May 6, 2004


• Editor's Note
• Managing Software Costs Worldwide
• Viewer, Viewer, Who's Got the Viewer?
• Department of Corrections

This issue sponsored by:

Letters, Points of Interest, Kudos and Conundrums, Week in Review (Announcements, Contracts, Products, Events, Training, Hires) Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

If, for some reason you cannot read this document, visit:

Editor's Note
Several readers wrote to me last week to note receiving two copies of GIS Monitor. Others were concerned that GIS Monitor was delivered on Friday. Both situations were due to technical glitches at our end. At this point, we believe all's well. Thanks for your patience.

This next week I'll be at three different GIS events. Today (Thursday) I'll be at MapInfo's MapWorld in Baltimore, Maryland; next Wednesday I'll be at the New England GIS Conference (NEGIS) in Boxborough, Massachusetts; and next Thursday I'll be at Intergraph's Geospatial World in Miami, Florida. I look forward to speaking to readers and sharing what I learn at these events in future issues.

As always, thanks to readers for reading GIS Monitor and to our sponsors who keep the electrons coming!


Managing Software Costs Worldwide
If you've ever spoken to GIS people from other countries, the topic of price no doubt came up. I recall being amazed that the "same" box of software had a significantly different price "over there." Ziff-Davis published an interesting
article asking why we pay more in the U.S. I recall that sometimes GIS software actually costs more "over there."

The main reason for differential pricing, according to the article, revolves around the fact that it's unfair to charge U.S. prices in less wealthy countries as the sums may, in fact, be some 10% of annual income. So, the prices are shifted to a more reasonable percentage. High prices encourage piracy, while lower ones, so the argument goes, mean the software developer gets at least some money it would not otherwise see.

It's worth noting the price of producing the software is low, no matter who buys it. The first box costs a billion dollars say (including development costs) but beyond that, cutting CDs and printing manuals (which is less common now) or providing downloading services are quite inexpensive.

Digital River is a worldwide software distributor that faces the differential pricing challenge. It hosts online stores for online stores for companies such as 3M, H&R; Block, Autodesk, and Symantec. Recently, the company implemented SoftwarePassport, a technology that allows different prices in different countries and a method to manage those prices. It also tracks assets and contains some elements of Digital Rights Management, DRM. The idea is to entice vendors who have been wary of overseas markets into those markets.

A software vendor who uses Digital River's SoftwarePassport can adjust prices on a per country basis. But the tools go even further. Say you move to the U.S. from China, where you purchased a copy of a product from Digital River. Once the "system" realizes you are now communicating with an American Internet Service Provider, it will send a bill for the difference in price between the two countries. If you choose not to pay? The software stops working! Should you move the other way, from the U.S. to China? Do not expect a check in the mail.

I contacted Digital River about how the company ensures that buyers are "where they say they are." A representative replied, "Digital River uses a combination of third party IP [Internet Protocol] recognition tools [NetAcuity] along side the basic billing information provided by the customer at the time of purchase. Depending on both of these data points, our system will manage the license accordingly."

According to IDC (registration required), within the $188 billion global software market, just 10% of sales are via the Internet. Is it possible this type of "big brother" move by Digital River could perhaps encourage further shipments of boxed products or pirated copies of them rather than encouraging online purchases?

Viewer, Viewer, Who's Got the Viewer?
I read a few posts to newsgroups bemoaning the disappearance of the free stand-alone MrSID viewer in the past few months. I realized this week the news had spread outside our industry when the disappearance was noted in The Christian Science Monitor. The
article was about David Rumsey's website and noted that some downloaded files demanded a viewer, and all the author found was a browser plugin for Windows (the ExpressView Browser Plugin). I checked the LizardTech website to find the same situation, and I did see a free trial for a non-free stand-alone application called GeoExpress View.

I contacted LizardTech to find out where the old viewer went and the plans for the future. The idea, explained Karen Morley, LizardTech Vice President, Geospatial Imaging of Marketing, was to reduce the company's efforts in having both a stand-alone viewer and a plugin. The Mac viewer was dropped since there was little demand for it in the geospatial arena. Demand from outside that arena has picked up and the company is exploring how to move forward.

The stand-alone viewer, GeoExpress View, was written by a LizardTech partner, International Land Systems in Washington D.C. "Viewer" is a bit of a misnomer as it supports vector overlay and annotation among other things. The free trial version runs for four hours, after which it can be purchased.

Feedback from users on the lack of a free stand-alone viewer has prompted LizardTech to explore reinstating one, along with a more powerful full-featured version. Stay tuned.

Department of Corrections
Jason Ruen, North American Digitizing Project Leader at NAVTEQ, corrected a statement I made regarding the company in my article about Tele Atlas acquiring GDT. I regret any confusion caused by this error.

"I would like to point out an error in your article regarding the Tele Atlas purchase of GDT.

"Your article states, 'On one hand, Tele Atlas sends fleets to drive every corner of the U.S. and Canada as well as uses aerial imagery to update; competitor NAVTEQ uses a similar methodology but only drives the U.S.' This is incorrect. We do, in fact, have a global field organization that drives in every country in which we have a database."

GITA’s 2004 Webcast Series: GITA's 2003-2004 Geospatial Technology Report

Do you want to know how accurate your facility data really needs to be? If your peers have the same application development priorities? What the most common applications integrated with GIS are and why? Join GITA for a comprehensive look at its Geospatial Technology Report from GITA in a webcast on Tuesday, May 18.

• Shoreh Elhami, GIS Director at the Delaware County Auditor's Office wrote in response to last week's GITA issue.

"Just wanted to drop a quick note and thank you for the latest GIS Monitor issue. It put me right into the GITA conference without actually being there! Especially Peter Batty, Geo services, and homeland security panel discussions were wonderfully summarized. Wish I could be there but alas, there are only so many conferences one can attend.... Once again, thank you for a great re-cap and for publishing such high caliber magazine."

• Several readers asked technical questions, specifically on Java, and its role in the USDA Gateway which I highlighted two weeks ago:

Rajan Nanda of Full Circle Technologies questioned my statement about "unchecking" options in the browser. The statement is on the main page of the website.

"In your latest GIS Monitor, you say "The app is Java-based, so you'll want to check that your system is appropriately configured (Internet Explorer users must uncheck all Java options).

"Don't you mean IE users must check all, or rather the appropriate, Java options?"

Bill Nichols wrote:

"Yes, that's fine, but there is a glitch. The gateway requires you to turn on Java. This is a potential vulnerability on any system.

It isn't necessary to use Java. Much better from a security and programming point of view would have been PHP [an open source, server-side, HTML embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages; it powers the GIS Monitor website - Ed.]."

I asked Randy Frosh, a consultant for Gateway to respond:

"Java problems are the number one question for users of the gateway. Use of a JVM [Java Virtual Machine] is required. Most users follow the FAQ [Frequently Asked Questions] and are fine. In IE [Internet Explorer] 5.5 and 6.0, users need to uncheck all Java options so that MS JVM was used. After the Microsoft/Sun [decision] 15-Dec-03, the IE 6 users need to download a JVM."

Points of Interest
Can't Get Enough? Read the latest Points of Interest daily on our


Cell phone Weather. As I've noted before, if you are a tech weenie and do not read David Poque in the New York Times, you are missing out. He's not only interesting, but funny. This week he highlights WeatherNews, a program for some cell phones, that delivers, you guessed it, weather. He notes that those with Internet-enabled cell phones can of course visit their favorite website without a $3/month program, but agrees this presentation is slicker. Moreover, it has some special features (available only on some phones) that alert users to bad weather in their destination of choice. ("Hey, get up early, it's raining and will take you longer to get to the airport to catch your flight.") This is a location-based service - you "tell it" the location of interest. He does note the price is a bit steep for the offering. I'm not sure I agree.

More Tools for Geek Runners. If you buy a Garmin GPS watch, with a few tips included here, you can capture your route and overlay it on "satellite images" from USAPhotoMaps. I wasn't aware of that company, which it seems, offers a series of free goodies that basically take advantage of TerraServer, which serves USGS orthos, which of course, are NOT taken by satellites, but good old airplanes. Thanks to reader Randall for the pointer.

Average Color of Palo Alto. An artist is taking pictures (registration required) of all the buildings in Palo Alto, in part for art's sake and in part for GIS sake. The art part involves a quest for the "average color" of the city, with each parcel receiving "one vote" via a blurry photo he'll take while riding a scooter. The blurry part has to do with privacy. When complete the work of art will be displayed, though in what format is still up in the air. The photos will also become part of the city's GIS, linked to each parcel. The project received a $10,000 art grant from the city.

FreeFi. Remember when you could get free dial-up access by enduring ads? Well, the same pitch is now being made about wireless access points. You can use the freebies, but there will be ads if the owner chooses to work with FreeFi, a company hoping to make money on the ads. A pervasive ad bar sits atop a user's browser.

Maybe It's Better We Don't Know How Technology Works. Thieves stole a fancy Cadillac in Missouri. They knew it had OnStar and could be tracked. So, they broke off the radio antenna. That just made radio reception fuzzy, and police soon tracked the car and the perpetrators.

IBM Adds Geodetic Goodies to UDB. The latest beta release of IBM's Universal Database has new geospatial tools including support for 3D versions of the globe, support for time zones, and the international dateline. The goodies come from the 2001 acquisition of Informix. Informix is still supported, but clearly the goal is, in time, to move users to UDB. The company is also offering middleware solutions that support geospatial.

NGA Looking for Research Teams. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is ready to have teams compete for awards in several highly specialized research areas. One- and two-year awards, with total funding of $2.5 million, fall into three categories: a radar-based automated data extraction initiative; the Neuroscience Enabled Geospatial Intelligence Initiative; and the Non-literal Spectral Processing, Exploitation and Analysis program. Proposals are due by May 27. Contract awards are expected by Aug. 30. Details here.

Pac-Man is Real! It was only a matter of time until mobile phones, Wi-Fi, and other technologies allowed those with too much time on their hands to lay out a real world Pac-Man game in Manhattan. That's right, real people dress up like PacMan and the four colored ghosts and while Pac-Man attempts to collect his dots, the ghosts give chase. Details of how locations are determined are sketchy but the official rules explain that players report their locations back to their generals.

Kudos and Conundrums
Have you seen something in our industry worthy of kudos? Or that makes you scratch your head?
Send it on. You may take credit or remain anonymous.

Kudos (concepts we applaud)

Robotic Traffic Cones. New Scientist reports on a project from Shane Farritor, a roboticist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, that automates traffic cone placement. A lead traffic cone is equipped with GPS and manages a set of "dumb" follower cones. Placement is defined on the road via an image snapped from the deployment truck. A worker determines the location of the lead cone, conveys it via wireless, and the leader and followers move out. The leader can check positioning using LiDAR. Reader Larry, who passed on the link, notes, "The first highway worker who isn't killed putting out cones makes it all worthwhile. I'd add a cell phone to the units, though, so they can phone home when they are kidnapped. They're going to be theft bait."

Talking Car. A San Francisco tour company now rents three-wheeled gas powered scooters with a twist: GPS lets the scooter direct the driver on tours of the city, providing audio commentary along the way. Demand has been brisk with a two-hour jaunt running about $60. There are no details on how the touring system works but I suspect it's a solid state recording device which is activated when the scooter hits a certain location.

Conundrums (concepts we question)

Clickers in the Classroom. What happens when students take hold of TV style remotes (registration required) to answer questions in class? Some educators say it empowers the shier students. Some say it allows instant statistics to be examined (such as the demography of the class). Some say it encourages attendance since students lose points if they are not there to "answer questions." Some say it's a fad. One instructor says it encourages the Socratic Method. I'm a skeptic.

Week in Review

Please note: Material used herein is often supplied by external sources and used as is.

• Announcements
LandMark Systems (LandMark) of Tallahassee, Florida, announced the United States Patent Office awarded LandMark a patent for its Real-Time Inventory (RTI) system. The RTI allows foresters to load existing GPS and GIS data as well as topographical maps and photos to create cruise grids and navigate to plot center. RTI then prompts the user to collect data with T-Cruise creating a data link in the field.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has awarded former Wyoming Governor, Jim Geringer, its 2004 National Technology Champion Award. Geringer, now with ESRI, received the honor April 26 during NASCIO's 2004 Mid-year conference in Chicago.

The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) announced that Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan of India is the winner of the ISPRS Brock Gold Medal. The Medal is donated by the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, and is awarded for an outstanding landmark in the evolution of the photogrammetry, remote sensing, and spatial information sciences.

The Federal Geographic Data Committee invites comments on "Guidelines for Providing Appropriate Access to Geospatial Data in Response to Security Concerns." The guidelines provide procedures to identify sensitive information content of geospatial data sets.

Timmons Group, the largest full-service civil engineering firm in central Virginia, and Astyra Corporation, a regional provider of technology integration and outsourcing solutions, announced the expansion of their multi-year partnership providing GIS and Information Technology solutions to city, county, and state governments.

• Contracts and Sales
KAMPSAX India Private Limited, a subsidiary of COWI A/S, Denmark and one of the largest mapping companies worldwide, has selected INPHO's OrthoBox as the software platform for its new orthoprocessing department.

Earth Resource Mapping Ltd, through its UK reseller Infoterra Ltd., recently won a contract to supply English Nature with its advanced image serving and Web mapping technology, Image Web Server.

MapFrame Corporation announced NW Natural has selected MapFrame's FieldSmart View to equip its mobile workforce with GIS mapping data, automate redlining and routing processes, and navigation capabilities.

The Waterworks of Budapest Co. Ltd., following on from the successful introduction and operation of a workforce management solution (WFMS) at Budapest Electricity Plc- North Hungarian Electricity Supply Co., contracted with Geometria to introduce a workforce management system. The system will help the company satisfy improving coordination, central management, and work scheduling demands. Geometria and its subcontractor SAP Hungary Ltd. won the implementation following a public procurement procedure.

ESRI announced that Polish Telecom Joint Stock Company (Telekomunikacja Polska S.A.) has implemented a decision support system (DSS) with underlying GIS technology from ESRI.

Sanborn was chosen by the Franklin County Auditor's Office in Franklin County, Ohio, for a county-wide GIS update project.

Pictometry International Corp. has secured a license agreement for Bergen County, NJ to provide software and county-wide imagery.

RouteMatch Software, Inc. announced that it has been awarded a contract to provide People's Transportation, a privately-held transportation company based in Dayton, OH, with RouteMatch's fully-automated scheduling and dispatching software application, RouteMatch TS.

NAVTEQ is enabling the Mio168 Pocket PC with NAVTEQ maps of North America. Developed by Taiwanese manufacturer MiTAC and marketed by Mio Technology in North America, the Mio 168 is the first Windows Mobile PDA that integrates a GPS receiver and advanced navigation software into a compact, all-in-one device.

Oracle Corp. announced it has teamed with Exor Corporation to develop enhanced linear asset management capabilities for multiple industries including transportation, local and state government, utilities, and energy. That's sort of funny since Exor stands for ex-Oracle.

MapInfo Corporation announced that the Atlanta Police Department has selected MapInfo's technology to create an interactive, Internet-based crime information source for its citizens. The new system uses MapInfo MapXtreme, MapInfo's Windows-based, Internet mapping server, to enable Atlanta-area residents to access visual data about city-wide crime statistics and patterns.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced that envia Mitteldeutsche Energie AG (enviaM) is deploying Intergraph's G/Net and G/Electric, two modules of the company's next-generation G/Technology-based industry ware for utilities, to optimize work processes and automate network operation.

The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) has selected Haestad Methods' GIS-based water resources modeling solution, transient analysis software, and ClientCare services.

ObjectFX Corporation a provider of a complete Java enterprise software platform that enables organizations to more effectively optimize their assets through the development of location-based applications, is providing the company's SpatialFX solution as a standard for creating and implementing browser-based mapping applications for Union Pacific.

GeoAnalytics, Inc., a leading provider of geographic and land information systems (GIS/LIS) technology and management consulting, is assisting the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas with the design and implementation of an Enterprise GIS (E-GIS).

• Products
A new publication from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), "Urban Growth in American Cities," provides a measured, scientific view of urbanization in 16 metropolitan areas by describing spatial changes in landscape characteristics, the driving forces of urbanization, and the potential consequences and challenges of continued growth. Copies of "Urban Growth in American Cities" are available by calling 1-888-ASK-USGS and requesting USGS Circular 1252.

Bentley released MicroStation V8 2004 Edition. Driven by 10 core technologies, the new release includes support for Adobe PDF, enhanced DWG interoperability, and digital security.

DeLorme announced Blue Logger GP a Bluetooth, data-logging GPS, sold with mapping software.

Vexcel Corporation, which specializes in precision urban mapping products and services, is leveraging its remote sensing and close range photogrammetry technologies to provide geospecific 3D urban authoring capabilities - merging data collected by satellite or aerial sensors with images captured by a handheld digital camera.

LizardTech, Inc. announced the availability of the MrSID Software Development Kit (SDK) 4.0 with JPEG 2000. This new SDK enables thousands of software developers to easily include JPEG 2000, as well as MrSID wavelet imagery, into their applications using a single SDK.

IONIC announced its release of RedSpider Enterprise 3, a geospatial Java toolkit and component library for geospatially-enabled enterprise application integration. Natively based on ISOtc211 and OpenGIS standards, RedSpider Enterprise offers a complete Application Program Interface (API) that integrates over 230 interfaces and more than 300 public classes and business helpers to accelerate development work. This Geography Markup Language (GML)-intelligent API allows developers to build customized, interoperable, and spatially-enabled enterprise applications efficiently on a variety of platforms.

Cadcorp, developer of the Cadcorp SIS, announced that PostGIS support is now available in Cadcorp SIS V6.1. This is the first implementation of PostGIS by a GIS vendor, according to a press release. I've noted that open source software will likely be used in conjunction with proprietary code. Here's a perfect example.

Maporama International introduced two new products: Maporama Dealer Locator Premium Edition and Maporama Dealer Locator Advanced Edition. These solutions are primarily aimed at companies with local-to-national-sized distribution networks wishing to shorten sales cycles by guiding clients to the closest outlets. Maporama Dealer Locator can be deployed on an Internet site, an I-Mode mobile site, or a call center.

• Events
John W. Hickenlooper, Mayor of the City and County of Denver, Colorado, will present a keynote address at the 17th Annual GIS in the Rockies Conference. The Conference will be October 6-8, 2004 at the Plaza at the Mart, a facility at the Denver Merchandise Mart.

GITA Australia & New Zealand's 2004 Conference will be held in Melbourne, Australia from August 9-11 2004.

• Training
The Smithsonian's National Zoological Park (NZP) announces a competition for fellowships for a two-week Spanish language training course in GIS and Remote Sensing, to be held between Saturday, August 28 and Thursday, September 9, 2004. The course, held at NZP's well-known Conservation and Research Center, is designed to train conservation and wildlife managers in practical applications of geospatial analysis tools.

• Hires
Dave Ridderikhoff has joined the Geospatial Information Technology division of Rolta International, Inc., as a Senior Project Manager.

Jerry McCarty joins Geographic Data Technology (GDT) in Lebanon, NH as an Account Manager, Federal Markets. McCarthy comes from Titan. Mark Fiorentino has joined the company as a Technical Marketing Specialist. Fiorentino has worked in the telco GIS arena and was one of my colleagues at ESRI Boston a few years back.

Intermap Technologies named three new staff members - David Hisdal as director, Southeast Asia sales; Carol Thorpe as director, NEXTMap product promotion; and Monica Moore as director of marketing.

GIS Monitor Back Issues

Advertise With Us
You can reach more than 16,000 GIS professionals every issue by sponsoring GIS Monitor. For more information, email

Please send comments and suggestions to:
Adena Schutzberg
GIS Monitor Editor
Ultimate Map/GIS Directory - Your search is over!

GIS Monitor is published by:

GITC America, Inc.
100 Tuscanny Drive, Suite B1
Frederick, MD 21702 USA
Tel: +1 (301) 682-6101
Fax: + 1 (301) 682-6105

If you wish to subscribe, unsubscribe or change your preferences visit our