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2006 March 9


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Editor's Introduction

The month I am focusing on some of the many upcoming geospatial conferences, workshops, and tradeshows. This week I begin with conversations with three active participants in this year's conference season: Mike Liebhold, of the Institute for the Future, who will be a featured speaker at the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) Mid-Year Conference on March 19-22, the Location Intelligence 2006 conference on April 3-5, and the O'Reilly Where 2.0 conference, June 13-14; Bob Ader, co-chair of the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Cadastral Subcommittee, who was the keynote speaker this week at the Indiana GIS Conference; and Brian Goldin, EDN Program Manager / Development Lead, a member of ESRI's software development team, and the lead organizer for ESRI's first Developer Summit, March 17-18.

In this issue I also report on two product launches, both of which took place today: Autodesk introduced a new version of MapGuide Open Source and Pharos launched a new GPS receiver. Plus, my usual roundup of news from press releases.

— Matteo

Conference Preview: Mike Liebhold

Mike Liebhold, a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future, has been working on geospatial Web-related issues since about 1980. His career has included ten years as a senior scientist at Apple Computers, a few years as an independent consultant, and periods at Netscape, as CTO for Times-Mirror, and as visiting scientist at Intel. "In my work as a researcher," he told me, "I've looked pretty deeply at the consumer, social, civic, business, and government implications of [geospatial technology]." Liebhold will be a featured speaker at several upcoming conferences, including the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) Mid-Year Conference, March 19-22, in Annapolis, Maryland; the Location Intelligence 2006 conference, April 3-5, in San Francisco; and the O'Reilly Where 2.0 conference, June 13-14, in San Jose, California.

I asked Liebhold for a preview of his upcoming talks and he shared with me some of his ideas and enthusiasm.

At what stage are we in the evolution of geospatial technology? "We are at a really important convergence point in the history of geospatial information," he told me, "that's going to change our usage models pretty radically and in some really exciting ways. There's a geospatial Web that's unfolding, that is a combination of traditional geodata — vector data, images, etc. — along with geotagged hypermedia — geo-tagged pages, photographs, and audio — a whole new kind of user-generated spatial media. I am going to talk about how this is all converging and coming together."

Why is this happening now? Liebhold cites two reasons: first, "some big commercial players from both the GIS and Web sides" are coming together; second, various "really important technical and standards kinds of processes" are "reaching maturity." "It's a very interesting moment, beyond traditional GIS. It's a true blending of World Wide Web technology and GIS."

Do you have any concerns about this flurry of developments in the industry? "I'm concerned that we don't fall for premature hype. I think the main issue is that there is still a lot of technical work to do to realize the spectacular promises of the convergence, but things are coming together rather nicely."

Who are the key players at this stage? "The things that are really happening are the emergence of popular use models for geospatial Web stuff — geo-Web, geo-blogging, location-tagging of photographs. Then there's a long, long gestation period of really creative experimentation by very early adopters — techies, artists, and hackers — who have been doing really cool things for the last three or four years. Now Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, particularly, are in a kind of arms race to build the biggest and best tools for these spatial Web software environments." Liebhold also cited ESRI's new ArcExplorer as belonging in this category.

What did you think of the Live Local technology demo that Microsoft released last week? "It was pretty cool but, gosh, last year Amazon A9 did the same thing. The basic prototype of that system was developed by some researchers at M.I.T. in the late 1970s. It was called the Aspen Movie Map and they created exactly the same kind of experience that Microsoft demonstrated: you could steer a video through the streets of Aspen, Colorado, and stop and look at geo-tagged buildings. But it's good to see Microsoft doing that. They are all racing toward incorporating 3D models and mobile versions of this stuff. So it's a very rich and exciting period for geospatial developments."

What else do your talks cover these days? "I'm interested beyond the obvious headline stuff with these big companies. I've been thinking deeply about the major technical obstacles and solutions spaces as well as the whole spectrum of really interesting applications — looking three, five, ten, 15 years in the future for geospatial technology. So, depending on the audiences, I'll focus on what this means for entertainment, for education, for civic mapping, or for environmental activists, as well as a whole spectrum of location intelligence applications for enterprises. At the NISGIC conference I will particularly be talking about the civic applications and the social benefit of a geospatial Web. There's lots of grass-roots experimentation in making public geodata useful for ordinary people that I think is very, very promising, for communities in developed countries as well as in developing countries."

Conference Preview: Bob Ader

At the 2006 Indiana GIS Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, this week, Bob Ader gave the keynote presentation. Ader coordinates federal, state, tribal, local, and private-sector efforts to collect and maintain information on land ownership across the country, so that all parties involved have access to standardized, usable data. He is co-chair of the Federal Geographic Data Committee's Cadastral Subcommittee. Ader is also a high-mountain climber, a sport in which teamwork can mean the difference between life and death. So it's not surprising that when discussing framework data coordination he emphasizes the value of life-time experiences that "teach you to work together," as he puts it, and influence the partnership attitude. He sprinkles his talks with examples from his climbs, from Asia to Mt. McKinley.

Regarding his work with the Cadastral Subcommittee, "we are looking at the standard reference systems for the national cadastre," he told me, "as being published by the states, not by the federal government, and maintained in collaboration, not by one or the other. When you are approaching those kind of things you need to look at a common goal, rather than 'my territory' versus 'your territory.'"

The counties, according to Ader, "are really the major players in the national cadastre" and own "the lion's share" of cadastral information. So, what's the role of the feds? "Hopefully we can help facilitate some things. But the counties own all the data, or most of it. We want to capitalize on where we have the existing work being done now. That's why the partnership and collaboration is really critical for a national cadastre, because we're dealing with more than 4,000 entities that have the information — from counties to cities and municipalities to federal agencies. [Without] a collaborative effort, we wouldn't go anywhere, I'm afraid. We are not going to attain that goal of a national cadastre if we look at it from the federal perspective or even just from the local. We have to look at it from a collective view point."

Land records are as old as the nation. What's new? "We've always recorded the cadastral information somewhere, but it's always been manual, primarily," says Ader. Now, however, the technology to reliably automate these records is becoming affordable for local governments and they are realizing the value of these databases. "The county taxation system is driven by [these records]. Equitable taxation is one of the main drivers at the county level. In a database you can do a lot more things than with manual records." Counties, he explains, are increasingly looking at parcels as assets and at cadastral records as a database, "rather than just a set of maps." Additionally, "within the last few years other groups — such as Homeland Security and FEMA — are beginning to understand the richness of that cadastral data that is at the county and local level. In the past they really haven't been aware of it and its potential."

"One thing to realize," Ader says, "is that usually counties collect [cadastral data] for one reason — property assessment and taxation — and quite often the consumers out there, like FEMA, are using it for a completely different reason — for example, emergency planning. You can use the same information for both."

Privacy and security, according to Ader, are "huge" issues. "Obviously, that's a major concern. When we were doing the set of core data for Geospatial One-Stop, the counties insisted that we not include owner name — much to the consternation of some of the folks at USGS and the One-Stop, because they wanted owner name in there." However, when the counties objected, Ader's subcommittee decided to respect their wishes. "On our team, we try to get consensus, and if the counties say no, then the federal agencies go along with them, because it is their data. And that's the teamwork we're thinking of." Still, he suggests, the counties could make that information available on an "as needed" basis for such applications as homeland security or fire fighting, with an agreement that the recipients of the data would not redistribute it.

What about the data that is available via Google Earth, Microsoft Virtual Earth, etc.? "Personally, I would love to see the parcel boundaries go into something like Google Earth," says Ader. "I don't know if that's the opinion of the rest of the subcommittee." The counties, he points out, could make owner name available as they see fit. "Jefferson county, where I live, will allow you to retrieve information for a single parcel. So, for example, if you know the address, you can query that parcel and you can find the owner's name. But you can't query their entire database by owner name and find out all the parcels that a particular person owns. In that way they are trying to protect privacy but also allow the public to query the information and get the information they need." What if you have a legitimate reason for wanting to find, say, all the parcels owned by one person or legal entity? "Then you could go to the county," says Ader, "and maybe have them do a separate query, but that kind of query would not be open to the public."

Conference Preview: ESRI Developer Summit

After toying with the concept for a couple of years, on March 17-18, in Palm Springs, California, ESRI will hold its first Developer Summit. Among other things, it will be an occasion for the company to celebrate the first birthday of the ESRI Developer Network (EDN). Brian Goldin, EDN Program Manager / Development Lead and a member of ESRI's software development team, has been at ESRI for about 11 years and is responsible for many of the company's APIs. His is also responsible, he says, for "how our developers approach our platform, how we support our developers, how we build community, and how we present information that helps developers be successful." He told me that he is "really excited" about the conference.

According to Goldin, the summit has two goals: to discuss ESRI's software products and platform and to foster a sense of community among the company's developers. "Sometimes we have events at which we launch new products, for example ArcGIS 9.2, and talk about all the new features," Goldin says in reference to the first goal. "That's not the case for this conference. We are going to talk about workflow and how people can use the current ArcGIS 9.1 software. We'll certainly talk a little about ArcGIS 9.2 and how to prepare for moving forward, but that release is a little ways out, so this isn't a launch event for it. We do, however, want to cover what's coming down the road and make people aware of how they can roll out applications that map onto 9.2."

As for building community, "Conferences are really about people and one of the things that we want to do at the Developer Summit is promote the sharing of information. So we have a lot of different ways that people can interact." This includes a "community center" — a new concept for ESRI conferences: it will be an open area, central to all the sessions, with couches, where people can relax and chat, surrounded by "tech talk areas," where presenters and attendees can have follow-up Q&As; after technical sessions.

The main point of the conference, according to Goldin, is "to talk about the current software and how people can be successful with it." In addition to traditional technical presentations by experts, followed by Q&A; sessions, "for some of our technical workshops we are inviting some of our customers to present their case studies for applications that have been built, so that we can learn from examples. We also have sessions where we'll allow the audience to shoot questions at some of our development leads."

While the conference will be mostly staffed by ESRI employees, they will have help from conference sponsors, including IBM, Microsoft, and Adobe, who will be hosting some of the events. Of course, developers will be present in large numbers, including, says Golding, "[ESRI's] key development leads and product leads." In addition, he says, "a lot of people from professional services" will also present information. "These are the people who are taking our software products and building solutions for our customers and they'll be talking about best practices and design patterns and how they go about running a software project. More importantly, they will describe how they are successfully using the platforms — you know, tips and techniques and tricks. You might say that the conference is by developers for developers." Presenters, he adds, will also include "a lot of key people from our development team and our services group."

In addition to technical presentations and community-building events, the conference will also feature meetings of special interest groups and of "birds of a feather." ESRI will host most of the former, while attendees will run the latter.

I asked Goldin about the differences between a user conference and a developer conference. He pointed out that developers, too, are end users — of ESRI's developer tools. A developer conference is "basically about building applications with ArcGIS, customizing our products, or extending them so that they can do new things. We are teaching our developers how to be successful in building applications. This summit differs from other conferences that we have because it is about writing code and building applications." In particular, he says, ESRI's developer platform includes "a really great offering for desktop developers who are building embedded applications or customizing ArcGIS desktop to build a better workflow for automating tasks."

While the subject of the discussions at the developer summit will differ from those at, say, ESRI's business partners conference (where the conversation is about "how to sell our software and how to engage in different vertical markets at a business level," says Goldin) "the type of conversation — how we talk to and engage our customers — is really not much different. We work hard to support our end user customers — people who use our software out of the box — and we also work hard to support our developers who are building applications." For end-users and developers alike, Goldin says, ESRI writes documentation, hosts discussion forums, posts knowledge base articles on its website, tracks enhancements to its software, and produces conferences and technical workshops. "So, the way we deliver the content for developers is actually similar to how we do it for our end users. What we are really saying is, let's sit down, roll up our sleeves, and see how to get our jobs done, how we can help you be successful on our platform."

Not all participants at the Developer Summit will be people who write code and actively program on ESRI's software platforms. "We are also going to have many system architects, decision makers, and technical managers there," says Goldin, "so there's going to be plenty of events to talk about the big picture and how you can build service-oriented architecture solutions on top of our platform and how you can do enterprise integration with our software." Besides, he adds, many attendees will be former coders who now "manage projects, set vision, and focus on software architecture."

The summit will also include introductory sessions. These will be particularly useful, Goldin says, for those new to GIS who have been assigned to build GIS applications but "don't know anything about spatial references, cartography, or how to access spatial data." They will leave those sessions with "a playbook for the top ways to start leveraging a geodatabase."

Autodesk Introduces New Version of MapGuide Open Source

Today, Autodesk, Inc. introduced the new version of MapGuide Open Source — its next generation Web mapping software originally called MapServer Enterprise — and made it available on the new MapGuide Open Source site hosted by the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo). MapGuide Open Source is free software licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). According to Autodesk, it enables users to quickly develop and distribute spatial and design data over the Web and reduces their total cost of ownership for a Web mapping solution. The company plans to offer a commercial version called Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2007 later this year. Moving forward, MapGuide Open Source will be an Open Source Geospatial Foundation project.

The new MapGuide Open Source project site provides developers with an open and collaborative software development environment featuring software downloads, a framework for code contributions and bug reporting, mailing lists, and discussion forums for sharing ideas and getting support.

In late November, Autodesk worked with members of the open source Web mapping community to establish a foundation, originally known as the MapServer Foundation, dedicated to driving innovation and expansion of new Web mapping technology. Since then, according to Audodesk, the goals and membership have both grown to encompass the broader open source geospatial community.

OSGeo, held its first meeting in Chicago on February 4th and representatives of more than 17 organizations and more than 20 different geospatial projects attended in person or via Internet Relay Chat (IRC). According to Autodesk, during the meeting several geospatial project representatives expressed interest in migrating their projects to the OSGeo site and others have since joined them, for a current total of eight. The group also decided on the new foundation name, selected an initial board of directors for the foundation, and began to address governance, legal, and budget issues. Among the initial board members is Gary Lang, vice president of engineering for Autodesk's Infrastructure Solutions Division.

The new version of MapGuide Open Source provides the option to auto-install and configure the Apache HTTP server, the PHP scripting language, and Tomcat, the Apache servlet engine. It works with the latest PHP, .NET, and Java tools to build applications for Windows or Linux server environments. Developers can also publish spatial views internally, over the Web, or using Autodesk's DWF viewing technology for offline portability. Autodesk MapGuide Studio is the company's new proprietary authoring environment for MapGuide Open Source and MapGuide Enterprise which handles all aspects of collecting, preparing, previewing, and publishing maps and geospatial data for distribution via the Internet.

Pharos Introduces the iGPS-500

Today Pharos, a company that specializes in solutions for mobile devices, introduced the iGPS-500, a new GPS receiver designed to work with the new class of ultra-mobile PCs running Windows XP software. The iGPS-500's modular design allows users to add GPS positioning and navigation capability via the serial, USB, CompactFlash, PCMCIA, SDIO port, or Bluetooth wireless connection to a variety of mobile devices — including ultra-mobile PCs, Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs, or Windows Mobile-based Smartphone products.

Pharos expects to start to ship the iGPS-500, which features the SiRFstarIII GPS architecture, next month. According to the company, the device works seamlessly with Microsoft Streets & Trips 2006, Microsoft AutoRoute 2006, and Microsoft MapPoint software, as does its predecessor, the iGPS-360.

I discussed this launch with Pharos' CEO, James Oyang. He told me that his company designs and manufactures its own GPS receivers and navigation software, as well as a location-based server that provides real-time traffic information, nearby POI lookup, and map download on demand to mobile devices. "We have the ability to design and manufacture hardware, develop software, and provide a service — so we provide a total solution. And, because we design the hardware and write our own code, our software can talk to our hardware very effectively. For example, we can use our software to control the power consumption of the GPS receiver. In the very near future, our software will also be able to use our server to provide to the receiver the most updated ephemeris. We will be able to do that because we have so many years of experience using wireless systems to connect to a network to provide location-centric information to people on the go."

Pharos had used the SiRFstarIII chipset in previous models. This time, Oyang told me, the company built prototypes using chipsets from different companies, to compare their performance, and ended up choosing the SiRFstarIII chipset again.

Whose map data does Pharos use? "Our current consumer products are all based on TeleAtlas data," Oyang says, "but we also offer Navteq data. In Canada we are using DMTI. Our software is data-independent."

News Briefs

Please note: I have culled the following news items from press releases and have not independently verified them.


Intermap Technologies Corp. has signed a letter of intent with GeoContent GmbH to jointly develop a 3D digital map of Germany in full color, combining GeoContents' aerial imagery with Intermap's 3D digital elevation model. The joint effort will produce the most accurate 3D map product of Germany in existence. GeoContent is a German provider of digital geospatial information and the only company with a countrywide digital aerial image.
     As part of its NEXTMap Deutschland mapping program, Intermap recently acquired terrain data from the Stuttgart area and will map Germany in its entirety by the end of 2006. Stuttgart was the first region to be mapped in 3D in order to address immediate interest from German automotive manufacturers for intelligent transportation system applications. As the NEXTMap Deutschland elevation data becomes available, the two companies will merge their datasets: the existing GeoContent imagery will be geo-referenced and "draped" over Intermap's digital terrain model. The companies will jointly market the new offering. In addition, GeoContent offers a house-specific address layer for the whole of Germany which matches the combined data product.

The Town of Whitby, Ontario, Canada, has selected ESRI Canada's GIS-based solution for their customer relationship management system (CRMS) in their Operations Centre. The Cityworks solution will take advantage of the already existing ArcGIS foundation to provide the municipality's Operations Centre with a spatially-enabled system.
     The Town of Whitby is situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is the fastest growing municipality in the Region of Durham. It is a progressive community with a population of 110,000. The Town's investment growth of more than $1.6 billion over the past ten years has made Whitby the "Community of Choice" for families and business in Durham Region. As part of the GeoSmart program, Whitby has been granted funds to implement a series of projects, including the CRMS. As a rapidly expanding municipality, new and existing residents require a responsive approach to their requests. The project will encompass frequently requested information as well as entering service requests from around the municipality.
     Using Cityworks, requests for service are logged in a single location by call takers who carefully evaluate and categorize all calls enabling them to forward the requests to the appropriate staff member. This enables the Town to be responsive to customers in a quick, efficient, and effective manner. Cityworks keeps track of all calls throughout the entire process, from initial contact to when work has been completed.
     Although the initial project is for the Town's Operations Centre, it is anticipated that the CRMS will be expanded, corporate wide, to take advantage of centralized communication.

Coinciding with its acceptance into ESRI's International Distributor Program, GeoVision, the new GIS division of Afghan IT company Liwal Limited, committed itself to active participation in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan. GeoVision has forged a strong relationship with the Afghanistan Information Management Service (AIMS), a United Nations Development Programme project that was originally established to provide GIS, database, information management, and training services to the Afghan government and humanitarian community.
     GeoVision and AIMS are exploring the possibility of working together to promote the use of GIS in Afghanistan. With its extensive experience in GIS training, AIMS is well suited to become an authorized learning center for ESRI software training, while Liwal Limited, the parent of GeoVision, has extensive experience in sales, support, and application development. The partnering of GeoVision and AIMS will allow them to jump-start the process of implementing GIS throughout the country's public and private sector because they already have the necessary expertise for software sales, development, and training.
     Although GeoVision is a relatively new division of Liwal Limited, core staff members have more than 10 years of experience using ESRI software for GIS projects. This experience is key to the division's ongoing work with several government agencies to develop a comprehensive GIS for Afghanistan. These agencies include the Afghan Geodesy and Cartography Head Office; Central Statistic Office; Ministry of Urban Planning and Housing; Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Communication; Ministry of Power and Energy; Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development, and several others.


GfK MACON has completely revised the digital maps of Belarus on 2006 status, by re-digitalizing the 2005 map material and expanding it to include a map of the six-digit postcode districts, the first of its kind. Digital maps with administrative borders such as municipalities are used in GIS to visualize statistics, e.g. population numbers. Digital maps with postal units such as post codes are necessary to display and analyze customer and other company data based on addresses. The finer the units of the maps, the more precise the analyses.
     The Belarus Map Set comprises all postal and administrative units as well as a large selection of topographical map layers, such as roads, railway lines, populated areas, and elevations. The digital maps are provided as vector data records in the standard GIS formats: shapefile (ESRI), mid/mif (MapInfo), and RegioGraph (GfK MACON). All map objects are fully inscribed with national/cyrillic as well as international names and letters.
     For the first time, the Belarus Map Set includes a map showing the six-digit postcode districts, the country's smallest postal unit. The breakdown of the 77 two-digit postcode maps used previously into the six-digit version was a demanding task for the cartographers at GfK MACON, because Belarus currently has more than 3,900 six-digit postcode districts. On the administrative level too, maps are available from the largest level, provinces ("Oblasts"), right down to level of the 119 municipalities ("Rayons").
     All map levels, from the postal through the administrative to the topographical, have been re-digitalized on the basis of sample maps with a scale of 1:50,000, in cities even 1:10.000. In doing so, the map material was also compared with the latest satellite imagery of each region.

NAVTEQ, a provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, has released a full coverage map of Spain and peninsular Portugal — enabling navigation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Balearic Sea and from Bilbao in the North to Faro in the South. Gibraltar is also included on this map.
     The Spanish map, which includes the Balearic and Canary Islands, covers over 700,000 kilometres of roads reaching all 8,109 municipalities and 40.8 million inhabitants. In excess of 50,000 Points of Interest (POIs) incorporate key destinations such as hotels, ferry terminals, airports, railways stations, parks and recreational areas, thousands of tourist attractions and even 24 ski resorts. It also includes RDS-TMC codes for the whole country, the international standard for the delivery of traffic information to satellite navigation systems via the Radio Data System.
     In Portugal the 278 municipalities are reached by over 182,000 kilometres of mapped road network. Over 5,000 POIs include a wide range of features from embassies to wineries and tourist attractions to sports complexes.
     The new map is available to NAVTEQ's direct customers with the Q4 2005 version of the company's database and all subsequent releases.


Microsoft Corporation will be a platinum sponsor of the GeoWeb 2006 Conference, which will take place July 24-28 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The conference, organized by Galdos Systems Inc. and supported by the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), is focused exclusively on the convergence of GIS and the Internet. As part of its sponsorship, Microsoft will present seminars on its Virtual Earth services platform and Windows Live Local consumer mapping and local search offering. The Virtual Earth platform is a set of programmable Web services and application components for integrating mapping and location capabilities, such as maps, driving direction, and proximity search, into business or consumer applications. Windows Live Local is a free online local search and mapping service that combines business listings, maps, bird's-eye imagery for many areas, driving directions, and other local search tools.
     GeoWeb Conference seminars and papers are organized around markup, Web services, service-oriented architecture, and business and policy issues that arise in the GeoWeb context — and their relationship to key market and technical themes. Themes include nautical and aeronautical info systems; defense and homeland security; consumer and commercial services; municipal info systems and global spatial data infrastructure; disaster management and environmental systems and technology centric.

The Board of Directors for the 19th annual GIS in the Rockies Conference has issued a Call for Papers inviting professionals to share experiences and expertise illustrating how GIS have emerged from behind the scene to extreme. The conference will be held September 13 - 15 at INVESCO Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado and will feature an array of user case studies, technical sessions and vendor presentations through a series of organized tracks. Presentations will be based on abstracts received through the Call for Papers.
     The sponsoring societies will develop and host a program track designed to appeal to a broad community of users and interested people. The professional societies and organizations share a dedication to promote professional development, education, and general community outreach while helping people understand the uses and benefits of the technology.
     Abstracts can be submitted online. The deadline for submissions is March 31. For more information regarding presentations, contact Tom Palizzi, Program Coordinator, at 303-467-2738.


The U.S. Small Business Administration has selected Craig Harvey, CIO and Executive Vice President of NVision Solutions, Inc., as the 2006 Mississippi Small Business Person of the Year. NVision Solutions is a member of Mississippi's Geospatial Technology Industry Cluster. The award recognizes hard work, innovative ideas, and dedication to community that make small businesses the engine that drives the U.S. economy. One outstanding entrepreneur is named to represent each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam as State Small Business Persons of the Year. Craig will be honored in Washington, D.C., in April during National Small Business Week.
     NVision Solutions Inc. is a small, woman- and minority-owned firm specializing in advanced geospatial solutions. It facilitates remote sensing services and application development, GIS services, and database development and integration of these technologies through the use of Web-enabled interfaces. Headquartered at the NASA Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi, NVision is a services company focused on bringing innovative applications to the market place. Since he helped found NVision Solutions nearly four years ago, Craig has built a thriving technology company without any venture capital and has grown the business from a 2-person, 100-square foot office to 3 regional offices and over 10 employees.


Intermap Technologies Corp. has established an automotive executive advisory board to guide and assist it in its efforts to support new markets and customers in the intelligent transportation systems (ITS) industry. Market interest in Intermap's 3D map data has been increasing for automotive applications. Improving advanced car navigation and related applications continues to be a worldwide focus. Moving from today's coarse 2D data to accurate 3D information will provide the automotive industry with more accurate, visually aesthetic, and effective automotive applications. Several automotive companies are expected to test Intermap's 3D road data for active safety applications.
     The members of the new ITS advisory board are Dave Acton, Richard Bishop, Joe Borruso, Craig Marks, Dave McLellan, and Joe Ziomek.
     Dave Acton is the vice president of global industry partnerships for Connexis and is the director of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America). Prior to joining Connexis, Mr. Acton was director of global telematics planning for General Motors and also served as chief vehicle engineer for OnStar.
     Richard Bishop, founder of Bishop Consulting, supports clients internationally in research and business development within the intelligent vehicles arena. He is the author of Intelligent Vehicle Technology and Trends and publisher of the Web site which covers intelligent vehicle developments. Mr. Bishop also chairs the International Task Force on Vehicle-Highway Automation.
     Joe Borruso was the president and CEO of Hella North America. He was responsible for business operations in North America and is currently a member of the management board. Prior to joining Hella, he was the executive vice president of sales for Bosch Automotive Group. Dr. Craig Marks is the former Chairman of Altarum, a non-profit scientific research and development organization engaged in advancing information technology, as well as a member of Intermap's board of directors. He received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the California Institute of Technology and worked for 37 years in engineering and technology development in the automotive industry.
     Dave McLellan is a retired executive from General Motors where he was the chief engineer for Corvette. Mr. McLellan is the author of Corvette from the Inside: The Development History as told by Dave McLellan, Corvette's Chief Engineer 1975-1992, which chronicles the 17 years during which he and his team made that history. He also currently serves as an automotive engineering consultant and is an active member of the Corvette community.
     Joe Ziomek spent 17 years with Ford Motor Company in advanced vehicle development and in the transportation electronics division of TRW. Mr. Ziomek has numerous industry affiliations, including chairman of the Convergence Education Foundation (CEF).

GIS Development has opened a subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur to serve the market of the South East Asia and Pacific (SEAPAC) region. Malaysia has been the spearhead of development in this region, with strong growth over the last decade. The country is also one of the leading nations working towards overall ICT development in South East Asia. The advancements made in geospatial technology and the growth being witnessed in its development and usage in Malaysian industry, government, and research gave rise to the need for an exclusive and dedicated forum for discussion.
     With more and more users of geospatial technologies in the region, there is a clear need to put forth a platform of exchange of tools and best practices. The opening of operations in Malaysia was a response to this need. The optimum location of Kuala Lumpur, with its sound infrastructure and connectivity to almost all the countries of the SEAPAC region, is an advantage that the new GIS Development office will tap.
     In light of this, GIS Development has launched two products specific to Malaysia and the region: Map Malaysia 2006, an annual Malaysian conference, and GIS Development Malaysia, a quarterly Malaysian GIS magazine. At a launch ceremony held on March 2 in Kuala Lumpur, about 75 members of the Malaysian geospatial community joined GIS Development staff to discuss and deliberate on the evolution of these platforms. The first edition of the magazine was released at the ceremony. Map Malaysia 2006, is the first annual national conference and exhibition on geospatial information technology and applications in Malaysia. The event, jointly organized by GIS Development and the Malaysian Centre for Geospatial Data Infrastructure (MaCGDI), will take place on May 3 - 4 in Kuala Lumpur.
     Map Malaysia will have participation from Malaysian geospatial companies, government agencies, user organizations, and academic institutions to facilitate the exchange of ideas and share knowledge and expertise in the field of geospatial technology. With its theme as 'Geospatial Information & Knowledge Economy,' the conference will highlight the importance of Geospatial technologies in enabling the building up of a Malaysian knowledge base that is further utilized for the country's economic development.
     GIS Development Malaysia will enable the Malaysian geospatial community to showcase their research and advancements and express their views.

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