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2005 November 17


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Editor's Introduction

This week I bring you Google Earth's response to a few questions I asked, following up on my review, last week, of a French company's report on the service. I also report on the GIS Day event in Salem, Oregon — one of the many that took place around the world yesterday — and on the activities of one county GIS shop. Plus, my usual round-up of news from press releases.

— Matteo

Google Earth Responds

I followed up on last week's story about the French company EADS Fleximage's report on Google Earth with John Hanke, Product Director for Local Maps & Earth at Google. Hanke is the former CEO of Keyhole, the company that developed what is now Google Earth before Google bought it.

Does Google Earth abide by OGC standards, as claimed in the French report? In general, what is Google's attitude toward standards?
"We currently support the import of WMS data into our enterprise client. You can subscribe to a WMS server and see that as an overlay on the Google Earth data as you pan around. Google Earth is a good complement to a traditional GIS system — it is not a replacement for one. It is about a geo-browsing experience. We support some OGC standards, particularly WMS. OGC standards were created for GIS companies; they are not consumer-oriented standards. We have contacts with OGC and would like to see the emergence of consumer-oriented standards. However, it is pretty easy to add data to Google Earth using KML and people have written converters [to facilitate that]. The bulk of the world's GIS data lives in proprietary ESRI systems — not in OGC-compliant ones. ESRI has announced its intention to support KML."

Does Google Earth ever censor or alter any data due to military or security concerns?
"To date, we haven't made any changes to data."

What about the incident regarding the White House grounds reported in the French study?
"It was a USGS data set and in that data the USGS pixellated three areas. We had that data up for about a year and we recently pushed out some higher resolution data for about 40 cities, including Washington, D.C., from a private vendor, Sanborn. We did not make alterations to the prior data set."

Do you plan to ever publish any metadata?
"The only metadata we provide is the copyright notice and then the list of high-resolution cities with date ranges [as to when the images where taken]. We are trying to provide a mapping experience. We are not providing imagery to be exploited in the traditional sense. Providing metadata is not high on the priority list of things that we would do."

Is it true that data exchanges between the Google Earth server and clients on users' computers are encrypted, as the French report claims?
"I guess that they are talking about the way the client works. The connection between the client and the server is encrypted. To the extent that we make use of the local cache, it is encrypted as well. The intent is to protect the data from people who would like to extract it. One of the things the encoding accomplishes is rights management."

Do you have any other comments?
"We're mainly focused on trying to produce a great consumer product, making it better, adding data, improving features and functionalities. Google Earth is a great complement to traditional GIS and a great way to distribute data, but we are not trying to replace GIS functionalities one by one."

GIS Day in Salem, Oregon

Yesterday, November 16, was GIS Day. Held each year on the Wednesday of National Geographic Society's Geography Awareness Week (November 13-19 this year), GIS Day is a global event that celebrates GIS technology and its myriad applications. It is principally sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Library of Congress, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and ESRI. To read about events around the world to promote GIS, visit the GIS Day website managed by ESRI.

I attended the GIS Day event in Salem, Oregon, in the galleria-rotunda of the state capitol. About two hundred people, including a fourth grade class, attended the five-hour event, which included displays and presentations. It was sponsored by Women in GIS (WIGIS) and organized by Michelle Donahue and Susan Blohm. Donahue, a professional pianist, became a GIS analyst about seven years ago after working for twenty years as an archaeologist. Blohm is the GIS Lead Analyst for the GIS Division of the Department of Information Technology of the City of Salem.

Susan Blohm and Michelle Donahue

The event, dubbed Celebrate Your World With GIS, featured eighteen exhibitors from local (City of Salem, City of Gresham), county (Marion County), regional (Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, Portland Metro), state (the Oregon National Guard, the Oregon Geospatial Enterprise Office, and the state departments of Fish and Wildlife, Transportation, Education, and Water Resources), tribal (Siletz Indian Tribe), and federal (U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) agencies — as well as private vendors (Electronic Data Solutions, CH2MHill, and Oregon Bridge Delivery Partners). Of course, many maps were on display — including a 6'x10' one of Marion county. Equally colorful balloons provided a festive atmosphere.

Stephen Ford, a GIS analyst for Marion County, gave two presentations (see below [link]): one on fire maps and another on tax maps. Jim Lahm, a sales consultant for Electronic Data Solutions, gave a presentation on the latest Trimble GPS receivers and the ease of transferring data from those receivers into a GIS. I took the opportunity to discuss with Lahm his transition from an exclusive focus on GPS hardware to, increasingly, a focus on the integration of that hardware with GIS software. That interview will appear in next week's issue.

Mark Bosworth an adjunct professor at Portland State University and a GIS Program Supervisor at the Data Resource Center of Metro, the regional government for the Portland metro area, gave a presentation using Google Earth. In one segment, he displayed a map of the city's Urban Growth Boundary and land use data that Metro had overlaid on the images from Google Earth. In another segment he displayed a color-coded map showing the degree to which different roads are suitable for bicycles. In both cases, Bosworth impressed his audience by taking full advantage of Google Earth's ability to display elevation data in 3D.

Two other presentations discussed a survey graphic index and an ETU application. Gail Ewart, of the Oregon Geospatial Enterprise Office, gave the closing presentation, on the state's vision for GIS. She explained and stressed the concept of GIS as a utility.


WIGIS has been producing GIS Day activities for several years. I asked Donahue and Blohm how this year's event came about. "In past years, I've only done classroom presentations to school children," Blohm told me. "This year we wanted to do something as a city. So I started to invite government agencies, but came up short on a location. Meanwhile, WIGIS had begun to organize an event, so we joined forces."

What were your expectations and how did you think it went? "My expectations were almost nonexistent," Donahue told me. "I think it came off quite wonderfully. I particularly enjoyed the diversity of presentations and exhibitors. The school tour was one of the major highlights for me. The kids were really great, they had a lot of fun. I hope that next year we do get a lot more schools." Blohm was equally pleased with how the event turned out. "I've been in the region about three years," she told me, "and, from the moment I arrived, I sensed competition [among the various GIS shops and organizations]. My goal has been to wipe out competition and bring about cooperation and today was it. That is what GIS is all about. Even in things as simple as data sharing: there were walls, now we exchange data freely. The camaraderie and coming together of different organizations was a thrill for me. We have hundreds of users and though we strive for an enterprise environment all of our hardware and software policies are coordinated in IT, but out users are distributed throughout the city."

What are some other activities that WIGIS has organized? "We hosted a job search forum, earlier in the year, in Portland — with ESRI, Portland State University, Metro, etc.," Donahue told me. "We had a panel discussion about skill sets and job searching strategies."


At the NOAA table, I spoke with Barbara Seekins, a geographer with the Protected Resources Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service. She works out of the agency's Portland office, which, she told me, has had a GIS shop since 1998. Recently, "to get an inexpensive desktop solution for [its] roughly 30 biologists and managers," the office installed ArcReader and ArcPublisher. "This addition allows us to port the data to the desktops of the biologists, who are not GIS experts. It gives them a way to see the data and provide feedback. We are very salmon-based. Our range goes all the way into Eastern Idaho. We are doing pretty broad-stroke work over three states. Our Technical Recovery Teams are developing finer scale recovery information, down to the watershed level. One of the challenges is to get standardized data across three states, because often we will get state data as background and the data is not standardized. We try to get the Idaho watershed delineation in the same dataset as Oregon and Washington."

As I was leaving Seekins' table, one of her colleagues, David Crouse, offered me one of several small rubber whales they had brought. I declined the offer, saying "Thanks, but I try to reduce accumulation at the source."

The Work of A County GIS Shop

Stephen F. Ford, a GIS analyst for the Department of Public Works of Marion County , Oregon, has a varied background and a long history with geospatial technology. His first career was as a ship captain. "This is why I tend to see a map a little differently than most people," he told me. "When a captain looks at a chart, he creates a 3D mental image and safely navigates his ship through that image." Ford created his first electronic chart in 1976, when he digitized nautical charts for NAVSHOALS, a collision avoidance system for Sperry Marine (now a part of Northrop Grumman). The system integrated the digital nautical charts and radar returns into one image. "Now, all of a sudden, your radar returns had meaning," Ford says. "It was a great improvement to navigation safety." Years later, he worked on the development of Houston/Galveston PORTS , a project sponsored by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to capture data on currents and salinity in real-time. HGports was developed and installed during his tenure as a Department Head at Texas A&M; University with grant money from NOAA. Later on, he developed what he says was the first 3D nautical chart for shipmasters: it allowed them to virtually fly through a combination of bathymetry, topology and navigational data. Finally, in 2001 he took his current job with Marion County and kept developing his GIS skills.

Stephen Ford, right

At the GIS Day event in Salem, Ford gave presentations on two Marion County GIS mapping projects: one to assist fire fighters and the other to assist tax assessors.

Marion County on-line fire maps, developed by Laura Lukomski, also a GIS analyst, serves 19 of the county's 20 fire districts (the exception being the City of Salem). The GIS administrator, Grace McDonald, compiled the project's partnership over the years. "The fire districts," says Ford, "needed an efficient and cost-effective method to distribute current maps." The GIS staff created the maps in ESRI ArcGIS; they generate map books using DS Map Book , an ArcGIS developer sample extension. According to Ford, using this program he was able to output 1,232 maps in one hour. The staff then exports the maps to Adobe Acrobat PDF files and posts them to a secure website from which the firefighters can download them as needed — even in the fire engine while en route to a fire! This process costs the Fire Defense Board users about $2.43 per square mile. All changes to the maps are at the request of, and with data provided by, the Fire Defense Board and the fire districts. The GIS staff — which consists of one administrator and three analysts, including Ford — also posts all the changes and corrections it makes to the maps to a website. In short, with regard to mapping, the county's GIS staff serves as the Fire Defense Board's technical support.

To add new features — such as hydrants, draft sites, and driveways — the GIS staff uses an in-house GIS application called an event tracking utility. The GIS staff also regularly produces custom map products, such as giant 9' x 14' wall maps.

I asked Ford what improvement he would like to see next in the fire maps. At the top of his wish list, he told me, is a point-and-click inventory of hazardous materials stored in warehouses — so that firefighters would know not only the location of a fire but what kind of fire to expect. Second on his list is better routing tools, that would take into account multiple constraints — such as road widths and obstructions.

The Tax Assessor's maps, a county intranet project, provides instant access to 2,584 tax maps. Ford developed a three-tiered system, programming in Visual Basic, to drastically reduce the time it takes assessors to look for maps by tax number and to provide them with the geographical context for each map. Like with the fire maps, the county's GIS staff created the tax maps in ESRI ArcGIS, generates map books using DS Map Book, and then exports them to PDF files. The assessors access the files via an intranet interface. They can either drill down from township-range-section maps all the way to the tax map they need — or jump directly to that tax map by entering its number in a "Go To" box. An in-house VB utility that Lukomski developed generates the .asp hotlinks for each tier that transparently leads the user through this drill-down process to the required PDF. This way, "the code lives on the server and the Adobe PDF files live elsewhere," Ford told me. The server does the processing and sends back the pictures, which appear in a window on the client application. Staff post data changes to shapefiles, which are then uploaded to a mapbook.mxd file in a nightly routine. The updated maps, Ford says, are available to assessors within 24 hours of an edit activity.

I asked Ford what is on his wish list for GIS in general. "A more robust network," he told me. He showed me a couple of large maps he had on display and said "It's no longer just 'mapmaker, mapmaker, make me a map.' GIS practitioners need to understand the infrastructure. Once you make a large map, how do you get it out of the box?"

Ford seemed particularly proud of a huge county map he had on display: it measures 6' x 10' and is composed of four 36" x 72" panels. It integrates more than 50 attribute layers, including topology, cultural attributes, city limits, and natural resources. It is not the largest map he's ever made, however. That one was 9' x 14' for the Woodburn Fire District!

Letter to the Editor re Google Earth

A reader wrote to me regarding my review of the French study of Google Earth:

Thank you for your bringing this study to broader attention. However, you make the statement that "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.'"

While it may not be stellar sentence construction or translation, this sentence does make sense if you look at it as a paragraph and give a little more effort to translating (since the authors evidently didn't).

The authors are basically saying or building on the fact that,

1) The most profitable distributors of digital data "turn the data over" quickly: currency is king. They are speaking of the potential negative fiscal impact on providers of digital data if the average Joe can get data for free from a central and known source, such as Google maps.


2) They further state that there is not much existing profitable demand for the readily available old (non-current) data on the market (or, actually, largely free) and that this product will have little additional impact on data providers (revenue stream).

I disagree with them to a point, but hey, at least they did the study! Even if they don't understand modern revenue generating models and cost structures. For an engineering firm to budge, they usually want a huge pile of money under contract and, better yet, on the table. The idea of charging fractions of a cent per query, based on anything as "chancy" (chuckle) as either circulation, or per-query ad display, must seem a bit ethereal. That's for those Internet startups.

Jeff Altorfer

News Briefs

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


Montgomery County, Virginia has selected Timmons Group , a geospatial and engineering services company, to provide it with application programming and information technology architecture support. The project will enhance the county's ability to market their available industrial sites and buildings properties. Companies will be able to search for available sites and buildings that meet their core requirements. Properties then will be mapped in context with other county data sets, including utilities infrastructure, transportation features, education facilities and quality of life features such as hospitals and rescue stations. Detailed information about each property will be provided to clients through document management integration with existing property data sheets.
     The solution will be built on ESRI's ArcSDE and ArcIMS and will leverage Timmons Group's custom .NET ArcIMS API. Geospatial decision support (GDS) capabilities will be provided by linking other, non-spatial databases, to spatial features for exposure through established portals. The mapping portals will integrate property inspection information from NovaLIS Technology 's Land Development Office (LDO) and property appraisal information from Tyler Technologies/CLT appraisal system. All developed portals will be built on a common framework and will access common geospatial repositories to ease administration overhead. Timmons Group worked closely with Montgomery County's GIS staff to develop an information technology system and security architecture that will maximize data security, portal mapping performance and, ultimately, end-user experience.


Leica Geosystems has launched new options for its excavator guidance system, Leica MC200 Digger, which will increase the range of job site digging applications available to the operator. The new options — including Dual Slope, Rotation compensation, and Bucket Tilt — provide a major extension on Leica Geosystems' MC200 Digger modular-based digging and weighing system. When working on a sloping surface, the operator is now able to compensate for any rotation of the chassis and for the bucket tilt. These options provide more flexibility, less interruption, and higher productivity for an excavator operator in his daily workflow. The new sensors also provide the flexibility for quick exchange of excavator buckets. Underwater digging in heavy environmental situations is also possible with specially designed sensors for these kinds of applications.

MapInfo Corporation, a provider of location intelligence solutions, has released Demand Insight Financial, the banking industry's first financial demand data product derived from actual retail banking accounts and engineered specifically to generate accurate current and five-year projections for the total financial services demand in any given U.S. market. Total wallet demand estimates are segmented and allocated by residential, workplace, and small business customer categories.
     Demand Insight Financial enables banks to more precisely assess their current performance in markets and trade areas, and assists in helping them make more profitable decisions about which markets to enter and where to build in specific markets. Retail banks gain an ability to size the total wallet demand for core retail financial services (including deposit, loan, and investment products) in any specific geographical area, and to isolate this demand by residential, workplace, or small business segment. Demand Insight Financial provides an accurate depiction of whether consumers in a given area are making banking decisions based on convenience to place of residence or place of employment. Armed with this information, banks can best optimize their offerings. Demand Insight Financial represents an extension of the demand forecasting ability MapInfo, through its recent acquisition of MarkeTech Systems, has provided to retail banking customers for years with its WinSITE product, a high-end predictive analytics technology for retail banks. Until now, this demand data product has not been available for independent use.
     Demand Insight Financial also sizes geographical demand for small business financial services, quantifying the potential overall impact that small business accounts will have in retail banking and revealing where small business offerings are most likely to succeed. For the first time, banks can get an accurate read on the increasingly important small business market segment and gain great competitive advantage in their efforts to obtain profitable small business customers.

BAE Systems has released an upgraded version of its SOCET GXP software application that supports image analysis, geospatial analysis, photogrammetry, and targeting — all from a single user interface. SOCET GXP v2.1 aids geospatial analysis workflow, processing information from imagery of Earth and transforming the data into mission-critical knowledge. The software supports commercial and defense customers by providing highly accurate geospatial data and reference tools.
     One new feature is the 3D fly-through, which simulates real world scenarios and gives customers a cost-effective way to preview a geographic area in three dimensions for improved situational awareness and decision making. Fly-throughs created by SOCET GXP can be recorded as a digital movie file for inclusion in presentations.
     Other enhancements include terrain visualization to view digital elevation models against imagery; a map finishing tool for creating advanced imagery products, with the option of direct export to PowerPoint; and targeting. The new critical targeting component is fully integrated with the U.S. Navy's Common Geopositioning Services (CGS) targeting solution, and is compatible with an unequalled range of government and commercial image sources.
     The product was developed with a comparable appearance, user experience and range of functionality for both Windows and UNIX platforms. Users will experience the added convenience of using one software tool to complete multiple tasks, a new concept that distinguishes SOCET GXP from competitive products.

LeadDog Consulting, LLC has released Kuwait City Streets to support asset-tracking, government, and commercial GIS applications. Designed to help companies track their assets and provide accurate base level mapping, LeadDog's product provides numerous vector layers and attributes — such as streets at 1:10,000 scale, street names, street classifications, extensive points of interest, landmark polygons, administrative boundaries to the block level, and extended major road coverage beyond the metro area. Kuwait City Streets are available in all major GIS formats. A Kuwait Major Roads product is available at a 1:50,000 scale. LeadDog Consulting, LLC is a provider of GIS street maps for Iraq, the rest of the Middle East, Mexico, and the rest of Latin America.

Visual Learning Systems (VLS) has released Feature Analyst 4.0 for ArcGIS, the latest edition of its feature extraction software. The product provides users with significant new capabilities, including enhanced image and vector handling, direct read/write with the Geodatabase, and a developer API for creating plug-in tools.
     The toolset comes complete with its professional extraction capabilities and advanced polygon editing tools, such as convert to line and square up. Feature Analyst benefits clients such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the USDA Forest Service with a simple approach to feature extraction with one-button workflows. Providing increased speed and accuracy, the software offers many advantages over hand-digitizing feature collection methods.

WhiteStar Corp. today introduced Lot & Tract Database, an enhanced product and services line based on the WhiteStar U.S. Land Grid product. In the new offering, Section grids are further sub-divided into government lots and tracts and delivered to the customer as polygons in a GIS-compatible format.
     WhiteStar offers the Lot & Tract Database as both a product and a service. As a product, clients can request a digital lot and tract layer for an entire Section, Township, County, or other political entity. Lots and tracts for several parts of the Western United States have already been extracted and archived by WhiteStar and are ready for immediate delivery. As a service, WhiteStar will create accurate lot and tract polygons in GIS format for clients that provide legal descriptions of land holdings anywhere in the United States. WhiteStar personnel provide this service using a computerized semi-automated polygon creation process that first requires intensive research and interpretation of official federal, state, and local government records. WhiteStar provides the entire research, validation and data creation process.
     Lot & Tract data products are created to complement WhiteStar's other lines of plug-and-play commercial GIS products, including its Nationwide Pipeline Database, National Public Lands Survey, and National Well Location File. Depending on the client's desired level of processing, WhiteStar can georectify or georeference the Lot & Tract data for compatibility with existing GIS data. Data sets are usually delivered in ArcGIS format.


The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) are hosting the 10th Annual Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference in Orlando, Florida on February 19-22. CAMA stands for Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal System. The conference program and registration are now available online. Roger Berry, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Disney Theme Parks and Resorts, will deliver the keynote address. The meeting will also include four pre-conference workshops, twenty educational sessions, a panel discussion on "Proposed national standard PIN's, parcel maps, and property data" and a closing plenary session on "Creating a GIS-centric appraisal environment." There will also be an exhibit hall.

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) will hold its 44th Annual Conference & Exhibition, titled "Challenge the Limits," in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on September 26-29. The Call for Presentations has just been released and abstract submissions will be accepted through January 6, 2006.


Laser-Scan has expanded its team in Ireland and at its head office in Cambridge, UK. The company's software development team has grown with Greg Clinker joining as a Software Architect and Mark Burdett taking on the role of Senior Test Engineer. Clinker brings more than ten years development experience to his role. He will lead the team responsible for designing and delivering the architecture of Laser-Scan's enterprise solutions. Burdett is responsible for testing across all Laser-Scan's development projects including the latest innovation, Radius Studio.
     Laser-Scan's Customer Support team has also expanded with the addition of Rob Cooper, John O'Tool, and David Murrant. Cooper has taken on the role of Software Support Engineer and his previous skills in programming will further strengthen and improve the efficiency within the team. Murrant has joined the company for a year, as a placement student as part of his Computer Science degree at Bath University and will be working on developing internal systems. O'Tool has joined the Customer Support team and will be based in Dublin. He will concentrate on supporting the Land Registry Ireland and the Ordnance Survey Ireland.
     Dan Parkes joins Laser-Scan as a Technical Consultant, assisting the pre-sales team with consultancy work, small projects and providing expert industry specific information to the entire pre-sales team. Parkes has just completed an MSc in GIS at Nottingham and he previously spent 4 years working at Rutland County Council. Whilst at Rutland, his primary focus was in the Planning department where he was the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) Officer. Parkes project managed the GIS upgrade at Rutland to a corporate level, trained users on GIS, and was the Systems Administrator for the key Planning and Building Control databases. Jen Crowe is the latest member to join the Product Management team as a Product Analyst under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Hertfordshire.


The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) is accepting nominations for its awards program. Members of the geospatial community are invited to submit applications for four award categories: the Excellence Award 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; and the Geospatial Industry Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual's outstanding contribution and longstanding commitment to the geospatial industry. To submit a nomination, click here .

Mapdex, a new Web portal, provides access to a large and growing number of public ArcIMS map servers. Developed by the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas, the portal is searchable by spatial layers, fields, and map service names. Specialists in different industries can locate and use readily available data for their particular needs; they can also learn about data origin, date of creation, scale, and many other metadata variables.
     Mapdex provides an index of publicly available ArcIMS services comprising approximately 1,715 servers, serving approximately 30,000 map services, and containing approximately 475,000 GIS layers. It brings together a previously disparate network of GIS services, searchable from one location, that can be tapped into by the GIS community. Users can search Mapdex by server, service, projection, geography, and layer names.
     A simple front-end viewer was developed for Mapdex that allows easy searching and quick mapping of spatial data. In addition, a user can go into ArcGIS and add the relevant server to his or her ArcGIS project. Currently in development, an advanced map viewer will soon allow users to overlay different maps on a single screen and perform more advanced cartography. This will provide a richer array of functionality to those who need fast searches and quick, accurate mapping functionality in near real time. For instance, emergency responders will be able to locate and integrate a myriad of map servers from separate locations; orthophotos, parcel data, and street infrastructure data can be assembled to provide a common operating picture to emergency commanders entering a disaster location and in need of making quick tactical decisions. The development of Mapdex as an information resource will continue to evolve over time, with more services linked to it as they become available.

LOC-AID Technologies, a provider of end-to-end location-based services (LBS) aggregation, has raised $5 million in its first round of institutional financing. H.I.G. Ventures and Intersouth Partners co-led the $5 million Series A round. The financing will be used to fund product development, grow sales and marketing initiatives, and introduce LOC-AID's LBS Gateway and Client for aggregation. It is the company's first outside financing. John Kim of H.I.G. Ventures and John Glushik of Intersouth Partners will join the company's Board of Directors.
     LOC-AID Technologies was created in 2001 to enhance the functionality and interoperability of cellular phones by enhancing users' social experiences with other users based on their location and social interests. This strategy includes creating applications for location tracking, geo-fencing, messaging, social networking and gaming, among others. LOC-AID's Friend Finder application, LOC-AID People, won first place in the Peer-to-Peer/Find Me category at the global 2005 LBS challenge sponsored by NAVTEQ. The company has partnered with Qualcomm, Navteq, ESRI, and other companies to provide these solutions through cellular carriers in North America, East Asia, and Latin America.

The Timoney Group has launched "Envisioning Jonah" — a website that presents a multifaceted view of the Jonah gas field in Sublette County, Wyoming exclusively through Google Earth data layers. Using a wide variety of datasets available in the public domain, the site includes layers ranging from well spots to detailed geology to innovative 3D representations of production metrics. The visitor is also intelligently linked to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's extensive online data stores of comprehensive production statistics, lease information, and well log library. All the datasets available at the site can be viewed with the free version of the Google Earth viewer.
     The Timoney Group, based in Denver, Colorado, develops datasets, interfaces, and Web portals for clients in a variety of sectors who want to communicate information through the context of geography.

Intergraph Corporation , a provider of spatial information management (SIM) software, has acquired Poppenh�ger Grips GmBH , a software company based in Neunkirchen/Saarland, Germany. Poppenh�ger Grips provides geospatial analysis software and services to municipalities and utility companies and has approximately 170 customers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
     Poppenh�ger Grips was founded in 1970 and has a 35-year history of delivering innovative technology solutions to customers in Europe's German-speaking countries. The combined organization will continue to market, develop and support the Poppenh�ger Grips portfolio of software applications, including GRIPS, GRIPSinfo, and GRIPSmedia. The GRIPS family of products supports the creation and management of distribution facility data and the network operations for municipalities and utility companies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

ITC has produced 49 maps at scale 1:50,000 of the complete Pakistan earthquake area to aid relief workers and agencies in the field. After registration, these maps can be freely downloaded . The maps are based on satellite imagery with a resolution of 15 meters and show land cover, relief (mountains/hill shading), main roads, rivers, 200-meter contour lines, and village names. The maps cover approximately a 100 kilometer radius around the epicentre of the earthquake; the total area covered by the maps is about 30,000 square kilometers. All imagery has been ortho-rectified; all resulting maps have coordinates and can thus be used with a GPS receiver. The maps are offered in PDF format, are about 25 MB in size each, and can be printed on ISO-A1 paper. Each map sheet covers an area of approximately 23 by 27 kilometers.

East View Cartographic (EVC) has added global outsourcing management services for mapping and GIS data production. EVC is a provider of global mapping products and geospatial data and sees global outsourcing management services as a natural extension of its business. EVC provides commercial and government organizations of any size with scalable solutions and immediate access to a skilled workforce and leading-edge technologies. Outsourcing benefits include increasing competitiveness and efficiency by lowering project costs, distributing overall project risk, complementing internal capabilities, and speeding project completion. While most companies offering outsourcing services promote use of their own production facilities, EVC's approach is to apply its experience and knowledge of leading outsourcing vendors to serve as a broker in matching project requirements with third party vendor strengths.

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