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
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
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 http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2002-03/ps-fwt031902.php
GALILEO GPS SYSTEM FOR EUROPE
IS ON; US SYSTEM GETS UPGRADE PLAN
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
What is Galileo? (BBC)
GPS Will Be Nation's
Primary Navigation Tool http://www.gcn.com/vol1_no1/daily-updates/18242-1.html
GIS MONITOR ACQUIRED BY
PROFESSIONAL SURVEYOR MAGAZINE
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.
OBITUARY: CAREY MOORE
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.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- 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."
- 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
- 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.
- Arik Hesseldahl writing at
Forbes.com 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."
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
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
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.
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:
WEEK IN REVIEW
Mar 27 - ADC Launches ADC
WorldMap Central and South America http://www.tenlinks.com/MapGIS/news/pr/032702ADCi.htm
ADC WorldMap Central and
South America is the second product developed under the new partnership
Mar 26 - OGC Initiative
Addresses Interoperability in Disaster Planning http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032602OGC.htm
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 http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032602Navtech.htm
NAVTECH maps are now
available in a voice-enabled format for Germany. Other countries are
Mar 25 - ESRI Unveils Series
of Homeland Security Initiatives http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032502ESRI.htm
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
Mar 25 - AvantGo and Spacient
Ally to Deliver Mobile Apps http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/020322/220052_1.html
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 http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/020321/212340_1.html
The goal here is to create an
online testing tool to judge conformance of products to OGC's
Mar 25 - ObjectFX Introduces
Integration Partner Program http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032502ObjectFX.htm
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 http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/020319/192332_1.html
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 http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032202GlobeXplorer.htm
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
Mar 22 - AnySite Technologies
and Thompson Associates Integrate http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032202thompson.htm
The integration of AnySite
Technologies and Thompson Associates is fully complete. Thompson focuses
on site selection issues for retail, restaurant, financial and real
Mar 22 - ADCi Launches "Tell-A-Friend"
Referral Program http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032202ADCi.htm
The company is offering
discounts for referrers and referees.
Mar 21 - GeoConcept Internet
Server V2 Offers Online Sharing http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032102GeoConcept.htm
A new applet extends
visualization tools and personalization.
Mar 20 - Syncline Introduces
MapCiti Parcel Viewer http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/020320/202473_2.html
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 http://www.tenlinks.com/mapgis/news/pr/032002ESRI.htm
The new hardware will be out
later this year.
Mar 20 - Nova Scotia DOT To
Implement Highways By Exor Solution http://biz.yahoo.com/iw/020319/039538.html
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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