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2005 October 27


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Editor's Introduction

This week I bring you a brief interview with Farrell Jones, Associate Director of Louisiana State University's CADGIS Research Laboratory about his lab�s role in the response to Hurricane Katrina; I report on Handmark's expansion of its LBS services; and I profile Denver Maps, a great and constantly evolving municipal website. Plus a note about an article on the role of GIS in re-districting and my usual write-up of news from press releases.

— Matteo

Hurricane Katrina: Geospatial Responses

A few days ago I spoke with Farrell Jones, Associate Director of Louisiana State University's CADGIS Research Laboratory (more about the lab here) about his lab's role in the response to Hurricane Katrina.

"Early on," he told me, "as the hurricane hit, LSU was very heavily involved in helping the EOC [Emergency Operation Center] create maps. My lab was one of many organizations within LSU helping out. We had students helping out. On campus we set up a 20 terabyte server to make it available to LSU researchers and to federal and state agencies. Shortly after the hurricane hit, we had large number of images coming in and the server, which we named FEMA-STORE, was key for sharing. I was managing the files."

"After the heat of the moment, we started looking at this gigantic store of data and trying to figure out how to manage it for researchers and for the public. This is where Intergraph came in. They have TerraShare, which allows you to look at registered images. You can look at images via Windows Explorer, or GeoMedia, or ArcGIS. They also helped me with GeoMediaWebMap. I've been running Atlas, the Louisiana Statewide GIS website, for several years, but Intergraph set up an image extractor, to allow the public to extract pieces of images. This is how we anticipate making certain images public in the future. We also have a great deal of vector data. Atlas does not have a lot of viewing tools. It is mostly meant for the geospatial/CAD user and for them it is a great resource. It is not flashy. We do have some viewing tools and we will add them to the site."

What are your data sources? "We get our data from state agencies and from private companies. 3001 was one of the major providers. Also ImageAmerica, Space Imaging, Spot Image, GE, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)."

What did Intergraph provide you? "They gave us TerraShare software and three people to install the software, to import data, and to train staff. They designed the image extractor, set up two servers with Oracle software, and arranged for Oracle to lend us a database. They really stepped up to the plate and helped us out, donating to the Katrina effort. We've had a longstanding relationship with Intergraph: we started with them back in the days of the DEC VAX minicomputer. They hire our graduates and when we needed help they came to our rescue."

Handmark Expands Location-Based Services

Handmark, a developer and publisher of software for smart mobile devices, has released Version 2.0 of its Pocket Express bundle of wireless content services for cell phones and handhelds. Pocket Express delivers news, stocks, sports, weather, movies, maps, and 411 directory search for wireless devices. The upgrade adds location-based services, more news and photos, real-time sports scores, movie box office charts, other content enhancements, and a new interface that makes all information accessible from a single screen. According to Handmark, users can access the information "at speeds up to twenty times faster than conventional Web browser access."

Sprint has included Pocket Express in ROM for its new PCS VisionSM Smart Device PPC-6600, a Microsoft Windows MobileT-based Pocket PC Phone Edition. Purchasers of the phone are now able to test the service bundle for free for 30 days, by following onscreen links. After that, they can choose to continue to use the service, by paying a monthly fee.

I discussed the launch with Douglas Edwards, Handmark's executive vice president and co-founder.

"We were known as a game company (Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Battleship, etc.)," he told me, "even though it was less than half of our market." When Handmark began, about five and a half years ago, it did not see a platform on the market for robust applications, so it focused on wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs) — especially Palm devices — which generated a strong demand for applications.

However, Edwards explained to me, due to network latency and screen size, "Web browsing on a small device is a terrible experience." Therefore, his company realized, "it is important that content be truly optimized for that screen." Additionally, browsing requires time, which is also in short supply for most mobile users. They are generally not as interested in browsing as in quickly accessing a few specific kinds of information. To address this need, Handmark aggregated licensed content into Pocket Express and sold it as a single application. "When someone installs our product," Edwards told me, "the first thing that we collect is their ZIP code. Our goal is zero configuration and total personalization. Since we know where you are, we will auto-populate sports with professional and collegiate teams near you and do the same with movie theaters, etc. You can edit the list, of course. If you are a business traveler, it is easy for you to add a city. If you are using a supported GPS device, you can ask it to show you the nearest movie theater. We try to make it an easy and personalized experience."

"The other thing we do," Edwards continued, "is to cash the results [of a search]. I force an update just before they shut the door on the plane. Then I have all of my information — news headlines, stock prices, etc. — on the device."

Why did Handmark decide to aggregate and license content? "We initially thought about just building an RSS reader, but then we decided to go for a larger, mass market. [To ensure high download speeds,] we didn't want to have to link out to a browser page. We want to be able to control and optimize the reader experience. When the application calls our server, we authenticate the call and then provide the item directly from our server. For example, we download weather data from 2,000 locations every ten minutes and make it really easy to follow stocks. We also have white and yellow pages, including reverse searches. You can then add an address to your address book or map it. This collection of search and new functionalities are all accessible from a single screen."

What location accuracy does your application require? "We don't need pinpoint accuracy. The truth is that a ZIP code is usually good enough. We are using what Sprint calls the 'control plane.' On some carrier-based versions for the mass market we use cell tower triangulation. We are not a replacement for a navigation system. We treat LBS as a feature, not a product: it enhances the user experience by reducing the data entry that's required to find information."

Where do your get your mapping data? "We license data from TeleAtlas and use middleware from Telcontar. We also build a version that is available for retail with a mapping layer from Rand McNally. It calculates turn-by-turn directions and address-to-address. However, on LBS devices, we start with the closest major highway. Generally people know where they are at the moment, but they have a 'last mile' concern."

Denver Maps

The GIS Department of the City and County of Denver, Colorado (DenverGIS) is a central GIS department that supports more than 30 city agencies and departments and manages more than 500 data layers and associated information resources. In 2004, this GIS shop decided to make the location-based services (LBS) it provides to its residents, businesses, and visitors available on-line and accessible to a broad audience. The GIS staff spent many months discussing this project with city agencies and the public to identify their information needs, researching similar sites operated by other cities, and planning for the new site — Denver Maps. After completing the site, they put it through extensive user testing prior to launching it. Currently it averages more than 30,000 visits per month, with more than 80,000 unique visitors through the first six months of 2005.

Denver Maps provides access to Denver location-based information, collected from various applications, databases, data collection projects, citizen records, and old hard-copy maps. Users can also download maps and create custom maps. Denver Maps displays data in the form of interactive reports about specific topics — such as property, government services, recreation, public safety, or land survey — grouped into logical categories. Each report also includes search options, a map, and relevant links. The location initially entered by the user carries over from one report (say, on a property) to the next (say, on an election precinct), until the user enters a new location. This way, users can move seamlessly between categories and reports without having to re-enter their location information.

Click on the image to enlarge it. (Further instructions.)

The maps are interactive and allow users to zoom, pan, re-center at specific locations, and select features. Check boxes below the maps enable users to toggle on and off additional layers and the legend shows the symbology only for the layers being displayed.

One key goal for Denver Maps was to ensure access to users with disabilities. To achieve this, the site allows users to run searches without having to interpret or interact with maps: search results that are displayed on the map are also provided in textual sections below the map. Users can access all the text on the site via links and reports are broken down into hierarchically organized sections that can be navigated quickly with a screen reader or other outline-capable browser. The site follows federal Section 508 guidelines and is fully compatible with assistive technologies, such as screen readers and text browsers.

To keep the data accurate and up-to-date, DenverGIS developed data standards for all agencies that might submit data to it. This, together with a data maintenance plan, protects Denver Maps from failing due to bad data or changes in data fields.

Click on the image to enlarge it. (Further instructions.)

The site's architecture uses ASP and ArcIMS; the GIS data is stored in an Oracle database running ArcSDE. Reports are configured using XML utilizing spatial operations, attribute queries, and various output elements (such as maps, text, images, tables, and links). The site is also able to serve non-spatial data from SQL Server databases or any other format that can be read through ADO (ActiveX Data Objects).


This week I discussed Denver Maps with Daniel C. Hauser, Staff IT Developer for DenverGIS; David Luhan, Denver's GIS Director; and Allan Glen, Denver Maps' Lead Developer. They stressed to me that, in designing the site, they strove to make it easy to use and to incorporate federal accessibility requirements. For this reason, they designed the site so that it does not require any GIS experience and does not include any GIS tool bars. All the quotes below are from Luhan.

Where do you get your data? "All data sources come from multiple departments and agencies and through intergovernmental data sharing agreements with surrounding municipalities. You will see much more regional data coming on line in the future."

Click on the image to enlarge it. (Further instructions.)

What were the biggest challenges you faced in building the site? "The biggest challenge was creating a scalable and extensible application architecture that we could use to incorporate additional data and functionality. The next biggest challenge was designing a site for non-GIS users and for people with disabilities. One of the challenges to make this accessible is to limit the need to interact with the map: we made it so that you can search for features without interacting with the map. You can just choose items from the list; the map is useful but you don't have to interact with it. We have had very few problems maintaining the site: it has required no code edits - just adding data and functionality."

Can experienced GIS users download data from the site? "Yes, you can download sample data and hardcopies of all the maps, for free."

What about the metadata? "We are not publishing it right now but have it for all 500 data layers." Can anyone get access to it? "Yes, by filling out a request form."

What's next for Denver Maps? "You will see additional crime reporting, sex offender location, and regional data to help support mayoral and regional initiatives — such as the FasTracks light rail project and economic development projects. We are also providing links to other state initiatives such as Ready Colorado."

How does Denver's site compare with those of other cities? "Our site strives to meet accessibility requirements. We think our site's the best! We won first place at the ESRI international user conference in the Web-Based GIS Application category — see here (bottom of the page) and here — and a honorable mention at the 2004 Public Technology Institute awards."

Where did you get the aerial photos? "They are from 6-inch color photography we flew last year."

How did you handle concerns about confidentiality and security? "All the information that you see is from public records. We do not provide information about peace officers and judicial officials. We also don't show any critical infrastructure, including buildings, fiber, and waterlines."

Briefly Noted

The October 23 issue of the New York Times has a very thoughtful article by Dean E. Murphy titled "Who Should Redistrict?" It includes a paragraph that gives the paper's more than one million readers a glimpse into the world of GIS:

Nicole Boyle is known around the University of California at Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies as the "G.I.S. queen." For nine years, starting when she was an undergraduate, she has analyzed election data with a technology known as Geographic Information Systems. On a morning in late August, Boyle was typing on her keyboard in front of an oversize screen covered with thousands of shapes splashed in multiple colors. Since the mid-1990's, the institute has maintained California's official redistricting data. With funding from a private grant, the institute is now using the data to test a central premise of the redistricting reform movement: can you draw districts that increase competitiveness while also accommodating other desires, like compactness? Boyle has been crunching demographic and census numbers since the spring trying to come up with an answer. On this morning, she had run into a brick wall with an experimental version of Congressional District 29 in Los Angeles County, as she used the keyboard to move the boundaries, dropping some census tracts and adding others. "This district has almost no chance of being a competitive district," Boyle conceded with some frustration.

News Briefs

Please note: I have culled the following news items from press releases and have not independently verified them.


In response to the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that occurred October 8, centered in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, ESRI is providing several GIS support services designed to assist responding agencies and victims. The quake rippled throughout South Asia, destroying entire communities, killing tens of thousands of people, and injuring or displacing tens of thousands more. ESRI and its distributors in Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan are actively supporting relief efforts by providing temporary keycodes, on-site support, and other assistance that can be acquired within one business day and is available to any organization regardless of its GIS platform. ESRI is in contact with government agencies, relief organizations, and business partners to assist in the response and recovery efforts. Logistics in the area pose major challenges, and mapping services are in high demand to assist with coordination. ESRI is working closely with URISA's GISCorps, a nonprofit organization, to coordinate short-term, volunteer-based GIS services to the affected area.


ESRI and business partner Bradshaw Consulting Services, Inc. (BCS), have completed Rapid Response Project 519, a North Carolina Public Health Regional Surveillance Teams (PHRST) project that establishes mobile GIS Rapid Needs Assessment (RNA) capabilities statewide. The mobile GIS application is the first to enable a state public health agency to perform RNAs in response to disasters without federal help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). RNA is a methodology developed by CDC and the World Health Organization for collecting health needs field data during disasters. CDC typically helps states coordinate their RNAs, and North Carolina has divided field collection and reporting duties in 100 counties among seven regional PHRST teams. PHRST-5, with the participation of ESRI and BCS, pioneered, developed, and tested a successful pilot mobile GIS application in 2003, providing the foundation for the 2005 statewide implementation.
     Project 519, funded by a CDC grant under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, provided ESRI ArcView 9.1, ArcPad, ArcPad StreetMap, and ArcPad Application Builder software; hardware; and application training to the other six PHRST teams and state Public Health Prevention and Response personnel. BCS assisted with hardware/software installation, testing, and configuration; developed a set of customized data collection forms; and designed and delivered several GIS training classes.
     The resulting GIS application allows users to calculate driving routes and navigate to survey locations; electronically record data during field surveys; improve survey accuracy through verification processes; quickly centralize and compile data collected by several users; and map and analyze results. Completion of this phase paves the way for plans to extend mobile GIS to non-emergency county health activities in North Carolina.

Acquis Inc and Farallon Geographics have entered a partnership to integrate Acquis' interactive location software with Farallon Geographic's Enterprise GIS systems integration expertise. The partnership will give state and local governments, insurance, and risk management companies, transportation agencies, and utility providers the ability to allow users across the organization to immediately update spatial information and collaborate between departments more effectively.

The Las Vegas Valley Water District has placed an order with Leica Geosystems to upgrade its GPS reference station network with new-generation Leica System 1200 reference stations and Spider network software. The company will supply five GRX1200Pro GPS reference station receivers with AT504 choke-ring antennas. They will replace the existing reference station equipment currently being used. The Spider software will provide control and management functions for the network. The installations will take place over the upcoming months while giving the GPS community time to prepare for this implementation.
     The new Leica reference stations will transmit real-time kinematic (RTK) corrections to surveyors through the district's existing Pacific Crest radio modems and will also add the capability of using cellular telephone modems to dial into the network and retrieve RTK corrections. The cellular phone option will make it possible for users to work at greater distances from the reference stations and will reduce work stoppages in areas of poor FM radio reception.

ESRI has signed a multinational enterprise license agreement with EDAW, a San Francisco-based landscape architecture and urban planning and design firm. The company has 26 offices in four countries. EDAW primarily uses GIS in site analysis, facility site location, alternative analysis, and communication of design, employing ESRI's ArcView and ArcInfo with ArcGIS Spatial Analyst and ArcGIS 3D Analyst for these projects. ArcIMS and ArcSDE are used to support client applications. The company has used ESRI's GIS software for nearly 30 years.

The Tarrant County, Texas, Appraisal District and the county's 9-1-1 district have co-funded the purchase of Pictometry International Corp.'s visual information system. One of the fastest growing counties in the nation, Tarrant County has an estimated population of over 1.5 million residents and is located in north central Texas. The Appraisal District is responsible for the valuation of more than 650,000 parcels in the county's 863 square miles. The District's Discovery and Appeals process actively utilizes Pictometry oblique aerial photos and measuring software. When a property owner appeals the valuation of a property, images can be projected in the hearing room for all to view. The Tarrant County 9-1-1 District handles approximately two million calls a year at 46 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).

Ordnance Survey (OS) is offering Licensed Partners and other interested parties the chance to develop positioning services based on a new national framework for correcting signals from orbiting satellites, called OS Net. It is a network of more than 80 GPS base stations designed to enable improved real-time accuracy from GPS anywhere in Great Britain. OS Net is already enabling OS field staff to collect centimeter-level positioning data. Now, Ordnance Survey is planning to make the service publicly available through a tier of partner organizations. These are likely to be application service providers working in the geographic information industry and companies already involved in GPS hardware, software and services. OS Net works by improving the standard accuracy of raw GPS readings, which is typically around 10 metres. The accuracy can be enhanced by sending the user a correction data stream containing the error sources within GPS. OS Net is designed to offer such error corrections in real time on a nationwide scale and could be used to augment any application that requires GPS positioning.
     OS Net comprises a permanent national network of GPS base stations linked in real time to a server hub at Ordnance Survey's Southampton head office. When Ordnance Survey staff dial into the hub, they relay their approximate location and the server delivers the GPS correction to enable a positional accuracy of between 1 m and 1 cm, depending on the user's GPS equipment.

Acquis Inc and Holonics Inc., have entered a partnership to develop 'Open Enterprise Spatial Solutions' by adding real-time spatial data processing to enterprise and government systems. Holonics chose Acquis ADE, a Web-enabled spatial data platform which comes pre-configured with the Oracle 10g product stack, to integrate spatial data and real-time data processing within a Web environment.

To manage its capitol assets and infrastructure, the City of Newport News, Virginia, has selected Cityworks, made by Azteca Systems, a provider of GIS-centric asset maintenance management solutions. The software, in conjunction with ESRI's ArcGIS and ArcSDE, makes up the central, enterprise database that manages virtually all processes within the city. The city selected the product as its enterprise asset and maintenance management system to track customer issues and maintenance related to its public infrastructure - including buildings, streets, wastewater, and storm water. The City is also planning to expand Cityworks for use within the solid waste and recycling departments. With the assistance of the Timmons Group (an Azteca Systems Authorized Business Partner), city staff have developed interfaces to other business applications, including financial accounting, human resources, and purchasing.

The Kingdom of Bahrain's Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) has awarded a GIS project to Khatib & Alami, ESRI's distributor in Lebanon and Oman and a utility solutions provider. The project started on September 19 and the implementation is expected to last more than two years. The company will be working closely with the Bahraini MEW on the enterprise GIS project, targeting the establishment of a more advanced, complete information system that should facilitate the daily work in the ministry. The applications will be interfaced with the existing Oracle-based business applications, and the new infrastructure will be built using ESRI's GIS platform and Miner & Miner's ArcFM.


Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging has released a planning and flight management solution to support its aerial sensors, including the Leica ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensor. The Flight Planning and Evaluation Software (FPES) and the Flight and Sensor Control Management System (FCMS) are tightly integrated into the Leica Geosystems digital workflow to facilitate seamless data flow and automated flight control. The FPES flight planning module enables flight planning on all common types of geographic and grid systems; interactive flight planning using digital maps and coordinates; and comfortable editing and modifying of flight plans. The evaluation mode features multiple flight evaluation; flexible data export; and data summary and calculation for easy flight reporting and invoicing. The intuitive operation allows novice users to operate the ADS40 through high automation that minimizes user interaction. The easy-to-learn system features integrated tutorial and simulator software; quick and configurable navigation; optimized flight guidance; and remote control from multiple user interfaces.

Intelligent Spatial Technologies, Inc. (iST), a provider of location-based services for mobile users, has released the iPointer system, which empowers users to explore a defined area, pointing and learning at will. Users select landmarks or items of interest and the iPointer delivers multimedia information based on the user's geographic location and orientation. Unlike current proximity-dependent self-guided tour technology, the iPointer system consists of a GPS receiver and a digital compass integrated into a pocket PC, a wireless network, and iST's geospatial database. This combination of technologies gives iPointer users freedom to explore an area, selecting what and when to be informed.
     iST is developing initial applications for installation on corporate and college campuses, historic areas, and theme parks. As the iPointer system provides end-users with information on selected items, it can also deliver messages customized to end-user interests, such as schedules, or discounts and coupons. For the system manager, the iPointer system uplinks end-user usage information for statistical analysis and trending. This enables management to determine valuable user information such as foot traffic patterns, changes in user interests, facility use and more. The near real time analysis of user data supports better management of onsite resources and use the iPointer's feedback to end-users to improve their experience.

Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging has introduced the Nivel200 sensor, which provides simultaneous information about inclination, direction with reference to two axes, and temperature at a point on a structure. Specially designed for use on bridges, dams, tunnels as well as tall buildings and other large-scale structures, it supplies precise information about changes in inclination, which can then be further processed by Leica GeoMoS monitoring software.
     The two-axis sensor works at a resolution of 0.01 milliradian and can detect a minimum vertical movement over a measuring range of +/-3 milliradians. At the same time it reads the temperature at the sensor. The temperature reading is an important parameter in all monitoring applications in order to take into account external influences on a structure. The data is continuously processed by the Leica GeoMoS monitoring software. The sensors have standard interfaces, so they can also be integrated into other systems.
     The Nivel200 comes in two models that differ only in their connectivity options: the Nivel210 has an RS232 interface, which can be connected directly to a computer, while the Nivel220 has an RS485 interface, which can be connected to a bus system. In order to make it as easy as possible to set up and integrate the inclination measuring system, Leica Geosystems has a range of suitable accessories for the Nivel200, such as a mains adapter, cable, and wall bracket.


In observance of GIS Day, MAC-URISA will be hosting a booth at the NBC10 Consumer Expo, at the Fort Washington Expo Center, in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, November 12-13, from 10AM to 5PM each day. The event is a show for consumers interested in expanding their knowledge base of finance, personal safety, careers, education, travel, communications, technology, and home owning. MAC-URISA will be showcasing many extraordinary examples of GIS and mapping technology. This free public event is designed to capture the attention of tens of thousands of consumers. Last year's MAC-URISA booth was one of the most popular attractions throughout the weekend, as presenters from all over the Mid-Atlantic region showcased many new and exciting applications featuring GIS technology. This year, the organization expects to see more than 25,000 people at this event, from the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley areas.

Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging will be an exhibitor at GEOINT 2005 Symposium in San Antonio, Texas October 30 - November 2. The company's exhibit in booth #630 will showcase its suite of software products, including a preview of ERDAS Imagine V9.0, an enterprise-enabled imagery exploitation environment that utilizes the Oracle Spatial 10g database and the ESRI ArcSDE database. This latest version of the product further integrates powerful image processing functionality with geospatial information technology, enabling intelligence analysts to turn imagery into information.
     Leica Geosystems offerings also feature other defense-related capabilities, including: Leica Global Retriever which allows for graphical search and imagery retrieval across the enterprise; significant enhancements to Leica Photogrammetry Suite with version 9.0; and the new Image Processing Objects for the Commercial Joint Mapping Toolkit (C/JMTK).
     Leica Geosystems recently joined the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). The USGIF is comprised of government, industry, academic, and professional organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting the development and application of geospatial intelligence data and resources to address national security objectives. will be exhibiting at the 2005 REALTORS Conference & Expo, October 28 - 31, in booth #4544 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. The company will showcase and its features to over 25,000 attendees. On Saturday, October 29 at 2:30 pm it will hold a press conference in Room 228-230 to make an announcement regarding the release of a new Internet mapping service.


EarthData, a mapping and GIS organization based in Frederick, Maryland, has appointed Karen Morley as business line manager, online data strategies. In this newly created position, Ms. Morley will develop the company's partnership with Microsoft Corporation, which includes opportunities to use EarthData project datasets on Microsoft's MSN Virtual Earth application and to broker the organization's online data. She will work closely with EarthData's production, marketing, and sales departments to coordinate the development and roll-out of plans that enable near-real-time delivery of data to end-users.
     Ms. Morley will also coordinate the development and roll-out of EarthData's Airborne Rapid Imaging for Emergency Response (ARIES) system. Conceived amid the rescue and recovery efforts after the attacks on 2001 September 11, ARIES is designed to supply near-real-time data during crises. The mobile rapid response mapping system can operate as a component within an evolving national emergency response model.
     Prior to joining EarthData, Ms. Morley served as director of product management and, more recently, as vice president of global marketing for LizardTech in Seattle, Washington. Her more than 20 years' experience in the industry with both software and data acquisition enables her to coordinate the creation of new products and services and the introduction of new development programs to maintain EarthData's technological leadership in the mapping and GIS industry.

Intergraph has appointed retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John W. Holly as senior vice president and general manager of its Federal Solutions business unit, part of the company's Security, Government & Infrastructure division. Holly, a recognized expert in the research, development, and acquisition of complex Department of Defense systems, will assume operational responsibilities from Dr. William Salter, who announced his retirement earlier this year after a distinguished 32-year career at Intergraph. Holly will be responsible for directing Intergraph's continued growth in the national defense and federal security market sectors.
     Holly recently retired from the U.S. Army where he served as deputy director of the 7,000-person Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Washington, D.C., while also serving as the executive officer for the Ballistic Missile Defense program. He previously served as the MDA's program director for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Joint Program office. Holly has a bachelor's of science degree from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, and a master's of science in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech. He is a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Holly is also a graduate of the Army Field Artillery Officers' Advance Course, the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, the Army Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has affirmed the judgement of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington that ER Mapper (Earth Resource Mapping Ltd) does not infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,710,835 and that part of the patent is invalid. Patent '835 is licensed by LizardTech and relates to image compression methodologies. LizardTech sued ER Mapper in 1999 claiming infringement of the patent. LizardTech has lodged a petition requesting an en banc rehearing of the appeal by the entire Federal Circuit.

Trimble has announced results for its third quarter, which ended September 30. Revenue was $188.5 million, up approximately 11 percent from revenue of $170.2 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2004. Operating income was $33.0 million, up 33 percent when compared to operating income of $24.8 million in the third quarter of 2004. Net income was $20.2 million, or $0.35 per share, up approximately 13 percent when compared to net income of $17.9 million, or $0.33 per share for the third quarter of fiscal 2004. The difference in the rise in net and operating income was due to a year-over-year increase in effective tax rates. In the third quarter of 2005, the effective tax rate was 34 percent, compared to an effective tax rate of 17 percent in the third quarter of 2004. The 2004 effective tax rate benefited from a research and development tax credit and net operating loss carry-forwards, which should be factored into year-over-year comparisons.

This month, GAF AG celebrates its 20-year anniversary. The company, headquartered in Munich, Germany, was founded in 1985 to offer services in the business segment of Earth observation using satellite data — then a completely new field. Over time, this core competence was expanded with the development of new market applications in the areas of system technology and geo-information.
     Today, GAF is a consulting company that is globally active with an international reputation as a competent provider of project conception, management, and implementation services to private and public clients. Under the leadership of Dr. Haydn, who has directed the company since its establishment, GAF AG has set new standards in quality, competence, and reliability, while simultaneously developing a high-performance, multi-disciplinary range of products and services.
     The company, which started with a team of just five, now employs more than 80 experts in the fields of information and remote sensing technologies, covering a wide-range of multi-disciplinary thematic backgrounds relating to Earth sciences.

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