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2005 August 18


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Editor's Introduction

Though most people have never heard the term, remote sensing is entering the mainstream. NASA's Applied Sciences Program uses Earth observation to benefit society in areas as diverse as public health, agricultural efficiency, and disaster management. Satellite imagery and remote sensing analysis from the United States Geological Survey and from private companies such as Space Imaging, Orbimage, DigitalGlobe, GlobeXplorer, Spot Image, ImageSat International, and EarthSat is used by governments and corporations in hundred of applications. Terraserver, Google Earth, and Microsoft Virtual Earth are now making this imagery familiar and accessible to millions of people.

At the company's recent user conference, ESRI president Jack Dangermond predicted that the supply of satellite and aerial imagery will increase by two orders of magnitude in the next few years. Availability will also increase greatly, via Web portals and online GIS services. This is all part of what Dangermond describes as a "geodata-rich society" that will be characterized by more geospatial information of all kinds — including, in addition to imagery, GPS/location data, geo-demographic data, and data from real-time monitoring.

Growing popular awareness of satellite imagery is driving demand — in two ways. First, increased traffic on the sites that provide free imagery or sell it cheaply to the public obliges those sites to fill gaps in their coverage and update their archives with more recent images. Second, as more people view and download satellite images for personal use, they become more aware of how these images can also help them in their work. Demand, in turn, drives the continuing expansion of capacity in data collection and processing.

There are a few additional dynamics at play in the industry. One is rising expectations. It works roughly like this: In order to meet the operational requirements of specialized fields, such as precision farming or disaster management, satellite manufacturers and operators develop different kinds of satellites. This increases the number of options and data sources available to end-users who, in turn, demand ever more advanced products and services. This requires still more data sources and image processing software...

Another dynamic is dropping costs, due to several factors. The demand and supply cycle just described is one. Another is progress in software. Surveying photo-identifiable ground control points has been and continues to be one of the most expensive components of any aerial photogrammetry campaign. New software and techniques that use satellite imagery to orient and georeference aerial photos greatly reduce the need for ground truthing. To the extent that ground control points are still needed, it is less and less necessary to acquire them through expensive new surveying. Instead, they can often be purchased off-the-shelf from companies that have built up huge archives. New software is also making image processing a lot less labor-intensive, which also saves money. Finally, new digital cameras are entering the market that can yield essentially the same end products as the most sophisticated ones, but at a much lower cost.

This week I spoke with few experts in photogrammetry and asked them about developments in the industry.

— Matteo

Pictometry Sues ACA and Ofek for Patent Infringement

Pictometry International Corp., a provider of digital, aerial oblique imagery and measuring software, has filed a lawsuit against Aerial Cartographics of America Inc. (ACA), of Orlando, Florida and Ofek Aerial Photography International, LTD of Netanya, Israel. The lawsuit, filed August 15 in United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, alleges that ACA and Ofek, through the Ofek product MultiVision, are infringing upon a patent owned by Pictometry (United States Patent No. 5,247,356) covering its aerial imaging technology. The suit seeks injunctive relief to prohibit ACA and Ofek from infringing Pictometry's patent and unspecified monetary damages. In a statement posted on ACA's website, ACA and Ofek "flatly denie[d]" the allegations, "strongly condemn[ed]" Pictometry's "anti-competitive behavior," and "denounce[d] its attempt to stymie Ofek's continued commercial success through its filing of a frivolous lawsuit."

AeroSys Consulting

Dr. Matt Stevens, is President and Chief Technology Officer of AeroSys Consulting, which he founded in 1989. He has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison's program in surveying and was quick to point out that "all the other major surveying programs [around the country] are staffed by former Wisconsin grads."

Stevens primarily writes photogrammetry software for the aerial mapping industry. "My primary software product is a bundle adjustment engine," he told me. Bundle adjustment, also known as aerotriangulation, is a method by which aerial photographs are oriented and placed in proper relationship to one another. Aerial mapping companies have to do this as part of their data reduction process, when they want to create a product of an area. There are other, similar bundle adjustment products on the market. "Mine, AeroSys-AT, is written so that it can be a standalone or a plug-in for softcopy products. My product does least square adjustments of the measurements to get a refined set of orientations of the photograph. Then you can start making your mapping product."

Stevens also processes images for clients and provides them with onsite training. About half of his company's growth, he told me, is from outside the United States.

I asked Stevens about the role of companies that collect and re-sell ground control points. Mapping companies, he told me, will either have their own crews or contract with surveyors to survey photo-identifiable points or points that they have identified and pre-targeted. "Companies with their own crews will not buy from a third party," he told me. "This is all custom work." Even if a company wanted to buy ground control points, it is unlikely, according to Stevens, that a third party would have exactly what it needed. It certainly would not have new targets, such as a new building site, that did not exist before.

I asked Stevens what's new in aerial photography equipment. He pointed to the DAS-1 Digital Aerial Camera, a three-line scanner manufactured in Ukraine by GeoSystem and sold by Wehrli & Associates Inc. Stevens first saw the camera in Istanbul, Turkey, in July 2004 at the annual meeting of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) and then saw it again in Baltimore, Maryland, this past March, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). Stevens thinks that the DAS-1 might cut significantly into Leica's sales of its ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor, because it can yield essentially the same product but is significantly less expensive. "If the Leica is the Mercedes-Benz of aerial cameras," he told me, "the ADS-1 is the Volkswagen Passat. It probably has every feature you want but costs a lot less."

Stevens also points out that a "scanner-type" camera uses both a GPS receiver and an IMU unit to reconstruct the geometry of imagery. "That can be problematic," he says, "if the IMU is a little out of whack, it can make the images harder to view in stereo and cause more eye strain for the person compiling off of the imagery."

I asked Stevens to list the main digital camera sensors on the market. Here's his list:

  1. Intergraph Z/I DMC "frame type" camera. "This is a big buck item, which is priced such that only national agencies and high volume flying operations can afford it." For example, Digital Mapping Inc. (DMI), a firm in Huntington Beach, California, specializing in photogrammetric mapping, recently purchased one.
  2. Vexcel UltraCam — D "frame type" camera. "It is significantly less expensive than the Z/I DMC, but it is still not cheap. In its full configuration the price tag is around $750,000. Once Vexcel gets its QA and production issues straightened out, the UltraCam should be a DMC killer."
  3. Leica ADS-40 "scanner" type sensor. "This is also a high buck item. The cons against the imagery from this device is that there are very few softcopy mapping softwares that can accommodate its imagery, so you are essentially locked into Leica mapping software."
  4. Applanix DSS Digital Sensor System. "This is a medium format 'frame type' camera, made in Canada."
  5. DiMac Digital Modular Aerial Camera, manufactured by Dimac Systems s.a.r.l., a company based in Luxemburg.
  6. GeoSystem DAS-1, discussed earlier.
  7. Spectrum.
Having read a new LiDAR guidebook just published by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), I asked Stevens about the pros and cons of that technology. The advantages of LiDAR, according to Stevens, are its speed and affordability. However, the data is "not checkable," he told me. "You are basically making a leap of faith." Additionally, LiDAR requires extensive field verification, using a test strip or test field that has been surveyed using conventional GPS or surveying techniques. The competing technology for producing digital terrain models (DTM) is photogrammetry using highly overlapped (90 percent end-lap and 60 percent side-lap) aerial block configurations photographed using digital cameras and processed with semi-automatic DTM generation software.

Ultimately, however, Stevens describes himself as "an advocate of all tools. The choice depends on your specifications and what limitations you are willing to live with."

Finally, I asked Stevens about other major technological developments in the field of aerial photography. "The biggest push right now," he told me, "is to develop systems that can produce digital orthophotos on the fly." Now, he explained, aerial photography companies first fly the photography (whether with a conventional frame camera or a digital one), then perform the required photogrammetry, then produce digital orthophotos. The ideal would be to perform all these steps in one pass. "Eventually," he claims, "that is the direction in which the industry is going." What are the obstacles? Mainly software and bandwith bottlenecks. Don't some companies already do some sort of processing on board aircraft, at least to check their overlap? "You can mosaick images together on the fly," Stevens told me, "but that does not produce a geometrically accurate image. It will be fast and pretty but not necessarily accurate geometrically in terms of ground registration and for use as a GIS base layer; it is not very useful, except for very low accuracy applications."

Airborne Data Systems

David L. Fuhr is CEO of Airborne Data Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of remote sensing and surveillance equipment.

I asked Fuhr about the types of cameras available. "There are basically two systems: push-broom and framing cameras," he told me. "Each has its own supporters and detractors. The ultimate goal is to give the customer a desk-ready orthophoto with the ability to extract elevation data. We make framing cameras — or, actually, systems. If somebody came along with a good push-broom camera we'd incorporate that into one of our systems."

What is your company's specialty? "Our claim to fame is capturing digital data from a camera system of any kind, incorporating it with inertial navigation system (INS) data, and storing it. No matter what kind of stored image, everyone needs to know where it was captured and be able to orient it."

What about ground control points? "It depends on the mission. If you need 10 meter accuracy and don't have ground control points (for example, over a jungle or water) you are going to have to find an alternative. For people doing automated rectification of images, we get the data from INS. Push-broom systems are very difficult to deal with over water. On the other hand, almost all space-based systems are push-broom, because they have a constant flow of data at a certain rate. For aircraft, the traditionalists want a 9 inch x 9 inch piece of film. I believe that those days are over. The probability of someone making a 9 inch x 9 inch digital detector is virtually zero."

What is the largest format that you make? "The largest format system that we make and recommend is 8,000 pixels wide. We can also do 12,000 pixels wide, but not everyone can have that, as the chip is not publicly available. These chips are still in prototyping and are being used by developing agencies only."

What drives the market for aerial cameras? "The aerial photography industry does not drive anything. All the equipment is made for something else. We have to use what's available. We buy commercially available cameras and make them into airborne systems. None are developed specifically for aerial photography."

What's next with the technology? "Cheaper and bigger detectors. They've already gotten ten times better for the same price."

What about the ability to do orthophotos on the fly? "We already do it: we process imagery at a rate of 7 seconds per square kilometer. We don't deploy ground control and we don't post-process the data. When you use a push-broom camera you need a lot of post-processing because of the massive amounts of data they collect. For example, if you collect 20 MB of data per square kilometer, you have to process it all. If you collect ten times as much, you still have to do something with it. I don't set the bus speed (which is currently 1 giga Hertz). We don't collect more data than is absolutely necessary, and therefore can process it in real time. If you are thinking of buying a camera, you should ask the manufacturer how much data per square kilometer it collects. If you collect 16 to 20 times as much data as we do, you will also need to pay for the computer processing power. If you buy a $1.5 million camera, you might also need $1 million in computing power."

What do people who buy Leica, Z/I, Yena, or Vexcel cameras do with all the data they collect? "I have no idea. There are advantages, though. Having multiple sample data is like have a digital zoom: you can increase the resolution by re-sampling. But in order to do real-time processing, you need to give the data to a computer that has that functionality and can do it quickly. My advice is: don't collect any more data than absolutely necessary to do the job."

What does it take to start up a new company in this market? "This is a harder game than some people think. They need more than just a camera in order to sell systems: they also need spare parts, technical support, etc. We have 24/7 support and can get spare parts in less than 24 hours. We build two systems a month and built 15 just for one customer."

Image Processing Software

Dr. Frank Scarpace has been teaching courses in digital photogrammetry for about 15 years in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is President of Image Processing Software Inc. His research focuses on developing computer algorithms to more efficiently and correctly identify and quantify environmental resources from satellite and aerial imagery.

Scarpace has also been writing software for digital photogrammetry, so I asked him what distinguishes his software from other programs on the market. "One of the problems is always orienting images. I've taken that and turned it into an inexpensive technology for digital orthophotos." Photogrammetry, he argues, need not require his level of training and expertise. Using his software, he claims, "anyone who can point and click on ArcInfo" can orient images by clicking on just four photo-identifiable spots, without the cost of doing surveys. The technique relies on GIS map data or GPS and INS to orient the images to a first approximation, then triangulation does the rest. "We now have photogrammetry for the masses. We have labs of people doing this. It is more like GIS than like traditional photogrammetry. I agree with Jack Dangermond: if you enable people to do the job themselves they will do it better because they understand their requirements better."

Who is going to use this technology the most? "I think it is going to be the kind of tool on the desktop of most counties. Often counties might just want to update their maps of subdivisions between major flights. GIS professionals will be doing this."

What about the high-end solutions, such as Leica's? "The Leica solution is very complicated: it is a three-line scanner, with very complicated math. Leica's solution is completely different from all the other ones. It has no commercial competition. Line scanners also need very precise navigation. They were developed mostly by the German space agency. I would not expect a local GIS professional to use that technology. But with frame cameras the geometry is straightforward." Other than Leica, every other company, Scarpace told me, uses roughly the same technology.

So, what distinguishes aerial cameras from other cameras? The main difference is coverage. "You could almost use your home camera, except for coverage limitations (that is, the size of the detector). The more coverage you get on the ground, the easier it is to put the images together."

Is film dead? "I am not giving up on film cameras yet, but they don't have the quality of digital cameras. You can get maybe 180 digital levels out of film, as opposed to 1,000 from digital images. The disadvantage of digital cameras is that they have about half the resolution of film cameras, but the images they produce are of much higher quality, in terms of how many digital levels you can resolve reliably." For example, with film, he explains, you have to choose between distinguishing on what is in the shadows and what is not. With digital images you can detect both.

What do you think of the new mass-market products, such as Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth? "The interest [in satellite imagery and aerial photography] that they have generated is terrific. What is missing, right now, is relief. You cannot get 3D from Google. Therefore, those images are not good enough for a lot of resource applications. Making elevation models is extremely expensive."

What about LiDAR? "LiDAR is pretty neat, though not quite perfect. The problem, it turns out, is that LiDAR gets lots of points but also the tops of trees. The problem is finding where the surface is. For good orthophotos in cities you need the tops of buildings; you need to supplement LiDAR with breaklines. The future is in a combination of LiDAR and photogrammetry."

What about ground control points? Are they becoming less necessary? "There's nothing wrong with having some ground control points. Take historical photos: you can orient them approximately using digital orthos, then input a few ground control points to arrive at products as accurate as those produced by a photogrammetric firm."


Mary Cook-Hurley is in charge of government relations for AirPhotoUSA, an eight year-old company that specializes in off-the-shelf aerial data. "We have the largest off the shelve archive," she told me, "and maintain yearly or by-yearly coverage. We also do custom jobs."

What do you use for control? "We use the best available source data for all of our market areas."

What is the effect on the market of Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth? "They increase demand for imagery. More people are now aware of and dependent on GIS. Aerial and satellite imagery are becoming more like a commodity and there is more demand to keep it current. Often, once the data is delivered, it is already out of date, because things are changing so rapidly throughout the United States."

What trends do you see? "Production facilities are getting bigger and image processing is becoming more automated."

How do you collect your imagery? "We subcontract our flying to many different companies across the nation." Which do you get more, film or digital? "We work mostly with analog film."

How do you choose what to cover? "We cover all major metropolitan areas nation-wide, with extensive coverage in high growth states."

Is your mix of clients changing? "We see more private industries and smaller agencies getting started in GIS and using aerial imagery."

News Briefs

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


Morrow County, Ohio, has installed AccuGlobe E9-1-1 and AccuGlobe E9-1-1 Mobile GIS software from Digital Data Technologies, Inc. (DDTI) into the county's emergency response operations, including the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). This installation followed the delivery of the county's Location Based Response System (LBRS) data, also developed by DDTI, consisting of accurate road centerline data and all addresses in the county. The LBRS project was partially funded by the State of Ohio, with the support of the County Commissioners, Engineer, Auditor, and Emergency Management Agency.
     The LBRS data and AccuGlobe software enable the county to more reliably locate calls to 9-1-1 and in some situations cut emergency response times significantly. Morrow County also purchased two copies of the AccuGlobe Area Locations of Hazardous Atmospheres (ALOHA) plug-in. ALOHA creates atmospheric dispersion models for the release of hazardous chemical vapors and the plug-in places the chemical plumes footprint on a map. Mapping the path of a hazardous chemical plume provides officials with the ability to notify those who will be affected and to take the necessary precautionary measures.

Varion Systems, the software development and value-added reseller division of GeoAnalytics, Inc, has completed the implementation of a land management software system for the City of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Building off of Pottawattamie County's Govern implementation, the City now manages their Public Works permits and inspections and Community Development's planning and zoning. Varion Systems provided full implementation services including software design and prototype, Crystal Reports, training, and coaching.

Laser-Scan has announced that Radius Topology now supports the topology data model feature of Oracle Spatial 10g, an option to Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition. Laser-Scan is a member of the Oracle Partner Network. Laser-Scan launched Radius Topology — an interoperable, persistent, server-side topology management solution for an Oracle RDBMS — in May 2002. The product allows organizations to use a mainstream relational database environment.
     Radius Topology was originally released for Oracle Database 9i Release 1 and uses its own storage tables in Oracle9i. It has also supported Oracle Database 10g in this fashion, since the release of Oracle Database 10g in 2004. The latest release of Radius Topology now supports the Oracle Spatial 10g topology storage model and is available for cadastral and land information management users.

TopoBird, DeLorme's digital aerial data collection platform, is in the process of collecting two-meter digital ortho-imagery for Louisiana and Mississippi, under a contract awarded through the United States Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP), which acquires imagery during the agricultural growing seasons in the continental United States. A primary goal of the NAIP is to enable availability of digital ortho-photography within a year of acquisition. DeLorme is handling the assignment as a sub-contractor to Triathlon/MDA. The TopoBird Cessna Turboprop, with Leica Digital Camera and LiDAR, began the 8-to-15-week aerial collection project earlier this summer.
     TopoBird is available for contract acquisition and processing services, and is used by DeLorme to create commercially-available stock imagery and elevation model products. In addition to the data collected under the NAIP, TopoBird has collected much of northern New England, including all of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, and most of Maine.

Timmons Group, a provider of geospatial and engineering services, recently completed the CADD / GIS visualization project for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Timmons Group was hired by VDOT to design and implement a solution that supports VDOT's overall data integration and visualization goals. The project required the visualization of hundreds of thousands of MicroStation CADD drawings stored in VDOT's existing Document Management System (DMS). The objective was to enable VDOT personnel to access engineering-grade CADD data via the Web, in tandem with VDOT's GIS layers stored in their ESRI ArcSDE data repository. Working with Timmons Group, VDOT decided on a solution that integrates ESRI's ArcIMS, ArcSDE, and FME (Feature Manipulation Engine) Objects from Safe Software with VDOT's existing DMS.
     Users of the Timmons Group-designed Web visualization portal now have the ability to query the DMS database for VDOT "projects" which have associated with them many source CADD files (e.g., survey, bridge, hydrology, sound wall, etc). The data management engine of the CADD visualization application determines whether, since the last conversion, any CADD files have been altered. Any altered files are then reconverted from MicroStation to ArcSDE and, once converted, are available for visualization on the Web with supporting GIS layers (e.g., wetlands, endangered species, etc). The application also includes a management interface for batch mode conversion and substantial job tracking functions.

CAE Inc., a provider of simulation and modeling technologies, has chosen Feature Analyst, made by Visual Learning Systems (VLS), to assist in the creation of its flight simulation systems for civil aviation and defense customers. The introduction of satellite images and aerial photography mapped on terrain has posed another level of complexity to the development of visual databases. Feature Analyst addresses this issue by automatically extracting features of interest from these data sets, helping companies avoid tedious and costly manual work. The software eliminates most of the manual processes required and increases the scene content of the databases created.

CSI Wireless Inc., a designer and manufacturer of wireless and GPS products used in more than 50 countries, has announced that its newest telematics products — the Asset-Link 410 and Asset-Link 150 — have received approval from four major cellular carriers for use on their networks, while also generating in excess of $1 million of initial sales. Rogers Wireless in Canada, Telefonica in Latin America, and reseller KORE Wireless have tested and approved the Asset-Link 410, while and its Microburst network have tested and approved the Asset-Link 150. Approval processes involving other major North American carriers are also under way. The Asset-Link 410 is the first digital member of CSI's Asset-Link product line. It utilizes GSM-GPRS/SMS technology to meet North America's escalating demand for higher bandwidth applications, including frequent updates of fleet-vehicle operational information. The analog-based Asset-Link 150 utilizes's low-cost MicroBurst cellular network, and is designed for a wide range of applications — including trucking fleets, rental fleets, transit and other municipal vehicles, heavy equipment management, and stolen vehicle recovery.

The State of Colorado Department of Revenue has certified GeoTAX products, by Group 1 Software, Inc., for determination of local tax jurisdictions. With this certification, retailers and telecommunications providers using the product in Colorado will be able to utilize electronic street address data for tax jurisdiction assignment. They also will be exempt from liability from taxes owed because of database accuracy, according to the "hold harmless" provision of the state's sales and use tax legislation passed last January.
     GeoTAX is the first tax jurisdiction assignment solution to be certified by the State. The Colorado Department of Revenue found the product's database to be 97 percent accurate, surpassing the 95 percent accuracy level required for certification. Group 1 has exclusive use of the Tele Atlas North America municipal boundary dataset for current jurisdictional boundary information for tax applications.


Cadcorp, a digital mapping and GIS software developer, has announced the availability of a new digital mapping software product, Cadcorp Storm Tracker. Developed to satisfy the requirements of insurance and re-insurance specialists and other organizations concerned with damage caused by hurricanes and other storms, Storm Tracker is a light-weight digital mapping application for the visualisation of hurricane storm tracks. Using data from the Unisys Weather website, a respected source for global storm data, the product enables users to take live storm information, automatically convert it to geographical line features, and visualize it over a digital map base. It also enables the user to export the resulting storm track to commonly used GIS data interchange formats for integration into other software, such as catastrophe modeling products. A fully functioning copy of Cadcorp Storm Tracker is available on the Cadcorp website for download. Its built-in evaluation licence will run until the end of September, after which users can purchase the software.

Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging, LLC has released Leica Photogrammetry Suite (LPS) V8.7 Service Pack 3 (SP3) and the MC1200 Universal Machine Control System.
     LPS SP3 provides a combination of critical bug fixes and new functionality to provide users with enhanced ways to streamline their imaging processing workflow in LPS. In addition, this release includes updated releases of PRO600 V8.7.4 and ORIMA for LPS V8.7.3. New features in LPS SP3 include: support for DSW DSUP files; LIDAR (.las) Import; support for a reference DTM in the Terrain Editor; geomorphic editing tools in the Terrain Editor; four new Stereo Point Measurement (LPS Core) enhancements; batch modification within Mosaic Direct (the batch file can be started outside of ERDAS IMAGINE); and new options for creating unique identifiers for image point measurements. New features in PRO600 V8.7.4 include: move and rotate features in PROCART with support for shared vertex editing; geomorphic editing tools in PRODTM for modification of LPS grid terrain datasets; support for translucency of polygon fills in the LPS ViewPlex stereo graphic overlay; and user-definable criteria for automatic tagging of feature codes to design file data. Also included in this release is an updated version of ORIMA V8.7.3 for LPS, which includes critical bug fixes.
     The MC1200 combines a man-machine interface with CAN-bus architecture and sensors for 1D and 2D control over all types of construction equipment. The system is also readily upgradeable to 3D control with plug-in options for GPS or robotic total station inputs. The device's large LCD display and high-visibility indicator lights provide all critical information to the operator at a glance. Dedicated function keys give direct access to the most often used functions, while an interactive menu structure and soft keys provide unlimited flexibility. The compact size of the display/control panel makes it easy to install in tight-fitting cabs without interfering with the operator's visibility. The CAN-bus architecture and a complete array of machine slope and grade sensors adapt the MC1200 to all types of equipment and applications. Sensor options include multiple laser and sonic grade sensors to best suit each application, including single- or dual-sonic, single- or dual-laser or cross-slope-only configurations. The MC1200 is the only machine control system that utilizes Leica Geosystems' sideshift control. Other product features include user-selectable language options, power mast option, up to three channels of hydraulic control, multiple valve options for current or voltage control, 100 percent steep slope capability, automatic hydraulic tuning, and all-at-once calibration of machine sensors.


The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) will hold its 2005 Annual Conference this October in Kansas City. In addition to a full program of presentations and workshops, it will feature a full day summit meeting to carry on the efforts of the National GI 3C (Cooperate, Coordinate, Collaborate) Summit held in May 2003. That meeting assembled U.S. federal agencies along with state and local government representatives to discuss various National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) initiatives and their impact at the local level. (URISA's website has the summary of the first Summit's recommendations and the full report of the first 3C summit.) This year's meeting brings federal, state, and local agencies back together to track how the first Summit's recommendations have been implemented. The emphasis for this year's Summit is how local and state governments can more effectively contribute geodata to the NSDI, and how federal agencies can more effectively provide resource assistance to do so.
     The Summit's morning plenary will include a presentation of new NSDI initiatives, along with examples of regional and statewide partnerships that are building and sharing data. Featured partnerships include the Bay Area Regional Geographic Council and the North Carolina OneMap project. The Summit will initiate four workgroups in the afternoon to begin to formulate recommendations for improving multi-government geodata cooperation, coordination, and collaboration: 1) encouraging local governments to use NSDI standards and methods; 2) aggregating and integrating local and regional data repositories into the NSDI; 3) local government outreach and collaboration with funded, "programmatic agencies" to create a mutual, value proposition; and 4) professional association support of the NSDI, featuring the co-sponsors of this Summit — URISA, NACo (National Association of Counties), and NSGIC (National States Geographic Information Council).
     URISA's annual conference includes a full day of workshops (on Sunday), and three days of GIS presentations in tracks that include Public Health, Tools, Management, Applications, Data, Student Papers, and leading edge "Hot Topics." Full registration and program information is available at

The Trimble Dimensions User Conference 2005 will take place at The Mirage, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 23-26. The conference is intended for land surveyors, construction managers, civil engineers, government / transportation agencies, dealers / distributors, and architects. Topics will include the suite of Trimble survey, construction, 3D laser scanning, and GPS infrastructure solutions; industry trends, including IP, telecommunications, and wireless; new applications and projects, strategies, and best practices. Keynote speakers will include Steve W. Berglund, President and CEO of Trimble; Dr. Scott Pace, Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation for NASA; and Erik Lindbergh, Vice Chairman of the Lindbergh Foundation.

The ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit, titled "The Key to Intelligent Collaboration," will take place September 12-14 at Adam's Mark Hotel, in Denver, Colorado. The conference will promote collaboration for a safer world and the role of GIS in managing and disseminating spatial and nonspatial data for all aspects of homeland security.
     The conference is a forum for decision-makers, government officials, elected leaders, utility professionals, and business executives who can establish priorities and set directions for their organizations. It will focus on key areas including emergency response, business continuity, public health, evacuation planning, agriculture, and disease tracking.
     Opening day speakers will include John W. Hickenlooper, Mayor of Denver; Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI; Joseph R. Biden Jr., U.S. Senator; Jeremy Harris, former Mayor of Honolulu; Barry Lawson, of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA); Jay Morgan, of Towson University; Jill Boulton, of Norwich Union Insurance Limited; Dr. John Loonsk, Associate Director of Informatics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rodney E. Slater, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation; and Admiral Timothy J. Keating, USN, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command.


The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI), which went live in January 2004, has certified its 800th GIS Professionals (GISPs) as of July 25.


Tom Mettille, manager of the GIS department at Jordan, Jones & Goulding, Inc. (JJG), vice president of the Georgia chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), and former manager of the Georgia GIS Data Clearinghouse, died suddenly of a heart attack on August 17. He is survived by his wife, Cathy, and four children, ages five to 11. More information is available at a website set up in his honor.

East View Cartographic has appointed Ron McCoy as its Director of Business Development. Mr. McCoy will use his strong geospatial industry experience to add focused solutions to the company's wide range of global geospatial products and services. He will lead growth initiatives including adding new products, forging key partnerships, and providing complete geospatial solutions to companies in defined vertical markets.
     Immediately prior to joining East View Cartographic Mr. McCoy worked as an independent management consultant to technology industry firms. His geospatial industry experience includes more than a decade at Vexcel Corporation where he served through September 2004 in a dual role as the company's Vice President of Marketing and as Director of the Mapping and GIS Business Group. The company grew from a small R&D; firm to a multi-national geospatial engineering company during his tenure. McCoy holds an MBA in marketing and finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

SANZ Geospatial Solutions Group a provider of spatial data provisioning solutions, has appointed Jeff Young as its director of business development. Young, who brings more than 25 years of industry experience, will support the company's commitment to the growth of its EarthWhere product offerings and will concentrate on growing and managing the organization's Southwest region and specific national accounts. He will be responsible for establishing and maintaining key relationships for the Geospatial Solutions Group, based out of the company's Englewood, Colorado, headquarters. Prior to joining SANZ, Young was the Americas regional director at Leica Geosystems GIS and Mapping.

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