GIS MONITOR, March 28, 2002



- Web Tool to Pick Appropriate Map Colors

- Galileo GPS System for Europe is On; US System Gets Upgrade

- GIS Monitor Acquired By Professional Surveyor Magazine

- Obituary: Carey Moore


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Web Tool to Pick Appropriate Map Colors


From my alma mater, Penn State, comes a Web tool to help find the right colors for thematic maps. Funded by a National Science Foundation Grant as part of the Digital Government Program, ColorBrewer provides a step-by-step process to examine different color schemes. Now, you might think that your GIS software can do this, too, and perhaps some can, but most simply make all sorts of options available, with little guidance about effective use.


I was pleased that after picking the number of categories (step 1), there was a help tool to explain sequential, diverging and qualitative schemes (step 2). I don't recall running into those in my study of cartography or in many years using GIS. Step three presents nine different mini-legends, that when selected, are applied to a sample map. You can add point symbols for cities and line symbols for roads to get the complete effect.


Now comes the really interesting part: each legend is rated for different uses including printing in black and white, LCD projection, and use by people who are color-blind, among others. You can then request the color values in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black), RGB (red, green, blue), ArcView and others. For now, you can only print the color scheme values, but soon you will be able to print them to a text file, or to XML.


At this point you can't upload your maps to take advantage of the tool, which uses Flash. However, I could see how down the road this might be a useful online GIS service for map creation applications.


Wondering about how they picked the name ColorBrewer? The lead investigator is Cindy Brewer, an associate professor in the Penn State Geography Department. Programming is by Mark Harrower, a PhD candidate in the department.


Mar 25 - Free Web-based Tool Makes Map Colors a Snap







At a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, European Transport ministers agreed to move forward with financing and building a new GPS constellation for Europe. The design phase of the project is expected to cost 1.1 billion euros. Transport ministers signed off on 450 euros at the meeting, and have already authorized another 100 million. The European Space Agency is putting up 550 euros. The final system, including 30 satellites is expected to be operational in 2007 at a total cost of 3.2 billion euros.


Galileo will be the third such system in the world, joining Russia's GLONASS (Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System) and the United States' GPS (Global Positioning System). Galileo will be the first civilian constellation. The other distinguishing feature of Galileo is dual frequency use, which means locations will be accurate to roughly 1 meter. The GPS system in the US is accurate to only within tens of meters without enhancement (roughly the size of a tennis court).


Also on Tuesday, US Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta commented on a plan by his organization and the defense department to upgrade US navigation resources for transportation. The new Federal Radionavigation Plan summarizes a technology vision for GPS, Loran-C, and instrument and microwave landing systems. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will provide more GPS signals for civilian aircraft, which will hopefully decrease disruption challenges. FAA is assessing the long-term need for Loran as GPS use increases in aircraft landings.


Mar 26 - Galileo System Gets Go-ahead 


What is Galileo? (BBC)  


GPS Will Be Nation's Primary Navigation Tool





The GIS Monitor has a new home. Earlier this week the Professional Surveyors Publishing Company acquired the GIS Monitor and the Ultimate Mapping/GIS Directory website from TenLinks, Inc. Professional Surveyor Magazine is, as I've noted in the past, a topnotch publication and I'm quite honored to work with the organization that produces it.


What should GIS Monitor readers expect? For one, we will soon be offering what many of you have requested: the option of receiving GIS Monitor in HTML. We hope that format will make the publication more pleasing to the eye and easier to read. However, HTML is an option; plain text will still be available to anyone who prefers it. The newsletter will still be available on the Web. We have some other new ideas and opportunities in mind that you will see in the coming months. As always, your candid feedback is appreciated, and has come to be expected.


As much as I'm looking forward to working with the talented staff at Professional Surveyor, I am saddened to end my working relationship with my colleagues of two years at TenLinks. TenLinks will continue its focus on its core subjects of design and engineering. I'm proud that GIS Monitor got its start there, where it grew from the first issue with 100 subscribers to over 6,000 today. Much of the credit for that growth goes to the careful guidance of TenLinks CEO, and my good friend, Roopinder Tara. I wish him and the TenLinks crew all the best. 





I was surprised to see Moore Resource Systems' booth at GITA last week since I generally find that company at pipeline focused shows. I somehow missed the news that Carey Moore, the company founder and a longtime friend, had passed away last summer. He was involved in an accident at an air show.


Moore was a man ahead of his time in his vision for how CAD could work in the enterprise. He was storing CAD data in relational databases far before the big players brought products to market. I was one of many people who sought his guidance about technology and predictions regarding the fine line between CAD and GIS. He was one of the most articulate members of CAD/GIS community and will be sorely missed. I was pleased to learn that his company is still following the plans he laid down. 





- ASI received an investment from Cannell. According to the press release "ASI will use the initial $2 million investment to extinguish virtually all remaining bank debt and for working capital. As a result of the transaction, Cannell will be entitled to appoint a majority of ASI's board of directors, and if the note is fully converted and the warrants exercised, Cannell will own a majority of ASI's outstanding common stock." Apparently, normally ASI would need shareholder approval for the deal, but in this case received a waiver from NASDAQ. Though I can't say what the long term affects of this transaction are, I feel confident that losing control of the board is not a promising situation for ASI.


- A friendly fire incident that occurred in December in Afgahnistan killed three Special Forces soldiers and injured 20. A 2,000-pound, satellite-guided bomb landed, not on the intended Taliban outpost, but on a battalion command post. A senior defense official explained on Sunday that a soldier, after replacing a battery in a GPS, mistook the returned values as the previously calculated target, when in fact, they were the location of the GPS itself. 


- The US Government is cracking down on websites that provide details of weapons of mass destruction. Government watchers including OMB Watch, an organization supporting greater access to government information, wonder if this will include such things as risk management plans. As the organization's director, Gary Bass puts it "We have a basic principle of right-to-know in this country. It is shifting, ever so subtly, to becoming one based on a need to know."  ap_on_go_pr_wh/attacks_web_sites_3


- Those who study language point out that the world has pretty much settled on "9/11" to refer to events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on that date last year. Unlike other past tragedies tied to specific locations (Pearl Harbor, Oklahoma City, Three Mile Island) this one had several locations and indicated a fundamental change in the world on that date. So, too, did December 7, 1941, which may be why that date is so often recalled. The other events are geographically tied, and I'd suggest less time-stamped. Can you recall the date of the Oklahoma City or Three Mile Island disasters?  /ap/20020320/ap_on_re_us/attacks_how_we_say_it_1


- A USENET post this week described a "clarification letter" received from the Ordnance Survey (OS) regarding the fate of Panorama data. As of June 1 the data will not be available from the OS, but from OS resellers. The OS still plans to phase the product out in the coming years.


- There was an earthquake in Afghanistan on Tuesday. The same day the AP (Associated Press) put out a fuzzy map of the location listing the source as USGS and ESRI. A reader pointed out that this was perhaps not the most flattering use of ESRI's MapShop, a tool for journalists used by AP. ESRI confirmed it was user error: the map was enlarged inappropriately after leaving MapShop. 


- New York Fire Department mapping experts, part of Phoenix Unit, have been mapping remains and other evidence from the 9/11 tragedy using GPS. Information from the database will be shared with victim's families.  satellite_map_of_tragedy_1.html


- Arik Hesseldahl writing at voices the same conundrum I've mentioned: "It's hard to figure out exactly why companies like Thales are so eager to push GPS capability to PDAs like the Palm, when they already make perfectly good, affordable standalone handheld GPS units. Its Meridian line of handheld GPS units are built specifically for outdoor use, meaning they'll easily survive being dropped on hard surfaces or immersed in water. Try dropping a Palm m500 or m515 into water, with or without a GPS Companion attached, and the results aren't likely to be pretty."





- Announcements

Maporama's I-mode platform is the first market-ready professional location-centric product offered by a non-Japanese provider.


The University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, is the recipient of the 2002 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) International Education Literature Award. The school receives a selection of books from ASPRS and ESRI Press.


PocketGIS now runs on the Microsoft Pocket PC platform.


The City of Calgary was presented with an Award of Excellence at ESRI Canada's annual ESRI Regional User Conference in Calgary, yesterday.


Researchers at Silent Spring Institute, in collaboration with Applied Geographics, Inc., announced a new computer technology known as the Spatial Proximity Tool. This new technology can reconstruct decades of estimated exposures to pesticides on a scale useful to public health investigations: house by house.


MapCloud Services Inc. announced that GeoSolutions Consulting Inc. has become a Value Added Reseller of FreshMaps Internet mapping solutions.

Space Imaging received Frost & Sullivan's Product of the Year Award for 'Dual-use Technologies: Commercial Remote Sensing and Satellite Communications used for National Security purposes.' When marketing companies give out awards, you have to question if the awards are in fact marketing tools.


Leica Geosystems' GIS & Mapping Division has appointed ERDAS India Pvt. Ltd., as the sole distributor for its Geographic Imaging and Airborne Data Acquisition product lines, and as a sub dealer for the GPS/GIS data collector products.


GeoVue and AirPhotoUSA, announced a strategic partnership aimed at increasing the accessibility of comprehensive site analytics, including integration of high-resolution, digital ortho-rectified aerial imagery and mapping products. Basically, geoVue users will have access to more imagery.

LocatioNet Systems opened a new European front office in Germany.


- Contracts


GE Network Solutions announced that Citizens Gas & Coke Utility, (Indianapolis) selected GE Network Solutions technology to design and manage its gas network.


iSECUREtrac Corp. chose GeoMicro for a multi-year contract to provide Internet mapping software and mapping functionality for iSECUREtrac's tracNet24 host system.


Des Lauriers Municipal Solutions announced that Avon and Willington CT have chosen the GeoTMS solution to streamline the permit and inspection process.





Tracy Lenocker spotted something that didn't sound right in last week's interview with Larry Diamond of Autodesk.


"Just curious about a statement in the Autodesk interview. Did Larry Diamond really say 'National Association of Civil Engineers'? Did he mean the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)? I read the report [that gave US infrastructure a D grade] in our ASCE magazine so I suppose that is what he meant."


I contacted Autodesk and confirmed that the citation on the slide was incorrect. The whole article is at: 





Mar 27 - ADC Launches ADC WorldMap Central and South America 

ADC WorldMap Central and South America is the second product developed under the new partnership with ComputaMaps.


Mar 26 - OGC Initiative Addresses Interoperability in Disaster Planning 

The Multi-hazard Mapping Initiative will develop and test an interoperable, standards based framework for the discovery and distribution of multi-hazard map data between federal, state, and local emergency management agencies. The demo set for March 29 has been postponed.


Mar 26 - NavTech Unveils Voice Data For Germany 

NAVTECH maps are now available in a voice-enabled format for Germany. Other countries are planned.


Mar 25 - ESRI Unveils Series of Homeland Security Initiatives 

ESRI announced a series of Homeland Security initiatives, including technology grants, training, and advanced educational materials, for government agencies and private organizations. I for one am frustrated that GIS software vendors are eager to help in these efforts, but seem to be receiving little guidance from the Office of Homeland Security. Still, one of the things vendors can offer is education and MapInfo and ESRI have committed to doing just that.


Mar 25 - AvantGo and Spacient Ally to Deliver Mobile Apps 

The two companies are combinging AvantGo M-Business Server with Spacient's Fieldport mobile operations management software and services to provide a mobile and real-time wireless solution for utilities and telecommunications. Too bad they didn't announce it at GITA. I have to say I've heard very little about AvantGo, a company and platform aimed at putting documents on mobile devices, like PalmPilots.


Mar 25 - OGC Seeks Sponsors for Conformance Testing Initiative 

The goal here is to create an online testing tool to judge conformance of products to OGC's specifications.


Mar 25 - ObjectFX Introduces Integration Partner Program 

The Integration Partner Program designed to facilitate access of the company's SpatialFX Platform to qualified partners for internal development and prototyping. This happened at JavaOne, the big Java developer show.


Mar 22 - Digital Angel Corp. Ties into Microsoft MapPoint 

To date five companies are listing their solutions built on MapPoint on the MapPoint website. Interestingly, Digital Angel is listed as a company that can help implement a website using MapPoint.


Mar 22 - GlobeXplorer Introduces ImageConnect  ImageConnect is an extension for ArcView and MapInfo that imports earth imagery into a user's map window. The downloading of imagery is not new, but being able to search and preview it right in the GIS, is interesting.


Mar 22 - AnySite Technologies and Thompson Associates Integrate

The integration of AnySite Technologies and Thompson Associates is fully complete. Thompson focuses on site selection issues for retail, restaurant, financial and real estate.


Mar 22 - ADCi Launches "Tell-A-Friend" Referral Program 

The company is offering discounts for referrers and referees.


Mar 21 - GeoConcept Internet Server V2 Offers Online Sharing 

A new applet extends visualization tools and personalization.


Mar 20 - Syncline Introduces MapCiti Parcel Viewer 

A new service, MapCiti Parcel Viewer is a mapping service that enables local governments to provide parcel and property information conveniently over the Internet.

Mar 20 - ESRI Announces Support for the Microsoft Tablet PC 

The new hardware will be out later this year.


Mar 20 - Nova Scotia DOT To Implement Highways By Exor Solution 

Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works (NSDTPW) has selected Exor Corporation and Geoplan Consultants Inc. of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada to provide several Highways by Exor software applications.


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