), MapInfo Import / Export (MIF/MID), and ESRI Shapefile (SHP) formats. The primary and alternative places databases are supplied in Tab delimited files (TXT), dBase (DBF) and Access (MDB).

Location-based service company Televigation Inc. will launch TeleNav GPS for Nextel this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The service provides voice-enabled, turn-by-turn directions for phones that run on the Nextel network, and have GPS receivers. Within three months, Televigation and Nextel plan to launch an enterprise version of the system, which lets IT managers or any other managers enter data into a mobile employee's phone remotely, and track locations of employees' handsets.

OleMap Inc., a provider of location-based services in the Greater China region has launched its latest mobile value-added services, FriendFinder, with Chunghwa Telecoms. Three different options allow users to find friends within a particular distance, play "Rock, Paper Scissors" (the winner can access personal info on the loser) and find partners for activities using the "Playmates Wanted" option.

Mapopolis now offers the first GPS bundle for Sony CLIE handhelds. A bundle for the CLIE NR/NX/T series handhelds featuring Holux GPS hardware and a Mapopolis Platinum +GPS subscription is available.

CSI Wireless Inc. introduced its new Outback Hitch, a GPS product designed and built especially for guiding agricultural implements such as planters, sprayers and cultivators. Outback Hitch ensures that tractor-pulled implements follow precise paths - which reduces crop damage and operator fatigue, while achieving new efficiencies in cost-sensitive farming operations.

Spatial Insights, Inc. announced the release of a block centroid database based on the 2000 Census.

Version 0.2 of Av2Svg, an open source ArcView 3.x SVG based Internet Mapping extension, is now available. This version includes support for database query, distance measurement, tooltip, auto labeling, image or GRID, simple, graduate, and unique legend, zooming and panning (built into SVG viewer), simple template for Web publishing, CSS legend properties - enable quick layer color and line width customization.

OpenOSX announced product compatibility with Apple's new X11 application, bringing full Quartz graphic acceleration to the OpenOSX products, including OpenOSX Grass GIS.

Eastman Kodak Company's Aerial and Industrial Materials group has introduced three new black-and-white duplication films that produce duplicate positives with extremely fine grain-ideal for duplicating medium and fine grain aerial originals.

Universal Map announced the release of SmartMaps Viewer 2.0. SmartMaps is an advanced Internet mapping platform that displays data in vector format using SVG technology. SmartMaps Viewer works in both Windows and Mac environments.

• Hires and Appointments
ESRI announced that as of January 1, 2003, its New York City satellite office will become the company's eleventh U.S. regional office. Chris Schielein, who currently manages the New York City satellite office, will serve as regional manager.


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