GIS Monitor Mar 15, 2001


-New Mailing Lists for Newest Topics
-Advertising in Elevators
-MapInfo Plays With Microsoft SQL Server
-Location Based Services Privacy Issues Reaching the Public
-Lasoo – Take 2
-Points of Interest
-Week in Review
-Back Issues

This issue sponsored by:


This is a big week for new GIS discussion lists. Bill Huber has created two new mailing discussion lists for ESRI topics and Brian Boyle one for web mapping.

ArcGIS - The ArcGIS list is devoted to ArcGIS-related questions, answers and information. The list is not appropriate for advertisements and job postings. To join, send mail to [email protected] with the following command in the body of your email message:

subscribe arcgis

ArcVB - The ArcVB list is devoted to discussion about anything related to the VB (Visual Basic) and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) languages included with ESRI's ArcGIS products: problems, tips, experiences, questions, requests for help, news, general issues. It is intended for people already familiar with ArcGIS who are considering or actively engaged in using VB/VBA to extend ArcGIS functionality or develop new applications on top of ArcGIS. To join, send mail to [email protected] with the following command in the body of your email message:

subscribe arcvb

Both ArcGIS and ArcVB are mirrored at Directions Magazine,

Brian Boyle has begun a mailing list for web mapping. This list will be used as an educational resource for GIS Web Mapping issues for all software users. Mr. Boyle asks that participants keep their language clean and professional.

You can post to the list via [email protected] and subscribe or view archives at

These three lists, as well as the new metadata list at GeoComm, and online Smallworld discussions at the GE Smallworld site, suggest that GIS is mature enough to split its discussions by topic and product. Expect other focused discussions to appear in the coming months as users find closely matched peers.

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Coming soon to an elevator near you: flat panel display ads. And, just as the industry begins its possible ascent, the two leaders, Captivate Network, Inc. and Elevator News Network (ENN), are merging. The companies claim that together they will reach three to four million business-professionals every workday, delivering 150 million daily ad impressions. Captivate’s CEO claims that they will deliver “more business professionals to our advertising clients than the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Fortune combined.”

And, he’s probably right. Think about it. You are stuck in an elevator. Protocol dictates that you do not talk. The walls are bare and the lighting often limited. What better way to pass the minute-ish ride than watching bright branded news, weather and ads? Tenants give the service a 90% approval rating. Reports from those who have ridden elevators with the service point out that people do actually speak about the content in the elevator!

A few things are important about this trend. First, advertisers are looking for situations where audiences are captive (hence, perhaps, the name of Captivate Network). At home, watching TV, it’s easy to walk away from or mute commercials. In an elevator, there’s no chance to escape. Second, consider the audience: professionals who work or visit at The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center and The Empire State Building in New York City; The Sears Tower and The Aon Center in Chicago; The Prudential Tower in Boston; California Plaza in Los Angeles; The Embarcadero Center in San Francisco; Fountain Place in Dallas; and BCE Place and the TD Centre in Toronto. They are fine targets for advertisers like General Motors, Continental Airlines, Dunkin' Donuts, Sprint, Oracle, E-Trade, Microsoft, DaimlerChrysler, Pepsico and others. Third, the wired and wireless venues mean that “broadcasters” can easily change the content without setting foot in the buildings. And, as one elevator rider put it, if you are at work and see an interesting ad with a URL you can go key it in at your desk. I’m not sure employers will approve, but the advertisers will love it!

MapInfo Plays with Microsoft SQL Server

MapInfo announced recently that it was beginning a major initiative to support SQL Server 2000 (SS2000). One part is SS2000 support for SpatialWare; the other is support for geocoding in the database via a new version of MapMarker. And, of course, MapInfo Pro can use SS2000 as a data source. The MapInfo site highlights MapX 4.5.1 supporting SS, but I found no details. Until now SpatialWare ran on IBM DB2, and Informix.

I found this interesting. First off, I received the Press Release March 13, with a note from the MapInfo PR staff apologizing for the lateness of delivery as it hit the wire on February 26. Second, why is MapInfo porting SpatialWare to Microsoft’s low cost, 100% anti-Oracle, platform? MapInfo has been riding a warm fuzzy wave of positive publicity from Larry Ellison’s company for many months. Only a few weeks earlier, MapInfo proudly announced MiDirections going live on Oracle 8i Spatial.

Coincidentally, last week Larry Ellison and Oracle were accused in an insider trading scandal. Also, it looks very likely the US Department of Justice will reverse itself and repeal the breakup of Microsoft.


Once something hits the front page of the Sunday New York Times, you know the planet is paying attention. Last Sunday’s Times, alas below the fold, had an article on privacy concerns surrounding geographic tracking. I picked up Ecommerce, an actual print publication, only to read about LBS privacy issues in the editorial and in a short article. There I learned one twist I’d not run across: one of the first new bills filed in Congress would prohibit unsolicited wireless advertising without explicit permission from the user.

I also received a note from Jerome Dobson, long time writer for GeoWorld, among other accomplishments. He related the following rather scary story pondering the civil rights issues of GPS tracking of people:

“I view this [GPS tracking] as a civil rights issue affecting every human on earth, especially women. Last summer my wife and I took a cruise in the Aegean, starting with three nights in Istanbul. While we were there, a Turkish newspaper discussed a hot topic that illustrates the ultimate potential of GIS/GPS tracking systems. Under the Turkish Penal Code the penalty for murder is reduced by two-thirds if a family murders a female member who is accused by a father, brother, or husband of "disgracing" the family. Usually, an underage member is assigned to carry out the murder because he will receive an even lower sentence. The case that's attracted global women's rights groups is a 14-year-old girl, Sevda Gok, whose family held a council and voted to execute her. An underage nephew was assigned to kill her, and he did so by cutting her throat in the middle of a street. Worldwide women's groups are up in arms about it.”

“How did Sevda Gok disgrace her family? She went to a movie without permission. So, Turkey sounds like a good market for KinderFinder. Of course, positional accuracies being as they are, some girls may die for being next door to a movie or a sweetheart's home rather than in it.”

“This is a clear example that child surveillance is specifically a women's rights issue as well as a more general civil rights issue.”

We as a society need to think hard about liberties we hold dear. Just because we have technology that can track our children, brothers, sisters, employees and spouses, must we use it? Does it infringe on their sense of freedom? Where, when and how do we draw lines for the technology’s use within businesses, families, communities, cities and cultures?


I suppose this falls into the “No good deed ever goes unpunished” category. I managed last week to tell you about what I considered the best of the spatial web searches only to misspell the company’s URL. The corrected story appears below; I regret the error.

I’ve been less than pleased with most of the geographic search engines I’ve visited. But, now I have a keeper: LASOO first asks that you "Lasso" your area of interest. It then zooms in showing the center of your search so you can adjust it. You also get radius circles showing 200 km distances from that point.

Next you key in the search term. I "Lassoed" Boston, then searched on "kite." Up came 25 results on a list. As I passed the mouse over one of the dots on the map locating a hit, it was highlighted in the list. And, highlighting one on the list, lit up the dot on the map.

Another nice touch: the radius ring colors are matched to the list. Those hits in the inner yellow circle, within 100km on the map, are in a yellow backed part of the list. The hits in the blue ring (100-200 km) are in a blue backed part of the list. Clicking on an entry brings me NOT to the site, but to a quickly drawn detail map with address and phone, and web link if available. Map data are from GDT and NAVTECH and are very attractively and clearly drawn.

The site boasts over 25 million business listings in the Canada and the US, plus over 25,000 websites worldwide. LASOO was founded in September of 1999, and is a privately owned, Canadian-based company. The company licenses their proprietary technology to ISPs, portals, e-commerce m-commerce and private companies.


-Quova, pretty much the first company profiled in GIS Monitor, is doing fine. The company, which sells technology to provide the location of web surfers non-invasively, received $21 million in investments from VeriSign, Softbank and Fidelity.

-One of the most popular lists I’ve put together focuses on the GIS products used in managing cemeteries. A new twist: Forever Enterprises produces elaborate videos celebrating the lives of the deceased and has placed digital kiosks in its cemeteries providing touch-screen maps and an archive database, so visitors can look up bios of those buried in the gravesites. They also provide funeral webcasts.

-Some months ago I introduced GIS Monitor readers to geocaching, the GPS hide and seek game. Since then I’ve placed a few caches and found a few more. So far as I know the first official event will be held in Atlanta, to coincide with The MBNA Foxhall Cup National Championship equestrian competition at Foxhall Farm, 15 miles from Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, May 3-6. The winner takes home $5000.


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Adena Schutzberg
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