February 10, 2005


Editor's Note
Microsoft Submits Patent on Simplifying Location Coordinates
Google Maps
ESRI Developer Network to be Unveiled
FINDbase Adds New Twist to Geotargeting

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Editor's Note
Today's issue of GIS Monitor will be the last that I edit. I'll be retuning to my consulting business and joining the team at Directions Magazine. GIS Monitor will continue with a new editor, Matteo Luccio, an MIT graduate, and former managing editor of GPS World Magazine.

It's been a wild ride since this publication debuted August 18, 2000. I've covered acquisitions, new technologies, lawsuits, exciting (and not so exciting) conferences, profiled interesting people, and generally spoken my mind on the technology and business worlds that relate to geography. When I started GIS Monitor, GIS was the term of choice, today this arena is popularly described as geospatial and includes location-based services, remote sensing, earth observation, GPS, fleet tracking, indoor locating, LiDAR, and a host of specialty geospatial technologies and business opportunities.

From a personal standpoint, the most rewarding part of writing and sharing the content of GIS Monitor was how it impacted, you the readers. Your often immediate reply e-mails that indicated something had "caught your eye" or "pushed your buttons" or "ticked you off" were gratifying and confirmed I was addressing things that mattered. And, I've been humbled by the number of corrections of fact, spelling and grammar you have shared over the years. They've made me a better journalist and writer.

Two special "thank yous" are in order as I depart. I need to once again acknowledge the contributions of Ralph Grabowki, whose model I shamelessly stole for this publication. His UpFront.Ezine continues to thrive after five full years, and I continue to read it every week. The other thank you goes to Roopinder Tara, co-founder of this publication and CEO of TenLinks. Or, said another way, he was willing to pay me to start this publication in the early days of the Internet economy. TenLinks, now focusing exclusively on CAD, is a must read for that world.

I wish all the readers and advertisers of GIS Monitor the best in their geospatial endeavors.


Microsoft Submits Patent on Simplifying Location Coordinates

It seems Microsoft has filed for a
patent to create a simplified representation of latitude/longitude pairs in base 30. The company calls it "compact text encoding of latitude/longitude coordinates." The idea, as I understand it, is to take a complicated floating number pair (with decimals and all) and communicate it in a simpler form based on the 10 digits and the 26 letters minus the vowels. (That last part is supposed to prevent real words, offensive words, from forming.) The reason for such a coding? Say the folks at Slashdot: it's to simplify addressing for things like location-based services. Reader Martin, who sent this on earlier this week, noted that it's sort of like the NAC Geographic Products Inc. (NACGEO) alternative coding of locations, that's been covered here in the past. Now, this is just a patent application; it's not clear a patent will be forthcoming.

I was still trying to digest the idea and to think through if this sounded like something that should be patented when I received a press release from NACGEO asking "Does Microsoft Infringe the Natural Area Coding System?" The title was odd since so far as I know, Microsoft does not say in the patent application though it may elsewhere, that it uses such an encoding. The release goes into significant detail about NACGEO's proprietary format and encoding technology. More interesting, however, is that back in 1994 the company did begin the process of applying for a patent on the encoding in the U.S. and internationally. It was withdrawn (the release uses the term "retreated") though it's not clear when that occurred. Instead of a patent, the company decided to copyright the format under international copyright law and treat it as a proprietary standard. The release also documents that NACGEO proposed its idea to Microsoft in 2002 and received a "no thanks" letter. The argument, which is almost lost in these details, is that save some small tweaks, the algorithm Microsoft offers is virtually identical to NACGEO's implementation.

From what I understand, a file format is not copyrightable. The data in it may be, but according to a graphics file FAQ, a format is considered an idea/system. Is a file format patentable? Yes, audio formats are patented, for example. Is a file format different from an encoding? Microsoft has applied for and been granted patents for the process of creating/unpacking XML encodings, a "specific software implementation." The encoding I hear about all the time is Geography Markup Language. I know that's not patented since it's an open standard. Discussion on Slashdot suggests that this may be the issue - whether such an encoding should be an open standard or not.

Other discussions suggest that such an encoding is parallel to the U.S. government's own Military Grid Reference System, discussed here recently. It essentially simplifies coordinate pairs, just in a different encoding than the one Microsoft suggests. Is that prior art? That is, does the existence of this encoding make Microsoft's technology discussed in the patent application "less" than unique and original? That's for the U.S. Patent Office to decide.

I find it interesting that NACGEO chose to have this discussion in the press. (Two other GIS publication editors contacted me on the matter after the release came out.) The release notes NACGEO's founder suffered "long time extreme hardship and numerous sleepless nights." It also acknowledges Microsoft's power. NACGEO suggests its achievements are now in "great danger."

This topic is complicated and includes serious mathematical and legal issues. I should think it would take technical and legal minds some time to digest the material before putting out a detailed statement. Normally, when there is a patent challenge (and recall there is currently no patent to challenge!) the challengee simply states: "We do not infringe" and years later a trial or settlement occurs. But then, NACGEO is not a large company with legal resources like Intergraph or Microsoft, so issuing a detailed release suggesting Microsoft's potential misdeed clearly seemed the best path forward.

Google Maps

To keep up with Microsoft's and Yahoo's searches and to perhaps take on MapQuest, Google this week rolled out the beta of
Google Maps. Reader Atanas passed on the link and I found a heated discussion of the new offering on Slashdot. An article from Ziff Davis (ZD) was one of the few in the tech press on Tuesday. That's what is called a quiet or soft launch.

A few limitations first: Browser support is for Internet Explorer and Mozilla thus far. Coverage is limited to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and a bit of Canada. Data comes from both NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas, so far as I saw, though ZD notes only Tele Atlas. For now, there's no way to save locations.

On to the technology! While I read on Slashdot the maps are "vector" it sure looks like they are delivered in grids blocks, one at a time. It's fast and the interface lets you "pan in real-time" across the map. I understand there's JavaScript going on to enable that. A sliding "thermometer" allows a change of scale. Jumping between very different scales was the only time I found myself waiting any appreciable length of time for a redraw. Late word today from Telcontar - its technology is under the hood. A full technical dissection is available here (thanks to reader Jeff), along with Slashdot's follow-up discussion.

The maps are pretty - there are double line streets with the main streets highlighted in yellow. (That's Davis Square, above, the center of my universe.) Notice how nicely the labels are placed. Any guesses what's behind that?


Geocoding is fast and I appreciate that instead of just a dot or star noting the location, a flag with text identifies the address on the map. (That's my college dorm.) If the location is wrong you can immediately tell if you keyed in a typo. The flag include a "Directions from Here" and "to Here" set of links. That's pretty intuitive: if I'm interested in this location I might want to leave it for somewhere else, or make it my destination. On quick look, the directions seemed fine. A click on any single step in the directions creates a callout of that part of the path. Unfortunately, the callout is not live so you can "pan around" with it. (In Cadcorp SIS that's the "roamer.")

Searching for a local business was easy and free form. "Coffee near 4 main street Medford ma" yielded a map with 10 upside down read "teardrops" pointing to the establishments found. Details and links are provided in a list on the right side of the page. There's not yet a way to add missing businesses, though Google is working on that as part of its Google Local program.

I found only one thing confusing. For each type of search on the Maps "tab" (Go to a location, find a business, get directions) there are two input boxes. I believe these are to offer several examples, which is fine, but not practical for actual use. If you put an address in one and other in the other, the system will not provide directions from the first to the second. That was my first guess at how to use them. To get directions you put both start and end point in a single box with "to" in between.

A "what" box and a "where" box which can be found on the Local Search "tab." You put what you want to find (coffee) in one and where to look (San Francisco or 90210, etc) in the other. One code that will not work: an area code.

On the Directions "tab" you can key in a starting and ending point each in its own box to find a route.

On the whole, the interface is slick and friendly. And, the maps are pretty and on quick look, as accurate as any others. So, why should you care about Google's offering if you are a geospatial professional? How about because a Google "search appliance" will be part of ESRI's version 2 of geodata.gov? Consider how a tool like this might enhance not just business searches but geodata searches.

ESRI Developer Network to be Unveiled

I received a heads up on the soon to be announced ESRI Developer Network (
EDN). EDN (pronounced "Eden") is modeled after Microsoft's Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and provides unification of a several resources for ESRI third-party developers. The program is offered per developer, that is, per person. Each subscriber receives developer software (ArcGIS Server, ArcIMS, ArcSDE, ArcGIS Engine Developers Kit, ArcWeb Services (100,000 transactions, [corrected 2/14/05 erroneously said 200,000 in original version]) and a license to run it until the subscription runs out (one year). The software is to be used only for development, not deployment, and can be used only by the named developer. It can however be installed on more than one machine for use by that developer.

Subscribers also gain access to the EDN website currently listed as "in beta." It offers samples, downloads, and opportunities to share with other third party and ESRI staff developers. It's the main source of developer support, though additional phone support is available at an extra cost form the Developer Support Group (DSG). Subscribers can purchase discounted training along with the subscription (but not afterward).

ESRI has not yet announced pricing.

EDN has been in the works for a while and appears it will be formally launched at the ESRI Business Partner Conference which begins on Saturday.

FINDbase Adds New Twist to Geotargeting
Back to the Future


One of the first issues of GIS Monitor highlighted Quova, a company offering a then relatively new type of service to locate Web surfers. The idea was to use it to help target ads to specific geographies. Since then geotargeting has been used to block out access to entertainment (baseball games, gambling) and track illicit money transactions.

This week a company new to me, FINDbase, launched Geocation, a solution "to authenticate the geographic location of Internet users." Geocation, a term the company made up, is defined as "the action of using two FINDbase technologies, Geocate and GNT, to detect the physical location of an Internet user in real-time." The combination, says the company, overcomes major shortcomings of other widely used geolocation tools including triangulation and IP mapping.

The Old Way

Triangulation in this context refers to guessing at location based on the speed of signal to reach the target hardware. Known locations and the time to them are mapped. Then, when a new location is to be mapped, its "times" are compared to the known ones to find its "neighborhood." Signals on the Internet take different paths and can get slowed down by different factors, so this is not an "exact science" by any means. The company compares it to using GPS, but of course, it's a loose comparison since GPS works on a "straight line" path and those through the Internet are not only circuitous, but generally not repeatable.

IP mapping, according to the website refers simply to looking up an IP address in a "proprietary database," a sort of IP phone book. How do you write the phone book? One way is to send out "requests" to IP addresses. Some of those requests, which are sent several times a day or more, look like denial of service attacks and are "blocked" by ISPs. Another is to simply call someone up and ask where they are! This is sort of a "brute force" method. And, there are complicating factors. Sometimes the location returned is that of the Internet Service Provider (ISP), not the actual user. So, for example, most AOL users appear to be in one location. That means that if you want to be sneaky you can simply use an ISP in the area from which you want to be associated. Another complicating factor: fewer and fewer IP addresses are static. That is, over a few hours someone may have several different addresses assigned on the fly. Quova and Digital Envoy, the companies I profiled four years ago, both use IP mapping, according to FINDbase.

The company highlights that its service supports both IP4 and IP6 addressing. The "old" Internet used IP4, which provided about 4,294,967,296 (2 to the 32 power) unique addresses. That number was reasonably mappable in a "phone book" noted above. IP6 has 2 to the 128 power (34 followed by 37 zeros) unique addresses, far more than current technology can handle, says the company.

The New Way

Once you get beyond all the "issues" with existing offerings, FINDbase describes its offerings: Geocate and GNT. Geocate is an artificial intelligence (AI) solution that learns more and more about the network as it follows more and more traffic. The idea is that if the patterns of use of different IP addresses are known, it's easier to see "misuse." I compare it to when the credit card company flags "odd purchases" that don't fit your profile. (When some fellow in Texas started buying computers with my card, I got a nice call from the credit card company.)

GNT stands for Geographical Network Tracking, and is, from what I can see, a "souped up" triangulation solution, also built on AI. It uses time, but unlike GPS, measures both time from the user and time to the user. The company contrasts its offering with the National Security Agency's NGT, which uses another flavor of triangulation to determine location. Don't get confused!

The company makes it clear that "the best" results come from using the two technologies together. Still, each option is available separately. When I asked why, the reply was simple: for different types of questions, one offering may be far better. Some questions are quite simple: Is the user inside or outside Nevada? For others, say crime tracking, a more detailed location may be needed: "On which side of town is the alleged assailant?" Both Geocate and GNT are available as a service or as an installed product.

A few years ago I saw a presentation by the CIO of the state of Iowa. He pointed out that "adult entertainment" was always the first industry to explore new technologies. I share two contributions from readers that illustrate.

One reader noted SPAM sent his way that offered "4 unfaithful wives have been matched for you in your area" and included personal details and the distance away.

Another reader passed a link to story about a convicted sex offender in California using an online sex offender registry to find a date. He was charged with using the service which is off limits to offenders.

Dmitri Rotow from Manifold sent on a link to an essay titled "Zip Codes are Not Areas." The map, as usual, says it all.

Not one but two ESRI staffers caught that my source on the ESRI Federal User Conference, Government Technology, listed the wrong version number for the upcoming release of ArcGIS, expected in May. It's not 9.5, but 9.1.

Points of Interest

Maps in Ads. The folks at Nike are playing a joke on the French. A new ad
features a schoolbook type atlas map of their country. Only, instead of France, the label says, Lance, referring the company's endorser, cyclist Lance Armstrong. There's a tiny Nike swoosh in the lower right to confirm who's behind the joke. The creative team from Australia used "a real cartographer" for the map.

New Mapping Policy Forming for India. Map India - 2005 kicked of this week. The Minister of State for Science and Technology and Ocean Development, Shri Kapil Sibal told the conference attendees that a New Mapping Policy is in the final stage of preparation. The new Mapping Policy "would lead to map data being available and accessible to all areas of the country including the Jammu and Kashmir and the North East besides the coastal zones." This, should it happen, will be huge for the country in terms of both using geodata and the growth of the economy.

MotionBased Update. About two weeks after announcing a deal with Garmin relating to its new ForeRunner 301 GPS for runners, bikers, and the like, MotionBased has revamped its services. Among the goodies: enhanced reporting functionality, heart rate support through the Garmin Forerunner 301, lap support for the Garmin Forerunner series, and international coverage for Canada and Mexico (Europe is coming soon - I hear late February). MotionBased Lite is free, but only supports limited functionality for 10 activities. $7.95/month (and up) subscriptions have access to everything. At least one participant in a discussion group for ForeRunner enthousiasts thought that was a bit high and felt desktop mapping software would do the job. (DeLorme, you listening?)


Tag Your Congressperson. Besides simply providing medical and basic help to victims of the tsunami disaster, a huge task was locating family members. Here in the U.S. solving the "where are people during an evacuation" question is a top priority for those on Capitol Hill. Vendors have until Feb. 15 to respond to a request for information for technologies that could report on the location of House members, staff, and visitors during an evacuation. RFID and GPS are on the list for the two phase project. Phase one is just to locate people, Phase two involves knowing where they are for the following 24 hours after the emergency. Ideally, this technology is to be used only in an emergency. I suspect that will be difficult to ensure. Interestingly, privacy concerns led one analyst, Michael Liard, director of automatic identification and data collection (AIDC) and RFID at Venture Development Corp., to suggest that GPS is a more comfortable alternative despite its limited accuracy, even outdoors.

uLocate Aquires GEOsnapper. Recall that uLocate, which is outside Boston, uses GPS-enabled phones to provide a tracking service for businesses and families. Now its users can snap, post, view, and share geo-tagged photos online. uLocate taps into MapQuest services for maps and the press release notes the company hopes to offer vertical offerings on this horizontal technology. I wonder what'll be first? Utilities? Birdwatching? Microsoft offers a similar service, World Wide Media Exchange according to another source.

Build Your Own Map. OpenStreetMap is an effort to produce free (licensed under Creative Commons) street maps for cities all over the world. For now, it's more of an idea with some technology in the works. The basic idea is to have people travel with GPS, interpret imagery, or otherwise capture data. The first street was entered in December. It'll be interesting to see how this progresses. For now, I don't think Tele Atlas and NAVTEQ need to be worried.

Kudos and Conundrums
Kudos (concepts we applaud)

Ads in Macs. The Mac folks are at it again. It seems Apple and Pepsi are doing the bottle cap/cup game. If you find a winning cap on your Pepsi product or a logo at the bottom of your Slurpee you get free iTunes music. Last year there were suggestions of winners not being well-distributed. This year, the iPod Garage is mapping the location of confirmed winners and losers.

Conundrums (concepts we question/give us pause)

Another List. The COGNET Group, based in Livonia, Michigan offers its own list of links to federal and state land base resources. I wonder how many such lists exist across the Web? It would nice if there was a single source that was updated regularly instead of so many that are more often than not, created and forgotten. (I had one at GIS Monitor for a while and took it down.)

Week in Review

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

The National Association of GIS-Centric Software (NAGCS) announced that John Przybyla, Project Director of Woolpert, has been selected as NAGCS's primary Application Evaluator. Przybyla will coordinate the review of all software applications for NAGCS certification. NAGCS is an association of ESRI Authorized Developers dedicated to providing enterprise GIS solutions while promoting the unique characteristics and benefits of GIS-centric software and applications. NAGCS certification is available to any software system that meets the criteria described by the association.

MapInfo announced that its community policing application, developed for the Troy, New York Police Department, has been named a Best Solution at GTC Southwest, a conference produced by Government Technology.

TruePosition announced the launch of TrueNorth Managed Location Services, a network of leading location experts whose combined capabilities will revolutionize the way network operators can deliver and market Location Based Services (LBS). It will enable operators to unleash the full revenue potential of LBS with minimal capital outlay and risk, as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Among the players involved: Agilent, Redknee, Autodesk, Nour, and Tekel.

BioMedware, an Ann Arbor software research and development firm, will present recent research on arsenic in Michigan groundwater using BioMedware software to members of Congress. Geoffrey Jacquez, President of BioMedware will speak at the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Congressional Breakfast on Thursday, February 10. This Congressional Breakfast is hosted by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and UCGIS. It will take place 8:30-10:30AM in the Hart Senate Office Building, room 902, in Washington D.C.

President Bush's FY 2006 budget calls for increasing the U.S. Geological Survey's Landsat 7 budget by $12 million so that this important earth-imaging satellite program can continue to provide critical information to scientists, emergency relief officials, land managers, and planners. Half of that increase would be used to ensure the continued operation of Landsat 7, while the other half would replenish funds from activities deferred as a result of a proposed reprogramming for 2005 Landsat 7 operations.

Azteca Systems, Inc. announced that its Cityworks successfully met the criteria for becoming the first NAGCS (National Association of GIS-Centric Software) certified application. NAGCS certification distinguishes Cityworks as an authorized GIS-Centric solution for Asset Maintenance Management.

Melissa Data, a provider of data quality software and services, announced that it has formed a partnership with Intelligent Direct, the nation's largest producer of custom business maps. Under the agreement, Melissa Data will offer Intelligent Direct's line of map products under the name MelissaMAPS.

Trimble and Cambridge Positioning Systems Limited (CPS) announced plans to jointly develop new products to deliver Enhanced Global Positioning System (E-GPS) location solutions for the wireless network and mobile device markets. The companies intend to work together to demonstrate how E-GPS will improve in-building and urban canyon operation, permit significantly faster location fixes and reduce costs.


One thousand four hundred sixty people from around the world voted in a Space Imaging effort to find the top image of 2004.Voters chose from 24 images, all taken during 2004, and after four weeks of voting in December and January, one image rose to the top as the most popular - Ayers Rock in Australia. The company sells prints of some of the winners and other images in its store.

GeoDecisions will open an office in New York City. The new office serves as a connecting point between the agency and clients in the tri-state area and specializes in providing GIS solutions for retail businesses. Mark Day will head the office.

Garmin announced a record fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 25, 2004. Revenue and net income both exceeded the guidance previously given by the company. The company's consumer segment experienced 27 percent revenue growth during the fourth quarter and 31 percent during 2004.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions annoucned Ordnance Survey of Great Britain has purchased Intergraph's Z/I Imaging DMC (Digital Mapping Camera) system to complete conversion of its photogrammetric operations into a fully digital process and increase productivity from mission planning through orthophoto and mapping production.

Contracts and Sales
WETSAT Inc., in collaboration with Satlantic and WET Labs, announced its new academic/industrial partnership with Rutgers University to upgrade their long-term Ecosystem Observatory at 15 meters (LEO-15) Program. WETSAT has been contracted by Rutgers to provide a state-of-the-art turnkey observatory replacement for the current system.

Limerick-based cable TV company Chorus said that it would use a GIS from ESRI Ireland, which will arm the company with more accurate information about the number and location of homes within range of its wireless MMDS television service.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities announces selection of the joint venture partnership of ARCADIS and EMA, Inc. to GIS consulting and system data collection and conversion services as part of a pilot study. CMU is the largest public water/wastewater utility in the Carolinas.

Varion Systems, the software development and value-added reseller division of GeoAnalytics, Inc, has been hired by Lee's Summit, Missouri to implement Azteca Systems' Cityworks software to manage and maintain the City's water and pavement infrastructure.

Rock Island County, IL has become the first county in the state of Illinois to implement Pictometry's software and imaging database in its E9-1-1 Dispatching Center.

Avenza announced that the School of Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia has chosen the MAPublisher software for use in its cartographic lab.

DigitalGlobe announced that ImageCat Inc. is using DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite imagery to assess damage resulting from the massive Indian Ocean tsunami that was triggered by an earthquake on Dec. 26, killing more than 226,000 people. The team deployed ImageCat's custom-built Visualizing Impacts of Earthquakes with Satellites (VIEWS), a portable notebook-based reconnaissance system that links high-resolution QuickBird imagery, digital photographs, and digital video footage to a real-time GPS feed. The team used 60-centimeter QuickBird imagery collected over Patong Beach in Phuket on Jan. 2, 2005, and for comparison purposes, imagery collected in March 2002.

MotionBased Technologies, located in Sausalito, California, has deployed ESRI's ArcWeb Services for its international website dedicated to helping endurance athletes and others train better. Lamar Advertising, a leading outdoor advertising company, has chosen ESRI's ArcWeb Services for its Maps and Photos system.

MapFrame Corporation announced UGI Utilities, Inc. has chosen MapFrame's FieldSmart software to power its Field Level Asset Management Environment (FLAME). FieldSmart will leverage UGI's SmallWorld GIS and integrate with their EMS document management system (formerly Documentum) and Virynet mobile dispatch system (formerly Utility Partners, Inc.) to deploy a seamless mobile mapping and field automation solution.

The new release of Freeance (3.2), a ArcIMS rapid application development tool, allows alternate legends within Web mapping sites are now possible for the first time.

Optech Incorporated, the global leader in the development and manufacture of laser-based survey instruments, has teamed with Team Mojavaton to introduce truly advanced lidar imaging techniques to the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005. The DARPA Grand Challenge is a competition and field test over rugged desert terrain, to accelerate research and development in autonomous robotic ground vehicles. Optech's ILRIS-3D Intelligent Laser Ranging and Imaging System is being incorporated as a key component in the sensor array of Team Mojavaton's 2005 entry, a Nissan Xterra (dubbed the "Xboxx") autonomous vehicle.

KOREM Inc., a MapInfo developer, announced the release of Push'n'See v.4.7.1 for MapInfo MapXtreme Java Edition. There are enhancements and a third extension allowing for integration of the product in a Web Services approach.

NAVTEQ has completed a full coverage map of Italy. The full coverage map of Italy is now available to NAVTEQ's customers and business partners for integration into consumer and business applications. Consumers may not see the data for another year.

The new ESRI Press book, Designing Geodatabases-Case Studies in GIS Data Modeling, presents a compendium of best practices in geodatabase design.

ESRI announced the availability of the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. Web Map Service (WMS) client and server support with the Service Pack 2 release of ArcGIS 9. In addition, an enhanced WMS connector is now included with ArcIMS. The OGC WMS is an Open GIS standard specification for interactive mapping based on requesting map images from a server over the Internet.

CPS (Cambridge Positioning Systems Ltd) announced the launch of its new E-GPS (Enhanced Global Positioning System) technology - harnessing their Matrix technology to improve satellite-based location performance indoors and in busy city centres. E-GPS brings together GPS technology, which relies on a location fix from satellites, with CPS' software-only Matrix solution that uses synchronization signals from cellular base stations.

Layton Graphics, Inc. shipped MAP2PDF for ArcGIS. This revolutionary product allows for the creation of intelligent Adobe PDF maps from within ArcGIS.

CARIS announces the release of CARIS HOM AML 2.0 with full support for AML Version 2.0 Product Specifications. HOM AML 2.0 contains a complete set of specialized tools for the creation, editing, update, and management of reliable, clean, and fully compliant S-57 Additional Military Layers (AML) production data.

Baral Geohaus-Consulting AG, Germany, announces it has added FME third-party plug-in support for the data formats BGrund, WLDGE, CARD and ADA/GATE. These are formats related to the German national GIS framework, ALKIS.

Cadcorp, and Ricoh Corporation teamed up to develop a complete hardware and software solution for ground-based geo-imaging applications. The solution is based on Ricoh's new Pro G3 GPS-ready digital camera and Cadcorp SIS - Spatial Information System - digital mapping/GIS software.

AutoFarm, a Novariant Company, introduced the AutoFarm RTK AutoSteer System 2005. AutoFarm RTK AutoSteer is engineered for interoperability that allows seamless integration with any brand and model of tractor, sprayer, or harvester.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) has announced that it is a sponsor of the Underground Focus Academy, a two-day educational event providing comprehensive training on infrastructure design, installation, maintenance, and protection. The event, slated for April 19-20, 2005 at the Los Angeles Fairplex in Los Angeles, Calif., is being presented by Underground Focus Magazine. (That magazine is popular in my house: I like the articles. Others prefer the pictures of explosions.)

The Vermont Center for Geographic Information, Inc. in Waterbury, VT is seeking exhibitors for the ninth annual Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Exposition. GIS EXPO 2005 will be held Tuesday, April 5, 2005 at the Wyndham Hotel in Burlington, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, and will be free and open to the public.

URISA's 7th Annual GIS in Addressing Conference will take place August 14-17, 2005 in Austin, Texas. All abstract submissions, received by February 25, 2005, will be considered for the program.

The final program for GeoWorld magazine's GeoTec Event, Feb. 13-16, at the Westin Bayshore Resort & Marina, Vancouver, can be previewed online.

The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) - California Land Surveyors Association (CLSA) - Nevada Association of Land Surveyors (NALS) - Western Federation of Professional Surveyors (WFPS) 2005 Annual Conference March 18-23, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference will contain a full program of over 40 workshops, 30 technical sessions, and more than 60 exhibits.

Dr. Xavier Lopez, director of Oracle's Spatial and Location Technologies group, will be among the speakers at BE Meeting Prague 2005. Dr. Lopez will deliver a keynote address on the latest developments in Oracle 10g and their impact on the future of geospatial technology and the geospatial community. BE Meeting Prague 2005, a geospatial summit will be held February 28 to March 2, 2005, at Prague's Diplomat Hotel.

Ten Sails Consulting announced that Florida Power & Light (FPL) will deliver the keynote address at its upcoming Smallworld Symposium, to be held in Denver on March 10, 2005, immediately following the GITA annual conference. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will welcome attendees at the Symposium social event on Wednesday evening.

RockWare Inc., is offering a 3-day training session for ArcGIS in the environmental industry. This course is targeted towards environmental professionals with any level of ArcGIS experience. Dates: February 23-25, 2005 (Wednesday - Friday) in downtown Denver, Colorado.

ESRI Educational Services introduces the ESRI Virtual Classroom, a new program that provides real-time, instructor-led training over the Internet, giving participants a high-quality training experience without the need to travel. Advanced Techniques for Labels and Annotation, the first course in the program, will be offered March 8-10, 2005.

Craig Devine has joined GeoAnalytics as a Project Manager in the firm's new Project Management Office (PMO).

Jamey McCay has been named Manager of Customer Service for UAI, Inc., a leading provider of GIS-based solutions for the utility industry.

AnalyGIS, LLC released its newly updated street product, RoadRunnerTL. Based on the Census Bureau's TIGER/Line 2004 First Edition release, RoadRunnerTL 2004 includes realigned streets with enhanced address information in over 411 counties throughout the United States. These improvements are the result of the Census Bureau's ongoing MAF/TIGER Accuracy Improvement Project, which uses sources with a horizontal spatial accuracy of circular error 95 (CE95) at 7.6 meters or better.

Three new employees have joined the Sanborn team. Hugh Bender, the company's new Texas Gulf regional manager, will be responsible for the success of market presence and direct client communications for customers in the Texas Gulf region of the United States. Shawn Slade, Sanborn's new West Coast regional manger, will be responsible for the success of current and future client development within California, Oregon and Washington. Joseph Stark, Sanborn's new Southeast regional manager, will be responsible for the success and development of a strong market presence and focused client relations in Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Telcontar announced the addition of W. Michael West as Director to its current Board of Directors. Mr. West is currently Chairman of the Board of Extreme Networks and brings over 30 years experience in growing some of Silicon Valley's most successful high-tech companies.

Corbley Communications Inc., a public relations and marketing communications firm serving the international geospatial industry, has moved its corporate headquarters to Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C.

Jim Lacy recently joined the Wisconsin State Cartographer's Office (SCO) as the Associate State Cartographer. He will provide technical and managerial leadership for a wide variety of SCO projects and operations, and will serve as editor of the Wisconsin Mapping Bulletin. Jim has 12 years of experience in the GIS industry, including extensive knowledge in web mapping systems. He was previously employed by the University of Nebraska, and the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.

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