Education and Training
GIS Monitor - Archives
Products and Companies
 Subscribe to
GIS Newsletter  Submit News

This issue sponsored by:
Autodesk         and                PCI


2005 July 21


News Briefs, Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

If, for some reason you cannot read this document, visit:

Editor's Introduction

In this issue of GIS Monitor I give you a quick preview of next week's huge ESRI user conference, including excerpts from Jack Dangermond's answers to questions asked by users in the pre-conference survey and conversations with three of the conference sponsors. I also report on the special features of a USDA contract with Space Imaging to map Alaska and review a beautiful new book on the recreational and educational uses of GPS receivers. Plus, as always, my review of industry news from press releases.

— Matteo

Twenty-Fifth ESRI International User Conference

The Twenty-Fifth Annual ESRI International User Conference will take place in San Diego, California, next week, July 25 to 29. From the first such meeting, held in Redlands, California in 1981 and attended by 16 people, the conference has grown to be the single largest annual GIS gathering in the world. More than 13,000 people from 130 countries are expected to attend this year�s topic seminars, technical sessions, paper presentations, vendor exhibits, user meetings, training classes, and group activities. This is not surprising, given ESRI�s continuing growth — which was 15 percent last year. This will be my first time at the conference and I expect the experience to be akin to trying to get a drink from a fire hydrant!

At the conference, which is exclusive to users of ESRI software, the company�s president, Jack Dangermond will review trends in the industry and his vision for the company, and ESRI product managers will provide updates on new features and products in ArcGIS 9. The conference includes one-on-one consultations with software experts, more than 300 technical workshops presented by ESRI staff, more than 150 special interest user group meetings, dozens of regional user group meetings, more than 2,000 user paper presentations, and GIS user achievement awards. Just as important as the meetings and presentations, the Exhibit Pavilion will showcase about 1,000 ESRI business partners.

Concurrently with the main conference, three other meetings will take place. Saturday through Tuesday, the Fifth Annual Education User Conference will focus on how to guide students in learning about GIS technology and how GIS and geographic-based thinking can promote an integrated approach to decision making in science, engineering, mathematics, economics, sociology, health, and other fields. Also Saturday through Tuesday, the Third Annual Survey and GIS Summit will feature presentations on integrating surveying and GIS into land systems; GPS technology advancements; and case studies. On Sunday, the Telecom and LBS Summit will focus on GIS service-oriented architecture, including how ESRI server technologies fit within J2EE frameworks, GIS for network planning and operations, GIS in mobile location services and public safety wireless systems, and location-based productivity applications. It will also feature separate tracks for telecom and LBS. At the main conference, special events will include an ArcGIS Pipeline Data Model Workshop and a Senior Executive Leadership Seminar. On Monday, Dr. Jane Goodall, world-renowned chimpanzee expert, conservationist, and humanitarian, will give the keynote address.

Dangermond�s Perspective

In preparation for the conference, ESRI circulated a preconference survey and Dangermond personally answered in detail 177 questions put to the company by respondents. I excerpt a few of his answers here.

For Dangermond, "Fundamentally, at the heart of GIS is a whole new way for human beings to abstract their world." Commenting on this year�s conference theme, "GIS — Helping Manage Our World," he wrote: "One could visualize a 'system of systems' involving many GIS services that collaborate, each serving a part of a thematic and spatial mosaic of geographic knowledge describing our world. This kind of system is already envisioned for the earth science community (GEOSS) as a way to integrate the diverse remote sensing information."

Dangermond identifies seven issues that need to be resolved before "a global GIS infrastructure" can emerge: technical interoperability, data content standards, policies for information sharing, GIS organization, data quality and workflows for ongoing data management, financing and sustainability of GIS infrastructure across organizations, and ongoing development of skilled professionals. Regarding the first issue, Dangermond comments: "The direction that seems to be emerging involves integration using the services oriented architecture (SOA) that is currently being promoted by most major IT organizations and is based on Web standards (SOAP, XML, etc.)."

ArcGIS 9.2, according to Dangermond, "is a very significant release and makes major enhancements across all areas of the product. This release has been driven primarily by a long list of specific user-requested enhancements and quality improvements." Enhancements will include additions to the core geodatabase data model, support of file-based geodatabases, improved raster data management (including increased performance for loading datasets and support for JPEG2000), improved transaction management, SQL API access to Oracle geodatabases, advanced cartographic finishing and representations, and improved user documentation.

As part of ArcGIS Server at 9.2, ESRI will release an ArcGlobe Web server technology that will include a free downloadable map and globe viewer (called ArcExplorer). This viewer, according to Dangermond, is very fast and provides a whole new way to visualize geospatial information. "This capability will allow users to integrate other GIS and mapping services supported by ESRI�s server products. This means users will be able to 'serve' their own data on globes as a standard part of their Web sites. Because ArcGlobe will be part of ArcGIS Server, users will also be able to create and serve sophisticated applications that integrate the full geoprocessing functionality of ArcGIS Server. ArcExplorer will be able to call other GIS services and integrate them into its mapping and visualization environment."

Dangermond agrees with the criticism that GIS is getting more complicated, and writes "At ArcGIS 9.2 and the release following it, we are working on a number of concepts that will make ArcGIS easier. � The whole concept of the development will be to respond to the user who does not want to be a GIS user. They want fast, simple, free, and fun viewing of the geospatial data. ArcExplorer 9.2 will be connected to a server that provides backend services for data, mapping, analysis, and 3D global visualization. Users will be able to call for a sophisticated analysis to be done on the server and returned to ArcExplorer. We believe this will enormously expand the usage of geospatial information."

ESRI expects to ship ArcGIS 9.2 "in the first half of 2006," but, Dangermond writes, "[I] hesitate to commit to a specific timeframe because we want to ensure that the quality of ArcGIS 9.2 is strong, and we will not ship until that time."

Regarding the importance and development of the geodatabase, Dangermond writes that it "is our strategic direction for data modeling and management" and it "organizes and manages vector, raster, and attribute data in an integrated manner." It also "integrates data models, geoprocessing models, and metadata." As for its specific implementation, he writes: "At ArcGIS 9.2, geodatabases will become richer, integrating various surface data types (vector, raster, LIDAR, etc.) into a new high performance data structure known as terrains. Geodatabases will also be exposed for the first time as 'files' (not requiring a DBMS). This is a single-user version of a geodatabase similar to a set of shapefiles held in a folder, except the file geodatabase supports all data types (raster, vector, networks, etc.), and each individual dataset can be up to 1 TB in size. We believe that over time, these file-based geodatabases will become the equivalent of the shapefile as a standard for exchanging datasets."

What direction is ESRI taking with software? According to Dangermond, ESRI�s strategic development direction is to "continue evolving and improving the ArcGIS product line. ArcGIS is built on a common GIS component library known as ArcObjects. ArcGIS is supported on the desktop and server, and is also deployed as embeddable engines. While we plan to continue technical support for older technology (ArcInfo Workstation, MapObjects, and ArcView 3.x), we are no longer putting new development resources into these packages. Over the past five years, we have systematically migrated functionality from these earlier platforms to ArcGIS. ArcGIS 9.2 will be a major release improving and enhancing many new capabilities of the platform. This release will also complete the migration of virtually all the features and functions that were available in the legacy systems and provide a much richer and open environment with many new methods and tools."

I found Dangermond�s discussion of interoperability and standards to be the most interesting part of this lengthy Q&A.; ESRI�s software, according to Dangermond, is "open". He argues his case by reviewing six definitions of "open" and "interoperable" — terms which he seems to consider greatly overlapping if not interchangeable — and, for each, providing examples of how ESRI fits the definition. He also lists 15 standards bodies in which ESRI participates, emphasizes the company�s role in the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), and argues that ArcGIS 9.1 "has significantly improved CAD interoperability."

Regarding enterprise GIS, Dangermond believes that "GIS has evolved to meet enterprise-wide needs, replete with the infrastructure, mission critical capabilities, and robust architectures associated with other enterprise software. An enterprise � is intended to address the collective needs of an organization, not just individual needs."

Dangermond also discusses ESRI's relations with other technology companies: "ESRI and IBM have strengthened their long-standing Corporate Alliance relationship through an extended Master Relationship Agreement (MRA) contract. � ESRI continues to maintain strong relationships with the leading street data providers, Tele Atlas and NAVTEQ, to deliver GIS users complete mapping solutions. � In addition to having accurate street data, these maps can be linked to dynamic, real-time content such as traffic and weather. � ESRI continues to work closely with Microsoft to optimize the performance of our technology in areas including platform support, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, and Tablet PC. ESRI was an active participant in the SQL Server 2005 Beta program and will support its upcoming release. � SAP and ESRI customers continue to benefit from the strong ongoing relationship between the two organizations and the development of new integration technology including ESRI�s soon-to-be released OLAP connector and partner solutions including Impress Software's Geo I-App." Additionally, Dangermond writes, �ESRI�s relationships with Citrix, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Leica Geosystems, Safe Software, Sun Microsystems, and Trimble continue to gain momentum."

Conference Sponsors

I spoke with representatives of three conference sponsors: TeleAtlas, Digital Globe, and Inline Corporation.

TeleAtlas, the conference�s only �platinum sponsor,� is helping with the rollout of one of ESRI Press� latest titles, Fun With GPS, (see the news item in last week�s issue) and author Don Cooke will be in their booth. According to John Cassidy, TeleAtlas� Market Director for GIS, the relationship between his company and ESRI dates back to the early 90s, when Dynamap was ArcInfo�s first format. Dynamap was produced by GDT, a company later bought by TeleAtlas. According to Cassidy, many ESRI customers were eager to use Dynamap. "Over the years we�ve found many ESRI users who want to license Dynamap and we�ve developed a very close relationship for the benefit of our common users." In years past, Cassidy told me, GDT had platinum-level sponsorship with ESRI.

I asked Cassidy about TeleAtlas' goals at the conference, and he listed three: to demonstrate his company�s "strong partnership" with ESRI; to use the conference, "as a marketing forum," and to "meet and interact with the two companies� common client base." What will TeleAtlas� theme be? "When it counts count on TeleAtlas," says Cassidy, to underscore the company�s success with "critical application providers, such as 911 centers, emergency response units, and departments of transportation. For truly critical applications these clients are choosing TeleAtlas."

DigitalGlobe is one of the conference�s "gold sponsors." Chuck Herring, the company�s director of marketing communications, told me that DigitalGlobe has sponsored the conference at this level before and has always had "a strong presence" there. According to Herring, his company and ESRI are "strong partners" and "very complementary" and they have business relations at several different levels. For example, whenever ESRI executives travel for sales visits, "we assure that they have data to show off their products and the value of satellite imagery." Also, DigitalGlobe and its resellers bundle some of its product offerings with ArcGIS.

Predictably, at the conference DigitalGlobe will showcase and demonstrate its latest product, CitySphere. According to Herring, it "really fits with many GIS users� needs for updatable, off-the-shelf, and affordable" imagery.

INLINE Corporation, a manufacturer of data storage systems, is also a "gold sponsor" of the conference. It first announced its close relationship with ESRI at last year�s user conference, then was a platinum sponsor of ESRI�s business partners conference in Palm Springs this past February. According to Kenneth Casazza, the company�s Vice President of Corporate Development, INLINE realized years ago that "a lot of the people who use lots of storage are ESRI costumers," because they have a lot of imagery in multiple versions and need to access it quickly. ESRI recently selected INLINE to manufacture Complete Server ArcGIS, a preconfigured and ESRI-tested server preloaded with ESRI and Microsoft software components, installed and tuned. INLINE, according to Casazza, builds "GIS appliances" to ESRI�s specifications and delivers them within 30 days; ESRI then sells them via its own Web site. INLINE�s hardware and software is modular, he told me, so that customers can "mix and match" components. The company�s ArcSDE products are delivered with working ties to the appropriate data storage. "Customers can no go to a single vendor."

Additionally, Casazza told me, INLINE sells equipment to ESRI, including the servers it uses for the conference's plenary sessions.

I was not able to speak to anyone at Dell, another sponsor, by press time, but the company's public relations department sent me the following:

"Dell SLG (state & local government) is excited to be a gold sponsor of the ESRI conference. With its size and credibility, the ESRI conference provides a great opportunity for Dell to reach GIS decision-makers and vendors, share best practices, and discuss trends in the industry. Dell has a long-standing relationship with ESRI. Through our state and local government business, Dell provides a large number of GIS customers with enterprise solutions including workstations, servers, and storage. We also offer an array of mobile solutions, including the Dell Precision M20 and M70 mobile workstations and the Dell Axim handheld — all well-suited for mobile GIS applications. And together with our industry partners, we're able to provide GIS customers with end-to-end solutions to their challenges. Dell will be focusing on enterprise solutions this year at ESRI. Our servers, storage, and workstations are designed to manage the data-intensive nature of GIS, including satellite imagery and aerial photography. We'll also be educating customers on Dell's great value in printing and imaging."

USDA Contract with Space Imaging

On June 30th I reported that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a contract to Space Imaging to provide high-resolution IKONOS satellite imagery of Alaska for the USDA's National Resources Inventory (NRI). The NRI serves as the federal government's principal source of information on the status, condition, and trends of soil, water, and related resources in the United States. This will be the first time that the USDA will use a combination of archive and newly tasked IKONOS satellite images, as opposed to aerial photography, to map and apply NRI primary data elements. USDA uses the data to inventory land use, evaluate loss of farmland to urbanization, measure the effectiveness of conservation practices, and detect changes to the landscape from soil erosion. This project will also be the first complete remote sensing of all of Alaska and the first time that a new remote sensing laboratory will interpret the imagery.

This week I discussed the contract between USDA and Space Imaging with Ted Cox, GIS Coordinator for the USDA / Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Jim Roper, Director, Solutions Sales for Space Imaging. Cox told me that the NRI program aims to incorporate data from about 800,000 sample sites of 160 acres in size in all 50 states, plus look at points of special interest. The program is divided between core samples, collected every year, and rotation samples, apportioned so that each sample is revisited every five years. Alaska attempted to participate in the program in 1987, 1992, and 1997, Cox told me. "Unfortunately," he added, "we don't have any imagery for the state." The state first came up with some imagery in 1997, but it was old, high-altitude photography and not orthorectified. "It was not a very good quality job," says Cox, and, therefore, Alaska was not included in the national inventory.

In 2003, Cox continued, there was a renewed interest and new funding to incorporate the state into the national project. So the samples were reviewed and redesigned to make data collection sustainable over time. "We tried to cluster the sample units as much as the statisticians would allow us," says Cox. Last fall the state of Alaska allocated $620,000 to purchase multispectral imagery from Space Imaging for 38 areas of high interest, at 1-meter resolution. The imagery being acquired is digital and therefore scale-less, but it is designed to meet National Map Standards for horizontal accuracy at the 1:12000 scale. "We allowed them to go back into the archives for 2001 and 2002," Cox told me. "We will have to be flexible and will not get it all in one year. They have this summer and next summer (when ice and snow do not cover the ground) to image the 38 areas plus 350 targets distributed throughout the state."

Collecting remote sensing imagery for Alaska presents special challenges because of the state�s size and climate. Aerial photography would require aircraft to travel great distances, land in inhospitable places, and negotiate different weather systems, as the inventory�s methodology requires sampling in remote corners of the state. Additionally, meeting the national standards for digital orthophotography will require stereo images because, according to Cox, DEMs for Alaska "are notoriously bad" and inadequate to produce orthophotos at 1:24,000 scale. While the lower 48 states have been imaged for decades, Alaska, Cox told me, has never done it before. "The only previous state-wide effort, from 1977 to 1986, acquired 1:60,000 color infrared images of only about 85 percent of the state."

This is why, for the first time (except for an attempt in Guam a few years ago), the USDA decided to use satellite imagery for the NRI and selected Space Imaging as the source. Satellites take orders of magnitude less time than aircraft to cover very large areas and the IKONOS satellite, according to Roper, is able to do single-pass stereo shots — meaning that they can take two images of the same location taken from two different perspectives during one orbital pass. The pair of images is collected in-track, or from the same ground path just moments apart, to maintain the tonal consistency between each image, enabling better interpretability. Other commercial satellites are not able to take follow-on images until up to three-to-five days later, Roper told me. According to Cox, another reason for selecting Space Imaging is that it has the largest archive of space images.

Alaska will be responsible for conducting the initial interpretations of the collected images through at least 2007. Then the hope is the NRI will be an established annualized process and, in future cycles, the images will be turned over for analysis to one of three new remote sensing laboratories established in 2004 — in Greensboro, North Carolina (East region), Fort Worth, Texas (Central region), and Portland, Oregon (West region). These laboratories are responsible for aerial photo interpretation and other remote sensing methods used to detect changes in land use and resource conditions at the NRI�s 800,000 sample sites. Until now, this responsibility was distributed among 21 Inventory Collection and Coordination Sites and 151 data collection offices, many of which were part-time operations.

Fun with GPS!

When Donald Cooke told me on Tuesday that he wanted to send me a copy of his new book, Fun with GPS, published by ESRI Press, I told him that I would not have time to read it before leaving on Thursday for the ESRI user conference in San Diego. He sent me a copy overnight anyway, saying, "so at least you'll know what it looks like!" From the moment I had it in my hands, yesterday, I could not put it down and have now read it cover to cover (136 pages). It is beautiful and practical and deserves wide circulation. In my case, it was also very timely: I am leaving in a few hours on my motorcycle with four GPS receivers — a Garmin Quest2, a Magellan RoadMate760, a Mio DigiWalker 269, and a DeLorme Earthmate Blue Logger. I will be riding 1,200 miles down the Pacific Coast, using all four receivers to navigate and two of them — the Quest2 and the Earthmate — to log my track. When I get back to Eugene, Oregon, I will do many of the things that Cooke describes: download the track logs to my computer, download and install the DNR Garmin program, download background themes (such as USGS DOQs), bring everything into ArcView, and make a pretty map of my trip, complete with annotations and links to digital photos. As Cooke writes in the introduction, �Most of the fun with GPS comes from the ability to make maps of locations you�ve stored in your GPS memory.�

Cooke, who founded GDT, now owned by Tele Atlas, was involved in making the very first street centerline files back in 1967. His long experience, obvious passion for the subject, and the evidence he presents for the beauty and pitfalls of GPS mapping give the book its credibility. At the same time, the author�s pleasant conversational style makes it very approachable to its target audience: people new to GPS and GIS and those who are familiar with only one of the two technologies but have never put the two together. The attractive cover, illustrations, and typefaces also help to make a potentially nerdy subject fun.

In his introduction, Cooke explains the confluence of developments that inspired him to write the book and made most of his experimentation possible: "I took GPS units everywhere I went and recorded airline flights, cross-country ski treks, and driving trips. I was having fun, and wanted to share the fun with others. Then, thanks to ESRI and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, it became possible for anyone with a PC and an Internet connection to map GPS data with free software! That�s what triggered the idea for this book." Later he explains that "DNR Garmin is the key to retrieving stored waypoints and tracks from your Garmin GPS unit and storing them in the shapefile format used by ArcExplorer and ArcView." (For a tutorial on DNR Garmin, see Adam Newham�s article in GPS User Magazine, at Please note: the site is optimized for Internet Explorer.)

Rather than starting off with technical explanations of how GPS works or what digital maps are, Cooke dives right into his subject with tips for those who have not yet bought a GPS receiver. Here he is forthright about his bias, for practical reasons, toward a particular manufacturer: "The examples in this book are heavily slanted to GPS units made by the Garmin company. The overriding reason is that the Garmin GPSs can be set to record track log positions at fixed time intervals, for example, one point per second." Next, Cooke gives a few practical tips that apply in general to the use of handheld GPS receivers, such as "It can take more than thirty minutes to get WAAS working the first time� and �Use the Statue of Liberty stance to give your GPS the best chance to receive all available satellites."

Cooke then proceeds to describe — with short and folksy text accompanied by photos and screen shots — his GPS mapping experiments with a wide range of vehicles (cars, sailboats and iceboats, dog sleds, wheelchairs, airplanes, hot air balloons, sailplanes, hang gliders, lawnmowers), sports (ice hockey, golf, skiing, skydiving), and animals (dogs, cats, horses, bears). He intersperses these vignettes with explanations of such key concepts as tracks vs. waypoints, vector vs. raster data, decimal degrees vs. degrees and decimal minutes, magnetic vs. true north, and, yes, on page 98, "How does my GPS work?" Cooke uses each one of these mini case studies as a way to discuss some specific practical and technical issue, yet the scenarios are never contrived for the sake of making a point.

Throughout the book, Cooke treads a fine line: he explains enough, so as to make the book a self-contained guide to mapping with GPS, but not so much as to make it too complex and turn off a portion of his potentially vast readership. As he acknowledges, "I�m not going to be able to explain every step in this little book." Instead, he makes frequent references to other available resources, most of them online, and includes a few more technical sections in the back of the book, especially on speed calculations. He also promises to make more information and updates available at the book�s companion website, Cooke at times makes passing reference to very technical issues, such as Kalman filters: novices and non-technical readers can easily ignore them, while more knowledgeable readers are alerted to questions that they can research on their own.

Also throughout the book, Cooke gives many practical tips. For example, he points out that NiMh batteries last longer than alkaline ones and tells you what to do when you drop a receiver into the sea and salt water shorts out the batteries: "The cure is simply a quick fresh-water rinse 'n' dry cycle: the delicate innards of GPS receivers seem well protected from water." And, yes, most receivers float.

I found Cooke's discussion of coordinate truncation particularly interesting. He raises the issue a couple of times, then devotes three pages in the back of the book to the question of how it affects speed calculations. I'll just give you a teaser here: "[T]he tracks downloaded by DNR Garmin are truncated, to .001 minute of arc. [T]he Geko / eTrex / Foretrex GPS engines do compute coordinates to a finer precision. In fact, the internal track log is stored with more precision; we just can�t download it."

Cooke does not claim to have resolved all the mysteries of GPS use. On the contrary, he points out several — such as why, while recording the movement of a polo player, one receiver failed to record every fifth or sixth point or why another receiver failed to record the last five minutes of a race, despite the fact that "there was plenty of battery power and track log capacity left." — and challenges the readers to do some tests of their own ("somebody please work through it"). In fact, that�s what the book is really all about: encouraging, and occasionally challenging, readers to experiment with GPS. Cooke is also clear about the frustration that sometime accompanies this kind of experimentation. In one case he simply throws up his hands and says, "I don�t know what�s going on."

One of Cooke�s overall conclusions is simple, but powerful: "These consumer units are better than most people believe.� However, he also has several specific words of advice for manufacturers and writes �I really wonder, when the product design folks put pen to paper (or whatever they do these days), if they know that their decisions affect the kind of Fun things you and I want to do with our GPSs?" Neither is he shy in his advocacy for free availability of data gathered by government agencies at the taxpayers' expense.

I have only two complaints. The first is an old pet peeve of mine: throughout, Cooke refers to "GPSs" — rather than to "GPS receivers." There are millions of GPS receivers but only one Global Positioning System — with its space, control, and user segments. By referring colloquially to "a GPS" instead of "a GPS receiver" some clarity is lost. I find it is particularly important to emphasize that GPS receivers are just that, receivers, given public misperceptions about GPS as a "tracking" technology. However, I realize that this is a lost battle. My second complaint is that Cooke�s choice of dispersing practical advice and technical information throughout the book, coupled with the absence of an index, makes it hard to look up information that you remember having read. I know, because I�ve had that problem repeatedly while writing this review.

News Briefs

Please note: I have culled the following news items from press releases and have not independently verified them.


Merrick & Company, a provider of LiDAR, digital ortho imaging, photogrammetry and GIS mapping services, has signed an $84,000 contract with Malmstrom Air Force Base to provide LiDAR data, color digital orthophotography, and 1-foot contours for approximately 15-square miles of the base and surrounding area. Malmstrom AFB is currently upgrading its infrastructure and requires high-resolution aerial imagery to be used for feature extraction and as a basemap source. Final delivery of all data products is expected in October 2005.
     The United States Air Force GeoBase Initiative is a strategy to create intelligent maps that support facility management, safety, and situational awareness for United States Air Force bases and field operations.

Applied Mapping, Inc. (AMI) is mapping out St. Marys, Georgia, to modernize the city with its own comprehensive GIS. The system, designed to offer a visual inventory of the area, will serve as a decision-making resource for local municipalities. For the past year, AMI�s technical teams have been conducting on-going fieldwork, as well as data collection, evaluation, and input, to customize the GIS to provide accurate and current information about St. Marys� infrastructure. Once this data is collected, the new GIS will be used to analyze and disseminate it from a geographic perspective.

Trimble and Nextel Communications Inc. have released Trimble Construction Manager, a wireless solution that utilizes GPS technology to allow construction professionals to locate and manage assets at construction sites via Nextel handheld phones and in-vehicle devices. The service, available on Nextel handsets, uses Nextel's iDEN network to deliver information to workers on job sites, such as the location of equipment and employees, allowing them to locate and navigate to the assets needed to complete projects. In addition, job sites boundaries, or "geo-fences", can be sent to the phone, allowing the solution to record site entry and exit events. Users can also download maps and site designs to their Nextel wireless phone and view their current location superimposed on the design. Trimble Construction is available on the ruggedized i605, the i710, i730, i733, i736, i830, i833 and the i860 digital camera phone.

NovaLIS Technologies — a supplier of GIS-centric land information management products to government — and business partner CriticalControl Solutions, are implementing the NovaLIS Land Records Framework to integrate with NovaLIS EasySketch II in Collier County, Florida. NovaLIS EasySketch II enables users to electronically sketch residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, with all the areas and perimeters of the defined structures calculated automatically.
     Located on the beautiful Paradise Coast of Florida, Collier County is a vibrant tourism destination. Since 1990, its population has increased by over 65 percent and now stands at over a quarter of a million people. Prior to 2003, all of Collier County�s building information was managed on paper property record cards causing difficulties in retrieval and storage. In order to better manage the information, with the major increase in population, the County decided to migrate its system to a paperless office. The new system includes NovaLIS EasySketch II sketch tool and the NovaLIS Land Records Framework, and will integrate with the County�s in-house, custom CAMA system. It will allow Collier County to manage all building information digitally. The County has been utilizing EasySketch II since late 2003, and presently has 15 appraisers using the tool.


Spatial Data Technologies (SDT) has released CartoPac version 1.5. and has been awarded a U.S. patent for the CartoPac graphics speed and performance on mobile devices. CartoPac software is a mobile mapping software solution for customizing mobile mapping and data collection applications. Version 1.5 introduces several new features, including increased navigation functionality with compass display, GPS constellation and signal strength display, DGPS signal indicator, laser range finder support, and auto-save options for projects on the mobile device. The new navigation feature allows for the compass display to be viewed on the same screen as the map display. There is also a Go-to coordinate function that assists the user in navigating to a specific feature while showing the bearing, distance, speed, and estimated time of arrival for the feature.
     The CartoPac graphics performance which earned U.S. patent protection includes a 30x speed advantage over other products on the market for mobile mapping and data collection. The patented raster compression algorithm is applied to background imagery upon download from the desktop to the mobile device. The compression also allows for a much greater amount of imagery to be stored on the mobile device.

OneGIS will be demonstrating its Storm Damage Assessment / Incident Survey Application at booth #508 during the ESRI User Conference July 25 � 27 in San Diego. The company originally developed the application for Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO) following its encounter with the Category 3 hurricane, Fabian, that hit the island in 2003. The application allowed the utility to streamline the recording and input of damage incidents into its newly acquired GIS. It runs on ArcGIS but is designed to be used by field personnel who benefit from having an up-to-date map display at their disposal. Field technicians, using tablet PCs, can highlight and report on the electric facilities that have been damaged by a storm or other disasters. Once the data are brought back into the office, the console part of the application allows a GIS user to prioritize work and assign crews to the appropriate damage incident site. Several reports containing data required by FEMA can be automatically generated as well as exported to an Excel spreadsheet.

Freeance Release 4.0 allows IT and GIS departments to integrate BlackBerry 7520 handheld devices with ESRI's ArcIMS software and enterprise databases. The product will debut and be demonstrated during the 2005 ESRI User Conference in Booth 1447. Demonstrations and examples will show how GIS and IT administrators across the United States are using Freeance to build custom applications for ArcIMS.
     The newest releases of Freeance and Freeance Direct allow users to view local GIS layers and database records on BlackBerry 7520 handheld devices, as well as create and send new map points from BlackBerry handhelds. Maps and attribute data can now be accessed from data layers in ArcIMS software and enterprise databases. Mobile workers can view and navigate maps and access database records with standard BlackBerry 7520 devices and Nextel wireless services.
     Utilizing the internal GPS function of the BlackBerry 7520, Freeance allows mobile workers to send GPS map points to map layers in ArcIMS software. Freeance automatically translates lat/long coordinates into state plane projections, placing new map points on specified GIS layers with custom symbology. With more than 50 implementations in more than 20 states, Freeance allows organizations to implement Web mapping with in-house resources and to integrate enterprise databases with search and reporting capabilities, customizing user interfaces and adding tools as needed. The product also allows in-house development of custom ArcIMS applications with the tools needed to create and modify many different Web mapping sites.


R.A. Smith & Associates, Inc. — a civil engineering, planning, surveying, and technical services consulting firm in Brookfield, Wisconsin — has expanded its GIS division with the addition of Aaron Ford as GIS technical manager. Ford�s primary responsibility is GIS, including Internet, Intranet and desktop application development. His talents further include data conversion, database design, needs assessment, systems architecture, project management, change management, and quality control and quality assurance.
     Ford�s experience includes a wide range of municipal projects including the design, development and implementation of enterprise GIS Web applications for 13 cities, villages, and counties throughout Wisconsin and northern Illinois. He was most recently employed as the senior application technical manager for System Development�Integration (SD�I), a full-service information technology consulting firm in Chicago where he worked in several areas of public safety and emergency management, notably for the city of Chicago. He also worked previously for Manitowoc County as a GIS specialist.
     Ford earned bachelors� degrees in economics and environmental studies from Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois.

Applied Mapping, Inc. (AMI), based in Jacksonville, Florida, has hired Steve Long as the company�s newest GIS specialist. Long also specializes in gathering GPS data. Bringing 20 years of experience in maps and charts and 15 years of GPS experience to his position with AMI, Long is part of the company�s project team currently mapping the City of St. Marys, Georgia for the creation of its own GIS. His primary responsibilities include fieldwork and data collection and evaluation.
     Prior to joining AMI, Long worked as a middle school assistant teacher, GIS specialist, and staff navigator. He is a 20-year veteran of the United States Navy, having specialized in marine navigation. His experience charting and mapping military cruises, maintaining GPS equipment and performing safe navigational functions serves well his position with AMI. His expertise also includes utilities mapping, communications, and quality management instruction.


ESRI Press has published Children Map the World, a retrospective selection of 100 maps submitted in the first decade of the Barbara Petchenik Children�s World Map Competition. The collection represents children from all over the world, ages 6 to 16, as they become novice cartographers with expressive ideas. The International Cartographic Association (ICA) created the Barbara Petchenik Children�s World Map Competition in 1993 as a memorial for Petchenik, a cartographer who worked throughout her life with maps related to children. The competition, held every two years during an ICA conference, has involved thousands of children from 52 countries. The book is an excellent resource for classrooms, map enthusiasts, and those who want to develop young people�s mapping skills. The International Cartographic Association will use proceeds from the sale of the book to promote geographic literacy in developing countries and for disadvantaged learners.

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) has published two new titles in its Quick Study Series: Going Mobile: Mobile Technologies and GIS and LIDAR Guidebook: Concepts, Project Design, and Practical Applications. Going Mobile, by David R. Green, provides an introduction to mobile provides readers with background information about the availability of mobile hardware as well as mobile GIS software, and the potential for utilizing this rapidly evolving technology for geospatial data collection in the field. It also gives information about GPS receivers and how they may be used with mobile computing technology for field-data collection. The book also touches on field-data collection using large-scale airborne platforms for remote sensing and gives examples of several applications of this technology in day-to-day data-gathering operations.
     LIDAR Guidebook, by Brian Raber and James Cannistra, describes how light detection and ranging (LiDAR) in recent years has become widely accepted as an input tool for generating extremely accurate terrain models that are used in a variety of GIS applications. This publication provides an overview of LIDAR technology; addresses the advances in LIDAR over the years, how it can be used to meet different map accuracy standards, and how conventional photogrammetry still plays a role in the development of terrain modeling; and outlines quality control measures used to verify this data set. This guide also describes potential applications and provides examples and case studies of how this data has been used by various agencies throughout the United States.

ESRI Press has published Cartographies of Disease: Maps, Mapping, and Medicine, by Tom Koch � a comprehensive survey of the technology of mapping and its relationship to the battle against disease. The book traces the history of medical mapping used by researchers struggling to understand epidemic disease from the 1690s to the present. Koch, a bioethicist and medical geographer, has studied 300 years of medical maps and their related texts to understand the history of epidemic diseases and their relation to patterns of urban growth and international trade. In Cartographies of Disease, he explores how mapping serves as an anchor for both the way a society thinks about disease and the manner in which scientists seek to understand the spread of any single disease.

GIS Monitor Back Issues

Advertise with Us

You can reach more than 17,000 GIS professionals every issue by sponsoring GIS Monitor. For more information, email us.


Please send comments and suggestions to:

Matteo Luccio, Editor
GIS Monitor

Ultimate Map/GIS Directory — Your search is over!

GIS Monitor is published by:

GITC America, Inc.
100 Tuscanny Drive, Suite B1
Frederick, MD 21702 USA
Tel: +1 (301) 682-6101
Fax: + 1 (301) 682-6105


If you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe visit our subscription page.
Copyright 2005 by GITC America, Inc. Information may not be reproduced, in whole or in
part, without prior authorization from GITC America, Inc. GIS Monitor is a GITC publication.