February 5, 2004


Maps, Mapping Services, and the 2004 U.S. Elections
More 911 Bills in Senate, House
Updates and Corrections

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Maps, Mapping Services, and the 2004 U.S. Elections
Primary season is moving into full swing in the United States, which means it's time to pull out the maps and start predicting blue and red states. There's likely to be more online mapping going on this year than any other.


Consider that the Bush campaign signed on with Microsoft MapPoint to use the service to help Iowans find their local caucus location. In addition to a map and step by step directions, the website also provided a form on which caucus goers could input their friends' e-mail addresses to encourage them to attend, too. The website for New Hampshire voters is still up.(If you need an address to try, here's one: 12 Main St., Atkinson, 03811) Thanks to Eric Frost at MP2K for the pointer.


Fundrace.com hosts The Money Map which highlights the geographic source of the individual contributions over $200 to each candidate's campaign. The data can be aggregated by county, three digit Zip Code (I didn't know there was such a thing), and state. There's also the option to compare democrats vs. republicans in terms of money raised.

But, not everyone has maps. The Democratic Party of New Mexico pointed caucus goers to a text website or Excel spreadsheet to find their site. In Michigan, whose caucus will be held Saturday, some 25,000 votes have already come in via mail or Internet. Those who want to attend on Saturday can find sites using a PDF file courtesy of the Michigan Democratic Party.

More 911 Bills in Senate, House
It's not news that only about 18% of Public Safety Answering Points can assign location to an incoming cell phone call at the Phase II compliance level. That statistic, from the U.S. Department of Transportation, is part of the reason that the Senate and House are working on bills to get more money out to states in order to get E-911 systems up and running. In the senate, Senators Conrad Burns and Hillary Clinton drafted legislation that calls for $500 million to be set aside for E-911-related grants. One big part of the bill: the money can't be used for other purposes, which appears to be the fate of many of the funds coming in from E-911 taxes charged to customers. Those taxes have been on the books for more than ten years in some areas. The bill passed committee and is waiting for a spot on the senate floor. It's expected to pass.

Recently the House passed a similar bill that allocates just $100 million for the same purpose. The two bills will need to be harmonized before heading to the president, who is expected to sign it.

A U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report from last November cited monetary and coordination issues in implementing nationwide E-911 coverage. The title of the report, "Uneven Implementation of Wireless Enhanced 911 Raises Prospect of Piecemeal Availability for Years to Come," describes an expected "geographic patchwork" of wireless E-911 areas where callers will not be certain their calls can be located as they travel across the country.

These bills and the GAO report and are key indicators for those looking at making money from location-based services.

Updates and Corrections
After my short article a few weeks ago titled
Following Up on Some Promised Products, several readers asked about the status of updates for the Web Map Service (WMS) and Web Feature Service (WFS) connectors for ArcIMS. I contacted ESRI, who responded that these updates are "currently scheduled to be made available by the end of Q1 2004" and pointed to details here.

Elaine M. Whitehead, Information Technology Director in Volusia County, Florida sent in a correction to my coverage of Adam Putnam's keynote at the ESRI Federal User Conference last week. "Just a note regarding Adam Putnam. While he is indeed very young, I think your article in the last Monitor made him out to be even younger than he is. He was born in 1974; I don't think ESRI was 10 years old by then. More importantly, Adam is not one of Florida's two U.S. Senators. Rather, he is Florida's District 12 Congressman."

My apologies to Representative Putnam and GIS Monitor readers for this error. Ms. Whitehead is correct, ESRI was founded in 1969.

• Last week I pointed out some
anomalies in USGS imagery of highways in Seattle. I noted that I had no explanation for it. While I'm still working on an answer, here's some input from a reader on the matter. Steve Savage is a GIS Technician in Pierce County, Washington.

"I am a new subscriber to this newsletter, and I believe I can shed some light on the obscured areas of I-5 in the Seattle Area, from the "Points of Interest (ESRI Fed UC)" section of the newsletter. The Orthophoto vendor that I use has delivered all of their orthos with these obscured areas for years. These are not areas of any significance at all. The Orthophoto vendor's processing of those photos can cause significant distortion due to the elevation changes of the multiple levels of these freeways. All bridges I have contain these black areas in order for the orthophoto processing to recognize areas with extreme elevation change so the distortion in the photos is minimized.

"The example you have on the newsletter looks like the interchange with I-5 just south of downtown and I-90, and having driven under this numerous times, I can say that as far as extreme changes in elevation go, the lower freeway surface to the overpass is in excess of 60 feet. Without the correction applied by putting these black strips on the edge of bridges, our photos would look like a wrinkled sheet."

Points of Interest
Can't Get Enough? The GIS Monitor
website now includes daily postings of Points of Interest. To keep GIS Monitor mailings to a reasonable size, you'll find just "the best of" the week's stories here.

Intergraph Revenue Down. Fourth-quarter net income fell to $1.4 million from $90.1 million, including an intellectual property settlement, in the year-ago period. Earnings per share were 3 cents compared with $1.85. Intergraph charged a $4 million restructuring charge, which also brought down revenue. Some detailed analysis here.

GIS India Kicks Off. Lots of GIS going on in India last week and this week. GIS India, a conference on the technology kicked off with an optimistic forecast for more outsourced GIS work in the country. National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) President Kiran Karnik said the present export size of the Indian GIS industry was about 100 million U.S. dollars with 60 percent being exported to North America alone. He went on to say the country should not fear proposed U.S. laws to halt use and growth of the industry as his group was regularly meeting with U.S. officials. The seventh of the GSDI Conference, GSDI-7, is this week in Bangalore, India.

An LBS Solution I'd Actually Buy. I'm a skeptic when it comes to most location-based services, but CitySIM from Gemplus International makes sense. The service is available from Singapore telephone and involves installing an S$20 SIM card into one's own phone. That enables typical tourist LBS services and the option to communicate with other users. The twist - it's specifically aimed at tourists and visiting business people.

New Tracking Tool for Fire Chiefs. Before and after 9/11 fire chiefs in New York City and elsewhere used metal boards to track magnetic representations of their response vehicles at the scene of a fire. The locational information was then radioed back to headquarters. A former fire fighter identified a touch screen plasma screen as a possible replacement (registration required). Piloted at New York University, the device may be in use by year-end. One benefit: what's seen in the field is relayed wirelessly, in real-time, to headquarters. The system can call up maps and aerial images and instead of magnets icons can be dragged around the screen. My concern: how do you power such a device?

Where's GIS? The folks at CADwire.net who track and comment on CAD, GIS, and other technologies report their most popular company and product searches for 2003. In terms of products, AutoCAD tops the list, and the only GIS products on the list include MapInfo at 41 and MapPoint at 48. When it comes to companies, Autodesk, Intergraph, and Bentley are in the top ten. MapInfo is number 39. I can't say I've seen a list like this that doesn't include ESRI or its products.

Wisconsin Mapping Bulletin Goes Digital. The Wisconsin Mapping Bulletin's first electronic issue is now online. While it covers topics in the state, there are topics of interest to anyone in GIS. The Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office started a newsletter in January of 1975 and has been delivering it, for free, since then. Now in digital form, the publication moves from quarterly to bi-monthly. Thanks to Bob Gurda, a long time GIS Monitor reader, and the Mapping Bulletin Editor for sharing the news. I'm heading to Wisconsin in early March to speak at the Wisconsin Land Information Association annual conference.

Quote of the Week. Harry Nespoli, president of a New York sanitation union, was unaware of a GIS test, expected to explore new garbage truck routing, but didn't think the software had much to offer. "We are not computers, you know. We are human beings," he said. "Does a computer get lunch time? Does a computer sprain his ankle? Does a computer die like one of my members did the other day? We have very, very efficient managers on this job. They came up through the ranks. They know the best way to pick up the garbage." Readers Ladd and Atanas sent in this link to an Associated Press article on New York and other cities' use of GIS.

Online GIS Not Enough. In an interesting editorial a Baton Rouge Louisiana TV station takes on the new online GIS system. The argument is that the new online system doesn't go far enough: "Local residents cannot use online services to find out whether their property taxes are comparable to neighbors with similar homes or commercial buildings. [...] Nor can local residents use the online GIS system to learn which areas of the parish are experiencing particular crime problems." The editorial is also critical of absence of the assessor, clerk of court, and sheriff at the unveiling of the system. This is an indication that more and more people are becoming aware of what's possible with GIS and they want it all. The software behind the system, by the way, is from Intergraph.

Week in Review

PCI Geomatics announced that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Pathfinder Electronic Light Table (ELT) competition results listed Geomatica 9 among the top entries in this category.

In a settlement agreement signed recently, Andrew Corporation agreed to pay TruePosition $35 million and issued TruePosition warrants entitling TruePosition to purchase one million shares of Andrew's common stock at a price of $17.70 per share for a period of four years. Allen's Grayson Wireless Division's "Geometrix" cellular telephone location system, it was alleged, infringed several of TruePosition's patents.

The national mapping agency of France, Institut Géographique National (IGN France) has joined those of Great Britain, Denmark, and Belgium in a project involving Laser-Scan to advance the development of automated generalization.

Positive Systems' Principal Engineer Cody Benkelman earned a Mapping Scientist, Remote Sensing Certification from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). The certification involves a test and is not to be confused with the new GISC GIS certification.

The National Children's Advocacy and Crisis Services is one of the charities that will benefit from Intergraph corporation's donation of $30,000 to non-profit groups in the Huntsville, Alabama area.

TenLinks CEO Roopinder Tara, who helped start this publication, will ride his bicycle across the United States to raise funds and establish a college scholarship that will help needy students attain a technology education. He's looking for sponsors to raise $25,000.

Trimble announced results for its fourth fiscal quarter and year ended January 2, 2004. The Company reported fourth quarter revenues of approximately $135.9 million, versus approximately $124.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2002. For 2003, revenues were $540.9 million, a 16 percent increase over 2002 revenues of $466.6 million. Company management also approved a 3-for-2 split of all outstanding shares of the Company's common stock, payable March 4, 2004 to stockholders of record on February 17, 2004.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions, in collaboration with the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS), announced an Intergraph research grant opportunity for UCGIS members. The research grant is open to any member using or intending to use Intergraph's technology as the foundation for geospatial research. The Intergraph research grant will award $5,000 (U.S.) cash funding and a $50,000 software donation in recognition of an exceptional and innovative applied research proposal submitted by a UCGIS member. Details via e-mail.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions' Cartographic Excellence Awards Program is now accepting entries.

Contracts and Sales
DigitalGlobe announced it has entered into an agreement with Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Native Communities Development Corporation (NCDC) to provide high-resolution satellite imagery for integration with NCDC's remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and mapping technologies in order to provide a suite of wildfire risk assessment services.

Full Circle Technologies announced that the town of Wareham, Massachusetts has signed a contract to web-enable the town's GIS by using Full Circle's web-based product, VectorEyes.

Itron Inc. announced that Central Valley Electric Cooperative (CVEC) of Artesia, New Mexico, and Carroll Electric Membership Corporation (CEMC) of Carrollton, Georgia, will implement Origin GIS software to more effectively manage their facility and asset data. Origin is a MultiSpeak compliant solution based on ESRI's ArcGIS 8.3 technology. Itron is the distributor of the software from Origin GIS.

Danish electric utility provider T3 Netservice A/S signed a major agreement with Informi GIS A/S, ESRI's distributor in Denmark, for an advanced GIS system to replace its existing utility line registration platform.

DMTI Spatial has partnered with Perly's Maps, a company that makes the Canadian Street Guides, to supply Perly's with DMTI Spatial's map data. DMTI Spatial's data will be used in Perly's Canada Road Atlas and a specialty version of that atlas, Canada Ride Guide, which was created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Spectrum North Carolina, LLC a LIDAR, photogrammetry, and GIS services firm, announced the award of a contract by Hertford County, North Carolina to produce digital color orthophotography and digitally convert approximately 15,000 parcels as well as capture or convert land use, street centerline, and zoning data layers. The company also has a contract with Brunswick County, North Carolina and Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation to produce digital color orthophotography.

Forth Valley GIS, the GIS services provider to a number of local authorities in Scotland, has selected Cadcorp SIS Map Modeller software for its GIS data management requirements.

The Government Symposium on Information Sharing and Homeland Security will be held at the Royal Pacific Resort (Universal Studios) in Orlando, Florida, June 28-30, 2004. Among other things the conference looks at the integration of information and intelligence.

Norman Rokosh has resigned as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Analytical Surveys, Inc. (ASI) effective February 29, 2004, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Company, effective immediately, for personal and family reasons. He's been part of the company's recent restructuring.

Elton G. Smith, P.E., long-time transportation manager for the City of Tampa, has joined WilsonMiller to manage transportation services activities in the firm's Tampa office.

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