2006 August 17

This issue sponsored by

Professional Surveyor Magazine

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Editor's Introduction

At the ESRI user conference, last week, I interviewed managers and engineers from several companies. In this week's issue I feature three, representing key GIS-enabling technologies: Stratus Technologies, which makes high-availability servers; GeoEye, which collects and sells satellite imagery; and Magellan (formerly Thales Navigation), which manufactures GPS receivers.

As always, I encourage your feedback!


Interview with Jim Harris, of Stratus Technologies

ESRI is calling this "the year of the server." So, at last week's ESRI user conference, I talked with Jim Harris, Director of Marketing, Government, and Transportation & Logistics for Stratus Technologies, a company that makes servers.

  1. What does Stratus Technologies do?

    We offer basically only one product: servers that are designed to never fail. We advertise "five nines" of availability, which means 99.999 percent of uptime. Our server is two computers inside one box, acting in lockstep, both doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. We've been around for 26 years. For the first 20 years, we were in areas with a proprietary operating system. So, the servers and the operation and maintenance were very expensive. About five years ago, we developed this technology and put it in a Windows environment. Two months ago we announced the general release of Linux. So, now we have open systems that will offer you five nines of availability.

    Stratus Technologies servers in use at the ESRI User Conference 2006

  2. What is your role?

    My responsibility is to find companies such as ESRI [whose] applications are becoming more and more mission-critical, which puts more importance on the server.

  3. How do your servers differ from clusters?

    [In a cluster you have] two, name-brand computers: if one fails, the other one takes over. This fail-over requires many cables, the software has to be cluster-aware, and you have to have a person who actually knows how it all works. Our servers are so simple that you really just take them out of the box and plug them in. We have two of everything. If you have a one-CPU system, we physically have two. For every memory chip there is a mirror memory chip, for every disk drive there is another disk drive. We have eliminated any single point of failure in the server.

  4. Under what circumstances would one of your servers fail?

    The only way our servers will stop operating is if two of the exact same parts fail at exactly the same time. If a disk drive were to go bad, the server would shoot us a message and say, "Hey, disk drive 2 failed in this CPU." We would just send a new piece out. All the components are hot-swappable, nothing gets shut off.

  5. How does the server synch up again?

    The disks synch up using Microsoft software. All the rest of the synching of the parts is our patented solution.

  6. What other advantages does your system have?

    Our servers use Intel chips, Seagate drives—basic parts. This eliminates the need for the software to be cluster-aware. Software written to run on a single system will run on our server. Also, application providers charge our customers by logical CPU, not physical CPU, so they also save on licensing.

  7. Do you host any of your customers' systems?

    We host none. We have set up hosting centers for customers who have decided that they want a hosting center that is highly available. They can use it to their marketing advantage. We have started a solutions group in the past year to do that. We may actually partner with IBM, HP, or Dell, because we just perform one function—a highly available server. A great example: Dell resells our servers in state and local government. If they put a Stratus server as the main server that can't fail, think about all the peripherals around that—all the laptops, all the other servers, the desktops.

  8. The facilities that house your servers may not be disaster-proof. They are not inside Cheyenne Mountain

    Actually, we are inside Cheyenne Mountain! They won't tell us what we are doing in there, but we run it. We suggest that the main server, the one that is operating day in and day out, be a Stratus server. Then, for disaster recovery, many companies are using a software application to mirror at a remote location with a Dell or an HP. All you are doing is copying, so you probably don't need a Stratus server on that end.

  9. If you have to switch over to the remote location, you no longer have the high-availability server…

    That means that this physical location is gone. You probably have bigger problems!

  10. The Internet connection would still be the most vulnerable part of the system…

    We have two, though. You have a split line going into our servers.

  11. What is your relationship with ESRI?

    This is the first user conference where we've had a big play. We are powering it with eight, two-CPU servers. With server-based ArcGIS 9.2, ESRI looks at us as a great alternative. We've only officially begun this relationship two months ago or so. We had been in negotiations regarding how they were going to resell [our servers]. They've done their studies and a white paper. If you look at the government, we really should be playing a larger role in homeland security; today our footprint in that area is not very large. Working with ESRI will allow us to expand our footprint.

  12. Who are some of your other customers?

    They include NASDAQ, American Express, MasterCard, most large funds transfer companies, 911 centers, and many airlines… Any place where "Sorry, the server is down" won't fly. Our single largest piece of business is with telephone companies. Just about every cell phone call you make goes through a Stratus switch somewhere. We have some solutions with the FAA, for messaging and weather control. Pharmaceutical companies, such as Wyeth, use Stratus servers in their plants. If they lose a piece of data in the manufacturing process they have to destroy the whole batch of drugs. They can't risk that. We are also in more than 250 municipalities around the country. Most companies would kill for our customer list—but we are behind the scene. A great example is UPS: we power their "Worldport" in Louisville, Kentucky.

  13. Do you have any direct competitors?

    Back when we wrote software for proprietary operating systems, there was a company out there called Tandem, which is now incorporated into HP. Tandem and Stratus were competitors, both selling highly available, big, monster servers. Since we went to Windows and the Linux environment, there is nobody else out there that does exactly what we do.

  14. Why?

    Who would do that? It would be an HP or a Dell or a Sun or an IBM. We have a 20-year head start on these people today. We are such a small piece of the business that it does not make sense for them to go into that business. Now, if someday high availability takes off to be a multi-billion dollar business, I would guess that we'd have a lot of competitors.

Interview with Mark Brender, of GeoEye

At the ESRI user conference, last week, I talked with Mark E. Brender, V.P., Corporate Communications & Marketing for GeoEye, the commercial remote sensing company formed in January as a result of ORBIMAGE's acquisition of Space Imaging.

  1. I just searched for GeoEye on the New York Times and nothing came up…

    We had imagery in the New York Times just last week. We have a heck of a job to do to brand a new-named company. We spent the last 6 months merging health plans, 401 K's, data processing systems, business systems, and cultures and tweaking org charts. Now we have a window of opportunity somewhere in the fall where we are taking a higher profile. What will help will be when we move toward the launch of GeoEye 1, which will be the world's highest resolution commercial satellite. It will be able to collect imagery with a ground resolution of .41 meters or about 16 inches and map that point to within 3 meters of its true location on the surface of the globe. In many ways it's going to change the way we look at and understand the world.

  2. Companies "launch" products and services all the time. Yours will be literally a launch…

    GeoEye weighs 4,200 pounds (the Ikonos satellite weighs 1,600 pounds) and it will be thrust into orbit on a Boeing Delta 2 rocket. It's going to be agile and will be able to collect 700,000 square kilometers a day (that's 435,000 miles) in panchromatic mode.

  3. What accounts for most of the weight increase in the satellite? More sensors? More memory? More processing power?

    All of the above. The memory will be able to store a terabyte of data, then dump it into a ground station— either Antarctica or the North Pole.

  4. How will GeoEye1 change your mix of customers?

    We will maintain a solid relationship with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), who is constantly clamoring for more imagery and higher accuracy imagery and multispectral imagery. Now we're not quite going to be down in the 6-inch resolution, which is the mainstay of the aerial imagery business, but we get pretty close. As you get to higher resolution, more markets open up.

  5. Will local governments be more interested in your higher resolution imagery?

    More people will want to purchase it. What's really made a difference is the impact of search engines on people's perceptions of imagery. Microsoft's Virtual Earth, Yahoo!, and Google Earth created a sonic boom of awareness of satellite imagery which GeoEye and our competitors could not have accomplished just by running ads in geospatial magazines.

  6. What percent of your data does the NGA purchase?

    I'd say that about 45 percent of our revenues are from the NGA, 40 percent are from foreign governments, and 5 percent is truly commercial. The NGA has been dealing with this sort of technology for 40 years, so it's only natural that they are an anchor tenant, a partner in the development of the GeoEye satellite. The Ikonos satellite and the OrbView3 satellite which we fly meet a lot of the requirements for the NGA, which can then use national systems to go after higher priority, more time-critical projects. They can off-ramp the more routine, larger image requirements onto the backs of commercial imagery providers and ride on the investment that Wall Street has made in commercial remote sensing and get imagery that's unclassified, multispectral, high quality and at a great price.

  7. For once, the government will get a return from private capital—instead of public investments subsidizing private profits…

    The relationship with NGA is part of a public partnership that seems to work. Everyone wins, including the taxpayer. The satellite broadband industry wants to emulate this model.

  8. There is a constant tension between perceived national security requirements and public expectations for imagery…

    High-resolution remote sensing satellites in many ways are like can openers in the sky. They provide a product that creates an awareness that you really couldn't get any other way. Nation states own the air space, but not outer space. Remote sensing companies are only required to make pictures of states available to them at a reasonable price and on a non-discriminatory basis.

  9. You are a U.S. company, subject to U.S. law and regulations…

    I would imagine there are many facilities the U.S. government would rather not be displayed. However, we can image any facility, U.S. or foreign, and make that available for sale.

  10. Technically and legally you can—but will you?

    We're regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A provision in our operating license says that if there is a threat to foreign policy or a national security concern the U.S. government can interrupt commercial service—some call that "shutter control." The Ikonos satellite has been flying since September 1999 and not once has the government ever knocked on our door and imposed any type of shutter control. I know it's hard to believe.

  11. Are you exercising a certain amount of self-censorship?

    The only time that I recall when there was any type of self-censorship was several years ago when a Navy EP-3 was forced down on an island in the South China Sea by some Chinese fighters. The Ikonos satellite was fairly new and the intelligence community was not familiar with it. Twenty-two Americans were being held, as some members of Congress were saying at the time, hostage by the Chinese. As a courtesy, we called the government and said that we were going to release the image of this airplane sitting on an airbase in the South China Sea in the next 24 hours. And we did. We didn't ask permission.

  12. For what purposes do foreign governments purchase your imagery?

    In most cases nation states like to have Ikonos satellite imagery for economic and national security, but it depends on the region of the world. Our ground station in Tokyo is actively selling imagery commercially but they also have an active relationship with the Japanese defense agency. Our ground station in Ankara is really big on selling imagery for land use, land classification, and urban planning and zoning—very little to the Turkish general staff.

  13. Are developing countries that need this imagery for economic development purposes able to afford it?

    Often the countries that are least able to afford the imagery also have the least infrastructure to deal with it. They don't have the hardware or the software to utilize it effectively. But we're entering an interesting time of fairly inexpensive satellite imagery. Imagery over the United States, for example, is $7 a square kilometer with a minimum order of 50 square kilometers, that's $350 dollars. Over Africa and South America we have the same prices. If people can't afford that, then they certainly can't afford the computers and the people to utilize the imagery.

  14. Perhaps a U.N. agency should fund a center to process the imagery. Or, a group of developing countries could form a consortium.

    Or, the U.S. government might [provide the funding], through the foreign military sales program. Instead of selling ships and weaponry, maybe they should sell mapping products and mapping services. For developing countries one of the most important things is the lay of the land and where the boundaries are— where do you put telecom, where do you put dams. You need a base map and satellite imagery helping to establish that would be a great benefit to a country that is developing.

  15. How do you see your new high-resolution products percolating through the market?

    Our reach into the business and consumer market will most likely be done through software, such as Microsoft Virtual Earth and Yahoo! We have solid contracts in place with those search engines. They have a voracious appetite for imagery. Many of the search engines will have base maps for basic imagery, then the race will be on for the most accurate imagery, then for the most current imagery.

Interview with Stig Pedersen, of Magellan

At the ESRI user conference, last week, I spoke with Stig Pedersen, Sr. Director of Marketing Strategy, Survey/GIS for Magellan, formerly Thales Navigation, a division of Thales. In July, an investment group led by Shah Capital Partners (SCP) reached a definitive agreement to acquire Thales Navigation. Co-investors who participated with SCP in the transaction included Tudor Group, Galleon Group, Consolidated Press Holdings, AIG SunAmerica, and Eli Broad.

At the conference, Magellan promoted two handheld GPS receivers: the MobileMapper CE and the ProMark3, a single-frequency, handheld survey unit that comes with a GIS data collection program. According to Pedersen, the former is "especially appropriate" for ESRI users and the latter has "a lot of traction in the surveying market" but will also handle centimeter-level GIS applications.

  1. There is much discussion about "bridging the gap" between surveyors and GIS. What do you think?

    I think it's more of a generational gap than a philosophy gap. Surveyors are eminently qualified to do a lot of GIS work. I think it's more of an optical surveying to GPS surveying gap as opposed to GIS philosophy versus surveying philosophy.

  2. What is Magellan's niche?

    Our position in the market is to take the complexity and the cost out of GPS. That places us quite well to reach some of the customers that need to adopt GPS technology. Jumping to full GPS deployments is too much for many people, but adding GPS control to surveys is a fairly low barrier to cross.

  3. Are you bringing in new customers who previously would have contracted out surveying jobs or are you getting new customers who are expanding their range of equipment?

    It's mostly customers expanding their range of equipment. There are economic benefits to bringing GPS into surveying. So, that's really one of the markets in which we're seeing the most traction. It's an addition to the total station, it doesn't replace it. Our major challenge is expanding the knowledge of this technology, its use, and its proper application.

  4. What are you doing to make the software more useful to surveyors?

    Good question. We're looking mostly at the user interface. We try to make it as easy to understand as possible, especially when surveyors are doing GIS work, which may be new to them. We're also improving the overall performance of the system—error estimation, post-processing, and so forth.

  5. What are you doing with regard to training and support?

    We have a support team covering the whole globe. We have training sessions for both dealers and end users. When you're approaching markets that are just adopting GPS, training and support become a critical component.

  6. What are some of these new markets?

    Market segments such as agriculture are beginning to adopt GPS and GIS because our offerings are more accessible than previous offerings. The same is true in traditional markets, like surveying, where people have been used to using optical equipment but we're offering GPS as a solution. Topographic surveys can be done quite effectively with a GPS device as opposed to an optical instrument, especially over long distances.

  7. Is the Z good enough or do you have to overlay DEMs (digital elevation models) on top of the data you collect via GPS?

    The Z is good enough when using the ProMark 3 in post-processing mode or when using dual-frequency RTK receivers for real-time applications.

  8. What will be the impact of GPS modernization, the birth of Galileo, and the re-birth of GLONASS?

    It's a great time. The expanding GNSS (global navigation satellite systems) infrastructure is a testament to the utility and performance of the GPS constellation. It's very healthy, because competition is good in many areas—the supply of GNSS services is one of them. GPS modernization was in the cards anyway, but now it's become more important. GLONASS is having a spectacular rebirth. The more satellites in the sky, the better off everyone is going to be in terms of the GNSS system performance and availability.

  9. Are you working on any dual-frequency receivers?

    We have a number of dual-frequency receivers on the market today, including the Z-max. We also have on-going development of future dual-frequency receivers, as this is the predominant technology used in surveying.

  10. Is the market still divided into consumer/recreational receivers, resource grade receivers, and survey grade receivers?

    Very early on in the evolution of GPS there was a bifurcation in the market, where you had consumer-level products—Garmin, Magellan, and so forth—at the lower end, with an accuracy of 50-100 meters. This was, of course, when S/A (selective availability) was still around. Then you had the other products—Leica, Trimble, Ashtech Corporation [which merged with Magellan Systems in 1997 to become Magellan Corporation], and Novatel—with very high accuracy performance. Dual-frequency surveying is much more complex than single-frequency. Going forward, that barrier will actually be reduced significantly, with the advent of L2C [the new civilian frequency]. However, I don't think the market structure will change significantly, as the entry barrier is now based more on brand and distribution than on technology.

  11. Now there is also a middle tier.

    That's a good observation. There's kind of a hybrid technology in the middle that uses some of the techniques used in the higher end and some of the architecture used in the lower end. Our price point is pretty aggressive in that particular area market because we think that there is a high demand for the technology there. The price points at the three market tiers are: around $200-$500 for consumer products; $2,000- $6,000 for the mid-range (we are at $2,000, our competition are at $4,000-$6,000); and then the RTK systems are at $12,000 and up.

  12. What are your thoughts on this conference?

    For us, the most interesting news is obviously the developments in the mobile GIS space. It is clear that this is an important area of growth within GIS and with our cost-effective solutions we are well-positioned to serve this market, especially for primary data collection and data maintenance applications. The server architecture is also very interesting. I think it's the right direction for ESRI to take. This, combined with the advent of the new .adf format, will make it possible for large organizations to spatially enable their cell phones and PDAs. So, it's a new area of GIS growth. However, the barriers to adopting this new technology are quite significant. You've got to have ArcGIS server, which is $40,000 I believe, and you have to be able to develop the applications. It's not something that a local utility company is going to do. Having said that, a real-time element is arguably what is required for the true benefits of GIS to materialize for utility companies, local governments, etc. That's pretty exciting.

  13. Certain kinds of applications, such as traffic monitoring, require real-time data. Other ones, such as land use planning, don't.

    I agree with you entirely. This mobile, server-based architecture, I believe, will have the most traction in real-time resource management. Deployment in the mapping of static resources probably will not be as significant. The real benefit of this technology is mostly the communications part; GPS performance will be a secondary factor. That's why it's not really affecting our core market today, because we are focused on resource mapping to a high level of accuracy.

  14. You download a map to your handheld device, go out in the field, and then upload it when you get back to the office.

    You use your cell phone or PDA only to navigate to the location. It's a great evolution in the industry, because the server architecture that they talk about here will also bring this technology to the mainstream. The hardware technology is already there ready for GIS technology to start permeating into other layers in the organization that today have no concept of GIS. I think that is an exciting phase of the industry.

  15. More people are becoming aware of GIS but it is also becoming more transparent—people are using it without even knowing what it is.

    That's what I think has to happen. Look at how quickly car navigation has been adopted around the world. There is also a huge adoption rate of portable systems out there. The same thing will happen with the professional applications of GPS, specifically within the area of GIS. The server architecture, as well as the reduced costs and complexities of the systems, will help with that.

  16. About the acquisition by SCP…

    For us it's a very positive development. SCP bought a company that's very diversified. We have a consumer business, which is high-growth, and a Survey/GIS and an OEM business, which have more steady and stable growth but are more profitable and have opportunities for expansion. One of the reasons they purchased us is that we have a foundation in several markets. SCP specializes in operational efficiencies. Obviously, they are very financially savvy too. For a company like Magellan, operations are huge, because we ship so much product into our retail distribution. This manufacturing volume and operational efficiency is an advantage on the professional side of the business, where we can leverage that cost structure in a way most companies can't.

Briefly Noted

According to preliminary estimates, more than 14,000 people attended last week's ESRI user conference in San Diego, reflecting a 5% increase from 2005. More than 500 people attended the Education Conference and more than 300 attended the Survey and GIS Summit, both of which took place just prior to the user conference.

News Briefs

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


    1. CompassCom Software Corporation and ISEE Corp. Universal, Inc. (ISEE) have entered into a strategic relationship to offer their combined technologies and services to provide customers with a comprehensive Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) and Mobile Digital Video Recorder (MDRV) solution.

      The two companies are cooperatively building an integrated product, due for release later this year. They will jointly market their products and sell them as a package that includes software license, hardware and associated services. The package will be one of the first integrated solutions for real-time AVL working in coordination with mobile video surveillance. The combination of real-time GPS-enabled AVL and digital video imagery offers security, school transportation, transit and public safety organizations a real-time operational picture.

      CompassCom's software utilizes ESRI GIS data formats as the backdrop for vehicle location to enhance the visualization, display, and analysis of vehicle location and status. The combination of the geospatial data and mobile digital images from ISEE will enable fleet managers, administrators, and commanders to make better decision for their organizations.

      Digital video is utilized today to provide an accurate record of activities of police, fire, EMS, school bus, and transit employees in the field. Adding GPS-based tracking technology to digital video is another step to reduce unwarranted complaints and law suites and reduce insurance costs for these organizations.

    2. GeoEye has selected BAE Systems' SOCET SET and ClearFlite software for a project that will create three-dimensional maps for hundreds of airports worldwide. Pilots and air traffic controllers will be able to use the new maps to guide aircraft into and out of airports. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) awarded GeoEye a $3.7 million contract in June to complete the 3D mapping project, which involves the creation of airport mapping databases for 365 airports by 2007 June. NGA and other international standards organizations define the database specifications for airport authorities. GeoEye will combine the 3D capability of its IKONOS and OrbView-3 stereo imagery with BAE Systems' SOCET SET and ClearFlite software to create the detailed maps.

      An airport mapping database is a geospatial database that contains features - such as runways, taxiways, terrain, buildings, and obstacles - near an airfield. Operators use the information to develop safe, direct flight patterns that save time and fuel and increase the number of flights per hour. Training organizations use the databases to familiarize pilots with hazards before they fly over an area for the first time.

      BAE Systems' SOCET SET geospatial analysis software is used to create digital elevation models, while ClearFlite, a SOCET SET module, extracts the information from stereo images required to build the mapping databases. The current project is the largest of three airport mapping database awards GeoEye has received from the NGA since 1999 for large-scale mapping projects using IKONOS stereo imagery in parallel with SOCET SET and ClearFlite software.

    3. EarthData International, Inc. played a role in the making of the movie World Trade Center, Oliver Stone's portrayal of five Port Authority police officers who battle the devastation of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Central to the movie are three-dimensional renderings of the collapsing towers, which Stone uses to recreate the police officers' perspectives and help audiences comprehend the horror of being trapped in the underground inferno. The renderings were created by integrating architectural blueprints of the Twin Towers with aerial-based laser (LiDAR) terrain models and imagery acquired by EarthData in the days immediately following 9/11.

      The film's studio, Paramount Pictures, also used EarthData's three-dimensional model of Manhattan to plan scenes in advance of filming and to visualize the final effects shots for the film. Paramount Pictures' Visual Effects Supervisor, John Scheele, was especially impressed with the realism of the various data sets.

      Hours after the attack on the World Trade Center, EarthData was tasked with gathering mapping data over Ground Zero. For the next two months, EarthData conducted twice-daily aerial over-flights to create maps that gave detailed information to the recovery workers on the ground. The LiDAR profile provided highly accurate three dimensional maps of the site and allowed measurement of the rubble and of shifts in the surrounding buildings. High-resolution digital imagery and thermal data complemented the laser data and enabled rescue and recovery workers to monitor the movement and temperatures of the fires burning below the surface. Maps were produced and delivered in record time, less than 8 hours after the over-flights occurred.

      EarthData's urban 3D models have also been used in other films, including Sony Picture Imageworks' Spider-Man and Twentieth Century Fox's The Day After Tomorrow.

    4. Pictometry International Corp., a provider of digital, aerial oblique imagery and measuring software systems, and Intergraph Corporation a provider of Spatial Information Management (SIM) software, have entered a marketing alliance. The two firms will provide integration solutions to their mutual customers, whereby Pictometry's aerial imaging and measuring technology can be accessed via Intergraph's emergency incident management solution.

      Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), also known as 9-1-1 call centers, are tasked with ensuring fast and accurate responses to calls for service. Intergraph's emergency incident management solution serves as the core of the decision support process for 9-1-1 centers, utilizing an interactive, real-time map display of caller locations, dispatching, records, and information management, remote access, and mobile data. Pictometry's software enables users to access up to 12 different oblique (at an angle, 3D-like) views of any property, building, highway, or other feature. The software also helps users obtain measurements such as distance, height, elevation, and area directly from the oblique imagery. The combined solution gives 9-1-1 dispatchers a better understanding of situations in progress, as well as enabling them to provide additional data to first responders en route.

      Intergraph and Pictometry have recently integrated their products into the 9-1-1 communication center serving Howard County, Maryland.

    5. Emergency Services integrators (ESi), have entered a strategic relationship with ESRI to offer a geographically-enabled incident management system for first responders. The application will provide spatial representation of incident data, such as ad hoc cordons, hot zones and staging areas, and will allow incident managers to quickly distribute the information to first responders, which is critical in emergency situations.

      The service-oriented architecture will also allow organizations to customize the platform to meet their unique needs, such as integrating cameras, GPS receivers, and other devices. Emergency management personnel will be able to perform other complex geospatial analysis, such as toxic plume or hazardous spill modeling, and calculate likely population and infrastructure consequences.

    6. ESRI has signed an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS) whereby ESRI will support two projects promoting sustainable development. Ambassador Alfonso Quinonez, the OAS executive secretary for integral development (SEDI), and Jack Dangermond, president of ESRI, signed the agreement at the 26th Annual ESRI International User Conference.

      In the initial phase of the agreement, ESRI will support two critical SEDI projects: the Municipal Development Program (MuNet) and the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) project. One of the components of SEDI's MuNet is designed to provide to municipalities in Latin America the electronic tools necessary to start building their regional cadastral and land registry systems. In addition to 15 software licenses, ESRI will provide one week of training in El Salvador for representatives from five selected municipalities in participating countries.

      The Department of Sustainable Development within SEDI supports the execution of multiple-country conservation projects such as the Amazon-Andes Protected Area Metadata Database (AAPAD), which is supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. AAPAD is a subcomponent of the IABIN project. Through SEDI, ESRI will provide software to 45 national parks and protected areas throughout the Amazon-Andes region, with the expectation that these selected areas will share the data collected and facilitate the expansion of their GIS database. ESRI will also provide training and 400 Introduction to ArcView courses in Spanish through its Virtual Campus program.

    7. Pictometry International Corp., a provider of digital, aerial oblique imagery and measuring software systems, and Harris Corporation, a provider of imagery solutions for the visualization, mapping, and government markets, have released new 3D modeling products.

      This new offering combines the aerial imaging data from Pictometry with Harris' 3D modeling and geospatial product expertise, creating a more realistic 3D viewing solution for GIS professionals. The products are available in a variety of formats accessible via ESRI's ArcGIS Explorer.


    1. DeLorme has introduced Street Atlas USA 2007 and Street Atlas USA 2007 Plus. In addition to more than 3.5 million new or updated roads, this year's edition of the atlas includes a new low price for registered DeLorme customers; Canadian street-level maps and places of interest; support for Windows Mobile 5.0, Pocket PC, and Palm OS devices at no additional charge (Street Atlas USA Handheld software is no longer required); $40 of free downloadable aerial images with full routing, navigating, and editing capabilities; the ability to display static maps and aerial images on iPods or other digital audio and video players; compatibility with Intel-based Macs running Boot Camp for Microsoft Windows XP; availability on a single DVD-ROM when ordering directly from DeLorme (multiple CD-ROM version also available); and an improved, customizable EZ-Nav toolbar.

      The product is available to pre-order now for anticipated shipment on or around August 16th. Street Atlas USA 2007 Plus, which ships on two DVD-ROMs, contains more than 120 million residential and business phone listings and addresses, covering both the United States and Canada.

    2. Earlier this year, Topcon Positioning Systems introduced the GMS-110 GIS data collection system, which operates with software solutions based on ESRI's ArcPad. The unit is also compatible with Topcon's TopSURV-GIS, featuring both GIS data collection and land surveying functions. Topcon has now added OmniSTAR functionality for all GMS-110 owners and they can download the latest firmware; both the Map-RT receiver and the MG-A5 antenna are compatible with OmniSTAR.

      The GMS-110 works with Topcon's FC-100 field computer, featuring a color touch screen and Windows CE operating system. Both TopPAD and TopSURV-GIS applications can be loaded on the FC-100. Other field data controllers can also be used with the system.

      This instrument incorporates all of the primary real-time positioning correction services—Coast Guard beacons, WAAS, EGNOS, and OmniSTAR—VBS. Internal lithium-ion batteries power the unit for 14 hours. Topcon's integrated system design and Bluetooth wireless technology eliminate external cables and components, making the GMS-110 a backpack GIS solution.

    3. LeadDog Consulting, LLC has released geographic databases of city streets for the Indian cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Gurgaon, Noida, Farridabad, and Ghaziabad to support asset-tracking, government, military, and commercial GIS applications. Designed to help companies track their assets and provide accurate base level mapping, LeadDog's product provides numerous vector layers and attributes, such as streets at 1:7,500 scale; street names and classifications; extensive points of interest; park, water, and landmark polygons; and neighborhood points.

      Indian city street products are available in all major GIS formats with more than 150 additional towns and cities. A detailed Indian Major Roads and Highways product is available at a 1:250,000 scale.

    4. Red Hen Systems has released Red Hen Media Server (RHMS), which enables users of spatial multimedia to collaborate using a standard Web browser and provides real-time updating, eliminating the need for manual version control. The system uses ESRI's ArcSDE and ArcIMS software.

      Spatial multimedia—video, stills and audio with associated GPS coordinates—can be linked to a GIS. Red Hen Systems, Inc. holds patents on methods for collecting GPS coordinates with still pictures and video.

      The Red Hen Media Server provides all components of the infrastructure needed to host a common repository of spatial multimedia and legacy map data, as well as version control for spatial data derived from the continued interpretation of audiovisual media. Users have both image-centric and map-centric access to the data, providing a variety of ways they can query and analyze it. Within this enterprise access model, spatial multimedia users can be distributed globally and collaborate using a standard Web browser. Everyone in the enterprise has access to the most current information, and any of them can easily update in-field information by emailing new images to the server.


    1. Intergraph 2007 will take place in Nashville, Tennessee, May 21-24.

    2. John H. Dunnigan, a senior official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will be the keynote speaker for the 19th Annual GIS in the Rockies Conference in Denver, Colorado, September 13 - 15. Dunnigan is NOAA's Assistant Administrator for the National Ocean Service (NOS), one of the nation's premier institutions in marine navigation, operational oceanography, geopositioning, and marine and coastal management. NOS is also the parent of the National Geodetic Survey (NGS), which evolved out of the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

      Dunnigan previously served as NOAA's Ecosystem Goal Team Lead, responsible for planning, programming, and overall coordination of NOAA's nine ecosystem goal programs. In his current role, he experiences NOAA's scientific leadership on a daily basis— whether providing weather forecasts, saving marine mammals, preserving wetlands, charting our seas, or locating, monitoring and protecting our natural resources.

      Dunnigan will talk about the wealth of data and tools in NOAA and how GIS has enormous potential within the organization and for those using its data, such as NGS's National Spatial Reference System and other Department of Commerce data, such as Census data.

      GIS in the Rockies is a technology conference providing community outreach, education, and professional development for people interested in GIS technology. It is sponsored by several professional societies and organizations, including:

    3. The 2006 GIS in the Rockies Conference, to be held September 13-15 in Denver, Colorado, will feature at least fifty exhibits on the conference show floor. Confirmed exhibitors include the following technology companies, suppliers, and organizations:

      • American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM);
      • AERO-METRIC, Inc.;
      • American Society of Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing (ASPRS);
      • Azteca Systems, Inc.;
      • CAD-1, Inc.;
      • CarteGraph Systems, Inc.;
      • CVLSoft;
      • CompassTools, Inc.;
      • Data Transfer Solutions;
      • Definiens;
      • DeLorme;
      • DigitalGlobe;
      • DPRA Incorporated;
      • EI Technologies, LLC;
      • Electrical Systems Consultants, Inc.;
      • ESRI;
      • Facet Technology Corporation;
      • GeoWorld magazine;
      • GIS Colorado;
      • Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA);
      • Geospatial Industry Workforce Information System (GIWIS);
      • har*GIS LLC;
      • Horizons, Inc.;
      • IDEAL Scanners &
      • Systems, Inc.;
      • Intermap Technologies;
      • KuceraWest;
      • Laser Technology, Inc;
      • Leica Geosystems;
      • LizardTech;
      • Metropolitan State College of Denver;
      • MultiVision USA;
      • National Geodetic Survey;
      • National Geographic Maps;
      • novotX, LLC;
      • Ohmex Ltd;
      • Pixxures, Inc.;
      • Plotter Supplies, Inc.;
      • Professional Land Surveyors of Colorado (PLSC);
      • SECO Manufacturing Company, Inc.;
      • Service at Sea;
      • Team Computer Services, Inc.;
      • TerraGo Technologies;
      • University of Colorado at Denver;
      • University of Denver;
      • Urban & Regional Information Systems Association (URISA);
      • and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

      Attendee registration numbers for the 2006 conference are up 30 percent over 2005 numbers. Given the increase in registration rates thus far, the 2006 conference is on track to be one of the biggest GIS in the Rockies conferences to date.

      Off-site visits and activities will take place in and around the Denver metro area on September 15. Interested GIS and surveying professionals can register for conference entry online.

    4. A Homeland Defense Journal training conference, "Location-based Social Networking for Crisis Management," will take place on October 3, from 8:30 to 4:00, at the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The conference will focus on Defense and Homeland Security information sharing among local, state, and federal groups and connect the world of social networking with location content for situational awareness. Location-based social networking for crisis management allows users to share and find information about a crisis area, connect to groups with similar interests and shared information needs, and break down barriers to rapidly achieving situational awareness.

      The speakers will highlight how federal, state, tribal, and local stakeholders can share and search information about scaleable locations of interest; connect to and collaborate with groups of stakeholders with similar information needs; break down barriers to information sharing; build resilient communities; and achieve and improve situational awareness in the mission-critical areas of prevention, protection, response, recovery and preparedness.

      Speakers will include Jeff Harrison, President and CEO, The Carbon Project; Edward Hecker, Chief, Office of Homeland Security and Provost Marshal, Directorate of Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Patrick Ciganer, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; Twyla McDermott, GIS Manager and Corporate Strategic Technology Planner, City of Charlotte, North Carolina; Arthur Fritzson, Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton; Kevin Shaw, Team Leader. Digital Mapping, Charting and Geodesy Analysis Program, Naval Research Laboratory; Leo Labaj, Vice President and Director, Infrastructure Protection Services, Telemus Solutions Inc.; and Jeff Harrison, President and CEO, The Carbon Project.

    5. The 32nd International Symposium on Remote Sensing of the Environment (ISRSE) will take place in San Jose, Costa Rica on 2007 June 25-29. The deadline for abstracts is 2006 November 15.


    1. DigitalGlobe, a provider of commercial satellite imagery and geospatial information products, has appointed Marc Tremblay as General Manager of its Commercial Business Unit and Steve Larned as Chief Marketing Officer. Tremblay will be responsible for the management of global commercial sales via direct, channel, and Web distribution. Larned will oversee worldwide marketing, product management, and strategy development and execution. They will both report directly to Jill Smith, the company's chief executive officer.

      Tremblay most recently worked as vice president of business development and product management for Z Corporation, maker of multi-color 3D printers. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Syncline, Inc, a provider of ASP solutions and standards-based GIS Web services. Before joining Syncline, Tremblay was Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Virtual Technologies. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Ottawa, a master's and a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard University.

      Larned brings to DigitalGlobe more than 20 years of business leadership experience, including eight years with Dell, where he served as Vice President, Marketing for the Americas Business Unit. While at Dell, he led Product Management, E-Business, Customer Intelligence and Marketing functions, and was responsible for strategy and execution excellence. Prior to joining Dell, Larned spent more than ten years at Bain & Company, a global strategy consulting firm. As a consultant for Bain, he developed and helped implement growth and turnaround strategies across a variety of consumer and industrial client businesses. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Duke University and a master's in business administration from Harvard University.

  5. OTHER

    1. Intermap Technologies Corp. has accelerated its plan for creating a high-resolution, three-dimensional map of Western Europe. Driven by demand within the European automotive, government, and insurance sectors, the company's plans include the mapping of twelve Western European countries in their entirety by the end of 2007. Once completed, these datasets will be the most accurate elevation models of Western Europe in existence.

      As part of the company's NEXTMap Europe plan, last year Intermap announced that it would map Germany by the end of 2007 and the remainder of Western Europe by the end of 2009. With the increased demand in the European market, the company is now scheduled to complete Germany in 2006 and the remainder of Western Europe in 2007. The company began mapping Germany earlier this year and has already collected 50 percent of the country's geography.

      Intermap will add two airplanes to its current fleet to collect geospatial data this year, bringing its collection capacity to five aircraft by the end of 2006. Combined with optimized flight scheduling plans for the winter months, this added capacity will enable Intermap to shorten the project completion time. By the end of 2007, Intermap expects its NEXTMap database to contain countrywide maps of Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Intermap's revised schedule for accelerating the completion of Western Europe will not affect the scheduled completion of NEXTMap USA.

      In addition to enabling traditional GIS applications for the newly created elevation models, Intermap will create 3D road vector data products to improve Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) applications to drive active safety devices, fuel performance improvements, and in-car navigation. To serve this growing ITS market, the company will continue to solidify joint development agreements to combine its geospatial databases with the automotive engineering and development expertise of leading German automotive companies.

    2. Skagit County, in Washington State, has recently released an Internet map service called Crime Map that allows interactive mapping of 911 crime-related incidents. This new product, designed to run from Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser, provides a simple set of tools to view incident information. You can search by address, road name, or case number and the system will quickly display a map showing all of the relevant incidents. Additionally, you can filter your searches on a specific type of crime incident, date range, agency, or incident category (registered sex offenders, property crimes, drug alcohol problems, domestic violence, or other categories). Crime-related incidents are updated every 24 hours and the data goes back to 2002 January 1, so residents of Skagit County can quickly see crime trends for their neighborhoods.

      The website's true purpose is to provide crime prevention through public awareness. For example, if you are aware that there have been seven vehicle prowls in your neighborhood in the last month, you may decide to remove valuables from your car or purchase a car alarm. Crime Map also demonstrates the shear volume of crime-related activity that law enforcement agencies face. It plots 911 crime-related calls where they occur. More importantly, it is multi-jurisdictional, including County, City, and Tribal law enforcement agencies.

      Crime Map was a multi-agency and multi-departmental collaborative project that fostered partnerships, cost sharing, and resource sharing and it leveraged existing computer technology. Crime Map was a joint effort by the County's Sheriff's Office, Information Technology Department, and Geographic Information Services Department. However, the project would never have happened without Skagit County Sheriff Rick Grimstead's vision. The County plans to improve Crime Map by providing crime trend graphs and other useful tools.

    3. U.S. Senator John Sununu and Representative Jeb Bradley joined Global Relief Technologies (GRT) on August 11 in unveiling the GRT Virtual Network Operations Center (VNOC). Michael Gray, GRT's CEO, introduced the members of Congress to the VNOC, a centralized command facility where GPS-referenced data, including satellite imagery, is collected and transmitted between emergency responders and operations centers during natural or man-made disasters.

      Invited guests were able to view demonstrations which illustrate how GRT products and services enable emergency, military, and field service professionals located anywhere in the world, to rapidly and securely collect and analyze mission-critical data in standardized reporting formats using PDA applications. These handheld computers are equipped with GIS, therefore allowing relief effort personnel in remote locations to receive satellite imagery in real-time to near real-time, annotate it with reports of conditions on the ground, and forward the updated information to command centers using affordable and integrated mobile satellite/cellular communications.

      GRT's integrated solution combines PDA survey applications for field workers, GIS mapping imagery, timely satellite imagery, and near real-time GPS tracking with a Web-based information management center, or VNOC, for data hosting, analysis and reporting. The data is securely transmitted to and from the PDAs, via cellular, Internet or mobile satellite terminals.

      GRT technology is already in use in the following applications: assisting U.S. Marine Corps logistics operations in disaster response; providing communications technology to prepare for disaster response in Houston and Galveston, Texas; supporting the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) program for reconstruction in Afghanistan; working with Telenor Satellite Services to support the international humanitarian and reconstruction community; and aiding Raytheon's programs that support border control for Homeland Security and protecting U.S. troops in Iraq.

      In addition, GRT's Rapid Data Management Software is used by the humanitarian community, and by environmental, energy engineering, and construction firms, emergency medical sectors, defense, and security organizations. GRT was most recently called upon by the United States Marine Corps to help in the tracking and response to suspected outbreaks of the Avian Bird Flu in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

    4. URISA's Chapter Relations Committee (CRC) has announced that the organization's Washington State chapter (WAURISA) won the 2006 Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award. Among established chapters, the Bay Area Automated Mapping Association (BAAMA) in California and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter were announced as runners-up. The URISA Northern California Chapter and the Ohio Chapter won honorable mentions among new or recently reactivated chapters. All winning chapters will be recognized during the opening ceremony at URISA's 2006 Annual Conference, which will take place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 26-29.

      URISA has 26 chapters in the United States and Canada. Chapters interact with URISA on a routine basis via the CRC, which is comprised of representatives from 10 of the local chapters. Every year each chapter submits a profile that describes in detail its activity, as well as major challenges and key accomplishments. The CRC members review all the submitted chapter profiles, then rate each chapter based on uniform scoring criteria. Each chapter receiving recognition during 2006 not only provided high level of service to local chapter members, but also exhibited innovative practices or services that can be adopted by other chapters.

      • WAURISA, like many other chapters, worked in 2006 to tackle the problem of being relevant to all GIS users across the extensive geographic area it covers. New techniques used included targeted recruitment of volunteers and board members from across the state; panel sessions at conferences designed to include representation from across the state to discuss key issues; expanding the use of technology to include an on-line GIS discussion forum, an email list covering more than 1,750 GIS users and professionals, and conference calling to enable participation by volunteers and board members from across the state; and a newsletter, The Summit, designed to be relevant across the state.
      • The BAAMA Chapter, serving the San Francisco Bay Area in California, was distinguished by the consistently high level of user events and technical tours provided to their members, along with their collaboration with other professional organizations within their chapter area and across the entire State of California.
      • The Mid-Atlantic Chapter (New Jersey, Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania, and Northeastern Maryland) stands out because of the diversity of the programs it supports (user meetings, biennial conference, GIS day events, workshops, etc.) and its efforts to collaborate with the educational, business, government, and technology communities within its boundaries.
      • The Northern California Chapter (24 counties, from Sacramento, north) is newly formed. It serves as a positive example for other potential new chapters by its record of marshalling support from GIS users, academics, and vendors to develop a variety of chapter meetings, educational workshops, and other resources to build a sustainable base of active members.
      • The Ohio Chapter began to revive in 2005 after a period of dormancy. A cadre of dedicated board members saw the opportunity to revitalize the chapter by holding meetings in coordination with OGRIP, the Ohio GIS coordinating committee. The chapter has since expanded its services with regional workshops.
    5. East View Cartographic (EVC) has acquired a collection of geological maps and atlases from the Telberg Geological Map Service. The collection contains thousands of unique items from regions such as China, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Telberg family built this collection by establishing supply relationships with virtually every geological mapping authority in the world.

      Core elements of the Telberg collection include virtually every geological map and atlas published in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution; geological maps and atlases from almost every country in Africa; items from virtually every country in Asia; complete regional Latin American coverage for geological maps and atlases; one of the world's most complete assemblies of Soviet geological and geoscientific maps and atlases; and many unusual geological publications.

      Many of these items are now virtually impossible to obtain because they were produced in low press runs and come from some of the world's most closed and isolated countries. As they are catalogued these publications will be added to the GIS-based EVC Store which can be used to search and browse EVC products.

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