GIS MONITOR, January 17, 2002


- ESRI Acquires CACI Marketing Systems Group: Part 1 

- Comparing MapMart and GIS Data Depot for Free DEMs 

- Survey Update

Departments: Points of Interest, Buzzword Watch, Week in Review, Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

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News of the ESRI acquisition of CACI’s Marketing Systems Group started appearing on Tuesday Jan 8. Though ESRI has not released a formal statement as we go to press, several articles appeared around the Web with further details. The articles themselves are not so interesting as the responses they sparked. On one message board the announcement received exactly NO response. Comments about one article were far more focused on comparing MapInfo’s product and support to ESRI’s. I can only conclude that those replying are just not that interested.

However, the acquisition is significant since it seems to indicate a slight change in ESRI’s direction even if it causes little impact on the GIS marketplace. In the past thirty plus years, ESRI’s acquisitions have included relatively raw technology as well as packaged software. Examples include the SDE technology, AtlasGIS and Mapplex. ESRI even built its flagship ArcInfo on the purchase of the INFO database, release 9. But for the first time, ESRI has consciously bought into attribute data. Of course, ESRI has included some demographic data with ArcView for some years, and as an ESRI representative explained, some is licensed from various vendors and some ESRI owns. That was the arrangement for BusinessMap and Business Analyst, as well. Now, ESRI will have a data arm that in fact “makes” demographic data.

It is worth remembering that the early days of business applications for GIS, in the early 1990s, were the heyday for companies hoping to sell inexpensive software and more expensive data. Strategic Mapping and MapInfo followed that model. Then, when Strategic Mapping closed down, the software (AtlasGIS) went to ESRI and the data arm to Claritas. The tide of whether data and GIS software should live together in a company swung the other way and data giants began to grow. GDT and TeleAtlas are among the largest GIS data vendors these days. This recent ESRI acquisition could be signaling that things are heading back the other way.

Why did this acquisition happen? Perhaps this part of CACI didn’t quite fit with the rest of the business. Perhaps ESRI wanted to streamline its relationship with the data vendor and cut the costs associated with licensing and renegotiating contracts year after year. Perhaps ESRI needed CACI’s experience in marketing business data and applications to further enhance its sales and marketing team in the marketplace. Looking back at ESRI’s history, its early focus on natural resources (the name, of course is really, Environmental Systems Research Institute), years of selling GIS to small and large governments, and a big push toward utilities as Smallworld entered the market, left little energy and resources for business geographics to build momentum.

The practical aspects of the acquisition have not been released as we go to press. Next week, I plan to take a look at those details and some share some thoughts from experts in business geographics.

ESRI purchases CACI Marketing (Directions Magazine)  =265&slashSess=df4105f91f64c9a2ec97eb4b2f2ee89e

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COMPARING MAPMART AND GIS DATA DEPOT FOR FREE DEMS is the latest commercial vendor to partner with the USGS to distribute free SDTS DEMs on the Internet. What will make it different than, say, GIS Data Depot, the first company to do so?

I put the two sites “head to head” by downloading a single quad’s worth of 10 M DEM data. I used Rose Crossing in Flathead County, Montana to examine the process at each site. I do not download data regularly and this was my first visit of any length to MapMart. I have had experience with GIS Data Depot in the past.

At MapMart, the front page lays out all that is available: imagery, vector, TIGER, paper maps and more. The DEM icon notes that 10 and/or 30 meter SDTS DEMs are available for free, with entire U.S. coverage. The next page details pricing of the free and non-free DEM products, provides a discussion of formats available and links to samples. Choosing “begin” presents a thematic map of the US, showing where 10 and 30 meter data is available. You can click on the map to zoom in, or query by county, city, lat/lon, township/range, quad or street address, which was a pleasant surprise. The site, by the way, is powered with MapInfo’s MapXtreme. With the quad name known, I was ready to begin ordering. That seems odd, but you do in fact have to “order” free data.

You can order by quad, county or user defined rectangle. I chose quad. A form listing what was in my order confirmed that 10 meter data was available and that I could move to checkout. The complete order form, including all of the for pay options like formats, contours and projections, is a bit dizzying for someone looking for free data. You need to choose the FREE option and then fill out detailed personal information, including name and address to complete the order. I found that a bit intrusive – my e-mail, maybe, but there’s no need to get my home address, is there? Once you submit the form, you are taken to yet another page with the URL for downloading. I still had no idea of the size of the file I was about to download. The 1.17 MB file came down in about 20 seconds via my DSL line. For those looking for multiple files, there is a 10 file per order maximum.

Mike Platt, the president of IntraSearch, the firm that that runs MapMart, responded to some of my comments. He points out that Intrasearch is a data provider that specializes in providing “plug and play” data to clients. “That,” he explained “is why the order form is very detailed. It is designed to serve all of our clients.” The personal information required is used to manage client accounts and to provide the USGS with monthly profiles of those who download their files. The quick download speed, Mr. Platt explained, is due to the company’s recent move to a 10 megabit burstable pipe. Even before taking on the free data distribution, the company’s T-1 line was heavily trafficked. Platt was candid about why the company took on the free data: “to gain exposure.”

The same process at GIS Data Depot went like this. The GIS Data Depot homepage isn’t about data; it’s actually the SpatialNews homepage. That’s a great resource, but not only data. From there, I chose the Free Data link. The USGS DEM Resources link will take you to a listing of articles and tools AND a link to download the data. There are also links to status graphics detailing what’s available, though these are not used to actually select the data. Find the link titled, DOWNLOAD DEM DATA HERE, and you are presented with a US Map.

I could find no way to search for the data by quad name or city – I had to use the map. Clicking on Montana took me to a list of the counties. Clicking on Flathead took me to a list of all of the free data for that county, DEMs included. The DEM (24K) link took me to a list of the 137 files available. I did not see any information about the resolution of the data (10 meter vs. 30 meter). I worked through the text list and found Rose Crossing. I could see the size of the file, the ID number and the options for a “regular” or “premium” download. I was presented with 4 files, two zipped TAR files and two text files. I downloaded the same file as I did from MapMart, 1705640.DEM.SDTS.TAR.GZ. It took several minutes. The time comparison is of course not scientific at all and reflects a number of factors including the popularity of GIS Data Depot, time of day, traffic on the Internet and more. For those looking to download multiple files there are speed and connection limits at GIS Data Depot, but the site offers a paid Premium Service for faster access.

Glenn Letham, Managing Editor, The GeoCommunity, detailed why the GIS Data Depot site doesn’t seem to be a data site. “The home page for data is This is the ‘data’ portal for the GeoCommunity. Clicking the ‘GIS Data’ button at the top of any page takes you to the Data Depot home. The page  is actually the entry point to all downloadable data.” He also explained how I could find my data by name: I should use the site’s search engine. “Toggle Data Depot and enter the following ‘Flathead Montana DEM’ yields this  as the #1 result. Viola, exactly where you need to go!”

Each site has its strengths. MapMart provides more ways to “find” the area of interest including a 100% mapcentric option. The speed is quite good, but may slow as more people find the site. GIS Data Depot requires no registration to download its free data and provides other free data and resources as well.

Clearly the USGS is working to make more free data available through more sites. I give them credit for choosing sites and organizations that clearly have the infrastructure and knowledge to provide the service. Still, both MapMart and GIS Data Depot are moneymaking ventures, so end-users should be prepared to “pay” by giving up personal data, seeing ads, or being offered products other than the free ones they seek.



GIS Data Depot 

USGS Partners with to Serve Geographic Data 



We want to thank all GIS Monitor readers who spent a few minutes filling out our online survey at the end of last year. We have a winner of the GeoMedia software, provided by Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions. I want to share the e-mail from the winner, Priscilla G. Minotti, UMSEF- Direccion de Recursos Forestales Nativos, Argentina, who will be receiving a Spanish version.

“With all that is going on in my country, being a winner of such a powerful software feels really like a miracle!

“I'm a consultant in data integration and QC/QA for the First National Native Forest Inventory of Argentina, a project funded by a loan from the World Bank.

“My working place is UMSEF (Unidad de Manejo del Sistema de Evaluacion Forestal) a unit of the Direccion de Recursos Forestales Nativos (Native Forest Resources Directorate) that will manage our national Forest Evaluation System, currently under construction.”



This new, occasional department will highlight first sighting of new buzzwords and acronyms in the geospatial realm.

Term: EAM Definition: Enterprise Asset Management Source: Indus Corporation Use: “Indus International is a world leader in delivering Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software solutions to capital-intensive industries around the world.”



- In 1967, sociologist Stanley Milgram created the idea that anyone on the planet could be connected with a second person through a chain of just six friends. I ran into that idea in grad school (thanks Professor Gould) and I bought it. It sounded reasonable. Then, at my first job, I was told that within the company, you needed only three phone calls to reach an expert. That held true for the three years I was at Arthur D. Little. Now, two studies are testing the six degrees of separation idea via e-mail while they try to map the social relationships of the Internet.,1284,49343,00.html 

- AUGI (Autodesk User Group International), not Autodesk, sent out this reminder on January 14, 2002: “Release 14 Upgrade No Longer Available After January 14th!!!!!!! At the end of today's business day you will no longer be able to upgrade AutoCAD Release 14. Contact your VAR for details ASAP.”

- According to the Albany Business Review, a New City Company, NewTek Capital has purchased an Albany area venture firm, Exponential Business Development Company Inc. One of the six principals is Mike Marvin, a soon-to-be ex-MapInfo board member. 

- OGETA, Inc., Open Geodata Consortium, is a not-for-profit partnership of public and private sector organizations working together to provide a spatial indexing utility for metropolitan regions. It’s hosting a forum on the "Social Benefits of Spatially-Enabled e-Government" in Atlanta on January 25, 2002. 




Jan 16 - Caliper Ships Maptitude GIS for Windows Version 4.5 

Caliper, as always, states its value proposition in no uncertain terms: “Shipped as a single package for $495, Maptitude 4.5 provides many capabilities that are not supported by desktop mapping products costing three times the price of Maptitude.”


Jan 16 - Autodesk Location Services Launches LocationLogic 2 

Unlike other solutions that require components, Autodesk argues, “Autodesk LocationLogic provides a common framework for administrative, maintenance, provisioning, billing, and user profile services for all of the applications and databases used by the LocationLogic platform all within a highly secure environment.”


Jan 16 - Laser-Scan Releases Gothic 4.1 

Gothic 4.1 updates all the Laser-Scan products, including the latest Java-based additions, Gothic JADE and Gothic Web Mapper.


Jan 16 - Ordnance Survey Hosts MPs' Question Time 

MPs were interested in a plan to provide all 400 government departments and agencies with access to the OS’s mapping system.


Jan 16 - ImageLinks Launches RasterWare Appliances 

RasterWare Appliances are a line of hardware/software systems that store, process and deliver customized geospatial imagery and related information directly to the end user’s desktop. The “next thing” in imagery, it seems, is not analysis but management.


Jan 16 - QUALCOMM Enhances Capability for gpsOne Technology 

The big change: now the system can determine its location without connecting to a location server.


Jan 16 - Webraska and Parrot to Launch Telematic Solution 

Bluetooth is used to “sync” a handheld with mobile for navigation and other tasks.


Jan 16 - Autodesk and BEA Deliver Location-Sensitive Wireless 

The two companies announced an agreement to jointly offer location-sensitive wireless data services to carriers. Carol Bartz, CEO and President of Autodesk, is on the board of directors of BEA Systems.


Jan 15 - Tadpole Wins Benchmark Mobile GIS Software Contract 

From the very oddly worded press release I gather that Tadpole is providing some add-on tools to ESRI’s ArcPAD to be deployed by Consumers Energy of Michigan. No information on the value of the contract or how many folks will use the application, but the contract “paves the way for the energy provider to put quality task and spatial data into the hands of over 1,800 field.”


Jan 15 - Planet GPS Chooses Maporama For Fleet Management App 

The release argues that using Maporama's street level maps, Planet GPS has created “the first application of fleet management and security with automatic real-time vehicle spotting on maps.”


Jan 15 - PlanGraphics Busy at Home and Abroad 

Ready for five announcements at once? The big one is a multi-year $1.28 million contract with the Sichuan Urban Environment Project Office (SUEPO) to provide consulting services to undertake the development of an Urban Management Information System–Geographic Information System (UMIS-GIS). The rest are smaller: a services contract with the state of Maryland, a rollout of a project for RI Dept. of Transportation and the implementation of a GIS for Lower Merion Township, PA and finally, the company was placed on two contracting vehicles: State of New Jersey GIS Services Term Contract and the Los Angeles County Information Technology Support Services Master Agreement.


Jan 15 - Trimble Raises Additional $19.2 million 

The company has pulled in $45.95 million in the sale of stock.


Jan 14 - Microsoft, Accenture Heat Up Telematics Party 

The newly formed Accenture Services Bureau for Automotive Telematics will market services and products built on Microsoft Car.NET architecture, including Windows CE for Automotive. The idea is to build cost-effective automotive data systems and perhaps sell them to OnStar.


Jan 14 - SDS Introduces $1.5 Million Technical Services Grant 

Between January 1, 2002 and January 1, 2003, SDS will set aside $1.5 million to assist state, county, and city assessment offices with their expanding GIS needs.


Jan 14 - Indus and Cook-Hurlbert Expand Strategic Alliance 

Cook-Hurlbert will use the IndusConnect for the GIS/API Design Tool.


Jan 14 - WINfirst Expands SPATIALinfo Network Inventory Mgmt Sys  Denver-based WINfirst requested that Spatialinfo expand the recent implementation of its core SPATIALnet network database system.


Jan 14 - Conservation Geography: New ESRI Press Book 

Those in GIS will not be surprised to learn the author is Charles L. Convis, Jr., is ESRI's conservation program coordinator.


Jan 14 - ESRI's DMS and SCADA Chosen for Chinese Utility Company 

Jiangsu Provincial Power Company, located in eastern China, has implemented a geographic information system (GIS) based on its software.


Jan 14 - Seitel Selects Tobin International for Cartographic Info 

Tobin International's Superbase combined with Seitel Solutions products and services will enable Seitel customers to view seismic data while at the same time identifying existing land surveys, state/county lines, oil and gas well locations, pipelines and roads.


Jan 11 - UK Government to Launch Online Emergency GIS,,t269-s2102338,00.html 

The UK Cabinet Office is planning to launch an Internet-based emergency planning service in March. A trial of the system began in late October 2000 and ended in early May 2001.


Jan 11 - GPS Vehicle Locater Aims To Thwart Thieves 

Wingcast has enlisted the services of Directed Electronics (DEI) to deliver a GPS (global positioning system)-based platform for vehicles equipped with the Wingcast system. Basically, if the vehicle goes out of predetermined bounds, owners are notified.


Jan 11 - MAPPS Wins Census Switch to QBS for MAF/TIGER 

Apparently, under the old procurement method, qualifications based selection (QBS) was not used. MAPPS highlighted that the work includes both surveying and mapping, which, under the Brooks Act, means that QBS IS required. If I follow this correctly, now qualification, not price will determine those selected for the contract.


Jan 11 - Cost Reduction Program at Leica Geosystems 

The Company stated that this program would result in an additional total worldwide reduction of 150 of its total of 2820 positions over the next six months. With its many acquisitions and these challenging economic times this comes as no shock.


Jan 10 - ASPRS Adopts Strategic Plan 

The Strategic Plan is meant to be a living document. ASPRS will measure its success by how well it meets its goals. I’d summarize the document in these two words: outreach and communication.


Jan 10 - PCI Introduces New Geomatica V8.2 for 2002 

V8.2 includes new web tools, added spatial analysis functions, and 3D stereo feature editing/extraction capabilities.


Jan 10 - LizardTech Appoints Chief Financial Officer 

Case Kuehn, new vice president and chief financial officer will direct the financial planning and resource allocation for LizardTech's leading image, digital document and server solutions. He’s new to LizardTech but has been around high tech for a while.


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