February 3, 2005


Editor's Note
ESRI Federal User Conference
Amazon's A9 Ups the Ante on Yellow Pages
Microsoft's Search Adds New Geosearch Tools

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Letters, Points of Interest, Kudos and Conundrums, Week in Review (Announcements, Contracts, Products, Events, Training, People) Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

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Editor's Note
Over the past few weeks I've received e-mails from readers who've not received the last two issues. We are looking into it. In the meantime, all back issues are online

Also, for nearly two days this week the GIS Monitor website was off-line. I was heartened that so many readers were concerned about its status. It's back up and has not suffered any long term injuries.


ESRI Federal User Conference


ESRI's Federal User Conference was held in Washington D.C. on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. I did not attend. A pre-conference survey asked users about "what was on federal users' minds." A reply from ESRI founder and president Jack Dangermond revealed that "the top concerns are GIS interoperability, data standards and policies for sharing geospatial information." An article in Government Computer News (GCN) goes on to note that the rest of the reply focused on a new Trimble extension for ArcGIS that simplifies use of GPS data. Another issue: "concern about complying with the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-16 metadata requirements for their geospatial assets" via FGDC guidelines. Version 9.5 of ArcGIS is expected in May.[Correction: Two ESRI staffers have pointed out my source on this information was in error. It's Verion 9.1 that's expected in Q2 2005.]

I think it's interesting that the top concerns are a mix of technology issues (interoperability) and policy issues (data standards and sharing policies). ESRI as a software vendor can certainly address the former, and has over the years provided support for various data formats, geospatial, and IT standards. ESRI has also been at the forefront of providing data models for its users in different industries. The latest one, made available just this week, is for homeland security. Data standards and data policies typically come from government agencies and industry consortia. So perhaps, via the survey, the government employees are telling themselves what to place on their own agendas?

GOS II Award

The other news out of the conference actually was released the day before: ESRI was awarded the GOS V2 Contract. That is, the Geospatial One-Stop project selected ESRI to update the federal geospatial data portal. The contract, if all options are awarded, totals $2.38 million over five years. Described in the announcement as "highly competitive" the procurement began with an Request for Quote (RFQ) in October. The award was expected to be announced by January 3. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior Scott Cameron demonstrated some of the new capabilities at the conference.

I've raised this question before and I'll raise it again: Why does the U.S. government use conferences to announce contacts and awards? I raised this issue last year when the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency announced recipients of its Innovations in Geospatial Intelligence Broad Agency Announcements at the USGIF's GEOINT banquet. (Tickets were not free.) Now, Mr. Cameron shows off the new portal at an ESRI hosted event for the federal government. (The event is free for federal employees and has fees for all others; one need not be an ESRI user to attend.)

I will note how convenient it is that the announcement of the award was made on Jan 31 and the demonstration was held the next day at ESRI's conference. I wonder if, like so many article I read, there was a disclaimer at the demonstration about how government use or mention of a particular brand does not constitute an endorsement?

GOS II Vision

Said Cameron, according to a report in GCN, the portal now has "80,000 publications." I expect he means datasets and that he knows they are not stored in a single repository but reside at their host's location and are accessed via the portal. Cameron went on to describe the competition as "very intense" though there's no word on the number or names of other bidders at this time. The new portal will have "an order of magnitude better discovery and access for all citizens and will use OGC [Open Geospatial Consortium] standards."

The new version of the portal will be built on IBM's WebSphere (ESRI and IBM have been rather close of late) and be "compatible" with database management systems from IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle, according to GCN. (I confess that I'm not sure what that means in this context.) There'll also be a spatially-enabled search appliance from Google. Now, that sounds interesting, though again, it's not clear at all what that might look like. The article goes on to note: "The addition of these tools will result in a departure from the portal's present hierarchical data access arrangement." That single change may mean a huge step forward for end users in finding the data they seek.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) deputy chief Jack Kelly addressed the need for global government participation in the Global Earth Observing System of Systems which will gather sensor data and potentially provide alerts and visualization of the state of the planet and hazards. While the U.S. is moving forward with plans to set more ocean sensors in the Pacific and Indian oceans, Kelly noted that not everyone is comfortable with sharing their data. "We have to move out of our comfort zones," he said.

Lee Schwartz, deputy geographer for the State Department, speaking at the conference explained how an interagency working group with players from the Department of State, NOAA, NASA, the Agency for International Development, and other agencies came together to create a database of victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia. He noted, "The jury's still out as to whether geographic information systems saved any lives. It's more for rehabilitation than relief…"

Amazon's A9 Ups the Ante on Yellow Pages

A9, Amazon's online "Yellow Pages," introduced a local search
option (click on "Yellow Pages like you've never seen before" in upper left). The updated service, with a twist, images, was rolled out this week. In addition to finding the nearest coffee shop to a ZIP Code or address, it provides a set of pictures of the establishment. The searcher can pan to pictures left or right of the business. There are just general indications of how the company put together data on 10 cities in just four months, but the company says the technology it developed, which uses GPS and video, will allow it to log more cities in the coming months. The service is supposed to provide more information than old-fashioned directories. Does it?

Since one of the cities covered is Boston, I had a look at my neighborhood's coffee shops. The coffee shop closest to me (a block and a half away) was listed but had no pictures. My guess is that image tour covered more major roads than minor ones. The Starbucks a few blocks away, and on a busier street, was listed and was linked to a series of seven photos. The first time I searched, none of them showed the Starbucks, but rather the gas station next door to the small strip mall where the coffee purveyor resides. When I queried again, later in the day, I found different images, including the front of the store (above). The map from MapQuest, was right on. The coffee shop closest to my parents in neighboring Cambridge (1369) had a front door shot and included the bus stop nearby, as well as a car-less street. (The image must have been taken early in the morning!)

Visitors to a business' A9 website can upload more photos and add comments or initiate a call to the business. That bit of participation for the average user is important. It's part of why Amazon's other website is so successful: visitors can read others' reviews of books, toys, music, etc. Once populated, the A9 business comments will form a sort of community assessment program. Of course, like any other such offering, there is room for abuse. Still, I'm hopeful, that like Amazon's reviews, they'll be useful, if not 100% unbiased.


The other compelling feature is the "other businesses along X Street" which shows a "schematic" of sorts of the street (above). That means if you thought you might grab a sandwich at Carberry's but wanted more options, you'd find the Asian restaurant next door, the Indian one a few doors down, alongside the taqueria. And, you could plan your errands around the bank and video store also on the street. That of course, is not something easily done with the "regular" yellow pages.

There are similar services overseas, most notably Wanadoo's images of places (home addresses, too not just businesses) in cities in Europe. I wrote about that a few years ago. This interactive, more complete version of the "Yellow Pages" is quite compelling. I for one would use it to get a sense of where a shop was on a street or in a strip mall so it'd be easier to find when driving. I can imagine house buyers or renters using it to not only find local shops but to "get a feel" for the neighborhood in a way that aerial imagery cannot provide.

While looking over images of my neighborhood I was reminded of an assignment in Pierce Lewis' Amerian landscape course at Penn State. Students had to walk a 6-mile stretch in State College and write an essay on the landscape. A9's imagery might just have made the walk unnecessary, at least for the less interested student! The other thought I had was that A9 might provide a "low budget" minimally functional set of images for public safety. These images, while only of businesses, could be valuable to law enforcement/public safety staff, too, at least those in the cities covered. On the other hand, I suppose the images could be valuable to the criminal element, too.

Says one analyst, "The A9 photo feature appears to trump plans by Google to merge detailed satellite imagery with its local business directory." I'd not heard that was Google's plan, but certainly this offering is quite different.

Microsoft's Search Adds New Geosearch Tools
After two years of work and a recent beta period, Microsoft has
unveiled its new search engine aimed to compete directly with Google, the top seed in that space. With a new query builder and other features the software giant hopes to take on the search giant.

When it comes to "geo" queries, Microsoft offers a "Near Me" option which uses reverse IP look-up to determine the surfer's location and the offer options in the local area. In time the Near Me option will also be able to tap into GPS information from cell phones, says Microsoft.

I tried to find weather "Near Me." It returned weather options for Merrimack, New Hampshire, some 30 miles away. I can key in my location as a preference in the "Settings," since as Microsoft puts it: "Knowing your location sometimes helps us provide more relevant information." (below) After doing so the top "Near Me" result from the "weather" query was from the New York Post; it provided the weather in New York City. In the number seven spot in the results I found: National Weather Service Forecast Office, Taunton MA, which is at least close.


Clearly, there's room for improvement here. Even a Microsoft VP said so: "But even Mehdi acknowledges that more work could be done, particularly in the Search Near Me feature that's supposed to spit out Web sites close to the surfer's location." Also of note: the Near Me option is only available on the dedicated search page, not the MSN homepage. I suppose that says something about Microsoft's sense of its importance or expected use.

It's also possible to restrict a query to a country or region using the loc parameter and a two letter code; "loc:FR" means restrict the query to France, for example. There's access to much of the Encarta encyclopedia, in two hour free chunks. Access depends on where you are in the world. One final goodie: you can grab an RSS feed of a search and use with an RSS reader. (Oddly, the My MSN one is not listed as an option. I was unable to get it recognize the MSN Search RSS feed.) At least one writer feels that Google has no clothes and Microsoft has a shot at the title.

A query from a reader about clandestine GPS receiver functionality sparked responses from knowledgeable readers.

• Dave Starr at SatViz offered this primer.

"The reader who asked about hidden (most often referred to 'clandestine' in the industry) GPS trackers is justifiably perplexed. In most cases the ability of the GPS sense antenna to 'see the sky' is paramount to the efficient operation of the unit. However, in today's world there are a number of techniques that mitigate or eliminate the issue.

"One example is a unit my company sells called 'GeoTab GO' which was designed as a straightforward logging device to manage costs and risks in commercial fleet vehicle operation. To eliminate the necessity of rooftop mounting and consequent drilling of holes to route the antenna cable inside the vehicle, GeoTab designed a powered, ultra sensitive antenna that normally mounts to the inside of the windshield with double-faced adhesive tape. Although the roof and support pillars of the vehicle shield this antenna from much of the sky the remaining satellites in view are sufficient for very satisfactory tracking solutions. I never intended to delve into the clandestine tracking world but a significant number of prospective client's questions have been, 'Can I mount this unit so the drivers won't know it's there?'

"Since most dash panels have a non-metallic top surface it's very easy to mount the antenna beneath the dash (near the defroster outlets at the base of the windshield for example) and it sees plenty of sky there to function perfectly. On the majority of cars made in recent years the 'bumpers' are molded from plastic, so if the antenna were mounted under the top surface of the front or rear bumper it would see as much or more sky as if mounted on the inside of the windshield.

"Another example from personal experience is a neat product I also handle known as the MiniBOSS from Bulldog Technologies. This cigarette pack size unit will operate autonomously for more than 20 days and if it can't see enough sky for a standard GPS position solution it will calculate a lower-order position from cellular tower triangulation ... again hardly the resolution the GPS is totally capable of but often more than is required to track a suspect or a valuable asset.

"For those who really want to hide, there are a number of 'spy store' units designed for police or private surveillance agencies that mount magnetically on the under floor of the vehicle trunk area. They too have powered antennas that point toward the road surface and solve the GPS equation by means of the faint reflected satellite signal from the road's surface. I have no personal experience with these units and doubt they have the resolution of more conventional units, but they are certainly adequate for the level of detail needed in most surveillance efforts."

• A second reader shared a URL that seems to offer a system that does not need a sky facing antenna.

• A third reader explained that while in the Middle East someone pointed out a GPS antenna, one he'd not noticed.

"[It was] shaped like a disk, about 4" in diameter and 1/4" thick, atop the roof of a car, painted over or covered by plastic stick-on that matches the car's color."


• Wes Westerfeld responded to my comments on ZIP Code usage for taxes (and how it doesn't work too well). He explained he'd "put-off writing a presentation paper about how the best of intentions can be badly messed up with data reported by ZIP Code." Still he offered his "preliminary paper title and topic outline" to readers. He concludes, "I don't have good answers for those trying to make ZIP Codes the universal map objects for all data. I just don't know what to say if these complexities, plus others that didn't occur to me, do not dissuade rabid ZIP data proponents. ZIP Codes are for mail; other users must proceed at their own peril."

The Trouble with ZIP

1. ZIP Codes are used to speed mail delivery. The same is true of ZIP+4 Codes, carrier route numbers, etc. They meet internal [United States Postal Service] USPS needs. Users outside that organization should beware.

2. ZIP Code boundaries change often -- more so than most people realize. I tracked 2,500 street-level changes in five-digit ZIP Code service areas during a single year in the Baltimore, Md. metropolitan area. No change affected more than one or two streets in one neighborhood. There were no large-scale changes, no new ZIP Codes were formed, and no major territorial shifts between the existing ones.

3. Old ZIP Codes are not done away with when new ones are created. They still exist and are widely used. This creates two dilemmas for attempts to understand changes over time with data reported by ZIP Code.

a. First, how does one cope with entirely new five-digit ZIP Codes? Where did they come from? Who lives within their service areas, or works, shops, or recreates there?

b. Second, how can the precipitous data drops be explained for the original ZIP areas (when 40/50% of their mailings may have been reassigned to the newly created Code)?

4. ZIP Code boundaries need not honor political boundaries. In fact, why should they? Why should a City Line, county, or township boundary, or other sub-state political unit affect how mail is delivered?

5. Forming new ZIP Codes does not lead to immediate adoption by all affected parties; some die-hards may continue using the older Codes five or ten years later. (And, I believe that USPS is still required by law to deliver all first class mail, regardless of ZIP accuracy.)

6. ZIP Codes are simply not appropriate for some information. It is unrealistic to expect that emergency services personnel will operate on that basis. Can you imagine what would happen if people reported crimes, only to be asked by emergency center operators questions like "Your assault is tragic! Can you tell me what ZIP Code that dark alley was in so I can send the police?"

Points of Interest
Note to Points of Interest Fans. Read the latest Points of Interest daily on our

UK Geo Bumble. Reader Martin shared this article from The Guardian. In short the UK seems to have as much trouble standardizing and sharing geospatial data as the rest of the world. Perhaps we can learn something by reading about their challenges?

Intergraph Up for Quarter/Year. Intergraph Corporation announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2004. Revenue for the quarter was $146.2 million, compared to $144.5 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2003. For the year ended December 31, 2004, revenue was $551.1 million, an increase of 4.8% from $526.0 million reported in 2003. It was the company's best financial quarter/year in 12 years, said Halsey Wise, Intergraph President & CEO. Also of note, Larry Laster has announced his intention to retire as Intergraph's Chief Financial Officer.

Men Read Maps, Women… Professor Rex Jung, a co-author of a study at the University of New Mexico suggests why men are better map readers. It has to do with the differences in the reliance of the sexes on either grey matter or white matter in problem solving. In intelligence tests men use 6.5 times as much grey matter as women, but women use nine times as much white matter. Gray matter is the stuff of processing information, white matter is the stuff of emotional thinking and language.

Who Will Head U.S. Intelligence? The Washington Post reports that the White House is not yet close to selecting a head of the newly approved intelligence organization. "Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who heads the National Security Agency, which handles electronic surveillance, and retired Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which handles analysis of satellite imagery, are both candidates, but sources considered them more likely to be candidates for deputy director of national intelligence or deputy CIA director."

CT Gets GIS Council. M. Jodi Rell, governor of Connecticut, announced the creation of a Governor's Interim Geospatial Council to coordinate and promote technology and sharing of geospatial information. While predicated on the need for geospatial support for a TOPOFF federally mandated emergency exercise, this sounds like the real deal, should it become permanent. I look forward to seeing the head of the council at NSGIC as soon as possible!

Kudos and Conundrums
Have you seen something in our industry worthy of kudos? Or that makes you scratch your head?
Send it on. You may take credit or remain anonymous.

Kudos (concepts we applaud)

Patterns Match, but No Link Suggested. A letter to the medical journal The Lancet explains (free registration required) that the pattern of red and blue states in the last U.S. presidential election pretty much matches that of the distribution of Lyme disease. Nineteen blue states covered 95% of the diseases reported in 2002. The few cases reported in red states are most likely a different tick borne disease which presents similar symptoms. Dr. Robert B. Nadelman and Dr. Gary P. Wormser, epidemiologists at the New York Medical College at Valhalla do not draw any connection between the two patterns.

Conundrums (concepts we question/give us pause)

Pre-Announce? NAVTEQ put out a press release last week about new data for Poland and Slovenia. "…NAVTEQ customers will now have digital map data for Poland and Slovenia at their disposal.*" At the bottom of the release was the rest of the "*," which read "Due to the complexity of the processes required to compile and integrate NAVTEQ maps into navigation systems and location-based applications, it may take up to a year before consumers will have access to these new maps for their navigation systems." Why not just say, "Consumers will likely see the data in navigation systems and location-based applications in about a year." Then, there'd be no need for the asterisk.

Week in Review

Please note: Material used herein is often supplied by external sources and used as is.

AirPhotoUSA, a producer of seamless U.S. aerial imagery, and GlobeXplorer, ang online provider of earth imagery, have finalized an expanded partnership agreement designed to greatly enhance both firms' future business strategies. The details were not shared.

DM Solutions Group Inc., an Open Source and open standards Web mapping solutions company, and Orkney Inc., a Japanese business solution provider, announced a partnership to jointly deliver an internationalized version of MapServer. Enhancements to MapServer include several new language encoding capabilities such as Thai, Japanese, and Chinese.

Lawrence R. Pettinger has been named the ASPRS 2005 Fellow Award winner. The ASPRS designation of Fellow is conferred on active Society members who have performed exceptional service in advancing the science and use of the mapping sciences (photogrammetry, remote sensing, surveying, geographic information systems, and related disciplines). This award will be given in March at the ASPRS 2005 Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L;) has purchased Intergraph's InService for mobile workforce management. Kansas City Power & Light Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Plains Energy Incorporated, serves approximately 500,000 customers in 24 northwestern Missouri and Kansas counties - a territory of about 4,600 square miles.

Laser-Scan announced that Imass has entered into a partnership to resell Radius Topology via its Utilities business arm. Imass provides integrated IT solutions across the Utilities, Public Safety organizations and blue chip organizations.

The Open Geospatial Consortium Inc. (OGC) invites additional participation in a Web Processing Service Interoperability Experiment to test and refine a draft implementation specification that enables geoprocessing via the Internet. OGC and the NIBS (National Institute of Building Sciences) IAI-NA (North American Chapter of the International Alliance for Interoperability) Council jointly announced their formal agreement to work together.

Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community (IGUC) announced it is accepting entries for the Intergraph 2005 Geospatial Achievement and Cartographic Excellence Awards Programs. The competitions, which are designed to acknowledge and promote exemplary performance using geospatial technology, highlight innovative and technologically advanced implementations worldwide.

KOREM, a MapInfo developer, was recently awarded "MapInfo Canadian Partner of the Year 2004" by MapInfo Corporation for the fourth consecutive year. The award was presented to Mr. Luc Vaillancourt, V.P. Business Development, KOREM, during the opening reception of KOREM's annual conference GEOdiffusion, last December in Quebec City.

Ubisense, maker of a sense-driven computing platform, added the University of Stuttgart's Nexus Center of Excellence to its network of global users, further expanding the location-based technology company's customer base in Europe. Ubisense already has customers in England, Ireland, Finland, Switzerland, Holland, and Germany.

The Faculty of Environmental Studies of the University of Waterloo, an institution for the study of Geomatics in Canada, has entered an agreement with KHEOPS Technologies for its software JMap for distributed geospatial teaching and research in the Faculty. In particular, JMap is to be used as part of a new project on Internet mapping as a basis for collaborative decision making in the urban planning process. This project is funded by GEOIDE through its pan-Canadian network of centres of excellence in Geomatics.

Pictometry and Mobile Video Services, Inc. (Mobile Video), a provider of field data verification services, address matching, and street-view imaging, announced the firms have entered into a business alliance. Under terms of the agreement, the two companies will promote their combined product offerings where Pictometry imaging solutions and software will be incorporated as part of Mobile Video's field operations to provide aerial views of the entire property while the street-view, ground-level shot is captured, the property is appraised, and the address data is verified.

MetaCarta, Inc. was named as a Top 100 Innovator by Red Herring, a Silicon Valley media company that covers technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, and business.

Contracts and Sales
NavCom Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deere & Company, announced that Filanda has been named as dealer, coupling NavCom Technology's VueStar aerial navigation solution with their SoftNav product line. Filanda's product SoftNav is used for aeronautical applications with software developed specifically for LiDAR, seismic data acquisition, photogrammetry, 3D photo aerial inventory, and agricultural spraying.

Paulding County, Ga., recently selected Woolpert, Inc., to develop an integrated enterprise GIS for all Paulding County departments.

TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. announced that WeatherBug, the leading provider of weather information services, has selected TCS to provide real-time, up-to-the-minute traffic data to WeatherBug's consumers in 95 markets across the U.S. TCS' streaming traffic information will be brought to WeatherBug's 19 million unique monthly visitors via its popular desktop application.

Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping, LLC announced the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM) has selected Leica Photogrammetry Suite (LPS) as its standard photogrammetric application.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L;) has purchased Intergraph's InService for mobile workforce management. Kansas City Power & Light Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Great Plains Energy Incorporated, serves approximately 500,000 customers in 24 northwestern Missouri and Kansas counties - a territory of about 4,600 square miles. The City of Zurich, Switzerland has selected Intergraph Public Safety to combine its two emergency dispatching centers into one central communications center. The new center will join city police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) into one location thus increasing operational efficiencies. The contract award is valued at over $2.9 million.

Positive Systems, Inc., recent recipient of a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract, is now entering Phase II: development of the NASA-funded project. Valued at over $550,000, the contract is for research and development of precise automatic image alignment tools, which NASA will use with satellite imagery and other imagery sources. Positive Systems plans to develop a new product during this phase as well as improve their existing DIME® technology and in-house capabilities. Phase I (proof of concept) was successfully completed in 2004. Phase II will span two years, followed by Phase III (commercialization).

MITRE's Technology Transfer Office has licensed the Geocast technology to SquareLoop, Inc., a northern Virginia-based company specializing in emerging Location-Based Service (LBS) markets. The license grants SquareLoop worldwide exclusivity to the Geocast patents. The technology provides for a unique broadcast/receiver model for delivery of geographic specific information to cell phones and mobile communication devices without infringing on the privacy of the individual. SquareLoop plans to market the Geocast technology for the business and civil service markets. Several early adopter markets have been identified: emergency alerting for utilities, governmental agencies, and hazardous industrial businesses; content delivery of traffic, weather, and Internet-derived media; and merchandising and promotional messages with geographic value.

Garmin has landed a contract to supply in-dash GPS products to Mopar, a unit of DaimlerChrysler that supplies accessories for Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep.

PlanGraphics, Inc. will deliver a variety of Phase II enterprise GIS implementation services to the Gary, Ind. Sanitary District and the City of Gary under a contract amendment approved by the City of Gary on Jan. 25. This work is expected to be completed by November, 2005.

SANZ Inc. announced a partnering agreement with LizardTech Inc. to enable SANZ EarthWhere users to read, and more importantly, to write in the MrSID generation 3 format as soon as this spring. SANZ has agreed to license the GeoExpress with MrSID SDK (Software Development Kit) and embed the libraries that will allow EarthWhere users to directly encode to the MrSID format.

The GNOSIS consortium has chosen IONIC Software to build a geoportal, aimed at citizens and scientists worldwide, to discover and access information available at the Belgian federal scientific institutes. This geoportal forms part of the GNOSIS (Generalized Natural Sciences Online and Spatial Information System) initiative that is funded by the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office and brings together scientific partners from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) and Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI). The geoportal is developed by GIM Geographic Information Management, the technical partner in the consortium.

Clark Labs and the USDA have recently entered into a Cooperative Agreement to construct maps of potential gypsy moth establishment and damage in uninfested areas of the United States.

DM Solutions Group Inc., an Open Source and open standards Web mapping solutions company, announced the availability of Chameleon version 2.0, an Open Source technology which allows users to easily create highly customizable Web mapping applications. It works with MapServer.

The Carbon Project announced it is providing a free development toolkit, CarbonTools 2, which will allow thousands of software developers to use Microsoft .NET technology to easily develop interoperable geospatial solutions and access hundreds of online geospatial resources.

GIS and Land Records: The ArcGIS Parcel Data Model, is a new book from ESRI Press that explores land record information management. Designing Geodatabases-Case Studies in GIS Data Modeling was also announced.

@Road, Inc. announced the launch of the @Road Facilities Management Suite, a comprehensive set of services and features designed to simplify complex routing and improve operational efficiencies for commercial and industrial roll-off lines of business. By eliminating manual routing and data entry activities, @Road helps facilities management companies reduce hours per haul, increase the number of container swaps, and standardize overall business processes.

Matrox Graphics Inc. announced the Matrox QID LP PCIe, the industry's first x16 PCI Express graphics card for up to four displays at a time. Providing extra reliability and performance, this card has a single Matrox-designed graphics chip to control displays and to support x16 PCI Express natively. The company also announced the Millennium P650 PCIe 128 graphics card, the first Millennium P-Series product for PCI Express.

ESRI announced that PLTS for ArcGIS 9-Foundation is now shipping. Foundation provides the PLTS components found within each of the PLTS solutions (Aeronautical, Defense, Mapping Agency, and Nautical). Foundation allows users to define their own geodatabase model, map series, and symbology definitions while providing editing tools universally required. Business rules are implemented in valid value tables and condition tables that provide rule-based attribute capture and validation, quality assurance, and map symbology. Database driven cartography allows symbolization from feature attributes and provides sophisticated and repeatable map templates.

LeadDog Consulting, LLC announced the release of Dubai City Streets to support asset-tracking, government and commercial GIS applications.

Ten Sails Consulting, a GIS development and services company, released the program for its upcoming Smallworld Symposium, to be held in Denver on March 10, 2005, immediately following the GITA annual conference. Ten Sails announced GE Energy as overall sponsor of the event, and Spatial Business Systems as lunch sponsors.

GITA, OGC and ORNL will host the Emerging Technology Summit III: Advancing the Sensor Web April 14-15, 2005 at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington DC. This two-day event addresses the current use, future plans, and challenges regarding the use of sensors for improved decision-making, planning, and production.

The deadline date for abstract submissions for the Urban and Regional Information Systems (URISA) 2005 Annual Conference has been extended to Friday, February 11, 2005. URISA's 43rd Annual Conference will take place October 9-12, 2005 in Kansas City, Missouri. Abstracts are being accepted in a wide range of categories.

The International LIDAR Mapping Forum (ILMF) is an industry group whose goal is to advance the education and knowledge of LIDAR mapping technology and applications. The fifth annual conference, April 25-26, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana, will bring together LiDAR professionals from around the world to network and hear about the latest technology and issues affecting LiDAR Mapping.

Blue Marble Geographics announced the 2005 Geographic Calculator and Geographic Transformer training schedule. The day-long sessions are in-depth user training courses on the applications.

PCI Geomatics announced that the current Eduserv Chest agreement for Geomatica software - which applies to educational institutes in the U.K. and Ireland - has been renewed for three more years.

PlanGraphics, Inc. announced that Christi L. Stevens and Lori Bayless have joined the company's GIS services staff.

Gizmondo Europe Ltd, subsidiary of Jacksonville, Florida-based Tiger Telematics Inc announced Mike Morgan will be joining the Tiger Telematics management team as Vice President of Worldwide Sales for Gizmondo from the 1st February 2005. He comes from Sony Europe.

Bill Schuman was recently named Senior Project Manager for GeoDecisions. Schuman will be responsible for managing various projects for transportation agencies across the U.S. He was previously at the Iowa Department of Transportation in Ames, Iowa.

Ordnance Survey announced the appointment of geographic information specialist Simon Doyle as Development Manager within the Information Systems group. Doyle worked at among other places, Cadcorp, which seems to be a hotbed of talent for OS.

Jeff Thurston has been appointed Editor of GEO:connexion International Magazine, effective February 15, 2005. He succeeds Peter FitzGibbon, who assumes editorial responsibilities for a new title from the company. Based in Berlin, Germany, Thurston is highly regarded throughout the international geospatial community, both as an author (his co-authored book Integrated Geospatial Technologies is currently available from Wiley Publishing) and as a contributor to numerous periodicals. Most recently, he has edited the Netherlands-based GeoInformatics Magazine. Best of luck, Jeff!

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