February 26, 2004


• More on LizardTech/Mapping Science Lawsuit
• Trimble Acquisition Related to Lawsuit?
• ESRI First SmartBuy Company
• ECO Interns for Hire
• Department of Corrections

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More on LizardTech/Mapping Science Lawsuit
Since so much in the U.S. is a matter of public record, it's possible to get access to documents related to lawsuits. I've had a look at the details of the lawsuit filed by LizardTech (LTI) against Mapping Science, Inc (MSI). from King County Superior Count in Washington state. The lawsuit was filed in September 2002. As I understand it, and I am not a lawyer, the complaint stems from the principals of Mapping Science, all at one time employees or consultants of LizardTech, signing non-disclosure agreements saying they would not share proprietary information with those outside of LizardTech without express permission from the company. Proprietary information is defined, as I read it, as everything going on at the company that's not disclosed to the public. Mapping Sciences was formed, with all the principals names on it, months before all of them left LizardTech.

The introductory material states that Mapping Sciences would compete directly with LizardTech. Further, "any development business planning and strategizing, marketing and/or sales of such software will inevitably use, and misappropriate LTI's confidential information and trade secrets…" That "inevitable" use of confidential information and trade secrets, the suit alleges, suggests that the defendants have or will break their respective non-disclosures. That's the content of the first claim.

A second claim addresses one individual, alleging he had breached a consulting contract. He had agreed to immediately notify LizardTech should other consulting opportunities related to his work at the company come "to his attention." The claim alleges he did not do so when approached by MSI. Further, he did in fact similar services to those he provided to LizardTech to MSI, which was prohibited by his contract.

The third claim suggests that MSI knowingly "permitted and/or encouraged" the defendants to breach their contracts with LizardTech.

The fourth claim alleges that employment by MSI by the defendants "constitutes an actual or threatened willful misappropriation" of trade secrets, in violation of Washington's Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

The fifth claim is for injunctive relief, what I understand to mean, requesting the court to "make MSI stop" doing what they were doing as it harmed LizardTech.

LizardTech's requested "relief" detailed in the document includes: an injunction, damages for wrongful conduct to be determined at a trial, exemplary damages, attorneys' fees, and plaintiff's cost of litigation and other relief.

It's not clear that any or all of the claims would have stood up in court since the case never went to trial. Still, consider this fair warning when you are asked to sign contracts that include similar statements, or anything you do not understand.

Trimble Acquisition Related to Lawsuit?
Last week, in Week in Review I mentioned that Trimble would acquire
TracerNET, a wireless fleet management company. I didn't think much of it until an astute reader pointed me to a press release noting that Trimble had sued that company in October of last year alleging patent infringement. It seems the two companies hold U.S. patents on similar technologies related to the ready-mix concrete market. As I understand them, both patents have to do with sending information about the trucks, their contents, etc. to the fleet manager, wirelessly. Trimble's patent was filed in 1999 and granted in 2003. TracerNET's was filed in 2000 and granted in 2003.

About two weeks after the Trimble press release announced the lawsuit, TracerNET responded with its own press release. That release is currently not available on the company's website, but is available elsewhere. The response basically says: (1) that the Trimble press release was the first time the company had formally heard of the charges, (2) that the lawsuit was without merit, (3) that the company would fight the lawsuit, and (4) that the company doesn't "believe that strong-arm tactics, as a means of competing for business, are good for the industry."

I contacted Trimble to find out the state of lawsuit and if the lawsuit was related to the acquisition. At press time I'd received no reply.

The other important point announced in last week's release is that "TracerNET and Trimble's Mobile Solutions Division will be consolidated under a new legal entity, Trimble Mobile Solutions, Inc., which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Trimble." Why does a company set up a wholly owned subsidiary? My quick, naοve answer to that question is perhaps to sell it off down the road.

ESRI First SmartBuy Company
What is SmartBuy?

SmartBuy is a U.S. government program to help keep software costs down by basically signing blanket agreements with vendors. The discounts are deeper than those offered via the General Services Administration (GSA) schedules, though the government does not detail by how much.

The government had hoped to get the first contracts signed last fall and save about $100 million for 2004, but ESRI's was finally completed on Feb 13. The five-year deal with ESRI should save the government $57 million over standard GSA pricing.

The big challenge says a former staffer was simply counting the existing licenses. The Federal Times reports that companies didn't want to commit to lower prices unless they had a guaranteed number of sales or money upfront.

Other companies targeted (15 total according to Federal Times) to explore SmartBuy include Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., PeopleSoft Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., SAS Institute Inc. of Cary, N.C., and Symantec Corp. of Cupertino, Calif.

How Does it Work?

The articles I read were not too clear on the process, referring to each agency "negotiating" on its own. I spoke with Jack Dangermond at ESRI to get a clearer picture from the vendor's side. Each agency counts up how many seats of ESRI software it needs for the current year, and the following year. Commitments for the three following years are optional. Then, based on the total number of seats, ESRI offers those participating agencies a discounted price.

The Department of Agriculture, Interior and Census already had enterprise agreements with ESRI and three other agencies just signed on. Another one is in the works. These will all migrate from ESRI enterprise customers to SmartBuy status.

SmartBuy makes a few things possible that were not before. In the past, departments could negotiate pricing, but final prices were set by total department seats. That meant a large agency would pay less and a smaller one more. SmartBay participants each receive the same price. The agency by agency organization is important because several departments/agencies had already signed "enterprise licenses" with ESRI. It also means that each agency still maintains control of its budget.

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How Did SmartBuy Come About?

As Dangermond explained it to me, last year the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in an effort to lower software prices, put out a questionnaire. Government agencies were asked which vendors should be approached about government-wide pricing. Twenty eight agencies noted using ESRI software, putting it toward the top of the list.

It's perhaps no big surprise that ESRI was at the top of the list; the company has won a number of large competitive GIS procurements over the years. It's important to point out that this is not a procurement, nor does it restrict how software is selected. It's a way to bring down prices and simplify the process of buying software which is already in use.

Pros and Cons

I tried to think about the pros and cons of such a system from both the government's and the vendor's side. For the government it means cheaper software, which is clearly one of the goals. And, negotiations happen, ostensibly, once every five years. That should save money, too, by cutting the hours spent negotiating each year. I can't see why a federal agency, even one with a few seats, would not sign on.

Now, from ESRI's perspective, offering a further discount is perhaps not in its best interest at first look. But, as Dangermond put it in our conversation, "we now deal with 6 customers at the federal government, not 600." Moreover, buying software through SmartBuy is simpler for the agencies. I asked how SmartBuy would impact ESRI resellers and Dangermond noted that few sell into the federal government.


Not everyone involved with SmartBuy is convinced it will live up to expectation. Last June, when the project kicked off, Federal Computer Week pointed out that the concept went against an existing OMB goal: reducing contract bundling. That, it is argued, makes deals very large, squeezing out smaller players. The article also noted that those watching were questioning the size of the savings. One consulting company president suggested that the government might force "one-size-fits-all solutions on agency users." He concluded that it might actually end up costing the government more if agencies have to go outside the SmartBuy plan to acquire what they need.

Just two days ago, Don Arnold, director of business development for PeopleSoft Inc.'s federal sector argued that there are too many discontinuities between what the government wants and what vendors can provide for SmartBuy to work. "How do we make SmartBuy work? We have to agree on definitions, discuss objectives, respect varying goals and work for a win-win resolution." If you speak to Dangermond, you get the sense that's just what happened.

Bonus for Federal SmartBuy Users

ESRI has provided a few extra goodies for its Enterprise/SmartBuy customers including free access to the ESRI Virtual Campus, a special website to manage keycodes, and a special packaging of ESRI software onto four CDs for distribution. Dangermond compares it to how Microsoft packages Office.

A Bonus for All Users

The contract has one other element that doesn't really have to do with money. It's an ESRI commitment to support open standards from ISO, OGC, W3C, and other organizations.

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ECO Interns for Hire

One of the great things about being an editor is you can start to repay some of the good turns you've had along the way. I'm pleased to introduce readers to current and past interns of The Environmental Careers Organization,
ECO. These people are among the next crop of geospatial professionals and I want to give GIS Monitor readers first crack at tapping into their expertise.

Why? I started my career as an ECO (then CEIP Fund) intern in 1992 at Arthur D. Little (ADL). It was my big break and was vital in landing me my first "real job" and getting to where I am today. Internships place college students, graduates and those with advanced degrees to work in GIS and other disciplines at public and private organizations across the U.S. These experiences make interns perfect candidates for short term and full-time employment.

Each month GIS Monitor will share "work wanted" blurbs from interns. I'm proud to have been an intern and pleased to recommend the next generation to you.

Seeking GIS Work for Summer, 2004 in Boston

I am currently a graduate student at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs. I have had 6 credit hours of GIS coursework using ArcView 8.3 and I am eager to continue working with the software over the summer. I would like an opportunity to work for 10-12 weeks during the summer in the greater-Boston, MA area.

Last summer as an ECO intern I explored whether a cancer cluster exists in Berkley, Massachusetts as a result of a dumpsite containing 35 years' worth of tannery waste, which had been contaminating the aquifer underlying the town. I collected data from over 40 years of death records from the town and I used StreetMAP USA to geocode addresses of the deceased along with all primary and secondary causes of death. I used GIS to measure the distance and angle from the dumpsite for houses afflicted with cancer cases over the time period of the study and analyzed the results based on temporal and angular analysis as well as drainage sub-basin and groundwater flow regime analysis. Last semester, I used ArcGIS to analyze data I collected.

I am also using raster analysis to model flow of ice sheets and lahars from Mount Veniaminof in Alaska and plan to learn Visual Basic to model three-dimensional groundwater flow using ArcView software.

Please contact John Healey (812) 857-3646 or jhealey(at)indiana.edu.

Department of Corrections
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!

Week in Review

• Announcements
NAC Geographic Products and Metamend have reached an agreement to create an Internet search engine service. According to the agreement, Metamend is to optimize the meta tags and add a new meta tag to every Web page of its clients and submit them to the database of NACGEO's Mobile Location-Based Services Network.

Applications are currently being accepted for URISA's 2004 Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards.

Autodesk's location software technology will be integrated into two key HP mobility offerings, HP OpenCall Mobile Location System (MLS) and the HP mobile Service Delivery Platform (mSDP). As part of an agreement, the companies will cooperate in joint sales and marketing efforts worldwide.

Ordnance Survey has been selected as a preferred bidder to supply hundreds of local government organizations with geographic data following a major competitive tendering process. The tender was initiated by the Local Government Information House (LGIH), a trading company acting on behalf of the local government community across Great Britain.

Calgary-based Pixxures Canada, Inc. announced that it has changed its corporate name to Valtus Imagery Services Ltd.

Innovative Mapping Solutions announced an agreement with CAD CAM Plus to resell a suite of web mapping plug-ins that enhance Autodesk's MapGuide software by adding functionality. Innovative, along with PEN Products, will begin creating the land parcel data layer of the LaPorte County Indiana GIS project. PEN is Prison Enterprises Network a division of the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Newbury Networks Inc. has been awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent Office for its technology that detects the real-time position of and tracks the location of any 802.11 device over a wireless LAN. It requires no special software on the tracked device.

LizardTech, Inc. announced that the Company has signed a reseller agreement with a leading geospatial information technology company, GCS Research.

NovaLIS Technologies and CDC Ltd., Northern Ireland will extend their UK and European business partnership to North America.. NovaLIS will market and support CDC's spatialest product, a GIS-based property appraisal software delivering enhanced spatial and statistical capabilities, together with its Assessment Office product.

• Contracts and Sales
The CADD/GIS Technology Center has signed a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with Bentley estimated at US$25 million. The Center's 13 partnering agencies include all U.S. military branches, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, FBI, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, USGS, and the General Services Administration.

The City of Ottawa and the Region of Peel, both in Ontario, Canada, are now using MapText's Label-EZ text placement software into their map production process.

The Gillespie Central Appraisal District (Texas) is the most recent organization to utilize Blue Marble Geographics' BeyondGeo Internet mapping solution.

Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) has awarded Intergraph a contract to upgrade its existing FRAMME-based AM/FM/GIS application to G/Technology.

Merrick & Company announced a new contract with Jefferson County, Wisconsin to perform LIDAR data acquisition and mapping.

• Products
DMTI Spatial released CanMap v8.0 CanMap Parks & Recreation v2.0, and the Enhanced Points of Interest (EPOI) v3.1, as well as updates to other products in the CanMap product line.

XMap/GIS Editor is DeLorme's most advanced GIS software to date and includes complete data analysis, classification, and editing tools for the creation and editing of GIS data. It's about $750.

OziPhotoTool 2.3 has been released and is ready for download. Version 2.3 fixes a few small bugs and adds some new features.

Hitachi Software Global Technology (HSGT) will release its open spatial data integration solution, Any*GIS Version 3.5 on March 1st. This release includes a document management extension, GPS support on the Any*GIS mobile client, and several new functions within the Spatial Information Module (SIM) and Network Information Module (NIM).

Autodesk Location Services introduced the new Autodesk LocationLogic Software Development Kit (SDK). The product features a powerful collection of tools for building applications delivered through channels such as J2ME, WAP, i-mode, and HTML. It enables the rapid development of applications built on the LocationLogic middleware platform by providing reusable API components, extensive developer
Documentation, and sample source code.

Geomatica 9 Version 9.1, PCI Geomatics' latest geospatial software release, is now available for RedHat Linux users. The company is working on other ports including Linux Mandrake and Linux Cartman. The company's PIX Raster Plug-in for ArcGIS is now available (free) for customers seeking to read PCI Geomatics' PIX raster files into ESRI's ArcGIS software.

• Events
The Florida Joint Mapping conference will be held April 20-23, 2004 at the Adams Mark Daytona Beach Resort Daytona Beach, FL. This year's conference theme is Innovative Technologies to Manage Florida's Geospatial Challenges. Organizations or individuals interested in submitting an abstract for presentation should contact Trevor Feagin. For information on being an exhibitor or event sponsor contact Drew Fisher at 813-866-0433.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) has announced that it is a sponsor of the Underground Focus Academy, a three-day educational event providing comprehensive training on infrastructure design, installation, maintenance, and protection. The event, slated for March 16-18, 2004 at the Los Angeles Fairplex in Los Angeles, Calif., is being presented by Underground Focus Magazine.

The Ottawa MapServer User Group will host the Open Source GIS Conference 2004 and Second Annual MapServer User Meeting, June 9-11, 2004 at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community (IGUC) announced an Intergraph Education Symposium to be held in conjunction with GeoSpatial World 2004, the IGUC annual international training and management conference, May 12-14, in Miami Beach, Fla., USA. The symposium, targeted at educators and academic researchers in grades K-12 and undergraduate and post-graduate institutions, will present innovative geospatial research and teaching to benefit in the application of geospatial solutions within educational curricula.

• Hires
uLocate Communications Inc., a developer of wireless location-based services, has landed $1 million in its first funding round, and announced the appointment of Tripp Blair as the new CEO.

Anne Hale Miglarese will become EarthData's new CEO on April 5th.

Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping, LLC appointed Wendy Watson as its new Vice President of Product Management & Marketing.

ObjectFX has hired Timothy P. Coffin as Director of Business Development, and Ronald R. Fresne rejoins the company as a Senior Systems Engineer. Coffin and Fresne will contribute to ObjectFX's growing Government Division that has seen significant increases in sales within the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and Federal Civilian Agencies.

Mark Vollinger is Har*GIS' director of sales. He has experience at Intergraph, Oracle, and Autodesk. Ron Bereit is the company's new director of industry applications. Harold Schuch is now acting as director of project fulfillment.

Phillip J. Thiel, a senior associate in the Fairfax office, has been named vice president at Dewberry.

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