2006 March 16

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Editor's Introduction

This week I continue my coverage of upcoming geospatial conferences, focusing on the ACSM annual conference and a new conference on GIS for public safety. Over the weekend, I will update the calendar of conferences and tradeshows and extend it to cover July.

Please note the news item about the Open Source Geospatial Foundation, which I accidentally omitted from last week's issue. Also note my revised disclaimer at the beginning of the News Briefs.

Next week I will bring you complete coverage of an exciting demonstration project, involving hand-held devices and a mapping server, to answer queries about multi-modal transport options for the tens of thousands of people visiting Melbourne, Australia, for the 18th Commonwealth Games.

— Matteo

Cooperation Between Geospatial Organizations

The American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), the Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA), the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) each maintain separate staffs, publications, websites, and conferences - despite their overlapping memberships and niches within the larger geospatial industry.

From 1988 to 1998, these five organizations, plus the American Public Works Association (APWA), held a joint GIS/LIS (land information systems) conference. Now there are signs of a new convergence: URISA's Florida chapter will present two workshops at the ACSM Annual Conference, April 21-26 in Orlando, Florida; ACSM will have a presence at URISA's annual conference, this fall in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; URISA and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) will hold their first joint Geospatial Integration for Public Safety Confere! nce (GIPSC, pronounced "gypsy"), April 10-12 in Nashville, Tennessee; and ACSM, GITA, URISA, and the Federation Internationale des Geometres (FIG) are discussing the possibility of a joint conference as early as 2008.

ACSM Annual Conference

I discussed the upcoming ACSM Annual Conference with Curtis Sumner, Executive Director of ACSM, and with Tim Kent, of the Oregon state office of the federal Bureau of Land Management, who is the conference's Workshop Coordinator.

"For the first time in several years," Sumner told me, "we have a collaboration with URISA in this conference. What's occurred [since the end of the GIS/LIS conferences], is that each one of us has gone our own way and, at least for URISA, ACSM, ASPRS, and GITA, we've all taken about a quarter of the number of people to conferences for which we've paid about the same amount of money we would have if we had all been there. So, we've been having discussions about how we may all come closer together. This collaboration — which consists of URISA providing some workshops into our program and promoting the conference to their local members — is the first step in that direction. We're currently talking with GITA about whether or not we might be able to have a joint full fledged conference with them in 2008, but that hasn't been decided yet. I'm just pleased that we are actually talking in that direction."

Is there anything in terms of the technology or the market that is driving these collaborations? "Well, I think it is the overall trend in the industry," Sumner told me. "Of course, we have different facets of the geospatial realm. The facet that we are involved with to a large degree is the professional services market, which is professional surveyors, cartographers, and what have you. On the other side of that you have some of the consumers of those services. I think that the nature of the technological advances that have drawn all of us into a tighter realm — where we're using each other's services more and depending on each other's professional services to accomplish our goals — is a real driving force for why this collaboration is being recognized now more so than in the past."

Another factor, Sumner explains, is that the model laws, and some of the laws written by state legislatures, regarding licensure for professional services, have expanded to include more of the geospatial activity. Historically, many states only licensed professional engineers, professional surveyors, architects, etc. In the last few years, because of model laws written by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), to the extent that photogrammetry is used for surveying purposes — for example, to make contour maps — it is becoming licensed now under the surveying definition, as are certain GIS activities. "So," says Sumner, "we're being drawn close together not only by technology but under the professional umbrella, where one is required to have a professional license to do certain things. We don't know yet where that's going to go exactly, but it's beginning to trend in a way that would ! at least encompass some of what all of us do, though not necessarily all of what all of us do."

Like most ACSM annual conferences, this one will not have a keynote speaker and will consist mostly of technical workshops. The reason it is structured that way, Sumnner told me, "is that the majority of our members are professionally licensed surveyors, most of whom are required to have continuing education credits to retain their license. We provide one forum in which they can achieve that continuing education." All four of the organization's member groups will also hold their business meetings at the conference. As has been the case at previous ACSM annual conferences, there will also be a forum for the National Association of County Surveyors and one for the State Registrations Board, which consists of people who sit on state licensing boards.

Finally, Sumner pointed out that ACSM is increasing its collaboration with ESRI on the Survey and GIS Summit, which takes place in San Diego in August, just prior to the ESRI International User Conference. "Our relationship with ESRI," Sumner told me, "continues to grow, because both of us recognize the importance of interaction between the people on the professional services side and those on the GIS side, who are not professionally licensed but interact with those people all the time."

Regarding the possibility of increased collaboration between geospatial organizations in the future, Kent points out two very successful models: the German InterGeo conference — which, he says, "encompasses all avenues of geomatics and geospatial work" — and the Surveying and GIS Summit at the ESRI User Conference in San Diego, which is supported by ACSM, GITA, URISA, and FIG.

"I've been working in concert with Curt Sumner, Wendy Francis, the Executive Director of URISA, and Bob Samborski, the Executive Director of GITA," Kent told me, "and we are looking at holding a joint conference in the future." It would be similar to the GIS/LIS conferences. "We are exploring the possibility of having a joint conference with GITA as soon as 2008. We plan our conferences so far in advance that it's going to be down the road a little bit before we can actually institute this and bring everyone under the umbrella."

"It's a win-win for everyone," Kent says, "because people then don't have to pick and choose between the conferences and vendors are happy because they can go to a single event and attract a much broader audience. And the membership of all of these organizations can see a much broader segment of what is out there, not only in product but also in technology and information."

Kent told me that this year's ACSM annual conference will be the first one to be held in Orlando since 1973. As in previous years, organizers have encouraged related industries to attend the exhibition, because, Kent explains, even though this is a surveying and mapping conference, many related industries — for example, the Florida Roadbuilders Association, general contractors, and others who are not surveyors — increasingly use survey products, including machine controls for earth moving equipment.

One topic that will be covered at the conference is of particular interest to local participants: equipment theft, which has been happening at a very high rate in Florida. "We have arranged to have a panel discussion [on this topic]," Kent says, "with members of the Geomatics Industry Association of America (GIAA) and representatives from the Florida chapters of ACSM and the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) to look at ways to prevent and protect against theft of equipment in the future."

"Another rather interesting thing that will be occurring at the conference," Kent told me, "is a presentation being done by the current surveyor and the past surveyor of Walt Disney World on surveying and mapping of the theme park through the years, from the beginning of construction up to the present. It will cover not only surveying and mapping but also their GIS involvement."

Conference on GIS and Public Safety

As GIS becomes more pervasive and more integrated with other technologies, technical conferences and trade shows merge and change to follow these trends. For the past seven years, the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) produced the GIS In Addressing Conference: Street Smart and Address Savvy. It was endorsed by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), because addresses are so important as a layer for dispatching emergency responders. Meanwhile, NENA held its own GIS Critical Issues Forum, at which participants learned about GIS and what it means to triangulate a call or to have address pointers. However, many attendees at the URISA conference did not have a clear notion of what computer-aided dispatch is or what happens to an address when a phone company delivers it to a public safety answering point (PSAP) — and attendees at the NENA conf! erence increasingly required more in-depth training on GIS. This year, for the first time, these two communities are coming together, as NENA and URISA are jointly producing the First Geospatial Integration for Public Safety Conference — or GIPSC (pronounced "gypsy") 2006 — to be held April 10-12 in Nashville, Tennessee. The purpose is to provide greater emphasis on GIS for the primary "consumer" of addresses — GIS professionals, addressing coordinators, and 911 and emergency response specialists.

For newcomers to addressing, the conference's first track, Addressing Basics, is a tutorial on how addresses work, how they are assigned and managed, and how to coordinate addresses among multiple agencies and jurisdictions. The Emergency Response track will cover aspects of how addresses and other geospatial data are used in emergency services and 911 operations. The third track, Case Studies, will show how agencies put this material to use and what lessons they have learned. One of the pre-conference workshops focuses on Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). As with cell phones a few years ago, the increasing popularity of this technology has created a whole new set of challenges for 911 centers and emergency services — regarding the traditional 911 model, caller location and identity, network infrastructure, and threat/risk assessment.

I discussed GIPSC with Kathrine Cargo, GIS/Mapping Coordinator for the Orleans Parish Communications District, New Orleans, Louisiana (New Orleans 911), who is the conference's associate chair; Phillip Stiefel, of Lexington Fayette County Government, Lexington, Kentucky, who is on the conference's program committee; and the keynote speaker, Jason Barbour, ENP, who is a NENA Second Vice President, the co-founder of North Carolina's Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (TERT), the 911 director for Johnston County, North Carolina, and a firefighter in Clayton, North Carolina.

"I think that the conference is important," Cargo told me, "because emergency operations were always a large component of URISA's addressing conference, but it also dealt with people who were more in the data permitting, address assigning, etc. The conference matured to a point where, while we still had beginners coming, the return folks needed more. A large part of the audience was emergency workers and URISA felt that there was an opportunity to be a little bit more specific with regard to how addressing applications help in emergency response. The conference then came together fast, in the last six to eight months. It is significant because it addresses something for which there is an exhibited need and it is a great vehicle for GIS. Our booth space sold very well, so there is interest there."

A major focus of the conference, according to Cargo, will be "real life experiences and lessons learned, coming out of last summer's hurricane season." She will be giving a presentation on addressing FEMA trailer parks, "because down here in New Orleans we've got lots of them, some up to 600 units." While most are not yet populated, she says, "I could just imagine the calls coming into the PSAP — 'Yeah, I'm in the fourth trailer on the right.' — and they all look alike... It was a nightmare!"

Stiefel has been in GIS for about ten years and increasingly came to see how it could benefit public safety. When enhanced-911 (E911) came about, he told me, the need arose for providing map data in the PSAP. His GIS work for various government entities "became a full time job of editing, managing, and updating data sets specifically related to public safety." To get E911 up and going in a lot of communities and make it work correctly, "we had to resolve a lot of problems and the best way to identify them was through the use of GIS. For example, disconnected streets, address ranges that were out of sequence, etc."

The sharp rise in 911 calls from cell phones, says Stiefel, made GIS even more central. "We had to provide map data in these call centers. You started to hear a lot about address points. It was a new theme, a new layer, a new data set that would allow us to identify and dispatch services. For example, if you are in the middle of a field — say, in a barn or fishing or hunting — and you call 911, how are we going to dispatch? One of the solutions was to create a point for every unique feature, for every structure, house, or business in a municipality." That way, he explains, when someone calls 911 from the middle of a field, first responders can be dispatched to the closest dot and then directed from there.

"These 911 centers are becoming dependent on maps, so now we have to worry about data maintenance too," says Stiefel. "This conference is a true mix of GIS people and public safety people, who come together to try to improve our response and our dispatch. It's difficult to do any of that without some type of geographic information."

Stiefel is a perfect example of the increasing overlap between GIS and 911 functions: "From a GIS analyst," he says, "I've turned into an employee for my local public safety entity and I'm now the one that assigns addresses. So I'm doing a GIS function for a public safety entity, trying to follow a public safety standard, developed by NENA." At the conference, he explains, GIS specialists will understand what PSAP staff expect from a map and, in turn, will explain to them the limitations of a digital map. PSAP staff, conversely, will learn more about GIS. "A lot of these folks that don't have big budgets don't have a GIS crew," Stiefel says, "so they are coming there to hear how other communities did it with just a one person staff."

The best aspect of this conference, according to Stiefel, is that "the people on the organizing committee and the people we have recruited to come and present are generally representatives of communities that are the first to implement a new technology or a new solution to an existing problem." As a "perfect example" of a new problem he cites VOIP. "At the conference we will have people who are implementing technology to solve some of these problems. We are going to be discussing things that people will read about in publications in the next year or two."

Barbour will introduce NENA to URISA members and stress the critical importance of GIS for 911. "We use our GIS application on just about every call," he told me, "especially with wireless calls." He added that in his county the number of 911 calls from cell phones has surpassed the number from landlines. The biggest innovation in GIS for emergency response in his county, according to Barbour, is the integration of color aerial photography, including new oblique imagery from Pictometry. For example, this allowed them to visualize the landscape under the snow after a recent storm.

News Briefs

Please note: I have culled the following news items from press releases and have not independently verified them. I have, however, carefully selected them from the much larger number I receive each week and edited them to exclude, to the best of my ability, self-serving, poorly written, or irrelevant material.


Los Angeles County, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Region Imagery Acquisition Consortium (LAR-IAC), has extended its license agreement for new oblique, digital aerial imagery and software from Pictometry International Corp. The project will encompass the oblique imaging capture of over 4,000 square miles of the county. Pictometry's software enables users to access up to 12 different oblique (3D-like) high-resolution views of any property, building, highway, landmark, or other feature in a county. The software also enables users to obtain measurements directly from the georeferenced imagery as well as insert and overlay GIS and other data.

LAR-IAC is tasked with providing a wide-range of digital aerial imagery and geospatial data for all county and local municipalities in Los Angeles County. As part of the ongoing cost-sharing project, Pictometry's high-resolution imagery of the county will be updated and utilized by participating members via services established by the LAR-IAC. Some of the agencies that are currently utilizing Pictometry data include the county Departments of Regional Planning, Beaches and Harbors, Public Works, and the Assessor; and the cities of Los Angeles (including the Los Angeles Police Department), Glendale, and Cerritos, including their internal departments.

All public entities as determined by the LAR-IAC, including the 88 cities within the county, are eligible to join the LAR-IAC provided that they share in the costs of data acquisition. As part of the deliverables, they will receive the new imagery and new updates of Pictometry's professional software, Electronic Field Study (EFS), that can be integrated with ESRI's ArcIMS and ArcGIS technology.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Satellite and Information Services Division has asked Global Marketing Insights Inc. to expand the recently completed International Remote Sensing Survey to focus on Asia. Similar to the first survey, the new project will study aerial and space-borne remote sensing trends and activities in more than 20 Asian countries, including Australia.

Global Marketing Insights has tailored a series of online surveys covering issues relating to eight sectors of the remote sensing market: aerial film, aerial digital, aerial sensors, satellites, commercial end users, value added hardware and software, academic, and government. Global Marketing Insights is seeking survey responses from individuals involved in the remote sensing industry within Asia or specifically doing remote sensing-related business in Asia.

Global Marketing Insights is seeking Research Network Partners to host the survey website link on their sites and to complete emails to their Asian databases encouraging respondents to complete the surveys. As with the previous study, Research Partners will be recognized in all the material relating to the study and will receive a first run of the study when it is released. Countries targeted by the survey include China, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Brunei, Philippines, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Taiwan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Australia. Organizations interested in becoming a partner should contact Sherry Loy at 216-525-0600.

The Asian Remote Sensing Survey will run for approximately the same period of time as the international study conducted last year. Global Marketing Insights will collect online surveys from now until August 15, then it will begin data analysis. It will deliver final report to NOAA in late 2006. Also as before, the results and raw data will be made publicly available.

Encom Technology and Perth, Australia-based Meridian GIS have announced their intention to merge. Completion of the merger is expected by the end of March, with the merged company to be known as Encom, rather than Encom Technology. Encom has its head office in Sydney, Australia; a sales, support, and development office in Melbourne, Australia; and a sales and support office in London, England. Encom Europe will soon move its office from London to Windsor, England. Perth is one of the busiest exploration centers in the world and the addition of the Meridian office will provide an expansion of Encom's support coverage.

Sherburne County, Minnesota, has selected www.sanborn.com to provide digital orthophotography and base map updates. Mapping beyond the county's boundaries, Sanborn will capture color aerial photography and provide six inch resolution, first generation color digital orthophoto products for nearly 450 square miles. Although, Sherburne County Public Works department initiated the requirements and will be responsible for overall project management for the county, the data Sanborn provides will be shared and available online for all major departments in the county to aid daily operations and increase planning efficiencies.

County assessors, law enforcement, public works agencies, and others vital government departments will use digital high resolution orthophotography for a variety of purposes, such as growth planning and development, parcel classification, and environmental assessments.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has selected GeoDecisions, a provider of geospatial information technology solutions for the transportation industry, to upgrade its straight-line diagramming process with an Integrated RouteLog Application (IRA). The new application will interface with VDOT's new Roadway Network System (RNS). The RNS spatially references roadway features, such as pavement, road condition, and business data, including traffic counts and accident statistics, for enterprise GIS-related applications. GeoDecisions previously contributed to the design of this RNS data model.

When complete, VDOT's IRA will allow users to view and analyze additional business data in relation to RNS elements. It will provide a custom toolset for both selecting the information of interest about a route segment and displaying it in a unique, easy-to-interpret format. The application will have the ability to interface with portals, videologging, and other applications to provide users with a comprehensive view of their infrastructure.

Atlas for GIS and Surveying Systems Co. Ltd., a former user of ESRI products, is now ESRI's distributor for GIS software in Iraq. Since 1989, the Republic of Iraq, with the help of Atlas for GIS and Surveying Systems, has continued the arduous task of updating the country's infrastructure maps while working toward the establishment of national information and GIS centers.

Atlas' persistence has begun to bear fruit with the recent announcement by the country's Ministerial Council of the establishment of a national GIS center in Iraq as well as counting more than 30 public- and private-sector clients among its users.

Benefon is using the Rich Map Engine (RME) software made by Telcontar, a supplier of software platforms and services for the location-based services (LBS) industry, to location-enable its newly introduced TWIG Discovery GPS/GSM handset. Launched at the 3GSM World Congress, in Barcelona, Spain, the TWIG Discovery combines GPS-enabled navigation with GSM telephony. The TWIG Discovery provides a wide range of location-based and navigation applications that include routing with voice-prompted turn-by-turn instructions and points of interest, which can be updated on-the-fly. It also includes current speed, SMS messaging, family & friends finding and tracking, real-time traffic reports, speed/safety camera positions and SOS messages.

Telcontar's RME enables the calculation of the best route, including support for user-defined routes and feature navigability, as well as multi-modal routing. It allows real-time integration of map information with GPS to determine position, and has the ability to edit, customize, and download maps over the air. RME can be deployed in mobile devices such as wireless phones and personal navigation devices (PNDs), and in server deployments where it's used today to produce over a billion maps and routes each month on Internet portals.


At the Tenth Annual Conference for Professionals in Assessment, Appraisal, Assessment Administration, and Information Technology, MultiVision introduced its expanded 3D modeling capability, which allows users to see and analyze the impact of changes on city landscapes due to natural disasters (such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes) and man-made events. For example, MultiVision can take oblique images of any flood plane and create 3D models that show the devastation a flood can wreak, using 1-foot floodwater increments.

This new capability can change the way disaster preparation and response planning is accomplished. By modeling different strategies, they can be analyzed and decision / events can be quantified. After a disaster, aerial imagery can be used to validate and potentially shorten response cycle times. This capability strengthens the hand of local and federal agencies and is very useful to the insurance and real estate industry.

GeoSpatial Training & Consulting, LLC, a provider of virtual and instructor-led GIS training courses, has released its latest virtual training course, entitled "Geocoding and Address Matching with ArcGIS." This course is designed to teach participants how to effectively use the geocoding and address-matching tools provided by the ArcGIS Desktop software suite. Participants will learn basic and advanced geocoding techniques. The course starts with a basic overview of address matching and geocoding and then quickly works its way into the details of these techniques in ArcGIS.

Topics covered include geocoding assumptions, such as block numbering, street sides, and parcel size and spacing; geocoding methods, such as how to define an Address Locator service in ArcCatalog, Batch Mode vs. Interactive Mode, and adding X,Y data; data preparation for optimized, efficient geocoding performance; various geocoding/address-matching options, including accuracy, spelling sensitivity, and minimum match scores; and how to edit the results of a geocoding session, including re-matching of data, modification of original address data, and manual editing of data with the Editor Toolbar.

Applanix has introduced POSTrack, the first fully integrated, real-time direct georeferencing and flight management system designed to support aerial remote sensing solutions. Built to reduce the costs associated with the preparation and implementation of airborne surveys, POSTrack streamlines mission planning and reduces in-flight operation workload stress.

For those who have not yet upgraded to POS AV Version 5.0, POSTrack presents an opportunity to get the most integrated precision GPS with inertial technology through POS AV.

Trimble has introduced its new Copernicus GPS receiver — a thumbnail-sized, surface-mount, low power module ideal for adding GPS capabilities to Bluetooth appliances, sport accessories, personal navigators or cameras, computer and communication peripherals as well as vehicle tracking, navigation, and security products.

A new book from ESRI Press illustrates how to use spatial analysis as a tool to solve real-world problems facing social scientists and students of public policy. Think Globally, Act Regionally: GIS and Data Visualization for Social Science and Public Policy Research explores the spatial aspects of everything from the preservation of farmland, endangered plants, and animals to urban and regional planning and management of light rail lines.

Think Globally, Act Regionally shows how spatial analysis can help users turn knowledge into action, capitalize on opportunities to solve problems, and put theory to work for a better world. Topics range from the broad themes of urbanization, GIS technology, and data visualization to a look at multivariate data graphics, the balance between the built and natural environments, and issues of spatial equity and regional integration. Think Globally, Act Regionally concludes by exploring regional planning in Portland, Oregon, with a look at how applied social science and regional planning works even as new challenges and conflicts arise.

The book is designed as a month-long module focused on applying GIS in social science and public policy research method coursework. Structured exercises using data on the accompanying CD-ROM are designed to be completed in six hours of computer lab time, with four suggested final exercises at the end of the book. Think Globally, Act Regionally is appropriate for students who have not completed a course in statistics or social science data analysis and have only basic computer skills.

Author Richard LeGates received a joint juris doctor and master of community planning degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in law and city planning. He is a professor of urban studies at San Francisco State University, teaching GIS, regional planning, housing, and land use. LeGates is also coeditor of a widely used, interdisciplinary anthology — The City Reader, third edition, and co-series editor of the Routledge Urban Reader series.


EarthData International has appointed Maxime Elbaz as chief operating officer. Elbaz will manage the mapping and GIS company's aviation, data processing, GIS, and research and development divisions, as well as lead worldwide corporate sales. He brings to these activities more than 20 years of operational management and business development experience in remote sensing, geospatial, and high-tech industries, including experience as president and chief executive officer of KGI, a Kodak subsidiary specializing in geospatial solutions.

Elbaz' international business experience includes market development throughout China, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Prior to joining EarthData, Elbaz served as general manager of Underwriters Laboratories' Environmental Restricted Substances Business Unit, where he orchestrated the business expansion into Asian markets. Prior to that he was with Eastman Kodak, where his experience covered both operational management of the consumer and commercial digital and film imaging divisions, as well as worldwide business development.

Originally from France, Elbaz holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Rochester, New York, and a master's degree in chemical engineering from the Louis Pasteur University, Strasbourg, France.


The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) will feature nine pre-conference Knowledge Immersion Seminars for its Annual Conference 29, slated for April 23-26 in Tampa, Florida.

The topics for the half-day seminars include planning for mobility; GIS and disaster management 101; SCADA fundamentals, functionality, and futures; spatial databases: exploring the possibilities; field data acquisition &$151 collecting critical data; One-call connection &$151 getting more from your data; business case and ROI: justifying IT spending; OpenGIS &$151 improving interoperability; and work and asset management: expanding your success.

The conference will also feature 63 technical paper presentations, panel discussions, user forums, a keynote presentation, networking socials, and a 100,000-square-foot product and services exhibition.

Introduction to ArcGIS Schematics, a new live training seminar from ESRI, explores the capabilities of the ArcGIS Schematics extension and the tools it provides for a range of industries, from transportation and telecommunications to electric and gas and homeland security. The Web seminar will be presented on March 23, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific time.

ArcGIS Schematics enables users to create schematic diagrams that show the connectivity and relationships of spatial and aspatial features from multiple data sources. The extension offers a comprehensive solution for companies and agencies that need common, accurate maps and the schematics of their network or the interrelationships of abstract and spatial elements.

This seminar will discuss and demonstrate the capabilities of ArcGIS Schematics and offer an overview of its varied usage in numerous industries. The presenter will discuss advantages of using the extension, the relationship between schematic diagrams and geographic data, product integration with ArcGIS Desktop and the geodatabase, common applications in utility and transportation industries, and other specific applications.

A broadband Internet connection and an ESRI Virtual Campus membership are required to view the seminar. Becoming a Virtual Campus member is free and only takes a few minutes. Following the live presentation, the seminar will be archived and available for viewing at any time on the Virtual Campus Web site. More information about this seminar, including instructions for attending and a schedule of upcoming seminars, is available at http://campus.esri.com.

URISA is now accepting abstract submissions for its Third Caribbean GIS Conference, which will take place October 29 to November 2 at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. It will feature workshops, keynote presentations, dozens of educational sessions, an exhibition, and networking opportunities. All abstract submissions, received by April 28 will be reviewed and considered.

Abstracts are being solicited in the following categories: Disaster Management, Law Enforcement, Public Health and Safety; Standards, Policy and Management; Land, Environment, Planning and Natural Resources; Utilities, Business and Organizational GIS; Education & Training; and Other Hot Topics.

The chair of the conference committee is Ms. Carolann Albury, Director of the Bahamas National GIS Centre. The committee is comprised of well-respected GIS professionals from across the Caribbean region and the United States. As in the previous gatherings, the conference objectives are (1) to inform a broad cross-section of Caribbean users about GIS technology and applications; (2) to share experiences regarding GIS implementation and management issues; (3) to establish new relationships with the vendor/consultant community; (4) to provide workshops and sessions that are application-driven and are relevant to the Caribbean community of GIS users; and (5) to foster a Caribbean GIS network.


[N.B.: Due to a production error, I failed to include this item in last week's issue. — Matteo]

On March 6, the open source geospatial community announced the formation of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGEO), a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. The foundation was formed in February to provide financial, organizational, and legal support to the broader open source geospatial community. It will also serve as an independent legal entity to which community members can contribute code, funding, and other resources, secure in the knowledge that their contributions will be maintained for public benefit.

On February 4, OSGEO held its first meeting in Chicago with 25 participants representing 18 groups and more than 20 different open source geospatial projects, and 39 other parties participating via Internet Relay Chat. At this meeting, the participants took important steps in forming and organizing a foundation to develop and support open source geospatial technologies, including defining the foundation's name, structure, and vision.

The Chicago meeting also resulted in the appointment of an initial board of directors that will be responsible for the drafting and execution of the foundation's charter and bylaws. The initial five directors come from North America and Europe and represent various open source projects and technologies. They are:

  • Arnulf Christl, Mapbender, CCGIS, Germany
  • Chris Holmes, GeoServer/GeoTools, The Open Planning Project, United States
  • Gary Lang, MapGuide, Autodesk, United States
  • Markus Neteler, GRASS, Istituto Trentino Di Cultura, Italy
  • Frank Warmerdam, GDAL/OGR, Canada.

The foundation expects to appoint four additional directors within the next several weeks to serve as the full interim board until the next annual meeting of the foundation membership at FOSS4G this fall.

OSGEO draws governance inspiration from several aspects of the Apache Foundation, including a membership composed of individuals drawn from foundation projects who are selected for membership status based on their active contribution to foundation projects and governance. The initial membership consists of the five initial board members plus 16 other participants who attended the Chicago organizational meeting. The foundation recently added 24 additional members from the broader open source geospatial community through a public nomination and election process to reach 45 voting members.

Initial OSGEO projects are GeoTools, Mapbender, MapBuilder, MapGuide, MapServer, GDAL/OGR, GRASS, and OSSIM. The foundation will not require OSGEO software projects to be licensed under any one particular open source license, but it will require that all OSGEO software be released under an open source license approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The long term goal is to encourage licenses that allow the different foundation projects to work better together and permit for code exchange among them. The foundation will implement contribution and intellectual property policies designed to avoid the inclusion of proprietary or patented code in OSGEO projects. Foundation projects are focused on interoperability &! #151 both with one another at the library level, and with other proprietary and open source projects through the use of open standards.

The foundation will also be pursuing goals beyond software development, such as promoting more open access to government-produced spatial data, which is a major problem outside of North America.

Tempe, Arizona-based aerial imagery provider Aerials Express recently celebrated the first image acquisition from its new Cessna 421 equipped with a Leica ADS40 Digital Airborne Sensor. The new digital aerial camera and plane brings with it a significant increase to the company's image collection capabilities.

Centrally located in Nashville, Tennessee, the Cessna 421 is within four hours of every U.S. city east of Denver. The 421 is equipped with extended range tanks, giving the crew the flexibility to confirm clear air conditions over an area of interest in the morning and be collecting imagery by the time the sun reaches the optimum elevation a few hours later.

The ADS40 collects true color and infrared imagery along with digital elevation data in a single pass. With the new platform, Aerials Express will collect imagery for its national library at resolutions of 1.5 foot to 6 inches. Designed to capture data directly to digital format, the new aircraft and camera are expected to more than double the number of square miles photographed by the company during a single year, while significantly enhancing the final product's spatial accuracy and resolution. Additionally, the company will continue to maintain its film processing capabilities to maximize the amount of imagery it collects each year.

URISA's GISCorps volunteers recently began six new missions as a result of the organization's partnership with the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) Association. Juna Papajorgji, the co-chair and co-founder of URISA's GISCorps, led the effort to identify projects and volunteers to contribute to the global effort of building a Common National Spatial Data Infrastructure. Most of these projects — in Armenia, Hungary, Kenya, Mali, Marshall Islands, and Namibia — will make use of open source development environments and will use products built with OpenGIS specifications. All of the projects will be conducted remotely in support of major research and academic institutions in these countries.

The GeoData Alliance has published Geospatial Digital Rights Management, which describes the progress that has been made in efforts to adapt the tools of digital rights management (DRM) for use in the geospatial arena. The 98-page report includes an introduction to DRM and why the geospatial case is unique, and it places GeoDRM in a technical and policy context. The report also documents the accomplishments of a cooperative agreement executed by the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC), the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), and the GeoData Alliance.

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