July 1, 2004


• More on Software Prices and Geography
• Comdex Postponed: Can We Learn Something?
• LBS in the News
• Sun, IBM Embrace Partners

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

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More on Software Prices and Geography

You may have seen a headline in the past few days about Microsoft offering a low cost version of its operating system in Thailand. The
bundle called "XP Starter Edition" includes Windows XP and Office XP for a modest $38 worth of Thai currency. While that's a nice outcome, how it came to be is far more interesting.

It turns out Thailand's Information and Communications Technology Ministry last year hoped to raise the number of home PCs in the country by offering low priced machines. The Ministry contacted Microsoft to ask for its help with the plan and Microsoft chose not to participate. So the Ministry made the machines available for $260 running a Thai version of Linux and an "office" type suite. After a month of marketing, the Ministry had 100,000 orders in hand. And, guess what? Microsoft wanted to get involved. That led to the $38 offer, which the Ministry accepted. Since the original offering, the Ministry now offers low cost laptops for government workers and other deals. Microsoft sees the deal as a model for other emerging nations.

One clever decision on the part of Microsoft: there are no English menus within the Thai bundle. The goal is to keep the Thai software in Thailand, and not distributed to the rest of the world.

Other technology companies are "seeing the writing on the wall" regarding geographically-based pricing. In May, Symantec Corporation began offering a Thai version of its Norton Anti-Virus suite for half the price of its regular English edition. In June, Sun Microsystems Inc. introduced a government pricing scheme for its enterprise software based on population and degree of development, as determined by the United Nations. I reported earlier this year on how one distribution house will be assessing fees should a software buyer procure software in one locale and move to another.

Will these practices move from operating systems and core software utilities to specialized software like GIS? Have they already? Should we as geographically literate business people be "ahead of the curve" on such matters?

Comdex Postponed: Can We Learn Something?

Just before GIS Monitor went to press last week the announcement came from Comdex producer MediaLive International (which just came out of bankruptcy in 2003) that this fall's iteration of the show was postponed. The organizers say the plan is to revamp what was a huge technology show whose name is an acronym for Computer Dealers Exposition, for next year. This sounds suspiciously like the "really big" A/E/C SYSTEMS conference I used to attend. It got bigger (in part by inviting the GIS industry), was sold off to another event organizer, and was retooled. My understanding is that it has not yet returned to its level of draw.

So, what happened to Comdex? In the 1990s it drew up to 200,000 attendees anxious to see the latest and greatest and rub elbows with the big wigs. (At my first Comdex I made it a point to hear Larry Ellison speak.) But, as other journalists have noted, attendees and vendors got fed up with long lines, big crowds, multiple venues scattered all over Las Vegas, and high priced hotels. The economic downturn didn't help, either. Last year only 40,000 people attended Comdex. To explore other factors that may have come into play, included a poorly chosen focus on IT, read John Dvorak's musings. (He writes for PC Magazine.)

So, where did vendors and attendees go? Says Jake Shaw, a writer at Wireless NewsFactor, "…both eventually turned to smaller, focused expositions launched by competing show promoters." And, of course, many opt instead for the Consumer Electronics Show, held in January in Las Vegas. As the name suggests, it offers products for the consumer, drawing the huge crowds Comdex one did.

To my surprise, MediaLive explained that it could have run Comdex like this and made a profit, but chose not to do so. The event industry is actually growing: The number of meetings is expected to increase by 4 percent this year, according to a report from Meeting Professionals International. Why the growth? Most shows do make a profit and companies still believe they are valuable learned experiences for employees.

Kelly Schulz of Meeting Professionals International described something I'm seeing in our industry already: "The move is toward shorter meetings that focus on narrower topics and provide participants with opportunities for face-to-face interactions."

LBS in the News
This week IBM announced an addition to WebSphere described as "mobile middleware," called WebSphere Everyplace Service Delivery. The product provides four key parts: a mobile portal, a device management application, a subscriber management application, and a telecommunications application server. Among other things, it allows developers access to Sprint's location information regarding its subscriber handsets. That allows Sprint business customers to develop location-based services (LBS).

Sprint was one of the first carriers to meet Federal Communications Commission rules regarding the location of handsets for emergency response. Sprint uses embedded GPS chips for location. While Sprint is the first carrier to work with IBM's WebSphere, IBM representatives are looking for other takers.

Microsoft has announced an offering based on MapPoint Location Server for Sprint customers. It's expected to be available soon.


Autodesk's Location Services made its first announcement in several months just in time to coincide with the big Fourth of July holiday in the United States. Verizon Wireless customers can sign up to receive TXT alerts powered by Autodesk Location Services. The new Verizon Wireless TXT Traffic Alert Service allows users to select a route and indicate when during the day they'd like to receive traffic updates for that route. The service is free over the weekend (July 2nd - July 6th, 2004), but afterward will cost a few cents a message. If readers give this a try over the coming weekend, I'd be interested in your take on it! (I'm alas on a different carrier.)

Verizon already offers TXT messages to update weather, sports scores, news, and stock information. Autodesk notes that the traffic service is the first in a series of location-based services the company will be providing for Verizon.

Sun, IBM Embrace Partners
Recall that back in the day, hardware vendors were big supporters of GIS. I have mugs and glasses from GIS events with Digital, HP, and other hardware vendor logos on them in my cupboard. Lately, though, I've heard little about the relationships between those players and GIS vendors. To be fair, several "old time" hardware vendors are as much software vendors these days. This week two announcements suggest a new warmth between the big information technology players and GIS software vendors.

IBM is investing $1 billion in its Independent Software Vendor (ISV) (that is, partner) programs this year. This week IBM introduced PartnerWorld Industry Networks for ISVs focused on the government and insurance industries. Among those signed up: ESRI and MapInfo.

This week, Sun opened the JavaOne Conference in San Francisco, California by announcing Java Studio Creator, a development environment for Java. Among the "goodies" to be included in the package are a series of components for building basic apps. One is expected from ESRI and provides, you guessed it, mapping.

• Regarding last week's
article on ESRI entering the "conference business," one reader noted that this year's Comdex event has been cancelled.

"Interesting that some of the comments about Comdex are ones I often hear about the ESRI UC.

"I wonder if the attendance numbers would indicate people are starting to skip the ESRI UC for more industry focused and regional UCs [user conferences]?"

• Jim Bash at the University of Illinois, Chicago recalled a discussion he'd had on the topic.

"Your article on ESRI being in the conference business reminded me of a recent conversation where a colleague and I were talking about what conferences were around that would have vendors from the various competing GIS companies (specifically where … students might run across GeoMedia or other competitors to ArcGIS). My first thought was GIS/LIS which of course is long gone. The only one we came up with was URISA. As far as I know, there isn't even a Business Geographics conference anymore. I used to see ESRI, MAPINFO, and many of the smaller more specialized firms there (and Atlas GIS when it was independent).

"Of course I tend to think of conferences for us urban types. But it would be interesting to know what else is out there. The only others I can think of that aren't real specialized or vendor specific would be the state GIS conferences (ILGISA) or regional events (MAGIC)."

The editor replies: I'd put the annual GITA Conference and the GeoTec event on the list of conferences in North America where multiple vendors appear. I also agree that smaller state, topical, or regional shows draw a variety of vendors, too. While the Business Geographics conference is no more, a focused Location Technology and Business Intelligence Conference was held earlier this year.

• Peggy Harper, of the ESRI Health and Human Services Solutions Group, wrote to clarify the policy on one ESRI conference in particular.

"I read your article on ESRI conferences in the latest issue of GIS Monitor and would like to clarify one point. The ESRI International Health GIS User Conference is open to anyone, [however] only users may present papers. We welcome anyone with an interest in health GIS to attend the conference and network with health professionals from all types of health-related organizations. It's a great conference for learning how GIS is being applied within the health and human services industry."

My non-scientific look at Flash technology brought several letters.

• Brian Collins at the University of Montana shared some work he'd done on the topic.

"…just browsed over the article regarding Flash and its potential with GIS and Cartography. In case you, or any others you may know, are interested, my M.A. Thesis was partially based upon using Flash as a medium for map making (An Evaluation of Methods for Displaying Time in Cartography, University of Montana, 2002). More specifically, I compared animated maps to static (paper) maps in terms of a map readers understanding/interpretation. … I'm glad to see other folks getting interested in the potential of Flash within our discipline. It seems to have been embraced more in the field of cartography than by GIS as a whole. A few years ago at the NACIS meeting in Portland, OR they ran a seminar on using Flash for creating dynamic maps. At any rate, good article."

• Giorgio Suita, Project Manager at Gruppo HSC shared information about his company's solution.

"I read carefully your article about Flash and Web Mapping. I know that now there is another way to approach Flash to Web Mapping. It's one solution called Mapworld.

"…in Italy we are mainly working on government websites and examples of Mapworld usage are now on [the] Internet (it's one tourist application for Turin city - major city in north of Italy). In August we will release another website in which routing feature will be implemented."

• James Miller of International Mapping Associates shared some of that company's work using Flash including a project that won the best interactive map at the 31st ACSM Mapping Design Competition.

• Dean C. Mikkelsen, Vice President, Operations & Marketing at GeoGraphs Corporation, felt I'd not done enough research on Flash.

"I write this reply on behalf of GeoGraphs and other Flash developers out there about a recently written article in GIS Monitor concerning the state of Flash and Web Mapping.

"As … developers of Flash technology in the GIS Industry, we feel the conclusions reached about Flash being mainly involved in advertising, tourism, security, outreach/advocacy are true, but Flash technology is also being used by municipalities/local governments, engineering, environmental companies, etc. …

"Because the technology uses the tools of the internet, documents and videos can now be related to spatial positions - hence bringing more value to the GIS and the maps. Flash technology allows for businesses to integrate their business documents easier and internet mapping becomes part of the business. The GIS or the Internet Map Server is no longer seen as a separate function, but as part of the business, because in these applications there is no separate map server, just a server, which can serve other business applications. Flash technology has brought more freedom and design capabilities to the GIS and internet mapping market. It also has brought tremendous cost savings in terms of implementation, training, and total cost. Flash is a revolutionary way to bring maps to the internet that do not follow a standard template, such as those offered by our competitors - we've brought the power back to the designer or developer.

"We would encourage GIS Monitor to do further research into Flash based Internet Mapping software before writing an article that limits the market's perception of Flash based technology and how it applies to GIS and Internet Mapping."

• Carl Reed of the Open GIS Consortium did a bit more research into the patent issue in New Zealand that I mentioned last week.

"In the most recent GIS Monitor I read the short piece on the Compudigm and [the] pending patent in New Zealand. Intrigued, I dug around a bit and actually found the text of the patent. Talk about a completely frivolous (and obvious) patent! There is not a single piece of new technology, approaches, concepts, or algorithms in the entire patent claim! Everything talked about has been done for decades in our industry. Further, products from MapInfo, Tydac, ESRI and others have allowed users to do all the types of visualizations and analysis claimed in the patent - for over a decade!

"Patents such as this are absurd and simple cause everyone to waste time, energy, and dollars investigating and potentially fighting these things!"

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

Testimony on Geospatial Information. Several people testified last week in front of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations, and the Census. The title of the hearing was, "Geospatial Information: Are we headed in the right direction or are we lost?" MAPPS Executive Director John M. Palatiello said, "the short answer is we are not proceeding with a good map." Fred Corle, president of the Spatial Technologies Industry Association (STIA) outlined a "ten point plan." Others testified, including Zsolt Nagy on behalf of NSGIC. You can read all the testimony here.

ESRI EdUC Scholarships for Teachers. Geographic Data Technology, Inc. (GDT), and ESRI will present seven U.S. and Canadian educators with scholarships to attend the 2004 ESRI Education User Conference (EdUC). GDT will provide recipients with a scholarship for travel costs and ESRI will provide complimentary admission to the conference in San Diego, California, August 7-10, 2004. There's a tight deadline: July 6! To apply for a scholarship, send an e-mail to [email protected] with a short (fewer than 200 words) essay explaining why you should receive a scholarship to attend the 2004 EdUC.

More on Window Seat. National Public Radio interviewed Gregory Dicum about his new book, Window Seat, which I mentioned some weeks ago. Turns out Dicum has a forestry degree from Yale and has quite a bit of experience looking at aerial images.

Before and After Pics of Iranian Nuclear Facilities. Space Imaging put out a "Photo Advisory" noting the availability of images of two Iranian facilities--both several years ago and this year. I'll not reprint the images here, but rather will send those interested to the analysis by GlobalSecurity.org, a non-profit organization "focused on innovative approaches to the emerging security challenges of the new millennium." You can read about its take and compare images of Natanz and Arak for yourself. The IAEA has been monitoring both sites.

Why People are Confused about GPS. Last week in digging up interesting news I ran across a story on ScienceBlog that described a new surgical tool as "a global positioning system (GPS) for the surgeon." That sounded cool! But reading further I got nervous: "The image-guided surgery (IGS) camera works like the satellite that detects signals from cars, boats, and other vehicles equipped with special tracking devices. As the surgeon moves an instrument within the patient's joint, the IGS camera, like the GPS satellite, calculates its position, and then transfers that data to a computer in the operating room. The computer then shows the direction and location of the instrument." While I'm the first to encourage the use of an analogy to explain something new, explaining GPS this way (backwards) is not good for the medical community nor the geospatial community.

I found the original story on the Rush University Medical Center website and contacted the Rush press people to express my concern. I received this note back: "Thank you for your comment. However, the developer of the product, Medtronic, wrote this release and approved every word. Their wording is correct for what their product does. Their wording may not apply to universal GPS systems, but for ortho navigation, this is correct." So, I contacted Medical News Today, a medical website that also ran the piece, and received this response: "Thank you for your comment. I have forwarded your comments to the writer of the article and asked him to re-write it." My e-mails to the company, Medtronic, have gone unanswered. Interestingly, Medtronic does not host the article on its website.

Alibi Club. The cell phone has become yet another tool to provide an "alibi." Now, these are not alibis to nefarious or illegal acts, but well, little white lies about, where we are or "must be." An article in the New York Times (free registration required)describes an informal network of SMSers (Short Message Service users) who agree to help each other "get out of" things they'd rather not do. For example, want to get out of a blind date? Have an SMS friend call the "datee" and explain that you were called away on business. As the article notes this is not "new" in that people had friends forge "doctor's notes" to get them out of work or other tasks. I'm confident that once tracking becomes more widespread that there will be services to "fake" your location, too.

I Got Chipped. RFID chips are regularly being promoted either as "the next big thing" or the "next big privacy invasion." My first experience with them was more of the former than the latter. I ran in a local race over the weekend. When I went to pick up my "number" (which I learned from the organizer was simply a fashion statement these days), I also got a chip with the same number. My blank look clearly indicated my lack of experience with the quarter-sized disk. I was given a sheet of paper that explained I was to thread it through my shoelaces. I also learned that that if I forgot to wear it, I'd not be timed and that if I failed to return it, post-race, I'd owe the organizer $35.

As they corralled the participants to the start I heard several people say, "it doesn't matter if we start on time, it's chipped." By that they meant that their "personal time clock" started when they crossed the start, not when the "gun" (it was a siren, actually) went off. While true, we learned that the local police were contracted to block the streets for only so long…so we best get moving. The company behind the chips shows red carpet-covered sensors on race courses on its website. We had none, at least that I saw, at the start. In fact, I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I ran under the balloon arch at the finish and carefully untied my chip and tossed it into the bin with the other 1000 or so chips.

The "good part" of the story is what came next. First, we learned that some thirty runners scheduled to run the "long race" (7 miles) had in fact done the "short one" (5 km). How did they know? Statistics revealed that several people did 3:30 miles in the 7 mile race! (That's faster than anyone's ever done a mile.) But, once that got straightened out, organizers posted times, places, and paces very quickly. As for privacy, most runners know that once you race, the world knows not just how fast you are, but your age, home town, etc. Still, this use of RFID gets an "A" from me. The company that makes the systems does not use the term RFID nearly anywhere on its website. I'm not sure if that's on purpose or not, but in these days of paranoia regarding RFID, I think it's a wise move.

Traffic Maps Via Radio. According to the Chicago Tribune (free registration required), XM satellite radio will soon roll out a premium service called NavTraffic, "which uses GPS technology to create a customized map of local traffic conditions on a screen in the subscriber's vehicle."

Free vs. Paid Weather. The National Weather Service has provided free weather for some years. Recently it supported a new policy which would allow more data to be available for free. Not surprisingly, the weather industry group is against the idea and wants folks to pay for access, even to open source tools like KWeather. The president of Accuweather is asking for comment and votes "no" on the change.

Geographically Savvy TV Ads. I've written about websites that can determine a surfer's location and gear ads appropriately. Now, national TV stations are beginning to do the same thing. On October 1 the Weather Channel will offer "custom" ads to certain geographies (free registration required) based on, you guessed it, the weather. Sunny and warm? Time to dig out the grill and pool ads. Wet and muddy? How about four wheel drive truck ads? Several large vendors have helped test the system and there seems to be considerable interest. Comcast offers advertisers the ability to target specific geographies and time zones across its channels, instead of buying ads on each of the different channels. TNT uses the services to state specifically when a particular show is on, and on what channel. That's instead of "check your local listings" or even "9 pm EST, 8 Central, 7 Mountain, and Pacific on ABC."

Overture Goes Local. Overture Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Yahoo Inc., announced the launch of Local Match, a new sponsored search product which delivers local search listings to consumers searching online for local products and services. Through Local Match, advertisers can precisely target customers interested in a specific neighborhood and present customized offers and business details to them. Yes, it seems you can't have a search engine these days without a "local search" option. How does it work? Advertisers select keywords that apply to their business and write a description of their products and services. They choose a geographic area (0.5-to 100-mile radius around a location) where the ad will be seen. Users do a search, ideally with a geographic keyword, like Cleveland, though other locating tools may be at work, too, and sponsored links appear. The advertiser pays per click.

Intel and Wi-Fi for Location. New Scientist reports on the latest vision of using Wi-Fi as a location tool. Place Lab stems from the work of Anthony LaMarca of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues at Intel's research labs in both the US and the UK. Accuracies are not as good as GPS, but range from 20-30 meters. With some tweaking they hope to get it better. The big bonuses for this type of locating: Wi-Fi unlike GPS, works indoors and needs no GPS chip.

Why You Should Go to GITA Next Year. "At next year's GITA Conference in Denver, using my laptop computer inside the conference centre, I'll produce a live demonstration of hacking into a real enterprise's mobile GIS data transmissions. Using that newly discovered data, I'll simulate attack on their infrastructure and describe the outcome. Don't worry, I won't give any potential bad guys clues as to how I do it; I'll just show that we can." That's the promise of Steadfast Group CEO Dick Lord, who's giving the keynote at GITA in Australia in August.

GLONASS Update. Russia earlier this week announced a plan to completely replace the Russian military's Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) (comparable to the U.S.'s GPS) within the next decade.

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)

Congrats to Martin. Long time reader Martin Daly, Technical Director at Cadcorp, received the Open GIS Consortium's (OGC) Gardels Award at its recent meeting in Southampton, UK. The Gardels award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to interoperable geoprocessing. I did an interview with Martin last summer. He and his team's latest accomplishment? Enhancing Cadcorp's SIS to support open source PostGIS (a spatial data storage solution built on PostGres). Kenneth D. Gardels was a founding director of OGC who died in 1999.

Conundrums (concepts we question)

Quote of the Week. "'They need the basics,' said Lt. Cmdr. Bill Klepac, a Seabee reservist from Pensacola on working with contract engineers in Falujah. Klepac has had to help several, otherwise able, contractors learn to read the detailed GPS maps produced by modern American technology and taken for granted by U.S. engineers. 'They're very good technical engineers here, but during the Saddam regime, they didn't have access to maps,' said Klepac." Perhaps I'm naοve but what's a GPS map?

Week in Review

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

• Announcements
LizardTech announced five key Latin America resellers for its geospatial image products, GeoExpress 4.0 with MrSID and Express Server. They are: Geographic Mapping Technologies (Puerto Rico), Geosystems SRL (Bolivia), Geotecnologias S.A. (Costa Rica), Telematica (Peru), and GeoInfo S.A. (Panama).

Keystone Aerial Surveys, Inc. has been named the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Farm Service Agency (FSA) 2004 Woman-Owned Business Contractor of the Year.

i-cubed's specially enhanced and regularly updated "eDOQQ USA" aerial imagery set, the "eTopo USA" collection of shaded topo data, and the "eSAT15 USA" seamless 15-meter satellite imagery are now available via GlobeXplorer's Internet services. These products are immediately available to users of GlobeXplorer's Web extensions for ESRI, MapInfo and Autodesk, and also to customers in real estate, insurance, outdoor recreation, and many other sectors via GlobeXplorer's highly visible Web imagery services.

GeoTango International Corp, a Canadian developer of 3D geospatial technologies, was chosen by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to provide a realistic 3D video sequence as the lead-in for the CBC's election night coverage.

DonationChannel Inc. announced the release of the Enhanced RealBird Viewer. The new service adds on to an existing free service and costs $75/year. Additional tools include the ability to link realtor listings branded aerial maps with full zoom and pan controls, display the location of local schools, then click on the hotspots and see detailed information via Google queries, display USGS Point of Interest including churches, parks, shopping areas, etc., and display color 0.25 M aerial maps.

Tele Atlas got the thumbs up from the United States Department of Justice to proceed with the acquisition of GDT. The acquisition is expected to close in the next two weeks.

Microsoft Corp. and European mobile operators O2 and TeliaSonera announced plans to deliver real-time location services designed to enable businesses to significantly improve the way they locate, track, and manage their mobile assets and mobile work force. The real-time location services are built around Microsoft MapPoint Location Server (MLS).

The Korea Times reports that Daewoo International has signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea Telecom Data (KT Data) to launch a joint GIS business aimed at overseas markets. Daewoo will be responsible for the sales of the program called ZEUS, while KT Data will be in charge of the technology. Daewoo will target China, the Philippines, other Southeast Asian nations, along with African countries this year, while expanding the business for the rest of the world later.

AeroScout (formerly Bluesoft) and Apriso announced a partnership to add AeroScout's Wi-Fi location-sensing technology to Apriso's logistics software. Manufacturing and logistics companies will be able to easily track the exact location of valuable tagged assets or people, as well as standard 802.11 Wi-Fi devices.

Laser-Scan has taken over the Utilities delivery business of Ewan Optimal Solutions (EOS). On June 3rd Ewan Group and Laser-Scan agreed a deal whereby Laser-Scan assumed the responsibility for delivering Ewan Optimal Solutions Utility contracts in the United Kingdom.

The Core Committee of URISA's GISCorps announced the launch of its new website. The site includes information about the history of GISCorps; strategic and operational plans; a volunteer application form; contribution opportunities; and much more. GISCorps is the idea of long time URISA member Shoreh Elhami. The basic premise is to form a volunteer-based GIS professional entity with the goal of providing short-term GIS expertise to less developed countries and communities around the world.

AERO-METRIC, Inc., doing business as DAT/EM SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, recently signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). With the establishment of this CRADA, DAT/EM Systems has the opportunity to expand the capabilities of its digital stereoplotter, SUMMIT EVOLUTION to perform photogrammetric tasks unique to the government including the ability to read National Imagery Transmission Format (NITF) images and other Mapping, Charting, and Geodesy (MC&G;) imagery.

• Contracts and Sales
The U.S. Geological Survey added DigitalGlobe of Longmont, Colo. to the list of recipients of the multi-year contract for the acquisition of high-resolution satellite imagery. DigitalGlobe will provide the USGS with access to new collections in addition to its ImageLibrary containing more than a million square kilometers of 60-centimeter and 2.44-meter resolution image data from the QuickBird satellite. Similar contracts were recently award to Space Imaging of Thornton, Colo., and ORBIMAGE, Inc. of Dulles, Va. The three contracts, estimated at $15 million total, provide the USGS and its partner agencies with coordinated access to the remote sensing industry's products and services.

BioMedware, an Ann Arbor software research and development firm, was recently awarded $100,000 by the National Cancer Institute for a pilot project to develop new approaches to health analysis. This new project is to develop prototype software and new techniques for evaluating disparities in cancer incidence and mortality, to better target interventions for minority and medically underserved populations. TerraSeer is BioMedware's commercialization partner.

MetaCarta, Inc. entered into a strategic agreement with In-Q-Tel, consisting of an additional investment and development agreement to further enhance the technology.

GE Energy was awarded a contract by Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) of Gainesville, Fla. for multiple XA/21 energy management system upgrades.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced the Kosovo Cadastral Agency (KCA) has selected the company's land information management solutions for cadastral registration and land information access.

Webraska Mobile Technologies and Sensis, the Australian leading directory, advertising, and information provider, announced the successful integration of Webraska's SmartZone Geospatial Platform to map enable their online presence.

Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC), Brea, California, has chosen ESRI's ArcWeb Services for its Web-based, store locator application.

• Products
Applanix announced the release of its next generation POS LV (Position and Orientation System for Land Vehicles). The system provides uninterrupted positioning and orientation information in areas where GPS reception is compromised or unavailable. The system is engineered for a wide variety of land vehicle applications, such as road profiling, pavement analysis, and asset management.

DigitalGlobe announced the availability of several image-based products to help government agencies, the private sector, and various Olympic committees plan for the Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece (August 13-29). There are 3D products, fly-throughs, the works. Recall that I mentioned some months ago the company was putting a focus on productizing? This is a perfect example.

MapData Sciences Pty Limited (MDS) has launched new versions of its routing and geocoding software products that incorporate the features and benefits of the newly released Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF) for Australia.

@Road, a provider of mobile resource management (MRM) services, announced the availability of the company's newest mobile data integration application, @Road Mobile Enterprise Access (MEA). The @Road MEA service is designed to streamline customers' business processes by improving field force data communications with the enterprise. Developed for use on JAVA and GPS-enabled handsets, @Road MEA lets companies of all sizes access back-office applications from the field, such as customer relationship management (CRM), inventory control and scheduling databases, as well as integration of real-time location-based data directly into these same systems.

Azteca Systems Inc. announced the release of Version 4.2 of its Cityworks GIS-based Asset Maintenance Management System (AMMS) software. The release includes new new tools for equipment management and scheduling, along with database integrity. Also new, report mapping features enable users to quickly and easily generate data views from a search and post them to a map view.

Red Hen Systems, Inc. announced the release of GeoVideo, a new extension to ESRI ArcGIS (versions 8.x and 9.0) which enables users to integrate DVD video into interactive maps. Red Hen Systems, an ESRI Business Partner adds GeoVideo to its portfolio of solutions for collecting and exploiting digital stills and DVD videography within GIS environments.

ObjectFX announced it is shipping its SpatialFX 4.0 platform. This new version offers significant improvements to existing features as well as the introduction of a Micro Edition, which provides stand-alone J2ME mapping capabilities for handheld devices. Also new are Spatial Rules enabling automated detection and notification of spatial events. The SpatialFX software platform now supports Oracle Database10g and Oracle Application Server 10g.

DBx GEOMATICS Inc. announced its third major release of SVGMapMaker, a cost-effective Web publishing solution for MapInfo Professional.

GCS Research LLC, a Montana-based geospatial information technology company, and Digimarc Corporation jointly announced they have integrated GeoMarc digital watermarking technology into ESRI's ArcGIS software applications for the GIS industry. This solution makes the innovative technology of digital watermarking available to GIS users through application extensions and Web-services compatible with the ESRI product lines.

MapInfo announced the availability of Smart Site Solutions, an advanced site selection and predictive modeling solution that enables UK retail organizations, including fast food restaurants, high street chains, banks, and building societies, to make faster, more informed decisions about their networks in order to maximize profitability and reduce risk.

Map Bureau announced a shareware version of pointMapper, a scriptable mapping component for Web pages. pointMapper provides an approach to Web mapping that allows Web page authors to map locations of anything that interests them, and to integrate mapping into their pages as they see fit. The pointMapper server-side kit is available for download. The software is free to try and $40 to buy and includes several U.S. and world basemaps and sample code. pointMapper is typically implemented to deliver Flash vector format.

• Training and Education
GeoLytics released Demographic Changes in America: 1990-2000. This product makes 1990 and 2000 census demographics accessible and affordable for teachers and students in the social sciences, history, business, marketing, real estate, and statistics.

• Events
The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced that online registration for its 13th Annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition, A Roadmap to Spatial Integration, is now open.

• Hires
GeoDecisions recently named Brian J. Smith project manager of the Information Network for Online Resources Mapping (INFORM) project with the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).

Definiens Imaging has appointed Dr. Ursula Benz and Martin Ehrhardt to the positions of managing directors.

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