GIS MONITOR, March 14, 2002


- Cquay Jumps the Gun on Open GIS Compliance Announcement 

- Yahoo! Replaces MapQuest With In-house Mapping 

- Trimble Gets Serious About Location-based Services 

- The Latest on the Proposed Galileo GPS Constellation 

- MapInfo Offers Detailed Imagery 

- One More Site for Free SDTS DEMS


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


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Last Friday Cquay, a location-based service company based in Canada, announced the first demonstration of a location service platform compliant with an OpenGIS Specification called XLS v1.0.

I am not familiar with the XLS v1.0 specification. (The Open GIS Consortium (OGC), who manages the process for creating these specifications, is one of my clients.) There is a single mention of XLS on the OGC website where it is referred to it as one of several specifications in development as part of the OGC Open Location Services Initiative. An MIT research seminar from 2001 defines XLS as “XML for Location Services.” XLS is not currently listed among the eight currently approved OpenGIS Interoperability Specifications.

The OGC website makes it clear that “OGC distinguishes between products that claim to implement OpenGIS Specifications and products that have been tested conformant to the OpenGIS Specifications.” OGC uses the term conformant to describe software that has passed testing. “Compliant” has the same meaning as conformant.

I contacted Cquay to ask where the XLS specification was available, as approved OpenGIS specification are freely available to the public. I also asked about the nature of the demonstration, and if the software had been tested for conformance (compliance).

I received a response from CEO, Calvin McElroy. “XLS 1.0 is an internal OpenLS/OGC working document, and not a published interoperability specification at this point in time.” “The XLS 1.0 specification is currently available to members of OGC and participants in the OpenLS initiative.“

The demonstration, he noted, was “not a public or media demo, but an internal demonstration to the OpenLS membership.” Finally, there was no formal testing for compliance but he did note, “we have tested it internally for compliance with version 1.0 of the XLS spec.”

Cquay First in the World to Demonstrate OpenLS Services http://biz.Yahoo!.com/cnw/020307/cquay_openls_services_1.html 

MIT Research Seminar 

OpenGIS Interoperability Specifications 

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Yahoo!, a longtime user of MapQuest’s mapping services, recently rolled its own system built on data and technology from Navigation Technologies, Geographic Data Technology, Telcontar and Sagent Technology.

Was the decision based on continuing competition between the Yahoo! portal and AOL TimeWarner, the owner of MapQuest? A Yahoo! spokesperson denied such claims by industry watchers, saying Yahoo! wants more control of how maps are incorporated into its services. Yahoo! also noted that it had spent the second half of last year building the mapping service, one intended to look very much like MapQuest’s offering. In recent months Yahoo! has been reviewing all of its services, looking to squeeze out more revenue.

Yahoo! does not have plans at this time to begin charging for maps, since there are still so many free sites. However, there is discussion of enhancing the service to lure and keep users.

An AOL spokesperson confirmed that MapQuest's contract with Yahoo! was scheduled to expire in a few months.

Even though Yahoo! may have been one of MapQuest’s big name customers, CNET notes that Mapquest ought to do fine with its base of 1,400 licensed customers. Jupiter Media Metrix noted that in January Yahoo! Maps was the second most popular map site (11.2 million users) behind MapQuest.

Will this decision mean that other portals (large or small) may feel confident enough to build their own solutions and abandon services from MapQuest, Vicinity and the new kid on the block, Microsoft? The answer will have to do with cost. If it’s in fact cheaper to build and license technology and data to establish a service in house and if the component companies market that fact effectively, this practice may take off. Since this is, to my knowledge, the first defection by a major Web player to a homegrown solution, there is still much work to do in this arena.

I give Yahoo! credit for exploring some of the “other names” in GIS such as Telcontar and Sagent. Notice that ESRI, MapInfo and Autodesk are not part of the final solution. As for the “new” Yahoo! Maps, it looks quite a lot like MapQuest, and performed just fine in a quick geocoding and directions task I attempted.

Yahoo! Sends MapQuest Packing (CNET)  /cn/20020307/tc_cn/Yahoo!_sends_mapquest_packing

Yahoo! Stops Offering AOL Map Service (Reuters)  /nm/20020308/wr_nm/tech_Yahoo!_maps_dc_1

Yahoo! Launches New Maps Platform (Yahoo! press release) 

GDT Selected by Yahoo! for New Yahoo! Maps 

Telcontar Selected for New Yahoo! Maps 

Yahoo Boots MapQuest (Directions Magazine, Joe Francica) 



Trimble launched a new wireless location-based services (LBS) platform for companies with mobile assets, the Telvisant Mobile Resource Management (MRM) System. Trimble bought GridData last April to begin building this platform. Trimble is aiming the solution at four key verticals: mobile workforce management, heavy fleet management, telematics and security. Brian Siegel, manager of investor relations cited this as a significant distinguisher from Trimble’s competitors who provide horizontal solutions. He expects at least 75% compound annual growth rate (CAGR, the year over year growth rate) in this arena. Trimble Mobile Solutions, the group responsible for this technology, will report results separately beginning in the first quarter.

Trimble Mobile Solutions has been active over the last 11 months uniting technology and finding partners and resellers for the new solution. The technology, as explained by Siegel’s note, does not sound that revolutionary. A location-smart hardware device attached to an asset sends a signal back to the Telvisant platform. The data is gathered, sorted into report format, and finally made available, as a service (I’m guessing) to a company’s backend systems.

Trimble Launches Telvisant for Mobile Resource Management 



The still-up-the-air proposal for a European Union (EU) controlled satellite constellation for navigation received a blow from the US State Department last week. The Department argued that there was no need for the expense since the current US constellation would serve the world for the foreseeable future. A European Commission spokesperson responded that the EU is not fond of “monopolies” and that the EU indeed sees a compelling need for the program. The US has made it clear that if the program does go ahead, it hopes to ensure interoperability between the systems.

The project got a boost recently when Germany ended its longstanding opposition to funding the new satellite network. The hope is that other holdouts, notably Britain and the Netherlands, will follow suit.

The next meeting on Galileo is scheduled for March 26.

EU Rejects U.S. Criticism of Satellite Project!.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/  nm/20020308/tc_nm/space_eu_usa_dc_2



To build on its already successful data business, MapInfo this week announced MapInfo ImagePro aerial imagery for the US. Delivered in LizardTech’s MrSID format, the marketing material focuses on its use within MapInfo products, though it is clearly useful in any product that supports that format.

The imagery is packaged at the country level and will begin shipping Friday, March 15th. The imagery covers selected US counties and dates from 1999 to 2001. Delivery is available in three different resolutions: 3 meter, 1 meter and sub-meter. The imagery comes ready use, registered, rectified, mosaicked and color balanced.

I was surprised at the suddenness at which MapInfo was offering aerial imagery, since to date it had focused on vector data. Product information on the MapInfo website suggests that the imagery compliments MapInfo’s use in telecommunications and the new focus on Homeland Security. So, where did the imagery come from? MapInfo’s press relations person explained that MapInfo had partnered with a major aerial photography provider in the US, but did not note which one.

I also learned that updates are planned and that new areas of coverage are expected in the future. As for pricing, the available counties are grouped into 4 tiers, and each has three different prices for the three different resolutions. Further, there is separate server and single desktop licensing.

Some examples suggest ranges: For 1 meter ground resolution imagery, prices ranges from $3,500, with over 200 counties available at this price, to $17,500, depending upon the county selected. For 3 meter ground resolution imagery, prices range from $1,600 to $7,900. For sub-meter ground resolution imagery, prices range from $5,000 to $25,000.

MapInfo Introduces MapInfo ImagePro Image Data 

MapInfo ImagePro 



The USGS has partnered with a third company, Advanced Topographic Development and Images (ATDI), to distribute Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS) format digital elevation models (DEMs) over the Web. GIS Data Depot was the first one, MapMart the second, and ATDI, of Sterling, VA, is the latest.

ADTI has a unique interface: you key in latitude/longitude pairs to identify the file of interest. The site language is curious: “The cartographic data proposed here is in SDTS format. … ATDI proposes the complete package in ICS Map Server.“ The other disconcerting thing about the site is that every step of the way you are reminded that, to read the data, you need a converter and that ADTI offers one. In my opinion, this is more annoying that MapMart’s site, where other for-fee data is offered around the freebies.

I stand by my recent statement praising MapMart’s flexible search interface for data. I would still start there in my DEM search. MapMart’s site, among all of its other methods for finding the data of interest, supports lat/long in both decimal and degrees, minutes, seconds with a very clear interface.

USGS Partners with ATDI to Serve Geographic Data 



- I’ll be at GITA next week in Tampa; I hope to see some of you there. I was part of a segment on geocaching on National Public Radio’s environmental program, Living On Earth, last week. 

- BBK, Ltd., released an SVG (scalable vector graphics)-based, interactive mapping application for the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. I will continue to argue that this type of casual user application has no place asking users to download a plug in just to see a map. That said, SVG will soon be part of many browsers. 

- On Monday morning CellPoint distributed a pair of press releases from had me confused. Very early Monday morning (3:00 am according to my computer), I received a release explaining how the company was to eliminate all outstanding short-term debt. Although I do not exactly understand the explanation of how the company achieved this, I was confident that this was likely good news for the company and its investors. At 9:19 am I received another release from CellPoint explaining that trading in the stock had been halted. This release quoted the Communications Manager for the company: “The press release was distributed prematurely in error; trading will resume once the Company has approved the information for public release. We apologize for any inconvenience.” The company said trading would begin once the release was approved. 

- I read in a newslist post by GeoCommunity editor Glenn Letham that the GeoCommunity is no longer an ESRI Business Partner.

- About a year ago I reviewed the website and technology arguing that aligning non-geographic ideas to the continent of the same name did not make much sense for a world still working to understand and use maps. Apparently, investors think otherwise and have given the company $1.4 million in its latest round of funding. Systems was founded by XML (extensible markup language) co-inventor Tim Bray. 



- Announcements

Mississippi State University has announced that its Remote Sensing Technology Center will now oversee management of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station’s Advanced Spatial Technologies for Agriculture program.

ESRI Press announced the release of Mapping Census 2000: The Geography of U.S. Diversity by Cynthia A. Brewer and Trudy A. Suchan. I received a review copy last year. It’s very pretty.

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. announced that the company's U.S. subsidiary, EarthSat, has contracted with NASA's Earth Science Enterprise (ESE) for the production of land information data for the vast majority of the Earth's landmass.

MultiGen-Paradigm is offering RAPIDsite users the opportunity to upgrade to SiteBuilder 3D and a free copy of ModelBuilder 3D for $2,300. The offer runs until the end of May. 

Leica Geosystems’ GIS & Mapping Division announced its newest GPS/GIS products dealer in the United States, Midwest Architects & Engineers (A&E) Supply Inc., Richardson, Texas, USA.

The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. and the Personal Communications Industry Association, Alexandria, VA, today announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to advance the interoperability of geospatial information systems in wireless communications.

Tele Atlas North America, has updated the free samples of MultiNet USA 2001.2, the latest edition of MultiNet USA. The data are available for download at the Tele Atlas website. 

NovaLIS Technologies and CESI announced the formation of a strategic partnership to deliver comprehensive land information systems solutions to governmental agencies. The Town of Truro will use the company’s Land Development Office solution to provide a database management system to automate its land permitting process.

Clark Labs, developer of IDRISI, is hosting a survey asking for opinions and offering the chance to win a GPS receiver.

Intergraph announced a new international chapter program, GeoSpatial Users Community. The IGUC Netherlands Chapter was recently chartered as the first official chapter.

- Contracts

The First U.S. Army's Warfighter Exercise Division has selected ERDAS IMAGINE for terrain mapping. Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi), Ireland's national mapping agency, has signed the first purchase agreement for a GeoVault Data Manager from Leica Geosystems for the archiving, management and distribution of imagery and associated geospatial data. 

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. has been awarded a contract to enhance the GeoConnections Discovery Portal for Natural Resources Canada. 

The Power Commission of the City of Saint John (Saint John Energy), Saint John, New Brunswick, has selected ESRI's ArcGIS software as their enterprise GIS, and ESRI Canada for implementation and support.

The Capitol Region Council of Governments of Connecticut has hired Applied Geographics, Inc. to develop a methodology for generating and updating land use data for the 29 municipalities in the Capitol Region and to complete a pilot project covering two municipalities.

Resource GIS and Imaging Ltd. has been awarded a contract by Natural Resources Canada, the Centre for Topographic Information Sherbrooke, for provision of 100,000 square kilometers of highly accurate, five meter resolution satellite data.

WhereNet Corp., a wireless supply chain company, today announced that Meijer, Inc., a grocery and general merchandise retailer, deployed WhereNet’s real-time locating system technology at Meijer’s distribution complex in Tipp City, Ohio.

- Hires

Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping Division has announced the appointment of Scott Miller and Dr. Ludger Ullrich as Vice Presidents of Airborne Data Acquisition in charge of products from the recently acquired LH Systems subsidiary. 

Northrop Grumman Corporation's Information Technology (IT) sector announced that Jim O'Neill has been appointed president of its TASC business unit, effective March 18. He was most recently a vice president at Oracle.



Matt Dunbar of Kansas Applied Remote Sensing at the University of Kansas wrote to share some of that group’s work on mapping the results of war driving. War driving, as I mentioned in January, involves finding the coverage of wireless networks.

“I recently read a story posted in your Jan 10, 2002 edition entitled ‘War Driving: Tracking Wirless Networks.’ We thought you might be interested in the work we have been doing here at the University of Kansas. Essentially we have developed a method to visualize the data collected from 'war-driving' into fields of coverage for the wireless networks. You can view some of the work we have done and read about the process at:” 




Mar 13 - Hitachi Software Announces Release of Any*GIS V2.0 

The tool for sharing different GIS data includes new Market Management and Facility Management modules.


Mar 13 - Claritas Reshapes Site Evaluation Process 

The company announced iMODEL, a site and market assessment application that leverages Claritas' high-end site models into an integrated, easy-to-use system.


Mar 12 - ENVI Earns Top Rating From NIMA 2002 Evaluation http://biz.Yahoo!.com/bw/020311/112048_1.html 

ENVI software received scores of Most Favorable (the highest possible score) in every one of the 11 evaluation categories used by the NIMA Pathfinder Team.


Mar 12 - IDELIX Announces Partnership with Boeing Autometric 

The technology will be part of Autometric's Kork Digital Stereo Plotter and SoftPlotter products. IDELIX, I’ll suggest, is hoping to find more licensee in the GIS arena.


Mar 12 - US Remote Sensing Industry $2.4B and Growing 

The 2001 numbers reflect an actual growth rate of nearly 11% over 2000.


Mar 11 - Kivera Mappliance is First "LBS-in-a-box" Solution 

Kivera Mappliance is a software/hardware bundle of the Kivera Location Engine technology and nationwide NAVTECH map data. Kivera continues to target MapQuest customers by offering the opportunity to bring location services in-house. The idea of packaging data with the server will likely catch on, as it has in the desktop GIS market.


Mar 11 - Condat Provides Mobile Support for Geography Network 

Condat is providing a service to make Geography Network content available to a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) wireless device.


Mar 08 - OGC Demonstrates Interoperable Geoprocessing for Military 

Twelve adopted and candidate OpenGIS Interface Specifications were implemented in participants’ products.


Mar 08 - SICAD Technology Enables Digitally Signed Cadastral Map 

“The first official cadastral map with a legal digital signature is based on the SICAD geographical information system.” I’m not sure if that’s a first in Germany or in the world.


Mar 08 - Leica Geosystems Introduces New Support Program 

The Leica Advantage Program has three different support levels. I often wonder if the complexity of explaining and managing three levels has greater return than offering a single option at a price point roughly the average of the three.


Mar 07 - Leica Geosystems Launches IMAGIZER Suite 

The suite includes a data preparation tool (an add-on to ERDAS IMAGINE 8.5) and a viewer that can be cut to a CD along with imagery. The viewer reads data specially formatted from the prep tool, it also reads TIFF, IMG, MrSID.


Mar 07 - Kodak Citipix Now Available Through Geography Network 

Eastman Kodak Company joined ESRI's Geography Network as an image data provider. In case you missed it, Kodak Citipix imagery network was formerly Kodak Earth Imaging Products.


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