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."

Read more …

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."

Read more …

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.

Read more …

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. Read more …

    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. Read more …

    3. ESRI has joined forces with Stratus Technologies, an ESRI hardware partner, to create the 2006 ArcGIS Server Demonstration Project Grant Program. Read more …

    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. Read more …

    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. Read more …

    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. Read more …

    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. Read more …


    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. Read more …

    2. MapInfo Corporation, a provider of location intelligence solutions, has introduced v12.0 of its MapMarker Plus geocoding tool. Read more …

    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. Read more …


    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). Read more …

    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. Read more …

    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. Read more …


    1. CARIS has appointed Paul R. Cooper as Vice President of CARIS USA. Read more …

    2. Azteca Systems, Inc., a provider of GIS-centric asset maintenance management solutions, has appointed John Jarnagin as its Western Regional representative. Read more …

    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. Read more …

    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. Read more …

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