August 5, 2004


• Bentley Buys Haestad Methods
• National Association of GIS-Centric Software
• Heads Up for ESRI UC

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

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Bentley Buys Haestad Methods

I got this one wrong. In discussions with another editor in the last few weeks I suggested that Autodesk would acquire
Haestad. A press release on Monday proved me 100% wrong; it stated that Bentley had acquired the company. (The Haestad website announces the two companies will "merge.")

My logic on the purchase, for Autodesk, which I suppose holds equally true for Bentley, went this way. Haestad is one of the few third-party developers in the GIS space, of any size or reputation that doesn't offer products that overlap existing Autodesk technologies. Haestad is also one of the few companies that offer shrink-wrapped products. Most others, either overlap (I'd put Eagle Point there) or focus exclusively on solutions (that is, consulting). I'd put Autodesk's emergency response partners in that group.

Twenty-five-year-old Haestad, officially, Haestad Methods, is well regarded as the "water guys" at least in the circles in which I travel. The company's water-focussed products run stand alone, on AutoCAD, on ArcGIS and at least provisionally on GeoMedia. The 14 or so offerings handle design, analysis, and management of water distribution supply, municipal sanitary sewers, urban stormwater collection, roadway and civil site drainage, and flood control. Haestad was one of the first to take "open source" water models and implement them in CAD software. The company also ported software from mainframes onto desktop PCs and developed the first Window-based and hydrologic software applications. I ran into the company when ArcCAD was released, when Haestad staffers were exploring options for supporting ESRI software. Today, Haestad's tools run on ArcGIS.

Bentley, it's been pointed out to me in the last few days, has been buying up companies, many with ties to Autodesk. Cadalyst reports that Bentley recently picked up MX (from Infrasoft) and AutoPLANT (from Rebis), which also run on AutoCAD, as do many of Haestad's offerings. That, the uncredited article offers, likely makes Autodesk Bentley's largest third-party developer.

The press release reports that Bentley will enhance the Haestad products and in time they will run on MicroStation and in conjunction with ProjectWise. Of most interest to me, and perhaps other GIS people, what will happen to GISConnect for AutoCAD? Recall that GISConnect serves as a tool to edit ArcGIS data (and follow its rules) from the AutoCAD environment. Several reviewers, myself included, noted that it's one of the hottest solutions to the CAD/GIS "challenge" we've seen in some time. Haestad developed it as a member of both the Autodesk and ESRI business partner programs. How will it evolve in Bentley's hands? Will ESRI's relationship with Bentley mean that a MicroStation version of GISConnect will appear? I was unable to schedule a meeting with Bentley executives this week, but hope to do so in the coming weeks.

National Association of GIS-Centric Software

I received a press release about the National Association of GIS-Centric Software over the weekend, read it and scratched my head. So did at least one GIS Monitor reader who sent an e-mail saying, basically, "huh?"

The company behind the organization is Azteca, an ESRI third-party developer focusing on asset/infrastructure management/GASB34 solutions. My discussions with Tom Pal izzi of Azteca helped me make sense of the organization's goals. There are basically two things going on here.

First off, NAGCS wants to define and distinguish "GIS-centric" solutions from other solutions. It's really very easy to make applications "work with" GIS. Some of the "integration" is very lightweight, just pushing raw data into the GIS for mapping, for example. "GIS-Centric" means the connection to the underlying GIS is tighter. The application actually uses the GIS database (ESRI geodatabase) and its editing tools, not ones from a separate product or library. Second, the group hopes to highlight that because products are built in this way, they can and do share a common database, allowing for better interoperability. Unlike Multispeak, which is a static data model for utilities, or the Open GIS Consortium, which develops software interfaces, NAGCS derives its interoperability from "applications that all share the same underlying [non-redundant] geodatabase."

NAGCS is in the process of becoming a non-profit and at least for now will likely be led by Azteca's president Brian Haslam. The plan for certification requires vendors to submit an application to NAGCS, which will appoint a nationally recognized non-biased third party expert to evaluate the solution to see if it meets the criteria listed on the organization's website. A fee may be charged by the association to fund the evaluation. The founding members, whose products meet the certification criteria include longtime ESRI business partners Tadpole Cartesia, NovaLIS, Miner & Miner, and RouteSmart Technologies.

My sense is that, from a business standpoint, members feel that joining and getting certified makes it more likely for their product to be explored, should another member's be purchased. That is, purchasers may well, "stay in the club," when it comes to adding new functionality to a growing GIS-centric solution. On the other hand, it's not 100% certain that ESRI's geodatabase will be the center of a "GIS-centric" set of solutions for the long term.

Since the press release came out at the beginning of the week, ESRI and several of its partners have asked for more information.

Heads Up for ESRI UC

At next week's ESRI User Conference we want to enlist the help of GIS Monitor readers. We'd like to ask you to help spread the word about GIS Monitor. Please visit the GITC booth, #1716, and pick up an "I Get It!" sticker for your badge, to let everyone you meet know that you are a subscriber. (We want them to subscribe, too.) If you are spotted by our staff, you may win a complimentary beverage from Starbucks as our thank you.

ESRI has posted, as usual, a detailed Q&A; regarding issues raised by users. I encourage attendees to read it before heading to San Diego. (ESRI sent an e-mail regarding accessing the document to attendees.) All indications are that attendee numbers are up this year.

Finally, here are some of the consultants/vendors who want you to know what they are doing at the conference:

Layton Graphics will be unveiling its latest product, MAP2PDF for ArcGIS, an extension to ArcGIS that creates geo-registered PDF maps with embedded attribute data from within ArcGIS at booth #1801. This new extension of Layton's MAP2PDF software extends the reach of ArcGIS to Adobe Reader users with the publishing of spatial PDF maps. Adobe Reader currently is installed on half-a-billion computers worldwide.

CSI Wireless Inc., a designer and manufacturer of advanced wireless and GPS products, will release the PowerMAX GPS receiver, BlueMAX serial to Bluetooth wireless dongle and ConfigMAX configuration utility for use with ESRI ArcPad software in San Diego.

MoosePoint Technology will be demonstrating the upcoming version of, the companion product for ESRI's ArcIMS product at booth 1103. enhances ArcIMS and empowers the user to create their own fully functional Web-based GIS applications in just minutes according to company material.

Anyone who purchases a new MAPublisher license (including academic versions and floating licenses; upgrades not included) From Avenza during the conference will receive a 10% on the spot discount on all components of their order except shipping. The company is in booth 1723.

Joe Hanousek, UCLID VP Sales and Marketing, will deliver a presentation entitled "How Fast Growing Counties Manage Parcel Mapping" 10:30 a.m. Sunday, August 8 at the ESRI Survey & GIS Summit in San Diego, CA.

Varion Systems, the software development and value-added reseller division of GeoAnalytics, Inc., will introduce its new automated vehicle location (AVL) software package at the conference. Visit Varion in booth 1921.

RMSI will be highlighting geospatial business solutions in land/parcel information management, facilities management, and civil engineering. Team RMSI is presenting a paper titled "Integrating GIS work environment with ESRI products," and showcasing two recent project successes at the ESRI map gallery section. RMSI is in booth 212.

Points of Interest
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Does Geography Matter to Happiness? A new book by Rich Karlgaard suggests that yes it does. He tells the stories of people who've left the "high costs and stresses of 21st century work and urban/suburban living" to build lives and businesses in "the coolest places: Livingston, Montana; Lake Placid, New York; Stratton Mountain, Vermont; and the balmy Caribbean Island of Turks and Caicos." I'm not sure this is a great breakthrough, but the book, titled Life 2.0, sounds interesting.

Manhole Cover Maps. As a follow-up to the Victoria lamppost maps, reader Rob noted a link off that same page of maps on manhole covers in Seattle. The description at, a website for images of manhole covers, reads, "This relief map of Seattle was created by Anne Knight. There are icons for thirteen major landmarks; the key is around the rim." Notes Rob, "These could be very dangerous, if you are caught looking too long." I am amazed that there are websites to document everything!

Book of Note. I learned about reading the American landscape from one of the best, Pierce Lewis, in graduate school. We looked at the large scale - house types, changes in how buildings were used, and the like. Dolores Hayden shifted up a scale, to the community level in her latest book, A Field Guide to Sprawl. While researching her last book Building Suburbia she noted the lack of terminology regarding sprawl. So, she compiled a second book to illustrate the patterns she saw. The images, by Jim Wark, an accomplished aerial photographer, are well-regarded. Some reviewers even suggest they are "too pretty" and take away from the book's message.

There's an interesting article (and pictures!) in this article from The Boston Globe. I learned a few new acronyms from the article including LULU (locally unwanted land use), BANANA (build absolutely nothing anywhere near) and NOPE (not on planet earth).

Quote of the Week I. "My only real piece of advice is: DO NOT STARE AT THE SEATBACK GPS SCREEN. It will hypnotize you. It will make you go crazy with the plane's seemingly minute progress -- and you do not want to go crazy on a plane nowadays." Mary Anne Martino of Florida giving advice on remaining sane on a plane ride to Australia.

Quote of the Week II. "GIS programs are relatively straightforward to use." Patrick Marshall, writing in Federal Computer Week, made that comment in his review of GIS software. His article also notes that federal agencies spend $5 billion on geotechnologies and that the figure is rising. He then goes on to "look at the two dominant products cited by Federal Computer Week readers in a recent online survey: the ArcGIS family of products, which is in use by more than half of the respondents, and MapInfo Professional, used by about 16 percent of respondents."

Draft Standards Review. The Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) invites comments from all interested parties on draft framework data standards. The public review period begins July 30, 2004 and ends October 30, 2004. These standards were developed through the Geospatial One-Stop e-Government initiative. They establish common requirements to facilitate data exchange for seven themes of geospatial data fundamental to many different Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications. To participate in the FGDC public review, interested parties must register. Registration data will provide demographic statistics needed to assure broad participation in public review and ensure that reviewers are aware of copyright requirements.

The Friction of Distance. Four teens (and one Dad) from Ohio rigged a series of antennae and amplifiers to boost a Wi-Fi signal 55 miles. That won them a standing ovation and first prize in the competition held as part of this year's DefCon "hacker" conference. The best part? After making the connection in the Las Vegas desert, they disabled the amplifiers and still got a connection. Oh, and this year's record beats last year's by 20 miles.

NSGIC Recommendations Matter. Blake Harris reports in Government Technology that "In a survey published in May 2004 by the NSGIC, California ranked behind 32 states in meeting the nine facets of effective GIS management, and probably would have ranked even lower without the voluntary GIS Council." That fact has helped push along efforts by the California GIS Council to get funding for a state geographic information officer.

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)

RFID vs. GPS Explained. Peter Lewis used an entire article in Fortune to clarify the difference between the use of RFID technology for tracking and the use of GPS receivers for tracking. Lewis referenced statements by the Mexican Attorney General, Rafael Macedo de la Concha, suggesting the tags, which are now in his and 160 members of his staff's arms, would allow authorities to track them if they were kidnapped. Says Lewis, "… unless the kidnappers accidentally drag their victim through a Wal-Mart, chances of locating him would be muy pequeño." Lewis is suggesting that Wal-Mart might have scanners to read the nearby RFID tags. Otherwise, there'd be no way to access the embedded information.

Conundrums (concepts we question/give us pause)

City Most Challenging to Navigate? Boston. According to a recent study conducted by "Best Places to Live" expert, Bert Sperling, Boston is America's "most challenging city to navigate" followed closely by Washington, D.C. (2), San Francisco (3), Baltimore (4), and New York (5). Of course, the study was tied to a marketing exercise: Avis Rent A Car and Motorola teamed up at the launch of Avis' telematics offering, to analyze how difficult America's largest 75 cities are to navigate. The fact that Boston was built on old cow paths may not be news, but this study made the local TV coverage on all three local channels.

Week in Review

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

• Announcements
College and university faculty and students who use ModelBuilder, part of the ESRI's ArcGIS 9 geoprocessing framework, are invited to submit their model projects to the Best Practices in Science Modeling Competition. The winners, to be announced at the 2005 ESRI International User Conference, will receive cash prizes from ESRI totaling $10,000.

PCI Geomatics announced changes to its customer service plans, that include renaming existing product support plans and adding a new premium Gold Level Support. The new levels of support are Bronze which replaces Update Only Service, Silver which replaces Software Support & Update and Gold - a new level of premium service. The company announced the appointment of PCI Software Private Limited (PSPL) of Calcutta as a Master Reseller for South Asia and India.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions has awarded an Intergraph Education Grant with a total commercial value of more than US$773,000 in software and services to the Pacific Center for Advanced Technology Training (PCATT) at Honolulu Community College. The grant program, which recognizes innovative teaching practices and provides teachers and students with the tools needed to explore new possibilities and the power to impact the future of geographic information science, will serve as the foundation of a new high tech education program for GIS training.

Multimap, the leading Internet mapping provider in Europe, is entering the Australian market with the launch of its new website, and business mapping services for Australian websites.

LizardTech, Inc. has surpassed its existing record fiscal year net revenue for its geospatial line of products, GeoExpress with MrSID and Express Server, ending June 30, 2004. LizardTech finished its 2004 fiscal year with a 34 percent increase over 2003 for sales of its geospatial products. Overall revenue for North America for Q4 was also the best in the history of the company., an online mapping and imagery company, and AirPhotoUSA, LLC, a provider of technology-based, nationwide seamless aerial imagery solutions, have announced a strategic partnership to offer AirPhotoUSA data on the website.

GeoLeaders, an international network of providers of standards-based geospatial technology solutions, announced the start of the 2004 Carbon Cup Geospatial Design Competition. The Carbon Cup is an international competition to promote design of a new class of innovative geospatial solutions.

• Contracts and Sales
T3 Netservice A/S, located in Denmark, has chosen to implement ArcFM as part of a comprehensive GIS implementation to replace its existing solution.

Boeing has received a $4 million follow-on task order from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to enhance the digital topographic data collected by the space shuttle Endeavour. This award to Boeing under NGA's Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) program brings Boeing's total SRTM contract awards to more than $23 million.

Merrick & Company, a specialist in LiDAR, digital ortho imaging, photogrammetry, and GIS mapping announces a contract with Jones Edmunds & Associates, Inc. (Florida, USA). Merrick will provide LiDAR data (.las) acquisition, 1-foot pixel resolution digital color orthophotography (TIFFs), and 1-foot contours (ArcInfo coverages) for Jones Edmunds' clients in northeast Florida.

DigitalGlobe has purchased the entire IONIC RedSpider product line including RedSpider Web, RedSpider Studio, and RedSpider Catalog to implement an extensive OpenGIS-based architecture for its NextView contract with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. In addition, DigitalGlobe has bought RedSpider Enterprise, a geospatial enterprise application integration environment to integrate its internal business applications and imagery into a comprehensive and powerful spatial data infrastructure.

MWH Soft, Inc., a provider of water resources applications software, announced that Fairfax County Water Authority of Virginia has awarded MWH Soft a contract for its ArcGIS-based InfoWater Suite and InfoSurge software and its Platinum Subscription program.

TensingoSKS announced that Auckland City Council, New Zealand, has chosen its SPYder to support a GE Network Solutions Smallworld GIS. Smallworld has been in use at Auckland City for eight years but until recently has only been available to a limited number of users. The TensingoSKS SPYder product is an Internet server solution that allows all Auckland City computer users to view the GIS information via the city's intranet.

Space Imaging has signed an exclusive agreement with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), of Montreal, Canada, to sell a new family of aviation geospatial products derived from Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite, and the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) and Landsat satellites. The new products are aimed at increasing air transport safety and efficiency for airlines and airports.

• Products
DigitalGlobe announced the release of its latest information product, DGStormWater. The product was designed for city and county GIS coordinators, tax assessors, local utility companies, engineering firms, and flood mapping organizations responsible for measuring and managing storm water runoff, and supports compliance with storm water management regulations mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. DGStormWater leverages DigitalGlobe's high-resolution QuickBird satellite imagery to calculate the impervious surface area of a property in days versus months compared to existing data collection methods.

Global Mapper Software LLC announced the availability of Global Mapper v6.00 for download. The new version includes 3D support and enhanced support for TerraServer.

The Sidwell Company released Parcel Builder. The Parcel Builder software suite is a product developed exclusively by The Sidwell Company, and provides users with a comprehensive set of tools for use in ArcMap 9.0 by ESRI. Parcel Builder consists of three modules:

Parcel Builder-Administrator: Tools for PIN management and CAMA integration
Parcel Builder-MapEditor: Tools for cadastral map creation and map maintenance productivity
Parcel Builder-MapPlotter: Tools to create high-quality cadastral map output

Acquis announced the release of Acquis Data Editor (ADE) a Web-based solution for the editing of Oracle Database 10g topology and Oracle 8i/9i/10g Locator, Spatial geometry, and attribute data. A free trial is available.

Laurel Hill GIS, Inc. announced the release of GeoData Diagnostics an off-the-shelf software product for ArcGIS personal and enterprise geodatabases. This product allows the user to compare the schema and properties of two geodatabases, reporting differences in user-friendly HTML.

Orbit GIS Technologies and Eurotronics announced the availability of new GIS solutions for desktop and server. The Orbit GIS Family offers three grades of GIS desktop solutions, from a free Orbit Explorer up to a low-cost easy-to-use professional no-nonsense Orbit GIS Interactive product.

GeoLytics latest product, SiteCD, provides comprehensive site report information for business and marketing needs.

ESRI Business Information Solutions (ESRI BIS) introduced Business Analyst Web Services. Business Analyst Web Services give Web developers access to the entire breadth of business, demographic, consumer expenditure, and market segmentation data from ESRI BIS.

Microsoft announced the Australian launch of Microsoft MapPoint Web Service 3.5 (MWS) the company's popular location and mapping Web service. The first user is a furniture store. Microsoft has partnered with MultiMap to resell MapPoint.

• Events
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions and the Intergraph GeoSpatial Users Community, sponsors of GeoSpatial World, invite geospatial professionals to submit papers for the fifth annual conference. GeoSpatial World 2005, the IGUC international training and management conference, will be held at the Hilton San Francisco (California) April 26-28.

ESRI announced that on November 17, 2004, geographic information system (GIS) technology and geography will take the spotlight as millions of people worldwide celebrate GIS Day 2004. GIS Day is principally sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the United States Geological Survey, the Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and ESRI.

URISA has announced that the complete program for URISA's Second Caribbean GIS Conference is now available online. The conference will take place September 13 through 17, 2004 in Barbados. The 42nd annual conference program is also online. Titled "The Place for Spatial Information Professionals," it will be held November 7-10, 2004 in Reno, Nevada.

The 2004 ESRI Middle East User Conference will be held December 7-9, 2004 (Registration Deadline: November 24, 2004) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

• Hires, New Offices
Guy Perkins, former Managing Director of ESRI Australia and most recently Manager, Commercial Solutions Group of MapInfo Australia, has joined Earth Resource Mapping (ERM). Perkins assumes the role of Vice President Asia Pacific.

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