2006 March 23

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Professional Surveyor Magazine

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Editor's Introduction

This week I report on an interesting pilot project, in Melbourne, Australia, using hand-held devices for multi-modal routing, and on Autodesk's new Map 3D 2007. Plus, a correction and my usual round-up of news from press releases.

— Matteo

Hand-Held Devices Used For Multimodal Routing

For the 18th Commonwealth Games , held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, March 15 to 26, the Victorian government contracted with Geomatic Technologies to deliver multi-modal transport routing to non-technical users by hand-held equipment. I discussed the project with Andrew Bashfield, the company's Sales & Marketing Manager, and with Jessica Davies, a Business Analyst.

According to Bashfield, from the moment it signed the contract to the start of the games Geomatic Technologies had only about five months, though this project was an expansion of work that the company had already been doing with the Victorian state government. "The government," Bashfield told me, "saw that there was an opportunity to highlight the work that it does in promoting innovation within Victorian businesses by coming up with a system that had never been done before."

The system directs visitors to the Commonwealth Games to the different events, which are spread out across Melbourne and even further afield in the state. The government, Bashfield told me, is keen for people to use public transport wherever possible to attend those events, so Geomatic Technologies designed the system to use the public transport routing network — which in Melbourne includes busses, trains, and one of the most extensive tram networks in the world (an electrified light rail system that shares the road with cars, trucks, and busses).

"The task," says Bashfield, "was to locate all of the games' venues in a geographic system and then overlay that with street networks and public transportation networks. I think that for the first time we actually digitized the stops all along these networks. Of course, train stations are pretty obvious, but tram stops and bus stops are not so obvious."

To locate the stops, Davies points out, the company first obtained the data from one of the local transport providers and then had to verify it and make sure that it was compatible with the system it was using to do the routing.

All the data is hosted on one of the company's servers, which also does all the routing and sends it wirelessly to handheld units in the field. All of the spatial data used for the project belongs to the Victorian government: the Department of Sustainability and Environment provided the street centerline maps and Metlink, the public transport agency for the Melbourne metropolitan area, provided the routing information for busses, trains, and trams.

Davies trained about 60 volunteers — mostly public servants participating on their own time — to use various handheld devices running PocketPC 2003. (The company also tested the system on Windows Mobile 2005.) She initially trained the volunteers indoors, then took them out on the street — "because," Bashfield told me, "you need to use this equipment in real weather conditions."

When queried about how to get from one location to another, the system returns the optimal combination of trams, trains, and busses. However, Davies explains, anticipating congestion on the public transport system, the Commonwealth Games' organizing committee prioritized walking routes between venues that are within walking distance of each other. "So we've included those walking routes in our system as well. A lot of these routes are along the river and through parks, but they are sign-posted and there are volunteers along each of them, so it's pretty difficult for people to get lost along the way."

In addition to the handheld devices, volunteers are also equipped with small black and white printers on their belts, which they use to print out the directions for the visitors. However, they can also use the system to send the information to people's mobile phones by SMS (short message service) or with the map via MMS (multimedia messaging service).

What's the future of this system? According to Bashfield, it is "a demonstration of capability" and the Victorian government "is looking to spread this kind of technology throughout its departments. Tourism Victoria [www.visitvictoria.com] is going to be one of the first." The Melbourne City Council, Davies added, has also shown an interest in it. "We're getting interest from around the world," Bashfield told me. "We are doing lots of presentations."

When people see the maps on the screens of the hand-held devices, many assume that they are equipped with GPS receivers. However, Bashfield explains, that's not the case. "GPS wasn't an important part in providing this service to the public." This project grew out of another one that Geomatic Technologies did for the Victorian government, which was purely Web-based. "When we deployed it and put it into a practical, hand-held mobile device we didn't add any extra components."

Beyond providing immediate assistance, Bashfield points out, the project has an additional benefit: "At the end of the ten-day period of the Commonwealth Games, we are going to have a repository in our database of every query that was asked for that entire period. We will collate that information and pass it back to the state government to enable them to make better decisions about how to deploy this kind of technology [in the future]."

Why didn't the company produce a kiosk system and allow everyone to just run their own queries? "What we tried to do," Bashfield told me, was to put a human interface into the system. There's a human touch involved here, because these are complex games and there are a lot of people riding around and the streets are very congested. Sometimes we want the games volunteer to be able to override the system if it makes sense. If it turns out that, although there is public transport from one place to an event, it makes more sense to walk there, then we want the volunteer to be able to pass that information on."

For visitors who have their own hand-held devices, did the company consider using IR links to beam them the output of queries? "We did think about that during the developmental process," Davis told me, "but, just in term of constraining the scope of the project, given the time frame, we kept any sort of beaming or bluetoothing the information to other devices out in this particular instance. However, it could certainly be introduced further down the track."

Autodesk Launches Map3D 2007

Today Autodesk, Inc. further blurred the line between computer-aided design (CAD) and GIS as it officially launched three new products that tightly integrate these two worlds: Autodesk Civil 3D 2007, Autodesk Map 3D 2007, and Autodesk Raster Design 2007. The company had actually released beta sites from their non-disclosure agreement as of March 1 and bloggers had immediately begun singing praises of the products' new 3D features and environment. Autodesk's spatial information management solutions also include Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise and Autodesk Utility Design. Autodesk Civil 3D and Autodesk Map 3D are built on the AutoCAD 2007 platform.

I discussed Autodesk Map 3D 2007 with Mark Christian, Technical Marketing Manager for Map 3D and Autodesk's strategy with Chris Bradshaw, vice president of Autodesk's Infrastructure Solutions Division. I will report here on the former conversation and next week on the latter.

I asked Christian whether he agreed that these products were blurring the line between CAD and GIS. "Absolutely," he told me, "that is our value proposition for Map3D: it is based on the leading CAD-based design tool, which is AutoCAD, but we are adding all these geospatial features. What you see is exactly blurring the line: Map3D is a desktop GIS tool that has all these fundamental CAD design functions within it."

Autodesk Map 3D 2007 allows users to create, edit, and integrate CAD and GIS data. It complements existing GIS implementations by providing read and write access to a wide variety of geospatial data sources and enables quick loading, editing, and management of high-volume geospatial data sets. The new features in this release include:

  • Large improvements in graphics performance for geospatial-scale data
  • New styling tools for creating maps and designs
  • Improved data management capabilities
  • The ability to import Autodesk Civil 3D design data
  • Easy publishing of spatial data via MapGuide Open Source or Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise

Christian demonstrated these capabilities for me and emphasized several key features.

The Data Connect Dialogue, new to Map3D 2007, allows users to access an underlying data source — whether it be ESRI ArcSDE, MySQL, OracleSpatial, ESRI shapefiles, or Web-based services. "We are using the MySQL spatial engine, which is called MyISAM," he told me as he imported data into Map3D. "So we are giving our users the option of writing directly from MySQL — which is free, open source, and works on other operating systems besides Windows."

Autodesk, Christian told me, has also written code that allows the user to store data within Microsoft SQL Server, thereby spatially enabling it. Unlike ArcSDE, which is middleware that requires a separate maintenance contract, he pointed out, Autodesk Map provides this capability out of the box, without requiring middleware.

The key is SDF (Spatial Data File), an Autodesk format that enables users to store data as features in a database-like way. The company, according to Christian, will release the specifications to the open source community. "What you'll see down the road is that SDF is really our mechanism for sharing information between our different ISD products — whether it be a parcel design, an alignment, or a road design. Civil3D will push this data to Map and then, within Map, we can stylize it, attribute it, and move it from an SDF file into a relational database, such as MySQL, SQLServer, or Oracle."

Using the Data Connect Dialog, Christian accessed the SDF and imported polygon boundaries for all U.S. census tracts (more than 200,000), for a total of about 140MB. In less than 10 seconds the polygons populated the map. "In the past," he told me, "you couldn't access this scale of data in an AutoCAD-based application. Using the SDF file format and our new rendering engine, our customers now can."

Two other new capabilities within Map3D 2007 are transparency and dynamic labeling. To demonstrate the latter, Christian labeled the counties for the United States; then, as he zoomed in and out, the labels automatically scaled accordingly, without any over-posting. In the past, to label entities, users had to use AutoCAD MTEXT or DTEXT.

Using the same data connect dialog, Christian then accessed a digital elevation model (DEM), to demonstrate the program's ability to import raster imagery. "We can now consume raster-based surfaces," he told me, "such as GeoTip, ESRI ArcGRIDs, Dtech files, and USGS digital elevation models. We have the capability to do analysis on slope, height, or aspect, and then use either pre-defined palettes or color ramps to theme this information."

Finally getting to the part that had already provoked the most excitement, he switched to a 3D mode and draped over the DEM a digital orthophoto. Actually, it was four tiled ECW images that he had combined into one image and was managing as if it were just one. "All the AutoCAD tools work seamlessly together," Christian says. "You can create fly-throughs, record that information, and write it out to, say, a wave file or a flash file to embed in presentations."

Next, to demonstrate the ability to drape vector information on top of these surfaces, he created a contour file based on the underlying raster-based surface. "It's a new paradigm," he told me. "We don't have drawing objects, we have feature objects, but we work with them much the same way that we work with an AutoCAD entity." Another new concept in this version is that of checking objects in and out. "When an object is checked out, it acts just like an AutoCAD entity. When I'm done editing, I just check it back in and I am out of an edit mode. I can also create new information, for example a new water line, using familiar CAD tools on geospatial data. The working environment hasn't changed. We now also have the ability to define constraints, so that we can pre-populate these attributes as we are drafting or define ranges that a drafter can use." This, too, is a new capability within Map3D.

Next, Christian demonstrated how to create a new data store and used Oracle as an example. "I'm defining the new schema within the underlying Oracle db," he said. "I would use the exact same process if I were working with MySQL or SQL Server. It is a GUI-based schema creation. Before we had command-line tools, now we have a UI: it makes it a lot easier for people to understand how to go about and create a new schema within their underlying relational database."

To populate an underlying relational database — or any other data store — one can use another new tool: bulk copy. First, you connect to the datastore — which was in Oracle in this example, but could have been a WFS server, an ESRI shapefile, or another Oracle database or table — then the bulk copy tool allows you to move the data between any two databases, using an SGF file as the bridge.

I asked Christian how Autodesk is going to keep these converters up to date. Except for the code that Autodesk has written to spatially enable SQL Server, he told me, none of these databases are proprietary. "To connect to this information we use 'providers,' which we have released to the open source community — everything except the Oracle and the MySQL provider. The actual technology that is letting us access this information, FDO (feature data objects), is also open source. When we release new versions or service packs, we look to support any new versions that become available. Also, because FDO is open source, any developer can develop a provider. As more data formats come on the market or things change, or people want to access other information, they just write a provider that plugs into this API, which is what extracts and converts the data."

Finally, you can use Map3D 2007 as a client to publish your map via MapGuide Open Source or Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise.

Department Of Corrections

In last week's issue, in my coverage of the upcoming ACSM conference, I accidentally attributed to Tim Kent remarks made to me instead by the chair of the conference planning committee, John Hohol, who is a consultant in Madison, Wisconsin. Additionally, Kent is no longer with the BLM; instead, he is now an assistant professor at the Oregon Institute of Technology.

News Briefs

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


To prepare for a possible influenza pandemic in the United States, ESRI is working with Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC), an international public health information systems firm that will offer an exercise program to help private businesses and public organizations assess readiness and help prepare and develop an action plan. The program enhances STC's Preparedness Training, Exercises, Simulations, and Testing (Pre-TEST) services, which is designed to evaluate the operational readiness of many different groups — such as public health agencies, schools, jails, public facilities, transportation services, and commercial businesses.

In a pandemic, the work of these organizations is likely to be severely disrupted. Pre-TEST will provide a practical assessment of how ready organizations and public health systems are for such an event and what measures might be implemented in the short term to speed response and recovery. The enhanced Pre-TEST services will integrate ESRI GIS features and capabilities into both the preparedness planning activities and actual hands-on exercises. STC will provide comprehensive services in developing response plans and assessments and in developing and facilitating exercises.

Using specially developed scenarios that identify or evaluate necessary response roles and actions, STC will identify actions of key community response agencies and sectors; support scenario and script development; review documents; assist in and facilitate exercise design and implementation; and prepare participant workbooks, evaluation tools, and outcomes assessments. STC will also offer training to agencies interested in developing their own ongoing exercise and testing capabilities. ESRI will provide GIS educational material and ArcView 9.1 evaluation software for exercise participants. The additional GIS components of the program will allow exercise participants to assess the nature of the disruption using local demographic data through ESRI's ArcWeb Services.

Miner & Miner, a Telvent company, has signed a contract with the North American utility Consumers Energy, to implement outage management for its energy distribution system. Miner & Miner will supply its Responder Outage Management System (OMS), to support Consumers Energy's electric distribution system. The OMS will ensure secure and efficient outage restoration, and will extend the utility's existing GIS solution, allowing it to visualize and locate power outages throughout the network. The new system, to be integrated with SAP, SCADA, and mobile workforce management systems, is scheduled to be operational in August 2007.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to more than six million of Michigan's nearly 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Hood County, Texas, has implemented a visual information system by Pictometry International Corp., a provider of digital, aerial oblique imagery and measuring software, in a wide range of county government departments. Hood County, located in the north central region of Texas, has approximately 45,000 residents and occupies an area of 422 square miles.

The Pictometry system was initially funded by the Hood County Appraisal District and then deployed to other agencies as part of the company's county-wide site license agreement. The imagery is being used to provide address confirmation of the county's new mapping program being developed. Uses in the Road Operations Department include measuring areas for proposed roadways, materials estimation for repairs, elevations for reviewing drainage areas, and distances for rights-of-way. Public safety departments in the county are also finding the visual data useful for a wide range of applications that include preplanning, reviewing fire-effected areas, and training.

Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council, in the North East of England, has selected Cadcorp GeognoSIS.NET to underpin the delivery of on-line services to its citizens. The Cadcorp software will be integrated with the council's existing desktop GIS to enable Web-based access to maps and associated information.

While the principal reason for implementing Cadcorp GeognoSIS.NET is to make interactive maps available to citizens via the council's Web site, council staff will also have access to the GIS database via the council's intranet. The council plans to phase in the availability of information relating to specific departments and services as the new Web-based capability is developed.

Among the benefits Berwick-upon-Tweed Borough Council expects to get from its new Web-enabled GIS is an increase in the use of the council's Web site by citizens accessing information on services and facilities provided by the authority. It also expects to improve service levels by enabling citizens to make comments and to submit reports, using the interactive maps on the Web site.

Digital mapping and GIS software developer Cadcorp has appointed Prague-based land surveying and geodetic data solutions company Hrdlicka spol. s r.o. as a Cadcorp business partner for the Czech Republic and neighbouring countries.

Part of the Hrdlicka Group of companies, Hrdlicka spol. s r.o. specializes in the acquisition, maintenance and processing of geographic data and in the development of digital mapping and GIS application software. The company's principal GIS software offering is MAWIS, an established and widely-used interactive Web-mapping and data administration application. This has recently been re-engineered to integrate Cadcorp's GeognoSIS.NET Web-based GIS in order to facilitate data distribution and sharing via the Open Geospatial Consortium Inc (OGC)-compliant interfaces that are built into Cadcorp software as standard.

Hrdlicka is already deploying its new GeognoSIS.NET-based MAWIS application into the energy distribution sector in the Czech Republic. The company is also preparing to deploy similar applications across several other markets within the Czech Republic and within neighboring states. This will enable a wider range of organizations, including those not traditionally associated with GIS usage, to take full advantage of the Web-based capabilities provided by its new GeognoSIS.NET-based solutions.

In addition to GeognoSIS.NET, Cadcorp's desktop GIS products, such as Cadcorp SIS Map Modeller, will be deployed in-house by Hrdlicka as well as at customer sites to facilitate spatial analysis and data engineering.

Bentley Systems, Incorporated has connected MicroStation to the Google Earth service. As a result, for the first time, users can view and navigate 2D/3D models of infrastructure projects in the context of the Google Earth environment. MicroStation is Bentley's desktop platform for the design, construction, and operation of the world's infrastructure, including buildings, roads, bridges, power plants, telecom networks, and much more.

Through this connection, MicroStation users can publish their DGN and DWG models of infrastructure assets being designed, approved, or maintained directly to the Google Earth environment. Here, the models can be viewed and navigated in the context of this rich geographic imagery with associated content, including buildings, transportation systems, boundaries, bodies of water, and census information — to cite just a few examples.

Moreover, the MicroStation files placed in the Google Earth environment can contain links to more detailed data that users can review locally. This information can be provided in a variety of formats, including, for example, Excel spreadsheets, Word and PDF documents, additional DGN and DWG files, and URLs - enabling diverse project information to be shared through the Google Earth interface.

The richness of the MicroStation model content is available to users of the Google Earth service. For example: all included levels available to the MicroStation user are persisted in the KML file, so the Google Earth user can easily switch parts of the model on and off as desired; saved views in MicroStation are transferred to the KML file, so the Google Earth user can easily move through pre-configured perspectives in the model; embedded links within a MicroStation file will be automatically published as Google Earth Placemarks, which allows the Google Earth viewer to quickly navigate to supporting project data; the geometries of MicroStation GeoGraphics users who have defined the coordinate system for their designs will be automatically exported to the correct locations in Google Earth; MicroStation raster imagery can be published to Google Earth to replace or augment the Google Earth imagery.

Bentley SELECT subscribers can download the new connection software now for use with MicroStation V8 2004 Edition. The capability is delivered within MicroStation V8 XM Edition.

Dodge County, Wisconsin, has retained GeoAnalytics Inc., an IT consulting firm that specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of enterprise information systems, to help guide the creation of a second generation street centerline GIS database that supports various County department and external partner business functions.

The project, which was identified as a critical need in the 2005 GIS Strategic Plan completed by GeoAnalytics, is a priority initiative for key stakeholders in the County.

Short-term services will focus on creating a master list of official street names and address ranges within the County. The street name master list, along with emergency response zone information, will be integrated into a comprehensive street centerline GIS data layer and published for immediate use by the County CompuDyne (Tiburon) 9-1-1/CAD Dispatch System. As part of this effort, content standards for street names, abbreviations, and address ranges will be developed. On-going data maintenance procedures will also be clarified.

Long-term project services to be provided by GeoAnalytics will involve investigating other County department requirements for a master street centerline GIS data layer beyond street names and address ranges. This will produce design specifications that support a number of County business needs, such as pavement management, routing, emergency management, etc.

East View Cartographic (EVC) has signed an agreement to become an official reseller of topographic and thematic maps from the Survey of Bangladesh. These nationally produced maps offer the best large-scale coverage available for Bangladesh and are ideal for uses such as project planning, natural resources development, trade and investment, humanitarian/disaster response, academic research, and even travel and tourism.

EVC can provide complete country coverage of 1:50,000 and 1:250,000 topographic maps. The Survey of Bangladesh has also produced a number of specialized series including 1:10,000 coastal mapping, a Dhaka city plan at 1:5000 scale, and a variety of political-administrative and thematic maps.

Products such as the Bangladesh coastal mapping series provide unprecedented foundation data, and EVC can add further value by producing custom digital mapping products tailored to customer specifications. Standard digital mapping services include map updating, geo-referencing, mosaicing, imagery orthorectification, feature extraction, vectorization, DEM production, scanning, and language translation services to mention a few.

Bentley Systems, Incorporated has acquired Logos BV, an international provider of the isometric software tools PlantSpace Isometrics (formerly known as L/ISO and IsoExtractor). Bentley will embed Logos' intelligent isometric generation and production tools within its DigitalPlant solution. This will enable owner-operators to create and edit intelligent as-built piping isometrics and link this data to their enterprise systems.

For mass production of fabrication isometrics during the engineering and construction phases of a project, Bentley continues its long-standing partnership with Alias for Isogen, which is directly embedded in Bentley Piping. However, for situations in which automatic isometric generation is not feasible or does not meet user requirements, the Logos tools allow as-built isometric drawings to be easily sketched and validated against a 3D model or a scanned point cloud model. The isometrics generated can then be automatically registered, tracked, and managed alongside the original 3D models. In addition, any field or operations changes can be tracked and constantly merged to provide an accurate as-built 3D piping model throughout the life of the asset.

The up-to-date model is thus available for subsequent ongoing engineering analyses such as pipe stress and fluid flow. Also, because the intelligent isometric contains detailed engineering data that can be managed at a component level, the isometrics can be linked to business and procurement systems to optimize operations and maintenance activities.

EPB, a provider of electric power and communications in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has chosen Intergraph's G/Technology to streamline operations in the organization's Electric System and Telecom divisions. EPB personnel will use the Intergraph solution to support field crews in locating facilities during a storm or power outage, connecting and disconnecting electric meter centers, designing street lighting, and sizing transformers for the particular needs of commercial and industrial customers.

In addition, G/Technology's open database supports EPB's goal of fully integrating its strategic systems, which will boost analytical and reporting capabilities. For example, crews can search more than 135,000 poles by geography, pole number, customer name and address saving the field crew time associated with locating jobs and freeing them to focus on other tasks.

GlobeXplorer, a provider of online aerial, satellite and map data, has expanded its reach by partnering with Zillow.com, a new real estate information Web site. Zillow.com provides free valuations and data for more than 60 million U.S. homes, including high-resolution satellite, aerial, and parcel images in many areas, provided by GlobeXplorer.

Since 1999, GlobeXplorer has provided access to the world's largest online archive of aerial/satellite images and maps through custom business applications, Web viewers, and mapping software extensions. GlobeXplorer also delivers a massive library of detailed property and parcel information, including parcel lines and tabular assessor data.

The Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA) of Dillingham, Alaska, has awarded a contract to Blue Skies Solutions to continue the development of an integrated GIS and document management system to aid the BBNA Lands & Resources department in their execution and management of realty transactions.

The system, called RealtyNet, allows users to access vital parcel data, documents, and mapping information via a custom intranet application and ESRI software.

Migrating from a paper file-based realty management system to a digital system with mapping capabilities is helping BBNA increase staff efficiency. Key to the success of this project is the need for a system that requires little maintenance (including troubleshooting as well as annual software maintenance fees) and allows for simple modifications and upgrades to be performed onsite by trained staff members.

In addition, BBNA is realizing significant cost savings by the use of public programming technologies such as ASP.NET that perform with a high degree of stability and speed.

TerraGo Technologies, provider of the MAP2PDF family of products and GeoPDF, has been awarded a United States General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule contract number, GS-35F-0262S. This contract allows TerraGo to sell directly to federal and other qualified state and local government agencies at specially approved pricing.

MAP2PDF allows GIS professionals to share complex, georegistered, geospatial data as a GeoPDF with non-technical professionals anywhere in the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Mapping technologies like TerraGo's products are widely used among government agencies such as those responsible for national defense, infrastructure, emergency response, public safety, security and public works.

MAP2PDF users are able to export geospatial data from GIS applications to a georegistered PDF-a GeoPDF-with layers and feature attributes. A GeoPDF can be easily distributed and used in connected or disconnected modes with the free Adobe Reader and MAP2PDF software. Users are able to view finished digital maps, turn layers on and off, query attributes, display coordinates, measure distances and track locations via GPS without the need for complex GIS applications or the knowledge of how to use them.

GSA is the premiere government acquisition and procurement channel. GSA schedules are contracts that allow government customers to acquire all kinds of products from more than 17,000 suppliers with pre-negotiated discounts. Suppliers benefit by being able to tap into some of the world's largest procurement budgets and government customers are able to more quickly and easily obtain the products they need from pre-approved vendors.

The city of Plantation, Florida, has selected Intergraph Corporation to provide its police, fire, and emergency medical services with an integrated, multi-agency incident response and management system in a contract worth $1.9 million. The system is comprised of law enforcement records management, mobile computing, and computer-aided dispatch.

The state-of-the-art, multi-agency communications center will make use of interactive, intelligent maps to immediately locate and respond to incidents. In addition, the Intergraph system will provide more than 200 officers with records access and mobile computing tools to increase field efficiency and effectiveness.


Graphic Technologies, Inc. (GTI) has launched GTSmartClient, a Web application with the look and feel of a rich client application. Data resides on the Web server, but it can be optionally downloaded to the client for disconnected use. In addition to providing a powerful viewing seat for GIS data, GTSmartClient will also provide a new channel for quickly creating and sharing information such as redlines, notes, or any other data with a geospatial connotation. This shared data is immediately available to all GTSmartClient, GTWeb, and GTViewer users.

As part of offering GTSmartClient, GTI will release an upgraded version of its GTWebServer. Implemented as a Web service and using ASP.NET, GTWebServer supports both GTSmartClient and the current GTWeb viewers. GTSmartClient and the upgrade for GTWebServer will be available April 30.

CARIS has released the Additional Military Layer (AML) Product Editor, the latest addition to the CARIS Hydrographic Production Database (HPD) product suite. The release of AML Product Editor expands upon the existing HPD product suite, which already includes the HPD Source Editor, S-57 ENC Product Editor and Paper Chart Editor.

The HPD product suite is a seamless enterprise solution with unique database-driven functionality that takes hydrographic data management and production to the next level in collaboration and efficiency. Source data and products are integrated into one database, meaning changes to the source data need only be performed once, and updated features can simply be used between all products.

AML Product Editor is designed to manage and produce S-57 AML's compliant with the six vector NATO AML v2.0 specifications: Contour Line Bathymetry (CLB), Environment, Seabed and Beach (ESB), Maritime Foundation and Facilities (MFF), Routes, Areas and Limits (RAL), Large Bottom Objects (LBO), and Small Bottom Objects (SBO).

Functionality includes the ability to import from many common GIS data formats; to view raster images; and to connect to external databases for importing valuable data, such as mine contact or wreck information.

NAVTEQ, a provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, has released a specialist map dataset of truck attributes for the French market. Called NAVTEQ Transport, the new dataset features a wide range of attributes, which significantly enhance truck-related fleet management, navigation, and routing applications.

NAVTEQ Transport attributes include physical restrictions for vehicles — such as maximum height, weight, length and width — which directly impact transportation routing. It provides legal restrictions, for example where trucks and trailers are prohibited, and also HAZMAT restrictions. In addition, warning signs within the data highlight steep hills, sharp curves and lateral winds. Finally, a specialist set of points of interest (POIs) will advise on truck stops and truck only service stations.

Test data for NAVTEQ Transport is currently available, with a commercial product for France to be released in June. Additional countries will be released based on market requirements.

WhiteStar Corp. will unveil its new WhiteStar Elevation Service at the upcoming Geo2006 Middle East Geosciences Conference & Exhibition in Manama, Bahrain, March 27-29, and at the China International Oil & Gas Pipeline Expo in Beijing, March 22-24.

The WhiteStar Elevation Service utilizes a proprietary ArcGIS extension developed by WhiteStar to enable clients to create elevation profiles for features or sets of points — such as roadways, pipelines or well locations — anywhere in the world. The Elevation Service extension opens inside the client's ArcGIS and allows them to run the profile against a database supplied by WhiteStar or a database of their own. WhiteStar can host the client database if necessary.

For international clients, the WhiteStar Elevation Service generates profiles for any region of the world using the 30-meter digital elevation database created with Enhanced Space Shuttle SRTM data. Within the Continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii, 10-meter elevation data is available from a USGS National Elevation Dataset processed by WhiteStar for this service. Bathymetric data is also available for offshore profiles, and WhiteStar can host a client-supplied LiDAR data set for use with the service.

Available on a subscription or per-project fee basis, the WhiteStar Elevation Service opens a profile generation tool bar within the client's ArcGIS environment, allowing the user to select the resolution and sampling rate. The service outputs the profile in a graphical format or as a series of elevation points for loading into another modeling application. Clients can also download points from a GPS survey directly into the extension to create profiles of field traverses.

MapText, Inc., a provider of high-quality cartographic text placement software, will demonstrate its latest text placement technology at GIS-T 2006, the 19th annual GIS for Transportation Symposium, to be held in Columbus, Ohio, March 27-29. MapText products are being used by various departments of transportation for paper and Web mapping applications.

At the event, MapText will highlight the speed, flexibility, and accuracy of its automated text placement solutions by demonstrating its Label-EZ and Label-Web products. These demonstrations will showcase the use of these products for labeling of wall maps / state-wide tourist maps; labeling of map books for county map series, traffic volume maps, etc.; and developing high-quality labels for Web-applications using GeoMedia WebMap.

MapText's high-end Label-EZ product caters to the needs of transportation departments to generate high-quality paper maps in all major GIS environments. It provides the users with the highest cartographic quality, great flexibility, and advanced capabilities such as leadering, key-numbering, stacking, route shield placement, and much more.

The company's latest dynamic labeling product, Label-Web for GeoMedia WebMap, helps to enhance the quality of Web maps being served by the DOTs. It provides high-speed / high-quality labeling for all feature types with capabilities such as automatic conforming to shape of feature, stacking of labels, and route shield placement. The product enables the database changes to be reflected instantly in the Web-application and removes the need to store various layers of label information.

NavCom Technology, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Deere & Company, has introduced the newly enhanced VueStar aerial survey solution, including its new StarPac utility software that facilitates better integration into pre-existing workflows.

VueStar's complete global navigation system is configured specifically for all aerial survey applications and utilizes the global satellite-based StarFire Network to provide precise positioning worldwide without the need for RTK base stations or GPS post processing. This new system introduces three significant enhancements: improved GPS signal processing, StarPac Mission software, and the optional Event Latch Interface.

The new 12-channel, dual-frequency GPS receiver computes real-time positions at up to 25 times a second, re-acquires GPS signals faster, and includes improved troposphere modeling, which better compensates for changes in altitude.

Providing both pre-mission and post-mission processing, the new StarPac mission software provides critical tools for mission planning, as well as RINEX conversion, datum conversion, trajectory plotting and output of position data in a number of formats, along with a quality/figure of merit for each position. Event Latch Interface conditions the event signal, allowing VueStar to operate successfully with a variety of cameras and airborne sensors. This self-powered module also contains internal de-bounce circuitry to ensure proper event timing.

Intergraph Corporation has launched a new version of the ImageStation suite of products, with an enhanced user interface, improved computation performance in triangulation, automatic Digital Terrain Modeling (DTM), and improved orthophoto processing.

Key features of the new ImageStation release include: added different GPS/inertial measurement unit (IMU) correction models, enhanced exterior orientation (EO) analysis tools and increased speed of bundle block adjustment; consolidated sensor modules to a single product ImageStation Satellite Triangulation; decreased automatic DTM generation computation time of color imagery by approximately 40 percent; added distributed processing capability to orthophoto software enabling true ortho and mosaicking as well as multi-threaded support for mosaicking; increased speed of mosaicking and true ortho processing freeing users to focus resources on other areas; and added support for expanded MicroStation V8 design plane simplifying customer processes.


Three well-known industry leaders will provide keynote addresses at GeoWeb 2006, to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, July 24-28. GeoWeb 2006 is the only conference focused exclusively on the convergence of XML, Web services, and GIS. Michael Jones, CTO of Google Earth; Stephen Lawler, general manager of Microsoft's Virtual Earth; and Kurt Cagle, author and technology architect for Mercurial Communications, will be featured keynote speakers. Conference organizer, Galdos Systems Inc., and conference supporter, the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), expect to add at least one other keynote speaker as the conference gets closer.

Jones is co-founder of Keyhole, the company recently acquired by Google to create Google Earth. Google Earth provides an online service for distributed geospatial visualization to users worldwide. Jones is also an inventor with 11 issued U.S. patents, a director on private company boards, and an associate in several Silicon Valley projects.

Lawler oversees all aspects of worldwide product development, program management, marketing, and business development related to the Windows Live Local, Virtual Earth, MapPoint Web Service, MapPoint CD-ROM, Microsoft Streets & Trips, and AutoRoute products. He was responsible for the development of Virtual Earth and MapPoint Web Service.

Cagle specializes in XML technologies, Web 2, and open graphics format systems. He is the author of 19 books, including Firefox Professional Programming, due out late spring 2006, and dozens of articles on Web technologies, XML, software ethics, and the industry.

Pictometry International Corp., a provider of digital, aerial oblique imagery and measuring software, has selected Robert Carroll to fill its newly created position of division president for international sales and operations. Mr. Carroll has a distinguished career that encompasses senior level positions at leading GIS and remote sensing companies. His career includes serving as vice president of sales, marketing, and professional services at Hitachi Software Global Technology and VP of Business Development at Navigant Consulting/GeoData Solutions, where he led the expansion of the company with international growth. Other corporate experience that Mr. Carroll brings to Pictometry includes positions at ESRI Canada, and Enghouse Systems.

Mr. Carroll is tasked with managing the company's expansion via international agreements and will be reporting to Pictometry Chief Marketing Officer Dante Pennacchia.

The company is hosting its first annual User Conference, Pictometry FutureView 2006, from October 29 to November 1 in Orlando, Florida.

WindSpring, Inc., a data miniaturization innovator, has appointed Marios Zenios and Don McPherson to its board of directors. The two executives join WindSpring as the company expands its presence in mobile wireless devices and GPS mapping solutions.

Zenios brings more than 20 years of automotive, telematics, and communications experience with Motorola. As a senior Motorola executive, he established the company as the global telematics leader, subsequently consolidated Motorola's Global automotive operations, and delivered growth and profitability. He is currently President and CEO of Alto Consulting Inc., a privately held start-up, providing advisory, C level, consulting for companies in the telecommunications and automotive markets.

McPherson is a founding partner of J. F. Mackie & Company, an independent equity investment firm providing customized portfolio management and investment services to private clients and institutional investors and financial advisory services to early stage companies. Prior to J.F. Mackie, Don was an Investment Advisor for National Bank Financial Corporation, and previously for First Marathon Securities Ltd.

WindSpring's patented Data Miniaturization Technology (DMT) shrinks and transforms large mapping and data files into a Micro Data Format (MDF) that allows the data files to retain all original data performance attributes while enabling high-speed access and full manipulation of data, including high-speed seek, search, edit and display in the miniaturized state. In addition, MDF is uniquely suited for space-constrained applications such as GPS navigation and mobile phones, where large amounts of data can slow system performance and data access.

By transforming data files to MDF, the effective storage capacity of mobile and wireless devices can be substantially increased without increasing overall hardware costs, thereby avoiding costly hardware additions. MDF also improves device reliability and performance by eliminating the need for more expensive and unreliable mini-hard drive solutions.


The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) has added a poster session at Annual Conference 29, scheduled for April 23-26, in Tampa, Florida. In the past, technical paper sessions were the only way to showcase projects at GITA's Annual Conference.

To participate in the poster session, representatives from user organizations are asked to submit a description of their geospatial project by Friday April 14. Conference attendees will vote on their favorite poster. The winner will have his or her poster displayed on GITA's Web site and receive recognition in GITA's bi-monthly newsletter, Networks.

The conference will also feature nine preconference Knowledge Immersion seminars, more than 60 paper presentations, user forums, panel discussions, networking socials, and a 100,000-square-foot product and services exhibition. Online registration is now open.

GeoDecisions will present or co-present the following GIS topics at the GIS for Transportation (GIS-T) Symposium: Delaware's Comprehensive Integrated GIS Transportation Solution, March 27, 1:30 p.m.; The State Network Project, March 27, 3:30 p.m.; The NDOT Location Information System (LoIS): A Survey Monument Web Application, March 28, 10:30 a.m.; Crash Data Access and Retrieval Tool (CDART), March 28, 10:30 a.m.; A Technology Upgrade for KDOT's Truck Routing Information System (TRIS), March 28, 1:30 p.m.; Forecasting Stop-Level Ridership for Florida's Transit Systems, March 28, 1:30 p.m.; Mississippi DOT Safety Analysis Management System - Detailed Design and Alpha Software Release, March 28, 3:30 p.m.; The New Hampshire DOT Route Logs System: A New Enterprise Tool to Maximize Business Data Analysis, March 29, 8:30 a.m.; and Road Closure Reporting System, March 29, 10:30 a.m. 6

ESRI plans extensive participation, including conference sponsorship, at the Map Middle East 2006 conference. This year, the conference will be held March 26-29 in Dubai, one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates, which is located on the Arabian Gulf.

The Dubai GIS Center pioneered the provision of spatial data in the same manner as a public utility. The center has implemented a comprehensive enterprise system based on ESRI's ArcGIS software products as one of the GIS platforms, interoperable with other platforms as well as custom applications.

Richard Turner, ESRI's ArcGIS product manager, will present an overview of key GIS market trends influencing the company's software products and direction in the coming years in a key address at the conference. Shafik Jiwani, chief operating officer of Orion Technology, will be speaking about GIS Web services.

ESRI's regional distributors will be present, providing the opportunity for discussion and product demonstrations. Participating distributors include Atlas for GIS and Surveying Systems (Iraq), GISTEC (United Arab Emirates), Khatib & Alami (Lebanon and Oman), Mannai Trading Company (Qatar), MicroCenter (Bahrain), Moammar Information Systems (Saudi Arabia), National Trading Company (Yemen), OpenWare (Kuwait), and Quality Standards Information Technology (Egypt and Libya). 8


Jaap Groot, CEO of Teydo BV, a location-based services company, was on hand recently to open Teydo's new Americas headquarters, less than a year after the company launched its FleetOnline GPS tracking solution in North America.

Teydo's North American operations are run by Rob Groot, Managing Director, who launched FleetOnline in North America in 2005 and has managed the rapid growth of the company in this market. The growth of the North American operation coincides with Teydo's incorporating as a U.S. company — Teydo America, Inc. This new structure will help ensure Teydo America's continued expansion into new markets.

Teydo owns and operates FleetOnline, an Internet tracking solution; MobiSPOT, the location integration platform of choice for some of the largest organizations in the world; TrimTrac OTA; a full control and monitoring solution for the TrimTrac locator; and LocationXS.com, the independent partner location services site.

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