GIS MONITOR, February 14, 2002



- IntelliWhere Introduces PDA Software 

- Quova’s GeoPoint Matures 

- Geospatial Technologies at the Olympics


Departments: Points of Interest, Business Notes, Letter, Week in Review, Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

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Safe Software 




Intergraph’s IntelliWhere division this week announced a new PDA (personal digital assistance) product called OnDemand. The product has some of the features of ESRI’s ArcPAD and Autodesk’s OnSite while staying true to its GeoMedia heritage.

OnDemand runs on a PDA, on Windows CE or PocketPC operating systems, but is really part of a linked system of desktop and enterprise computers. I may be off base, but all PDA “CAD/GIS” apps seem the same to me. OnDemand supports panning and zooming, and an identify command to click on a feature and see its attributes. In this first release, attribute queries are supported but spatial queries are not.

Majdi Zahran, executive manager, made it quite clear that OnDemand addresses ease of use, stability and performance, which, to be honest, should not even need to be mentioned. What is interesting to me is how, and how well, the PDA software plays with the back office. That is something Intergraph -- and by extension -- IntelliWhere are addressing with significant thought.

OnDemand can work in “sync ‘n go” mode or “wireless” mode. The former describes traditional syncing, where the PDA, in its cradle, or via other wired or infrared connection, gets new data from the desktop and provides new data to the desktop. Afterward, the user takes the PDA to the field. Wireless mode describes a wireless connection that may or may not be continuous. Think of the intermittent nature of cell phone connections as one travels. OnDemand on the PDA is “smart” enough to save up data that needs to go back to the server until the connection is made.

The details of the data movement between the “office” computer and field “PDA” are the most interesting part of this solution. The simplest way to use OnDemand is in conjunction with GeoMedia. A gateway extension allows the user to select which data is to be moved to the PDA, as well as scale dependencies (at what scale layers turn on and off) and other details. The “export” command basically grabs all of the data within the active GeoMedia window, from whatever warehouses are accessed by GeoMedia, places both spatial and database information in a single spatially indexed, compressed file. That file is then moved to the PDA. The compression ratio is roughly 10:1.

Once on the PDA, there are tools to click on a feature and see its attributes, pan and zoom. Changes are collected in a redline layer, called “session graphics”, so that only that small file needs to be sent back to the database for updating. Majdi Zahran argues that most anyone, even if they’ve never used a PDA, can learn to use OnDemand in 15 minutes. The software comes with basic tools and some sample applications for reviewing, say, electric poles and other field tasks. New applications can be built using Microsoft’s eMbedded Visual Basic and eMbedded Visual C++, trimmed down versions of the full languages used for development on PDAs.

Now, let’s dig a bit deeper. What if you do not run GeoMedia, but want to get data into OnDemand? OnDemand includes a “less interactive” gateway extension to grab data from competing applications such as ArcInfo. My sense is that if OnDemand becomes a hot field solution, Intergraph or third-party developers will put together a “flashier” interface.

What if your PDA has GPS capabilities? Then you can do more interesting things including having the software pinpoint your location within the data set. Or, if that data is not stored on the PDA, wirelessly talk to the server to grab the correct area. If your job is data collection, OnDemand can be used to input attribute information and use the GPS to populate the location values. Then, the data can be uploaded to the main database.

Updates from multiple users might compromise the integrity of, say, a water network. So, once changes are uploaded, GeoMedia can highlight compromised topology. And, more than likely, some approval process would be set up back at the office to manage the array of changes. To manage long transactions and attempts by several field personnel to change, move or delete the same feature, the OnDemand team plans to integrate OnDemand with GeoMedia Transaction Manager in the coming months.

And, what of OnDemand’s relationship with IntelliWhere’s flagship product, Location Server? Using OnDemand in conjunction with the Location Server basically allows wireless connections between the two. For example, it allows the server to actively poll for updates and pull them back to the server. This, Majdi Zahran suggests, would be very useful for emergency response situations. Use of the Location Server also allows updates to attributes to be posted in real time, when the need arises.

IntelliWhere Announces OnDemand PDA Mapping Software 

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Safe Software releases web-based data delivery software, SpatialDirect 2002.

SpatialDirect 2002 distributes and retrieves spatial data over the Internet or through an intranet, allowing users to download data in a GIS or CAD format of their choice. 




GeoPoint is Quova’s technology for associating an IP address (Internet Protocol, a computer’s address on the Internet) with a geographic location. Said another way, it’s a way to determine the location of website visitors. When I first covered Quova a year and a half ago, the technology was seen as a great tool for targeting advertising on the Internet. Now, as the Internet and GeoPoint have grown up, Quova has bigger fish to fry.

In particular, Quova is aiming its technology at regulatory and licensing issues. For example, how can the technology be used to assure that video licensed for distribution only in the US, stays in the US? Or, how can those trying to commit fraud using illicit credit cards be tracked down before the transaction is complete? These are high-value uses, which should mean a strong revenue stream for the company.

When I last spoke about Quova, their success rate was quite high for “simple” IP addresses. They could not, however, assign locations to AOL (America Online) users (most appear to be in Virginia, home of AOL’s main server farm), or Web surfers using proxy servers or anonomyzing websites. At version 4.0, there is progress on both fronts. The company now can identify AOL users to the country level at about 95% accuracy. (AOL provides Internet connectivity in thirteen countries including the US.) And, though Quova cannot trace behind a proxy server or anonomizer, the new system will flag IP addresses such as these to note that the location may not be at the site of the server.

The country location of AOL users may not appear to be a big deal, but for issues of fraud and licensing, it is quite appropriate. Tom Miltonberger, Quova's senior vice president of products suggested that GeoPoint is really aimed at traditional business challenges, including operating within the law, and allowing the Internet to be part of the business. One high stakes area for the company may be online gambling, as that industry slowly moves toward regulation worldwide.

Most of Quova’s users are large companies including Visa, CNET and Amazon but the company offers services that might be of interest to smaller players. GeoTraffic Analysis will produce a report, based on website IP logs, of the geographic distribution of visitors to a site, something of use to a wide variety of online operations.

At V4 GeoPoint supports Microsoft’s .NET initiative, which allows it to be “plugged” together with other services. One might, for example want to map the locations of all those visitors, with another .NET service such as MSN MapPoint.

Quova GeoPoint 4.0 Raises Bar for Geolocation Technology 



The Olympics are always a good venue for a bit of marketing. I noted last week the use of satellite imagery in a video used in the TV coverage. That piece, and the one for the Super Bowl, had almost no media coverage or press releases from NASA or Space Imaging. I was pleased to find that out and hope that people who saw it simply said, “hey, that’s neat” and didn’t feel the blatant hucksterism of most Olympic advertising.

But, of course, other companies are using the event to highlight the work they do.

GeoFocus’ press release described its technology in use in and around the trains to the Olympic venues. GeoFocus provides technology that tracks trains and provides audio and text messaging to each of 20 stations that notify passengers when the next train will arrive.

GeoFocus Helps Keep the Olympic Trains Running On Time 

Olympic biathletes, participants in the sport combining cross county skiing and shooting, are being tracked using infrared beams along the skiing course. Time and ID information are wirelessly sent back to coaches’ laptops to determine their speed and position in the pack. The coach can then relay strategic information the old fashioned way – by yelling.

Olympics: Could wireless help athletes? (ZDNet) 



- I discussed “war driving” the art of mapping unprotected wireless Internet/intranet access, a few weeks ago. Security issues surrounding wireless networks have pushed the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to ban wireless LANs (local area networks) temporarily. "There is temporary ban on (wireless) LANs in all areas of the lab while we do a technical evaluation and develop a new policy for their use," David Schwoeglen, a lab spokesperson said. 

- The ACME Rent-a-Car case, which involved a Connecticut company fining a driver for speeding based on the use of a GPS in the car, passed another hurdle this week. An officer at the hearings determined that the practice of using satellite technology to track and penalize speeding customers violates state law and should stop immediately. The recommendation, which goes to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner for a final decision, says New Haven-based Acme is violating the state's Unfair Trade Practices Act. 

- This was not a great week in GIS publishing. Every once in a while GIS editors receive a press release, dutifully post or publish it, then receive a message that “recalls” the release. This week that happened not once, but twice. And, I’m sorry to report another incident of inappropriately cited quotations in a published article.

- QUALCOMM this week announced the first nationwide launch in South Korea, beginning February 1, 2002, of gpsOne-enabled wireless handsets and their associated position location service plans by carrier KTF. The combination of the handset and service provides access to personal safety services that include Web-based tracking and Call Center services. The tracking is said to capture a subscriber's location to within 50 meters in open areas. The company suggests it is appropriate for managing the security of high-risk individuals such as children and the elderly. 

- Philips claims to be the first to bring to market a fully integrated "telematics” chip. The company argues that this lower cost chip, which includes positioning satellite, remote diagnostics, and dashboard Web surfing, will bring typically expensive telematics to the masses. The bottom line, at least as I see it, is that this is a service – just like a cell phone service. The phone is cheap, the service $50+/month. Like phones, when the initial investment and the service fee combined are low enough, users become interested.  0-9900-1028-8770201-0.html?tag=ats 

- The European Parliament backed the Galileo satellite project in a vote on February 7. That’s the good news. The bad news is the body rejected a European Commission proposal to team up with the private sector. The conflict over the role of the private sector has left this project “on the edge” for months. I suppose that here in the US we are lucky the military built our GPS constellation. 

- PayPal has been trying to launch an IPO (Initial Public Offering) for some time. The company allows transfer of payment via the Internet without a credit card. After a patent challenge, the company this week was informed by the state of Louisiana that the PayPal could not do business there until it had a license. The company has been doing business, unregulated, since 1999. PayPal has a license to transmit money in Oregon and West Virginia and is seeking similar licenses in 14 other states. The IPO is still on, and as we go to press the company plans to price shares today and begin trading on Friday. Alas, the Internet does not do away with geographic boundaries or regulations.  story&u=/cn/20020212/tc_cn/paypal_reschedules_ipo

- I’ve noted the lack of GIS Web services available in recent months. Industry players are also frustrated by lack of action in this potentially lucrative services market, prompting Microsoft, IBM, BEA Systems and Intel to launch the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I), a consortium aimed at boosting Web services. Since many of the members are involved in the Open GIS Consortium, hopefully, there will be some input on things spatial.  /nm/20020207/wr_nm/tech_microsoft_ibm_alliance_dc_2


BUSINESS NOTES (Hires, Office Openings, Events, Contracts Jobs)

- Events

PCI Geomatics is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year with special events and promotions. 

Laser-Scan is taking part in the OpenGIS Consortium Military Pilot Project, Phase 1 demonstration on February 15th 2002. 

GITA reminds potential attendees to register before February 18 and save up to $125 on registration at this year’s conference. 

ESRI has announced the ESRI Education User Conference 2002 for July 5-7, 2002 in San Diego, California. The conference is aimed at existing users, though other interested parties are asked to inquire about attendance. 

Alissa Bails, GIS division manager, and Eric Fowler, GIS project manager at R.A. Smith & Associates, Inc., Brookfield, Wisconsin, will speak on “Leveraging GIS Data to Make Decisions” at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA) to be held March 12-15, 2002 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. 

The third international conference on “Mapping the News” is scheduled for April 12-14, 2002 at American University in Washington, DC. It’s aimed at journalists, media companies & human rights NGOs. 

- Announcements

Clark Labs announces that the Applications in Hazard Assessment and Management workbook is now available for use with Idrisi32.

GIS Services has been designated a "Master Reseller" by LizardTech. The company now provides direct support for sales to LizarTech Program participants. 

SICAD GEOMATICS introduced itself and local representative Stalker K.M. at the “Forum on GIS Trends in Bulgaria” held on January 31st, 2002 in Sofia. 

UCLID is making available a free trial of its IcoMap extension for ArcGIS. The trial period lasts 15 days and a code provided by UCLID is required to run the software. 

- Contracts

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. has been awarded a contract by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to initiate the first phase of its Andaman Environmental Resource Information Network (AERIN) project in Southern Thailand. 

The Capital Regional District (CRD), of Vancouver Island in British Columbia (BC), has selected ESRI's ArcGIS software as their enterprise geographic information system (GIS). 

- Hires

Telcontar, the provider of the premier software platform for location-based services, today announced Ann Cowan has joined the company as Vice President of Engineering. 

- Job

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the regional planning organization for the Baltimore area, is seeking an experienced GIS Analyst/Project Manager. Close date: March 1, 2002 

- New Office

Boston-based Applied Geographics Inc. is opening an office in Manchester, Connecticut. Steve Anderson will manage the new office. 



Ken Lovett of the Illinois Department of Revenue caught me with another unexplained acronym.

“My E911 contact told me to be careful when I discuss CAD, or is it CADD. Insomuch as the emergency of homeland security and all, emergency response is rapidly coming into the GIS realm. As such, I am more sensitive to CAD vs. CADD, and caught the acronym in your Autodesk piece. Not wanting to be critical, only helpful - you used 'CAD' the way I had for years (computer aided design). However, 'CAD' is computer-aided dispatch. 'CADD' is computer aided drawing and design.”

Editor’s response: That debate has been going on for some time. And I’ll suggest that the tradition I’ve seen in the GIS community is that unless otherwise noted “CAD” was computer-aided design. I imagine in the dispatch world, it’s the other way round. By the way, here are some other meanings of CAD: communications aids design, cash available for distribution, Center for Advanced Diagnostics, confined aquatic disposal, computer aided detection and coronary artery disease.



Feb 13 - NavTech Announces Rollout of Voice Data 

Beginning with a February launch in Germany, Navigation Technologies will rollout NAVTECH Voice Data in France, Italy, the UK, Spain, and the U.S. in 2002.


Feb 13 - Axion Maps Chemical and Biological Threat Detection 

Axion will provide several software components for Dycor's Chemical and Biological Threat Detection System (CBTDS). The GIS software user interface will be able to control and display data from an array of sensors in Dycor's proprietary hardware.


Feb 13 - Global Geomatics Joins Integrator in French Contract Win 

Global Geomatics will deploy its new MapFusion GIS interoperability software within the French Ministry of Defense (the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement DGA). French systems integrator Générale d'Infographie won the contract and chose MapFusion.


Feb 12 - Farmers Let Trimble GPS Technology Do the Driving 

The new automated steering system uses Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) technology to guide agriculture vehicles in consistent rows for tilling, spraying and applying fertilizers.


Feb 12 - ABACO Announces the Latest Products 

New embeddable components and an Internet map server round out the product line.


Feb 12 - SchlumbergerSema Signs Contract with Yankee Gas 

At Yankee Gas, SchlumbergerSema will deploy the first component of its Digital Utility Model Office, the technology framework used by the firm to transform utilities into digital enterprises. Sound familiar? This was the technology of Convergent Group, which was purchased by Schlumberger.


Feb 12 - EMERGE Delivers Imagery Ahead of Schedule 

The company provided 35,000 square miles of imagery for the Southern California Association of Governments two months early.


Feb 12 - PocketGIS 1.6 Now Available 

New features include support of compact flash storage, support for barcode scanners, customizable forms and the ability to move a variety of data formats all at once to the handheld device.


Feb 11 - Autodesk Puts Bass in Charge of Design Solutions Division 

Carl Bass, executive vice president, will lead the new Design Solutions Division, which for the first time combines the manufacturing, geographic information systems, and building industry product groups with the worldwide sales and marketing teams that bring those products to market. Location Services, which previously reported to Bass, now reports directly to CEO, Carol Bartz. Further analysis of the re-org is available. 


Feb 11 - Sanborn Chosen for Mapping Projects in the Carolinas 

The company will work on five projects, including three in North Carolina and two in South Carolina.


Feb 08 - LAND INFO Drops Prices on Afghanistan Datasets 

The February discounts include a 45% discount on 1:50,000 scale topographic maps. I’ll suggest that demand for this data has leveled off since the fall. Still, as organizations gear up to rebuild, the data could be quite useful.


Feb 08 - ESRI Announces Release of MapShop 1.5 

MapShop is a Web application for creating and customizing maps for output to editable EPS, GIF, shapefile, and other formats aimed at newspapers.


Feb 08 - SDS Delivers Parcel Data For Cook County 

SDS delivered data for Cook County, Illinois' including over 1.1 million parcels.


Feb 07 - Avenza Announces MAPdataUSA 2K 

MAPdataUSA 2K is a 19 CD library of the complete US Census 2000 TIGER/Line data set converted to Shape file format. The price: $499 with discounts for those who already own MAPublisher.


Feb 07 - CSI Unveils Combined GPS/SBAS Receiver & Antenna 

The new “SERES'' high- performance positioning product: a combined GPS/SBAS receiver and antenna system for precision agriculture, GIS & mapping, and other markets.


Feb 07 - World's Largest Carrot Producer Picks Trimble GPS 

Grimmway Farms, the world's largest carrot producer, has purchased six AgGPS Autopilot systems for use with its tractors.


Feb 07 - Leica Geosystems Meets Third Quarter Expectations 

The company met expectations with the GIS & Mapping business, showing a sales climb of 18.6% over the second quarter.


Feb 07 - Leica Introduces Software for Geodetic Monitoring 

The software, GeoMoS, integrates information from a wide array of sensors, including terrestrial robotic total stations, GPS receivers, meteorological sensors, strain gauges, tilt sensors, and more into a single network.


Feb 07 - GeoComtms Maps Customer Success 

GeoComtms is adding a 3.56 million-mile upgrade of NAVTECH digital map data to their routing and fleet management software.


Feb 07 - Z/I Imaging Releases the ImageStation 2002, New Sales 

The 2002 modular rack-mount design allows for easy expansion with a 12 unit chassis that includes 5 units for the host computer offering dual 2.0 GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, Xeon processors; 1 GB of RDRAM; 36.7 GB system drive and two 73.4 GB data drives. Also, a Chinese company purchased the first Digital Modular Camera and Simmons Aerofilms Limited purchased the POS Z/I 510 Position and Orientation System.


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