GIS MONITOR, April 11, 2002


- Open For Business 

- Personal Security Service Via GPS Enabled Phone 

- GIS 2002: It's All About Mapping the Show Floor 

- Intergraph Speaks to Intel Questions

Departments: Letter, Points of Interest, Business Notes, Week in Review, Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

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The online marketplace for GIS talent,, formally opened its doors this week. Not a product, but a services exchange, the idea is to match those with GIS projects with consultants to do the work. For now, consultants can sign on for free; come July it will cost $49 US for a 6-month single-user subscription, which allows access to detailed information on projects and the opportunity to bid. Those posting projects pay nothing.

Russ Tiensvold, chief executive of argues that finding qualified consultants is time consuming and limited to local providers. opens that up. Joe Francica, known to many as the former editor of Business Geographics Magazine and current editor and general manager of Directions Magazine suggests in the press release that "there has never been a good online resource for finding GIS contract work" and that the site's interactive nature separates it from sites that simply post RFPs (requests for proposals).


Directions Magazine has an exclusive relationship to promote, and holds a minority interest in the company.


When I started out as a consultant, nearly two years ago, I looked at a similar, but far broader website called The company had put ads on the radio and I thought the website would be an easy way to get contracts. At about the same time there was a bit of buzz on the Web about The GIS Consultants' Network (GISCN). Described as an international clearinghouse for GIS consultants, the website is no longer active and the domain appears to be owned by a Chinese telco.


My actual experience as a consultant turned out this way. Every single client I've worked with in the past two years was either someone I already knew or was referred by an acquaintance.


I wish the best of luck since I like the idea, and would be willing to pay for it. I'm just not sure that business is transacted that way in our small community. Launches Online GIS Marketplace 





Security Associates International (SAI), basically a security company, has teamed with Airbiquity to offer location-based security. Using SAI's existing telematics control center, the service, StreetSafe, offers information or aid based on a cell phone's location, much like a telematics service, such as OnStar, would to a locatable auto. The service runs $14 to $16 per month and requires a Nokia wireless phones compatible with the GPS Accessory, $99, the receiver that plugs into the phone.


The big distinguisher, according to Nancy Carr of the press relations agency handling the account, is that this offering travels with you on the street, on public transportation, or in someone else's vehicle. Carr also highlight's that E-911 is only for true emergencies and that StreetSafe provides services such as directions, tire-changes, and "finding the nearest" ATM. She argues that since the location is transmitted directly, assistance arrives quicker than traditional roadside assistance. 


The same day I read about this new service, I received an insert in my cell phone bill introducing Roadside Rescue a $4 monthly fee for auto assistance. The American Automobile Association (AAA) and other clubs actually provide the assistance. AAA membership was the first thing I thought of when I read about the StreetSafe offering. Though for now they do not offer assistance linked to the location of a cell phone, for far less than StreetSafe and even less than my cell phone carrier's deal, AAA provides assistance (that travels with you, not the car), cool maps, and discounts on movie tickets and car insurance.


The biggest oversight of location-based service offerings such as these is that MOST of the time, at home, potential users won't need them. But, when traveling, they will. Is it worth $16/month to actually use the service only during the several weeks a business traveler is on the road? I think not. Would the same person pay $10/week for the service during a weeklong stay in New York City? Probably.


SAI and Airbiquity To Provide Portable "Handheld" Security 



GIS 2002: It's All About Mapping the Show Floor


The Global Conference and Exhibition on Geospatial Technology, Tools and Solutions, or what I refer to as GIS 2002, is the 16th annual GIS conference in Canada. The conference alternates between Toronto and Vancouver each year. A few companies used this year's Toronto meeting to announce new or updated offerings. Interestingly, many of the demos are maps of the show floor.


MapCloud Services Inc. announced geoCette, a software platform for creating customized mapping applications on the Internet. Based upon GML (Geography Markup Language), geoCette allows the integration of multiple proprietary GIS data formats into a single interactive Web Map and maintains dynamic links to the backend proprietary GIS data. MapCloud argues that geoCette is unique because it allows dynamic access to native data without conversion. I thought other solutions, including MapGuide, could do that.

A geoCette demo of the Toronto area of the show and the show floor is available on the MapCloud website. Although I found the maps quick and pretty, it was difficult to see if the application in fact demonstrates the above claims since the source data formats are not provided. The maps are viewable via Flash (which I used) or an SVG plug-in.


IDELIX showed of its Pliable GIS technology right on the conference website. The demo involves a map of the show floor. A 7.5 Mb download is required to view it. When I asked show management how to access the map without the download I was sent a PDF.


MBiztech provided a downloadable show floor map for both PalmOS and PocketPC based handhelds.


Idevio announced a new version of RAVE Geo that includes object aggregation of lines and polygons which increases access speed, error control at all zoom levels, and support for extremely large databases. Idevio, I guess to be different, provides a world map for demonstration purposes on the company website.




MapCloud Announces geoCette, a GML-based Internet Map Server Platform 


IDELIX app and map of show floor 









Intergraph put out a statement on Tuesday evening to say that court-ordered mediation with Intel aimed at finding a settlement to one phase of the lawsuit, is ongoing. In meetings begun April 3, 2002 the two companies have thus far agreed to keep looking for settlement opportunities. Jim Taylor, Intergraph CEO noted in the statement that the company had received calls on Tuesday asking about the status of the discussions.


What's really behind this statement? More than a few phone calls, I'll suggest. Tuesday, as the market was relatively calm, Intergraph's stock dropped nearly 20% from 17.5 to 14 by day's end with significantly higher than normal volume. With no news to cause the downturn there was a bit of a scare. Intergraph stepped forward to make it clear that nothing had happened...yet. As we go to press, Intergraph's stock price has just about recovered.


Intergraph Issues Statement on Ongoing Talks with Intel 





- Dan Ahern, Senior Marketing Manager, GIS Solutions at Autodesk updated me on the NACo (National Association of Counties) plan for homeland security:


"I just wanted to note that NACo has expanded their plan to include 20 points, not just 16. They have added recommendations about immigration, evacuation, research, and legal immunity. I agree with your assessment that, for many, GIS is not the center of the universe. It plays an extremely vital role, but it is [only] a piece of the overall solution." 





- In the rush to memorialize the victims and heroes of 9/11 a Pennsylvania representative is arguing a bill that would turn Route 93 in the southeastern part of the state into Flight 93 Remembrance Highway. The road has only the number in common with the flight that crashing in western Pennsylvania. Another representative is supporting the title for Route 30, which is the nearest road to the crash site.



- Two recent press releases touting upcoming conferences crossed my browser in recent weeks. Neither had the location of the meeting included. I remind companies that host conferences that the location still matters! 


- The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decided last week that Applied Digital Solutions' biochip, called "VeriChip," is not considered a medical device and therefore is not subject to FDA regulation. That gives the company free reign to begin implanting the ID chip into individuals in the US. For now the chip, the size of a grain of rice, contains just an ID number with further detail stored on a computer. In time the chip may be combined with GPS as a location tool.


VeriChip Corporation, a subsidiary of Digital Angel, will launch a new Global VeriChip Subscriber (GVS) Registry service on May 1, 2002. This is basically a secure registry to store key medical and contact information "linked" to the chip. In addition to the cost of the chip itself and "installation," subscribers will pay a monthly fee for the data storage. 


- Acme Rent-A-Car of New Haven will ask the court for a temporary stay on an order to curtail use of GPS tracking aimed at speeders in its rental cars. The company's use of GPS to fine drivers was determined to violate Connecticut's unfair trade practices law. Acme, however, wants the stay so it can continue to use GPS and fine customers until its appeal is heard.



- It's all over for the company where I learned GIS: Arthur D. Little (ADL) of Cambridge, Massachusetts has been sold off in five pieces to different investors. The fire sale, which started after the 116-year old company filed for bankruptcy in February 2002, brought in US$97 million and will cover the larger creditors waiting in line for payment. Many ex-ADLers have lost pensions and ESOP money.



- After receiving two press releases highlighting the 2700+ registered attendees at GITA this year I contacted GITA management to get a breakdown of how many were vendors vs. registered attendees. The organization would not make that information available, but did confirm that the total cited included attendees, vendor reps, press, etc.


So, I'll try some quick rough math. There were 181 vendors. The big vendors (Autodesk, Intergraph, Smallworld, ESRI and a few others, maybe 10 total) likely had 50 staff there totaling perhaps 500. The other smaller vendors, as an average, I'll guess, brought four representatives, totaling 680. Press people? Maybe twenty; I was one. Other VIPs? I'll guess 50. That's roughly 1200 vendors/GITA staff/press/VIPs. That yields an estimated paid attendance of about 1500.


- CellPoint, whose technology basically locates devices for location-based services, is appealing a decision from NASDAQ that would delist the company from the exchange. CellPoint feels that recent reorganization work within the company puts it on solid ground.





- Announcements


ESRI hosted its 2002 International Business Partner Conference for more than 800 developers, consultants, data providers, and resellers. Fifty went home with awards.


Conestoga-Rovers & Associates Family of Companies will sell and support the entire GPS/GIS product line from the GIS & Mapping Division to local governments and utilities in Michigan (USA).


The new Government Systems Office (GSO) of Research Systems, Inc. (RSI, a Kodak subsidiary) provides support to U.S. government agencies and contractors using RSI's suite of image and data analysis and visualization solutions.


Entrees for Intergraph's first annual Awards for Cartographic Excellence are due May 1, 2002.


PCI Geomatics has begun a contest for those using its software. Projects from schools and local government/commercial users are welcome and there are prizes of MP3 players and digital cameras. 


Department of Science and Technology (India) and Survey of India, announced a yearlong celebration to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Great Trigonometric Survey.


- Contracts


The European Commission selected Tele Atlas to provide digital mapping data to the Polaris project, the testing service of the European satellite system Galileo.


Earth Search Sciences, Inc. has been awarded a contract to collect hyperspectral data from its airborne platform for the Remote Sensing Technologies Center at Mississippi State University.


The Computational Geospatial Technologies Center (CGTC) at Mississippi State University (MSU) has purchased ImageLinks RasterWare Appliances technology to serve as the spatial data processing engine in MSU's Geospatial Library.


GlobeXplorer, Inc will use Network Appliance, Inc.'s enterprise network storage solutions to delivers interactive aerial images via the Internet. The release goes on to mention that GlobeXplorer will deliver imagery from Eastman Kodak Company to companies, including MapQuest.


Shell GeoStar, a pan-European interactive auto travel portal will include Maporama's location products into the website and i-mode mobile version.


Questerra has purchased an Active Archive BC system from ImageLinks to serve as the raster data production engine for Questerra's recently launched Web-based spatial information management service.


- Products


Maporama launched Maporama Customer Service Solutions, the third module of its product suite Maporama Enterprise Solutions. Designed for Customer Service managers in the retail industry the modeule helps use location-centric information to improve customer satisfaction.


- Hires


Geographic Data Technology (GDT) announced that Bruce Bergeron will head its Community Update program designed to create data exchange partnerships with local communities throughout the United States. He was formerly head of GDT's Database Improvement Department.





Apr 10 - Meteorlogix Provides Red Cross With Storm Tracking System 

MxVision StormSentry,a storm tracking and alerting system, will be in use at the Red Cross' Washington, D.C., headquarters and at other venues to monitor and predict weather patterns.


Apr 10 - ESRI and DHI to Integrate GIS with Water Modeling Software 

DHI will integrate ESRI's ArcGIS platform into its new generation of software products for dynamic water modeling. The two organizations have a longstanding relationship: my training partner in a 1992 ArcInfo class was from DHI.


Apr 09 - LizardTech Lays Off Half its Staff of 80 Challenged LizardTech is down to 40 employees. Last summer the company was at 150.


Apr 09 - RGI Announces Canadian 12.5 Meter Landsat 7 Mosaic 

The digital, 12.5m pixel, three-band color mosaic of Canada is produced from Landsat 7 satellite imagery.


Apr 08 - Tests Show Kivera Leads in Geocoding and Routing Accuracy


Kivera's geocoding was tested for accuracy, performing 15-40 percent better than five competitive solutions. According to Kivera, the company itself hired 3rd party companies to test several solutions including technology from MapQuest, Webraska and Telcontar.


Apr 08 - Oregon To Implement Wireless 9-1-1 

The implementation is the result of ongoing work by Airbiquity Inc, and Plant Equipment Inc. (PEI), working in tandem with Edge Wireless and the State of Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM).


Apr 05 - OGC to Support I-Team Initiative 

A Technology Advisory Group (TAG) that will support the efforts of I-Teams nationwide and allow them to work with OGC for insight into geospatial solutions.


Apr 04 - Enghouse Acquires Moore Resource Systems 

As I mentioned in the obituary of the company founder, Moore Resource Systems is doing fine. Moore customers include some of the largest companies in North America, including El Paso Corporation, ChevronTexaco Corporation, and TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. The company is growing at 25% per year and is expecting revenues next year in excess of $4 Million. No wonder Enghouse picked up the small company!


Apr 04 - Trimble and Condor to Provide Monitoring of Infrastructure 

Real-time GPS 3D monitoring technology provides scientists, engineers, facility managers, as well as others tasked with monitoring structural integrity or natural hazard movement, valuable lead-time to mitigate potentially hazardous situations. The companies, though they didn't mention it explicitly, seem to be speaking to homeland security needs.


Apr 04 - Sanborn Wins Multiple Mapping Projects in the Midwest 

Sanborn will assist the GIS efforts of Lorain County, Ohio; Jefferson City and Cole County, Missouri; and Davenport, Iowa.


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