GIS Monitor Sep 20, 2001


- GIS Stocks After the Attack
- Cell Phone Use May Rise After Disaster
- Some GIS Conferences Cancelled or Postponed
- GIS/Geography Loses Another in Attacks
- Departments: Letters, Points of Interest, Week in Review, Back Issues,
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As nervous as the world was last week, the re-opening of the stock market this Monday caused another wave of worry. Despite another rate cut, stocks sank. Insurance and airline stocks saw major drops and the only shining light was Web conferencing technologies. By Wednesday, the sinking had slowed. I for one hoped that GIS, and perhaps CAD technologies, which would no doubt help plan and execute rebuilding in New York and Washington, would ride the storm a bit better than others.

But not quite. Autodesk slipped two points as the market opened Monday and continues to drift lower, hovering around 30, still above its 52-week low of 19.

MapInfo perhaps fared worse. The stock price has been sliding all summer, but oddly saw a one point jump on Tuesday morning. Still, the stock sinks lower, nearing its 52-week low of just over 7. The telco sector, where MapInfo tends to shine, should see a good push with travel slowing. That may help turn the stock around.

Intergraph, on the other hand, is faring quite well. With a small dip on Monday (about a quarter of a point), the stock remains steady at just around 10. This is a safe place just between the year’s low of about 5 and the high of 15.

Ralph Grabowski notes that “international CAD software sales may decrease because increased security makes it harder to sell overseas -- not just the longer shipping time, but restrictions on exporting technology.” Nervousness about travel may have an impact too. The long sales cycles and “live demos” that are a standard part of GIS sales may be harder to manage without face-to-face contact. More and more companies are offering online demos and seminars, but I’ve not been thrilled by them.


In what may be a boon for location-based services companies, mobile phone sales are already on the rise after the dramatic role cell phones played in last week’s disaster. The calls, replayed regularly on TV and radio, appear to have spurred the perception of the cell phone as a required gadget for security.

There are no firm trends yet, but small geographic pockets across the US are seeing increased purchases. And advertising executives are working budgets to keep, and perhaps extend, marketing campaigns for wireless products.

The telephone companies, however, are keenly aware of the backlash they may face if they try to use the tragedy to their advantage. Cingular has pledged $1 million to the national relief effort, and contributed phones and access to relief workers. Its peer companies are doing similar charity work. With only about 40% penetration of cell phones in the US, there is still money to be made.


GIS conference organizers have had to make some tough choices about whether to hold, postpone or cancel upcoming events. Contact your conference host for details.


Northeast ArcInfo User Conference NEARC (Worcester)

GIS in the Rockies (Denver)


Bentley User Conference (Philadelphia) – hope to reschedule for spring

GIS in Oil and Gas (Houston) – no plans to reschedule

PASS 2001 (Lake Buena Vista) – postponed

2001 ASLA Annual Meeting (Montreal)

GITA IKO – postponed to May 20-23, 2002

Fall Internet World 2001 (New York) - postponed to Dec. 10-13, 2001


I was made aware of the loss of another member of our community in the attack on the Pentagon. Paul Hartwell of ESRI-DC noted the passing of Charles Falkenberg and his family.

Charles Falkenberg, senior software engineer from ECOlogic Corp, was aboard American Airlines Flight 77. Mr. Falkenberg, his wife, and their two children were on their way to Australia. ECOlogic is both an ESRI and MapInfo business partner. The company has offices in and around Washington, DC, and does work with federal agencies including NASA. According to the report in the Washington Post, Charles worked on developing scientific data delivery systems for oceanographers, ecosystem scientists and space scientists. ECOlogic is a relatively small company, and will no doubt greatly feel the impact of the loss.


- Russell S. Kirby, a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the Milwaukee Clinical Campus, Univ. of WI Medical School, sent on remembrances of Robert Leblanc.   “Thanks for your newsletter. As I had suspected when I heard of the attacks this week, I did indeed know someone who was killed, it just took your newsletter to tell me who that person was. I corresponded with and later met Robert Leblanc while I was doing my geography PhD dissertation in the late 1970s - I still have the copy of the monograph on the railroads of New England for which he is best known on my shelf at home. His loss only deepens my sadness surrounding the events of the week.”

- T.R. Srinivasan, president of WTI Advanced Technology Limited, in Madras, India shared these thoughts on last week’s attacks.

“All of us here in India are totally shocked to hear -- and see -- the mindless destruction brought about by the dastardly acts of a few sick and faceless minds.

“Being subjected to cross border terrorism by our worthy neighbor for decades, we in India can empathize with the pain and anger being felt by every single American.

“My family and my colleagues join me in praying for those who might have lost a husband, a wife, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a relative or a friend.

“Our deepest condolences.”

- Neville Perrie, a GIS team leader in Auckland, New Zealand wrote to offer his sympathies.

“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my condolences to the American Nation and the GIS community for this utterly barbaric and senseless act that was committed against your country. No one can imagine what you all must be going through right now, but be rest assured, you are in our thoughts and prayers.”


- The most popular words keyed into search engines have changed significantly over the past ten days. Bin Laden has displaced Britney Spears and Pamela Anderson. In the always-popular “map” searches, New York and Afghanistan were favored over Toronto and Canada.

- Clear Channel, who owns many radio stations in the US, put out a list of songs with questionable content in wake of last week’s disasters. Many of the tunes tie to key places and our feelings about those places, while others lean toward the scary: I can vaguely understand the inclusion on the list of REM’s “The End of the World as We Know It,” but, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”? The song is not about a bridge, or even a bridge in New York, though of course the duo does hail from there. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful songs of support. And, another of my favorites, Neil Diamond’s “America,” is on the list. Yes, it does say “On the boats and on the planes they’re coming to America,” but it also says “[they] got a dream they come to share.” It’s about the American dream and one of the more patriotic pop songs of late.    The company’s website denies such a list exists, but the NY Post quotes those who received it in an e-mail message. DJ’s in New York have ignored it and are instead playing oft-requested on-the-list tunes like “New York, New York” and “Imagine” for their listeners.


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