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This week I report on a study of Google Earth by a French remote sensing company and on the new version of Yahoo! Maps. Plus, my usual roundup of industry news from press releases.
French Report on Google Earth
EADS Fleximage a French remote sensing company that specializes in products for intelligence, security, and peacekeeping operations has issued a study of Google Earth, titled Google Earth Study: Impacts and Uses For Defence and Security. The report details Google Earth's functionality often sounding like a user manual then discusses the current and potential uses of the system, which, it says, "perfectly complements GIS through exchange mechanisms based on OGC [Open Geospatial Consortium] standards." The report is illustrated by 85 images, 71 of which are screen shots of Google Earth. (This is interesting because, when I asked Google to comment on the study, the company told me that it had not seen it yet.) The study was carried out between July 5 and September 20 and was based on Beta 3.0 Standard, Plus, and Pro versions (earlier than the 3.0.616 version issued on September 16).
The study does not fulfill the promise of its title and is hampered by a very poor translation from French. Some sentences are pure gibberish, such as the following one: "The negative impact of the placing online of free data on the turnover of distributors should be quite negligible, since relatively old data like those online that are already not much in demand, inexpensive and correspond to unprofitable, marginal uses." Additionally, the report's authors also fail to deliver on their promise to cite "a number of players consulted for this study" and they reproduce an unsourced chart that, they claim, illustrates U.S. federal rules for "disseminating potentially sensitive geocoded information."
Nevertheless, the study is interesting and important. First of all, to my knowledge (letters, please!) it is the first and only independent study of Google Earth by an engineering firm as opposed to reviews in this and other industry publications. Second, it is indicative of the excitement and apprehension with which many in the geospatial industry outside the United States view the potential long-term impact of mass-market geospatial technologies.
According to the study, the immediate success of Google Earth can be attributed to two factors: "the unusual accuracy of the images" and "the software's great simplicity of use[,] enabling everyone to intuitively fly over the globe." As for the former, it is not clear what the authors mean especially since they later bemoan the low resolution of much of the imagery for areas outside the United States and Europe and the inaccuracy of the tiling. The latter (simplicity of use), however, is a characteristic that they repeatedly emphasize. The study then points out that "[U]ntil now, only a few specialist organizations had easy access to high precision images of the entire globe." and that, while "Google Earth's success is undeniable ... some people worry about it."
The report highlights the ability of users to add to Google Earth raster or vector data in many formats and to customize their transparency and display order. They also praise the user-friendly rectification mechanism, which "make[s] geographic data rectification possible for most people." On the other hand, they criticize the fact that the system's 40 layers "are organized heterogeneously and cannot be changed by the user" and the absence of "surface or angle measurements."
The ability to add data is what makes Google Earth potentially a professional tool: "[The system's] unequal geographic coverage is rather restrictive for a professional operation and therefore necessarily requires additional data to be injected." The biggest problem with using the system professionally, however, is the lack of metadata: "The clearest identification for data shown in Google Earth is no more than the copyright at the bottom of the image. It is therefore extremely difficult to know the properties of this data: source, resolution, accuracy, when the picture was taken, geometric or radiometric processes, etc." The former can affect the quality of the coordinates of an element of the datum; the latter can alter the visual representation of an image element.
The study cites a French parliamentary report regarding the military intelligence possibilities depending on the image resolution and summarizes them in a table. A 2-meter resolution, it claims, allows recognition of 50 percent of military equipment, a 1-meter resolution allows detection of 100 percent of military equipment and identification of all military infrastructures, and 15-centimeter resolution allows analysts to distinguish between a man and a woman. Google's data resolution, according to the study, "is fairly uneven; it can vary from 15 centimeters to 15 meters." However, it hastens to add that the "effective resolution" of an image differs from the satellite's theoretical resolution and depends on such parameters as the sensor's position and stability and the illumination of the scene.
One of the most interesting parts of the study concerns the anomalies in Google Earth due to "the absence of ortho-correction." It reports that "Tests carried out projecting data with a known accuracy in Google Earth seem to confirm a shift. These tests show a shift from 30 to several hundreds of meters in planimetry in an area of low relief." However, it gives no particulars as to these tests. The study continues: "Using data that has not always been ortho-corrected introduced inaccuracies of location. If Google Earth is used as a continuous geographic base, the accuracy is completely acceptable. For any other use, the coordinates obtained in Google Earth must be confirmed from other sources of information."
The report provides some striking examples of the anomalies produced by tiling and the lack of ortho-rectification. In one screen shot, buildings on opposite sides of the same street lean in opposite directions. In another, one can clearly see the curb side of parked cars and the opposite side of cars in the middle lane, while a car in the lane nearest the curb is blurred.
The study discusses the question of whether images of buildings and installations of high military value should be censored or altered and who should do so. It shows the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory, in Washington, D.C., where the Vice President's residence is located, blurred in Google Earth and images of the White House altered (roof features deleted and two buildings replaced by trees) and then restored following complaints by users. It also shows a mysterious square patch in the middle of nowhere, in Nevada. Since the coordinates appear at the bottom of the image, you can go look for it and formulate your own theories about this: 37 degrees, 48' 17.04" N, 115 degrees, 59' 33.55" W. "Even if Google claims not to directly alter the data it publishes," the authors write, "its suppliers (USGS for example) admit that they are dependent upon state institutions that can have a say in the distribution of their data."
The study reviews concerned reactions about Google Earth from Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, various Asian countries, and the United States. It points out that the protests mostly subsided and comes down against censorship, on the grounds that it is pointless and that the images are perfectly legal: "[T]he data shown in Google Earth are in the public domain, in so far as these images are commercial products. Anybody can buy them by contacting the providers ... Because of this, it is difficult to accuse Google of publishing confidential information. ... [S]pace flying-over itself is implicitly authorized over the whole surface of the globe under the SALT1 treaty. Moreover, there is no regulation specifying limitations concerning the level of detail for space imaging."
However, the study then goes on to raise the issue of what should be done in the face of the continually accelerating technological evolution in the field of satellite imagery. "Is making these images available really dangerous? The image itself does not really represent a threat; rather, it is the analysis that can be carried out on it which could represent a danger. ... Censoring Google is not the solution." Moreover, it points out, censoring generates curiosity. Ultimately, then, the study argues, the best solution to real or perceived threats of satellite imagery to national security is... "camouflage, while this is possible." To bolster this claim, it shows images of a camouflaged military airport in China. However, besides not showing the coordinates, the authors seem to miss the irony: they are displaying a military airport, which can be clearly identified as such by the shape of the planes on the tarmack, to make the point that it cannot be identified because the buildings have camouflaged roofs!
The study, which acknowledges assistance from Jane's and the French Ministry of Defense, points out that "[D]ata transits and is stored in a coded form. Exchanges can therefore be done in a secure manner." To the military, the study argues, Google Earth is most useful in command centers, "thanks to the synthetic vision and speed of information distribution that it allows" and because its data allows immediate visualization of the environment in a situation of unexpected crisis, when no operational data is available." Ultimately, the study concludes, "Given the number of sources of information already available ... Google Earth does not constitute a risk for internal security or populations."
On the use of Google Earth as a collaboration tool, the authors argue that the system facilitates the management of large projects. Google Earth's "ability to define a dynamic link," the study says, "makes for a very powerful gateway for sharing data."
Enhanced Yahoo! Maps
A week ago Yahoo! launched an enhanced version of its Yahoo! Maps service. Like Google Maps and MSN Virtual Earth, Yahoo! Maps wants to be interactive, easy to use, and able to be personalized. At the same time, Yahoo! also released the application programming interfaces (APIs), to encourage developers to use its service to develop custom maps. The service's new features include multi-point driving directions, including drag and drop reordering, round-trip and reverse routes; local content integration; a larger main map and a new "mini-map" that make it easier to navigate, pan, and zoom, and re-center; and drag-and-drop points of interest and expandable turn-by-turn instructions. It is also more closely integrated with Yahoo! Local, providing users access to information on regional establishments from a single Maps page. According to the company, "Yahoo! Local draws on the collective expertise of Yahoo!'s 181 million registered users for their insights about local businesses and services, providing valuable information not found in traditional directory listings."
Unfortunately, however, Yahoo prohibits the use of this API for real-time tracking applications and defines real-time as less than six hours! Here's the rule:
"You may use location data derived from GPS or other location sensing devices in connection with the Yahoo! Maps APIs, provided that such location data is not based on real-time (i.e., less than 6 hours) GPS or any other real-time location sensing device, the GPS or location sensing device that derives the location data cannot automatically (i.e. without human intervention) provide the end user's location, and any such location data must be uploaded by an end-user (and not you) to the Yahoo! Maps APIs."
As for licensing, developers can use the Yahoo! Maps APIs on any site that doesn't charge users for access even sites that are supported by ads. However, they are required to obtain explicit permission to run a subscription service that uses Yahoo!'s APIs.
Please note: I have culled the following news
items from press releases and have not independently verified
CONTRACTS & COLLABORATIONS
The Intelligence Systems Division of the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) has awarded a sensitive compartmented information (SCI) contract to GeoDecisions , an information technology company, to build an enterprise geospatial technology data architecture. This classified project will bring together data previously available in multiple formats and support decision makers in rapidly generating intelligent data maps and performing threat and transportation intelligence analysis.
The system will incorporate ESRI ArcSDE and ArcIMS technology, and will also integrate components of IRRIS technology, a Web-based transportation security and logistics tool developed for the U.S. Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Transportation Engineering Agency (SDDCTEA) a component command of USTRANSCOM. As a result, the technology will provide a common operating picture for the command's intelligence systems and foster geospatial data sharing among all levels of the federal intelligence community.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department's Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded a grant to a consortium of universities and other organizations for emergency preparedness training for the states of Hawaii and California as well as the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI). The grant, approved for approximately $4.14 million over three years, will foster the development of the Pacific Emergency Management, Preparedness and Response Information Network and Training Systems (Pacific EMPRINTS). The purpose of the grant is to fund the development of a health care workforce with knowledge, skills, abilities, and core competencies to recognize indications of terrorist attack; meet acute care needs of patients; participate in coordinated, multidisciplinary response to health events; and rapidly and effectively alert the public health system and local communities of such an event.
The Pacific EMPRINTS partnership will provide training for health professionals in Hawaii, California, and USAPI that includes face-to-face courses; remote learning networks; and multidisciplinary, live training scenarios. As part of the grant, ESRI will provide software and training. In addition, ESRI staff will serve on the Pacific EMPRINTS advisory board and supply geographic information system (GIS) expertise in program planning and delivery.
As part of Pacific EMPRINTS, GIS mapping and spatial analysis training will be provided to health professionals involved in management, preparedness, and response to terrorist events and other emergencies. GIS training will include the standardized use of GIS for data collection, management, and distribution in the field and in forward command centers.
ESRI provides a program that locates federal, state, and local government and foundation grant funding opportunities and information related to implementing GIS in various industries and provides information to possible grantees. Many of these funding opportunities can be used to assist in GIS acquisition. These grant programs are not sponsored by ESRI; however, grant applicants can seek assistance from ESRI in scoping the GIS portion of their project and with grant writing assistance.
To assist teachers to meet testing requirements while incorporating critical thinking activities pertaining to their subjects, Idaho has purchased a statewide GIS license from ESRI. Teachers and schools will use the technology in a wide range of subjects to create real-world activities involving analysis and problem solving as well as other core subject topics. A license grants the state a large collection of ESRI software products on an unlimited number of computers. The software may be used for teaching any subject in grades K-12 in public and private schools. Idaho received ArcView 3.x and ArcView 9.x as well as the Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst extensions for both versions.
All universities in Idaho already have site licenses. The new statewide license enables K-12 schools to use a variety of basic subject matter in conjunction with the technology to find solutions to real-world problems, similar to what the universities are already doing. It also helps address the new high school graduation requirements of increased math and science courses as well as a project.
Digital Data Technologies, Inc. (DDTI) has added the Defiance County Auditor's website to its catalog of hosted websites. DDTI currently hosts over forty individualized websites featuring real property data, real estate tax information, colorized property sketches, property record cards, and various GIS information. DDTI provides everything a county needs to create a successful Web presence and can have their site up and running within two to three weeks.
Three large businesses have selected MapInfo Corporation's technology for target marketing programs which include site selection and sales forecasting. To Cole Haan, a fashion company founded in 1928 and now a part of Nike, Inc., MapInfo is delivering research and direction in order to expand its shoe and accessory stores. Using MapInfo Smart Site Solutions, the company will be able to determine the best markets and the optimal number of sites within those markets in order to maximize its network. Further, MapInfo will provide strategic insight into the cross-shopping tendencies of customers between the shoe and accessory departments.
To Friedman's Jewelers, the third largest specialty retailer of jewelry in the United States, MapInfo is delivering location intelligence technology to assess and improve the performance of its stores as well as to develop more strategic real estate programs. These programs include assessing, based on sales potential, the optimal real estate strategy in each operation market including the identification of new site opportunities, relocations and store closures. MapInfo Smart Site Solutions, Site Evaluator, and consulting will also enable Friedman's to answer questions such as whether mall locations are more or less advantageous than street level locations, taking into account the synergies offered by retail adjacencies and co-anchors, as well as other location-specific site variables such as demographics, visibility and accessibility.
For Loehmann's Inc., a national upscale, off-price specialty retailer operating 50 stores in 17 states, MapInfo will create a new store site selection system that determines how many new stores its territories can support and prioritize new opportunities for store sites. Loehmann's purchased MapInfo Smart Site Solutions and Site Evaluator products and will rely on MapInfo consultative services to forecast sales and ensure the retailer optimizes each new store location.
GeoAnalytics, Inc., a provider of geographic and land information systems (GIS/LIS) technology and management consulting, has completed a Public Safety GIS/LIS Strategic Plan for the Dodge County, Wisconsin, Land Information Department. GeoAnalytics developed a strategic vision and roadmap for incorporating GIS/LIS technology, data, and practices into the county 911 center and emergency management operations. The plan looked at data and technology needs along with process improvement related to the creation and sharing of countywide street centerline and address data. The plan also covered related organizational needs for the county's 911 and emergency management GIS, to improve its efficiency, effectiveness, and decision-making capabilities using GIS technology. An additional objective is to advance enterprise GIS to enable increased support for other existing business systems within County agencies and for partner municipalities.
Boeing has received approximately $24 million in new orders from the National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA), extending the company's work to speed delivery and analysis of critical, time-sensitive intelligence imagery to the agency's end-users. The work, to be conducted under the Global Geospatial Intelligence contract, will be utilized by military and homeland security leaders, as well as the commercial aviation and shipping industries.
The orders include assembling geospatial feature data of high security-risk areas worldwide, producing detailed maps of cities in Iraq and Southeast Asia, producing digital nautical charts to improve maritime safety, and plotting vertical obstructions for more than 50 air fields around the world. Boeing also will continue enhancing radar data of Earth from a previous Space Shuttle mission and will provide image analysis personnel and project management support to the NGA throughout the Washington, DC, area.
Boeing is a prime contractor on the NGA's Global Geospatial Initiative, a 10-year program initiated in 2003 that uses government-funded and open-source technologies to speed up the production, analysis, and delivery of time-sensitive intelligence imagery.
Merrick & Company, a provider of LIDAR, digital ortho-imaging, photogrammetry and GIS mapping, has signed a new contract with the Department of Public Works in Utah County, Utah to provide DigitalGlobe's 61-centimeter Ortho Photo Ready natural color satellite imagery of the entire county annually for three years. The Mapping Division will post-process the satellite data using County survey control points. Approximately 85-percent of the spatial data will meet a +/-5-foot horizontal accuracy.
Surveyors at Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) are undergoing the final stages of training in their new field data capture system MIDAS Survey. The solution, developed for OSNI by the Geospatial Solutions Division of Tadpole Technology, provides OSNI surveyors with a field data capture system that will integrate fully with their enterprise-wide Mapping Information Database and Surveying system (MIDAS). OSNI awarded the contract for an enterprise-wide GIS to ESRI (UK). Development of the enterprise ArcGIS-based system was subsequently undertaken by ESRI Ireland, with Tadpole Technology subcontracted to deliver the field component.
Tadpole Technology worked closely with OSNI to develop a field system that would not only support traditional graphic survey techniques, but also leverage new technology such as GPS and TPS. All measurements can be input using the on-screen keypad or handwriting recognition, or directly captured from survey instruments using Leica Geosystem's Mobile Matrix solution.
MIDAS Survey provides other specialized functionality that has been developed to streamline OSNI's field survey process, such as semi-automated map creation that eliminates the need to manually select and configure data layers. Users of the system will also have access to focused editing tools that have been developed to meet the specific needs of the OSNI surveyor.
The City of Hamilton, Ohio, has hired Varion Systems, the software development and value-added reseller division of GeoAnalytics, to implement its Web-GIS product, PV.Web 2.2, to deploy GIS data and tools to City staff. The product, running in conjunction with ESRI's ArcIMS and ArcSDE to host a variety of spatial and business data, will take advantage of the City's Enterprise Addressing System, Utility Customer data, and tax data to create a portal for users with unique needs. Long range City goals include leveraging PV.Web's external database integration ability by disseminating business records stored in its Cityworks Asset Management, and Govern Permitting systems.
Built on ESRI's ArcIMS technology, the product allows users to navigate, browse, query, and report on both spatial and non-spatial land information. The City of Hamilton has been a Varion Systems client since 2003.
Spatial Data Technologies (SDT) has released CartoPac version 1.6. The CartoPac software is a mobile mapping software solution for customizing mobile mapping and data collection applications. The release of CartoPac 1.5 introduced several new features, including increased navigation functionality with compass display, GPS constellation and signal strength display, DGPS signal indicator, laser range finder support and auto-save options for projects on the mobile device. CartoPac 1.6 includes all of the 1.5 functionality plus new features that allow users to download selected features to the mobile device based on specified attributes and collect GPS data in Lat/Long projection. The software also supports the new Trimble ProXH, which has sub-foot accuracy.
Leica Geosystems has released a new GPS RTK processing option for Leica MobileMatriX software and a new edition of Leica MobileMatriX Edition as an extension to existing ArcGIS 9 desktop installations. MobileMatriX combines a TabletPC wirelessly with the Leica SmartAntenna ATX1230 to form a stand-alone rover with RTK capability and the accuracy of Leica Geosystems' high-end GPS System 1200. All the processing of GPS raw measurements is done in Leica MobileMatriX; no receiver is required. The device is a cable-free (Bluetooth) solution, which allows the user to collect and update GIS data directly in the field.
Leica MobileMatriX on ArcGIS Edition is an ArcGIS Extension running on any installed ArcGIS Desktop 9 product. It enables the users to use their existing ArcGIS licenses and to simply buy MobileMatriX as an add-on to their existing systems. Additionally, MobileMatriX on ArcGIS Edition enables ESRI development partners to combine their products together with MobileMatriX in an integrated way. The ArcGIS Leica MobileMatriX extension enables ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo users to use their GIS for mobile data collection and maintenance tasks with connected surveying sensors.
Matrox Graphics Inc. has introduced DualHead2Go, an external device that connects to the monitor connector of a computer and adds support for an extra monitor. The operating system treats DualHead2Go like a monitor supporting resolutions twice as wide as standard resolutions and DualHead2Go uses Matrox technology to divide the monitor output from the computer into two separate displays, one showing the left half of this "monitor" and the other showing the right half.
The device uses a computer's existing graphics hardware and software for 2D, 3D, and video acceleration. DualHead2Go includes support for Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and is compatible with a wide range of laptops and with certain other systems.
Geographic information specialist GDC has released PlanAccess 2.0, the latest version of its GI Web portal and map server. The new release of PlanAccess is complemented by two pre-packaged modules to help Local Authorities meet the 2006 deadlines for five ODPM (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) Priority Service Outcomes. More than 30 Local Authorities already use the product to enable public access to geographic information by providing interactive maps and location-driven services online.
The two new PlanAccess modules have been developed specifically to address the immediate requirement for Local Authorities. The PARSOL module assists with Planning and Regulatory services (PARSOL) and the Property Account module delivers property-centric information to citizens online. The PARSOL module has already been selected by South Cambridgeshire District Council and Liverpool City Council, both authorities having searched for cost effective software to integrate with existing planning systems and meet Priority Outcome challenges.
Leica Geosystems AG has launched the Networked Reference Station ATHENA program, aimed at selected universities, research organizations and UNAVCO members with the goal of introducing GPS reference station network technology to the academic and research communities, thereby facilitating its use for both teaching and scientific research purposes. Leica Geosystems' GPS Reference Station hardware and software products are used for supporting real-time high-accuracy positioning through the provision of RTK and DGPS corrections, providing GPS datasets for post-processing campaigns, and defining regional and national geodetic coordinate datums.
The ATHENA program's foundation is a new set of GPS reference station product bundles designed and priced for universities, colleges, UNAVCO-accredited members and research institutions and other institutions of higher education that provide accredited learning, formal education, and scientific research involving GPS. Specific, discounted packages consist of various GPS reference station hardware and processing software options. These options include the new Leica GRX1200 Pro reference station sensor (Ethernet and external oscillator, 20Hz data collection, embedded WebServer interface with SSL security, BINEX data streaming); Leica AT504 chokering and AX1202 geodetic antenna; and educational licenses of the Leica GPS Spider 2.0 reference station software.
Geographic information specialist GDC has appointed Simon Doyle as Director of Consulting & Technical Services. A new position at the company, the move emphasizes its continuing expansion into services and consulting within government and utilities. Heading a growing team of experts, Doyle is responsible for driving all client-facing consultation activity, from technical requirements analysis to system implementation. Following this summer's appointment of Professor Mike Jackson as a non-executive director, Doyle's new role also marks a growth in GDC's expertise in Open Geospatial Consortium standards and interoperability between systems and IT processes.
Doyle, who has been in the geographic information industry since 1993, was previously the Application Development Manager at Ordnance Survey, with responsibility for all capital software projects. He was appointed Senior Vice-Chair of the Association for Geographic Information in 2005, and is a member of AGI Executive Group and the AGI Technical SIG, with interests focused on geospatial interoperability and software development. He holds an MSc in Geographic & Geodetic Information Systems from University College London.
CONFERENCES & TRADE SHOWS
On November 16th, hundreds of professional presenters and guests will gather at the University of New Hampshire for GIS Day 2005's Geo-Spatial Science Conference and College Fair. Special attractions at this year's event include a talk by Allen Carroll, Chief Cartographer and Executive Vice President of National Geographic Maps, who will take the audience on a tour of ninety years of map making at the National Geographic Society (NGS), and an NGS Cartographic Attraction Exhibition featuring one hundred global, regional, and topical maps from the NGS archives.
The event will also feature a twelve-panel NGS display titled "Ninety Years of Cartography," seen last at the 2005 National ESRI Users Conference in San Diego, California; a full size car simulator, enabling a drive through a virtual map; a professional Geo-Spatial Science Vendor Hall; a professional Geo-Spatial Science Map and Poster Gallery; and regional Geo-Spatial Science College Fair and Research Displays.
Overwatch Geospatial Operations, formerly Sensor Systems, will hold a RemoteView Users Group Conference on November 15-16, in Dulles, Virginia. At the conference, the company will demonstrate many of the new functions that it has added to the RemoteView software package a geospatial processing and analysis package developed by Sensor Systems, which joined the Overwatch group of companies on October 1st, and changed its name to Overwatch Geospatial Operations.
Held at the Dulles Embassy Suites Hotel, the conference will provide the latest information about RemoteView's new features, including the Image Catalog, Precision Positioning/Tactical Targeting (iGeoPos), Research & Negation, Virtual Mosaic, 3D Fly-Thru, and the new RemoteView/ENVI Link. The conference will also offer workshops on a variety of topics, such as photogrammetry, multi-spectral imagery, GIS functionality, and commercial satellite imagery, as well as updates on Overwatch UNIX and Windows products. Conference participants will have the opportunity to see exhibits from other RemoteView software users and Overwatch business partners.
MapInfo Corporation has reported earnings per share of $0.18 for the fourth fiscal quarter that ended on September 30, representing the tenth consecutive quarter of year-over-year earnings per share growth for the company. Included in the results is an approximate $0.03 per share benefit due to a decrease in the effective tax rate. For the same period last year the company reported earnings per share of $0.09. Revenues for the fourth quarter grew 24 percent to $40.3 million versus $32.5 million for the same quarter last year.
Operating income grew 34 percent to $4.5 million, for an operating margin of 11.2 percent, compared to last year's operating income of $3.4 million. Net income was $3.9 million compared to net income of $1.8 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004. The effective tax rate was 24 percent in the quarter compared to 34 percent in the third quarter. The decrease in the effective tax rate was primarily a result of increased earnings in lower tax jurisdictions and a non-taxable gain on the sale of a building in Australia.
Cash and investments stood at $73.8 million as of September 30, 2005; cash from operations grew by $5.5 million during the quarter and $15.9 million during fiscal 2005. Total deferred revenue grew to $20.9 million at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) will again recognize individuals and user organizations in various industry segments for their exemplary achievements in implementing geospatial technologies. GITA's 2006 Awards Program will recognize the stewardship and leadership afforded by individuals and organizations that share their experiences, serve as mentors, and push geospatial technologies to ever-higher levels of functionality. Nominations for the awards are accepted in four categories.
The Excellence Award, created in 1993, recognizes user organizations for their outstanding application of geospatial technologies. The Innovator Award recognizes the unique and significant contributions of user organizations that have pushed the envelope of geospatial technology through innovative development of a technology, service, or application. The GITA Distinguished Service Award is given to an individual for his or her extraordinary personal contribution to the mission and success of the association. The Geospatial Industry Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual's outstanding contribution and longstanding commitment to the geospatial industry.
A panel of industry experts, including representatives from organizations that have previously won awards, as well as former GITA presidents, will assist in the selection process for these awards. The Web-based nomination procedure is open to members of the geospatial community at large. Interested persons may go to www.gita.org/about_gita/awards_program for complete information. The deadline for nominations is November 18, 2005.
On November 4th Canada's RADARSAT-1, the first commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite, celebrated its tenth anniversary in space. One of its cornerstones was the emergency programming service, coupled with near-real time data processing and delivery. These services have supported time-critical operations such as disaster management, ice mapping for ship routing, pollution monitoring, and ship surveillance.
Over the 10-year period, RADARSAT-1 data has also been used to advance numerous applications such as ice, agriculture, oil and gas exploration, cartography and coastal monitoring. The improved understanding of radar applications has led to the development of products that serve the information and operational needs of end users.
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