August 8, 2002


Autodesk Buys CAiCE

This issue sponsored by:
Blue Marble Geographics
Points of Interest, Week in Review, Back Issues, Advertise, Contact, Subscribe/Unsubscribe

Despite the challenging economy, Autodesk is growing its GIS division by acquisition. On Tuesday Autodesk announced that it was buying Florida-based CAiCE Software Corporation, a developer of surveying and engineering applications for transportation agencies and consultants. The deal is valued at approximately $10 million cash. The announcement stated that the company did not expect the purchase to significantly change earnings for the year. Autodesk intends to start the GIS Solutions Division's Transportation Group from the CAiCE staff, which will remain at its headquarters in Tampa, Florida.

CAiCE, whose name is derived from "Computer Aided Civil Engineering and Surveying," is not well known in GIS circles, save those involved in transportation. If I recall correctly, I ran into the company for the first time in 1992 at the Highway Engineers Exchange Program (HEEP) in Burlington, VT. The company was founded in 1989, so it was still fairly young at the time. Third parties in Autodesk's booth, including Softdesk (now part of Autodesk) were showing off engineering tools for highway design. Things have changed significantly since then.

CAiCE's products work with both Autodesk and Bentley CAD products. CAiCE joined the Autodesk Developer Network a few years ago and made its products compatible with Autodesk Land Desktop, Autodesk Civil Design, Autodesk Map, Autodesk Civil Series, and Autodesk Map Series. CAiCE is also a member of the Microsoft Developer Network, Bentley Enterprise Developer Program, and a Visio and ESRI Business Partner. The company is also involved with Leica, AASHTO and Expect the relationships with Bentley and ESRI to change as CAiCE becomes part of Autodesk.

Autodesk maintains that there is little overlap in the two companies' product lines. Autodesk plans to use the CAiCE technology to add transportation-related functionality to its product line. CAiCE's products include Visual Survey, Visual Roads, Visual Construction, Visual Drainage, Visual Hydro, Visual Bridge, and Visual Landscape.

What will Autodesk gain from the acquisition? My guess is the big ticket, steady investment of Departments of Transportation (DOTs). The DOTs bring not only their many seats, but also another key set of customers-their consultants-to the Autodesk family. CAiCE currently lists several state and Canadian provincial transportation organizations, as well as many of the top civil engineering firms as customers.

Autodesk's GIS acquisitions to date have included what I consider core technology. Landmark, which became Autodesk Map was a CAD-based GIS. REGIS, which became the now defunct Autodesk World, was a desktop GIS. Argus, which became MapGuide, was an Internet mapping solution. Vision, which became GIS Design Server, was a back-end solution. Now, for the first time, the Autodesk GIS group is buying application software. I suppose you could argue that buying Softdesk was an application purchase, but that was before the GIS group was very active (1996).

I believe Autodesk has made a good choice. Instead of acquiring assets to tackle the biggest GIS market-government-Autodesk has chosen to tighten its grip on the engineering side of GIS. Said another way, Autodesk is choosing to battle Bentley and not ESRI.

Since the release of its first GIS product, Autodesk Map, the company has used the strategy of parlaying its strength in engineering and design to move its technology from engineering departments into GIS-using departments, such as planning. That's still the plan, according to GIS Vice President Larry Diamond. He explained that customers are "increasingly looking for a single vendor to bridge the gap between the planners using GIS software and the engineers using design software." Out of context that might sound like a statement from Bentley about geoengineering.

Bentley still does have a significant share of DOT clients. The GEOPAK website (GEOPAK merged with Bentley in late 2001) currently notes 19 DOTs. And Bentley inherited InRoads users when it acquired the civil product line from Intergraph in early 2001. This past May, Bentley received a statewide contract from the Virginia Department of Transportation. VDOT was in fact phasing out CAiCE and other software in favor of GEOPAK.

What is the impact on GIS? It's hard to say if there will be any, really. Engineering such as roadway design isn't really done using GIS software. The planning aspect, before design and construction might use GIS. And the long-term maintenance after construction might use GIS. But the actual engineering is performed using other software.

Autodesk has been touting the use of data through the lifecycle of a project. In transportation, that would mean moving data from planning, through design and construction, and on to maintenance. So, the big change here is that Autodesk now owns "more" of the potential lifecycle.

Autodesk, I'd argue, has some of the parts of the transportation lifecycle, but by no means all of them. One big hole: dynamic segmentation, the ability to "chop up" a linear feature into segments using measurement data in a database, not physical breaks in the linework. Perhaps that acquisition is next?

Autodesk Acquires CAiCE Software Corporation

Virginia DOT Chooses Bentley GEOPAK for Civil Engineering

• According to an Associated Press (AP)
article, General Motors has announced an addition to its OnStar telematics system. Starting next year, some vehicles will include sensors that measure the location on the vehicle and extent of accident impact. OnStar operators can share this information with response personnel. The current system notifies operators when airbags deploy. Rollout is expected across the GM fleet by 2007 and will not increase the current subscription costs of OnStar.

• The AP also reported that the U.S. Department of Defense announced last week during a press conference that it will be imposing restrictions on mobile devices used by employees - including personal devices. At the same conference, President Bush's top computer-security adviser, Richard Clarke, argued that industry was being irresponsible selling wireless tools that are too easy to crack. I wonder if these types of concerns will increase consumer fears, about tracking via LBS, for example.

The Environment New Service reports that the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre released the "World Atlas of Biodiversity: Earth's Living Resources for the 21st Century." Among the revelations: During the past 150 years, humans have directly impacted close to 47 percent of the global land area. The online application appears to be powered by SDE, ESRI's backend data store. The interface is for the GIS savvy and includes tools to zoom, select, identify visible items, or identify only those on the active layer.

• Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions announced the GeoMedia International Internship program. This opportunity is available to post graduate and undergraduate students in universities, community colleges, and technical schools to work for 20 weeks in Intergraph offices. I had a few questions regarding the time commitment, compensation and credit. Intergraph responded this way: "The program is flexible in duration and can be full time or part time. Payment also varies from country to country - subject to standard intern rates. The program has not been designed to result in credit acquisition. However, subject to student requirements, this may be accommodated."

• Leave it to a Mom to design a "more practical" child tracker. The holder of the latest patent for such a device, reports the New York Times, got the idea when looking for her lost dog. Now she's designed a product that can be embedded in a backpack or baseball cap that not only tracks the object (and therefore child) using GPS, but also allows the caretaker to key-in boundaries. If the receiver crosses the boundary, "home base" is notified.

• Your "local" disk jockey may in fact not be so local. Wired Magazine's series this week focuses on how Clear Channel is using a single DJ to serve five or more geographies at one time, some in other time zones. The DJ's use local papers to try cover the "local" scene, but on occasion mispronounce names or confuse locations. Twenty-five Clear Channel rock stations are distributed around the U.S. I was pleased to find that our local BMX in Boston, Mix 98.5, which shares a name with many of the Clear Channel stations, is not affiliated with the company.

• The August issue of Martha Stewart's Living Magazine includes an article called "Decorating with Maps." A quick look at it in line at the grocery store revealed plans for making window shades, wallpaper, and picture frames from maps. has added a new category on its site: hardware. The idea is provide a forum for bidding on computers, photogrammetric or surveying equipment, and other miscellaneous items. I'm not sure why, but the announcement requested that members "Please use this category discretely."

China Daily reports that China is working with the European Union to participate in Galileo, the in-progress satellite positioning system. There are still questions regarding China's participation, but unofficial meetings are underway.



Cellpoint Inc. (OTC BB: CLPT.OB), a global provider of mobile location software technology and platforms, today announced that it has entered into a worldwide partnership agreement with TrackWell Software. CellPoint will be able to offer TrackWell’s applications in conjunction with its Mobile Location System (MLS) and Mobile Location Broker (MLB) platforms. The partnership also enables TrackWell to market CellPoint’s location platforms to mobile network operators all around the world.

MapInfo Corporation's Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $10 million of the Company's Common Stock on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions.

The Board of Directors of GIS in the Rockies 2002 announces that the deadline for early registration is extended to August 15. The conference is Oct 8-10 in Denver, CO.

Spatial Data Private Limited (Spinfo) has completed the delivery of "Spinfo HealthMap" application to the Karnataka Health System Development Project (KHSDP). Spinfo HeathMap provides a complete base map of health jurisdictions in Karnataka, a state in India.

Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions announced the GeoMedia International Internship program. This opportunity is available to post graduate and undergraduate students in universities, community colleges, and technical schools to work for 20 weeks in Intergraph offices.

Tiger Telematics (previously Floor Decor) announced that they have successfully agreed a collaboration contract with the major UK Mobile Operator, O2 UK. The contract enables Tiger to supply their advanced vehicle tracking systems to the rapidly expanding Telematics industry.

Leica Geosystems' GIS & Mapping Division announced an agreement with ESRI Japan Corporation to become the exclusive distributor of the ERDAS IMAGINE geographic imaging product line in Japan.

KOREM announced a 2nd round of investment totaling $1 million. CDP Accès Capital, a subsidiary of La Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec and Innovatech Quebec each invested $500,000.

Map Asia 2002 will open this week in Bangkok, Thailand with more than 500 delegates from different parts of the continent. The conference is scheduled from 7-9 August 2002 is the 1st Asian International Conference and Exhibition in the field of mapping technologies of GIS, GPS, Aerial Photography and Remote Sensing.

ESRI, National Geographic, Associated Press, and American University are creating an unprecedented opportunity to meet leading media experts using geographic information system (GIS) technology to help deliver news, entertainment, local government information, and emergency messages to millions of people worldwide. The gathering will be held September 27-29, 2002, on the American University campus at 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW in Washington, D.C.

The 2002 Innovative Government Forum (IGF), sponsored by Hansen Information Technologies and Microsoft Government, will discuss the impact of the new Department of Homeland Security on state and local governments. Keynote speakers include General Barry McCaffrey and John Tritak, Director of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (CIAO). Session and panel speakers represent a cross-section of experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Pentagon and first responders.The conference will be held August 25-27, 2002 in Sacramento.

The GeoTec Event - A Spirit of Collaboration will be held March 16-19, 2003 at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

URISA has unveiled its 40th Anniversary conference program. The conference will take place October 26-30, 2002 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Illinois.

Axion Spatial Imaging Inc., developer software technology for the display, distribution and management of geographic information, has entered into a partnership with DMTI Spatial, a provider of Canadian data and solutions provider. DMTI Spatial will aid Axion in the development of 2D and 3D E-scapes, by providing them with access to CanMap Streetfiles, topographic and digital elevation data. I contacted Axion to confirm that an E-scape is an electronic landscape.

Cyon Research Corporation announced the launch of its CADwire Insights newsletter. CADwire Insights features analysis and commentary from leading researchers on the current events in the industry.

Engineering students on the Robot Study Team (RST) at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., took full advantage of a Thales Navigation BR2G-S global positioning system (GPS) receiver to finish among the leaders in a field of 25 university teams in the recent Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

Contracts and Sales


Intermap Technologies announced that it has received additional funding to support the processing of topographic data from the NASA Shuttle Radar Topographic Mapping mission. The SRTM mission collected near worldwide topographic data during its February 2000 flight. The SRTM processing is sponsored by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA).

R.A. Smith & Associates, Inc., Brookfield, Wisconsin, is providing GIS to Wisconsin Rapids Water Works & Lighting Commission.

Sagent, a provider of enterprise business intelligence solutions, announced that Communications Data Services, Inc. (CDS), the largest provider of magazine fulfillment services, will use Sagent's Data Access Server to give their publishing clients the ability to access and analyze data in their custom-built subscriber marketing databases.

PlanGraphics, Inc., teamed with ESRI and Landata Airborne Systems, was awarded two open-ended contracts with the Metropolitan Water District (MWD)of Southern California’s Engineering and Information Technologies Divisions providing engineering, data integration, and implementation services. PlanGraphics will assist MWD’s Engineering and Information Technologies Divisions, as needed, with mapping services and consulting services.

KeySpan's Electric Business Unit, in conjunction with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), has selected ESRI's ArcGIS and Miner & Miner's ArcFM for its geographic information system (GIS). Miner & Miner (M&M;) will provide ArcFM implementation services including data modeling, application development, DistOps/CYME integration, and training. In addition, ESRI Professional Services was awarded a multiyear contract for program management and quality assurance/quality control services for the data conversion and field survey effort of the project.


The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC), headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut, has awarded national GIS firm James W. Sewall Company a $1 million contract to map nine towns including Bloomfield, Hartford, East and West Hartford, Newington, Portland, Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, and Windsor, Connecticut. Using all in-house capabilities, Sewall will obtain color aerial photography, develop planimetric mapping and topographic mapping, and produce digital orthophotography compatible with MDC's existing GIS.


Earth Resource Mapping recently released v2.3 of their Free ECW Compressor, enabling users to display and compress images up-to 500MB in size without compromising the quality.

Decision Support Services, Inc. (DSS), launched Drive Zone, an ArcGIS extension for drive-time polygon creation. The product runs from within ArcGIS, and is a self-contained solution, including data. It is designed for those ArcGIS users who perform site and service area/trade area analysis, and wish to use driving time as an input to the area definition.

Indianapolis-based Plexis Group, LLC is launching new products, efiniti mobile and Dispatch Watchdog. With efiniti mobile, users have full access to GIS mapping whether it's an emergency service or field inspection. Adding the Dispatch Watchdog functionality to efiniti mobile allows emergency management services to take advantage of GIS mapping when responding to an emergency.

Miner & Miner (M&M;) announces the release of the 8.2 ArcFM Solution for electric, gas, and water/wastewater utilities. This latest version, the company argues, expands existing functionality and offers the broadest GIS enterprise solution for utilities on the market.

Schlumberger Information Solutions (SIS) and ESRI announced a fully Web-compliant e-business implementation of ESRI's GIS software for the oil and gas industry on, the leading global acquisition and divestiture (A&D;) online marketplace and part of the SIS group. The implementation integrates ESRI's industry-leading GIS software with IndigoPool's proven A&D; technology to bring increased functionality, flexibility, and speed to IndigoPool clients.

Geographic Data Technology, Inc. announced the latest release of its Dynamap street and address products, featuring 6.9 million miles of roadway throughout the United States and Canada with ongoing positional enhancements throughout North America. With the latest release of its Dynamap street and address products, GDT now has 1.5 million miles of positionally accurate streets in the U.S.

TatukGIS released version 7.0 of its GIS Developer Kernel (DK) VCL toolkit for Borland Delphi/C++Builder. The version 7.0 release introduces many new features, including: a single visual layer/legend/property control for all aspects of the map appearance, topological operations functionality, pie and bar charts/graphs, distance scale control, writing to the MIF and DXF formats (as well as to the SHP format), reading the DGN format, improved SQL layer reading/writing, improved quarrying of any SQL database supporting ADO/ODBC or DBX, support of C++Builder 6.0, and many other smaller enhancements.

uismedia Lang & Müller announced MapViewSVG, a new extension for ArcView 3.x. MapViewSVG allows you to convert maps in ArcView with all layout settings to the SVG format (Scalable Vector Format). SVG allows you to publish your maps as vector data on Internet or CD-ROM. SVG graphics have the advantage of being infinitely zoomable without losing quality. In addition, the file size is quite small and loads much faster in a Web browser as raster data. An evaluation version is available.

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, and Chapman Technologies announced that they have signed a $142 million agreement to collaborate in the development of an in-vehicle services platform for the vehicle security and telematics marketplace. The product should ship by the end of 2002.

The Centre for Topographic Information (CTI), part of the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada has initiated the production of CanMatrix, a raster data product derived from scanned 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 scale topographic maps of Canada.

Hires and Appointments

ASPRS, The Imaging and Geospatial Information Society, announced that its sustaining membership has elected Kevin Perkins as Vice Chair of the ASPRS Sustaining Members Council. He will serve a one-year term as vice chair and then becomes chair of the Council for a two-year term. The Council's role is to provide ASPRS Officers and Directors with input on how the Society's corporate members can make more of a contribution to the success of ASPRS in the national and international community. The Council also advises ASPRS on how the Society can support its corporate members throughout the profession and industry. Perkins is the North American sales manager of airborne systems for Applanix Corporation in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Roger King, Chief Engineer for the Mississippi State University's (MSU) Remote Sensing Technologies Center (RSTC) and Director of the MSU Computational Geospatial Technologies Center, has accepted a year-long assignment with NASA as the Chief Technologist for Earth Science Applications.

Geographic Data Technology, Inc., announced that Kenneth Clay has joined the company as its director of marketing. Clay comes from Nortel Networks.

MapInfo announced the appointment of Kevin Antram as vice president and general manager of MapInfo’s analytical customer relationship management (aCRM) business unit. Mr. Antram will lead one of MapInfo’s three new business units focused on data, solutions and services that enable customers to use location to further enhance and analyze their customer and site location information. Mr. Antram joins MapInfo from 180Commerce Inc., where he served as vice president of sales.


You can reach more than 6,000 GIS professionals every issue by sponsoring GIS Monitor. For more information, email

Please send comments and suggestions to:
Adena Schutzberg
GIS Monitor Editor
Ultimate Map/GIS Directory - Your search is over!

If you wish to subscribe, unsubscribe or change your preferences visit our
subscription page.