GIS MONITOR, March 7, 2002
- Autodesk Investor Day
- MapInfo Professional 7.0 in
- Keeping an Eye on Leica
Departments: Points of Interest, Business Notes, Week in Review, Back
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AUTODESK INVESTOR DAY 2002
Autodesk held its Investor Day on Tuesday. The four-hour program was
held in San Francisco and webcast live worldwide. I checked out parts of
it via the webcast. You can catch the replay at the Autodesk site. This
program was aimed at investors, so it’s not surprising that the
presentations were conceptual and geared toward those who may not be
familiar with the technology. Each of the major divisions addressed its
market segment – platform, building, manufacturing, GIS and Discreet.
Location Services EVP Joe Astroth was at the gathering, but did not
speak. Along with comments from the divisions, and others, Carl Bass
Executive Vice President, Design Solutions Division, spoke about
Larry Diamond, VP of GIS, reviewed the focus of the GIS division. The
market has three facets: mapping (land use planning, base mapping),
civil design (engineers who design things), and infrastructure
management (for organization and maintenance throughout the life cycle).
Diamond argued all facets are part of a continuum and each builds on the
He outlined four market trends: 1)repurposing of data – reusing
data along the continuum, 2)cost reduction – getting more from less,
3)infrastructure investment and reinvestment – planning for the long
haul, and 4)emergency response planning – a new focus where
infrastructure is, based on the events of 9/11. Customers, Diamond
reported, need data access, data collaboration and mobile access. He
used “open” but did not define it.
Autodesk is in the middle of recasting the GIS products to be
customer focused, meaning that they need to address specific customer
problems. The Civil Series was the first such product. Diamond was
clearly pleased at the results: Raster Design, part of that package,
which was reworked to address the needs of civil users, sold $1 million
in its first month. The current Civil Series road show is selling out.
The Map Series will be released in Q2. It will expand current
offerings with “significant new functionality.” The “Mobility
Suite” will be based around MapGuide. Though much is still under
wraps, he did reveal that there will be a new data aggregation/analysis
technology. A prototype was shown as part of Microsoft’s Visual Studio
(VS) .NET launch. Diamond noted that it was the only live technology
shown at the launch. “Microsoft was fairly impressed with it,” he
I took a look at the Microsoft site to see what else I could learn
about VS .NET and the new Autodesk application. First, VS .NET is a
development environment built to support XML (extensible markup
language) Web services. Applications can share data over the Internet
using XML Web services and developers can create applications from new
and existing code, on any platform, programming language, or object
model. Autodesk’s contribution is a visualization toolkit for all of
Autodesk’s file formats, so this solution looks like it’s not
exclusively for GIS, although the GIS group took the lead in the demo.
The solution can run locally or via client server. And, as I understand
it, it can run on a client even if the client is disconnected using
something called “remoting.”
Autodesk’s demo was essentially a viewer application. Basically, it
looked like your favorite free viewer: you can zoom in, out, look at a
number of different data formats, spin the view to get a 3D look, etc.
The data, according to the demo, is all XML. That makes me think that
raw DWG, DXF, DEMs, etc. are, on the fly, being transformed into XML.
The XML, in turn, is being visualized on the client.
After the demo, the host used VS .NET with Autodesk’s GIS ToolKit
for .NET, to build a simple app. It looked quite a bit like building an
app with MapObjects in Visual Basic. The developer uses drag and drop to
include tools, and many simple functions (pan, zoom, etc) are built in
by default. This toolkit is aimed at Autodesk’s own staff and Autodesk’s
3rd party developers, a group that from my perspective has gotten short
shrift in recent years.
So, what does this toolkit mean within the GIS marketplace? For the
first time Autodesk is offering true COMPONENTS for developers. Autodesk
waited for .NET to go up against ESRI, MapInfo, Blue Marble and others
who’ve been in the component market (sans .NET) for several years with
MapObjects, MapX and GeoObjects respectively.
Granted Autodesk’s solution is tied to .NET, but Autodesk has made
both collaboration and the Internet top priorities. Autodesk’s focus
on these topics, perhaps more intense than other companies’, makes
this offering appear as a long-planned decision. Will ESRI, MapInfo and
others follow suit? Certainly. But ESRI by tradition and MapInfo due to
economic challenges, will wait a bit longer to launch .NET toolkits and
Coming back to the Autodesk webcast, Diamond closed by stating that
GIS revenues are headed upward due to the new customer focus.
Carl Bass argued that all of the work of Autodesk users is
collaborative. Initially, Autodesk automated design. Now, Autodesk will
help automate the collaborative process. He distinguished between design
collaboration (with a small known team) and product/project
collaboration (with outside players, who are likely not designers
themselves and hence won’t have design tools) then commented that
collaboration tools will be built into all of the company’s products.
There was no discussion about sharing the data with other products
outside the Autodesk arena, which is a real challenge we face in GIS.
Autodesk Case Study: Visual
Studio .NET (Autodesk’s demo is at 52 minutes into the hour and a half
long keynote by Bill Gates) http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/productinfo/
Jay Vleeschhouwer, Merrill Lynch, CADwire.net, March 6, 2002 Note: This
fellow is from Merrill Lynch, who also demoed on stage with Microsoft.
====== a message from our sponsor ===============
Leica Geosystems provides total, end-to-end solutions for the GIS and
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airborne data acquisition, geographic imaging, GPS/GIS and LIS products
MapInfo Professional 7.0 in
MapInfo has opened its beta testing program for MapInfo Professional
7.0. In addition to the sneak preview, participants in the program will
be entered to win a copy of the final product.
What’s new in V 7.0? Of the rather long list, editing seemed a
priority: there will be new tools to split by line/polyline, rotate
objects, create Voronoi polygons, and 'nudge' objects. Data access is
simplified to a single menu option to open graphics files and remote
database. Data reading has improved with direct reading of shape files.
If I recall correctly, this is the first direct reading capability for
vector data in the product, an important step forward. There is also
support for JPEG 2000, DRG, CADRG, CIB, ASRP and NITF.
Not in the beta, but expected in the final release, are GML
(Geography Markup Language) 2.0 support, Crystal Reports 8.5 and “smart
update” to automatically find and install software updates.
Beta Program Info
KEEPING AN EYE ON LEICA
From the number of press releases from various parts of Leica
Geosystems GIS & Mapping Division, it can be challenging to
determine what is “new” and what is the “day to day” operations
of the recently purchased companies. This week however, there was
significant corporate news. The division is partnering with Canadian
NovAtel to jump on the high-accuracy GPS segment in connection with the
new upcoming Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
Leica Geosystems also entered an agreement with PASCO, the leading
GIS vendor in Japan. The press release suggested that PASCO will handle
Leica products and also work on “development of completely new
solutions together with Leica and ESRI.”
Mar 05 - Leica Geosystems Partners with Japan’s PASCO http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030502Lecia.htm
Mar 01 - Leica Geosystems to Develop GPS with NovAtel Inc. http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030102Lecia.htm
POINTS OF INTEREST
- According to a post on USENET, the Ordnance Survey (OS) will soon
discontinue the 1:50,000 scale (1 point per 50 meter) Landscape PANORAMA
product. This UK version of DEM data is widely used for visualization.
OS will replace the product with a 1:10,000 scale height product
Land-Form PROFILE and plans a height theme within OS MasterMap. There
are concerns that these more detailed, more expensive datasets do not
fairly replace PANORAMA. There was no mention of the change on the OS
- The trouble, many argue, with tiny PDAs and phones, is the
challenge of actually getting to the website of interest. According to
one count, it took 32 clicks to get to the Amazon website. Enter
CodePoint from Mitigo. The company offers technology, based on digital
camera technology, that lets devices read URLs from say, concert
posters. Data about the artist, date and venue are already “filled”
in so the purchase can speed through. This would be a boon for the
impulse buy, says Mitigo.
Sticking point? The device must have digital camera technology
onboard. Since that is far more common in Japan, the company expects
that market to heat up first. This technology reminds me of the CueCat
debacle. Remember the mouse-like device you were to run over barcodes in
magazines to get further information on a website? No? The CueCat died a
- Advice for yours truly: Be careful what you say online – you may
be sued. Wearable computer maker Xybernaut, who has turned up at many a
GIS show, filed suit and won a claim against an online poster who penned
negative comments about the company. "Typically, it's thin-skinned
corporate executives whose companies aren't doing well" who go
after posters, said Mark Goldowitz, who heads a group opposing this sort
of frivolous libel lawsuits. Xybernaut has yet to make a profit.
- In reviewing the Consumer Electronics Show a few months ago I
mentioned the new Garmin FRS (Family Radio Service) radios with embedded
GPS. The “whiz bang” technology was the ability to “beam” one’s
location coordinates to a similar unit within range. The Northern
California GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service)User Group along with
Popular Wireless Magazine filed comments this week with the FCC
expressing concern about interference when GPS data is sent. Apparently,
the FCC has not yet acted to let Garmin sell its radios and this set of
comments may slow the decision further.
- One of the major GIS/remote sensing/imaging or related software
technology companies has licensed IDELIX’s Pliable GIS. Which one?
IDELIX, after a contest will reveal the answer next Monday, March 11.
Interesting marketing tactic.
- This new GPS game crossed my radar from Caitlin Dempsey’s GIS
Lounge newsletter: GeoDashing. I expected to find GPS based
orienteering, or something like it. Not even close! In GeoDashing
individuals or teams are challenged to reach as many of the randomly
generated coordinate locations within an agreed timeframe (typically a
month). The locations are worldwide, so team members in other countries
are helpful. Points are awarded based on who gets there and reports back
first. In the end, the individual/team with the most points wins. The
motto of the game: getting there is ALL the fun!
- The GIS 2002 event, held annually in the UK in association with the
AGI Conference, has been renamed GeoSolutions 2002. The goal is to
broaden the show’s focus. Ok, so we have GeoSpatial Solutions,
GeoWorld, GeoSolutions 2002… Is GIS Monitor the last in a series of
publications and events with GIS in the title? No, there is GeoTec’s
Toronto-based GIS 2002 coming up in April and online and print
publication, GISDevelopment in Asia. Whew!
- I agree with Brian McDonough, writing for Wireless.Newsfactor.com,
that one of the stranger uses of location technology will be the ability
to “hang” electronic messages in specific locations. The posts are
invisible, until someone with the right electronics comes by to read
them. Though he points out some useful applications (I’ll suggest
having the electric schematics for a building hovering around the
building) mostly he expects to see electronic graffiti. I for one expect
lots of location-based spam.
LAND INFO now offers geospatial data planning, customized production,
and full integration services.
Earth Resource Mapping announced that Caliper Corporation has
implemented ECW native support into Maptitude GIS for Windows Version
4.5, released in January. Earth Resource Mapping and Inpho Technology Oy
announced the latest release of OrthoWarp ER, a professional software
tool for orthorectification of satellite imagery.
Intermap Technologies is planning to acquire aircraft and radar
technology of Aero-Sensing Radarsysteme GmbH, of Germany, for a purchase
price of approximately US $2.6 million.
GlobeXplorer announced that Internet users can now order high-quality
prints of imagery. Printing is from EZPrints, an online digital photo
and image fulfillment company.
Sun has been selected the official hardware provider of ESRI’s
Geography Network. I think this is first time in some months I’ve seen
a hardware vendor, other than Compaq, or UNISYS tout its goods alongside
DMTI Spatial announced CanMap Rail V1.0, a comprehensive digital map
database of Canada's railroad network, at 1:50,000 scale.
ESRI decided to split responsibilities in Brazil between GEMPI, the
existing distributor, and IMAGEM, an established GIS company and
business partner of GEMPI.
The new release of R2V from Able Software adds support for
conversions between the UTM, latitude/longitude and the State Plane
coordinate systems, among other new features.
The GeoInformation Group has restructured licensing of its Cities
Revealed data under the CHEST (Combined Higher Education Software Team)
program in the UK. The offer allows users a one-off payment with no time
restriction on data usage, full technical support and the freedom to
acquire datasets that cover user requested areas.
Snowflake Software announced a new release of its free OS MasterMap
Viewer is available for download from the company’s web site. A new
'light load' option allows the loading and viewing of increased amounts
of OS MasterMap data.
Trimble has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Army to provide
grade control and laser leveling systems for heavy construction
Saar Ferngas AG, one of Germany’s largest gas transportation
companies, has selected ArcGIS for its new geographic information system
platform. The company is migrating from Sysdeco, a system from Norway.
That company, after a merger is now aiming at business geographics and
Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1 in Everett, Washington
chose Baymont to migrate the District's existing electrical data to a
landbase incorporating new digital orthophotography and new cadastral
ESRI announced that PlatiNet Communications in Israel has chosen
ArcSDE for spatial data management.
Des Lauriers Municipal Solutions hired Mike Doyle, formerly GIS
manager for the Town of Wellesley, MA.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Mar 06 - Cities Revealed
Launches New Building Database for London http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030602CR.htm
The new building database
offers information on the age and structure of every residential
building within the London area.
Mar 06 - Sensoria and
Webraska to Offer Wireless Navigation http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030602Webraska.htm
wireless navigation services have been integrated with the Sensoria
Telematics Environment, an open platform for telematics.
Mar 05 - Pixxures and GeoTel
Announce Strategic Alliance http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030502Pixxures.htm
The two are building an
online repository of telecommunications infrastructure data and map
Mar 05 - MAPPS Joins
Partnership to Improve Security http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030502MAPPS.htm
MAPPS has joined The
Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) along with some 40 other
Mar 05 - GDT-Canada Releases
Dynamap Canada CompuStreets 6.0 http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030502GDT.htm
Enhancements and additions to
Dynamap Canada CompuStreets v. 6.0 bring the database's total coverage
to nearly 1 million named road segments with coverage for cities and
towns with populations of 1500 and above.
Mar 05 - Golden Releases
Surfer 8 with Image Overlay Functionality http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030502Golden.htm
The new version can create
fully rendered 3D surfaces and overlay aerial photography, satellite
imagery and other bitmaps on these 3D surfaces
Mar 04 - OGCE Partners in
European Geographic Information Effort http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030402OGC.htm
Open GIS Consortium (Europe),
Limited (OGCE) is now a partner with the European Umbrella Organisation
for Geographic Information (EUROGI), the European Commission - Joint
Research Centre (JRC), and the University of Sheffield in a far-reaching
European geographic information (GI) project entitled Geographic
Information Network in Europe (GINIE).
Mar 04 - Space Imaging Signs
Spot Asia as a Reseller http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030402si.htm
Under the terms of this
reseller agreement, Spot Asia will gain access to Space Imaging’s
portfolio of digital Earth products and services, including
high-resolution IKONOS satellite imagery.
Mar 01 - Autodesk Map 5
Integration with Oracle9i http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030102Autodesk.htm
The new extension provides a
direct link between Autodesk Map 5 software and the spatial technology
capabilities available with Oracle9i Database. The extension provides a
true Geographical Information Systems (GIS) polygon object, which I
suppose until this time Map did not support. The extension is only
available through the Autodesk subscription program. Cost: $445 for the
subscription per seat, plus an optional online support contract for
$385, per seat.
Mar 01 - GPS-Photo Link
Updates Features For GIS Professionals http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030102GPS-Photo.htm
The software, which attaches
GPS information to digital pictures adds datum and grid coordinate
support, an ArcView extension for linking to photos, and customizable
Mar 01 - Intelligent Internet
Routing Uses Topology and Geography http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/020227/272265_1.html
The intelligent routing
technology allows instant Internet traffic management decisions to be
made for global load balancing or content distribution network
applications, based on the analysis of network topology and city-level
Mar 01 - Logica Announces
Mobile MapWorks Plus http://www.logica.com/company_info/news/press_releases
MapFrame technology underlies
the field solution for GIS data.
Mar 01 - Sanborn Chosen for
Multi-year NYC Mapping Project http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/030102Sanborn.htm
Sanborn will update existing
digital orthophoto imagery and planimetric and topographic data.
Feb 28 - GeoMedia Chosen by
City of Winnipeg http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/022802INGR.htm
The Planning, Property &
Development Department will implement GeoMedia Parcel Manager, GeoMedia
Transaction Manager, and GeoMedia WebEnterprise for sharing and
integrating geo-referenced municipal services information
Feb 28 - Hitachi Software
Receives Award for Any*GIS http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/022802HSGT.htm
Any*GIS received the award
from a committee of six Japanese ministries involved in information
technology promotion. The product has not been announced yet in the US;
however marketing has begun.
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