GIS Monitor Apr 12, 2001


-New GPS Satellites for Europe?
-New Transportation Tools for GeoMedia
-MapInfo 6.5 Beta Available
-Comments on CAD-based GIS

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European Union governments have committed 100 million euros (about US$90 million) to a new GPS system for Europe. Funding is to come from governments, the European Space Agency and private investors including telecom giants from Spain, France and Italy. The goal is to have the system online in 2008 at an estimated total cost of 3.25 billion euros.

The 30-satellite package, dubbed Galileo, will support location services such as air, land and sea traffic management systems, and in-car navigation using third generation mobile phones.

The Europeans know that services such as these are already possible using US-run satellites but feel that certain operations, such as air traffic, would be best served by a satellite system not tied to the US military.

Unlike the US system, which is now open to anyone for free – the European system will have a tiered price system. Recreational and casual users will pay no fee but commercial users requiring higher performance and guaranteed service will have to pay.


Intergraph’s Mapping and GIS Solutions Division introduced two new add-ons for GeoMedia aimed at the transportation industry. At GIS-T (GIS in Transportation) in Virginia, Intergraph introduced GeoMedia Transportation and GeoMedia Transportation Analyst. From the outset I found the names confusing, but have since received further clarification.

GeoMedia Transportation creates and validates linear networks, allows editing and runs on GeoMedia Professional. It includes all of the functionality available in GeoMedia Transportation Analyst and is aimed at the “doers” in Integraph’s “user pyramid.” GeoMedia Transportation Analyst is geared to analysis and visualization of linear networks and dynamic segmentation. It runs on top of GeoMedia “regular” and is aimed at “users” in the pyramid. GeoMedia Web Enterprise (the fancy version of WebMap) will support linear referencing on an intranet or the Internet.

According to the press release, “current users of MGE Segment Manager can reduce the time required to perform maintenance on a linear referenced network by moving their data into the GeoMedia Transportation environment.” Preetha Pulusani, Executive Vice President, Mapping and GIS Division explained users of any other supported dynamic segmentation system can benefit, too. In addition, moving data from MGE to GeoMedia provides other benefits – especially Internet sharing options.

A PowerPoint presentation available on Intergraph’s site references some other new products and features for GeoMedia: GeoMedia Transaction Manager (for long transaction management with Oracle Spatial), support for InRoads’ .alg files in GeoMedia, GeoMedia Terrain (support for 3D). Only GeoMedia Terrain had an expected availability date noted: Q4 2001.


MapInfo 6.5 beta is available for download. Highlights include:

-Prism Maps - An all-new thematic display type that extrudes polygons in
the 3rd dimension based on a value.
-Raster Translucency - The ability to control the percentage of a layer
that displays through a raster image. Also, raster display override.
-New Grid Format Direct Support - DEM, DTED and GTOPO30.
-New Grid Interpolation Method - Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN)
based interpolation.
-Enhanced Object Processing - Clean, snap, thin (generalize), and
disaggregate objects.
-New Object Types - Multi-point and Collection.
-New Invert Selection - The ability to select all items in a table that
are not currently selected.
-New and Enhanced Tools - HTML Image Maps based on multiple layers
including points, lines, and polylines with HotLinks and HyperLinks
-Scale Bars in Layout windows
-New Coordinate Extractor Tool and GridInfo Tool
-Enhanced Windows 2000 Support

I saw a lot of these functions in an ArcInfo/ArcView 8.1 seminar I attended a few weeks ago. Functionality differences between the products (MapInfo and ArcView) are becoming fewer and fewer with each release.


Last week I reported on ESRI’s choice to end the sales and support of ArcCAD. Several readers responded to my suggestion that that CAD-based GIS was not really successful.

“Maybe I was taking it out of context but we at CADTEL have very successfully effected the marriage of CAD and GIS with our Spatial Engineer and SpatialBASE products.

“We are using Autodesk's AutoCAD Map as the front end rendering tool with ESRI's Spatial Data Engine (SDE) on the back end all stored and available for spatial queries in Oracle.”

Steve Thompson Vice President Business Development CADTEL Systems, Inc.

Representatives from Intergraph also contacted me to assure me that MGE continues to be developed. They suggested, and I agree, that the marketing blitz and success of GeoMedia has left MGE in the shadows.

Intergraph sees MGE in the mapping (creation and publication) world, not in the GIS world (analysis and management). Further, GeoMedia was introduced to take advantage of the Windows environment and new database storage options, not to replace MGE. MGE 8.0 is shipping and more announcements are due at the GeoSpatial World Conference in June.

I also received a call from CEDRA Corporation who builds ArcView extensions including one which adds CAD functionality. They’ve taken the “other path” – instead of adding GIS to CAD, they add CAD to GIS.


-The Boston Marathon, to be held April 16 will include wireless tracking of runners. Quarter sized transmitter chips attached to runners’ shoes will send signals via Nextel’s wireless network when they pass mats at checkpoints. Compaq staff, with iPAQs in hand, will be along the race route to provide updates to the crowd.

-BlueTags, a Danish company will introduce Bluetooth-based electronic baggage tags to the airline industry this winter. Baggage will be scanned in at check-in, and keep tabs on where it’s been during the trip. Upon arrival, the chip will be the source for information sent out to traveler handhelds for pickup.

-Canada is considering technology to “jam” cell phones in certain geographies. For now, only law enforcement may jam phones. Surveys asked 1000 adults about where it might be appropriate to use jamming: churches and movie theatres topped the list with 68% in favor.

-Intergraph responded positively to an April 9 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to deny Intel a rehearing of their patent case.


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