2006 June 30

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Editor's Introduction

This week I interviewed about twenty surveyors on their changing relationship with GIS. Most of them shared a few key conclusions, which I can now assert confidently. I also point out an interesting article on pedestrian navigation in Japan and bring you the usual round-up of news from press releases.


Surveyor Survey

GIS and surveying, like GIS and GPS, are natural partners. Survey data provides the control for GIS and GIS contains key data onto which cadastre, land base, and orthophoto layers are registered. Surveyors can also use GIS to publish their data, to manage their survey operations, and even to manage survey data as part of an integrated geospatial information system. The shift to GPS-based surveying systems is creating a further opportunity for integrating GIS and surveying. Yet most surveyors do not (yet) use GIS.

To explore the relationship between surveying and GIS I interviewed surveyors and survey managers at fourteen surveying and engineering firms and asked them the following questions:

  1. Are surveyors shifting from CAD to GIS?
  2. Are changes in software leading or following this shift?
  3. How do your firm's surveyors use GIS?
  4. How can GIS be most useful to surveyors?
  5. What are the major remaining obstacles to surveyor's use of GIS?
  6. What evolution in GIS would help surveyors the most?
  7. What evolution in surveying would most improve the usefulness of GIS?
  8. As surveying continues its migration toward GPS-based systems, how will this change the relationship between surveying and GIS?
  9. How do you see software changing to integrate surveying and GIS?
  10. Are younger/new surveyors using GIS more?
  1. Are surveyors shifting from CAD to GIS?

    The use of GIS among surveyors is an emerging phenomenon. Surveyors at six companies answered no to this question—citing habits, lack of training, and concerns about accuracy. Three answered that few companies were using GIS for surveying. Two answered that, if this shift is taking place at all, it is happening slowly. One answered that GIS was "one more tool." One wasn't sure. Only one answered yes.

    Here are excerpts from some of the answers:

    1. Al Quickel, Field Services Manager, Dyer, Riddle, Mills & Precourt, Inc.: Surveyors that I know are trying to incorporate GIS into their toolbox, but at this time I really don't see anybody getting rid of CAD. They are using CAD and GIS together, for different functions: CAD for production and GIS for data management.
    2. Paul Lebaron, survey project manager, Judith Nitsch Engineering, Inc.: GIS is simply one more tool that we have available for surveyors to utilize, it's not necessarily a shift.
    3. Eric Haglund, Smith Engineering Consultants Inc: The majority of the surveyors that I deal with don't understand GIS or don't know how to use it.
    4. Jack Gnipp, Mid-Valley Engineering: The standard in the industry is still AutoCAD as the backbone for mapping. Very few of us are shifting to GIS.
    5. James Ferrell, Survey Technician, Draper Aden Associates: A lot of the GIS systems ... are not quite as accurate as what I would get from a field survey.
    6. Janet Jackson, McKim & Creed: Surveyors still draw in CAD, they still deliver their product to the client in CAD. If the client is a GIS client and they require the deliverable in GIS, at the very last minute the surveyors involve the GIS group and we convert it, fortunately or unfortunately. That's the way it goes.
    7. Jeff Armstrong, Geomatics Discipline Leader, WK Dickson & Co., Inc.: there are definitely more surveyors beginning to use GIS and not only to manipulate data but also to manage it and the day-to-day surveying operations.
    8. John Ehrhart, Ehrhart Griffin & Associates Inc: So, as far as I can tell, it's kind of a periphery thing that's working its way in.
    9. Linda Lee Miller, PLS, Manager, Survey Department, Tye Engineering & Surveying Inc: We don't have GIS software.
    10. Mark Yeager, Director of Surveying Services with KS Associates, Inc.: In most cases surveyors are always going to have CAD until GIS takes over everything in the design world.
    11. Matt Bissett, Group Leader, Surveying Group, Atwell-Hicks, Inc.: we are slowly transitioning our CAD environment into a geospatial environment
    12. Randy Rambeau, McKim & Creed, P.A.: I do believe that surveyors and CAD technicians are using more GIS data.
    13. Steve Shambeck, VP of Surveying and Mapping, Hall & Foreman Inc: Our firm is not per se using GIS. We have software that would enable us to do it but we have not had much request from our clients to produce data in a GIS format
  2. Are changes in software leading or following this shift?

    Again, six companies answered the same way: the software is leading the way. Only one said that software manufacturers were following surveyors' lead. The rest had different answers.

    Here are excerpts from some of the answers:

    1. Al Quickel: The software manufacturers ... are allowing you to create GIS features that will go directly into the software in CAD and export them directly.
    2. Bruce Strack, PLS, Survey Implementation Manager, The Schneider Corporation: Most, if not all CAD packages have countless input and output formats. This is also true for GIS software. While this multitude of interoperability options exist, the industry is slow to utilize them.
    3. Paul Lebaron: The changes in software but, more importantly, the availability of Web-based tools and data are leading our clients toward the shift to GIS and therefore we're moving in that direction to respond to their needs.
    4. Jack Gnipp: Ninety percent of survey departments don't have GIS software. Surveyors personally never use any of the GIS products as a tool.
    5. Janet Jackson: We're customizing more of the GIS software for the survey teams, if they need it, so that it can be easier for them to collect it.
    6. Matt Bissett: the software is making it easier to position control points and other surveying technology into a GIS
    7. Randy Rambeau: The software manufacturers seem to be working more of the software tools into integrating on both sides both the GIS and CAD so that it's more useful for both GIS and surveyors as well.
    8. Rob Erickson, Senior GIS Technician, Bramhall Engineering & Surveying Company: The GIS software companies realize the power behind collecting data then interrogating it into a GIS. The hard part is getting the surveyors to use it.
  3. How do your firm's surveyors use GIS?

    Five answered that they were using it for research, three to track projects and data, two for reference, and two answered that they don't use GIS at all. Three of the companies also said that they use GIS as a deliverable.


    1. Al Quickel: What we're doing [with GIS] is really inventory-type work.
    2. Bruce Strack: We use the spatial representation, querying and analysis functions to track projects corporate-wide for use in budgeting and forecasting. We collect data in a survey grade or mapping grade environment and export as shape files for use in both a CAD and GIS format. We utilize cadastral layers in boundary analysis and boundary creation and we have integrated our processes to provide a seamless flow of data from field to finish across many disciplines through GIS—including surveying, geotechnical, engineering design, as-builts and visualization multi-media.
    3. Eric Haglund: We use GIS to track our jobs.
    4. Jack Gnipp: Firms that do use GIS use it because clients like it, for two reasons: for planning purposes ... and as something that is aesthetically pleasing, for promoting land sales.
    5. James Ferrell: I use GIS for property information. That saves me a lot of time doing deed research.
    6. Janet Jackson: Surveyors use it to orient themselves in the field, so that they know where to start collecting. They use it to familiarize themselves with their own geodetic network, and their controls, so that they can orient themselves.
    7. Jeff Armstrong: County and municipal government, operate on GIS platforms. So, they are starting to require most of the digital data deliveries to be in a GIS format.
    8. Linda Lee Miller: The only thing we use GIS for is getting research maps or information from governments.
    9. Mark Yeager: Mostly we use GIS for research with the applications that are available through the counties and municipalities—like land record research, property information.
    10. Matt Bissett: Mostly we use GIS for research with the applications that are available through the counties and municipalities—like land record research, property information.
    11. Randy Rambeau: In our survey group, we use GIS pretty much as a reference.
    12. Rob Erickson: Our surveyors are using GIS pretty much only as an internal system.
  4. How can GIS be most useful to surveyors?

    The answers to this question were all over the map, no pun intended. They ranged from "Bringing projection information into local coordinate systems" to "For information purposes only," from "As a planning tool" to "Managing the data."


    1. Al Quickel: GIS can be used to catalogue any spatial information a surveyor could need.
    2. Bruce Strack: Surveyors need to utilize "intelligent data" in the same way GIS professionals do. Many surveyors have not realized that as of yet.
    3. Paul Lebaron: it's really as a planning tool
    4. Eric Haglund: You can at least get basic parcel information from your GIS. So when you go out there you can pull up the tax parcel maps and at least have some idea of what the boundary should look like.
    5. James Ferrell: to know where to look for infrastructure
    6. Jeff Armstrong: In managing the data. Because surveyors really deal in a high volume of data
    7. Mark Yeager: By continuing to improve property ownership information.
    8. Matt Bissett: relating projects more and bringing the projection information more into local coordinate systems and help bring large scale projects together.
    9. Rob Erickson: I do believe that a GIS system should be used for informational purposes only.
  5. What are the major remaining obstacles to surveyor's use of GIS?

    Six companies answered that the main one is a lack of understanding and training on the part of surveyors. Other answers included: the average age of surveyors; the cost of hardware, software, and training; the reliability and quality of GIS data; and the mindset of surveyors.


    1. Al Quickel: Accuracy—GIS is a field full of non-surveyors—and lack of education and training. Some surveyors, even some university-educated ones, have never used GIS and know little about it.
    2. Bruce Strack: Sadly, I believe it is the mindset of many surveyors. ... Surveyors seem to believe that GIS is just not accurate enough and therefore have shied away from it.
    3. Eric Haglund: I think the number one obstacle to surveyors using GIS is their understanding of the accuracy. ... Surveyors need to be involved in GIS from the beginning, so that the accuracy is set up correctly, you have the right bases, the right projections, and everything else.
    4. Janet Jackson: Surveyors need more education and training with GIS people.
    5. Jeff Armstrong: In a lot of cases, just understanding GIS. Surveyors are normally used to dealing in very accurate data.
    6. Mark Yeager: For most surveyors it is just not knowing a lot about GIS—how useful it can be, how can the surveyor get involved in GIS.
    7. Matt Bissett: I think a major remaining obstacle, especially in the Michigan area, is that we have many surveyors that approaching or near retirement. In the next five years more than 50 percent of the licensed surveyors in Michigan will retire.
    8. Randy Rambeau: I think one of them has historically been the reliability and the quality of the GIS data. It has certainly improved in the past few years and I definitely see a trend there that indicates that it's going to continue to improve and I think that with that happening that particular obstacle is going to become less and less.
    9. Rob Erickson: The biggest obstacle is overall cost, both software and hardware, and training to learn and use the software.
  6. What evolution in GIS would help surveyors the most?

    On this one, too, there was no consensus. Answers included: "Downloading and uploading information better," "More accuracy without requiring conversion," "Integrate CAD & GIS into single package," and "Reliability and quality of GIS data."


    1. Bruck Strack: Quite simply, funding and education.
    2. Jack Gnipp: We generally do not trust the data that's in GIS. ... But if GIS ever was under the direction of the land surveyor and it was certified by licensed land surveyors that the data was at a certain positional accuracy, then that's where the two could come together.
    3. James Ferrell: If GIS evolved into something that was significantly more accurate, without some sort of conversion process that has to occur in the field or in the office, then I think that certainly it would be a more useful tool.
    4. Janet Jackson: Possibly, making the software with some vocabulary and some of the tools that they routinely use integrated into GIS. That might help them make the transition and use some of the GIS software a little bit easier. I don't think surveyors are ever going to sit down and re-project things in a GIS environment, I don't think they're going to do the complex analysis. I think the reason they should become familiar with GIS and the correct way for them to use it is so that they can work in that environment comfortably, with accuracy and precision and efficiency, so that they can do their job faster.
    5. Jeff Armstrong: Just the ease in being able to import and export the data from traditional surveying software.
    6. Mark Yeager: It would be helpful to have both [CAD and GIS] software packages integrated into one.
    7. Matt Bissett: A company-wide standardization that, for example, would enable on-the-fly monumenting and real world coordination of control points. In other words, lets you use a coordinate system so that everything is related to each other, rather than the local coordinate systems.
    8. Randy Rambeau: The data that was saved 10 years ago or so was very suspect a lot of times and now that the quality of the data has improved and continues to improve I think that will help the survey side of it the most.
  7. What evolution in surveying would most improve the usefulness of GIS?

    No consensus. Answers included: "GPS data collecting," "Training on surveying software and equipment," "Use the same coordinates as clients," and "Inter-operability."


    1. Bruce Strack: The continued interoperability between systems is foremost. Many manufacturers of survey equipment have made great strides in allowing exportation of shapefiles and other GIS formats. Others have not. In order to improve the usefulness of GIS, the systems must continue to merge together both in hardware and software.
    2. Eric Haglund: What would improve it is the surveyors doing their surveys and their plattes on [the same system as their clients.] We use the Illinois state plane coordinate system. When the surveyor submits his plats or subdivisions, it comes into the GIS so you know exactly where it is.
    3. Matt Bissett: One of the most exciting things that has occurred in GIS is something that Autodesk did: now they have a functionality that links to our spatial database engine on the back end of the GIS. So, our production staff now can look at the data and do something with it without having to be trained in GIS. Their AutoCAD skills will take them through and into a GIS spatial database.
    4. Randy Rambeau: More GPS control, particularly on a nationwide level, so that the GIS data can be tied into accurate control data, is going to improve the quality and usefulness of the GIS data.
    5. Rob Erickson: GPS data collecting.
  8. As surveying continues its migration toward GPS-based systems, how will this change the relationship between surveying and GIS?

    Most respondents believe that this migration will be a "bridge" between surveyors and GIS—mostly because it forces everything into a coordinate system and increases the accuracy of GIS data collection.


    1. Al Quickel: If you establish GPS control and then use regular, conventional survey data, everything goes in smooth, everything works great. It's when you start assuming stuff that it comes out in the Gulf of Mexico.
    2. Bruce Strack: GPS allows surveyors to collect data in one system that can be related to any other project or area. Data from one project can be linked to another seamlessly. Regardless of the final deliverable, I see no reason why each and every survey point located or laid out can not be directly related to any other point at any other time.
    3. Jack Gnipp: Using GPS it is extremely easy to get on known datums—NAD83 (North American Datum of 1983) for horizontal data, NAVD88 (North American Vertical Datum of 1988) for a vertical datum. To geo-reference GIS, North American surveyors want to use those datums. So, that's certainly the common link between surveying and GIS.
    4. Janet Jackson: Hopefully these GPS-based systems are going to give both surveyors and GIS people a higher level of accuracy and assurance that we've captured the data correctly and thoroughly. Mapping-grade just doesn't seem to cut it for surveyors; they're not interested. They just walk off, in a huff sometimes. They're about precision and accuracy. As the migration to GPS-based systems gets closer and closer to sub-meter accuracy, within a foot or 6 inches, the surveyors are becoming more interested in collecting the data at that level.
    5. Mark Yeager: GPS allows non-surveyors the opportunity to gather information for a GIS. GPS has been a great thing for GIS, being able to build a framework, to put all of this stuff together on a state plane coordinate system or a grid.
    6. Randy Rambeau: More GPS control will certainly bring GIS closer to surveying grade accuracy in a lot of cases and I think that's going to be beneficial to everybody, including GIS surveyors and the general public.
    7. Rob Erickson: We have already been using GPS and GIS to perform at the municipal levels. GPS and GIS combined in this environment offers excellent data collection and integration.
    8. Steve Shambeck: I think it's got a great role in it because most of the public agencies that we have to turn our maps in to now want us to turn in an electronic file on a state coordinate system. And its very difficult to do that if you don't have GPS or unless you live in a very developed area like Orange County where they have coordinates on every intersection. So almost all of our map subdivision work is done on a coordinate basis as a result of using GPS and so it creates a product that makes it very easy for the agency, city or the county to take our map and link it with all the other maps and put it in the same basis.
  9. How do you see software changing to integrate surveying and GIS?

    Most respondents did not give me a clear answer, if any at all, on this question...


    1. Al Quickel: GPS processing software packages allow importing of terrestrial data and basic CAD functionality & export directly to GIS usable files. This saves the user from exporting, importing, converting data, merging data, and re-exporting ad nausium. Some sub-meter accuracy GPS systems can be operated using a PDA with GIS software built in, allowing mapping directly to GIS data files in the field.
    2. Bruce Strack: In order to integrate surveying and GIS, interoperability is key. The ability to have seamless transfers of data between systems can only improve the process.
    3. Eric Haglund: a lot of the software out there is leaning toward and providing some sort of GIS capability, so that eventually surveying and GIS will probably be intermixed: the surveyor will provide data for the GIS system.
    4. Janet Jackson: Trimble and ESRI could possibly do more teaming, just for the application when GIS and surveyors are going to work together on a project.
    5. Randy Rambeau: The more that GIS software can accommodate and process good survey data, the more accurate that is going to make the GIS database and the GIS data.
  10. Are younger/new surveyors using GIS more?

    Finally, there was near unanimity on this one: yes! New surveyors have a lot more training in GIS and are more open to new technology.


    1. Al Quickel: Younger surveyors seem to be more interested in GPS, GIS, Laser scanning, and other non-conventional surveying methods, but surveyors tend to be a dynamic group, with older/experienced surveyors on board with newer technology as well.
    2. Bruce Strack: Absolutely! Young surveyors are being taught GIS at the same time they are being taught land surveying. They are more open to the ideas and the technology. Unlike many of their older counterparts, they do not have any pre-conceived notions of the discipline and most importantly realize the benefits of integrating the two.
    3. Paul Lebaron: They are definitely more interested, we see it in the resumes coming in. Younger surveyors are more apt to go with the newer technology than the guys who have been here for 20 years.
    4. Eric Haglund: I don't know whether they're using it more, but they're trained in it so they do understand it and they understand what it can and can't do. That's where I see the younger surveyors coming in. If you get a degree now you have some classes in GIS.
    5. Jack Gnipp: The new, younger surveyors we hire are generally at the entry level and are construction type surveyors, so they don't have a link to GIS at all. Upcoming college graduates that get into land surveying at the LSIT level I think will have a background in GIS.
    6. Janet Jackson: They're not using it more but they're more interested.
    7. Jeff Armstrong: Absolutely, they are being trained, in a lot of cases, coming out of colleges. Some of their coursework now is GIS-based. At the bottom level they are starting to get a lot of GIS training and information, which the older surveyors, obviously did not have a chance to.
    8. Mark Yeager: Yes, they most likely are, just because if they are new, most likely they are coming out of college or they've had some software applications for GIS and computers and technology are what sells young people in the business. That's where I see [young people] a little ahead of older surveyors, who don't know as much about the products and the processes.
    9. Rob Erickson: Younger surveyors are using it along with GPS. There still is a wide vision that GIS is only a mapping software. The people who see the remarkable benefits a GIS/GPS system can foster some great possibilities for local governments.
Company URL State
Atwell-Hicks, Inc. www.atwell-hicks.com MI
Bramhall Engineering & Surveying Company www.bramhall-engineering.com OH
Draper Aden Associates www.daa.com VA
Dyer, Riddle, Mills & Precourt, Inc www.drmp.com FL
Ehrhart Griffin & Associates Inc www.ehrhartgriffin.com CO
Hall & Foreman Inc www.hfinc.com CA
Judith Nitsch Engineering , Inc. www.jnei.com MA
KS Associates, Inc. www.ksassoc.com OH
McKim & Creed, P.A. www.mckimcreed.com NC
Mid-Valley Engineering www.mvengineering.com CA
Smith Engineering Consultants Inc www.smithengineering.com IL
The Schneider Corporation www.schneider.com IN
Tye Engineering & Surveying Inc www.tyeengineering.com OR
WK Dickson & Co., Inc. www.wkdickson.com NC

Briefly Noted

On June 28, on the front page of its "Business Day" section, the New York Times ran a story titled "With a Cellphone As My Guide: In Japan, Hand-Held Navigation Is Making It Harder to Get Lost." It includes the following statement: "According to the market research firm Frost & Sullivan, the [U.S.] market for location-based applications of all kinds will grow from $90 million last year to about $600 million in 2008."

News Briefs

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


    1. Pinnacle Mapping Technologies, Inc., in cooperation with its flying partner Great Lakes Aerial Surveys, has purchased the DiMAC 2.0 digital aerial camera from DIMAC Systems, LLC - a joint venture of DIMAC Systems, s.a.r.l. of Luxemburg and VXServices, LLC, of Longmont, Colorado. This will allow Pinnacle to acquire high quality digital aerial imagery for its photogrammetric operations. Besides incorporating all of the essential requirements for a large format digital aerial camera, the DiMAC also offers a flexible and upgradeable solution that will allow Pinnacle to follow the evolution of area CCD sensors, leading to larger footprints and a simpler operation.

    2. Merrick & Company—a LIDAR, digital ortho-imaging, photogrammetry, and GIS mapping company—was awarded a $345,000 contract to deliver raw and processed LIDAR data, 2-foot contours, and a DEM for 1,650 square miles of Stearns County, Minnesota and a small portion of two neighboring counties, Sherburne and Benton. The project is funded by Stearns County, seven local municipalities, a watershed district, and a soil and water conservation district.

      Stearns County is located in central Minnesota and is home to more than 140,000 residents. The county has experienced steady annual growth of approximately three-percent in the recent past, and presently has approximately 72,000 parcels. The new LIDAR and derived data will be used throughout the county by various public and private entities for flood insurance analysis, planning and zoning studies for new subdivisions, watershed management, assessing land value based on production potential in agricultural zones, and supporting GIS applications.

    3. The National Spill Control School in Corpus Christi, Texas, is using GPS-Photo Link software from GeoSpatial Experts to teach emergency personnel how to respond to spills of oil, chemicals, and other hazardous materials. The school recommends using GPS photo mapping techniques in a GIS environment as part of response preparedness.

      GPS-Photo Link is a digital image mapping software that saves time and money by automatically linking digital photographic images to GPS location data in the GIS environment. GPS-Photo Link creates Web pages in which the watermarked photographs are integrated with satellite imagery, street maps, or other GIS-based mapping layer. New functionality added in the most recent software version enables users to display their photo locations as icons in a Google Earth map layer and add an arrow indicating the direction in which the photo was taken.

      Affiliated with Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, The National Spill Control School opened in 1977 to focus on oil spill response tactics but has since expanded to include courses on emergency procedures related to hazardous material spills and other natural disasters. In preparation for GIS-simulated training exercises, school instructors photograph features and areas across the host facility taking part in the drill. GPS-Photo Link software is used to integrate these photos into the GIS map so that participants can click on a geocoded icon to view a feature that may be affected by a spreading oil spill or chemical plume.

    4. The U.S. Forest Service has recently awarded a multi-year contract to Forest One, a company that applies remote sensing and spatial technologies to forestry, to develop new software and algorithms that will transform LiDAR data into usable forest inventory biometric information.

      In recent years, Forest One has introduced many new technologies to the forest and land management industries. This project will leverage Forest One's unique capabilities in forest biometrics and LiDAR data processing. The primary objective of the project is to improve existing methods for detecting and describing individual trees using LiDAR data, which is similar to radar data but more detailed. To accomplish this goal, Forest One will build upon prior work done in the U.S. Southeast. The U.S. Forest Service will use the resulting technology to make its Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program more efficient and accurate.

      In addition to the Forest Service contract, Forest One is also pursuing its own internal research initiatives that will bring LiDAR-derived forest inventory to the commercial market. Forest One's work is primarily focused on improving the economics of LiDAR-based forest inventory, making it more accurate and, more importantly, less expensive than traditional field inventories. Forest One has the support of numerous forest industry companies and large land owners and expects to begin initial pilot implementations with existing customers in the coming year.

    5. The State of New Hampshire has selected Applied Geographics, Inc. (AppGeo) to prepare strategic and business plans for the ongoing development of GIS data and services for the State. The plan will help New Hampshire to align itself more closely with the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and the Fifty States Initiative being coordinated by NSGIC (National States Geographic Information Council) and FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee) through the Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP).

    6. Tensing, an international provider of mobile and GIS solutions, has earned status as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. Tensing achieved this program status in two competency categories—ISV/Software Solutions and Mobility Solutions. Microsoft Gold Certified Partners are the elite Microsoft Business Partners who earn the highest customer endorsement. They have the knowledge, skills, and commitment to help implement technology solutions that match exact business needs of clients. According to Microsoft, Microsoft Gold Certified Partners have passed the highest level of requirements from Microsoft and have demonstrated the most robust, efficient and scalable implementations of Microsoft technologies in demonstrated enterprise customer deployments or an on-site Microsoft assessment.

    7. Cadcorp, a developer of digital mapping and GIS software, has appointed Swift LG as a business partner for the UK local authorities market sector. Part of the Swift Computing Group, Swift LG specializes in the development and provision of integrated software applications for the public sector and has over 70 UK local authorities as customers. The Swift LG product portfolio includes applications for GIS, local land charges (LLC), planning, building control and enforcements, environmental health, licensing, abandoned vehicles, and document image processing.


    1. Applanix has introduced a new waterproof exterior casing for its marine-based onboard position and orientation (POS) technologies, POS MV. The new case allows Applanix POS MV inertial measurement units to be set up in exposed areas that may become vulnerable to water submersion or severe exposure to the elements. The cover is compliant with IP68 specifications and is waterproof in depths up to 10 meters.

      Designed specifically to protect Applanix' POS MV hardware, the new cover is rugged, durable, and comes with a waterproof connector and cable that plug directly into the standard MV computer system. POS MV for marine vessels is a user-friendly, turnkey system that provides accurate attitude, heading, heave, position, and velocity data, and represents the latest in state-of-the-art inertial / GPS technology. The system maintains position and orientation accuracy under the most demanding sea conditions, regardless of vessel dynamics. With its high data update rate, POS MV delivers a full six degrees-of-freedom position and orientation solution.

    2. ESRI has released a new version of the GIS Portal Toolkit. GIS Portal Toolkit 3 includes improved installation and configuration, better metadata management and access control, and integration with ArcGIS Desktop.

      The GIS Portal Toolkit is a technology and services solution for implementing local, regional, national, and global spatial data infrastructure portals. GIS portals organize content (using metadata) and services such as directories, search tools, community information, support resources, data, and applications. Metadata records can be queried for relevant data and services and can link directly to online sites that host content services. The content can be visualized as maps and used in geographic queries and analyses. GIS portals are also designed for interoperability and comply with finalized OGC specification standards.

      GIS Portal Toolkit 3 offers enhancements that meet the needs of users, publishers, channel stewards, and GIS portal administrators. These enhancements include the following: all users can now set symbology for Web Feature Services as well as download data from a predefined ArcIMS Data Delivery extension server; registered users and publishers can update their user profile and contact information as well as change their password; publishers can register one or more metadata repositories for harvesting, control access to published metadata by employing user groups, and create metadata records for Web services using online forms; channel stewards can benefit from a simplified Channel Editor user interface and online help; and GIS portal administrators can now view all users registered with a GIS portal, upgrade and delete them, manage channels, and view harvesting reports.

      In addition, the overall architecture and user interface of the GIS Portal Toolkit have been updated. Also, the GIS Portal Toolkit now offers improved validation and internationalization as well as simplified setup using a new configuration tool.

    3. GlobeXplorer's AirPhotoUSA has released the first comprehensive collection of 1-foot resolution aerial photography for the United States. The new offerings will be the highest resolution off-the-shelf seamless imagery commercially available on a nationwide basis. GlobeXplorer and AirPhotoUSA will make this data available through a combined suite of online and offline products.

      AirPhotoUSA has more than 100,000 square miles in acquisition so far for 2006 at 1-foot resolution, and a goal of several hundred thousand by year's end, more than anyone else in the marketplace. The imagery will be made available on DVD in AirPhotoUSA's Photomapper product, as well as online through GlobeXplorer's Web services for mappers (ImageConnect), consumers/real estate (ImageAtlas), and application developers (ImageBuilder).


    1. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) have announced the Second Geospatial Integration for Public Safety Conference (formerly URISA's Addressing Conference: Street Smart and Address Savvy) to be held April 15-17 in New Orleans. This conference is designed to bring together GIS professionals, addressing coordinators, 9-1-1 and emergency response specialists for a networking and learning opportunity.

      The Conference Program Committee is encouraging the submission of abstracts. The Committee, consisting of NENA and URISA members, will organize an educational program based upon the abstracts submitted through this Call for Presentations. All abstract submissions, received by August 4, 2006 will be reviewed and considered for this comprehensive educational program.

      The Committee has specified three general program tracks for this year's conference and has provided topic ideas for each (all abstracts will be considered for the program—whether or not they fit directly into one of these tracks): Addressing Basics, Coordination, and Standards; Emergency Response and 9-1-1; and Case Studies of GIS Integration with Public Safety.

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