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2005 March 31


Editor's Introduction
State GIS Web Sites
Department of Corrections
Briefly Noted

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Editor's Introduction

In this week's issue I report on the GIS Web sites maintained by or for U.S. states for the benefit of agency staffs, the GIS community, and the general public. I also bring you a small piece of technological history and do my usual round-up of industry news.

— Matteo

State GIS Web Sites

The tidbit in last week's "Briefly Noted" section about the California State Information Technology Strategic Plan got me interested in state GIS Web sites. (By the way: Clark Kelso, California's Chief Information Officer, has since told me that the appointment of a state Geospatial Information Officer is still under very active consideration by the Governor's office, along with quite a few other IT issues that appear in the plan.)

So I spent this week exploring about 200 GIS Web sites. This was a very informal, though thorough, survey. I expect to receive scores of e-mail messages pointing out my many omissions and chiding me for the weaknesses of my methodology. Good! I am counting on such mail to help me complete my list and get a better understanding of this topic — understanding which I will, of course, share with you in future issues.

To get started, I used a list compiled by the Geographic Information System Laboratory at MIT. I give my alma mater a "B-" for compiling and maintaining this list: it contains several dead links, a couple of sites that are listed under the wrong state, and a few sites of very questionable relevance. More importantly, the list fails to include many relevant sites: among the most egregious omissions are the California Spatial Information Library (CaSIL) — the only California data collection that I found — and the GIS data collection of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental and Geographic Information Center.
     Nevertheless, the MIT list was a good point of departure (or should I say "point of beginning," for all the surveyors among you?) I also found a list on a personal Web site and another one by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining (but they are not reflected in my comments and tally).

I sent a query to all the state GIS coordinators, using the list from the National States Geographic Information Council. About half the coordinators replied right away; I summarize their answers below. I expect the rest to reply in time for next week's issue.


The first thing I discovered is that the richness of GIS resources varies greatly from state to state. (I am assuming here that MIT compiled its list by consistently applying the same criteria to all states and that the list does not contain any systematic bias. For my tally, I supplemented that list with the sites I found by entering "[state name] state geographic information system" into Google.)
      My tally ranges from 14 for California, 13 for Arkansas, ten each for Massachusetts and Alaska, and seven for Texas — to three each for seven states, two each for 16 states, and one each for six states. This simple tally masks some important differences; for example, of the 14 California sites included on the MIT list, eight are regional or local in nature, whereas Arkansas has only one such site. Of course, the authors of this list must have only attempted to capture the GIS Web sites of the largest cities and metropolitan areas. There must be thousands of counties, cities, and towns that have their own GIS. Then, of course, there are the state-wide GIS professional organizations, such as the Nevada Geographic Information Society.

The second thing I discovered is that very few states have an official "state" GIS Web site. An excellent example of what I was looking for is the Web site for the Hawaii Statewide GIS Program, which says: "The Office of Planning GIS Program leads a multi-agency effort to establish, promote, and coordinate the use of [GIS] technology among Hawaii State Government agencies. The State Office of Planning is responsible for the planning and coordination of activities that are critical to the State's enterprise GIS. The primary goal of the Statewide GIS Program is to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness in government decision-making." Other good examples are Kentucky, the New Jersey Office of Geographic Information Systems, the Indiana GIS Initiative, and the Utah Automated Geographic Reference Center.

As states slowly shift from single-agency GIS systems — or "GISs"? That's a style decision I have not yet made. Any advice? — to a single "enterprise" or "corporate" GIS for all of state government, I expect to see more "state" GIS Web sites appear.

The third thing I discovered is that the bulk of the sites on the MIT list, as one would expect, are of the kind variously known as "clearinghouses," "data libraries," "data catalogues," etc. In other words, they house large collections of geospatial datasets, including USGS quadrangles and other maps, boundaries, digital elevation models, digital orthophotos, topofinders, and, of course, metadata. For a state with less then a million people, I found Montana's site very impressive. To pick an example from a large state, New Jersey's Geographic Information Network contains a wealth of downloadable data (more than 300 files), dynamic data and maps (about 80 files), and a catalogue of more than 300 files available off line on DVD or other mediums.

I was disappointed, however, to find very few recent postings of developments in state GIS, which was one of my reasons for reviewing these sites.

Here now is my tally.

Column headers:
GIC — Geographic Information Council / Geographic Data Committee
DC — Data Catalogue / Clearinghouse / Infrastructure / Data Directory / Data Library
SG — State GIS
R/L — Regional or local
MAP — Maps
IMA — Images
UNI — University
PAG — Public Access GIS
GEN — General GIS
QUE — Questionable relevance
OTH — Other
REF — Referrals
DEA — Dead links
TOT — Total (does not include dead links)

Alabama                     2     2
Alaska   4           1     5     10
Arizona 1         1 1           1 3
Arkansas   1   1     2       8 1   13
California   1   8     1       4     14
Colorado   1   1           1 1     4
Connecticut   1     3                 4
D.C.     2                     2
Delaware 1 1         2             4
Florida   3   1                   4
Georgia   1                 1     2
Hawaii     1 1                 1 2
Idaho   2                 1   1 3
Illinois   1   1           2 1     5
Indiana     1                   1 1
Iowa 1 1         1             3
Kansas   1   1                 1 2
Kentucky     1                     1
Louisiana 1   1                     2
Maine   2                       2
Maryland 1 1   1 1               1 4
Massachusetts     1 7   1 1             10
Michigan     1 1     2     1 1     6
Minnesota   1 2                     3
Mississippi   1                     1 1
Missouri 1 1                       2
Montana   2         1   1   1     5
Nebraska             1     1       2
Nevada   3   1                   4
New Hampshire     1                     1
New Jersey   4 1 1                   6
New Mexico 1 1 2                     4
New York   1   2           1   1   4
North Carolina   1   1     1             3
North Dakota     1             1       2
Ohio   1                       1
Oklahoma   1 1                     2
Oregon   1   1           1 3   2 6
Pennsylvania   1   1     2       1     5
Rhode Island     2                     2
South Carolina   1         1             2
South Dakota   3                       3
Tennessee     1                     1
Texas   3   2 2               1 7
Utah   1 1       1     1       4
Vermont     1       1             2
Virginia             1       1     2
Washington   2   1 1   1     1       6
West Virginia   1 1                     2
Wisconsin 1 2                     1 3
Wyoming   1   1     1       3   1 6


In response to my query to state GIS coordinators, this week I received responses from Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. I summarize these responses below. I will summarize the responses from the rest of the states in future issues.

I asked the GIS coordinators what the mission/purpose/goal of their Web site is, about how often they post new material, what kinds of items they update most often, and who supplies these items to them. (As always, please let me know whether these are the kinds of questions you would have asked or if there are other questions I should ask in the future.)

Most GIS coordinators told me that the purpose of their sites is to provide easily accessible and accurate data for free to those who need it — without having to call on state agencies. They want citizens to be able to go to their sites to find information that will further their knowledge as well as provide resources for education, training, jobs, etc. They also aim to be useful forums in which to share knowledge within the GIS community.

As for how often they update their sites, responses varied from "annually" to "several times a day" to "when we have time." On average most sites post new information on a weekly basis.

According to the coordinators, what they update most frequently is the data on their sites: they post new data, updates and corrections to data, and new metadata. Other items that they update frequently include the status of ongoing GIS projects; in-house class offerings; news items; notices of previously unavailable reports; meeting minutes; meeting/event and conference dates; training opportunities; changes in contact information for the "Who's Who in GIS Listing"; legislative activity; survey data about the PLS; new standards; and references to in-state RFPs.

The coordinators receive these updates from agencies and GIS staff; local, federal, and state agencies; other GIS Coordinators; the GIS user/vendor community; university research centers; private sector non profits and businesses; partner organizations; and survey communities.

Here, now, are a few highlights for each state:

ALASKA's most popular GIS Web sites are tied to its parcel and mining information. The state's cartographic staff update the databases for these sites daily and these changes are published on the Web about every two weeks. The state is beginning to enable its Web site to run directly against its Oracle spatial database, so as to provide live updates, and expects to go live with this new system in about six months. Other data tends to change more slowly, usually driven by the needs of a project to seek updated material, such as coastlines, rivers, roads, etc.
      The state's GIS shop also posts data from other state agencies, such as the recently updated statewide fish streams information. The Web site's main purpose is to keep the public informed of the actions of state agencies and to assure public access to the same information that state staff are using to make land and resource management decisions.

ARKANSAS gets most of its information and news updates from members of the Arkansas GIS Users Forum, a proactive group of GIS practitioners throughout the state. The staff of the State Land Information Board update that agency's Web site on an "as needed" basis, generally following Board meetings. The Arkansas Geographic Information Office section of the site is updated monthly to report the status of statewide programs, such as the centerline file program or the County Assessor Mapping Program. The clearinghouse section of the Web site is updated with geospatial data and content on almost a weekly basis.

CALIFORNIA updates the major sections of the California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) Web site at different frequencies: State staff review links on all these sites yearly, to ensure that they work and continue to point to the proper locations. They have deployed a software tool to assist them in this link review and update process.

COLORADO's Department of Natural Resources is developing a central geospatial Web site with funding from a USGS National Map grant. The site's goal will be to serve Colorado data to the National Map and to the public. The DNR posts data from five different agencies on different Web sites, updating some daily with any changes from the database processed the day before. Most of the daily information consists of well locations or new permits. Each agency strives to serve data to the public or to its specific constituents, such as oil and gas companies or wildlife agencies.

FLORIDA's GIS Web site is maintained by Florida State University, which receives updates for the site from the survey community.

IDAHO's GIS clearinghouse sports new material weekly. Some datasets published by local governments are updated nightly, other state data sets arrive quarterly, and other ones are updated as needed. They are supplied primarily by local, state, and federal entities. The state is working on documenting many static map images that it plans to publish and on updating user interfaces to content.

IOWA's Geographic Information Council, managed by the Iowa State University Extension to Communities, posts on its Web site mostly news about events and activities and new data sets, as soon as they are available. The items are submitted primarily by the Council's board of directors, partner organizations (especially the Iowa State University GIS Facility), federal and state agencies, and the Council's general membership.

LOUISIANA's Make-A-Map Web site was envisioned as a way of putting the geospatial datasets held by the state's GIS Center onto the desks of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality employees who need to use them in their daily jobs. It also makes them available to the citizens of the state who own them. GIS Center staff update some of the "Business Data" daily. Every morning, an automated procedure "pulls" data from the agency's database, called TEMPO, spatially enables it, and updates the layer in Make-A-Map. Other layers, such as roads or streams, are infrequently updated. Imagery is added as it is acquired.

MASSACHUSETTSon average updates its GIS Web site several times a week, posting new data and metadata most frequently. These data are submitted by states agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Protection and the Executive Office of Transportation. Technical information and software for download are updated frequently.

MINNESOTA's GIS Web site is administered by the Department of Administration's Land Management Information Center (LMIC). It consists mostly of pages generated on the fly from a database that manages content. The most common changes are announcements about new services, data, and maps or enhanced Web mapping services, because these enhancements to the state's Web mapping services are not always obvious to the casual viewer of the Web site. Most of the content originates with LMIC. The Web site's services include coordination, data stewardship and distribution, GIS-based decision support technologies, and GIS consulting for state agencies.

MISSOURI's GIS advisory committee has a Web site and the Missouri Spatial Data Information Service (MSDIS) has another one. The former site is primarily an informational Web site and is not updated frequently. The latter is the state's spatial data clearinghouse and is updated at least weekly, depending on the incoming datasets or announcements. The MSDIS staff proactively solicits geospatial data from a variety of federal, state, and local sources. Data layers and metadata proffered undergo a review process by senior GIS staff before being posted to the site. Typically, new data appears within a week of receipt, depending on the size and intricacy of the data layer.
      Currently the state is implementing an ArcSDE solution that should help considerably in the update and maintenance of its present and future data offerings. In the very near future MSDIS users will be able to discover data much more efficiently through the Web-based functionality of Metadata Explorer. The Web site also serves to bring the Missouri GIS community together: in addition to data, it contains information on training, jobs, presentations, online surveys, and online conference registrations. It also gives all of the user groups in the state some space or a link.

NEW HAMPSHIRE updates most frequently its conservation lands layer, which continues to change rapidly. It also updates its transportation layer (roads) every few months. A network of state agencies, regional planning commissions, locally-based federal agencies, and non-profits supply the data — coordinated by a statewide GIS advisory committee. The Web site's main purpose is to provide access for the public to the data and metadata that constitute GRANIT, New Hampshire's statewide GIS. In addition, the Web site provides news and updates on state data development activities.

NEW YORK's GIS clearinghouse is the host site to the New York State GIS Coordination Program (NYSGCP) and the New York State GIS Data Sharing Cooperative. It is a dynamic site and receives updates on a daily basis. The most frequent updates are changes in contact information for the "Who's Who in GIS" listing, the Data Sharing Cooperative, and the New York State GIS Coordination Program's workgroups and advisory groups. The orthoimagery application and imagery direct download pages are updated as soon as new imagery becomes available, generally annually.
     Data and inventory listings provided through the NYS GIS Data Sharing Cooperative are posted within one week of receipt. Updates are supplied by GIS practitioners across the state, members of the NYS GIS Coordination Program, members of the NYS GIS Data Sharing Cooperative, and NYS GIS Clearinghouse staff. The Clearinghouse also provides information on and links to GIS education and training opportunities; other state and federal GIS resources; GIS user groups throughout New York; and GIS-related listservs and publications.

NORTH DAKOTA's GIS site updates meeting minutes and data news items at least once a month. The next most commonly updated items are announcements about meetings and training events, usually generated by the GIS Coordinator.

OHIO's GIS site's mission is to provide a ready means of communication with users of spatial data on behalf of OGRIP, the Ohio Geographically Referenced Information Program. The site provides bulletin board functionality by listing up coming conferences and meeting dates, along with educational opportunities. It also provides for data discovery through a link to the Ohio Metadata Explorer service, a convenient connection to OGRIP's FTP site for DOQQ, DRG, DLG, and DEM downloads, and a link to the OGRIP listserve.
     The Web site is administered by technical staff from the Office of Information Technology, updates are posted as received, and content for the Ohio GIS County Profile Survey is posted real-time as updated by the counties, with canned reports updated as necessary. Notifications for educational opportunities, meeting dates, and conferences are updated regularly as received from the GIS User/Vendor community. Notifications, announcements, and training opportunities are provided more frequently through the listserv.

OKLAHOMA's GIS Web site is updated approximately six to eight times a year, mostly with new minutes from the state's Geographic Information Council (GIC) meetings that are held several times a year. The site also carries pictures from the yearly GIS Day at the Capitol event sponsored by the GIC. The items for the site are supplied by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, which chairs the GIC.

OREGON posts new material daily — mostly communications with the broad GIS community throughout the state: meeting notes, meeting schedules/agendas/review materials, presentations, answers to common questions, information about legislative activity, etc. Less frequently, the updated items also include new iterations of existing shared data sets. The items are supplied by many members of the Oregon GIS community at all levels of government and academia.

PENNSYLVANIA has a geological survey Web site that carries GIS-related items about four times a year. It is updated on average about once a week, mostly with news of ongoing projects or their status, other news items, or previously unavailable reports.

RHODE ISLAND most often updates its vector data with temporal changes, such as transportation infrastructure (roads, bus routes, etc), seasonal environmental data, and facilities changes (schools, fire stations). Rhode Island GIS (RIGIS) is a consortium of public, academic, and private members that contribute to a common database. Although state agencies generally contribute the bulk of the material, the University of Rhode Island and some private sector non-profits and businesses also contribute a substantial amount of data.

SOUTH CAROLINA's GIS server administered by the Center for GIS & Remote Sensing of the Department of Geography of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, stores some data created within the university and has links to many sites which house South Carolina-related data. In the past, it has also served data for several state agencies. Most notably, several data-serving sites have modeled their interfaces after South Carolina's rather traditional presentation of spatial data. The state's GIS Web site/clearinghouse, managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), carries new data or projects as they are completed. Most of the site's data consists of soils, wetlands, hydrography, elevations, etc. and are not updated at any regular interval.
     Statewide land cover data, which will be on the Web site this summer, are generated every five years from Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery. The DOQQs are developed every five to seven years with the next flight scheduled for 2006. The state is also developing a DNR land inventory system that will track all properties owned or managed by the department. These data will be updated as new properties are added to the system. Data for the DNR GIS clearinghouse is developed both internally and externally in conjunction with federal mapping agencies such as USGS, USFWS, and NRCS. The purpose of this Web site is to make non-sensitive data available to anyone in the state who can use it.

SOUTH DAKOTA reports that it updates its GIS Web site very frequently — especially the list of in-house GIS class offerings, the list of school districts in the state that have GIS software, and news on ongoing agency GIS projects. It has recently added a message board that will inform state users of updates on its base data and on ArcGIS extensions or customizations; this new feature will also serve as a sounding board for users across the state who have GIS-related questions or problems. State agencies and the GIS staff provide updates for the site. The GIS staff supports all agencies across the board and acquires most of the information at regular GIS TAG (Technical Advisory Group) meetings.

UTAH's Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) Web site posts new material on a varied basis. The main changes are to the data download section, as new data is available or old data is updated and needs to be made available for public download. This data is sometimes generated internally, but also many state agencies contribute data, including the Utah State Tax Commission, the Division of Water Resources, the Utah Department of Transportation, and the Division of State History's Antiquities Section. The Web site provides a static clearinghouse for the State Geographic Information Database (SGID), which contains geospatial information available to all local, state, and federal agencies and to the private sector and the public at large. Visitors to the Web site can also glean information about training opportunities for GIS technologies, user groups, tools, and a small knowledge base. AGRC also uses this website to communicate important information to the user base.

VERMONT's GIS Web site is operated by the Vermont Center for Geographic Information, Inc. It posts new information several times a week — including new data, new data products, references to new in-state RFPs that might interest GIS consultants, GIS-related job openings, updates to currently available data, information about new GIS-related state standards or guidelines, and announcements about the state GIS EXPO or upcoming meetings of the state's Spatial Data Partnership. The items updated most often relate to the state's foundation data, such as hydrography, roads, or E911 data. The center maintains a contact list of organizations responsible for collecting specific types of data within the state and regularly queries them as to the availability of updates. Occasionally, state agencies or private companies will submit such items as job openings or RFP's; often the center's staff collects these items.
     The staff also collects and posts information about GIS-related standards or guidelines. Beyond making data available, the center's staff work to support public, private and academic sectors of the GIS community by providing access to varied resources such as appropriate data standards, notice of employment openings, and GIS-related business opportunities. The center is required by statute to perform a customer satisfaction survey every two years; the survey explicitily discusses the Web site and the community of GIS users responds with its comments. The state then uses the results of that survey to help determine its future organizational focus.

WISCONSIN's State Cartographer's Office (SCO) manages three websites: its own, which caters to the general public, educators, and professionals; the Wisconsin Land Information Clearinghouse (WISCLINC), which caters to professionals; and the University of Wisconsin - Madison Spatial Information and Analysis Consortium (SIAC) Web site, which caters to the campus community. These three Web sites are updated about weekly, approximately two to three times per week, and approximately monthly, respectively. The SCO Web site most often updates its calendar of events, its job listings, its newsletter, its address book, its topical information, and its links.
     The WISCLINC most often updates its catalogued Web sites, metadata records, and webmapping service records. The SIAC Web site most often updates its calendar of events and its listings of campus GIS seminars and GIS-related classes. These updates are submitted by a wide variety of sources. The SCO Web site's primary purpose is to communicate informational and educational material on all matter of Wisconsin maps and land records information to the widest possible audience. The WISCLINC site is an NSDI Clearinghouse node and seeks to catalogue and preserve records and documentation of Wisconsin state and local geospatial data, interactive webmapping, and geospatial Web services. The SIAC Web site serves as a coordination mechanism for faculty, staff, students, and affiliated parties interested in GIScience on the UW-Madison campus.

WYOMING's GIS coordinator posts data on at least a weekly basis, mainly 2002 aerial photography. He also updates the resource directory on a monthly basis and posts monthly announcements of the meetings and agenda of the Wyoming Geographic Information Advisory Council (WGIAC).

Department of Corrections

Due to a production error I omitted from last week's issue an acknowledgment by Ned Horning that his work on the remote sensing Web site was supported using a grant from NASA for the American Museum of Natural History. I regret the omission.

Briefly Noted

Seventy years ago today, the Hartford, Connecticut, Daily Courant ran the following front page banner headline: "Connecticut First State To Have Its Picture Taken From Air; Best Map Ever Made Is Clever Blend of 10,500 Photographs". Under the banner, two stories, titled "'Shots' Every 25 Seconds Were Made From Planes Flying 100 Miles An Hour" and "Value of Aerial Survey Already Made Apparent To Official Departments." You can read the
articles and some background on the aerial survey courtesy of the Connecticut State Library.

News Briefs

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


Topcon now offers a GIS module for the latest version of TopSURV, its software for land surveying tasks. Operators using Topcon's survey-grade RTK GPS systems for conventional land survey tasks can now use the same equipment for GIS data collection. The interface and common database facilitate the transition between the two functions and eliminate the extra costs of maintaining a separate sub-meter antenna, rover, and field computer for GIS data collection tasks. The system is targeted at surveyors and utility system engineers involved in building GIS systems who collect location data on existing features and installations. TopSURV + GIS, which can also be used with mapping-grade systems, is the first software for field computers to combine total station, RTK GPS, and GIS mapping capabilities.

Leica Geosystems has started ahead of schedule customer shipments of its Leica SmartStation, a high performance total station with integrated GPS, which it launched in February.

DM Solutions Group Inc., an Open Source and open standards Web mapping solutions company, and Orkney Inc., a Japanese business solutions provider, announced the ability to output SVG file formats through MapServer. This new functionality will allow cell phone users in Japan to access location-based services (LBS), such as maps and point of interest sites, through goSVG, a standard interface developed based on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) that incorporate positional information to form interactive maps.
     Japan has one of the most advanced mobile phone LBS markets in the world. Over 11 million GPS-equipped mobile phones are currently in use and several service providers offer location-based services. The recent additions to MapServer will allow service providers to provide LBS that support the goSVG standard without having to pay extra licensing fees or development costs. Orkney and DM Solutions Group collaborated to create the new functionality for MapServer 4.6, which will be available in May 2005, with significant contributions from Japan-based Asia Air Survey Co., Ltd and KDDI R&D; Laboratories Inc.

ESRI has released MapObjects-Java Edition Version 2.1, a collection of pure Java client and server-side components used to build custom, cross platform mapping, and GIS applications. Software developers can use the high-level components for rapid development or take advantage of the programming interface for fine-grained control. Resulting applications will perform a variety of spatial-based query and display functions at the presentation, Web, and server tiers, depending on user requirements. This version includes support for Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED) raster image data; improved layout and printing capabilities; major performance improvements when browsing image directories or loading images; support for nautical miles as a unit for map scale bar and measurement tools; and numerous bug fixes.

Layton Graphics, Inc. — which specializes in publishing mapping and engineering data from CAD, GIS databases, manual drawings and other engineering applications to intelligent PDF files — has released MAP2PDF for Acrobat, version 2.1. It includes added support for military coordinates, dual coordinate displays, linear and polygonal feature display, and shape file import and allows users to geo-register multiple map frames in different datums and projections within the same PDF file. The user selects at least two points with known coordinates, indicates the datum and projection used to produce the map, and enters the coordinates in either latitude/longitude or northing/easting.
     In addition to reporting geodetic positions, MAP2PDF allows for displaying coordinates in various projections or datums. Although the map graphics are not distorted by a datum or projection change, the coordinate display is changed, enabling users to display the coordinate of a single point in three different datum/projection combinations simultaneously. GeoPDF maps allow end-users with Adobe Reader to turn layers on or off, view and query attributes embedded as standard PDF comments, view coordinates, re-project to other projection coordinates, measure distance, view azimuth and bearing, and interact with GPS devices. These PDF maps can also be enhanced with Adobe Acrobat 7.0 to allow end-users to redline them and mark them up using only Adobe Reader. All MAP2PDF for Adobe Reader functionalities are free to end-users.

Mapping and Geospatial Solutions — a geospatial solutions provider for government, transportation, utilities, communications, location-based services, and military and intelligence — announced GeoMedia Fusion. The product, available in April, automates and standardizes geospatial data collection, integration, and maintenance and improves the accuracy and currency of enterprise databases. GeoMedia Fusion is optimized to assist countries produce data for exchange with allies in national defense scenarios; fuse data holdings from national, state, county, and local agencies in homeland security situations; and create large volumes of data from multiple, disparate sources, avoiding the need for data recollection within commercial or governmental data production agencies.
     The product allows users to interactively and/or automatically resolve data inconsistencies and expedite the integration of information into the enterprise database. It enables users to transform geospatial data from disparate sources to match an enterprise data model and addresses the data integration process from data ingestion to selection, filtering and restructuring content through validation and quality assurance. Delivered with pre-defined rules that allow users to automatically begin the data ingestion workflow, GeoMedia Fusion also provides capabilities for customizing mapping rules in a database. The initial product release includes functionality for schema remodeling, conflation, advanced geometric validation, and queued editing. The product requires GeoMedia Professional to run.

Franson Technology, which develops and markets applications for GPS users and components for software developers, has released Franson GpsGate. It is a Windows and PocketPC utility that allows user to run many GPS applications using a single GPS receiver, create multiple virtual serial ports, simulate a GPS receiver, and log and replay GPS data. This product enables users to share the input from one GPS receiver among several applications by creating additional virtual serial ports to which most NMEA-enabled GPS applications can connect. It allows recreational boaters to access their navigation systems and use other GPS software at the same time; car drivers to switch between their route-planning software and driver's journal; and amateur pilots to simultaneously access their flight plans and weather data.
     The software includes a GPS simulator and a data logger and allows users to log and play back real-time GPS data for analysis, demonstration, or software development. It can also be used to perform other GPS-related functions, such as connecting USB hardware and GPS software, and can be used on a LAN, with several mobile Windows computers and a single GPS device. An OEM version of Franson GpsGate Express is available. The OEM kit allows software and hardware developers to allow other GPS applications to coexist with mapping software. The company also offers two other GPS programs: Franson Tracker, a PocketPC program that lets users save and share waypoints, and Franson CoordTrans, a Windows and PocketPC program that translates geographic positions between different coordinate systems.

DM Solutions Group Inc., an Open Source and open standards Web mapping solutions company, and Orkney Inc., a Japanese business solutions provider, announced the ability to output SVG file formats through MapServer. This new functionality will allow cell phone users in Japan to access location-based services (LBS), such as maps and point of interest sites, through goSVG, a standard interface developed based on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) that incorporate positional information to form interactive maps. Japan has one of the most advanced mobile phone LBS markets in the world. Over 11 million GPS-equipped mobile phones are currently in use and several service providers offer location-based services. The recent additions to MapServer will allow service providers to provide LBS that support the goSVG standard without having to pay extra licensing fees or development costs. Orkney and DM Solutions Group collaborated to create the new functionality for MapServer 4.6, which will be available in May 2005, with significant contributions from Japan-based Asia Air Survey Co., Ltd and KDDI R&D; Laboratories Inc. has introduced Earthmate Image Tagger, a free module that relates photographs to the location at which they were acquired by merging the image files with GPS log files. The module's applications beyond leisure travel include property hunting, detective work, and scientific research. Designed for use with DeLorme mapping software, Earthmate Image Tagger reads a GPS log generated by an Earthmate GPS or Blue Logger GPS, matches it with time stamped digital photo collections, and creates a map overlay that lists the photo name or a thumbnail and a hyperlink to the full size image on a computer desktop.


RBF Consulting (RBF), an engineering, consulting, and professional services firm focused on local government and transportation industry, has selected VARGIS, a global geospatial consulting and professional services firm based in Sterling, Virginia, to provide geospatial services for various local government projects. VARGIS entered into a master services agreement with RBF to provide professional services for GIS implementation, application development, and data management services. For the past year, VARGIS has been providing rights-of-way mapping services to RBF utilizing scanned images of original platted parcels and rights-of-way.
     VARGIS' services include COGO data entry, georeferencing source documents, resolving conflicts in source documents, feature attribution, and feature quality control. VARGIS used Autodesk Land Desktop for data automation of vector data and AutoCAD Raster Design for georeferencing imagery to the surveyed coordinates. The project was delivered per township with the intent of developing a seamless GIS database in ArcGIS. VARGIS has also provided professional services to map complex water distribution systems for RBF in support of water master plan projects using ESRI ArcGIS and AutoDesk platforms.

The Department of Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada has chosen MAPublisher software, by Avenza Systems Inc., for use in their cartography lab. MAPublisher will be primarily used in the Geographic Information and Digital Analysis Laboratory (GEOIDAL) by staff and students studying towards a diploma in geographic information sciences. Students will be able to take advantage of the graphics capabilities of MAPublisher to produce high-quality maps. MAPublisher is a map production software for creating cartographic-quality maps from GIS data. It was developed as a suite of plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand.

Aerophotogrammetry and Remote Sensing Bureau of China Coal (ARSC) has purchased Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solution's Z/I Imaging DMC (Digital Mapping Camera). Using the DMC, ARSC — a government-owned photogrammetric firm, which supplies imagery to the China National Administration of Coal Geology as well as other government agencies — will transform its photogrammetry production to a fully digital workflow.
     The DMC captures imagery with ground resolutions as small as 1 inches per pixel. Imagery acquired with the device maintains its initial geometric and radiometric quality throughout each stage of the project lifecycle — mission planning, sensor management, photogrammetric production and client/server image management, storage and distribution. Another design feature of the DMC is its ability to collect aerial frame photography in panchromatic, color, and color infrared bands simultaneously. This allows three separate, high-resolution end products - black and white, pan-sharpened color, and false-color infrared — to be generated from a single airborne data set.

GDC has become the first Laser-Scan partner to sign an OEM licence agreement for Radius Topology. Under this arrangement, GDC has integrated Radius Topology into GeoStore, its Spatial Data Warehouse solution for local government and utilities, creating two new modules, called GeoStore Topology and GeoStore Topology Query Plus. The GeoStore Topology module will assure users that spatial information submitted to the warehouse is centralized with their business data, kept error-free and accessible from multiple GIS applications; automate data cleaning and simplify data editing; and sustain data integrity through dynamic server-side data maintenance. Users who then choose to upgrade to GeoStore Topology Query Plus will also benefit from rapid data searching and automatic spatial relationship management.
     Radius Topology is a dynamic topology management layer that was initially delivered on the Oracle9i platform. It acts as a 'gatekeeper', allowing only clean, accurate data into the database. Inconsistent data is automatically corrected, within the bounds of user-defined rules. Radius Topology is now also available on Oracle Database 10g. It can also be utilized as an application to maintain topology in conjunction with the topology storage mechanism offered through Oracle 10g Spatial. GDC specializes in the key markets of local government, focusing on the provision of geographic infrastructure for e-government and insurance, centered on location-based risk evaluation. GeoStore is a Spatial Data Warehouse built on Oracle capable of storing, managing and publishing common GI data formats and providing live interoperability with Autodesk Map, MapInfo and ESRI. GeoStore also communicates using GML, the open standard for geographic data enabling Joint Working between partner organisations.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has accepted final Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data production delivery from Intermap Technologies. This acceptance concludes Intermap's effort on the production task order, which it supported as a subcontractor to The Boeing Company, in processing the elevation data from the NGA-NASA SRTM project. The team has received an additional task order for value-added processing to fill voids in the SRTM data with alternate sources of elevation information.
     In February 2000, NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour flew the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, collecting digital elevation data for approximately 80 percent of Earth's land surface. It is the first, close to worldwide, radar coverage that is used for the creation of three-dimensional digital elevation model (DEM) maps ranging from 60 degrees north latitude to 56 degrees south latitude.
     Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, the company is digitally remapping countries and building national databases, called NEXTMap, of digital topographic maps (including elevation). NEXTMap data is used for GIS, engineering planning, transportation, automotive, navigation, flood, irrigation, environmental management and planning, telecommunications network planning, aviation, simulation, and 3D visualization. Internet applications include virtual tours, topographic maps and computer games. The products are also used to add interactive intelligence to airborne and satellite images.

The San Ramon Valley, California, Fire Protection District (SRVFPD), has installed an enterprise Web mapping system based on geospatial data management solutions from Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions. The system augments the district's emergency response process. SRVFPD provides fire and ambulance service to a very diverse 155-square-mile territory of Southern Contra Costa County with a population of 140,000 people that is rapidly expanding. It worked closely with San Francisco-based Farallon Geographics, an Intergraph Registered Solutions Center, to build the new system, which links the department's computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, records management system (RMS), and geospatial databases. Geospatial data from the new system will be fed to emergency response units via onboard mobile data computers. Geospatial data is managed using Intergraph's GeoMedia desktop and Web technology. The RMS system runs on a SunPro SQL Server.


VARGIS, LLC, a geospatial consulting and professional services firm, has hired Alan Sneyd as its Chief Operating Officer. Sneyd, with more than 25 years of domestic and international mapping experience, holds BS and MS degrees in geography and an MBA from Johns Hopkins. He is experienced in managing large geospatial service programs for domestic and overseas clients. His most recent achievement was overseeing the development of the most comprehensive digital map database of North America, intended for use in GIS and in-vehicle navigation applications. At VARGIS, he will be responsible for day-to-day operations for all projects, day-to-day production operations, resource allocation, and technology innovations and implementation. He will also lead all customer service.


On April 28, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. PDT, the ESRI Virtual Campus will present "Introduction to ArcGIS Network Analyst", a free, live training seminar designed for those who use GIS technology to solve routing problems. The seminar will cover the new features available in the ArcGIS 9.1 extension. ArcGIS Network Analyst, an extension for routing, provides a framework for network-based spatial analysis, such as location analysis, drive-time analysis, and spatial interaction modeling. The extension allows ArcGIS Desktop users to model realistic network conditions and scenarios that help generate routing solutions.
     This seminar introduces the new ArcGIS 9.1 Network Analyst extension and its corresponding network dataset. The presenter will demonstrate how the extension solves various problems such as finding the best route or closest facility with travel directions, determining service areas, and generating origin-destination cost matrices. In addition, the presenter will discuss creating simple and multimodal network datasets to support various types of network analyses.
     A broadband Internet connection and a free ESRI global account are required to view the seminar. Following the live presentation, the seminar will be archived and available for viewing on the Virtual Campus Web site.


Leica Geosystems has confirmed its sales and earnings guidance for the year, stating that order momentum in all of its businesses was solid, supporting its full year sales growth estimate of between 11 and 12 percent. According to the company, where it will fall within this range is largely dependent upon the conversion to sales of several large orders in its GIS & Mapping division, which might slip into the first quarter of the next fiscal year. At the same time, the company reiterated its expectation that sales growth in Surveying & Engineering would exceed 15 percent for the full year. In terms of profitability, Leica Geosystems continues to expect the full year EBITDA margin to be at or slightly above 16 percent, with net income to approach CHF 50 million.

NAVTEQ Corporation — a provider of comprehensive digital map information for automotive navigation systems, mobile navigation devices, and Internet-based mapping applications — has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed $1.3 billion secondary offering of shares of its common stock. The shares are being offered by Philips Consumer Electronics B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Philips Electronics B.V.

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