GIS Monitor June 28, 2001
-How to Deliver Traffic Information
-A/E/C Systems: No Longer for GIS People?
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HOW TO DELIVER TRAFFIC INFORMATION
Would you like to find out about traffic problems before you get stuck in
them? In many cities, you can. Mobility Technologies, formerly
Traffic.com, is a leader among companies that get the word out about
traffic problems via the Internet, TV and radio and soon, via PDA and cell
The company uses a combination of tradition information gathering (video,
aircraft, mobile units, and monitoring of emergency and maintenance
services frequencies) and new digital real-time sensors to develop its
traffic database for eleven cities.
According to Carl Reed, speaking at the GeoSpatial World conference held
last week, traffic information delivery may be one of the “killer apps” of
location-based services. After all, who wouldn’t pay to be warned of
traffic problems and receive suggested alternate routes?
Will we see different services at different price points? I expect
broadcast delivery of traffic reports (radio and TV) reports will continue
to be free. However, narrowcast delivery (limited to one individual or
group, about their specific route at the moment they need it) through a
cell phone may command a premium. For example, travelers might pay
$5/month for traffic south of Boston or a “personal version” (route 128
between Danvers and Boston at 4 pm) for $15/month.
Traffic.com currently provides its Web services free, but notes that some
information, like its “key routes” where the detailed slowdowns along
specific routes are noted, will someday require registration.
How much of this information will be delivered through in-car solutions
requiring a subscription? And as new technologies collect timely, accurate
information, is there money in the data as well as the service? Finally,
how many traffic services can the global economy support? Traffic.com has
competitors like TrafficStation (who already provides PDA and phone
support for about 30 cities), and SmarTraveler (from Westwood One, with 83
A/E/C SYSTEMS: NO LONGER FOR GIS PEOPLE?
Did anything happen of interest people at AEC? There were two product
launches from big players. Autodesk launched its 2002 product line and
Bentley Strategic Affiliate GEOPAK unveiled its 2001 line. CADENCE and
CADALYST gave out truckloads of awards.
On the GIS/Mapping side, things were quiet. GISjobs.com, Leica, Trimble
and MapTech were the only GIS companies noted on the exhibitor list. Of
the eight sessions listed under GIS, only four were really on subject as
most were generic (about being a road warrior, using extranets, etc.). Of
the four, at least one was cancelled; two of the remaining three were by
Rebecca Somers, advisory board member for the show.
Most GIS people were either at the Intergraph conference (I was) or
waiting on the ESRI conference next month. A/E/C Systems show management
may want to note that they shouldn’t try to compete with “real” GIS shows.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Microsoft is shutting down its free ListBot service as of August 6,
2001. Many GIS lists are hosted by ListBot. The folks at SpatialNews put
up a note suggesting that they may be able to host GIS, earth science and
related lists. That may be an option for some. If you manage such a list
and it “moves,” please let me know where you end up!
- I received my June issue of Business Geographics, which I noted last
week was the final one. On the cover was a “fill out this form to continue
your free subscription.” Oops!
- In the GeoSpatial World issue of UK-based GI News was a free copy of
GeoMedia. GeoMedia 3.0, not the current 4.0. Apparently it’s a
non-expiring, fully functional license. But, it does not include
SmartSketch, the tool for laying out and printing maps. For 750 Euros you
can get an upgrade to GeoMedia 4, with a year of support and a free
membership to the new GeoSpatial Users Community (which is actually free
- The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) will implement up to
25,000 units of Sun’s open source StarOffice 5.2 software. The suite
replaces Applix and includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations,
and database applications for the Solaris, Windows and Linux. Could open
source/free GIS be next?
-New York is well on the way to passing a law prohibiting the use of cell
phones without hand-free extensions. While a defeat for the cell-phone
companies who lobbied against the bill, many in telematics are cheering
this, suggesting that it will create a huge market for in-car
communication and telematics.
-MicroImages has released TNTMips 6.50, their 50th release. The company
lists 163 new features. Wow!
In GIS MONITOR, June 21, 2001, I highlighted the new GDO from Safe
Software for GeoMedia and suggested that the GDO first did a translation.
Dale Lutz, VP of Development at Safe Software, points out my error:
“This is incorrect. It is live! As live as you can get with GeoMedia, and
as live as any other GeoMedia GDO. It DOES NOT work by first going to an
access warehouse, in fact, it doesn't do that at all. It just builds the
GDO recordsets GeoMedia needs to use, and that's what gets displayed.
Nothing is written to any temporary format at all (other than memory
“We basically did 2 independent and unrelated things for GeoMedia -- one
was the GDO, which uses FMEObjects (not FME) to do direct live access to
files/systems and bring them intO GeoMedia sessions, and the second
(unrelated to the first) was to add GeoMedia access warehouse support into
FME as a "full citizen" read/write format – which means you can just use
the FME translator independent of a GeoMedia session to put data into an
access warehouse or take it out.”
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