September 18, 2003


Special NSGIC Issue

Roll Call of the States
Characteristics Of Success For Statewide Geospatial Coordination
Web-Based State Survey
Federal Session
Geospatial Information For The Nation
Local Partnerships: What Works?
Geospatial One-Stop Board Meeting
NSGIC Tidbits

New Survey

GIS Service Provider Survey

This issue sponsored by:
Safe Software

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

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One tradition of NSGIC is having each state delegate take three minutes to highlight the past year's accomplishments, plans for the coming year and expectations for the meeting. This year, at the meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, delegates were asked to provide written summaries. Many of these are already posted on the NSGIC website and few more are expected in the coming weeks. If you want to know what's going on in your state, this is a great resource. If your state isn't there, send your state coordinator an e-mail and ask why. Listening to the parade, I picked out a few interesting comments.

Idaho has updated its clearinghouse and its URL and noted that many websites hadn't updated their links. I point this out since it's a key aspect to any sort of NSDI or precursor that relies on human data entry.

Most, if not all of the delegates proudly introduced their USGS liaison, reinforcing those partnerships. All of the dozens of USGS attendees wore green buttons stating "I am your USGS partner."

Kentucky has received a follow-up to a NASA grant (so big that the delegate didn't note its size). More interesting to me is the plan for an open source solution to serve remotely sensed imagery via the Web.

Minnesota spoke directly to unique activities in the state, highlighting two publications many of you may want to track down: a data sharing guide and a communication plan document. The delegate also introduced the Polaris award, a new mid-career award to complement an existing lifetime achievement award. "Giving out awards encourages more good work," he noted.

New York State's data sharing initiative now has some 450 participants including 51 of the 60 counties. The state also seems to have a knack for bringing grants from disparate areas to grow GIS including funding from the Centers for Disease Control and programs related to the study of weapons of mass destruction.

Oklahoma noted that its state GIS is powered by MapServer technology. The only other technology or vendor noted was ESRI. Several states designated themselves as ESRI states.

Tennessee, like many states, noted concern about E911. In particular, the coordinator highlighted the fact that counties needed not only data for their area, but for their neighbors, too.

Soon-to-be retiring NSGIC president Gene Trobia of Arizona offered a template of sorts for successful coordination and coordinators. It's a work-in-progress based on past state caucuses, but currently includes:

Authority of GIS coordinator
Full-time position
Connection to champion
Responsibility for NSDI
History of good local government relationships
Sustainable funding
Contract authority (the ability to buy and sell things)
Federal presence point of contact

Products might include:

Data inventory
Emergency response tools

Measures of success might include:

Data available and useable
Business partners happy
Local governments engaged
Neighboring states helped

In closing, he suggested "Building the NSDI State by State" as a new motto for NSGIC.

NSGIC members have noted in the past few years that there are too many surveys addressed to local governments on data, practices, and management. Maryland and Indiana took statewide approaches to address that problem.

In Maryland, there were nearly ten different organizations including FEMA, Homeland Security, environmental agencies, and others looking for inventories of data covering the state. A team looked over existing survey mechanisms (that is, what was in the surveys) and found many common elements. These were merged and material was added to create a "super survey" of sorts. The final product was delivered in PDF (14 pages) and e-mailed out for return via fax. There were 23 counties and a few municipalities in the distribution. The survey took about a half hour total to complete - but that required between a day and a week of "calendar time" when scheduled amongst other tasks, according to respondents.

The results were sent to those who were looking for survey data and pretty much everyone who wanted it. Metadata was extracted from the survey and used to create a very useful metadata database.

In Indiana there was a similar problem but a different solution. The team developed an online "living inventory." Participants can add and update information at anytime. Each user has a username/password and can fill it out one section at a time, which addresses the "interruptions" noted in the Maryland solution. (The questions for the Indiana survey were mostly taken from Maryland.) The system creates status maps as data changes. Different users have different access - for example, federal partners might have full access to all data. The summary data is available in CD format, and online custom reports are in the works. Another bonus: a GIS contact list is created from respondent contact info to enhance networking.

After some exploration, the leadership on the project decided to explore taking this vision national. The online system envisioned will create custom reports and status maps, automatically generate metadata, automatically update clearinghouse nodes, integrate with OGC Web Services, maintain a national directory, track applications, and document planned data acquisitions.

In the end, the team offered that a single robust system is the way to go, but with custom front ends for each state. The proposal is that NSGIC take the lead and that eventually this might be an integrated part of NSDI. Some of this material is covered by GOS, but the distinction is that this will be a more comprehensive tool and data inventory.

During the question and answer period a delegate from Wisconsin reported better updating by moving to a Web-based survey done there. A Pennsylvania delegate was concerned that people must still be chased down to complete such a survey. There was concern about bandwidth for input. The consensus was that bandwidth requirements for input were likely low, but discovery of data from the database might require higher bandwidth. Another question requested that notification of changes be sent to those who were interested in tracking particular geographies. My sense is that this is a good idea - but perhaps one that should be tied directly into Geospatial One-Stop.

This year NSGIC gave each of eight federal agencies ten minutes to outline recent accomplishments and plans for the next six months.

National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP)

Geoff Gabbott, Department of Agriculture explained how NAIP is switching from analog to digital. Acquisition will still be analog but will be scanned to digital. Some pilot tests of digital sensors are underway, too. The imagery (1- and 2-meter in county portions) under the digital plan will ideally be delivered within two months of acquisition, if I heard correctly. The imagery will be available to The National Map (TNM). A few pilots showed that digital aerial mapping cameras were the best choice in terms of cost. 2003 coverage was of 23 different states and 929 counties. The first deliverable was compressed county imagery in MrSID on CD. The full resolution data is available on tape. Gabbott emphasized that there are cost-sharing opportunities for federal and state/county partners to go to new counties, non-agricultural counties, or to upgrade data from 2- to 1-meter.

Federal Geospatial Data Committee (FGDC)

Ivan DeLoatch, acting staff director, says the permanent director will be chosen in the next two to three weeks. The Committee has distributed over a million dollars in CAP grants to 51 organizations this year. Many of the activities funded this year were metadata related; next year the plan is to explore a shared agency model of funding. The address content standard was proposed to NCITS/L1 (the geospatial component of ANSI); the GPS standard will be proposed in next meeting. GIRM was completed. FGDC completed the Geospatial Investment Review pilot with three agencies on an elevation data set. The results: it's hard to tease out investments. FGDC helped established the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) Association. This is a more neutral party than FGDC, where GSDI previously fell.

In the next six months FGDC will: get a new director, coordinate a grant pilot, institutionalize I-Teams (a sort of redeployment of the idea), redesign its website, continue GOS support (in particular, exploring an enterprise architecture) and further develop the role of the FGDC in e-Gov initiatives. DeLoatch also noted that there is an NSGIC grant to help enhance federal agency and state coordination.

Census Bureau

Approximately 18 Census staff were in attendance. Most of the achievements of late have to do with MAF/TIGER updates. Linda Franz highlighted the goal that 250 counties be updated this year. That should be achieved by the end of this month. Another milestone was the implementation a new database. There are 3,233 counties in the U.S. Census has GIS files for 1038 of those. It tested 777 to see if they met requirements for use in the update. 390 passed at CE95 of 7.6 meter. 387 failed at CE95 of 7.61 meters. For FY04, Census has shared 350 local county files with contractor Harris for update. To update the other 250 needed to make next year's goal of 600, Harris will look for other data sources. The plan for which counties will be tackled in 2004 will be online.

Census will provide the updated TIGER to USGS for inclusion in The National Map. The source data database is already shared with USGS and NIMA. The next iteration of the database will also go to NOAA.

Census reached out to coordinators to tell census about local data that exists that might be useful for updates, whether it exists now or will in the near future. The representative also asked that coordinators examine some provided samples of the TIGER Enhanced Data (TED) and share any concerns.

United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Barb Ryan highlighted achievements for the last six months, including moving out of centralized offices "onto the landscape." Some high resolution "133 cities" imagery is complete while other imagery is still in the works (NIMA and USGS partnered on that - NIMA put in $4 million.) A cost benefit of The National Map was done. It showed a fourteen-year time span for payoff. That's not so hot in comparison to some technology projects, but compares favorably to other infrastructure, like bridges. Ryan hopes to do a further analysis to find specific benefits in early years. She noted that it would be valuable to have a study similar to one done for the Ordnance Survey to gauge the impact of available national data on the economy. Recall that Vanessa Lawrence can quote the value of her organization's data to that country's economy (and has each time I heard her speak). In the next six months USGS hopes to finalize a formal relationship NSGIC.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

Rob Ader of the BLM started out by placding BLM in perspective: it's an agency about managing the land, not so much about creating data. It works primarily with cadastral data. He identified a few key cadastral meetings and noted among recent accomplishments a draft GOS Cadastral Data Content Standard and an updated Cadastral Standard. These, he was quick to point out, were carried out with support of NSGIC, and not by BLM exclusively. In the next six months the BLM will build on results from the Western Governors Association meeting, hold another set of cadastral meetings (west and east), add assessment and address components to standards, and help fund a study on the benefits of cadastral information. Ader concluded by noting the importance of cadastre: The cadastre specifies land use, therefore everything relies on it.

NOAA Costal Services Center (CSC)

Anne Miglarese noted that CSC serves 36 coastal states and territories. The Center runs an Office of Management and Budget (OBM) survey about coastal needs every three years. That helps guide 95% of its funding to the "right" coastal resource management agencies. CSC provides grants and contracts for data (all of its data is free and downloadable), highly subsidized training, decision support tools, standards and metadata resources, and support for national policy development. This year the Center distributed $2.1 million in grants and coop agreements in 15 states.

The results of the latest OMB survey are online. 2004 funding closes Oct 6. (There are dedicated funds for NSGIC participants.) Last year the Center trained 244 coastal partners from state and local government in GIS and 45 in remote sensing, and signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for national landcover data in the coastal zone. The center is exploring solutions to get around the current issues with Landsat 7.

In the next six months CSC expects to put out some "Broad Area announcements" and deliver a nationwide coastal elevation data set. Discussions for acquisition of that product have been underway for a year, but the center "won't buy it if we can't share it and it doesn't meet tidal requirements."

Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA, part of Department of Homeland Security)

Scott McAfee noted that a Map Modernization contract work has been narrowed from three potential contractors to one (though he didn't name the one). The first DFRIMS (Digital Flood Risk Insurance Maps) are available. has delivered more than one million maps, all for advisory purposes. The HAZUS wind damage loss estimation application is now available. This follows the flood model that's been available for some time. FEMA is also looking at standardizing map symbols for creating meaningful maps for responders.

US Department of Transportation (DOT)

Carol Brandt, Geographic Information Program Manager for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), spoke on behalf of US DOT. In the last six months BTS was involved heavily with GOS work (see below). All of the BTS data developed is in the public domain. In the next six months BTS/DOT expects to do more work on GOS, and it supports "open source standards."

Hank Garie took off his hat as executive director of Geospatial One-stop as well as his former NJ State GIS Coordinator hat and shared some thoughts on the future of what he called "geospatial information for the nation." He argued that we need a system, a strategy, and a blueprint to move forward. The blueprint is a vision for how to put technology together, in part he suggested, so people (policy makers in particular) see that we have a "game plan."

Is the time right for this vision? All signs point to "yes": the technology is mature, states are empowered, NSGIC is a force, geospatial technology has increased visibility, and mapping services are everywhere.

He called for a "renewed strategy," one which can take advantage of public/private partnerships and provide reasonable expectations and incentives. Incentives are clearly on his mind: he outlined a vision for shared goals and grants for several federal agencies. One idea outlined suggests that a state (maybe local) government could apply to one source for funds drawn from several agencies. The states might be called upon to match these in some way, and software vendors might be asked to contribute. There's nothing firm, but clearly FGDC and TNM have been thinking about it, since it was mentioned in their presentations later in the day.

In discussing standards, Garie noted that GOS goal was "minimalist standards for exchange" so that data could be shared. He also noted that in time there will be need to document minimum hardware and software for participation in GI. Despite the overhead, it might be correct to plan for production to anticipate the explosion of demand for GI that we expect. Interoperability might be encouraged by tying it to incentives. That is, if you want grant monies, you need to follow standards.

Garie wrapped up by noting that we as practitioners and policy makers need to articulate a clear single message to those we are "selling" on GI. We need to take the message out into the world and avoid terms many don't understand (framework, metadata were two I recall). I for one look forward to that statement, which I think we are still developing.

An attendee asked about a potential requirement for implementation of OGC standards. Garie replied that since GOS and DOI are not regulatory, the near future would include encouragement, incentives, and education regarding standards, but no requirements.

One session gave examples of state/local partnerships that have been successful, along with lessons learned. The Tennessee Base Mapping Program uses partnerships extensively, based at the county level. The program includes developing detailed orthos and vector layers. The Comptroller of the Treasury started the program as a pilot in 1996 since that office kept the maps and assessments for most of the counties. That data was eventually moved to the state's IT organization. After looking at pricing to have the data acquired (and available to be freely used) by the private sector, the state decided on a different approach - to do it "itself." The plan was that funding would be shared by the state (75%) and counties (25%). 39 counties have signed on thus far.

Counties in the state, represented at the meeting by Anderson County's Assessor of Property, liked the idea moving to digital. The Assessor of Property took the idea to those who'd ultimately use GIS. Many towns and cities in Anderson County said they were interested, but had no money. Split out across public, private potential users - small cities, bigger ones like Oak Ridge, and utilities, the 25% was eventually accumulated. Anderson County has had data for nearly a year.

The state owns all of the data. Interestingly, the state, by law, cannot license the data - it can, however, charge a fee over and above acquisition.

Pima County Arizona received its original data from the state on tape, and through many "wheelings and dealings" created the most sophisticated GIS in the state, according to Gene Trobia. The county currently has formal relationships with the Tuscan Department of Transportation and an upcoming one with USGS. There are many informal data sharing processes too - for example, in return for teaching the school district staff how to use MapGuide, the county received all the school district data. Pima County also serves the DOQQs and DRGs for the whole state via MapGuide. (The State doesn't have enough disk space to host it!) One Pima County employee described the situation in the county, at one point, as an "ad hocracy."

NC One Map is North Carolina's vision for "geographic information for a statewide community." The state has a coordinating council for GIS with 32 members, 10 of which are local government. NC has 100 counties, 92 with GIS. 80 of those have high-rez imagery and parcels (at least). Of those 80 counties, some 50 have map viewers online. That means to find a property for say a new business, a user would likely have to hit 50 website and use 50 viewers. That's part of the impetus toward NC One Map. The State's value of framework data (based on Bill Burgess of Maryland's now famous spreadsheet) is $162 million plus.

Stakeholders in North Carolina include the counties and 140 cities/towns, 17 state departments, and 16 federal agencies (and some partners from neighboring states). There's a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to facilitate data sharing.

One challenge: York County, North Carolina had issues with security and took its server offline for a time. After an update of server technology the county returned to participate. Visitors can select and download data from the "portal." A link is typically provided to the specific county site. The contributing servers include ArcIMS and MapServer technology. The NC One Map group meets every two weeks by telecon to address policy and technical issues. For now, the website is a demonstration site, which should hopefully lead to an official site, and in time, to a National Map implementation.

Salt Lake County, Utah, the most urban county in the state, has an elected County Surveyor. That's helped sell the idea of GIS to other elected officials. There are 29 counties. The county is involved in The National Map, which yielded a single statewide transportation model, and drove the development of an orthophotography consortium. The state provides free hosting of ArcIMS websites for counties. Some counties (even rural ones) have begun mentoring others. Counties can provide advocacy. During a recent funding crunch Utah counties helped keep the state GIS folks funded by calling their congressmen.


The latest GOS Board Meeting held at NSGIC in Nashville was held just about a year after the first one help at the NSGIC meeting in Park City. Scott Cameron of OMB highlighted a few motions that had passed by e-mail vote since the last meeting. One approved the movement of GOS standards to ANSI (NCITS/L1, the geospatial group in ANSI) without any other review. The second approved the inclusion of commercial data on Details of the terms will be addressed at the next meeting, perhaps with input from MAAPS, and others. Cameron also noted that the schedule for the review of the current portal and plans for a new procurement for version 2.0 was now posted on the GOS website.

One goal of the meeting was to decide if it was indeed time to propose the seven GOS standards for ANSI approval. The main discussion was about one standard, the transportation standard. This standard, like the other seven, is aimed at easy data sharing and is not the "be all and end all" of standards. The GOS Transportation Pilot led by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) developed an implementation of the transportation standard. (Actually, transportation is broken out into roads, rail, air, and transit, and USACE took the lead on navigable waterways.) The pilot process included the development of a Modeling Advisory Board for each of the four topics, each with less than 1/3 federal participants. (It's clearly important to note the federal/non-federal participation since similar numbers were mentioned several times during the two-hour meeting.)

A BTS staffer, Steve Lewis, introduced the Transportation Portal, which is not a duplication of the current GOS portal, but will integrate into it. The demonstration included county, state and federal road data and illustrated that the data model and data format of the different data stores did not matter, they could be tapped "as if" they all adhered to the standard. So, the data itself was not converted in any way, instead, it went through a "Query Translator" that essentially passed a query from the portal into a common language, got the "answer" and converted the data into the common model and displayed it in the portal viewer. Data download using Geography Markup Language (GML) will be available, but will only be useful if GIS software vendors include GML import in desktop products.

The model itself attempts to work with the "smallest meaningful" parts. One GOS staffer described it as looking at the all the data sharing that goes on in transportation now and finding the most commonly shared parts.

The board then had to decide to okay the standards for review and approval to NCITS/L1. That process typically takes about a year. The Department of Homeland Security is eager that the standard move into ANSI review by September 30. In the end, the board passed the motion. There was also a lot of discussion on where to go from here with standards. The two paths offered were to study transportation further, perform further pilots, study implementation options, or to move on to other standards. The other standards suggested for pilots were addressing, landscape, and SDSFIE, a Tri-Service Standard. No decision was made, but Cameron hopes to have one by early this winter.

PTI gave some early results from its survey of counties for GOS, which wrapped up in August. The findings will be discussed at a meeting in Las Vegas in October and perhaps a press event in D.C. That rekindled discussion of the NSGIC survey instrument discussed the day before.

All in all, it's impressive to see how far GOS has come in a year. Still, there's more work to do.

One delegate referred to his state as being "more of a National Map state than a Geospatial One-Stop state."

Former Governor of Wyoming, Jim Geringer, who now works for ESRI, held a "kitchen table" discussion with delegates one evening. I pulled a few interesting comments out of the free form discussion that centered on how interested parties can take their case to politicians. First off, Geringer noted that while he works for a GIS vendor, his role is as "an advocate for the industry." A quick thought experiment over lunch one day dug up two other public figures that have joined commercial companies in our industry: Larry Ayres was deputy director of the Defense Mapping Agency (the predecessor of NIMA) before his tenure at Intergraph, and Jack Pellicci, Brigadier General USA (Ret), is now a Group Vice President at Oracle. Can readers think of others?

The most important points that Geringer made in the evening session, and reiterated later in a session for Gold Sponsors, was that "selling" GIS, really required making it personal and tying it to a specific problem. If we use GIS correctly, he noted, it isn't a "line item" on a budget, but a ubiquitous technology. One other take away: "Make the first thing you say [to a politician] the last thing you want me to remember."

More than one delegate was concerned that the current efforts to draw data together, either for The National Map, Geospatial One-Stop, or even local projects may be overshadowing the fact that many geographies still have very poor or no data. There's a related concern that these efforts may be providing unrealistic expectations to officials as to the quality and coverage data and the products created from them.

EarthData shuttled interested attendees out to a hangar at the airport to see its new Leica ADS40 sensor fully installed in a small plane. It was the first time I'd seen the hardware that makes all those pretty images. One neat fact: it takes about two hours to install the system in a plane. The plane is pretty much a standard plane - with a hole in the bottom and some extra wiring.

GIS Monitor wishes to thank MapInfo Corporation for providing Internet access to publish GIS Monitor from NSGIC.

GIS Monitor readers are an eclectic mix of GIS users, students, vendors, instructors and consultants. It's that last group we want to tap in our
GIS Service Provider Survey. If, in the last year someone paid you/your company to customize, install, teach about, or consult on geospatial technologies, you are a GIS service provider and we invite you to participate. The survey will run through the fall.

Participants are eligible for several raffle prizes (including software) provided by ESRI, GDT, Autodesk and others. Interested parties will be able to purchase the results in January. (GIS Monitor supporters will receive a complimentary copy.)

Rajan Nanda of Full Circle Technologies offered his take on SVG, one of the Web formats some suggested for sharing CAD data.

"You mentioned SVG in your (very good) article on DWF.

"We looked at SVG, but 2 BIG problems for a company such as ours, which does a lot of public Internet GIS sites:

"- it still needs a plug-in. That's a killer. Apparently traffic can drop by 90% to a site if the user has to download a plug-in.
- SVG is very bulky, which is not too great for the Web."

Bernie Connors, Geomatics Manager at the New Brunswick Department of the Environment & Local Government shared his experience with free CAD viewers.

"On September 12th you wrote:

"'Volo View, which supports both DWF and DWG formats, among others, and offers redlining, for example, is not free.'

"I am not sure if you are aware but the Volo View Express download used to be free. I have a copy that was downloaded when it was free. It is Volo View Express 2.01 Build 811. I am not sure what the difference is between Volo View and Volo View Express [now called Express Viewer] but I do recall trying to download a second copy of Volo View Express and we could not find a free download. We are not a AutoCAD shop - we use CARIS and CARIS Spatial Fusion.

"But from time to time we receive DWG data and we use Volo View Express to view and print the drawings."

The editor notes: Bentley offers Bentley View, a free viewer for AutoCAD drawings, up to AutoCAD 2004 format. More free CAD viewers are here.

John Baleja of ESRI, who was at Oracle World, updated the release schedule for 10g.

"On Wednesday, during Chuck Rozwat's keynote it was stated that 10g AS would begin shipping in final release sometime in October, with the 10g RDBMS shipping in December/January, which would explain the different dates that you heard."

Magic Bike. Reader (and bike rider/mechanic) Larry pointed me to the Magic Bike
website. It's a bike fitted with the hardware to bring a wireless access to "whatever space it's parked in." It's sort of a twist on mobile services.

Pong Insights. Nolan Bushnell, the man behind Pong and Atari, gave a keynote presentation at last week's Seybold Seminar. He used lots of examples to highlight what he learned as an entrepreneur in technology. One example he used was Etak, now Tele Atlas. He argued the company blew it when its pre-GPS technology was licensed exclusively to Buick when more money was to be made from opening it up to all.

Maryland Funds New Commercial Mapping Website. Maryland Technology Development Corporation's (TEDCO) University Technology Development Fund (UTDF) provides funds to Maryland universities to support pre-commercial research to grow commercial products. One Tedco $20,000 grant recipient, Blake Henke, licensed some Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) satellite location technology and plans to commercialize maps developed by a Hopkins mathematician. The current maps, though they date from 1996, generate 5,000 hits a day. The plan is to make money from subscriptions to updated data. The new website, scheduled to go live next month, will provide three-dimension and high-resolution maps and maps that can be plugged into GIS/GPS systems. First year sales are expected to be in excess of $100,000 and lead to CD-ROMS and posters.

Geography Matters. If you live in London, living near a good elementary school may boost your house price L80,000. Living near a good secondary school adds L43,000. A study from the London School of Economics offers this insight.

Quote of the Week. At Oracle World, CEO Larry Ellison started out by teasing Microsoft's hardware development, suggesting they got lost a bit. "I think what happened was Bill [Gates] sent a team of people out to IBM to figure out what was new. Somehow the Microsoft intelligence-gathering team held their Yahoo map upside down. Instead of making a left turn into IBM Research, they made a right turn into IBM's museum."

Grid Computing Takes on Geography. Kirk sent an e-mail about a geospatial grid computer project, Those who chose to participate contribute background processing on their computer to run their own unique version of the model.

Geography Minor. The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) has experienced serious cuts to its geography department. Once a stand-alone department, in 1995 it moved under Anthropology. Last spring the major was cut and now only a minor is offered. Is it something in the water in Chicago? The University of Chicago (UC) Geography Department was demoted to a committee after I graduated. Perhaps it's time for UIC and UC programs to merge somehow?

Harry Potter and Tracking. I'm behind on my Harry Potter reading, just plowing through the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Kind of neat that even in that magical world there is a place for GPS-type tracking with maps updated in real time.

Oil Spill GIS Down Under. The Maritime Safety Authority in New Zealand is taking GIS to oil spills. The authority set aside NZ$300,000 to inventory of coastal resources. The RFP went out last week. The first step is creating a GIS including vulnerable flora and fauna and recreational and key economic zones. I started my career doing this type of work.

Track Like a Bat. It turns out the method bats use to track down tasty insects can be adapted for humans. By using an audible frequency, scientists were surprised at how effectively people found targets in a virtual environment. The hope is to the use the technology to provide extra data inputs - for fighter pilots, for example. When I was a kid we played a game where the person who was "it" was guided through a mystery task by having the rest of the kids clap only when "it" was doing the correct thing. It was pretty tough.

April Fool or Not? According to Pizza Marketplace, Dominos in the U.K. and Ireland will be tested with a shoe-based LBS for pizza delivery. The shoe will include a GPS and transmit directions to a wireless headset worn by the driver. This seems suspicious to me since shoes are typically not in good locations to receive GPS signals - down low inside of cars. Further, there's got to be a cheaper way - like buying an in-car device.


Texas Instruments will pay Intergraph a one-time $18 million licensing fee as part of a settlement ending all patent litigation between the two companies.

Synergis Technologies, Inc., has created an alliance with Michael Baker Corporation to provide integrated Autodesk MapGuide solutions and implementation services to organizations that want to better manage and distribute their combined GIS data and CAD design applications.

Police cannot attach a GPS device to a suspect's vehicle without a warrant, the Washington State Supreme Court decided Thursday. This is the first such decision in the U.S.

The Geospatial One-Stop team has a document titled Multiple Award Schedule for Interoperable Geospatial Portal Components on the website. There's a proposed aggressive schedule that includes evaluation of existing portals, defining of technical requirements, and a contract to be in place by next April.

The Brunei Institute of Geomatics (BIG) will be launched September 15, 2003 with seminars and ceremonies.

Smart Data Strategies Inc. has formed a strategic alliance with Michigan-based software service provider Manatron, Inc. Manatron designs, develops, markets and supports a family of web-based and client/server application software products for county, city and township governments. There's a good reason for the relationship: the pair was awarded a multi-million dollar bid in Gwinnet County, Georgia.

Intergraph Corporation will be included in Business 2.0's second annual B2 100, the magazine's ranking of the fastest-growing technology companies. Intergraph ranked #42 on the list.

Orbital Imaging Corporation announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates, Ltd. (MDA) of Vancouver, Canada concerning its remaining marketing rights in the long-delayed Canadian Radarsat-2 satellite program. In exchange for payments totaling $12 million over the next 2 years, ORBIMAGE agreed to end its dispute and return its limited licenses in Radarsat-2 back to MDA, the prime contractor for the program. Furthermore, resolution of its dispute concerning Radarsat-2 now enables ORBIMAGE to finalize its plan of reorganization and emerge from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

ObjectFX Corporation announced it has been awarded a United States patent which validates the company's innovative technology behind its SpatialFX product that enables the integration of dynamic location services and spatial operations into enterprise solutions.

Jack Dangermond met with Dr. Jorge Batlle Ibanez, president of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, on a recent trip to South America to discuss various GIS initiatives.

Contracts and Sales
East Midlands Electricity (EME) has chosen Earth Resource Mapping's Image Web Server technology to distribute its 500GB of orthophoto data.

Municipal Software Corporation, a developer of local government business process automation software added City of Charlotte, North Carolina (population approx. 600,000), the City of Hartford, Connecticut (population approx. 125,000), the Village of North Aurora, Illinois (population approx. 7,925) and Cherokee County, Georgia (population approx.160,000) as new clients.

Lisbon and ESRI Portugal have signed a cooperation agreement for GIS implementation in the city. According to the press release, this agreement establishes ESRI as the designated supplier of GIS software to the municipality of Lisbon and anticipates the expansion of the use of ESRI's GIS technology solution throughout the municipality.

ImageLinks, Inc. and Intermap Technologies, Inc. have been awarded a new contract for their co-branded STARPlus imagery products. Under the contract, the two companies will build accurate, "cloud-free" base maps for the Solomon and Vanuatu island chains in the South Pacific that cover an area of nearly 100,000 square kilometers.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) has contracted AT&T; Wireless business partner CompassCom Inc. to provide Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) technology and GIS mapping support for a major mosquito control program.

DigitalGlobe has won an additional $9.8 million contract award by the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) under the CLEARVIEW contract for high-resolution satellite imagery and services.

ESRI announced that the United Kingdom's Environment Agency has signed an additional three-year contract for the supply of corporate GIS technology and services with ESRI (UK) Ltd. Under the agreement, the agency plans to roll out spatial information as a corporate standard to up to 10,000 staff through the implementation of many mapping products within ESRI's software suite.

NovaLIS Technologies is implementing its computer assisted mass appraisal and assessment administration solution in the Lafayette Parish Assessor's Office.

ESRI announced that Orange Slovensko (SK), the largest Slovakian mobile telecommunications operator, recently launched a second phase of location-based applications for its mass-market and enterprise subscribers.

Miner & Miner was selected by Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company providing electric and gas services to 110,000 accounts over 578 square miles, serving 37 communities in the Merrimack River Valley and Seacoast regions of New Hampshire and the North Central region of Massachusetts.

CORDA Technologies Inc. announced that four industry
leaders including Toyota, Home Depot, The Limited, and Pratt & Whitney have purchased its PopChart or OptiMap data visualization solutions. PopChart and OptiMap are the increasingly frequent choices for dashboard applications that direct and display the dynamic and mission-critical data of today's leading organizations.

The Town of Madison Maine is the latest subscriber to Blue Marble Geographics' BeyondGeo Internet mapping service.

SiRF Technology, Inc., a provider of GPS-enabled silicon and software location platforms, and GeoMicro, Inc., a provider of desktop and Internet mapping solutions, began offering GeoLocator, a free software utility that makes it easier for users of SiRF's SiRFLoc-enabled, Java-equipped mobile phones to get where they want to go. Demonstrating the power of LBS, the GeoLocator Java application instantly displays the distance and compass heading to any U.S. street address tapped into the phone, as well as the address nearest the user's current location.

ARCBridge Consulting & Training, Inc., released ARCBridge NETSolv, a network analysis extension designed to be used with ESRI's ArcGIS Version 8.3.

ESRI announced that the PLTS Nautical Charting Solution is now shipping.

MapInfo 7.5 is available, at least in some geographies. Says a MapInfo e-mail, "New MapInfo Professional v7.5 upgrades it most important feature . . . your success!!" Also, those who upgrade to MI Pro v7.5 will receive up to 25% off on selected companion products.

OziPhotoTool 2.0 has been released. OziPhotoTool 2.0 represents the maturation of a number of features introduced from version 1.3 through 1.6.

Ordnance Survey is unveiling a series of online service improvements to help business customers source its flagship digital map data, OS MasterMap. A new set of drawing and editing tools will give users much more flexibility in defining the area of mapping they want. And as well as displaying the precise cost of the data involved, they can convert estimates to contracts online and add extra layers or themes of mapping as required. Also, Ordnance Survey announced plans to develop the second phase of digital transport geography within OS MasterMap. The second phase will focus on multimodal transport options by extending the layer to include additional road routing detail, transport network connections, tracks and paths, and other information useful to routing pedestrians. Also, Yeoman and Ordnance Survey have signed an agreement to incorporate the latest highly-detailed OS MasterMap data of Britain into the enhanced TravelM8 service, which integrates live traffic information, mapping and routing data to guide travelers to their destinations and avoid delays.

Safe Software Inc. announced it has added PostGIS and PostgreSQL import and export capability to its core data translation technology, making it immediately available for its flagship product Feature Manipulation Engine (FME).

DM Solutions Group Inc. announced that the company has released MapLab 2.1. This latest version of MapLab is fully compliant with MapServer 4.0, giving users and developers access to all of MapServer's new functionality. DM Solutions Group's MapLab is a suite of Web-based, open source tools that simplifies the process of deploying MapServer Web mapping applications.

National GIS firm James W. Sewall Company announced the release of the Pipeline Data Management Extension (PDME) for ESRI's ArcGIS.

Details on Autodesk University to be held December 2 - 5, 2003 in Las Vegas are available here. Want a chance to go for free? Visit here.

Education and Training
Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions has extended the registration deadline for the "Introduction to Geographic Information Science (GIS)" online education course until October 30, 2003.

Hires and Appointments
Ekahau, Inc. a wireless location technology provider, announced that Mr. Tuomo Rutanen has joined the company as Vice President of Business Development, North America.

Former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer has joined ESRI, according to a press release from the company. GIS Monitor reported on Geringer's new job on August 14.

David Donahue has rejoined the Leica Geosystems organization as director of sales for the Northeast region. David Page has been named technical sales representative in the eastern Ontario region.


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