May 9, 2002


  Intergraph Announces GeoMedia 5

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In preparation for its upcoming GeoSpatial World, Intergraph this week announced details and release dates for the GeoMedia 5 family of products. I had a chance to speak with David Holmes, Business Development Manager for Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions, about the new products.

There's nothing new in Intergraph's positioning: the company continues to tout the products' ability to integrate into non-GIS workflows, support of industry standard architecture, performance, flexibility and customizability. There is also no change in the markets the company addresses: local government, land management, transportation, and defense. Two industries that did come up and piqued my interest because they seemed new to me: airports and small/medium water/waste water utilities. IntelliWhere's location-based offerings, Holmes suggests, are ripe for all of these industries to use.

So what's new in 5.0? In addition to Oracle, Access, and SQL Sever, the new release supports DB2 as a data warehouse. It'll be available soon, but is not certified at this time. The company has no intention of charging more to support this or any other database. Version 5.0 also supports access to the latest data formats of MapInfo, AutoCAD and Oracle. Until now there was no easy way to add GPS data to GeoMedia, but the new version supports reading text files, and solves that problem.

The Business Development Director from Space Imaging Middle East gave an overview of the company offerings. The questions were interesting. First, a delegate asked how to decide whether you need satellite imagery or aerial imagery. Dewey Marino said you have to work backwards - to start with what type of features you are looking to explore, then see which options are more economical. At least one attendee was surprised to learn that there were satellites taking pictures all over the world - without any restriction. The other big question was whether satellites would ever replace the need for detailed aerial imagery and photogrammetry. Marino argued no, that the two would continue to be complementary.

The other big news in data access has more to do with a change in Oracle packaging than changes in GeoMedia itself. The Standard Edition of Oracle now includes enhanced interMedia Locator functions, the core spatial tools. GeoMedia works with this lower priced version of Oracle as well as the higher priced Oracle Spatial.

On the cartography side, labels and grids are enhanced, and mixed fonts within labels are possible. Those who use imagery will find ECW support, image transparency and support for 11 and 33-bit imagery such as IKONOS. On the attribute side of things, there are now tools to calculate new items on-the-fly from other attributes. Basically, the user can define Excel-type formulas as the definitions of new items.

Analytical tools have been enhanced with variable buffers and tools to aggregate items based on spatial properties. The latter means copying attributes from one feature class to summarize them on a spatially related feature class. For example, it's possible to take land use data and associate it with a lower level of geography, such as a parcel.

There are still two desktop GeoMedias: GeoMedia and GeoMedia Pro. GeoMedia Professional updates include: aggregation, export to AutoCAD (MicroStation export has been available in previous releases), and access to the full topology API. As for plain GeoMedia, Intergraph has taken the wise step to add the ability to export to shape files. With shape files quickly becoming the de facto standard for data exchange, no true desktop package can do without this key function.

On the Internet side, Intergraph has updated the name of GeoMedia WebMap Enterprise to GeoMedia WebMap Professional. I'm all for consistency and applaud this decision to match the Web product names to the desktop product names. Besides, the Enterprise moniker did not really distinguish the two Web offerings since both were appropriate for the enterprise. Each one receives the benefits of the desktop product, but GeoMedia WebMap Professional also includes a quick start setup, advanced analysis and support for dynamic segmentation.

The big news for both Web mapping offerings is a new Java client, Jmap that frees the solution from a plug-in. Intergraph suggests this solution provides enhanced security. There is also WebGIS, a thick Java client, aimed at those needing advanced GIS tied to the Web. Also included is a working sample application that illustrates using Web Map as an OGC Web Map Server (WMS). Export options for Web visitors are expanded to include MapInfo Interchange Format, Oracle Object, Microsoft SQL Server, and/or AutoCAD (DXF or DWG) as well as the DGN and shape file formats already available.

Intergraph's literature notes that with Web Map Professional it is possible to build a site that allows end-users to perform dynamic segmentation, intersection, difference, and union overlay of linear event data. The material goes on to claim "no other Web product in the industry provides this powerful analytical capability that is critical to many transportation workflows."

The company's industry product line is expanding. GeoMedia Public Works, Parcel Manager and Transportation products have all been enhanced for 5.0. There are three newly announced industry products that will receive full rollouts at GeoSpatial World. GeoMedia Terrain aimed at 3D analysis and visualization was built by Intergraph with experience drawn from a similar product built on MGE. SMMS is aimed at those needed to create and manage metadata including the FGDC standards. GeoMedia Image, built on technology from Paragon, provides image analysis.

GeoMedia and GeoMedia Professional will be available beginning in June. GeoMedia WebMap, GeoMedia WebMap Professional, and the GeoMedia industry products will be available in the second half of 2002. The three new industry products do not yet have release dates.

Intergraph continues to grow its user base by offering focused extension products. This is not a new idea; Intergraph used the same strategy to boost MGE sales during its heyday. Now, however, Intergraph has a more robust, more modern and more user-friendly core on which to build. It seems as though the flurry of GIS applications built on CAD-based GIS platforms has been replaced by those built on other platforms.

Intergraph Announces New GeoMedia 5.0 Product Suite

Ken Lovett, Manager of the GIS Section of the Illinois Department of Revenue commented on my thoughts on the "top down" vs. "bottom up" approaches to GIS data sharing:

"In your 'GIS FORUM IN DUBAI' piece you wrote: 'I disagree with his response to a question about the role of a government leader dictating GIS data sharing. He felt it's the only way to go. I think it can work, as it did in Qatar, however at least in the US with governments changing regularly, a GIS may be more likely to succeed with support from the bottom up.'

"I think this only covers part of the problem. As a user (the "bottom" - although I've been called worse), there is only so much pushing I can do to create an open environment for, indeed an attitude of, data sharing. What I have found is that unless there is a realization by the top folks (either by their own idea or forced from a higher power) that GIS technology and data are actually useful - then the only sharing that occurs is the 'black market' kind between us bottom-dwellers.

"So, I agree that successful (and sustained) sharing requires direct input from folks like me, but because government officials change so regularly, at some point there needs to be a 'direct order' from the top to get precedent set. From there, sharing becomes the rule rather than the exception (I think, anyway since I'm still dealing in the black market)."

Ron Cramer of Digital Data Technologies, Inc. wrote to let me know that other companies provide building-based geocoding:

"I look forward to receiving the GIS Monitor every Thursday and was somewhat alarmed about your story on Address Points. I am surprised that you had not heard of 'data provided in this way,' as Digital Data Technologies, Inc. has contacted you before.

"As the only company that has field-verified every structure address and location, and driven every road from end-to-end with advanced data collection equipment for more than a dozen counties (most are completed in under 6 weeks), I can tell you that anything less than field verification for 9-1-1 is very risky. Our company provides Web hosting services for many county assessors and as a result, we have a level of expertise dealing with existing county government address databases beyond the MSAG. Based on experience, we have found over 15% error in existing databases when compared to field-verified data!"

QUALCOMM announced this week that more than one million gpsOne-enabled devices are now in commercial use in Japan, South Korea and the United States. I'd be curious how many actively use the GPS component.

An article in the New York Times notes that online grocery shopping is moving into a new phase after the demise of Webvan and other similar concerns. Grocery chains themselves are cautiously moving into the business. Of note, automated ordering yields lists for in-store "pickers" who receive information on the item to collect as well as its location (aisle 3, shelf 2). Although that's rather high tech, I'm not sure of the value. I spent several summers as a "picker" for a skiwear manufacturer and we never had directions; you simply learned the lay of the land.

More importantly, how are these services making money with the high cost of maintaining websites and many committed to selling food at the same prices to online shoppers as in-store shopper? According to the article it's all about where the companies save money: no baggers, no checkout clerks, etc.

While trapped on a plane this week I was subjected to "Bunting's Window," the technology show hopefully only available in the air. Since all of the segments look like paid advertisements I have always figured that they are. This feature profiled MapPoint 2002 and discussed, in lay terms, its benefits. I must give Microsoft credit: the company is careful to speak in English, not technobabble, in its ads.

GITA announced the speaker awards from this year's conference. Many are repeat winners. My pick for a "don't miss" speakerspeaker-Stan P. Weber-joined Pat Drinnan, David Kendell, Jeffrey R. Meyers, John Middlestead, Charles L. Rogers and Peter Batty in the honors. I wonder why there were no women in the list.

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. announced the successful completion of the Aircraft Integration Flight Test of the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) on the first remote sensing aircraft, a key component of the SIVAM Project.

A court in Stockholm decided to put CellPoint into bankruptcy. CellPoint is appealing.

Tele Atlas North America and Pharos Science & Applications Inc. announced an expanded partnership to provide Tele Atlas' global data in Pharos applications. Pharos will use Tele Atlas data in Telcontar's Rich Map Engine format (RMF). Tele Atlas North America partnered with Sagent to deliver joint geocoding solutions to the market, integrate Tele Atlas' U.S. map data into Sagent's Centrus product line, and develop joint sales and marketing programs in support of the partnership.

Clark Labs has accumulated its knowledge on how to approach problems with IDRISI for which solutions are not immediately obvious. The organization has developed a new Analytical Notes section on the website to share this info. The first one is available now.

ESRI, Compaq and Citrix Systems, Inc. are offering free seminars for community officials and leaders to learn about the GIS and community safety.

Motorola's location-based applications in Europe will use Navigation Technologies' data.

Avenza Systems Inc., developer of MAPublisher map production software, is requesting entries for the 2nd Annual MAPublisher Map Competition.

The Open GIS Consortium (OGC) released a Request for Comments (RFC) on the OpenGIS Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) Implementation Specification.

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) and Joseph Maurice, Central Algoma Secondary School, were each presented with an Award of Excellence at ESRI Canada's annual ESRI Regional User Conference in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Corporate Montage International Conference 2002 included a "Battle of the Maps" competition. The company makes CADScript a presentation tool for MicroStation. The winner was Northern Territory Geological Survey (Australia) for a river map.

Leica Geosystems received Frost & Sullivan's 2002 Merger & Acquisition Strategy Award. The company credits its acquisition of ERDAS and LH Systems as fodder for the award.

Woolpert LLP is helping Central Arkansas Water (CAW) to combine the Arc 7.x GIS data sources from the former Little Rock Municipal Water Works with the paper data sources of the former North Little Rock Water Department.

Lucernex Technologies, the leading developer of business intelligence software for corporate real estate departments, announced a major strategic alliance with Thompson Associates' AnySite group to add SmartDemographics to release 2.0 of its Rollout Manager collaboration software.

CSI Wireless Inc. announced a sales contract valued at approximately $6.5 million with AirIQ Inc., a service provider specializing in mobile asset management for commercial transport, rental vehicle fleets and service companies.

LocatioNet announced that it has received two contracts from Austrian mobile operator ONE (Connect Austria Gesellschaft fuer Telekommunikation GmbH).

The fastest growing county in Ohio, Delaware County, selected Merrick & Company, to provide a full range of mapping services, for the second time.

Vicinity Corporation has renewed its contract for exclusive use of DMTI Spatial's CanMap RouteLogistics, a digital map base for Canada, in support of Vicinity's address level routing, driving directions and geocoding.

Michael Baker Jr., Inc., has been awarded a contract by the City of Norfolk, Virginia, to provide geographic information system (GIS) tax parcel development services.

Geographic Data Technology, Inc., a developer of premier map databases, today announced that the new quarterly release of its Dynamap street and address databases includes enhanced information for the nation's 600,000 miles of highway to improve routing and navigation applications.

ABACO srl's latest trial version of DbCAD dev 1.6 and DbGIS dev 1.6 are available for download for 30-day trials.

Spatial Insights announced the availability of tower locations enhanced with demographic and cellular phone usage data for the US.

Blue Marble announced a new evaluation version of the Geographic Transformer 4.2. With it users can perform their own raster transformations and reprojections.

Leica Geosystems and Carlson Software introduced a new product for data collection speed enhancement, ease of use and data compatibility, Carlson SurvCE. An evaluation copy is downloadable.

Safe Software Inc., announced the immediate availability of FME 2002 SR-1. The release includes new and increased data format support, enhancements to the user interface, and significant performance enhancements.

Webraska announced the launch of the new SmartZone Geospatial Platform 2.0.

Leica Geosystems announces the release of ViewFinder V2.1, a free viewing tool for image manipulation. ViewFinder 2.1 runs on Windows and is available for download.

Laser-Scan integrated technology from partner Snowflake Software to provide support for the OC MasterMap. GO-Loader can directly stream GML (Geography Markup Language) data, including OS MasterMap, into the Oracle Spatial environment.

Baymont announced several new hires. Keith Patterson has been appointed Vice President/General Manager of the photogrammetry, mapping and GIS business unit. Ted Grillo has been appointed Vice President/General Manager of the business division focusing on gas and electric utilities, as well as wastewater, water and sewer projects. Arif Quadir has been appointed Vice President/General Manager responsible for the telecommunications unit. Soon Boon Seng has been appointed Vice President/General Manager of Baymont's Malaysia operations.

ISTAR Americas has hired Erik Anderson as Senior Accounts Manager and Sara Johnson as Applications & Sales Support Engineer.

GeoDecisions announced new hires: Robert M. Scaer, P.E., has been named president. Donald J. Cole, has been named a vice president of local government solutions. Connie L. Gurchiek has been named a vice president of transportation. Anthony J. Pietropola has been named a vice president of business development. Jonathan Pollack has been named a vice president of advanced technologies.

Space Imaging announced that Tish Williams, vice president of Strategic Business Development, has also been appointed to develop and coordinate all Homeland Security efforts for the company. Kathy Gockel has been appointed director of Marketing and Sam Bedi director of Contracts and Procurement.

May 08 - New Cadcorp SIS to Support for Ordnance Survey Data
Support for MasterMap seems to be the new battleground for UK GIS products.

May 08 - Software Tracks GPS Position Over Online Weather Maps
The software allows one to put real-time location over online weather maps. As I understand it, the weather data is downloaded locally so that the location can be plotted. This is not exactly interoperability in action, but it's cool.

May 07 - Autodesk Profit to Miss Estimates, Stock Drops 22%
The company points to the economic climate and slowness in Asia.

May 07 - WhereNet Announces G2 Loc and Communication Solution
The WhereNet G2 system, a next-generation wireless location and communication system that includes the WhereLAN integrated wireless local area network (LAN), which supports real-time location, messaging, telemetry, and communication.

May 06 - SPOT 5 Successfully In Orbit!
The SPOT 5 Earth observation satellite was successfully placed into orbit by an Ariane 4 launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, at 1H 31 mn GMT local time during the night of 3 to 4 May 2002. The onboard sensors will provide 2.5 meter and 5 meter resolution imagery over wide swaths (up to 60 x 120 km).

May 06 - ArcView 8.2 Is Now Available
New goodies: rubber sheeting, transformation, edgematching, and attribute transfer, label and annotation enhancements, metadata support, data mining from ArcIMS servers, and support for military grids.

May 06 - ASPRS Announces Officers, Scholarships and Recognitions
Russell G. Congalton will lead the organization forward.

May 03 - Sanborn Joins Team Developing Lidar Software
The company has joined forces with Z/I Imaging Corporation of Hunstville, Alabama; Toronto-based Optech Incorporated; EnerQuest Systems LLC of Denver, Colorado; Swiss-based Leica Geosystems, and the US Army's Topographic Engineering Center to help develop lidar processing tools which support the open industry standard format and promote the exchange of lidar (light detection and ranging) data.

May 03 - RockWare Releases RefCon RX 1.1 for AutoCad
RefCon Rx features widely acclaimed geo-referencing and format conversion capabilities, dynamic cursor display in any coordinate system, latitude and longitude graticule display, automatic update of attributes that carry location information, and a rubber sheeting function based on a triangulated irregular network, allowing every control point picked to be honored exactly. This is software from Mentor Software, though the press release and website do not mention it.

May 02 - ESRI's ArcIMS 4 Is Now Shipping
The new release features a metadata explorer, Java Connector for developers. Two new optional extensions (I believe that means added cost) allow publishing of maps made in ArcMap as well as support for data formats of ArcMap, while a second adds routing functionality. Also included: a new version of ArcExplorer.

May 02 - ESRI's ArcGIS StreetMap Europe Now Shipping
The new extension includes street level data coverage for Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.


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