GIS MONITOR, Nov 9, 2000
-Two Shopping Dot Coms Go Down
-Open GIS Consortium Announces Wireless Location Services Initiative
-ANVIL “Showcases” Explain Location Services
-Security Concerns Over Geographic Tracking
-Points of Interest
-Week in Review
TWO SHOPPING DOT COMS GO DOWN
This week was busy for those playing dot com “Survivor.” On November 6,
Furniture.com who "dominated the home furnishings e-tailing category since
it launched in January 1999” shut down. On November 7, Pets.com, the
company with the cute sock puppet, closed the doghouse doors.
Neither could find funding to keep going. Could their demise be attributed
to simple factors of geography? Pets.com realized huge shipping bills for
those 20-pound bags of dog food. And, furniture.com never managed to get
the goods there on time, if at all. The new economy is so impressed with
what the Internet can do with marketing, online buying and customer
service, that some think that it can even solve the age-old problem of
Some online e-tailers DO get it. 1-800-Flowers.com is one. They use local
florists to stock and deliver their goods. And, Amazon.com seems to get
the books there on time – thought they have yet to turn a profit. And,
traditional cataloguers, like LL Bean, had already mastered geography
before the Web came along.
As we go to press, Webvan just announced that smaller orders will soon be
charged for delivery, indicating that they are beginning to get the
OPEN GIS CONSORTIUM ANNOUNCES WIRELESS LOCATION SERVICES INITIATIVE
The Open GIS Consortium (OGC) has announced an initiative to develop
standards for location services (LS), also known as location based
services (LBS). A new web site highlights the added direction of OGC and a
call for sponsors (CFS) to provide goals for the project. Later, OGC will
issue requests for technologies.
OGC has asked platform providers (device, hardware, network hardware, and
operating systems), other kinds of equipment manufacturers (e.g., tier-one
automotive suppliers), network operators, Internet service providers and
portal companies to consider sponsorship. Sponsors are organizations that
contribute significant resources (financial, personnel, facilities, etc.)
to the effort. Sponsors typically drive the requirements, technical scope
and agenda, and demonstration form and content. Or in other words, they
help pay for what they want produced.
Of most interest to the user community is the long list of LS applications
within the CFS document. If you are not sure what LS is, have a look
Will this work? It is perhaps early enough in the game to try to pull the
disparate organizations together for this type of interoperability work.
Still, there are other organizations, such as the Location
Interoperability Forum, already thinking along these lines. It is unclear
how or if they are parallel to or “competitive with” OpenLS. And what of
the recent MAGIC Services Initiative?
Note that GIS was 30 some years old when OGC tried to develop interface
standards there. Sponsors are required to commit by December 1, so we will
soon know the interest level.
ANVIL “SHOWCASES” EXPLAIN LOCATION SERVICES
The folks at ANVIL have made several location services examples available.
As in the previous story, these will help explain what LS is all about
using every day terms and every day scenarios.
These types of organizations cannot do enough to explain the issues and
how the initiatives may help users (potential customers!). Please, keep
telling us stories!
SECURITY CONCERNS OVER GEOGRAPHIC TRACKING
Two articles pointed to pros and cons of Quova and its peers building
their maps of the Internet to nail down the geographic location of
Next week, technologists take the “computer location” matter to a French
court claiming to be able to be able to stop a large percentage of Net
users in France from using a Yahoo auction site in the United States.
Back in July some unsuspecting network security specialists had their
“firewall alarms” go off and Quova was to blame.
POINTS OF INTEREST
A west coast reader tried out MapInfo’s DSL tool for COVAD. “I decided to
try the Covad/MapInfo site and it could not find my address. In fact it
suggested a location about 100 miles away in another phone prefix.”
From Rob Freedman at Digital Envoy:
“FYI, Forbes is running an article on Digital Envoy and Quova coming out
November 13th... You scooped them!”
I received a copy of an e-mail addressed to some 600 geospatial community
members from SRI that included the .geo press release and a plea for
support for the initiative. It was dated Nov 3. The last day for public
comment was Nov 5. Was this last minute campaigning?
I tried to visit Sylvan Ascent this week. Their site was down, mail
bounced, and the phone was disconnected. Does anyone know where Sylvan,
who sold mapping components and data, went?
The Monitor included a statement last week in our article about GDS and
MicroGDS that suggested an uncertain future for MicroGDS. This is not the
case as the remainder of the article attests; the product, owned by ISIL
continues in production. We regret any misunderstanding this statement may
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