GIS MONITOR, October 25, 2001


- GPS Denial To Taliban Expected
- Who Writes GIS Articles, Anyway?
- Cell Phone Reveals Suspect Location in Murder Cases
- New York City’s GISMO Meeting Examines GIS Response the Attacks

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It’s looking more and more likely the Pentagon will selectively deny GPS
access to the areas in and around the current US military attacks in
Afghanistan. That means that US military GPS receivers would work fine,
but others would receive a degraded signal.

How well can the area of the “GPS outage” be defined? The answer is not
public knowledge, but Lt. Jeremy Eggers, a spokesman at Schriever Air
Force Base in Colorado, says a "region can be very well defined."

Pete Brumbaugh, a spokesman from Garmin, a GPS manufacturer, believes that the signal in Afghanistan has already been scrambled but the signal in the US has not been impacted.

Pentagon Denies GPS to Taliban (Wired)  

GPS Technology Could Help Taliban Fight U.S (San Jose Mercury News)  

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In the course of my duties at, I visit the websites of some
20 publications in search of interesting articles, reviews and editorial
pieces relating to geospatial topics. After being in the business for a
while, I know many of the writers' names, if not faces. I also know many
of the marketing reps from the vendors.

In my recent search, I encountered an article in GeoEurope entitled "Are
data the new GIS 'must haves'?" As is my habit, I glanced at the author's
name. The author, Alastair Protheroe, is identified as the European
product marketing manager for Navigation Technologies. The body of the
article does not mention the data company by name, but outlines some
questions to ask when looking to purchase data, including such things as
OGC and ISO compliance. Navigation Technologies is ISO 9002 approved
according to the company website, and a member of the OGC, according to
the OGC website.

I also came across "PliableGIS for ArcView-Product Review" by Stacy
Gorkoff on the EOM website. No company affiliation or author background
was noted when the article originally appeared even though the editorial
guidelines specifically call for such information. Stacy is the Marketing Manager for IDELIX, makers of PliableGIS. The author lists the product's strengths -- but no weaknesses. The article is more of a feature summary than a review, as the term is commonly used. defines a review as ”an inspection or examination for the purpose of evaluation.”

Omitting the author's affiliation was misleading. The author and her
affiliation can alter the context in which a review is read. No company
affiliation usually implies the author is a member of the publication's

Why was the company affiliation left out? TenLinks contacted Roland
Mangold, editor and publisher, who replied, “The article should have
mentioned that she is the marketing manager of Idelix - that slipped
through our editing process. Does it fit the definition of a review? I'm
not sure and I don't have time to look it up.” He did however include his
position on the magazine: “Our objective is to help the companies in this
industry to communicate with their audience.”

Do be wary! Current GIS Articles List   

Are data the new GIS 'must haves'? (GeoEurope)  

TECHNOTES: PliableGIS for ArcView-Product Review (EOM)  

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The hoopla about locational privacy issues is simmering as we discuss
“what if” scenarios involving Big Brother tracking an individual’s every
move. Unfortunately, the future is already here. A man was recently
convicted of murder based in part on evidence provided by his cellular
carrier that confirmed his whereabouts at the time of death. How did they
know his location? Even without full-fledged E-911, carriers know which
cell tower your phone is communicating with which in turn defines the area
where your phone is located.

Kenneth Fitzhugh claimed he was in San Mateo on May 5, 2000 when his wife was killed because he received a call from her employer about her absence. A Verizon representative testified Fitzhugh could not have received the call in San Mateo because it was delivered to Palo Alto, the cell tower
closest to the receiver. The rep did admit that the tracking technology is
not perfect, or even scientifically proven, and that calls do “jump”
between towers to provide the best clarity. Still, he gave the technology
a 95% confidence rate on properly locating the area in which a call is
made or received.

Last week Fitzhugh was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and ordered to
pay $20,000 in restitution.

Back in July of this year the source location of a text message in Norway
helped raise doubts about a suspect’s involvement in a double murder. A
wireless specialist from Telenor testified that the message could not have
been sent from the crime scene.

It’s ironic that we are using cell phone location technology to prosecute
murderers and we are still working on using it for emergency response.

Fitzhugh Alibi Disputed (July 7, 2001, Palo Alto Daily News) 

Trial Heads Straight for the Cell (Wired, July 12, 2001),1382,45096,00.html 

Mobile Helped Convict Murderer (Wired, Oct 17, 2001),1382,47546,00.html  

Norway Case (Wired),1382,44966,00.html  

TenLinks Privacy and GIS Issues List  


Jack Eichenbaum, coordinator of the New York City GIS user group, GISMO,
reports that the latest meeting focusing on the GIS response to the
September 11 attacks was “attended by about 80 people representing public, private and non-profit interest in NYC GIS. One clear conclusion voiced at the event was that the 911 disaster galvanized NYC GIS professionals to act as a unit with objectives that superseded narrower agency needs and short-run profit motives. Moreover, data quality, organization and interoperability are required to serve emergency response and a host of public and private applications yet to be tackled.”

The outline of the presentations at the meeting provides some insight of
the challenges faced.

GISMO Program October 15, 2001 
Held at the Fund for the City of New York, 121 6th Ave, NYC 

GIS Response to 911: 
The Emergency Mapping and Data Center 

Organized, reorganized and disorganized: Jack Eichenbaum (NYC DOF, GISMO

Introduction: The mission and the gathering: Al Leidner (NYC DOITT) 

Administrative issues: Jim McConnell (NYC OEM) 

Technical Response: Meeting map demand: Susan Harwood, Chris Schielein
(ESRI) and Jim Hall (PlanGraphics)

Satellite Imagery: George Davis (Davis Associate) 

Volunteer voices: (NYPIRG) 

New to NYC volunteer voice: Ariane Porter. 

>From 911 to I-Team: Bruce Cahan (Urban Logic) 

Audience response: Questions and Directions for the Future 

On the walls were a collection of maps produced at the Emergency Mapping
Center. The program was videotaped by Davis Associates.

GIS in the Trenches  


- James Randerson, writing in New Scientist suggests another reason for
NIMA to purchase exclusive rights to the IKONOS imagery of Afghanistan: to
prevent the media from getting hold of the pictures. The article also
notes that the US government does have tools that can be used in the
courts to prevent distribution of commercial satellite imagery. However,
in this case they suggest it was simply faster to buy the rights.  

- COMDEX, one of the largest technologies shows in the world, is seeing a
significant drop in planned attendance for this year’s event. Planners
expect attendance to be down about 25% to 150,000. Events and parties will
be fewer and smaller in scope. Still, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Oracle’s
Larry Ellison will attend. 

- One of my peers in covering GIS on the Web has gone silent. Caitlin
Dempsey, the GIS guide at has disappeared. Her incredibly useful
GIS site has been woven into Matt Rosenberg’s equally good
geography site. Matt, by the way, has been on duty helping out during the
attacks in New York since he’s also a disaster manager for the American
Red Cross. let go 300 of its 750 guides at the end of
September, including a guide in a related field:  CAD. 

- RPM Consulting of Northridge, CA, has reached an agreement with ESRI to
continue to sell and support Atlas GIS. RPM will also develop an extension
to ArcView 8.1 that provides the Atlas “look and feel.” That’s expected in
Q3 of next year.   

- Microsoft has released the long-awaited add-on to Microsoft MapPoint
2002 that will import ESRI shape files and MapInfo MIF/MID. It’s free. 


Oct 24 - Bentley Releases MicroStation V8 
The press release calls it “the most significant release to date in the
evolution of the company’s flagship product.” TenLinks editor Roopinder
Tara, who attended the press meeting writes: “Gone is Bentley’s
‘smaller-yet-superior’ attitude. The company has finally embraced what the
rest of the world had accepted as fact: that DWG is the language in which
design is spoken.”

Oct 24 - Eustis Named VP Sales & Marketing for ISTAR Americas 
Mark Eustis has worked at Autodesk, Magellan, EOSAT and most recently
Radio Satellite Integrators, a GPS automatic vehicle location and wireless
solutions firm.

Oct 24 - Most Aerial Photo Operations Resume 
A big sigh is heard in the many small aerial photography firms now back to

Oct 24 - OGC Announces Kick Off of OGC Web Services Initiative 
The OWS-1 initiative mission is the definition and specification of
interfaces that support interoperability among geospatially enabled Web

Oct 24 - EarthScan Adds WhiteStar To The ImageNetwork 
ImageNetwork* is an expanding community of EarthScan-hosted e-commerce storefronts and intranets. Basically, this is an ASP for imaging firms to sell or host their imagery.

Oct 24 - Z/I Imaging and Optech Announce Strategic Alliance 
Under this comprehensive agreement, Z/I Imaging will reference-sell
Optech's market-leading Airborne Laser Terrain Mapper (ALTM) and Optech
will reference-sell Z/I Imaging's extensive software production tools.

Oct 24 - Optech, Z/I and EnerQuest to Develop LIDAR Standard 
The three announce a plan to create an open industry standard for the
binary interchange of LIDAR data. I wish I were more convinced that three
companies, on their own, can develop and effectively market a standard.

Oct 23 - Trimble Announces Fiscal Third Quarter Results 
The company met the high end of their upwardly revised range of $0.16 -
$0.19 per share. By the way, Trimble, which I think of as a GPS company,
is now “a leading innovator of positioning and location-based solutions.”

Oct 23 - Red Hen Systems' MapCalc Professional Released  
The professional release follows their academic version. Most companies
would have done the reverse.

Oct 23 - MDA to Distribute Highest Res. Satellite Data in US/Canada 
MDA will be the sole Canadian reseller of worldwide data from the
high-resolution QuickBird satellite by DigitalGlobe.

Oct 23 - Discover GIS Day 2001 
November 14 is the day to discover GIS. The event is sponsored by ESRI,
the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers,
the U.S. Geological Survey, the Library of Congress and the University
Consortium for Geographic Information Science.

Oct 23 - Space Imaging Now a Reseller of NAVSTREETS Data 
Space Imaging is a master reseller of NAVTECH NAVSTREETS data, and
Navigation Technologies is a reseller of Space Imaging data products.

Oct 23 - INTA (Spain) Chooses PCI's Geomatica OrthoEngine 
The Remote Sensing Laboratory of the National Aerospace Technology
Institute, INTA, in Spain will use PCI Geomatics' Geomatica OrthoEngine
software for their orientation and orthorectification processing tasks.

Oct 23 - DiabSoft Releases TIGER/LINE 2000 MapGen Toolkit 
TIGER/LINE 2000 MapGen Toolkit consists of a TIGER to Shape or TIGER to
MIF translator and a complete dataset of seven  TIGER/Line 2000 map data
CDs, all for less than $350 US.

Oct 22 - New ‘Lasoo Link’ Brings LBS Searching To Any Site 
With the free-of-charge ‘Lasoo Link’, developers can add value to their
sites by offering direct and easy access to the popular geographic search

Oct 22 - ERDAS to Unveil IMAGINE NITF 2.1 
The new product will support the National Imagery and Mapping Agency
(NIMA) National Imagery Transmission Format Standard (NITFS)
MIL-STD-2500B, a format used by the US military and NATO governments.

Oct 22 - SI Post-Strike Image of Kandahar Available For Sale 
It costs $500 for rights to publish the high resolution image but you can
visit their page for a low resolution preview. And, yes, it's interesting
that NIMA is allowing this since the agency has acquired full rights to
Space Imaging’s IKONOS data.

Oct 22 - Multigen-Paradigm Visualization Used in Las Vegas
MultiGen-Paradigm's Urban Simulation Services Group developed a customized real-time 3D model of the proposed Centennial Center.

Oct 22 - VARGIS Receives "Top Performer" Award from USGS 
The USGS has formally commended VARGIS of Texas' performance for
outstanding quality and timely delivery of Digital Orthophotoquads (DOQs)
under the Michigan Innovative Partnership (MI-IP) Agreement.

Oct 19 - USGS Introduces the New Learning Web 
The new website for teachers and students features all sorts of goodies,
including maps.

Oct 19 - GITA/Open GIS Consortium/FGDC Webcast Announced 
This webcast is designed to introduce the concepts behind and benefits of
interoperable geospatial information.

Oct 19 - DigitalGlobe Successfully Launches Quickbird 
This is good news, especially after the September 21 launch failure of
Orbital Sciences Corporation’s OrbView-4.

Oct 19 - FCC Wants Faster E-911 Rollout 
The FCC wants to explore ways to get some authority over wireless
equipment manufacturers who, carriers argue, are limiting the rollout.

Oct 19 - DeLorme Launches Software For Photography Flight Planning 
XMap PhotoFlight is a software tool for aerial photographers,
photogrammetrists and surveyors that automatically lays out accurate
aerial photography flight plans in minutes, including flight lines,
trigger points and altitude.

Oct 19 - German Language GIS System Portal Online 
The principally German language portal provides information to people
using or interested in Manifold System.

Oct 18 - Bentley and GEOPAK Join Forces 
No surprise here: Bentley owns all of its other application partners of
any size.

Oct 18 - Web-Based Wireless Site Design/Coverage Projection Online 
Now both engineers and non-engineers can project wireless coverage for any
site using the Internet. The main site still offers downloads of browsers
(Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator). Is that not passé?

Oct 18 - New CD-ROM Atlas of 73 Russian Cities 
The atlas uses vector maps in WGS-84 and Krasovsky projections.

Oct 18 - Aerials Express Announces Birdseye View of American Cities 
Aerial Express used Earth Resource Mapping’s image processing software ER
Mapper and their own Image Web Server website to show them.

Oct 18 - i-cubed Announces New Pricing for Instant Imagery Products 
The pricing is new; I guess it’s lower, but the press release doesn’t say.

Oct 18 - Webraska and Sidewinder Partner on Fleet Management 
The two will offer a jointly developed product for the fleet management,
emergency and security services market.


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