GIS MONITOR, Sep 14, 2000


-Bentley Reorganizes into Three Divisions
-GDS User Group Meeting Announced
-NASA Selects CubeWerx Spatial Technology
-LizardTech's Technology Ships with Autodesk CAD Overlay
-DeLorme Joins Leading Consumer ASP cMeRun
-GIS Day 2000 Promises to Be a Tremendous Success
-Alcatel to Demonstrate Use of NearMe Wireless Application
-Week in Review


Many in the CAD/GIS community got a heads up from Ralph Grabowski earlier in the week of an impending shakeup at Bentley. Yesterday, the news was released to the rest of the world that yes, indeed, Bentley was going through yet another reorganization.

Bentley followers have seen the number two PC-based CAD company try to find a workable organizational structure several times since 1995 when they acquired exclusive distribution rights to MicroStation. Bentley has tried an industry focus, a product focus and even rolled out new companies (both NetSpace, a GIS focused implementation/consulting group and WorkPlace for workflow management have since been worked back into the corporate entity). Partners have been bought (imaging partner HMR and plant solutions provider Jacobus). Bentley teamed up with GeoPak to acquire the assets of GDS as it shut down operations. And, in May, Bentley agreed to take on three of Intergraph's product lines.

This latest reincarnation of Bentley has Malcolm Walter as COO, heading up operating units, corporate marketing and Bentley's newly formed and wholly owned integrator, Atlantech Solutions. As former CFO, Walter may just know how to run a tight ship. Buddy Cleveland, once head of Jacobus, will head up software, including development, solutions and technical marketing. George Church, once head of WorkPlace Systems, will be concentrating on Bentley's newest brainchild, (the fact that Viecon has its own division reveals its importance throughout the organization). Yoav Etiel, then Senior VP of Marketing, who is noticeably absent today from Bentley's Executive Profiles, told me at AEC Systems that Viecon was to be part of everything that went on at Bentley and that everyone was essentially part of the Viecon team.

Bentley's moves seem easier to understand if one considers that it is a company trying to go public. After all, a company with 21 vice presidents for its 960 employees may be hard for financiers and investors to support. Equally mystifying is that Bentley is still half dot com and half traditional CAD provider.

It is unlikely that the reorganization will have any significant impact on Bentley's GIS plans. Bentley's GIS team has been changed and reformed so many times that it may have lost its voice altogether. Bentley tiny GIS market share is among the included in the "other" category in Daratech's latest industry market share figures. Mark Milman, once of Mizar, original developers of Bentley's MicroStation Geographics, is currently the VP of GeoEngineering Technologies. He'll be responsible for finding a place for GIS in the new structure. Paul Scarponcini, once of GDS, was once working with the OpenGIS Consortium on Bentley's behalf, but involvement has waned.

More clarification is likely to come from next week's Bentley International User Conference in Philadelphia.



An Informatix' GDS/MicroGDS User Conference for all GDS and MicroGDS users in North America will be held in Portsmouth, NH on Monday 30th October 2000.

Informatix, who now maintains Classic GDS and develops MicroGDS, will update customers on the current commercial and development position of MicroGDS as well as providing an insight into future development directions. The Conference will allow users to renew old acquaintances, reminisce and compare notes and experiences.

After Convergent Group ended development on Classic GDS, Informatix took over. Some users transitioned to other systems while others moved to a PC version of GDS. Several sites maintain GDS in full production or as a legacy system.

NASA, a participant in the Open GIS Consortium's (OGC) Web Mapping Testbed, has purchased web mapping software from CubeWerx, another participant. CubeWerx cascading map server, CubeServ, allows users to access spatial data from several servers, and dynamically combine them over the Web with other spatial data from OGC compliant Map Servers built by other companies.

Basically, CubeServ acts as an intermediary, communicating with and querying other third-party map servers, and then overlaying results before returning them as a single coherent image to a browser. CubeServ can reproject data coming from multiple projections as needed.

While NASA is most certainly forward looking by choosing CubeWerx solution, there are a few pieces not yet in place. First off, there is not yet a test for conformance to the OGC Web Mapping Specification (or for several of the other OGC specification for that matter). Second, most vendors are not yet ready to claim compliance with the specification, as CubeWerx has, though they too participated in the Testbed. On the other hand, NASA choosing compliant technology may help make compliance a "check box" for other agencies looking for Web mapping solutions. This will hopefully encourage other vendors to move forward with compliance.


Seattle-based LizardTech announced earlier this week the integration of its MrSID technology into Autodesk CAD Overlay 2000i software.

This is the latest step in an about face for Autodesk since the company made quite a big deal in 1997 about their relationship with LizardTech rival (and lawsuit defendant) ERMapper. The 1997 agreement suggested that Autodesk and ERMapper "will exchange technologies to create future products that benefit customers, as well as share marketing resources and sales distribution channels to provide complete mapping and GIS solutions for customers in the digital mapping and GIS markets." Many industry watchers expected Autodesk to use ERMapper's worldwide channel to push the then new GIS product line of AutoCAD Map, Autodesk World and Autodesk MapGuide. In fact, some ERMapper technology was embedded in Autodesk World, now defunct.

ERMapper, which began as principally an image analysis company, grew to support image compression -- as did LizardTech. Today the rivalry between LizardTech and ERMapper continues leaving no choice for GIS vendors like Autodesk to add support for both technologies.


DeLorme, a leading provider of consumer mapping technologies, announced an agreement with cMeRun Corp, an Internet computing company, to offer use of its software over the Web.

Here's how it works: An ISP, such as Earthlink, can contract with CmeRun to provide their subscribers access to software over the web. CmeRun focuses on consumer level software and currently provides Microsoft Office and several Corel products. DeLorme products will be added next.

CmeRun suggests that ISPs can distinguish themselves by these offerings, providing them with a basic subscription or as extra cost "addons." The consumer benefits by avoiding installations and upgrades, and having access to their tools wherever and whenever they are needed.

CmeRun lists three ISP partners including one DSL and one broadband service The real issues, of course are cost and speed. Cyber Beach Communications, a small ISP in Canada, is still in a pilot program, and the service is free. Reflex Communications and PheonixDSL have only recently announced agreements with CmeRun. As for delivery, it's hard to imagine using Word with a 56K dial-up modem, but with a fatter pipe, it becomes realistic.

Finally, one has to question how attractive DeLorme's offerings will be on the Web, especially with all the good, free mapping and travel planning solutions already available.


With the US Geological Survey, the Library of Congress, and the Open GIS Consortium signing on as sponsors for GIS Day 2000, this years event promises to be the best yet.

The brainchild of ESRI, GIS Day provides a chance to highlight the products and technology to the general public through demonstrations and activities Held during Geography Awareness Week, GIS Day should involve all users of GIS technology. To reach its potential, GIS Day must broaden its scope to include other vendors of the technology and their users. As usual ESRI is at the cutting edge of education about GIS; now it's time to take on the challenge and invite the competition to participate.



NearMe, Inc., in cooperation with MapInfo Corporation announced that Alcatel is demonstrating NearMe's Enhanced Wireless Directory Services application using Alcatel's INsight Platform at m-Commerce 2000.

MapInfo spun off NearMe in 1999 with John Haller, former Chief Technology Officer and founder of MapInfo Corporation, at the helm. NearMe claims it is the first company to provide access to real-time, location-based content through an API interface. The NearMe database includes 14 million categorized business listings in categories including dining, travel, entertainment and services; and events updated daily including concerts, theater and trade shows, across the United States. NearMe hopes to partner with location sensitive data providers, such as those with classified listings or national databases and thus provide more hits to data provider sites.

The existing data available on their site was somewhat limited. Although I found 662 lawyers with 2 miles of my house and could get a detailed map of their location, address and phone, I could tell nothing of their specialties, hours, etc. I found 182 auto shops but could not search for places that sold Subarus. Then when I tried a particularly location and time specific concern -- filling a prescription I was sent to The Modern Brewer! It seems as if this site is focusing on where I am at the expense of what I'm looking to find.


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