May 30, 2002


  Bentley International User Conference

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Bentley's International User Conference (BIUC) was pushed up from the Fall to the end of May due the tragedy on September 11. Last week, users gathered from all over the world to hear the latest from the developer of MicroStation. I was not in attendance, but spoke with my colleagues at Professional Surveyor and TenLinks to gather some insight. For the most detailed account I've seen, check out Ralph Grabowski's coverage in his UpFront.eZine.

From all accounts the conference was well attended by users and Bentley resellers and partners. Grabowski notes an estimated 2,000+ visitors in total. And, in a month, the folks at AECCafe will host World's First Virtual BIUC Exhibit.

The first thing I wanted to know, of course, was what Bentley said about GIS, or what they call geoengineering. There was one press release that specifically related to GIS: it announced Descartes for MicroStation 8. Descartes is Bentley's imaging solution (if you live in the Autodesk world, it's comparable to Raster Design). The new version supports additional image formats (including ECW and MrSID), image draping and optical character recognition. Bentley is offering a competitive upgrade for users of other solutions (there is exactly one that I am aware of, I/RAS C from Intergraph) for $888.

Other than an award winner of their "Success Awards," I found no other specific mention of mapping in the show recap on the Bentley site. That is in accord with comments that there was no GIS press at the conference. GIS was "alluded to" according to one of my correspondents, but certainly not stressed. I read these indications as a statement that GIS is not a top priority at this moment.

Enough about what was not discussed; what did Bentley say? Ralph Grabowski pointed out a few nuggets that are interesting:

There will be a MicroStation V8.1. This will accumulate additions since the release of V8 and add digital signatures and rights management. The latter refers to allowing access to a DGN file, either by specifying a time frame or alternatively what can be done with the file: printing, editing, etc. One journalist suggested that this may be a push to get folks to upgrade since the feature is not backward compatible. I for one will be curious if this is a compelling reason to upgrade. The big reason cited for the upgrade to V 8 was support for DWG.

Bentley is getting out of the mechanical CAD business (MCAD). Some of the functionality of MicroStation Modeller, the offering in that space, will be merged into core MicroStation at V9.

Viecon, Bentley's entrée into project hosting/sharing, which had a huge kickoff at AEC Systems in Washington D.C. several years ago, will morph into something else. Grabowksi argues that companies don't want services like this hosted by the likes of Bentley (or Microsoft) but rather that they be behind their own corporate firewalls. So, Viecon will turn into more of an internal content manager called Bentley Content.

Bentley will launch a DGN viewer - Bentley View. Unlike the dozens of freely distributable CAD and GIS viewers, this one will only be for Bentley users and selected friends. I wonder if that won't pretty much defeat the purpose!

Bentley has licensed Arc Second's Windows CE DGN viewer technology. Look for field solutions for DGN down the road.

UpFront.eZine coverage of BIUC

Virtual BIUC Exhibit

Conference Press Releases

Jack Eichenbaum of NYC Department of Finance - Property and GISMO (New York City's GIS user group) Coordinator wrote to offer a video of the group's meeting on lessons learned from 9/11.

"A GISMO meeting about these efforts was held on October 15, 2001- while NYC was still under great stress-and it was videotaped. We've finally completed light editing and duplication of this video. It is available free of charge to organizations who would air it for discussion or educational purposes.

"It is 'home video' quality but with very strong content. The jerkiness of the video underscores the tensions of those times. But the conclusions-about cooperation and voluntary organizations, about data coordination, about GIS under stress, about emergency management-come through unwaveringly. The video runs for almost 2 hours.

"Interested parties, should email me, Jack Eichenbaum (GISMO Coordinator) with a brief statement of intended use and US mail address."

• Joseph M. McNichols, PLS, Vice Chairman, American Congress on Surveying and Mapping - New England Section caught an error in my listing of NEGIS sponsors.

"Really appreciate the write up you gave NEGIS 2002 in today's GIS Monitor. I have one correction though, the New England Section of ACSM was a cosponsor with URISA, GITA, and MassGIS not ASPRS. I only point this out because of the amount of work members of these groups put into planning this event. Hopefully in two years will have an equally successful event."

• Dr. Kamie Kitmitto of the University of Manchester wrote regarding my mention of the attire of Miss Israel at a recent event.

"You show little sensitivity to map details considering your interest in mapping and all things spatial.

"You want news outlets to include maps in their coverage. Yet when you mention the story about Miss Israel you choose to use the same words on the Yahoo web site you reference instead of using your own words to describe the map. Your faux pas is exacerbated by the recent huge news coverage of the area.

"The map showing on the Miss Israel dress is of 'Historical Palestine' and not of 'Israeli territory.' If you do not want to call it Historical Palestine then you should spell the thing out, which would require an army of International Lawyers to agree upon. At least say Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories as per countless UN resolutions. Otherwise you are making a political statement as was Miss Israel in a beauty pageant!"

• Neil MacGaffey, Assistant Director, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs-MassGIS and a member of the NEGIS committee adds these details regarding the status of MassGIS funding:

"I want to correct one thing that I don't think you could have known about. Uncertainty about MassGIS' funding is not over. The recent flap was because we were eliminated from the budget proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee.

"The good news received during NEGIS was that we were added back to the House budget via a budget amendment, although with about an 8% reduction in funding (a very modest cut under the circumstances for which we are grateful, but continuing a trend from the past two fiscal years of seeing our funding drop - its now down 35% since fiscal 2000).

"The uncertainty has to do with the Senate budget, which has not yet been released. As yet we have no idea of our fate there. Once the Senate budget is passed, then the Senate and House reconcile their budgets to create the one that goes to the governor for signature or veto."

• According to the New York Daily News, Mohamed Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers visited the World Trade Center days before the attack to obtain coordinates that were later used to navigate the planes into the towers.

• Remember sending out messages in a bottle in grade school? My elementary class, during the school fair, sent out helium balloons with postcards from each child. The response from the furthest distance won a prize. I don't recall this activity having an educational component, but I do remember doing it! The modern variant of this activity is sending out e-mail messages and tracking the location of the respondents. The challenge: too many replies have forced educators to shut down the experiment prematurely. And, there is some concern over the educational value of the project. The explanation of the overload, according to computer professionals interviewed in the New York Times, (free registration required) is that recipients are quick to respond to a request that appears to be community service that requires so little effort.

• The WorldView Project attempts to link people and places together in a novel manner. According to Wired, the booths set up different cities allowing those visiting the site to also "visit" with others around the world. An early booth was set up in Italy, with New York and Lahore, Pakistan next on the list.

• If you are up for another search engine that delivers "mapped" information, check out Kartoo. Because the system returns just top hits the maps are readable and show some interesting relationships. The maps also help to prompt a narrower search. I think this would be particularly useful when exploring an unfamiliar topic.

ESRI announces that it has entered into a joint venture with Pasco Corporation, the longtime distributor of its software in Japan, to form ESRI Japan.

Quova was honored as one of Upside Magazine's Hot 100 companies.

Geomatics Industry Association of Canada (GIAC) entered into an agreement with Centre for Spatial Database Management and Solutions (CSDMS), India. The two groups aim to promote business opportunities in the field of Geomatics between India and Canada.

ACUNIA and opt[e]way are entering into a product and business partnership, combining their two respective products, the ACUNIA Open Telematics Framework and opt[e]go, to offer an end to end telematics solution including the latest in wireless navigation, mapping and location features.

SICAD-UT is in full production at E-ON Bayern, an electricity supply company in Bavaria.

eMapSite, through an agreement with getmapping will provide rentals of several imagery products including reduced resolution (2m) seamless mosaic of England and Wales and a limited number of predefined areas, full resolution (25cm) seamless mosaic of a limited number of predefined areas and eMapSite's own photomap product that combines 2m aerial photography with Ordnance Survey's 1:50 000 scale color raster.

California CAD Solutions, Inc., of Modesto, CA, won the Autodesk Channel Partner of the Quarter Award for the first quarter of fiscal year 2003. California CAD Solutions, an Autodesk Systems Center for the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) industry, is the first company to receive the award, which recognizes Autodesk business partners for outstanding service, support, and sales growth.

The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) and the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories in Europe (AGILE), have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at creating a program of jointly supported educational and market development activities designed to benefit the members of both organizations and the geospatial community as a whole.

City guide provider Vindigo announced $6.1 million in new financing from its existing backers and new investors AOL Time Warner Ventures and i-Hatch Ventures. The once free product now costs $25.

LocatioNet, Inc. announced that it has partnered with gate5, a German-based technology company specialized in the development of software for next-generation context-sensitive services.

LocatioNet joined Motorola and other global technology companies in the development of a Mobile Tourist Guide (m-ToGuide). The project, endorsed by the European Community Information Society Technologies, is to provide mobile LBS system for tourists. The vision of m-ToGuide is to become an automated mobile replacement to a human tourist guide. Trials are lined up for Madrid, Siena, and London. Investment in the project will amount to more than 5 million Euros that will be subsidized by the EU.

Navigation Technologies announced that BellSouth, an online yellow page provider, will incorporate the use the company's digital map data.

North Carolina Natural Gas (NCNG), a Progress Energy company, has selected GE Network Solutions software and services to implement its geographic information system (GIS).

opt[e]way announced the release of opt[e]go version 3.0, a hybrid software platform to develop customized on/off-board services for the telematics and location based services markets. Features include turn- by-turn navigation, map rotation, local or remote features and others.

The GeoInformation Group released a new version of its image management software, CRImage Manager version 3.0. According to the company, the software is in use by more than 10,000 professionals worldwide. The software is distributed free with the company's data and includes new features including: the ability to natively import DXF, TAB or SHP files, compare two orthophoto images through multiple viewing windows or blend and swipe facility, support for ECW and SID compression files.

Spatial Insights announced the availability of online demographic reports and mapping. The service includes 2002 census estimates and 2007 census projections mappable against 2000 geographies.

NovaLIS Technologies announced special pricing for Parcel Editor 8.1 of $1,495, and bundle pricing of a single seat of Land Development Office and Parcel Editor together for just $5,695. The special runs through the end of June.

INT, a developer of high performance graphics components, has announced the release of J/GIS 1.0, a suite of Java components designed to visualize and query geospatial data. A 30-day evaluation of J/GIS is now available on all platforms that support Java 2D 1.3 or above.

Jan Hutchinson has been appointed as Director of Human Resources with the UK's national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey.

Applied Geographics, Inc. (AGI) announced the appointment of Kenneth Dooley to the Boston as Business Development Manager.

ASI added three new players to its line-up. Mr. Jim Fass has assumed a position of Program Director. Mr. Bill Nantell, former President of Intelligraphics International, has signed an exclusive agreement to support ASI's development of a strategic revitalization plan. Also executing an exclusive agreement, Mr. David Coates joins the revitalization team with a focus on successful implementations.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) has named Allen Hines as its new President of Choctaw Geo Imaging (CGI), and Tom Lenzen as President of the newly launched corporation, Applied Geo Technologies (AGT).

Martin McGarry, most recently of Informatix International in Cambridge, UK, has joined Cadcorp as Head of Sales & Marketing.


May 28 - Mineta San Jose International Airport Selects GeoMedia
This is interesting because, "they are transitioning from a MicroStation-based CAD environment to a fully functional geographic information system (GIS) using GeoMedia, GeoMedia WebMap, and an Oracle Spatial database." What does that say about CAD as tool for asset management?

May 28 - DMTI Spatial and Thales Navigation Partner In Canada
DMTI Spatial announced that its CanMap Streetfiles and Points of Interest (POI) datasets have been selected by Thales Navigation as the preferred source for its Magellan MapSend Streets and Destinations Canada CD products.

May 23 - PCI Geomatics Scores High on the NIMA Pathfinder
Geomatica Fundamentals, PCI's earth observation based geomatics solution, received high ratings by the Pathfinder 2002 program. Pathfinder is a research project conducted by the US National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) designed to evaluate the capabilities of both Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) and Government-Off-The-Shelf (GOTS) software products.

May 22 - Leica Geosystems Announces Organizational Changes
Says Matthew Smith, president of Leica Geosystems, Americas Region, "The new structure will provide each region with a Leica Geosystems vice president who will have responsibility for sales of surveying and construction equipment in that region."

May 22 - OGC Issues "Call for Communities"
The call is seeking interest by government agencies worldwide to participate in interoperability initiatives designed to test the effectiveness of Web-based software products implementing interoperability interfaces that make it easier to find, share and use geographic information.


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