2006 August 31

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Editor's Introduction

This week, I report on CH2M HILL's partnership with Google to integrate Google Earth with GIS; feature a report on the recent Survey & GIS Summit; make a modest proposal about a space-based Web cam; and correct a statement I made in a recent issue. Plus, my usual round-up of news from press releases.

Enjoy the long holiday!


Professional Surveyor Magazine Readership Survey 2006

CH2M HILL and Google, Geospatial Partners

An old player in the geospatial field and a new one began an interesting cooperation about a year ago: CH2M HILL has been integrating Google's Google Earth as a visualization tool for location-based corporate information systems—including supply chain management, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, and logistics and asset management.

CH2M HILL—a 60-year old, $3.8 billion engineering, construction, operations, and technical services firm entirely owned by its 18,000 employees—concentrates in the areas of transportation, water, energy, environment, communications, construction, and industrial facilities. According to Ed Riegelmann, who directs the company's Enterprise Spatial Solutions (ESS) line of business, "we've been mapping our clients' infrastructure and facilities since 1954; it's been a core part of our business." The company, he told me, was "one of the very early adopters and users of ESRI products" and now has "more than 600 geospatial information technology specialists" with "a continuum of skills." They include CAD integration specialists, "GIS purists," and relational database management specialists who set up databases in Oracle or SQL Server to support ArcSDE or Oracle Spatial. "We consider them all part of that same team, because there is a spatial focus. As part of the ESS line of business, we try to cross-train a lot of folks, to get them exposed to many of the different products and technologies that are required to do integrations and solutions for clients. In Europe, we tend to have many staff that have experience with SmallWorld, because we have some very large telecommunications GIS projects."

For design and engineering, CH2M HILL has been using [Bentley's] MicroStation and [AutoDesk's] AutoCAD for many years and has a separate Engineering Design Group (EDG), not included in the figure of 600. "They provide specific design services, [mostly] around structures, facilities, and plants that we are designing," says Riegelmann. "But their interface with us, on the spatial side, is along the lines of several integration horizons, between traditional design data and spatial data. A big push within our ESS is to integrate those worlds for clients."

Over the past four years, CH2M HILL has consolidated its extensive internal network of geospatial practitioners into the Communications & Information Solutions Business Group (C&IS). "They are all part of a community of practice," Riegelmann explains. "That's how we are building out solutions for clients." While the "communications" side of the group performs such traditional functions as installing copper, fiber, and wireless solutions, the "information" side, which includes ESS, is pursuing new technology integrations.

Google, on the other hand, was founded less than ten years ago and entered the geospatial arena only last year, when it rolled out Google Maps in February and launched Google Earth in June. Yet "the Google Effect," as it has come to be known, has had a profound impact on the geospatial industry. CH2M Hill realized right away, says Riegelmann, that the mashup communities, which were using Google Maps and Google Earth's KML, were opening up the technology to an entirely new user group. "If they are interested and investigate a little further, they are going to discover that there is a whole industry behind it. So we really spotted it as a very positive thing for the other vendors."

Last fall, C&IS created its own, internal Google Earth consulting business and became the first certified Google Earth Enterprise partner and the only integrator of Google Earth products. "We negotiated with [Google Earth] to set up a developmental environment within our firm," Riegelmann told me. "We have our own Google Earth server environment. We use it mostly to prototype products, so that we can show clients how they would work, in real time, using our own server resources. We also have a close relationship, of course, with their sales force and with their technical teams."

CH2M HILL developed its first very large enterprise GIS for the U.S. Air Force, more than ten years ago. Brian Cullis, at the time a colonel in Air Force and now CH2M HILL's Vice President and Global Lead for Enterprise Information Strategies, led the project, called GeoBase. "We rolled out GIS across an enterprise for hundreds of installations worldwide," Riegelmann told me. "We established an architecture, did an assessment of the existing assets, and looked at how to transition to a target architecture on that side. At the same time, we worked within the culture of that organization, to help it learn how it could use spatial information in its different business processes."

The Air Force now uses GeoBase mostly for visualization purposes in a command and control function. Cullis went on to work for the Secretary of Defense and established a department-wide program. "Now the Marine Corps, the Navy, and the Army are establishing programs to do something similar to what the Air Force has done, using the same principles and architecture," says Riegelmann.

Recently, CH2M HILL prototyped a follow-on to GeoBase, based on a Google Earth integration. It enables the Air Force to see all of its facilities worldwide from a very synoptic view and to zoom in to individual air bases and see all of the facilities in 3D. "We used the true photogrammetric location of the features, including elevation, and some very detailed photogrammetric work we've done for the Air Force. We integrated that to show how you could do, say, a hemisphere view—let's say the Northern Hemisphere or North America view—and zoom right down to an individual installation with imagery at a 6-inch pixel."

According to Cullis, the Pentagon initially saw GIS adoption as an IT challenge. He proposed a different approach: "Why don't we start talking in terms of spatial information resources that directly support our business mission?" This was consistent with the mandate of the CIOs of federal agencies, that any IT investments must explicitly support business processes.

Was there a transition from CAD to GIS, or a blurring of the two? "People no longer were talking about just CAD or GIS," says Cullis. "In some cases the CAD investment had been completely subsumed within the GIS investment and we were putting surveying data directly into a GIS to support a business process. The CAD use in some of our business processes had been completely cut out because of the advances in GIS. It was a real business optimization decision. Even AutoDesk is realizing that we're blurring the distinction between CAD and GIS and now we are talking about building information modeling."

CH2M HILL soon realized that this framework of enterprise spatial solutions could work just as well with local governments, federal agencies, and commercial clients who own, operate, or lease land and who are stewards of facilities and utility infrastructures, such as roads and airfields.

Meanwhile, Riegelmann points out, the continued progress of open standards for both data and data exchange—including Web Feature Service (WFS) and Web Map Service (WMS)—have made it much easier to move data between applications and import it into enterprise GIS. "This is important from a strategic perspective: the simpler we make the technology to get a map component into another enterprise application framework, the more ubiquitous it becomes and the more it will be used by the user community."

Now that Google Earth has opened up its KML file format, Riegelmann explains, there is no longer any need for middleware. "We are hoping that all the vendors establish more open standards. For us that is extremely important, because we are integrators, not resellers. We want to be able to provide solutions that can perform very well, but maintain existing investment." The most expensive part of a GIS is collecting and maintaining data. Therefore, Riegelmann argues, data conversions are dangerous without solid standards that allow for a loss-less translation.

What does CH2M HILL find most useful about Google Earth? "We found that it is really a very useful media for prototyping ideas for clients," says Riegelmann. "You can actually build something rather quickly for them to look at without really large investments. That's something that in some of the other traditional GIS packages is not easy to do." CH2M HILL is also experimenting with other visualization technologies, including Skyline, GeoFusion, and WorldWind.

What does its partnership with Google Earth mean for CH2M HILL? "It has been a unique experience for us, because, admitedly, they want to be the one-stop Internet explorer for everybody. That does not fit the traditional GIS vendor mode. We really aggressively pursued the relationship because we saw the potential of Google Earth as a visualization tool. We still talk to our traditional clients about how Google Earth can help them. What has really changed, however, is the type of clients that end up calling us and ask for our support. The public works directors, utility managers, city managers, etc., knew us. But, all of a sudden, we are getting calls from the banking industry, the mining industry, or somebody who had a big supply chain management problem. All these different industries that we began to see interest from were very much keyed into what Google Earth showed them—and that was the kind of virtual Earth environment that they could start to envision putting their own information on."

Survey & GIS Summit

As a prelude to its recent user conference, ESRI also held its annual Survey and GIS Summit, August 5-6 in San Diego, California, with about 400 people attending. Among them was Tom Gibson, editor of GIS Monitor's sister publication, Professional Surveyor Magazine, who filed this report.

While the UC makes for a vibrant happening with the hordes of people it draws, the Summit may have more relevance for surveyors. The two events comprise a yin and yang experience, as the Summit plays out in a quieter, more intimate setting.

Saturday at the Summit was all plenary sessions with several talks and presentations. Brent Jones, surveying industry manager for ESRI, started the ball rolling by stating that the average age of surveyors is 57. He couched that with a little humor by adding, "Of course, I don't see anyone over 45 in here." Nonetheless, his statement brought home a point that would resurface throughout the day: the surveying industry is failing to draw young people to its ranks.

The main theme of the Summit, however, was the gap between GIS and surveying and whether it's real or perceived. Jones, a relative newcomer to ESRI, commented, "I thought surveyors didn't know much about GIS. I learned I couldn't have been further from the truth." He continued, "The gap exists more in our minds than it does in the real business world."

Next, keynote speaker Wendy Lathrop, a well-known licensed surveyor and instructor, told the crowd that surveyors weren't impressed with GIS at first. "After a while, we realized GIS was here to stay. It's not a passing fancy." Part of the problem, she said, stems from the fact that GIS was originally not accurate enough for surveying, as it wasn't made for that. "Surveyors have been on a great white horse, protecting accuracy. People who use this information want better information, and that's where surveyors come in." GIS is now based on accurate data. "We did have a positive influence."

After Ray Carnes and Tim Hodson from ESRI's Technical Marketing group demonstrated software features related to surveying, Clint Brown, director of software products, spoke on the future of surveying. "You guys enable GIS," he proclaimed. "You guys to us are a really important community. You build the basis that all the rest of GIS sits on. We depend on you guys to make GIS work."

Later, Curt Sumner, executive director of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) moderated the Industry Executive Panel, which included representatives from Trimble, Topcon, Leica, and the National Geodetic Survey. Jason Kandrick, product marketing manager for Leica Geosystems, said of GIS and surveying, "Education is definitely the cornerstone for the two industries. Surveyors need to learn how to communicate with the GIS community."

An audience member asked why the surveying industry can't attract young people. There were comments that technology is not taught to them and that we need to teach the teachers. One fellow suggested geocaching as a way of drawing youngsters—"they love it!" Another said that his company had paid to bring an intern to the conference and suggested having student pricing for it.

Sunday's schedule featured four breakout sessions throughout the day, two each in the morning and afternoon. You had your choice of five seminars each session covering technical topics, issues, and projects involving GIS and surveying.

We learned from professor Larry Shubat how students at the University of Akron in Ohio mapped the Portage Path using GIS and GPS. The eight-mile-long former Indian trail connects the Cuyahoga River and the Tuscarawas branch of the Muskingum River. Eric Gakstatter gave an overview of the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which was developed by the Federal Aviation Administration for the aviation community and now supplements GPS. Issac Standard, who works for the City of Covington, Georgia, described how the city is using GPS and GIS to map its stormwater system and set its utility rates accordingly.

As riveting as the UC was, the highlight of the week may have come at the end of the Survey and GIS Summit, on Sunday, with Intersect LIVE: Two Professions, Two Perspectives, Two Points of View. This was a live version of the column written for Professional Surveyor Magazine by Janet Jackson, a GIS practitioner, and Randy Rambeau, a surveyor. Publisher Neil Sandler introduced Jackson and Rambeau and opened the floor to questions, after which a rousing discussion ensued. Perhaps this demonstrates that surveyors are indeed embracing GIS and understanding its potential.

Brent Jones said afterwards that ESRI plans to retire "Bridging the Gap" as a tag line for the Summit. "Too many folks have come up to us and said there is no gap, GIS is just not used by all surveyors yet." He concludes, "As surveyors adopt GPS, they are adopting GIS at the same time. We see our sponsors—Trimble, Topcon, and Leica—bringing surveyors into the GIS world with their GPS offerings. It is GPS, along with some pretty cool GIS software, that has bridged the gap between surveyors and GIS." His telling summary gives surveyors impetus for anticipating next year's event. It will take place June 16 to 19 and the UC will take place June 18 to 22.

Space-Based Web Cam

Early next year, GeoEye will launch GeoEye-1, a 4,200-pound satellite that, it claims, "will offer unprecedented spatial resolution by simultaneously acquiring 0.41-meter panchromatic and 1.64-meter multispectral imagery" and be able to "collect 700,000 square kilometers of imagery in a single day, downlink imagery in real-time to international ground station customers, and store 1.2 terabytes of data on its solid-state recorders."

Earthrise, as photographed by the crew of Apollo 8

I propose that GeoEye add to GeoEye-1 a relatively low-resolution camera, devote a small portion of its downlink bandwidth to a continuous feed from that camera, and serve the feed over the Internet. Anyone could then view the imagery from this space-based Web cam, just as we now routinely view feeds from ground-based ones.

Whether they'd use the site as wallpaper, keep it open in a small window in a corner of their screen, or visit it occasionally, people would become used to watching Earth from above and observing changes in real time. Schools, offices, and public places could display this video feed. It would be a live version of the famous Earthrise picture taken by the crew of Apollo 8 and, perhaps, it would have even more impact.

For GeoEye, of course, such a ubiquitous video feed, with the tag line "Courtesy of GeoEye," would be an incredible form of publicity!

Department of Corrections

In the August 11 issue I reported that this year's ESRI International User Conference was attended by about 15,000 people. The correct, final figure is 12,827.

News Briefs

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


    1. DSM Soft Private Limited, a provider of engineering and geospatial data services headquartered in India, has joined Bentley's Enterprise License Subscription (ELS) program, which grants organizations unlimited access to the entire ELS software portfolio for a fixed annual fee. The portfolio covers all the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) and geospatial software needs of subscribers, providing building, plant, civil, and geospatial solutions and supporting a managed environment for their AEC and geospatial IT.

    2. NAVTEQ, a provider of digital map data for location-based solutions and vehicle navigation, has collaborated with ESRI to begin shipping a new dataset for ESRI StreetMap Premium, the latest street database for use with ESRI's ArcGIS software products. ESRI's StreetMap Premium data includes NAVTEQ's comprehensive NAVSTREETS map database for Europe, the United States, and Canada.

      NAVSTREETS is a collection of navigable attributes, including turn-by-turn directions, the latest street geometry, address information, and water features. It is designed to help ESRI users add current street data to applications such as ArcGIS Desktop (ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo), ArcIMS RouteServer, and ArcGIS Server. A data option is also available for use with the ArcGIS Network Analyst extension.

      NAVSTREETS data is available in ESRI Smart Data Compression (SDC) format, and the entire North American dataset comes on one DVD. It can be used to geocode addresses and generate routes and driving directions, as a cartographic display, as a backdrop for plotting customer locations, or as a basemap.

      Over 550 field analysts drive millions of miles each year to update NAVTEQ's map database. The company's maps include detailed attributes such as turn restrictions, relative road crossing heights, road segment access restrictions, one-way streets, and speed categories to help optimize routing. They also include Points of Interest (POIs)—such as restaurants, hospitals, shopping centers, and leisure facilities—making it easier to locate and route to many different destinations.

    3. ESRI has joined forces with Stratus Technologies, an ESRI hardware partner, to create the 2006 ArcGIS Server Demonstration Project Grant Program. Designed to help users improve government processes, this grant program will help state, regional, and local government agencies demonstrate concepts and create models for an integrated server-based GIS architecture. The grant serves to promote and distribute reusable applications that can be shared between governments by way of an ArcGIS Server public domain Web site.

      Ten states, regional, or local governments within the United States will be awarded grants. Totaling more than $814,000, the grants will include software, hardware, and training resources. The deadline to apply for this grant is October 27 at 5:00 p.m. PST. The program is open to all forms of state and local governments in the United States, including all departments within a government organization. Applications developed by grant recipients will be posted on the ESRI Web site beginning May 2007.

    4. Steak n Shake, a restaurant chain, is using MapInfo location intelligence solutions to optimize its strategic real estate site selection and market deployment programs. MapInfo provides tailored research, services and software that enable more accurate site and market sales forecasts and helps companies determine the number and location of sites for market optimization during expansion.

    5. Sinar Mas Forestry, a pulpwood farm operator in Asia, has awarded Intermap Technologies Corp. a US$2.6M contract for the collection of elevation data and radar imagery. Sinar Mas Forestry is the exclusive wood fiber supplier for Asia Pulp & Paper - Sinar Mas Pulp & Paper Products (APP). Intermap's elevation data and high-resolution radar imagery will enable Sinar Mas Forestry to manage its pulpwood resource more efficiently. Intermap Technologies will collect and deliver the data in 2006.

      Intermap will use its proprietary Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR) technology to map diverse geography throughout the areas of interest. The data will enable the creation of a 3D model of the region's surface to create highly accurate maps and geospatial models for planning purposes.

    6. GeoAnalytics Inc., an IT consulting firm that specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of enterprise information systems, will participate in the new SAS channel program, which will help bring SAS business intelligence software to small-to-medium and mid-market businesses throughout the United States.

      As a SAS reseller, GeoAnalytics will promote and sell the SAS Enterprise Intelligence Platform, which includes data integration, business intelligence, and analytics. SAS will train and certify GeoAnalytics sales staff and provide ongoing technical support to ensure an ideal customer experience, from pre-sales to implementation and beyond. In addition, the two companies will engage in targeted marketing activities to drive greater awareness of SAS software in GeoAnalytics' core markets.

    7. The Resources Inventory and Assessment Division (RIAD) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has selected Sanborn, a geospatial solutions company, to provide fulltime onsite remote sensing services under a five year contract.

      Sanborn will provide an onsite workforce for three Remote Sensing Laboratories (RSL) established under the NRCS as the result of a formally advertised and competitive acquisition process in which the government evaluated cost and technical proposals submitted by the interested offerors. The program ensures more consistent, efficient state-of-the-art data collection for the National Resources Inventory (NRI), a statistical survey designed to estimate natural resource conditions and trends on the nation's non-federal land.

      The RIAD conducts statistical surveys of land use and natural resource conditions and trends. Information from the NRI plays a key role in the development of conservation policy and programs of the nation, serves to educate the public regarding natural resources issues, and provides a comprehensive, nationally consistent source of data for researchers in fields such as natural conservation, land use, wetlands, and agricultural development.

      Sanborn will provide a team with a balance of technical skills, and onsite program management expertise to ensure success of the objectives of the RSL. All on-site staff are pre-qualified and go through an established certification process to ensure the RSL's data collection process will meet all the data collection and quality assurance protocols.

      With a total of 144 employees, Sanborn will facilitate and manage Remote Sensing Laboratories located in Greensboro, North Carolina, Portland, Oregon, and Fort Worth, Texas. Sanborn personnel will be responsible for aerial photo interpretation and remote sensing methods used to detect changes in land use and resource conditions at NRI's 800,000 sample sites.


    1. OpenOSX has begun shipping a major new version of its OpenOSX GrassPro product that, for the first time, is now both PowerPC- and Intel-native. In addition, they have also published their freely-available OpenOSX Grass standalone application, which is also now available natively for both Intel and PowerPC Macintoshes for the first time.

      OpenOSX GrassPro features OpenOSX Grass, a standalone application based on the open source GRASS 6.1.0 GIS software, requiring a simple drag-and-drop installation; OpenOSX MapServer, which is a complete, standalone application based on Apache 2.0.59, PHP 5.0.5 and MapServer 4.8.4, used for readily publishing dynamic, navigatable maps with layers over the Internet directly from dozens of popular geo-spatial file formats; OpenOSX GMT, featuring more than 60 tools for rich manipulation of geographic and Cartesian datasets, including advanced filtering, trending, gridding, projection and much more with EPS file format output; PostGIS, which enables spatial, geographic support for the included PostgreSQL (similar to ESRI's Spatial Data Engine (SDE) and Oracle's Spatial Extension); and an exhaustive set of additional software and tools included to extend the power of GRASS GIS. The product is backed by documentation, tutorials, sample-data and limited installation support.

      The latest release of GRASS GIS 6.1.0 includes hundreds of improvements over the last stable version, 6.0.1, including a feature to create GRASS "locations" automatically from existing geo-spatial datasets, which was considered a major obstacle for many would-be GRASS adopters.

      GRASS 6 features a GIS Display Manager, complete with layers, a vector engine capable of handling 2D and 3D vector data, an NVIZ 3D interface allowing volume (voxel) capabilities, 3D and 4D visualization, and the ability to integrate database management systems such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, DBF and ODBC.

      GRASS can import and export most popular geo-spatial file formats and includes tools for photo-orthorectification, image classification, re-projection, geostatistics, spatial data analysis and much more.

    2. MapInfo Corporation, a provider of location intelligence solutions, has introduced v12.0 of its MapMarker Plus geocoding tool. The product adds to current geocoding technology a new algorithm that more precisely identifies locations. In addition, this newest version includes the optional MapMarker ParcelPrecisionT data set, containing forty-four million address points.

      Geocoding, the adding of geographic coordinates to every record in a database, is the critical first step for an organization to visualize its business data on a map and discover trends and patterns that are not apparent when simply looking at a spreadsheet. MapMarker Plus v12.0 delivers data-building tools and interpolation methodologies that bring companies as close as 75 feet on average to a given address. When even more accuracy is required, ParcelPrecision delivers points to the parcel center or street location.

    3. Bentley Systems, Incorporated has released WaterGEMS V8 XM Edition, the only water distribution modeling solution to unify modeling across MicroStation, ArcGIS, AutoCAD, and stand-alone platforms. It allows water utilities and consulting firms, for the first time, to leverage the benefits of ArcGIS integration without sacrificing interoperability with the AutoCAD, MicroStation, and stand-alone platforms.

      WaterGEMS V8 XM Edition extends every piece of functionality across all the included CAD, GIS, and stand-alone platforms. For example, GIS users can now exercise total control over engineering units directly within ArcGIS's attribute tables, using the same FlexTables technology they can find in the other included platforms.

      Additional new features of WaterGEMS V8 XM include: Criticality Analysis Center, a comprehensive utility that helps identify critical assets in water distribution infrastructure and evaluate the risk associated with their failure; new modeling elements: hydrants, isolation valves, and variable speed pump batteries have been added to the framework to support asset management and hydraulic modeling workflows; pressure-dependent demands: users can define demands as a function of pressure to effectively model intermittent water supply scenarios, sprinkler heads, and unaccounted-for water; and centralized water demand management: users can streamline water consumption estimation with new geospatial demand allocation methods, unit demand engineering libraries, and global management for simple, composite, and pressure-dependent demands.

      WaterGEMS V8 XM Edition is available to all Bentley SELECT subscribers.


    1. Digital Data Technologies, Inc. (DDTI) will pledge gold-level support for the Fall 2006 conference of the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), an organization committed to efficient and effective government through the prudent adoption of geospatial information technologies (GIT).

      A long-standing member of the GIS community, DDTI has developed its own process for the collection of highly detailed, multi-layered transportation datasets that serve the needs of all levels of government, including 9-1-1. DDTI's data creation methodology mirrors NSGIC's 'collect it once, use it many times' theory, and goes one step further with a comprehensive approach to data maintenance. DDTI set a statewide precedent upon being selected to execute the pilot program of Ohio's Location Based Response System (LBRS), and has mapped more than a third of the state accordingly.

      As part of its gold-level sponsorship, DDTI representatives qualify to participate in the Corporate Leadership Council that serves as an advisory board to NSGIC's leadership. The organization is particularly concerned with the creation of intelligent maps and databases that enable public and private decision makers to make better informed and timelier decisions in a wide array of governmental areas.

      NSGIC's Fall Conference will take place October 1 - 5, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

    2. The second annual Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON), a global gathering on open source technology and solutions for public sector information technology professionals, will be held October 12-13 in Portland, Oregon. Designed for information technology executives and managers in national, state, and local governments, GOSCON features in-depth sessions on open source implementation and best practices, as well as presentations from industry luminaries.

      "Open source" refers to software whose programming code can be viewed, modified, and changed by its users, giving them the ability to improve the software, making it better for everyone and speeding the pace of technological improvements. Such software is typically available free of charge, but developers sometimes profit by selling products or services related to the software, such as technical support or "plug ins" that allow the software to perform additional tasks. Some of the more commonly recognized open source software include the Linux operation system and the Firefox web browser.

      Some 200 participants attended GOSCON 2005 and focused new attention on the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University—the primary organizer of GOSCON—as one of the country's emerging forces in the open source movement. Following last fall's conference, OSU and Portland State University were the recipients of a $350,000 gift from Google in recognition of such efforts. OSL is home to the most widely used open source applications in existence today, including the Firefox Web browser, which has been downloaded more than 150 million times from Open Source Lab servers in Corvallis.

      Speakers confirmed thus far for GOSCON 2006 include Stuart Cohen, CEO of Open Source Development Lab, a non-profit organization that provides state-of the-art computing and test facilities in the United States and Japan available to developers around the world; Howard G. "Ward" Cunningham, inventor of the "wiki," specialized Web pages that allow multiple users to contribute content with simple, non-HTML commands; Larry Augustin, former CEO and now board member of Medsphere, an open source software company that delivers a sophisticated healthcare information system; and Brian Behlendorf, primary developer of the Apache Web server, the most popular web server software on the Internet, and a founding member of the Apache Group, which later became the Apache Software Foundation.

      Registration fees for the two-day conference are $200.

    3. Organized by the local ESRI distributor, Marathon Data Systems, the 21st European Conference for ESRI Users (EUC) will be held in Athens, Greece, November 6-8. The conference returns to the Greek capital after a 13-year hiatus with the provocative theme "Discover the Power of History and GIS." The Hilton Hotel will be the setting for this event, which is expected to attract more than 1,000 participants.

      Opening day will feature speeches by Jack Dangermond, president of ESRI, and David Maguire, ESRI director of products. Dangermond will share his vision on GIS technology and Maguire will discuss the latest features in the 9.2 release of ArcGIS, which include advanced support for CAD projects, enhanced cartographic design tools, and sophisticated capabilities for image processing and analysis.

      The Honorable Jeremy Harris, former mayor of the city of Honolulu, Hawaii, will deliver the keynote address. Other distinguished speakers will make subsequent presentations—including professor Roger Tomlinson, the "father" of GIS, who will conduct a workshop for GIS managers.

      The second and third days of the conference will primarily be filled with technical workshops and many parallel sessions combined in several tracks. The tracks will focus on utilities/energy, transportation and logistics, cadastres, national mapping agencies, agriculture, defense, education, physical planning, and e-government.

      An exhibition with more than 30 business partner booths and a poster session will complete this event. Training courses on the latest ESRI products will be provided after the conference.


    1. CARIS has appointed Paul R. Cooper as Vice President of CARIS USA. He will direct all aspects of the company's U.S. operations.

      Mr. Cooper has more than 30 years of experience in geospatial data collection, management, and leadership in the U.S. federal government and private industry. He was previously an International Business Developer with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), where he developed business opportunities in Integrated Oceanographic Observations Systems and in the National Science Foundation Oceanographic Observing Initiative.

      Before joining SAIC, he served as Director of the Naval Oceanographic Office International Program, which developed bilateral relationships between the United States and other nations to conduct surveys and foster capacity-building efforts in the fields of hydrography, oceanography, and cartography.

    2. Azteca Systems, Inc., a provider of GIS-centric asset maintenance management solutions, has appointed John Jarnagin as its Western Regional representative. Jarnagin joined Azteca Systems in August 2005 from VESTRA Resources, Inc., where he managed mobile GIS projects and was involved in corporate business development, marketing, software development, research and development.

      Jarnagin graduated from Utah State University in geography with an emphasis in GIS and a minor in Japanese. He joined Azteca Systems as a Client Services Manager and was appointed to the Sales and Marketing team in April 2006. He is responsible for Azteca Systems' business activities in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii.

      Azteca Systems maintains five regional offices throughout the U.S. with corporate headquarters in Sandy, Utah. Regional Representatives include Phil Mogavero, Northeast Region; Brent Wilson, Southeast Region; Becky Tamashasky, Great Lakes Region; Tom Palizzi, Midwest Region; and John Jarnagin, Western Region. Visit their web site for a map and contact information for each region.

    3. Avineon, Inc., a provider of IT, geospatial, engineering, and program management services, has appointed R. Scott Starsman as chief engineer within the company's Defense Systems division. He will lead research and development efforts in support of Avineon's defense contracts and assist with business development. He will also help plan and execute C5I modernization to ensure that Avineon's systems delivered to ships and shore facilities are mature and fully capable of supporting mission functions.

      With 20 years of naval engineering experience, Starsman brings to Avineon technical specialties in naval command, control, communications, and intelligence systems. Within research and development, he will evaluate tools and technologies that align with Avineon's strategic direction as well as manage and execute defense contracts. Avineon maintains a strong customer presence within the Tidewater-area of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia and Starsman will look to further expand the company's reach with increased business development on both U.S. coasts.

      Starsman was most recently stationed at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), where he served as the East Coast lead for the Strike Force Interoperability program and oversaw the execution of the C5I Modernization Process. Prior to that engagement, he served as the technical department head and technical director at Task Force Web, a task force established to revolutionize the way the Navy uses C4 technology. He provided operational and technical vision and was the foremost proponent of Web services and the service-oriented architecture that is changing the way the Navy interacts with its information systems.

      Throughout his career, Starsman has received various awards and medals for his outstanding service and dedication to the Navy. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a doctorate degree in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University.

    4. Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) has promoted several key managers: Peter Wallace, former national sales manager-survey, has been promoted to director of sales-survey; Murray Lodge, former national sales manager-construction, will assume the position of director of sales-construction; and Steve Briggs, previously in the product group as senior manager for institutional accounts, moved to the sales department as networks and OEM sales manager.

  5. OTHER

    1. Leica Geosystems recently opened for business its new online store, which sells a wide range of the company's products, including levels, pipe lasers, rotators, and underground service locators. The site makes it easy for professionals with construction, surveying, positioning, and distance measurement needs to purchase a variety of Leica Geosystems products directly from the source.

      To aid in the selection of the right product, the site offers customers online training with demonstrations and tutorials. Customers also have access to special promotions offered exclusively through the site—as well as ongoing monthly specials and discounts. Other features include price checking, real-time order entry, tracking and status.

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