2006 July 27

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Land Voyage

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Editor's Introduction

This week I report on a project in San Diego to develop a tool to help make the city safer for pedestrians. This should be a hot topic for geospatial professionals, since about 16,000 of us will be spending a week in the most congested part of that city during the upcoming ESRI International User Conference. I also profile a company, R7 Solutions, that specializes in building mission-critical Web GIS applications for government agencies and large energy companies. What first brought the company to my attention was a website that they built as a companion to a book on nuclear weapons. (I have a graduate degree in international security from M.I.T., so this subject is my old stomping ground.) Finally, I bring to your attention two New York Times articles, one with a bearing on remote sensing, the other on amateur mapping. Plus, my usual round-up of news from press releases.


Pedestrian Priority Model

I get around my city — Eugene, Oregon — mostly by walking and bicycling (plus I frequently take the bus and occasionally ride my motorcycle). That is why one presentation, among the hundreds scheduled for the upcoming Twenty-Sixth Annual ESRI International User Conference, caught my attention. It is titled "City of San Diego Pedestrian Priority Model" and it is part of the Accessibility, Mode Choice, and Pedestrian Safety session in the Transportation track. (The presentation is scheduled for 8:30 on August 8, in room 23A.) The presenter, Joe Punsalan, GISP, is an Associate GIS Analyst at KTU+A, a landscape architecture and environmental planning firm. I discussed with Punsalan the goals, challenges, and findings of the project.

Why was KTU+A hired for this project? Because we have a GIS approach to pedestrian projects throughout the city. Even though we do a lot of landscape architecture planning, GIS is one of our bread and butter capabilities.

Figure 1: Pedestrian generators utilize demographic data as indicators of potential volume of pedestrians based on densities of population, employment, income, age, disabilities, and mixed land use. These areas that have more people working and living in them are also more likely to have more people walking.

What is the project's goal? It is supposed to look at all the pedestrian issues and problems within the City of San Diego, evaluate them, and make suggestions for improvements. We are focusing on what major corridors, such as major arterial streets and connector streets, lack in pedestrian facilities and what can be done to improve them.

Within the City, who is your client? The Planning Department and the Transportation Engineering Operations Division.

What was your mandate? To create a safer walking environment within the City of San Diego.

What is the City trying to achieve? They want a plan such that they can look at a community, identify the problems, look at the plan and say, "OK, these are the limiting factors to pedestrian access." The plan is supposed to give solutions, as far as how to solve those issues. For example, if there was an area without any pedestrian walk signals, does the plan call for implementing them? Is it feasible to install them in those intersections? The plan is like a tool box, a guide, to show them examples of what they can do. Then they would have to go through a lot more traffic engineering, evaluation, and so forth. The plan will allow them to understand what the issues are and the potential solutions.

What is your deliverable? Our report was supposed to be a pedestrian manual. The project went up and down as far as what the City wanted. We did a couple of drafts and we got to a point where the City is OK with it and we are moving forward with it.

What is your timeline? We started in February of last year. The bulk of the project was the model itself. We went through many iterations of the factors that went into it. Right now the project is on hold, because the City has received extra money to identify small communities in which to run pilot programs. We will see what worked and what didn't and then go from there. The model helps identify the communities in which to do tests.

Figure 2: This slide shows the convergence of the three different models used to generate one composite model to identify where there is high pedestrian activity and where pedestrian issues occur.

Did you look at accident data? Yes, that was one of the major factors that went into the model.

Is your task to set up a system that the City can use or to actually identify the challenges to pedestrian viability? All of that. We look at existing conditions, what are the issues with pedestrian safety, where are these issues occurring, and then try to come up with solutions as to how to solve those issues.

What GIS do you use? We use primarily ArcINFO coverages and ArcGIS 9.1.

What data do you use? We've gotten data primarily from the City of San Diego, SANDAG, and the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Figure 3: This slide shows the steps to identify the communities for future pilot programs based on their GIS model scores.

What were some of your key challenges? Some of the challenges were defining the data. For example, deciding what kind of population densities we wanted to use, what constituted high pedestrian attractors—such as schools, transit stops, and the international border. If the data was available we wanted to use it. Once we had an inventory of the data, it was a matter of sitting with the working group, which was a mix of city employees, consultants, and members of the community—for a total of 20-25 people. One of the challenges was identifying the breaks in population density. We also studied the pedestrian plans for the cities of Denver, Sacramento, and Oakland, as a guide.

Did you look at breaks in population density because different densities dictate different traffic patterns and signals? Exactly. We looked for high usage, basically. Where are the people walking? We had to find the breaks for population densities and for employment density. We used Census Bureau data to find out in what areas most people are walking to work, the prevalence of disabilities (which make people more likely to walk), income, and age density. For example, people under 16 and over 65 years of age are more likely to walk than drive—to the grocery store, a friend's house, across the street.

Did you consider access to retail? Yes, we looked at neighborhood and community retail, as one of the attractions people would walk to.

What are some other attractions? They are parks and recreation, beaches, and neighborhood civic facilities (such as libraries, post offices, and elementary schools). We looked at which one of those people are most likely to be walking to and from, and that is how we ranked what we called the pedestrian attractors. We then buffered them out to different distances. If you are within an eighth of a mile from an attractor, you are more likely to walk there, so those got a higher score. We were trying to figure out, realistically, what distance people are most likely to walk. We have an attractor model, which looks at where people are going to go. We have a generator model, that's where people are coming from. And we have a detractor model: what are the factors that keep people from walking to a certain place?

In San Diego, can you walk from any point to any other point? No, there are many barriers. The topography dictates where people are going to walk.

Did you make any surprising discoveries? The model proved our assumptions: the closer you are to the core of the city, the more people are walking, and the more accidents occur. Conversely, the further out you go toward suburbia, the less people walk and the fewer accidents occur. We found a few hot spots, then discovered the reason, such as a new shopping center.

Did you track any pedestrians using GPS receivers? No, there was no budget for that.

Robust Web GIS

Increasingly, GIS are migrating to the Web, or being developed from the start as Web applications, so as to make them as easily accessible as possible to all potential users. Of course, the requirements vary greatly from GIS to GIS, along several axes—such as accuracy, robustness, bandwidth, processing speed, and functions.

This week I came across an exceedingly simple yet extremely robust Web GIS application. Users input a ZIP code and the application returns a "blast map" centered on the centroid of the ZIP code area's polygon. The map, consisting simply of three concentric circles, shows the devastation that would be wrought by a 10 kiloton nuclear weapon (5,000 times less powerful than the largest ever tested) at different distances from the blast. Built as a companion to the book Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, by Harvard University professor Graham Allison, the application has held up to millions of hits over the past two years—peaking every time Allison demonstrates the application on national television.

Figure 1: The screen after zooming into a random area of Houston, Texas, and running a search on the non-spatial criteria specified in the search window and the spatial criterion of constraining that search to the current extent

The "blast maps" site is so robust because it was built by R7 Solutions—a company based in Houston, Texas, that specializes in complex, mission-critical Web GIS applications for government agencies and large energy and real estate companies. R7 was founded five and a half years ago by seven graduates of Rice University and still has strong ties to the academic research community. Last week, it released version 3.1 of its flagship software suite, GeoRoom, a Web-based mapping and collaboration server available as a hosted service or licensed for a local server. The previous week it launched an enterprise server for the City of Houston. I discussed these applications with Bryan Guido Hassin, the company's Managing Partner.

Why is the "blast maps" site so simple? [Our clients] were very afraid of over-stimulating the public and freaking people out. To me the challenges with this application were more on the performance side than on the sophistication side. We decided to construct everything dynamically so that, if the client later wanted to let people enter addresses or intersections or public places of interest, the application would support that and be able to dynamically render those blast maps anywhere.

What other enhancements would you recommend for this application?

How did your company end up developing this site? Lisa Sweeney, Head of GIS Services at MIT, contacted us about this project because she knew of our reputation in high-performance, high-availability hosted Web GIS applications. Her colleagues a few miles away at Harvard had approached her for a vendor recommendation as neither school wanted to assume the costly burden of building, maintaining, and hosting a sophisticated Web GIS application.

What makes such an application so costly? Experts with Web development skills and GIS skills and enterprise database skills are rare and expensive. The server software platforms for Web GIS cost tens of thousands of dollars for an annual license. [Additionally,] an often overlooked cost associated with deploying a Web GIS is that of maintaining and hosting the application. A Web GIS needing to serve thousands or millions of hits a day must be hosted with ultra high availability: multiple, high-bandwidth connections to the Internet, redundant hardware and power infrastructures, geographically displaced backups for immediate fail-over in the event of some catastrophic event, etc. Plus, the server software platforms for Web GIS are notoriously finicky and have a very high cost of ownership. On top of all that, geospatial data often needs to be updated periodically, requiring hard dollars for the data acquisition and soft dollars for the time spent doing the updates.

What services do you offer? Our software engineers turn project requirements into a robust, high-performance Web GIS, but we also assume the very costly burden of maintaining and hosting [the application]. This is one of the main reasons that [the hosted version of our] Web GIS, GeoRoom, has been so successful. Clients ranging in GIS sophistication from never having heard of GIS to having large, in-house GIS departments are able to access spatial data over the Web with the flip of a switch. Furthermore, GeoRoom allows our users to attach documents, notes, and electronic business processes to geographic features on their maps and share them with other users from their organization. It also allows users to edit, create, and delete shapes and attribute information over the Web.

Where do you get the data? R7 has a tremendous amount of global data (streets, parcels, parcel ownership records, floodplains, wells, pipelines, imagery, school districts, demographics, etc.) that we are able to leverage to help our clients get up and running as quickly as possible and that we update on an ongoing basis. Many of our users have their own data already that they prefer to use instead of, or in addition to, our data. For example, many of our clients in the real estate industry have marketing studies they have done that they need overlaid on our parcel and demographic data. Or many of our energy industry clients want to attach their well logs, lease documents, and safety inspection reports to specific wells, platforms, or pipeline segments on the map.

Who are your hosting partners? Our main hosting partner is iLand. We like to have geographically disparate hosting partners, so that we can host redundant systems in different areas of the world, in case one goes down. [For the "blast maps" site] we specifically chose the same hosting partners that we use for all the mission-critical GIS Web applications that we build and host. They are ultra secure, they have bio-informatics, palm scanners, and guards with big guns. They are pretty remote and removed from major urban areas. They are in facilities that are reputed to be nuclear bomb-, flood, hurricane-, tornado-, and other natural disaster-proof. They sit right on the Level 3 Internet backbone of the world, so that they have great, multiple Internet connections, high availability, multiple sources of power and connectivity, redundant systems with automatic fail-over, and remote administration.

It sounds like you are talking about the U.S. Strategic Command or NORAD rather than a Web hosting facility! Most of our clients are in the energy industry—not academic institutions that just want a cool visual tool to go along with a book that they are promoting. We have built software that helps them manage emergency response. For example, pipeline companies that have to be able to respond in the event of something going wrong with one of their pipelines or a big explosion or some kind of disaster at a plant. Ultimately, we view our clients as all at that level of urgency and mission-critical security, so we need our applications to be up and available all the time.

How does GeoRoom apply to the oil and gas industry? When a large exploration and production company sells an asset—say, a well or a lease—traditionally what they've done is they've put together a 'data room' with every piece of information possibly related to that asset. For a well, it might have well logs, production data, financial data, lease documents associated with that well, seismic data related to the earth underneath that well, all the information that they have from all the different parts of their company that are related to that asset. GeoRoom was created to be an online data room, for any kind of information. We've really specialized in that, using Web GIS as the integrator, essentially, for disparate sources of information. What we aim to do, is help companies increase their return on knowledge investment by opening up their information to everyone who may want to have access to it in the company.

Figure 2: This screen shot shows the results of a spatial selection of wells performed by an analyst at an exploration and production (E&P) company with assets in the Gulf of Mexico. Bathymetry, lease blocks, counties, shipping fairways, and wells are currently enabled in GeoRoom’s map window. The spatial selection of "wells" queries six different data sources, although it is presented to the user as a single "well" layer:

  1. Well location, point layer in ESRI ArcSDE, including API as an attribute column
  2. Well operator, non-spatial Access database, including API as a column
  3. Oil production, non-spatial Oracle database, including API as a column
  4. Gas production, non-spatial SQL Server database, including API as a column and UWI as a column
  5. Water production, non-spatial DB2 database, including UWI as a column
  6. Well manager, non-spatial SharePoint list, including UWI as a field

GeoRoom joins all of these data sources dynamically, in real-time, using the common keys between each data source. This enables the geo-spatial analysis of non-spatial data, such as: "Show me all the operators (non-spatial Access table) that are producing more than 10,000 barrels of oil a day (non-spatial Oracle table) whose wells are within the bounds of a polygon I draw on the map (spatial point layer in ArcSDE)." Many of R7's oil and gas clients use GeoRoom to integrate financial data, seismic data, and documents (well logs, lease documents, safety inspection reports, etc.) to their well layers as well.

What kind of data can GeoRoom handle? [It can draw from] extremely different types of information. Some of it may be spatial data, [such as] well location. Then [oil companies] might have some completely non-spatial data, such as financial data related to those wells or well production information, which might be stored in a SQL-server data base—[without any] notion of Xs and Ys, latitudes and longitudes. And then you get even further away from the structured spatial data paradigm into completely unstructured content, like documents stored in document management systems, images, files sitting out there on a network server, XML feeds coming in over the Internet. We use GeoRoom to tie all of those data together into a map-based context, so that users can access all of their company's information over the Web—without having to install any special software or go through any special training.

What kinds of clients do you have? They are about as disparate as they come, actually. We started in the oil and gas business, but our objective was always to use our R&D to build products that could solve analogous problems in other industries. So we [began] using exactly the same software, which is very data-agnostic, for the real estate industry and now for government agencies as well. We are now deploying GeoRoom at the City of Houston so that they can attach work orders to actual geographic assets that they have out in the field, so that people can log on and specify which areas of the city they need to actually work on.

What are the key ideas behind GeoRoom? There are three. Number one, the ability to integrate all of these disparate data sources into a single map-oriented interface very rapidly, without modifying anyone else's system. Number two, the ability to use geographic tools to drive non-geographic analyses and vice versa. Number three, the democratization of GIS—to make it available over the Web; people don't need to install special software or undergo special training. [We are] helping to push out GIS data and functionality to everyone.

What are GeoRoom's technical foundations? It uses Microsoft .NET version 2.0 as its basic software platform and [mostly does] all of that dynamic data integration. It can pull in many different types of data and it views them all generically as exactly the same type of data source. Then we have built data adaptors that allow it to access an Oracle or a SQL Server database or a Microsoft Sharepoint site all in the same way. It uses ESRI's ArcIMS (Internet Map Server) to create a map and a Microsoft Excel Web component to display attribute information when our users select information off of the map. That way, they can sort it, filter it, and use it to generate maps, charts, and graphs. They can then use Excel to drive the map as well: they can select information, sort it, drill down, only select a few of the rows in the Excel spreadsheet, click a button, and it will highlight just [that data] on the map and zoom into them. We exposed all of our functionality with XML Web services, so that our clients can either use our out-of-the-box Web interface or they can integrate it with their existing application, just by using our XML API. We use ArcSDE on the back end to help us do the online shape editing, creation, and deleting.

Do you plan to productize GeoRoom? GeoRoom is already productized in version 3.1. We have two models for it: the hosted model and a deployed enterprise server license. Most of our energy clients, especially the larger ones, choose the latter, because they have GIS departments and large IT departments, and they have the technological maturity to maintain it and host it themselves. Our smaller clients or our clients who are not in industries that typically have large GIS departments, such as real estate, tend to subscribe to our ASP model. The City of Houston has a whole department devoted to building and maintaining ArcIMS. In their case, we deploy our server software and they overlay it on top of their ArcIMS instance. The city of Hope, Arkansas, one of the smallest in the United States, wanted access to Web GIS functionality, but there was no way that they could afford building a Web GIS practice within their very small municipality.

Briefly Noted

According the July 22 New York Times, NASA has deleted the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet" from its mission statement. The article, titled "NASA's Goals Delete Mention Of Home Planet," by Andrew C. Revkin, reviews the history of the statement, the probable motivations for the change, and its impact on remote sensing.

The same day's New York Times also has a half-page article on the re-drawing of Congressional districts in Texas, titled "Ruling Has Texans Puzzling Over Districts: Court Order Brings a Flood of Proposals for New Boundaries," by Rick Lyman. The article includes the following paragraph: "In the last 10 or 15 years, it's become technically possible on a desk-top computer, with the right software, for anybody and their uncle to generate their own very sophisticated maps like this," said Calvin C. Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. "So this allows interest groups, interested members of Congress, political parties, pretty much everybody to develop their own maps. This has made the process a little more complex, but a lot more open."

News Briefs

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


    1. An investment group led by Shah Capital Partners (SCP) has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Thales Navigation, a division of Thales. Co-investors who participated with SCP in the transaction included Tudor Group, Galleon Group, Consolidated Press Holdings, AIG SunAmerica, and Eli Broad. Thales Navigation manufactures consumer, survey, GIS, and OEM GPS receivers for positioning and navigation

      The company is the creator of the Magellan RoadMate series portable car navigation systems, the Magellan eXplorist outdoor handheld navigation devices, the Hertz NeverLost car navigation system, and ProMark, the best-selling single frequency GPS survey product line on the market. The company is recognized worldwide through its Magellan brand and has experienced 200 percent consumer revenue growth over the past three years as GPS technology has proliferated across a range of consumer and commercial applications.

      The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2006. The new company will be named Magellan Navigation, Inc. and will be headquartered in San Dimas, California.

    2. OneGIS has implemented a school bus route website with the assistance of the staff of the Forsyth County, Georgia, Board of Education. The team built the site using OnPoint Professional from Orion Technology, an extension to ESRI's ArcIMS Internet map server technology, to provide county school bus route information to the public.

      Forsyth County is located in the northern part of the Atlanta metropolitan area and has a population of more than 140,000. It is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation with a 6.4 percent annual growth rate. With 28 percent of the population under the age of 18, the board of education has quite a challenge routing school buses and keeping parents, teachers and students informed of those routes and the nearest bus stop for students.

      The board turned to OneGIS to help them implement a website that would ease the burden of getting school bus route information to the public. The implementation of the website has been separated into two parts. Part one involves the installation and configuration of OnPoint Professional, which allows parents and students to find bus stops, bus routes, schools, and attendance zones. Users of the website can search for a student's bus route based on their address. All students' addresses have been geocoded in the county ArcGIS database from which the website draws its data. Future plans include the ability to allow board of education staff internal access to the website to provide a comprehensive view of maintenance history for each facility and look up student information such as address, parent contact numbers, grade history, class schedule, etc.

      The second part of the implementation involves the development of a two-way interface between ArcGIS and the board's Infinite Campus system—an Education Process Management (EPM) system, which combines multiple student data management programs into a single integrated application that automates, manages, and controls processes throughout the education enterprise. As a student's information is entered or modified in Infinite Campus, the interface automatically updates the GIS with the student location and other attributes such as the school, grade level, etc. If the student is new or has moved, the new location is geocoded. The GIS then uses the geocoded location to assign the student to a bus route and a specific bus stop. The GIS is also used to create and modify routes and stops. The resulting information is then sent back to Infinite Campus through the interface.

    3. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is deploying GeoDecisions' IRRIS technology to better safeguard the health and welfare of the Commonwealth's citizens. Among its capabilities, IRRIS technology integrates data from various sources, such as real-time weather and traffic, and displays information in a user-friendly map or tabular format. Using this technology, VDH employees across the Commonwealth have the ability to access, analyze, visualize, and share certain public health data in order to identify trends, track disease outbreaks and vaccines, and resolve public health threats. IRRIS can support local health issues, as well as major regional, state, and national events.

      When complete, the application will provide a Web-based interface for access to static and real-time information in an intelligent and intuitive map-centric environment.


    1. QCoherent Software, LLC, provider of Limitless LIDAR software tools, has released LP360 version 1.2, LIDAR extension for the ESRI ArcGIS environment. LP360 employs a specially-designed ArcMap data layer to access and draw LIDAR points directly from LAS files. LP360's architecture supports enormous quantities of point cloud data and facilitates its integration with other GIS data types supported by ArcGIS. Requiring only a standard ArcView license, the LP360 extension installs quickly and easily.

    2. Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd., has launched zumo, a GPS receiver designed for motorcyclists. The launch coincided with National Ride to Work Day and the unit will be unveiled this week at the MotoGP U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.

      With a glove-friendly design featuring left-handed controls and oversized touchscreen buttons on a high-bright display, Bluetooth "hands-free-to-helmet" wireless technology capability, and a rugged locking mount, zumo is at home on virtually any motorcycle or scooter.

      Zumo features a 3.5-inch (diagonal) high-bright, sunlight readable touchscreen display, encased in a waterproof housing made of plastics that resist damage from fuel splashes and UV light. In addition to the touchscreen, zumo has four dedicated left-handed buttons for quick input. Zumo is equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, which acquires and maintains a GPS signal even in heavy foliage or "urban canyons" created by city skyscrapers. The navigator also features solid state memory, which mitigates the effects of vibration, shock, cold, heat—and displays and redraws maps faster.

      Zumo is secured to the motorcycle with a locking mount that has waterproof power and data cable connections and is able to withstand the severe vibration environment commonly experienced in motorcycle riding. A rechargeable user-removable lithium-ion battery (three-hour typical use) is integrated into zumo for trip planning or use on foot.

      Bluetooth capability makes it possible for riders to retrieve and dial numbers using a supported phone's contact list or from the phone's call history log. A user can also make calls from zumo's huge points of interest database that includes hotels, restaurants, stores, and much more. In addition, the Bluetooth connectivity also gives motorcyclists the ability to receive and place phone calls as well as receive turn-by-turn voice prompts wirelessly to Bluetooth-enabled headsets or helmets. More than 200 Bluetooth phones are supported.

      Zumo features a 10,000-point tracklog, allowing users to record even the longest of rides—and the included MapSource DVD lets motorcyclists relive a memorable tour on their home computer through the 3-D Google Earth interface. Riders can also plan upcoming trips on their computer, and swap routes and waypoints with other zumo owners via the unit's SD card slot.

      Users can also access zumo's trip computer page for trip information like speed, heading, and a customizable fuel gauge that allows users to define their motorcycle's maximum fuel range. When zumo calculates that the motorcycle is low on fuel, it automatically reminds the rider and suggests a route to a nearby gas station. Zumo also has a compass page and accepts electronic topo maps—making it the ultimate off-road navigator. For those long trips, riders can stay entertained with zumo's built-in MP3 player.

      Zumo comes pre-loaded with full North American data, and includes millions of points of interest—places like hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and attractions. Full and partial European map versions are also available. Zumo gives turn-by-turn directions via multiple language and gender voice guidance with spoken street names and either 3-D or 2-D maps.

      The map data is provided by NAVTEQ. The device also allows customers to load customized points of interest (POIs) such as safety cameras and school zones, and zumo is compatible with Garmin's Tour Guide—a free utility that allows users to build and upload a database of POIs that are encoded with photos and MP3 files. For added versatility, zumo is also compatible with Garmin Travel Guides, and SaversGuide.

      Real-time traffic is an option through either an FM RDS-TMC (Traffic Message Channel) traffic receiver or XM NavTraffic (U.S. only) receiver. When the optional traffic service is activated, zumo calculates routes that navigate around traffic. Accidents, road construction, or other incidents affecting traffic are graphically represented as icons on the navigation map. Information relating to a traffic incident is also available including the precise location, lanes affected, and the predicted duration. Customers selecting the XM NavTraffic receiver can also access XM's weather forecasts, current conditions, and county warnings as well as over 170 channels of XM Radio.

      Riders can personalize zumo to match their particular bike's color scheme and attitude with custom caps. Silver and black caps come standard with the unit, and others are available on the Garmin website. Owners can also customize zumo's opening splashscreen to depict a one-of-a-kind photo with the help of the unit's jpeg picture viewer. And because even the most dedicated rider sometimes travels by car, zumo comes with an automotive mount and speaker. Zumo is also equipped with Garmin Lock, an anti-theft system that disables the unit until the owner types in a specific 4-digit PIN or takes the unit to a predetermined secure location.

      Zumo comes with pre-loaded City Navigator NT map data and companion DVD-ROM, a motorcycle mount and mounting hardware with 12/24 volt power cable, an automotive mount with 12v cigarette lighter power cable, carrying case, logo stickers, AC charging cable, dashboard adhesive disk, USB interface cable, owner's manual on disc, and quick reference guide. Zumo is expected to be available in October 2006.

    3. GeoDataSource has launched GeoDataSource website, together with its flagship product, GeoDataSource World Cities Database, a geographical features and landmarks database complete with such information as latitude and longitude coordinates, region and country information, and officially recognized names.

      The latest version of GeoDataSource Cities Database Gold Edition contains 2,970,290 entries with city names in original language and English, feature type classifications, country names in FIPS and ISO, regions, sub-regions, state or First-Order Administrative Division, county or Second-Order Administrative Division, longitude and latitude in degrees and decimal minutes, Univeral Transverse Mercator coordinate grid, and Joint Operations Graphic reference.

      All users can download the GeoDataSource FREE Edition with complete city name and region code for immediate usage or evaluation purpose. The geospatial data is available for free with unlimited download.

    4. GfK MACON has developed a new map with about 40,000 five-digit ZIP code areas for the United States for 2006. ZIP codes are used in business software such as GIS or CRM systems to display and analyze customer locations or other company data related to addresses. The map was carefully compared with the latest data from the various bureaus of statistics in the United States and with current orthophotography. It is now available at a level of precision equal to maps with a scale of up to 1:10,000.

      Developing a precise cartographical representation of the United States is an especially complex and time-consuming task, due to the size of the country, the large number of postal districts, and the very high level of quality and precision that customers demand from digital maps.

      All U.S. 5-digit ZIP code areas are fully digitized and attributed without any gaps. As of August, the map is available in the standard GIS formats: shapefile (ESRI), mid/mif (MapInfo), and RegioGraph (GfK MACON).

    5. Europa Technologies has released a new version of its world map data products. Version 6.0 includes several updates and enhancements that extend across the product family, including flagship products Global Discovery and Global Insight Plus. Enhancements include: administrative divisions for Western Europe; increase to over 807,000 named places; additional population statistics; updated political map; increased accuracy for smaller countries and islands; Time Zones with DST for 2007/2008; and thousands of minor updates and improvements.

      In response to growing business in Japan, the new release also includes support for the Japanese language (in Kanji and Katakana, as applicable) for countries, capitals, and major cities and towns. This release is the first to include names with characters outside the Latin/Roman alphabet. Further language support is planned for future releases.


    1. The 15th annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition of the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), slated for September 18-20 in Houston, Texas, will include four half-day Knowledge Immersion seminars by more than a dozen GIS industry experts. The seminars, designed to provide in-depth understanding on major issues facing GIS professionals in the energy industry, include "GIS 101—Understanding the Basics," "Risk and Integrity Management," "Emergency Response: Lessons in Preparedness," and "What Lies Ahead in Emerging Technologies."

      The 15th annual GIS for Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition focuses exclusively on the increasing use of GIS within the oil and gas industry. The conference also includes a series of paper presentations, discussion forums, power panel discussions, a comprehensive exhibit hall, and several networking events.

    2. The third "Earth from Space—the Most Effective Solutions" biannual international conference will be held in Moscow, Russia, 2007 December 4-6. The conference, organized by RDC ScanEx and Transparent World, gathers about 300 participants from many countries. The goal of the conference is to show the experience of practical use of satellite monitoring in different branches of the economy, together with the recent developments in remote sensing, as the backbone of cost-efficient functioning economic systems.

    3. Bentley Systems, Incorporated has inaugurated Bentley LEARN, a subscription program that empowers infrastructure firms to become and remain well-trained organizations. The program provides unlimited on-demand eLearning for a fixed annual fee. Courses include lectures, hands-on courses, and feature clips from Bentley Institute. Program features include the following: the learning is on-demand; the learning is on every desk, so no travel is required; the on-demand content is the broadest in infrastructure, covering the use and administration of MicroStation, ProjectWise, and the company's comprehensive portfolio of building, civil, geospatial, and plant solutions; the price is set at 20 percent of the organization's SELECT fee, or about an hour of a professional's billable time for a year's worth of learning.

      To measure progress, those taking these courses are credited with Bentley Learning Units (LUs). For infrastructure professionals, LUs mean that they can now mark their progress in keeping current on the latest technology and most productive practices. This capability allows them to better communicate their increasing value to their organizations and to secure more project assignments that advance their careers. For infrastructure organizations, the combination of LUs and online tracking of credentials means that they now have access to a powerful new staffing and organizational development tool. Bentley LEARN Server provides the online tracking of credentials, as well as access to OnDemand eLearning courses, course descriptions, feature clips, online transcripts, advanced course searches, and online registration.

      Bentley LEARN courses number in the hundreds and include: hands-on courses and a lecture series for MicroStation V8 XM Edition; ProjectWise V8 XM Edition Administrator hands-on course; Bentley InRoads lecture series; Bentley AutoPLANT 3D series of hands-on courses; introductory courses on Bentley Building Electrical Systems and Bentley Building Mechanical Systems; additional MicroStation and ProjectWise series, plus courses in the subject matter areas of visualization and programming.


    1. SANZ Inc., a provider of specialized storage and geospatial data management solutions, has hired Julie Baker as federal civilian sales manager, Matt Falter as sales manager, and Karen Morley as director of product marketing.

      Baker brings to SANZ more than 20 years of sales, marketing, and management experience, with 13 of those years focused on technology solutions for both federal and commercial programs. She has held leadership positions in business development at IBM, Seagate Technology, and Arrow Electronics. Baker is based out of the Vienna, Virginia office.

      Falter brings to SANZ 14 years of experience in varied roles, from hands-on technical expertise to sales and management within the remote sensing market. Prior to joining SANZ, he held positions of increasing responsibility at ERDAS and Leica Geosystems. Falter's experience with the oil and gas industry throughout the southern United States will help SANZ deliver on its plan to expand offerings into that industry.

      Morley brings more than 24 years of experience in the geospatial industry; from technical roles in the U.S. Air Force and Towill Inc., to managerial and executive roles at companies including Autodesk. Most recently Morley managed a business partner relationship with Microsoft for EarthData International to obtain and deliver aerial imagery as part of Microsoft Virtual Earth.

    2. Intermap Technologies, Inc., a geospatial company that maps countries and builds digital elevation datasets, has hired Richard Smolenski as VP of sales. In this position, he will draw on nearly 30 years of international sales and business development experience to spearhead Intermap's global sales strategy in support of the company's NEXTMap line of products and services.

      Smolenski is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. His background includes executive-level responsibility for the sale of complex high-technology communications, wireless, video, intelligence collection, and embedded control systems, as well as the negotiation of international military, government, and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) contracts. He excelled in sales, business development, and management at Harris Corporation, while benefiting from years of formal sales and management training. After ten years at Harris, Smolenski worked in upper management with several entrepreneurial firms. Most recently, he was responsible for business development and sales on behalf of an artificial intelligence software firm featuring a product for detecting threatening behaviors in CCTV (closed-circuit television) surveillance systems. He is also the co-inventor of a patented system to protect recorded video evidence from tampering.

  5. OTHER

    1. Trimble, a manufacturer of GPS laser and optical positioning technology, will inaugurate a new 77,000-square foot facility in Colorado on August 1. Trimble's Colorado headcount has grown 375 percent since the company first opened an office in Colorado in 2000, and the company now employs 190 people in Westminster. Trimble's operations there focus on the mapping & GIS, survey, agriculture, and engineering & construction markets.

      Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Trimble has more than 2,400 employees in more than 18 countries worldwide. In addition to providing GPS components, Trimble augments GPS with other positioning technologies as well as wireless communications and software to create complete customer solutions.

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