GIS MONITOR, April 18, 2002




- Note from the Editor 

- MapPoint .NET Version 2 Announced 

- Intergraph Settles with Intel on First Case 

- GPS Wireless Conference Quiet on GPS 

- The State of the World's Imaging Satellites 

- MapInfo Update


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MapPoint .NET is Microsoft's first commercially available SOAP/XML Web service. It's interesting that the first service is a mapping service. Perhaps Microsoft is counting on developers to buy into a mapping service, or on non-techies to grasp that such a service could be widely applicable. Mapping functionality, I think, is a fairly easy way to illustrate .NET to a broad audience.


MapPoint NET Version 2 supports the Web service standard SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). The service provides basic GIS functions including geocoding in the US and Canada, proximity searches, directions, and distance calculations. Delivery is available in nine languages.

An analysis of the role of MapPoint .NET by Art Wittmann in InfoWorld raises a key question about the service, "… the question isn't whether MapPoint .Net is a useful service, but rather, whether you should trust Microsoft to provide such a critical piece of functionality." In particular, I think he's asking if Microsoft can meet reliability needs (24x7) and keep the system up-to-date.


Payment for MapPoint .NET is assessed per transaction. Transactions cost between one and four cents depending on how many are purchased. All functions, whether a rendered map, or route creation are charged at the same rate. Though details are still being worked out, eWeek reports that the lowest amount a customer would pay is a $15,000 annual fee, which includes 2 million transactions.


Microsoft will render maps with subscriber logos and icons and capture user preferences-such as favorite webpages. Down the road, Microsoft will add in demographic information so that subscribers can track the average age or income from just an address. Wittman suggests that the cost is too high for advertising based portals, but might be appropriate for commercial or enterprise customers.


MapPoint .NET is something like a hosted version of MapPoint 2002, the desktop version. However, the ActiveX API for the desktop version provides far more functionality than the early releases of .NET.


Developers can sign up for a 30-day free trial of the service. This includes full access to the technology but a limited number of transactions and watermarks on rendered maps.


Microsoft Announces MapPoint .NET Version 2.0 


TechEd: .Net Evangelist Talks Shop (InfoWorld)



Location, location (Art Wittman, InfoWorld) 


Microsoft Debuts Mapping Web Service (eWeek),3658,s=1884&a=25346,00.asp 





On Monday, Intergraph announced a settlement with Intel related to its first patent lawsuit. The companies had been in court ordered mediation discussions since April 3rd. According to the agreement, Intergraph and Intel will grant each other patent rights and Intergraph will sell unrelated patents to Intel. Intel will pay Intergraph $300 million and the case will be dismissed.

There will be no ongoing royalties from Intel, however Intergraph plans to hold discussions with other companies that it feels are benefiting from its technology. The company hopes to discuss plans for using the incoming monies during the scheduled April 30th webcast on earnings. The suit was filed in 1997 and relates to Clipper patents.


The second suit, set for trial on July 1, 2002 will go on as scheduled. However, the companies have agreed to liquidated damages that run from $0 to $250 million depending on who wins and whether they win on appeal. This second case was filed in July 2001 and involves parallel instruction computing (PIC) patent infringement.


Liquidated damages refers to a dollar agreement for settlement as opposed to trying to guess at future royalty payments based on future sales. The range of dollar amounts basically allows Intel to "know what it's getting into" in the second case. Best case they pay nothing; worst case $250 million.

Just to put the $300 million dollar figure in perspective, Autodesk just purchased Revit for $133 million. Intergraph made $8 million in operating income in 2001 for the entire company (all five divisions). So, in short, this is a LOT of money. But, according to a CNET article, Intergraph was seeking $2.2 billion in damages on its original patent claims and was asking a judge to triple that amount in damages.


That high expected value, stock watchers suggest, is why Intergraph's stock dropped from recent high near 17 before the announcement to the mid 14s on Tuesday morning. As one savvy investor put it, "investors buy on rumor and sell on confirmation" and that's exactly what happened here.


Intergraph Settles with Intel for $300 Million in First Case


Settlement Q&A


Intel to pay in chip patent dispute (CNET)






The sixth annual GPS Wireless conference was held at the San Francisco Airport Marriott last week. The mood was not jubilant. Larry Sweeney, conference chairman and vice president of Tele Atlas North America, quoted in Wired magazine, noted that the world was much different a year ago. "Everyone thought that the e911 mandate was going to happen by now, and that's been delayed. We weren't looking at a recession and the Internet bubble hadn't burst completely." To make things seem worse, industry experts argue that carriers' reluctance to implement location tracking via GPS indicates a lack of demand outside the e911 requirements.


SiRF Technology estimated that only 9 million GPS enhanced phones shipped in North America last year. The part of the market with money and demand seems to be vehicle tracking. On the consumer side, industry analyst David Sonnen suggests, consumers will not be so willing to get directions from an in-car based GPS when they can get a map from the convenience store for a few dollars.


GPS: Still Wandering in Space (Wired),1382,51663,00.html





The US military is concerned that more and more countries are building better and better imaging satellites. Where once only Russia could compete on resolution, now China, India and other countries, along with a variety of private companies, have effective eyes in the sky.


The new technology is not the result of purchased components or stolen technology secrets, but of in-country research and development. The US has, for some time, banned the sale of satellite components overseas, which has encouraged new manufacturers to spring up. Unfortunately, that policy has also meant fewer manufacturers are in business in the US.


With the new satellites up and running, the US has to take a new look at either putting the systems out of commission or blocking retrieval of the downloading imagery during war time. For now, the US military can only "control" US based companies to some degree, as they did by purchasing all of Space Imaging's products over Afghanistan last fall. It's not clear that non-US companies will bite on such deals.


US Loses Edge on Spy Satellites (AP)



U.S. Monopoly on High-resolution Satellite Imagery is Eroding (AP)




MapInfo Update


The rumor mill surrounding MapInfo was working overtime this week. There are rumors of a significant sales/reorganization meeting in Denver in the past week and departures of senior employees, but no details or confirmations are available.


Here is what is known. Gary Schaffer did indeed leave. A press release about his new position as CEO of Inmedius Inc., a maker of software to streamline maintenance processes, came out last Monday. Schaffer was MapInfo's vice president of product and market management. He founded OnTarget, a telco data and app developer, which MapInfo purchased in 1998.


Also, this past week, the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce announced a new award in honor of MapInfo Corp. co-founder Mike Marvin called the MIKE award. Marvin will receive the first award, which is designed to recognize individuals who play a significant role in the tech community on April 30th. MIKE stands for mentoring, inspiring, knowledge and entrepreneurship.


As we go to press some of the rumors have been confirmed in today's conference call. See the link below for my take on the call.


Inmedius appoints president and CEO


Inmedius names Gary L. Schaffer President & CEO (PDF)


Albany-Colonie chamber creates MIKE award (Albany Business Review)


MapInfo Lowers Loss, Reorganizes (MapInfo earnings conference call review, Adena Schutzberg)





- Navy officials say they've been using NASA satellite data to guide ships and planes in the war in Afghanistan. The excitement? This is the first time they've used NASA imagery. Some in the US congress feel that NASA may be outside its civilian charter, but NASA notes that the imagery is public domain.


- In other geographic news from the military, it is unclear that the detainees from Afghanistan, currently in Cuba, actually understand where they are. The US military had planned not to tell them, but the Red Cross workers shared the location information. Still, the name of the country may mean little to those brought halfway around the world from their mountain homeland.



- This time of year there are hundreds of little stories about local elementary and middle school students winning the latest round of the Geography Bee. I want to highlight just one: Johnny Pascale, 13, of Grants Pass, Oregon. He'll be representing his state at the national championship in May. Pascale is autistic and just loves maps.


- Directions Magazine reports that last week's GeoTec event in Toronto had 2,300 attendees down from the 2,600 that attended last year in Vancouver. The exhibit hall was sold out.


- My estimates last week of 1,500 registered GITA attendees at this year's conference fit fairly well with past totals shared by a reader. In 2001 there were 3,252 total attendees and 1,645 registered attendees.


- The next step after war driving (finding "free" wireless access to the Internet) may be accessing digital feeds from home security cameras. According to the New York Times, signals from the infamous x-10 digital camera can be picked up with off-the-shelf equipment up to 1/4 mile away. Under US law this does not appear to be illegal.

 (New York Times, free registration required)


- At the National Association of State Chief Information Officers' midyear conference in Denver, several GIS advocates shared their frustration about limited movement in using GIS for homeland security. "We have not really put anything new in the hands of people who rush into situations," said Bryan Logan, president and chief executive officer of EarthData. Karen Sideralis, the USGS GIO (geographic information officer) pushed for continued development of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure and Jack Dangermond of ESRI argued that the country should take advantage of all of the local efforts and monies in GIS to weave together a shared homeland security effort.


- Another sign of the times: a press release details Hitachi Software Global Technology (HSGT) choice of a Web solution to be sure the company does not sell imagery or image processing software to those parties on security risk lists.


- I'll be at the FIG/ACSM/ASPRS/ conference in Washington, DC next week. I hope to see some of you.




- Announcements


InfoTech Enterprises Europe received accreditation to the international Quality Management standard BS EN ISO9001:2000 by Bureau Veritas Quality International.


Kivera has joined the Location Interoperability Forum (LIF), a global, open industry forum founded by Motorola, Ericsson and Nokia to advance the worldwide deployment of LBS.


TTP Communications and Trimble announced an alliance to develop a range of products that combine TTPCom's GSM/General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Bluetooth technologies with Trimble's proprietary Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.


Pixxures will incorporate Maporama's worldwide street maps, driving directions and Location Based Services (LBS) into its online services. Maporama has made Pixxures its imagery provider for all of its global LBS services.


ADCi has been named the number one reseller of Tele Atlas North America digital maps for the year 2001. This is the fourth year that Tele Atlas has honored the company.


Applied Technological Services, Inc. of Dallas (ATS) has been accepted into ESRI's Desktop Reseller Program. On the same day I learned the company signed as the first (Intergraph) Team GeoMedia Registered Solutions Provider (RSP) in North America.


- Contracts


Greene County, GA, located 75 miles east of Atlanta, awarded a $325,000 multi-year contract to Merrick & Company for a full range of mapping services.


York Region, Peel Region and the Government of Ontario have made financial commitments that will cover an orthophotography project for the greater Toronto area to be carried out by JD Barnes Limited.


With a bit of bravado, BEA Systems announced "Colorado County Selects BEA Over IBM for E-Government of the Future."


NovaLIS Technologies' Land Development Office solution is being implemented in Volusia County, Florida.


Storage Area Networks and ImageLinks are partnering to deliver ImageLinks RasterWare™ spatial information processing engine within the SANz EarthWhere™ family of geospatial data management products.


- Products


A new version of CommunityViz from the Orton Family Foundation, which utilizes GIS software technology, was unveiled at the American Planning Association Conference. The decision-support framework includes a scenario constructor, a 3D site builder and a policy simulator.


CSI Wireless introduced two new OEM (original equipment manufacturer) GPS chips. The new Evolution is a printed circuit board (PCB) module that is accurate to within two or three meters when differentially The SX-1, is a PCB module that is accurate to less than one meter.


Undersea with GIS, edited by Dawn J. Wright, is available from ESRI Press. Wright, an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University, collected works from experts in marine biology, oceanography, aquatic resource management, and other fields to highlight the ways in which GIS is beginning to help improve our understanding of the oceans.


- Hires


Plangraphics announced a series of hires: Vinod Belani as a Senior Research Analyst; Marcus Brothwell as a Senior Systems Analyst; Mark Gaylord as a Senior Systems Analyst; Sam Zhang as a Systems Analyst. They all come from Xmarc. Jeffrey Martus from Baltimore County Government GIS Department has joined the company as a Quality Assurance Specialist. Jeff Melia has joined the company as a Quality Assurance/Quality Control Specialist. Bridget Starr from Peregrine Systems has joined the company as a Senior Consultant. Michael Wiley, formerly a Plangraphics contractor, has joined the company as a Senior Systems Analyst.




Apr 17 - ObjectFX to Integrate its SpatialFX EJBTM with Oracle9i 

SpatialFX EJB is deployable on Oracle9i Application Server (Oracle9iAS) for location services applications.


Apr 17 - Farallon Spatially Enables Kaho'olawe Island Ordnance Data 

Farallon used Web technology to publish spatial data to the web in near real time. This was key since the project involves clearing bombs from a 45 square mile island near Maui, HI.


Apr 17 - Red Hen Systems Announces Partnership with iPIX 

The integration of iPIX imagery will allow MediaMapper to use the expansive 360-degree field-of-view offered by the iPIX® patented photographic process.

Apr 17 - Free Online Version of MapFinder USGS Quad Locator 

It's free, but you must register.


Apr 17 - Leica Geosystems "Win With IMAGINE" Contest Winners 

The winners are Mike White, Applications Senior Analyst for Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU), and Earl Saunders, Planning Consultant for Saunders & Associates, who co-authored an ERDAS IMAGINE® application paper entitled, "Colorado Irrigated Lands Project." The grand prize for the Win With IMAGINE contest is a 35mm Leica minilux zoom camera.


Apr 16 - Global Geomatics Discounts MapFusion Workstation Pricing 

MapFusion Workstation drops from $2500 to $495 USD. That in turn brings the "small enterprise" implementation price down from $25,000 to $20,000. I think it's interesting that the price drop occurred just five months after the software was announced last December. The company also added support for even more military GIS formats.


Apr 15 - TelePointer Selects Webraska for LBS Across Europe 

TelePointer Giessenburg, the Netherlands, selected Webraska to provide server-based software solutions for wireless navigation, fleet management and LBS to the corporate sector and automotive after-market.


Apr 15 - Leica ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor Makes American Debut 

The digital sensor, which captures 3 panchromatic channels (forward, nadir and backward) and 4 multispectral bands (RGB and NIR) simultaneously, will remain in the States until June for a series of demonstration flights.


Apr 15 - Same Day Scanning Service for USGS Maps Launched 

Digital Data Services will walk across the street to the USGS, find the map, scan it and put it in the mail the same day.


Apr 11 - German Telematics Firm Comroad Involved in Audit Fraud ={B1311FCE-FBFB-11D2-B228-00105A9CAF88}&doc=


In a scandal as big as Enron is in the US, 98 percent of 2001 sales booked by the Munich telematics company Comroad appear to be fraudulent.


Apr 11 - Intergraph Stock Jumps Over Intel

ap_on_bi_ge/intergraph_2 As I noted last week, Intergraph's statement of ongoing negotiations with Intel raised the stock nicely.


Apr 11 - Ordnance Survey Launches Personalised Map Service 

By using a tool on the Ordnance Survey website, surfers can request a 40 km by 40 km map, centered where they'd like, printed and delivered by mail in five days for L12. The application for selecting the center of the map is rather friendly, but I fear the less map savvy may be confused by seeing the boundaries of the map in one frame, and the level of detail in another. Basically, there is no way to preview the "whole" map.


Apr 11 - E-Plus Selects Webraska for First i-mode LBS in Europe 

E-Plus chose Webraska to develop and host the first Location-Based Services for i-mode.


Apr 11 - Intergraph and IBM Announce GIS Marketing Agreement 

The two companies are teaming to sell Intergraph's GeoMedia suite together with IBM's DB2 database management software. I wonder how many organizations purchasing GIS do not already have a mature database. And, I wonder how many organizations looking at DB2 are thinking of using it to store geographic information.


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