Education and Training
GIS Monitor - Archives
Products and Companies
Subscribe to GIS Newsletter Submit News

2005 March 18


Editor's Introduction
Recent Past Issues
Report on AutoCAD 2006
Serving Very Large Image Files
Briefly Noted

This issue sponsored by:

News Briefs, Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

If, for some reason you cannot read this document, visit:

Editor's Introduction

In this week's issue of GIS Monitor I report on a few positioning and navigation products exhibited at the March 14-16 CTIA WIRELESS 2005 trade show in New Orleans, Lousiana, and my predecessor, Adena Schutzberg, reports on AutoCAD 2006. I also report on a new way to serve very large images and bring you the usual round-up of industry news.

— Matteo

Recent Past Issues

Due to a technical glitch, some of you have not received the last few issues of GIS Monitor. I apologize! We have fixed the problem. (We have also fixed a related problem that a few of you reported with the subscribe/unsubscribe form). Please download from our
archive any issues you might have missed. Here are the highlights of the past four issues:

February 17

  • how I came to be the new editor of GIS Monitor
  • half a dozen questions about GIS

February 24
  • highlights of the 2005 GeoTec Event conference
  • a report on the University of Oregon's InfoGraphics Lab
  • two letters, one of which very provocative

March 3
  • a GIS "wish list," based on interviews with two dozen GIS managers and technicians
  • two strong responses to the provocative letter in the previous issue
  • news of various conferences

March 11
  • highlights of the ASPRS 2005 Annual Meeting
  • another interesting letter

Plus, of course, in every issue, my round-up of industry news and more!


More than 30,000 people attended the CTIA WIRELESS 2005 trade show this week in New Orleans, Louisiana. The show focused on trends in the wireless industry, on the future of mobile communications, and on mobile lifestyles. Carriers, having invested heavily in infrastructure, are now focusing equally heavily on how to attract more users and generate more revenues by offering more services and applications. Location-based services (LBS) are a very big component of this effort and a large percentage of the new offerings at the show contained some geospatial component. (For about five years now I've been joking that LBS are "just over the horizon - which is that imaginary line that recedes as you approach it." Perhaps I will soon have to retire that joke!)

I spoke to six vendors whose offerings at the show are relevant to GIS: TruePosition, MapInfo, NAVIGON, gate5, Spirent Communications, and TomTom. They all made the announcements or launches I describe at, or in connection with, CTIA WIRELESS 2005.


Today, more than 50 percent of all emergency services (911) calls are made from mobile devices and the U.S. Federal Communication Commission's 'E-911' mandate stipulates that network operators must be able to precisely locate their subscribers when they make such calls. In turn, this requirement has been a driver behind the development of LBS.

TruePosition — a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation that provides wireless location technologies and solutions — announced a series of milestones in the roll-out of its wireless location infrastructure in the United States. Currently, according to the company, its location technology enables more than 2,000 Public Safety Answer Points (PSAPs), covering more than 150 million people. TruePosition has developed E-911 for GSM operators across the country and currently provides location technology for all of the national GSM operators. With its introduction of a solution optimized for smaller wireless operators, the company has also made inroads among the Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators.

TruePosition recently launched TrueNorth Managed Location Services (MLS), which combines a variety of location technologies as well as the services that help bring new customers, revenues, and service activation. TrueNorth MLS also supports the commercial and public safety needs of wireless operators. Jason Angelides, TruePosition's Director of Marketing Global Services, told me that, at the show, True Position focused on the introduction of this offering.

Additionally, the company highlighted its continuing expansion of 911 services in the United States, including the installation of more than 35,000 location units handling more than 500,000 911 calls per month.

According to Angelides, his company targets three audiences: wireless carriers, consumers, and enterprises. To the carriers, True Position offers a way to provide LBS to their customers; to consumers, it offers a suite of new location-based services, including turn-by-turn navigation and tracking of children, the elderly, and assets; and to enterprises, it offers the same, plus fleet tracking and workforce management. Additionally, it offers personal security services, which are relevant to both consumers and enterprises.

"The issue with the industry," Angelides told me, "is that it is very segmented. Implementing LBS requires position equipment, middleware (to handle privacy, billing, etc.), location processing capability, and location calculation servers - as well as the applications themselves and the services and support (marketing, engineering, and network management)." True Position, he claimed, "offers all that capability, in a flexible package."


MapInfo — a provider of location intelligence solutions based in Troy, NY — showcased its MapX Mobile 5.0 mapping application for Microsoft Windows Pocket PC software developers. The application supports the latest handheld devices and standard development languages, such as Embedded C++ and Microsoft .NET. Data created using this new version of MapX Mobile can be displayed with the MapXtreme 2004 application, MapInfo's location-based development environment built on Microsoft .NET. MapX Mobile also provides support for ECW imagery format, thematic mapping, and object creation and processing.

Chris Cherry, MapInfo's strategic industry manager for communications, told me: "As opposed to past years when people spoke more in pie-in-the-sky terms, this year our conversations were much more based in reality. Customers across the board were talking about deployments in the next 12 months. In addition, there was a lot of operator interest in the expanded use of demographic data, for everything from engineering network expansion to marketing new services."

When I inquired about the company's target audience for MapX Mobile, Moshe Binyamin, senior product manager, explained: "We are looking for developers that are interested in building map-centric or map-enabled mobile applications and solutions. This includes individuals as well as partners and system integrators that are looking for a feature-rich, fully programmable mapping engine for the Pocket PC environment. The enhancements made in this release will benefit both the end user as well as the developer working with MapX Mobile."

"The exciting part," Binyamin added, "is that we leveraged all the improvements in the operating system, Microsoft 4.0, so that our software is now much more responsive to the environment and supports all the latest devices. It can support both the X-scale and the ARM instruction sets used by the most popular devices. Our product now provides better exception handling support for developers, as well as standard template libraries. It supports large format aerial imagery (ECW) and makes it practical to load very large image files."


NAVIGON GmbH, a European provider of GPS navigation and driver assistance systems, announced at the show its latest software solution, MobileNavigator|5 (MN|5) for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). NAVIGON demonstrated its MN|5 software with partner NAVTEQ, at a booth they shared in the "partners pavilion."

The MN|5 software is available with maps for North America, 27 European countries, and six Gulf States. NAVIGON is working with BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, and Continental, to bring new navigation systems to market. According to the company, it can tailor specific navigation software solutions for enterprises active in haulage, provisions, waste disposal, and personal transport industries, as well as for technical and commercial field service, software houses, and systems integrators. Its software can be integrated into existing systems such as tour planning, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning or existing software environments. The individually adjustable navigation solutions NCK 4.0 (NAVIGON Configuration Kit) and NIK 4.0 (NAVIGON Integration Kit) are supplemented by the software components POI (Point of Interest) Finder, POI Importer, and TourManager.

Edgar Christen, general manager of NAVIGON, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of NAVIGON GmbH, told me: "The show was good for Navigon. We did not have too much booth traffic, but we had good quality conversations. We sell our products through OEM partners and CTIA was a great opportunity for NAVIGON to showcase its products in the United States." When I asked him about the most interesting new features of his product, he pointed to its two modes of operation — easy and professional, "which allows the end user an easy start with our navigation software and offers a wide range of functionality upon request."

"MobileNavigator|5," Christen added, "is the only navigation system that accepts voice inputs: to recall a location you only need to say its name. Our software also displays speed information and gives an acoustic signal when the driver exceeds the speed limit. With the introduction of signpost information, traffic signs displayed on interstates are reflected on the navigation screen, so that the driver can easily find the right lane in complex interstate environments."

I asked Christen how his company is structured. "We have three divisions," he told me: "mobility, automotive, and corporate. Mobility, which is responsible for the largest revenue share, makes complete navigation solutions for OEMs and for all Microsoft platforms — from smart phones to PDAs to PNAs (personal navigation assistants: these are dedicated devices without such features as a calendar or an address book). The automotive division makes products such as software for adaptive headlights that analyzes vectors and digital maps and passes this information to a car's computer, which turns the headlights to face the road ahead. This is not in response to the driver turning the wheel but on the basis of the map stored in the device and the vehicle's GPS-determined position. Our corporate division integrates all of our technology into existing enterprise solutions, such as GIS or fleet management applications. For example, utility companies buy our system to help navigate their crews to utilities on and off road."

Finally, as to why Navigon chose to have a presence at the show, Christen told me, "While we shared a booth with NAVTEQ in their partners pavilion, our main purpose was to strengthen our partnerships with existing customers, find new potential OEM partners, and talk with phone manufacturers and network operators about our latest off board solution, which operates in a client-server environment."


At the show, gate5, a subsidiary of Berlin-based gate5 AG, announced the launch of its U.S. operations and of its debut product, smart2go Mobile Navigator for smartphones and PDAs. Developed in partnership with Socket Communications, smart2go incorporates Socket's GPS receiver with Bluetooth wireless technology, and Tele Atlas' North American digital map database. The device, which works both inside and outside of a vehicle, gives the user both voice and graphical directions on maps from Tele Atlas of the 48 contiguous United States, plus Canada. It can be used with or without GPS. The smart2go product bundle includes: navigation software that runs on smartphones and PDAs; CD-ROMs containing maps of the U.S.A. and Canada, as well as city guides, hotel, and restaurant reviews; Socket Communications' GPS receiver with Bluetooth Wireless Technology; and a memory card reader to facilitate transfer of data to a smartphone or PDA. gate5 and Socket will commence distribution of the smart2go Mobile Navigator on April 30.

David Rolf, Managing Director for gate5, told me that smart2go was received "extremely well" at the show and added "We were honored by Laptop magazine and MobileFocus with the Best New Mobile/Remote Software award. The buzz around location, mapping, and navigation confirms what we are seeing in Europe, which is that this is a real market ready for widespread adoption. Device manufacturers, carriers, and retailers see the demand from the market, and recognize that smart2go demonstrates the capability of devices — and increases the affinity that customers have with their smartphone and their carrier."

When I asked Rolf about the product's ROI (return on investment), he said "Integration of SMS and direct-dial capabilities provide revenue opportunities for carriers, and smartphone/PDA manufacturers have another reason why customers will benefit from investing in their smart2go-capable products."

Finally, as to why gate5 chose this show to launch the product, Rolf told me that it was because "it is the premier wireless showcase in the United States, and all the key manufacturers, carriers, and partners were there."


Spirent Communications — a global provider of integrated performance analysis and service assurance systems based in Rockville, Maryland — launched its position location test system (PLTS) three and a half years ago to assist handset manufacturers and carriers in meeting the requirements of Phase II of the Federal Communications Commission's E-911 mandate. Mike Keeley, the company's CDMA Market Segment Manager for Wireless Test Solutions, explained to me that PLTS emulates the environment that a location-capable device will encounter — including a CDMA network, satellites, and a position-determination entity (PDE). The system also verifies the ability of mobile handsets to compute their position. The PLTS can evaluate performance of four different modes: Assisted GPS (A-GPS), Advanced Forward Link Trilateration (AFLT), Hybrid (AFLT and A-GPS), or GPS only. "We validate the performance of the mobile as well as the device's ability to accurately exchange signaling with the PDE on the network," Keeley told me.

"PLTS combines instruments and software that emulate the location services environment. AirAccess C2K is our CDMA network emulator and GSS5060 is our satellite emulator, which can emulate up to 12 GPS channels. PLTS also contains a PDE emulator, which provides the computation for converting pseudoranges to lat-long. TASKIT/PLTS is automation software that controls, configures, and implements the TIA-916 Performance Characterization test plan (which specifies minimum performance standards). The software also schedules and runs tests, collects and analyzes results, gives a pass/fail performance value, and reports on the test results." Given that this product has been on the market for a few years, I asked Keeley what their angle was at this show. "The carriers and the handset manufacturers," he explained, "have made large investments to ensure their compliance with emergency location service requirements. Now they want to start to recoup, by implementing commercial LBS. The advent of user plane technology, TCP/IP instead of data bursts, is what will make commercial LBS a viable service. TCP/IP can deliver multimedia content based on location. Our PLTS solution has added a user-plane option to test TCP/IP functionality within location-capable handsets. Once you've evolved to TCP/IP, the next step is EV-DO, which offers faster transmission of multimedia rich location-based content."

At the show, Spirent demonstrated the new user-plane option using the TASKIT/PLTS software. "Customer response to this announcement was enthusiastic," Keeley told me, because the PLTS system has been the one and only testing solution available for location services verification and has been globally accepted by both carriers and handset manufacturers."


TomTom, a navigation solutions provider, announced at the show two new additions to its line of TomTom GO navigation devices — the TomTom GO 700 and the TomTom GO 300. The TomTom GO 700 is equipped with voice communication capabilities that enable it to be used as a hands-free kit for Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, allowing the driver to take and make calls while also navigating. The GO provides a bigger screen and clearer UI (User Interface) than is found on mobile phones and other hands-free kits. The TomTom GO 700's hard disk comes pre-installed with street-level maps for the United States and Canada and gives turn-by-turn spoken and on-screen instructions. The built-in Bluetooth receiver that enables hands-free calling also allows users to access TomTom PLUS services - including weather and traffic information.

The TomTom GO 300 is a cheaper version. It comes with a 1 GB removable SD card with a map of the continental United States preloaded. Maps of Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and U.S. territories are provided on a separate CD. The GO 300 also allows access to TomTom PLUS services via its Bluetooth receiver. Both products offer itinerary planning and routing calculation options (including fastest route, shortest route, and avoid toll roads) and will be available from major retailers in mid April. I asked Jocelyn Vigreux, TomTom's president, why his company chose to release these products at this show. He told me that it was because they are on the same schedule as their European parent company, TomTom BV, Europe's largest developer of software for handheld and mobile devices. TomTom BV exhibits every year at the CeBIT trade show in Germany, which coincides roughly with the CTIA show.

According to Vigreux, his company has "resolved some of the nagging issues" that have been slowing down the development of LBS. "First," he told me, "we are bringing to market devices with contiguous maps of the whole United States. Nobody needs to mess around with PCs and connections anymore. Second, we are also bringing connected products: the GO 300 and the GO 700 will both have BlueTooth receivers, allowing them to download dynamic data, such as traffic and weather, and to exchange itineraries."

I asked Vigreux about the reaction to his company's exhibits, at CeBIT and at CITA: "The reception was fantastic on both sides of the Ocean," he told me.

Report on AutoCAD 2006

Adena Schutzberg attended several press meetings on the latest Autodesk product releases at Autodesk University last December. This is her report.


It's November 29 as I write this, but you'll be reading it after March 15, 2005. That's the nature of non-disclosures. We had a briefing on AutoCAD 2006 today. Scott Bourdin, Chief Technology Officer, noted three trends:

  • Productivity software is hot — that means a new life for AutoCAD. In particular, Bourdin indicated that products that offer rapid returns are hot. They are in contrast to solutions that are expensive and difficult to deploy.
  • Model-based design is in — that means people are moving to 3D and models. The analogy, a good one, pointed to spreadsheets: when data in a spreadsheet changes, the charts, graphs, and figures are automatically updated. That's the benefit of models.
  • Lifecycle Management is hot — in other words, there is benefit in communicating through the process (be it a mapping, design, architectural, mechanical, or other process).

Boudin also shared some interesting statistics:

  • Users use AutoCAD on average 24 hours of every 40 hour workweek. That meshes with what my product manager boss told me in 1992, that AutoCAD was an operating system for most users. It still is!
  • As of this month there have been five million downloads of the DWF Viewer. A new one is downloaded every six seconds.
  • Buzzsaw sales are up year over year with 100,000 paying customers. (I know of perhaps one in GIS — mentioned by a GIS consultant.)
  • Sales of 3D products are up 50 percent. That's an odd stat as the upgrade path in GIS is from Map to Map3D. I'm not sure that really counts as a move to 3D. Manufacturing folks have some 20 percent using 3D; percentages are lower in building and infrastructure.
  • Architectural Desktop sales are up 70 percent over last year; Revit sales are up 300 percent.

New AutoCAD

Autodesk issues a new release each year. That means that each year there is a new "obit" — that is, an old version that is no longer supported and is no longer easily and cheaply updateable. AutoCAD 2006 will be the 20th release of the product. While the past two rated a 8/10 from one product person, this one, says John Sanders, VP of Platform Technology Division, is a 10/10.

Autodesk continues to split functionality into drafting, publishing, presentation and visualization, workflow, and customization. AutoCAD LT has much in the way of the first three, less of the latter. While Sanders didn't classify this year's new AutoCAD features, I put them in drafting and workflow, mostly. This release tackles five key issues:

Migration challenges. Simply moving from an existing release to a new one is still too hard. To address this, menus, toolbars, user settings and other custom features will automatically be brought into a new release. Between 80 and 90 percent of users have somehow customized their implementation.

Heads Up Design. AutoCAD has a command line. Users are constantly looking from the area of design, down at the command line and back. (Think of subtitles in a foreign film and you get the idea.) New features put the feedback that's typically in the command line right at the cursor. I vaguely recall something like this in VDraft, a low-CAD product from some years ago and, if memory serves me right, it's a big part of MicroStation.

Hatch. Hatching - that is, putting a pattern in an area - has always been hard in AutoCAD, though it's improved in recent releases. In 2006 hatching gets even smarter with tools to position it, modify it, and calculate the area hatched. And, of course, the calculations are updated as the hatch is edited.

Block Data. Blocks can have attributes in AutoCAD. It's the simplest and perhaps still the most widely used method to put simple "database info" into a drawing entity. In AutoCAD 2005, it was possible to create a table for the data, but not fill it. Now, in 2006, the values can be captured from blocks and put in a table. Moreover, calculations can be made on the values. That is, it's possible, for example, to count how many light fixtures of a certain type you have in a drawing, put cost in a second column, and then calculate the total cost for each type and the total overall cost. And, of course, when a new fixture is added, the table can be updated.

Dynamic Blocks. Dynamic blocks are just smarter than old blocks. They have basic properties with "constraints." So, input a block that's a conference table. Stretch it and the table gets longer, but only in increments deemed "OK." As it stretches, additional chairs can be added too. The idea is to use one block to represent many instances of itself. In terms of mapping, I can think of fences and other linear symbols being good candidates on which to use this feature.

Collaboration Services

I had hoped to hear all about the new version of Composer and DWF Viewer; instead, I heard yet again about how collaboration is so important. Composer, by the way, is the second-highest selling product by units, after AutoCAD LT. I confess to finding that hard to believe, but perhaps I don't travel in the right circles to see evidence of this fact. The new versions of the pair will have better printing, the ability to add custom symbols/stamps, enhanced markup, and the ability to include digital camera images. There'll also be roundtrip markup support for Revit. Buzzsaw, the giant Autodesk-hosted, file server, provided one customer with a 513 percent return. The cost of the implementation? Two billion dollars.


Chris Bradshaw, VP of the Infrastructure Solutions Division, had pretty much one thing to say: that it was time to move from the "old way" of data sharing to the "new way." The "old way" is all the boxes in an organization having their own data and sharing it with all the other ones. Updates are typically handled "manually." The "new way" involves a "central and open" datastore with all the spatial data. Updates are done once and automatically published to all. "It's a data sharing/data management problem really," he noted.

The biggest cost involved in the transition, he said, is not technological, but process focused. Said another way, it's about changing how people work. While Bradshaw noted that Autodesk needed to help his customers make that people transition, he didn't indicate exactly what the company is doing. He also noted that Autodesk is not in the central database storage business; instead, the company partners with Oracle and is considering working with IBM and perhaps someday Microsoft, should it introduce a spatial solution for SQL*Server.

He shared some interesting market research, though I'm not sure exactly why. ILM (infrastructure lifecycle management in Autodesk speak) means little to the market. But the concept of it — that is, keeping track of data on infrastructure from design, build through maintenance — did resonate. Users are very savvy about the need for CAD/GIS integration. "Everyone has a work around," the company learned. Finally, the company learned from surveys that the Autodesk brand is considered one that can successfully tackle CAD/GIS integration.

Simon Timmons of Thames Water explained its Oracle-based solution and Bradshaw reviewed one from Terrell, Texas. Terrell is home to 15,000 people and used the Autodesk Public Safety solution, with an embedded five-seat Oracle license included.

While Civil3D, Map3D, Composer, and Oracle were mentioned, MapGuide, Envision, Autodesk Geographic Design Server, and others seem to be "off the map."

Serving Very Large Image Files

Last week, at the ASPRS meeting in Baltimore, I spoke with Peter Becker, the Technical Director of Prompt Geosolutions, based in Munich, Germany.

Using a very large Landsat image file stored on a small server, Becker demonstrated to me some of the capabilities of his company's PromptServer and described it as "a very unique product that totally changes the way geospatial imagery is managed, processed, and distributed." He pointed out that "The 15 meter resolution data sets in which you zoomed from the whole world to your old school was not a pre-generated image. As a single RGB image it would in theory be about 15TB in size! Even if compressed by a factor of 30, which is considerably 'lossy', it would still be about 500GB in size. With most technologies, having the image in different band combinations would further increase the data volumes by factors."

The imagery Becker showed me was actually created on-the-fly from a catalog of 8,500 individual 8-band Landsat scenes stored on the server as standard TIF files, with only the meta data and processing parameters stored in a database. On zooming or panning to any area, within seconds the PromptServer extracted the required scenes and bands, radiometrically enhanced the images, transformed them to the Mercator projection, and mosaiced them to a seamless data set. "When zooming beyond 30 meter resolution," Becker explained, "the data was further pan-sharpened on-the-fly. Adding or changing images in a catalog is a matter of a few minutes of administration — as opposed to the thousands of hours it would take to re-process such a huge data set."

I asked Becker how imagery is different from other GIS data. It differs in three ways, he told me:

  • First, the data volumes are many magnitudes larger then equivalent vector data sets. "The way we store and handle imagery should therefore be very different from how we store vector data."
  • Second, imagery quickly changes in value. "It rapidly de-values and then over time increases in value as it is used for change detection. To maximize value, the data must be accessible quickly and by many users."
  • Third, the raw data never changes. Only the georeferencing and the enhancement change.
"On-the-fly generation here has many advantages," Becker told me. "PromptServer was engineered after very careful analysis of the many issues raised from acquiring, processing, distributing, and plotting of huge sets of imagery. We developed PromptServer as an image processing server that enables image data to be stored in either its raw or pre-processed form and then makes it accessible directly in all standard CAD/GIS applications or over the internet using OGC WMS."

According to Becker, PromptServer provides graded data access by which georeferenced imagery is made available to users as soon as it is available in digital form. Initially data can be provided with a low grade, georeferenced with available data. As better radiometric and geometric parameters become available the grade of the imagery increases.

One key difference between PromptServer and other systems, Becker explained to me, is that for high resolution aerial imagery, generally the information available in the overlapping imagery is thrown away in the creation of a mosaic ("Yet people talk about the problems of image occlusion," he noted). The PromptServer's View Point feature, on the other hand, resolves this problem without the costly process of creating true orthos: where overlapping images are available, the view point of the imagery can be quickly flipped, enabling the user to see not only the base of the buildings, but also their sides. "This provides important information for a whole range of applications, such as utility management and security services," Becker told me. He then clicked on the image and, with successive flicks of his wrist, "flipped" the image so as to display each of the four sides of a building. If I were a fire fighter or a police officer and needed to know the number and location of doors and windows, I would find this feature very useful!

When I asked Becker about image compression on a server, he told me that "it is not the full answer to any real issues. Geospatial imagery cannot be substantially compressed without artifacts becoming noticeable, either to the human eye or to computer analysis applications." PromptServer takes a different approach: "Data storage is cheap and network bandwidth limitations are best handled by the server compressing the imagery on demand while serving the imagery, thus enabling the user to select the magnitude of compression and data loss. Data storage requirements are much better resolved by keeping only one data set on the servers — preferably the raw data — and generating the multiple products on-the-fly, instead of storing multiple, partially redundant data sets."

Briefly Noted

Tim Gnatek, in a piece titled
"Search Engines Build a Better Mousetrap" published in the Circuits section of the New York Times on March 10, wrote:

Microsoft's updated MSN Search tries to make searching easier by complementing Boolean terms like "and," "or" and "not" with slide controls (under "results ranking" in Search Builder) that can be adjusted to determine how broadly or narrowly to search. In addition, a "NearMe" button can return results based on proximity to your location; the company says about a quarter of all searches make reference to geographic information.

News Briefs

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


TomTom, a navigation solutions provider, has launched TomTom RIDER, designed specifically for drivers of motorcycles and scooters. The unit has the same features as the company's line of TomTom GO car navigation devices, including street level maps for the United States, choice of preferred route type, itinerary planning, turn-by-turn voice instructions, real-time access to traffic and weather information via wireless Bluetooth technology, and hands-free calling. The unit is "plug and go" and comes in a weather-proof case that can be attached to any motorcycle or scooter and is removable. TomTom RIDER features a touch screen that can be operated while wearing gloves, as well as an anti-glare screen and integrated sun-visor. It will be available this summer.

RF Micro Devices, Inc., a provider of proprietary radio frequency integrated circuits (RFICs) for wireless communications applications, has begun shipping the RF8900, its sole-source "converged" Bluetooth/GPS solution. Compared to competitive solutions, it enables a 20 percent reduction in size and a 25 percent reduction in cost.
    RFMD's RF8900 is the enabling technology for "puck-style" devices that transmit location information wirelessly, enabling LBS to be received by any handheld device with Bluetooth technology and associated mapping software. The device includes a host processor that performs both the GPS navigation and Bluetooth communication functions and all system integration functions customized for high-volume applications. It is designed to interface with Bluetooth-enabled PDAs, cell phones and personal computers.

ESRI's ArcGIS 9 Military Analyst is now available. The extension maximizes the use of the standard suite of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) data products by allowing direct use and rendering of NGA's vector and raster products, line of sight assessments, Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) conversion, and Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) analysis. This extension also includes the Military Overlay Editor (MOLE), which supports MIL-STD 2525B and custom war fighting symbologies. In addition, MOLE includes a complete ArcObjects software-based application program interface for using MOLE with ArcGIS custom applications built with ArcGIS Engine.
    New tools in ArcGIS Military Analyst include a geodesy calculator, which allows users to specify two coordinates and generate a great circle route, a rhumb line, or a geodesic route and to calculate bearing and distance and the end coordinate; a geodesy tool, which allows users to create great circles and rhumb lines interactively; a range ring tool, which allows users to create geodetically correct concentric ellipses at user-specified intervals anywhere on the globe; and a batch coordinate converter, which converts coordinates in a feature class, shapefile, or .dbf table. The batch coordinate converter can use the feature geometry or other fields to generate corresponding DD, DMS, UTM, and MGRS coordinates in the table.

Leica Geosystems has unveiled a new series of automatic self-leveling construction lasers for precise grade control in level, single, or dual slopes. The Rugby 300 single-grade laser and Rugby 400 dual-grade laser are designed to be used in a wide range of applications, including building pads, parking lots, and runways, precise depth control for sub base and fine grade excavation, installing septic and gravity flow pipe for drainage, concrete forming and framework, retention ponds, and setting foundations and footings. They are fully compatible with Leica Geosystems machine control systems, including the MC200 for excavators, MC1200 for motor graders, and control systems based on Leica CAB laser sensors for dozers, scrapers, box blades, and similar equipment.


Varion Systems, the software development and value-added reseller division of GeoAnalytics, Inc., has completed the implementation for the City of Hamilton, Ohio of Cityworks — a GIS-based maintenance management system from Azteca Systems. The project objectives included implementing Cityworks throughout ten departments to manage their electric, gas, sewer, storm water, and water utilities. Using ESRI's ArcGIS 8.3 technology and ArcSDE in conjunction with Oracle and Citrix, the City now has a centralized system to manage all aspects of their departmental assets.
    Varion Systems provided full implementation services throughout the project including requirements collection, installation of Cityworks for ArcGIS, configuration of service requests, integration to utility billing for automatic service request creation, implementation of standard reports, on-site training and coaching, as well as coordination of Geodatabase design services with Miner & Miner regarding the City's sanitary and storm sewer, water, electric and gas utilities.

Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) now deploys ESRI's ArcIMS 9 and ArcSDE software for an Internet GIS portal. The application was developed by GeoDecisions, a GIS/information technology consulting firm based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The GIS portal, known as the Information Network For Online Resource Mapping (INFORM), was first deployed in 2004; version 2.0 of the application is currently in development and scheduled for delivery next month.
    Prior to the application, data was maintained in several locations; DelDOT employees needed to have GIS software located on their desktops to access spatial data and create maps or needed to contact DelDOT's GIS group to request data or maps. With INFORM, data is maintained and accessible from one centralized location; data redundancies are eliminated; the most accurate, up-to-date data is available to anyone who needs it; and map production is available online using standard map templates.

Trimble, has deployed ESRI ArcWeb Services to supply mapping and geographic data for its Trimble Outdoors software applications for PCs and GPS-enabled mobile phones. The Trimble Outdoors service is a trip planning, photomarking, and location-based blogging application that serves the outdoor enthusiast community. Trimble Outdoors leverages embedded GPS navigation and digital camera mobile phone features and combines the benefits of topographic, street, and aerial maps and trip planning software covering the United States.

Laurens Electric Cooperative (LEC), a member-owned rural electric cooperative in upstate South Carolina, now deploys a customized ESRI ArcPad GIS software solution for several mobile GIS applications, resulting in increased productivity and operational efficiency; improved data collection, maintenance, and accuracy; and reduced costs.
    The ArcPad mobile GIS applications supplant previous paper map books and manual data collection efforts. Field crews can now use the most up-to-date and accurate service data available while in the field. This reduces dispatch radio traffic and provides the ability to capture data in the field and upload it to the enterprise GIS architecture.
    MESA Solutions customized ArcPad to meet user-defined requirements. Known as Field Viewer, the application is now deployed on Compaq 7010 HP laptops for data collection and map viewing. Weekly, LEC's field crews plug their laptops into the network and in minutes download data updates of the entire service area automatically from the enterprise GIS database. Based on the success of this ArcPad extension, a new application, the Inspection tool, is now being deployed for QA/QC of evolving data, including pole attachments, yard lights, and others.

Serco Integrated Transport, based in Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom, a developer of intelligent traffic management systems, has selected Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions' transportation solutions to develop a new Web portal, called Electronic Service Delivery for Abnormal Loads (ESDAL), for the Highways Agency in Great Britain. The ESDAL will be a one-stop, Web-based portal for assisted route planning and automated notification of the movement of abnormal loads.
    Several hundred thousand abnormal loads are transported on UK highways each year. The ESDAL will automate and simplify the previous manual process of planning and notification of abnormal load movements among multiple agencies and organizations.
    Intergraph's GeoMedia WebMap technology will enable haulers to simply draw routes directly onto a map. The routes drawn will then be used to drive other processes such as automatically identifying the organizations that need to be notified. NAVTEQ will provide the underlying digital mapping on top of which haulers sketch their routes. The system will use NAVTEQ data to convert the lines of sketched routes into a list of real-world road segments, which can then be used in ESDAL's automated processes.

Sanborn, a provider of GIS and photogrammetric services, has combined technical services with American Forests, the nation's oldest nonprofit citizens' conservation organization, to jointly market Urban Ecosystem Analysis (UEA). This technique creates an accurate map of a community's land cover, calculates the value of the work performed by trees and other green infrastructure, and provides community leaders with decision support material and software tools for using the data to support future projects. The partnership between the two organizations allows the two organizations to fulfill the growing need for a unique technical service that unlocks the potential of a community's natural capital (trees and other green infrastructure) as non-structural stormwater management devices and as air and water quality resources.

Lucent Technologies has signed an agreement with Telcontar to collaborate on fully integrated LBS for mobile operators. Lucent Worldwide Services (LWS) will integrate key components of Lucent's advanced IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution with Telcontar's Drill Down Server (DDS) for creating location-based services, which Lucent will then market to mobile network operators.
    Telcontar, which powers such mapping and local search services as Yahoo!, Google, Ask Jeeves, Rand McNally, Motorola VIAMOTO, and Hutchison 3G wireless, will complement Lucent's LBS services, based on the Drill Down Server geo-spatial software platform.
    Lucent will also collaborate on the introduction of LBS applications using Telcontar's Drill Down Server, which complements Lucent's iLocator and MiLife Intelligent Services Gateway (ISG) platforms. These applications include interactive maps and directions, as well as GPS services such as navigation, fleet tracking, points of interest information, and family finder services.

Telewest, a broadband communications company based in Woking, United Kingdom, has completed migration of 12 million network asset features from disparate legacy systems into a new corporate data warehouse, which was developed using Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions' AM/FM/GIS solutions for communications companies.
    The newly consolidated database provides engineers nationwide with a consistent system for network documentation and maintenance. The system enables enterprise-wide access to network information for business tasks such as preparing commercial bids for national telecom projects.
    Telewest currently markets to 4.7 million homes and provides multiple services, including multi-channel television, telephone and Internet to 1.75 million residential customers throughout the UK. With up-to-date asset information available throughout the enterprise, Telewest expects to reduce costs and response times and improve decision support and mitigate risk, thus increasing market competitiveness.
    To document the network infrastructure as it was being built during rapid growth, Telewest maintained separate databases for each of its 13 franchise areas. In addition, Telewest's data was being managed by four incompatible GIS products, providing no means to obtain an overall view of the network. Within a 16-month period, Telewest and Intergraph, in conjunction with subcontractors KEMA Consulting and GTSS, successfully migrated 12 million features, including graphical information and associated intelligence into the new corporate database.


Emerging Technology Summit III: Advancing the Sensor Web, a two-day summit on the next generation of sensor technology, will take place at the Washington Hilton Hotel, in Washington, D.C., from April 14-15. Two dozen experts will discuss how sensor webs are being used in threat detection and monitoring, weather prediction and warning, defense and intelligence, mobile asset logistics, intelligent transportation, and critical infrastructure protection. For more information, click here.

The 2005 IMAGIN Annual Conference will take place May 2-4 at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan. It will feature presentations on a variety of GIS topics, including "Data Sharing & Collaboration" and "Emergency Response & Homeland Security". Dr. Keith Clarke, of the University of California - Santa Barbara will give the keynote address. He will discuss the impact that high-resolution overhead imagery has had on local GIS applications. You can read the complete program here.

ESRI will hold its annual Business GeoInfo Summit on April 18 and 19 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Illinois. This two-day conference will help participants understand how GIS can improve their business. They will meet and hear from leaders in their industry and see how GIS has made them more efficient, competitive, and responsive to customers. Experts will present and demonstrate how GIS is helping to manage, visualize, and model business data and work flows.


The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI), founded 2004 January 1, has named Scott Grams its first Executive Director, tasked with supporting the efforts of the Board of Directors as well as the Outreach and Review Committees. He speaks on GISCI's behalf at professional meetings, workshops, and industry events. Grams had previously served as the Institute's Certification Program Director. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in 1999. He earned his Master's Degree from Northwestern University in 2004. There are 634 Certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) as of February 25, 2005. For more information regarding the GISCI certification program click here.


NAVTEQ, a provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, awarded the winners of the Second Annual Global LBS Challenge, which challenged developers to build location-enabled applications for wireless devices. The grand-prize winner and Asset Tracking/Field Services solution category winner was Bones In Motion, which offers users a way to wirelessly monitor, measure, and motivate users toward their fitness goals using a GPS-enabled mobile phone. Sponsors of the Global LBS Challenge include ESRI, Microsoft Corp., SiRF Technology, Inc., and Telcontar. In addition, the Challenge had several media sponsors, including Directions Magazine, Wireless Innovation Network of British Columbia (WINBC), PDA Buzz, Handheld Computing, and Location Box.

ESRI participated in the recent conference "Health Care Institutions — the Balancing Act of Offering Excellent Health Care Services and Controlling Health Budget," which it co-sponsored with HP, SAP, and Microsoft. The seminar was held March 16-17 in Vienna, Austria, for a select group of health care executives and decision makers from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. It focused on the role of information technology to meet the growing demands and spiraling costs of health care. Representatives from the four sponsoring companies addressed an audience consisting of officials of Ministries of Health, major hospitals, and national, regional, and local health organizations about the growing integration of GIS technology, enterprise resource planning, and database technology into existing health care IT environments to help reduce costs and facilitate the decision making process.

CSI Wireless Inc., a designer and manufacturer of wireless and GPS products, has announced a record financial performance, with $4.3-million profit in 2004, on $82 million of revenue. According to Stephen Verhoeff, CSI Wireless' President and CEO, this marked the company's seventh straight year of revenue growth.
    For the fourth quarter that ended December 31, consolidated revenues rose 145 percent to $24.5 million, compared to revenues of $10 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. Gross margins of $6.6 million for the quarter were an increase of 83 percent over gross margins of $3.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Tele Atlas — a developer of digital maps and dynamic location content for navigation, location-based services, and geospatial products — had revenues of Eur 127.7 million for 2004, an increase of 48 percent over 2003. European revenues rose by 26 percent to Eur 98.7 million, largely due to the rapid growth in the personal navigation market. North American revenues increased by 261 percent to Eur 29.0 million. Approximately Eur 15.7 million of this increase was the result of the acquisition of Geographic Data Technologies Inc (GDT) during the year. Excluding the effect of the acquisition of GDT and exchange rates, revenue growth in North America was 95 percent compared to 2003. This increase resulted from increased sales in the personal navigation segment as well as the company's initial revenues from sales in the North American in-car navigation segment.

GIS Monitor Back Issues

Advertise with Us

You can reach more than 17,000 GIS professionals every issue by sponsoring GIS Monitor. For more information, email us.


Please send comments and suggestions to:
Matteo Luccio, Editor
GIS Monitor

Ultimate Map/GIS Directory — Your search is over!

GIS Monitor is published by:

GITC America, Inc.
100 Tuscanny Drive, Suite B1
Frederick, MD 21702 USA
Tel: +1 (301) 682-6101
Fax: + 1 (301) 682-6105


If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe visit our subscription page.
Copyright 2005 by GITC America, Inc. Information cannot be reproduced,
in whole or in part, without prior authorization from GITC America, Inc. GIS Monitor is a GITC publication.