GIS Monitor Feb 8, 2001


-Bentley Tweaks the Organization -- Again
-Remote Control for Your Car
-Autodesk and TELUS Geomatics Ink MapGuide ASP License
-Autodesk Establishes Asia Pacific HQ in Singapore
-A/E/C Systems 2001 By the Numbers
-Points of Interest
-New Lists at
-Week in Review
-Back Issues


Bentley is reorganizing again, this time at a smaller scale than usual. Warren M. Winterbottom moves from his current position as senior vice president of the Americas Operating Unit to senior vice president of Bentley Integration Network.

What exactly is the Bentley Integrator Network? Integrators are “advanced” value-added resellers (MVARS) who provide integrated services using Bentley and other products. Bentley owns a minority stake in each Integrator. According to Bentley, staff members of integrators are considered interchangeable with Bentley’s own staff consultants. There are currently a total of seven Bentley integrators worldwide. Could these new partners serving big VIP clients be a replacement for the old channel, the sellers of boxes of MicroStation?

John Riddle takes over the North America business unit. He was head of public sector for Bentley and worked in federal sales for Intergraph. There is also a new State and Local Government Solutions Unit for North America, led by Robert C. Wonderling, formerly of PennDOT. This includes Bentley transportation, headed by Ray Pittman.

A big change or just a shuffling of offices? Bentley restructuring doesn’t necessarily lead to significant external change. And much of this seems to be about renaming: how exactly is State and Local Government Solutions different from what was public sector?


While a huge proportion of the location services market focuses on getting people to shop based on their location, another segment is taking care of something simpler: managing the things we own that move. Theme parks including Water World in Hyland Hills, Colorado rent hi-tech watches to allow parents to track children. Biologists have traced animal whereabouts via electronic tagging for years. Cars, those other important, expensive and mobile objects, are now not only trackable but also controllable.

While this technology has already been in use for large fleet management, it is something new for the average consumer. Immobiliser of Houston has grown its “immobilization” add-on for motorcycles into GPS Vision, an Internet tracking and control system for bikes and cars.

Tracking a vehicle requires visiting a web page (via computer, PDA or digital phone). The page shows the vehicle location on a map and provides lat/long, direction, speed, etc. The page also provides access to available commands including options such as: request position update, access door locks, turn off the starter. The locations are stored for 72 hours and logs can be kept of the vehicle whereabouts. You can even see the logged positions posted on the map.

This aftermarket device costs several hundred dollars with some add-ons needed for various controls (locking, ignition kill). GPS Vision uses Sky-Tel’s two-way paging system to track and communicate with vehicles. Service pricing includes a $29.95 activation fee and a prepaid plan for 3 to 2500 commands per month, running $6.95 to $89.95.

GPS Vision could certainly allow owners of stolen vehicles or police departments to disable and recover stolen cars. But let’s use our imagination. Police departments could also see how many of their squad cars were at donut shops. Dispatchers can determine if delivery personnel are taking the scenic routes. A manager could see if a salesperson is making a sales call or picking up their groceries. Dad could prevent his teenager from joyriding in the vintage Jaguar while he’s out of town – or turn it on remotely for Mom if her minivan breaks down.


TELUS, one of Canada's leading telecommunications companies, will use MapGuide as an engine to serve information to its clients via subscription. TELUS provides information to oil and gas companies and hopes to serve municipalities as well. The difference here is that unlike municipalities who provide such information to citizens mostly for free, Telus will be charging for the service. TELUS has likely purchased the new type of MapGuide commercial license mentioned here a few weeks ago.

I’m sure Autodesk is hopeful that this agreement will be the first of many of this type. Further, they have to hope that TELUS will also use Autodesk technology for location-based services down the road. TELUS projects that more than 500 of its internal, and 1,000 of its external customers will subscribe to its Emergency Response Planning system by the end of 2001.


Autodesk was steered to Singapore by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) program, which began in 1986 to build Singapore as a premier headquarters location and global business hub for Asia Pacific. Autodesk will be hosting research and development and a geographic information systems (GIS) service and support competency center at the new facility.

This is a good move since Singapore, like much of Asia Pacific is a hotbed for wireless, mobile communications and location-based services. A case in point: IntelliWhere, Intergraph’s LBS solution started in Australia.


A/E/C Systems posted the schedule of sessions for the 2001 show this week. Here is the breakdown:

architecture – 34 sessions, with several repeated
construction - 15, including some from architecture
civil design – 4
professional development – 6
facilities management – 12
Internet – 22
information management – 18
GIS – 6

Of the six GIS sessions, 3 are listed in other disciplines and don’t even have GIS in their titles: Wireless Communications, High Performing Team and Legality of Your Documents.

The only pure GIS vendor signed up so far is Maptech. Survey instrument vendor and GIS friend Leica will be there to show their GIS offerings, as will Autodesk and Bentley.

So, where is GIS? GIS vendors are still working conservatively in the world of .com. Few had the budgets (or product announcements) to make a grand entrance as many engineering portals did at last years show. Further, if the new world of GIS is, in fact, location-based services, this is not the event to find interested buyers. That said, the Gold Passport keynote (no information on the identity of the speaker) topic is “Wireless: What it is, Where it’s going.”

I will continue to suggest that GIS professional save their pennies for their vendor’s user conference, GIS 2001(Canada), GITA, or URISA.


-Juno has a new idea to make money from free e-mail: sell the combined unused PC power of its members. Announced last week, the program will be begin as voluntary, but may become a requirement for using their free service. Technically this is possible; I’m not convinced Juno will make money on this.

-Many airports are now equipped for cordless high-speed connections including Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin-Bergstrom and Dallas Love Field in Texas, as well as Seattle-Tacoma and New York’s John F. Kennedy International, with California’s San Jose International and Louisville International in Kentucky on deck. Airports require a wireless local area network card and may provide a signal everywhere or in selected areas. Cost is reasonable: about $3.50 for unlimited access during one day at one airport.

-Ever encounter a website that dispenses great wisdom but is run by a poor soul lacking the means to even have the electronic equivalent of a hat to collect coins from visitors? Who would rise to rise to save this poor soul but the great In what seems an odd turn, Amazon will make it possible for owners of such sites to make ends meet with its Honor System. With such noble intent, how could anyone fault them for wanting to skim a little something off the top? In return for such service, Amazon will collect 15 cents and 15% from the hosting site. Steven King used the Honor System to get readers to pay for his ebook, The Plan.

-ESRI has opened its own census portal, Census Watch. There are links to Census articles, data and more.

-A new website helps commuters find and reserve parking in over 30 cities. You can pay tickets and research tolls. Most services are free, but the site owner hopes to skim a bit from online payments and reservation services.


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