Mapping Science: New Standard, New Company, Short Life
- I questioned LizardTec's commitment to JPEG2000, based in part on the choice not to hire Mapping Science (MSI) employees.
LizardTech has supported JPEG2000 reading in its products since November 2002. Further, the press release on the acquisition makes it clear that LizardTech will continue to sell MSI products until its own product line offers the same level of support for JPEG2000. It's fair to imagine that after such lawsuit LizardTech might not be comfortable hiring MSI employees.
- I also noted that Celartem, LizardTech's parent company, revised its net revenues downward for the first half of the year and pointed out that it expected $11 million loss on $33 million in sales.
While net profit is down (in part due to the exchange rate from yen to dollars since Celartem is a Japanese company with a large proportion of sales in the Americas and Europe), sales expectations are in fact, up. And, the $11 million loss sounds large, but its worth remembering, as I did not, that Celartem has made three acquisitions in the past year. So a loss, while not something to celebrate, is not unexpected.
- Howard Butler, whose article on LizardTech I quoted, is not from the state of Nevada, but from Nevada, Iowa.
- I noted that Mapping Science offered royalty free code relating to its JPEG2000 implementation GeoJP2.
That has not been confirmed.
- I reported that PCI Geomatics used MSI code to support JPEG2000 in its products.
That is not the case. Frank Warmerdam implemented GeoJP2 for PCI. It does not include any MSI code.
Resource21 Aims High, Falls Hard
I wrote, in a rather poorly constructed sentence: "Pixxures recently sold off its Canadian subsidiary and part of Emerge, once owned by ConAgra, a company tied into agriculture, is now owned by Applanix."
To be clear:
1) Emerge (or a portion of Emerge) was never owned by Pixxures. Emerge's engineering division was sold by ConAgra to Applanix in October 2003.
2) Emerge Imagery Group is still owned by ConAgra.
My apologies for any confusion caused by these errors.
Bart van den Eijnden, from The Netherlands, wrote to react to ESRI's OGC Interoperability Add-on for ArcGIS story in last week's issue.
"With regard to the WFS part of the interoperability Add-on, ESRI states that the Add-on will only work for ESRI WFS services.
"A few weeks ago I was trying to use ESRI's GML in the Open Source OGR library from Frank Warmerdam. I ran into some problems because the last coordinate pair in the ESRI GML generated by the ESRI WFS connector ended with a space and a new line character. I sent this to Frank Warmerdam. A few hours later I had a new version which also could parse the ESRI GML.
"That's the big difference between Open Source software and software from proprietary vendors like ESRI. The fact is that the current GML specification is quite open, which raises the need for GML parsers [software that breaks apart the file into meaningful bits] to be not too tight. The OGR parser recognizes this problem and its purpose is to parse as many types of (valid) GML as possible. ESRI ignores the fact that the current GML situation is that not all GML types follow ESRI's proposition to the OGC."
Florian Jurgeit from Austria has related concerns.
I (and many others) have problems with using ArcMap as a Client for WFS-Services not provided by an ESRI-server - e.g., using UMN MapServer as WFS-Server does not allow ESRI-Users to load WFS-Data (WMS works!).
"At the moment it looks like ESRI is the problem, because they have their own way to interpret WFS-data.
"Have a look [here]:
"I think ESRI should solve the problem - last but not least ESRI users are not able to load free WFS-data from non ESRI-Data servers !!!"
Florian also pointed me to Dave McIlhagga, President of DM Solutions Group, the company behind much of MapServer's support for OGC specifications. He shared this statement.
"Profiling is a means to add structure to the form of GML expected by a WFS server. ESRI has decided to define a profile that would be leveraged by ESRI WFS Servers - however there is no assurance that this profile is compliant with other WFS servers that may in fact be compliant with the WFS 1.0.0 specification and in the short-term becomes a barrier to vendor-neutral interoperability.
"We believe that defining a GML profile for WFS is a good idea, and it's probably the only way to achieve real interoperability and a wide adoption of WFS. It's unfortunate that ESRI's current profile and WFS client implementation aren't compatible with the flavour of GML produced by MapServer and other WFS servers currently available.
"We are aware of the work being done at OGC to define a 'Level 0 profile for GML3 for WFS.' When this profile is officially adopted then it will be supported by MapServer, and hopefully also by ESRI and the other WFS vendors returning to the ultimate goal of interoperability among various vendor's software.
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.
Wisconsin-Bound. Next week I'll be speaking at the Wisconsin Land Information Association Conference in the Wisconsin Dells. I look forward to meeting readers there.
Found: Powers of Ten. I grew up in suburban Boston. I don't recall too many films from elementary school, but I do recall one quite well: The Powers of Ten. Starting from a picnic it "zooms out" 10x in each ten seconds until we view the solar system and beyond. It then zooms back in past the picnickers into a subatomic world. I vaguely recall seeing this film every year at Wyman Elementary. The good news, it's now on the Web and it's still very cool.
Gaming Company to Simulate World for U.S. Army. DigitalEarth.org tipped me off to this BBC article detailing how There, a company famous for games, will create a virtual world for the U.S. Army to simulate future wars. The new version of earth is expected in September and will feature "'massively multi-user persistent environment' that will model real world physics as closely as possible." Also of interest, the new earth will focus on human interaction (planning, intelligence, patrols) along with good old military hardware.
More Shares of MapInfo Available. MapInfo said it would make 3.5 million shares of common stock available for purchase. The estimated net revenue from the sale, $47.2 million, would be used for general needs and perhaps acquisitions according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Impact of Mobile Communications = Impact of Automobile? That's the premise of a book by a Norwegian researcher expected later this year. In the meantime, Howard Rheingold has some thoughts. He's noting how the automobile changed the look and use of cities. He suggests that the mobile phone has done that yet again. And, while wireline made skyscrapers and the suburbs possible, mobile phones, specifically trackable ones, have changed some social patterns. He also points out that just as the car changed dating patterns, the mobile allowed, well, keeping in touch with multiple dates.
Zipcar Goes with MapPoint. Zipcar is the company that puts cars in urban locations and lets people rent them by the hour. Reservations and most other administration is handled online. When the website launched it relied on "free map" services that took potential clients away from the website to find car locations. With that complaint in mind, the man behind the website decided to use MapPoint Web service since it would integrate more seamlessly with the open source-based website. It looks like a fairly low-end usage - just finding cars. Amusingly, clicking the "find nearest gas stations" button takes you to Yahoo Yellow Pages!