GIS Monitor June 28, 2001


-How to Deliver Traffic Information
-A/E/C Systems: No Longer for GIS People?

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Would you like to find out about traffic problems before you get stuck in them? In many cities, you can. Mobility Technologies, formerly, 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 phone.

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. 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? has competitors like TrafficStation (who already provides PDA and phone support for about 30 cities), and SmarTraveler (from Westwood One, with 83 cities).


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., 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.


- 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 anyway).

- 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 swapspace).

“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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Adena Schutzberg
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