GIS MONITOR, Oct 5, 2000


-Autodesks Lays Claim to Largest B2B Event
-Another Quova Competitor
-On Wireless Marketing
-Olympic Medal Count Map
-Week in Review


Autodesk claims that the 35,000 design professionals that have registered for its upcoming "iDesign Online Conference" will make it the single largest online business to business (B2B) event in history.

B2B? Yes, Autodesk is a business and yes, it is likely those attending will work for a business. But true B2B is usually associated with E-commerce between businesses. This online conference promises to be little more than a training/marketing event. It seems as if Autodesk feels a need to be perceived as a B2B company, since that is one of the hottest buttons currently in financial circles.

More importantly, is this a viable route for education? Can the online medium really support a free wheeling discussion or address down and dirty technical issues? Can "students" ask complex questions? Will this series of "lectures" be anything more than a thinly veiled marketing event? Will anything ever approach the quality of courses and instruction of Autodesk University?


My coverage of Quova, a company that determines an Internet user's geographic location, resulted in an email from Adrian McElligott, CEO of geobytes which has a competing technology.

"geobytes, inc. is a privately owned company formed in December 1999. We are currently providing our technology for FREE to web masters. Our technology non-intrusively determines the geographic location of Internet users to their town or city anywhere on the globe in real time. This technology does not rely on any tracking, prompting, the InterNic's Whois database, or DNS look-ups. In particular, cookies are NOT used and the privacy of Internet users is not invaded.

"Our data has been collected on a voluntary basis with over 74,000 Internet users participating in the project. Version 1 of our technology was independently verified by Ernst & Young in December 1999. The technology is now in Version 3 and is achieving an accuracy rate of over 89%.

Our "geobutton" service, running since April 2000, and currently serving over 2.2 million geobuttons a month lets Web masters receive real time visitor geographic stats.

"geophrase," our second service launched in August 2000, allows any web site to place a small piece of java code on their page which dynamically inserts the visitors city into a welcome greeting. We currently have 350 sites using our geophrase service.

"We are currently testing our third service - selling geographically targeted advertising campaigns. Through our own testing we are currently receiving click through rates of 2.4% by placing the city name of the viewer on our geobuttons. This is well above the industry average click through rates of 0.4% and this proves to us that the ability to geographically target advertising campaigns will prove invaluable to the Internet community."


Just about every one is trying to take advantage of the wireless age. Service providers and advertisers are popping up press releases daily. We in GIS manage to slide into this topic as we are location focused. After all, what does a wireless device with a GPS receiver give us but a location? We can then turn that around and use it to customize advertising, news, sports, shopping etc.

Ok, but will it work? Targeted marketing including geographic targeting is not new. What is new, is that unlike a newspaper ad, or even those door-knob ads for the local pizza place, these ads will be coming in through portable devices phones, handheld computers, etc.

Mobile advertising is just plain scary. Many questions arise: Are communication devices good places to advertise? And just because ads are geographically targeted, are we more likely to listen/read it? Who is going to pay for air time when someone "beams" an ad? And what about the intrusion?

Location is not always important. A case in point is a search engine query that results in a very targeted ad. I'm always amused that pretty much wherever I do a query about GIS lately, I see a banner ad for Autodesk's upcoming Web seminars. This works well they know I have some interest in GIS, and it doesn't matter WHERE I am.

At least now, we mostly pay our wireless bills (phone and Internet) by the minute. Only one company as yet has an all you can eat plan (AT&T;'s PocketNet). How can a company advertise to me on MY DIME? There are plans where people are reimbursed either with more minutes or actual cash payments. It's not hard to imagine free service, so long as you listen to/watch ads, not unlike the free ISPs of today. But, this is a communication device and unlike the large screen of a computer, you pretty much have to move through one message to get to the next.

I believe we think of the wireless phone/handheld as a very personal device An intrusion somehow seems far worse than a phone call at home. I can see how I'd have less patience than I do with phone solicitors.

And, again, just geography does not help focus ENOUGH to make users interested. Walk down the street past a steak house and you could get beamed today's special. But what if youre vegetarian, or a Catholic on Good Friday?


Inetgrated Spatial Systems, with the Olympics in their home town, took the opportunity to present the Olympic medal tally in a rather unique format, and to show off some of the features of Cadcorp SIS. For a final update of the medal count on a thematic map take a look.


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Adena Schutzberg
GIS Monitor Editor
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