GIS MONITOR, Sep 21, 2000


-GIS-L News List to Die?
-Autodesk GIS 2000
-Geoengineering at Bentley User Conference
-Quova Identifies Geographic Location of Internet Users
-Sigma Micro Lets Police Warn Citizens
-GIS Interoperability Concertation Meeting
-ESRI Joint European, Middle Eastern and African User Conference
-Digital Earth 2001 Call for Papers
-Week in Review


The fate of GIS-L, the pioneering news list about GIS, is in doubt. Ted Florence, from Avenza, said that he'd offered to take it over from a former host,, but received no response to his queries. Further discussion noted that a new owner, with a new business, took it on and has since sold that business leaving GIS-L homeless.


The only confirmation that last week's Autodesk GIS 2000 event took place was a solitary mention in SpatialNews. SpatialNews published 11 Autodesk generated press releases, product updates and reprinted articles. While Autodesk's event page notes that "over 400 Autodesk GIS customers, business partners, staff, and members of the press converged in San Rafael" for the event, keep in mind that MapWorld's MapInfo Conference was attended by 600 and ESRI's by over 9,000 attendees.

Autodesk promises a conference summary will be posted this week.


Bentley announced a new version of MicroStation Geographics (MSG) at their User Conference this week. The iSpatial Edition enables creation and maintenance of spatial information directly in Oracle 8i Spatial. MSG iSpatial Edition users can post this data on, allowing them to track projects, equipment and resources based on their location.

There are two remaining questions about the addition of Oracle Spatial support to MSG. First, what happened to ModelServer Continuum? This was to be their spatial database storage solution originally for Oracle, with promises for other database support. It shipped to 20 beta sites in 1997, received the boost of a "rapid deployment configuration" in 1999 and later that year support for MicroStation/J. It no longer appears in Bentley's geoengineering listing. Second, what other Bentley products can read the data stored in Oracle Spatial? Perhaps someday MicroStation GeoOutlook or ModelServer Discovery will read Oracle Spatial but initially it looks like MSG will be alone.

Bentley held a Geoengineering Executive Breakout Session, complete with a "play" outlining how easy it is for those involved in a geoengineering project to use Viecon as their project collaboration environment. The performance alluded to a few further nuances of the geoengineering vision: "Users now have an interface that allows them to use a map as a browser to all the information that exists in their Viecon space." Is this a simple interface tool, or a truly linked GIS style map? Press material also noted: "In the future, users will be able to leverage MicroStation GeoGraphics iSpatial Edition as an editor for the data that is displayed in their Viecon.spatial viewer." That data is stored on Viecon, but is it in Oracle?

After the "play" there was a presentation from Cambashi Ltd., a leading research firm, discussing its new report on geoengineering, which was sponsored by Bentley, Compaq and Dave Weisberg of A-E-C Automation. "The report defines geoengineering as combining roughly equal parts of CAD and GIS with earth sciences, photogrammetry, and civil engineering, and core IT disciplines such as project management and database management.

"So far, Bentley is the only vendor that's putting effort into and focus on geoengineering with tools and applications available now, especially with the acquisition of Intergraph's products," noted Ecob, of Combashi. That will continue to be true. Companies such as Intergraph, ESRI and even Autodesk have learned that though there is a market for CAD-based GIS, the overhead of keeping up with CAD and simplifying the integration of the technologies can be a major investment. Further, Bentley's reorganization continues to focus primarily on their traditional markets of Engineering/Construction/Operations where GIS/Geoengineering is but a small sideline.


Quova, Inc. will soon provide its first service, GeoPoint, which lets e-commerce companies, content providers and online advertisers automatically recognize the geographic location of Internet visitors in real-time. The enterprise-class service is based on proprietary, non-invasive technology.

According to Quova, their underlying technology, Precision Mapping (patent pending), uses numerous proprietary algorithms to map the physical structure of the Internet and locate computers to the city or zip code level. Technical associates suggest that "a good map of the internet" could track dial up centers, DSL and cable modem node locations to get that level of knowledge without prying.

Quova feels this type of filtering will allow sites to provide location-relevant content in the form of local weather, sales at nearby stores, baseball hats for the local team, etc. It may also help providers choose the correct language of presentation. Newer Internet industries, such as streaming media, will have a better way to comply with broadcast restrictions based on geography.

The traditional publishing equivalent is local editions of newspapers and magazines. They present local news, sports and of course, advertising. The Monday edition of the Wall Street Journal, for example, has 18 localized versions.

Quova's announcement in contrast to last week's mention of MapInfo's NearMe While MapInfo hopes you will search out local establishments, Quova will bring them to you without any effort. If the location pinpointing is as good as Quova claims, this could be a very widely used tool. GeoPoint reaches beta this month, with release scheduled for later this year.


Reverse 911 is the name of a several year old technology to notify residents in selected areas about local crimes. Ideally, once the information is gathered a short message is recorded. Officers use GIS to draw a polygon to select the area to be notified. Phone numbers are pulled from the database and the automated system starts calling, leaving messages on answering machines or informing those who pick up.

The system is expensive, though it has been installed in several departments in the US. Ideally though, the next step is to move to e-mail, which will more easily pull citizens to the department's web page for more information.


London, 29 September 2000.

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) is part-funding a concertation meeting aimed at uniting managers of interoperability-related European GIS projects, with the goal of harmonization and consensus building. The meeting will be held in workshop style, with presentations and small group discussions. Though officially an invitation-only event, any interested, self funded experts are welcome.

Concertation refers to a "bringing together for agreement." This term is widely used in standards and interoperability programs.


The ESRI EMEA user conference, held in Istanbul, Turkey, will bring together a large number of GIS professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Featuring more than 100 presentations, keynote speeches from Jack Dangermond, President of ESRI, and Lawrie Jordan, President of ERDAS, and more promises to make this the key international GIS event of the year. Attendance is restricted to users of ESRI's GIS software products.


The Digital Earth 2001 Program Committee invites the submission of 200-400 word abstracts for presentations at the international conference to be held in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, June 24-28, 2001.

Contributions are invited from leading international experts who are willing to share their vision, knowledge and experiences. Papers are sought in, but not limited to, the following areas:

-Vision and Concepts of Digital Earth
-Leveraging the information infrastructure
-Conceptualization, design, operation and acceptance of publicly
 accessible information
-Integration of information for improved decision-making
-Public participatory GIS
-Democratization of information
-Electronic government and E-business
-Internet/web GIS
-Leveraging GIS/RS/GPS/communications technologies
-Earth observing systems and remote sensing technologies
-Standards and interoperability
-Multi-dimensional data modeling
-Spatial data warehousing and mining
-Virtual reality
-High performance computing and communication
-Using the Digital Earth concept to solve real-world problems in
 environmental protection, disaster management, natural resource
 conservation or improve sustainable economic and social development
-Using the Digital Earth concept to improve the quality of life of the

Digital Earth addresses the cultural, institutional, scientific and technical challenges that allow the citizen, scientists, planners and policy makers to visualize the Earth, and all places within it, to access information about it and to understand and influence the social, economic and environmental issues that affect their lives in their neighborhoods, their countries and the Earth.


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Adena Schutzberg
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