2006 September 07

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Editor's Introduction

This week, I catch up with India-based RMSI; discuss the relationship between CAD, surveying, and GIS with an ESRI manager; and propose a way to widely expand public awareness of GIS. Plus, my usual round-up of news items from press releases.


RMSI Climbs the GIS Value Chain

RMSI is a geospatial information and software services company founded in 1992 by Stanford University graduates, based in India, and owned by one of the UK's largest listed companies, the Daily Mail and General Trust plc. RMSI has its headquarters in Noida, near New Delhi, a development center in Hyderabad, and offices in the United States and the United Kingdom. Eight months ago I interviewed the company's CEO, Ajay Lavakare. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with Joydeep Chakraborty, who heads RMSI's software development, and Puneet Sharma, its general manager.

In the course of our conversation, Chakraborty and Sharma stressed that the company constantly seeks new partners around the world, aggressively pursues innovation and ways to climb up the GIS "value chain," and focuses heavily on developing reusable frameworks.

The company's portfolio includes a broad range of geospatial know-how and projects. "We have a very strong remote sensing team and a very strong application development team," Sharma told me. "We've realized that we are actually bidding and winning projects that involve a combination of data and application. We're doing a lot of interesting work in the disaster management field. We're doing business geography applications for one of the fast food restaurant chains and projects on real estate system integration and facilities management."

Among the company's principal activities, according to Chakraborty, are the development of commercial real estate applications, product development, and product testing for third party products. "We have a set of domain consultants who do the consulting work," he told me, "and they are primarily involved in user needs assessment." On the applications developments side, he cites a recent World Health Organization contract, enterprise GIS implementation for a private contract in India, and providing analytical workbench for various companies that are developing GIS solutions.

Sharma describes his role as "more forward-looking" and focused on "identifying the growth strategies, building technology partnerships, and identifying new technologies, like Oracle Spatial." He asks such questions as "Which are the areas on which we should start focusing?" and "Which are the new markets that are growing?" Over the last three years, Sharma told me, RMSI has invested "very heavily" into Oracle Spatial and "built a lot of reusable frameworks around the technology." The company also built relationships with Oracle U.S., in Nashua, New Hampshire, and with Oracle India, with which it is partnering in the e-government sector.

RMSI, Sharma explains, analyzes all bids and proposals very carefully, to understand changing market needs. One of these needs, on which the company has decided to focus heavily, is disaster management. "We are targeting all the MLFA [multilateral funding agreements] sector, all the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aid projects all over the world," he says. "We have got into projects, and we want projects, in places like Romania."

RMSI, Sharma says, is not interested in "broad-based partnership arrangements" but, rather, seeks "partnerships focused on particular opportunities"—often bringing in university professors and domain experts in order to win a bid. A project in Rumania on economic assessment, for example, relied heavily on local experts, supplemented by RMSI's modeling expertise. Sharma describes the Rumanian collaboration as an experiment and "absolutely new territory." Usually, the government provides the data and RMSI the software, which it customizes for each project, emphasizing reusability. "Basically, we are building modeling tools," says Sharma. "We are building a lot of frameworks." The company also aims to complete projects very quickly: "The typical quarter million dollar or half-a-million dollar project takes us about six to seven months from start to finish."

According to Sharma, RMSI has "one of the largest remote sensing teams in India" and does not have a preferential relationship with any single satellite imagery provider. I asked him whether his company is excited about the upcoming launch of GeoEye1. "We are monitoring it very closely," he told me, "to identify what the benefits will be for us. We like to take a raw satellite image and then handle it completely ourselves."

I asked Chakraborty how the company's business is distributed geographically. "Strategically, as a company," he told me, "we are pretty strong in Europe. We have also penetrated into the U.S. market in the last one and a half years. We have been working with GDT—now TeleAtlas North America—for the last five years, updating and re-aligning the street networks. We are also working with Telcontar. Until last year we had very little focus on India as a territory. But, lately, we are also seeing a lot of growth in India. About two thirds of our business is in Europe. I would put the India portion at somewhere around 3-5 percent currently. However, the trend is showing that India as a market is picking up."

One of RMSI's projects in India is building an enterprise GIS solution for a private city. "India is going through a major construction boom these days," says Chakraborty. "As a result, there are many private players who have bought land and are building up their townships." In one such initiative, a consortium of partners is implementing a private township, which is going to house about 100,000 families, and RMSI is their solution provider. "We are providing the GIS there and they have decided that they will use it as the backbone for servicing all their IT infrastructure needs. We are working on this project during the entire planning, designing, construction, implementation, monitoring, service, and sales phases. Everything is monitored using their enterprise GIS." Sharma adds: "In India it has never happened like this before. This is the first time that GIS is having such a predominant importance right from the township coming up to, later, lots and houses being sold. I think this is one of the first of its kind in the world."

Another one of RMSI's projects in India is providing logistics support to a fleet management system for a Fortune 500 company that is tracking its vehicles using GPS receivers. "We've set up a control center in their office," says Chakraborty. "They are now able to track their entire fleet. They also own oil fields. The petrol trucks leaving their refinery would sometimes reach their destinations much later than expected. These are also very highly flammable vehicles. They are now able to monitor the entire route of each of these trucks and send messages to a driver in case he is outside the buffering zone." The company in question (Chakraborty would not disclose its name) also owns a communication backbone and uses the control frequency on the cell phone system to transmit the data between the vehicles and the control center. RMSI then cloned this tracking system for another customer in Saudi Arabia.

"RMSI is a very, very proactive company," says Sharma. "We like to take initiatives." One example he cites is crop yield estimation, which the company started in India. When the project was successful, it replicated it with tea, then with forestry. Now the company is researching carbon sequestration. "Very few people are doing this. We have done a small project for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on this."

According to Sharma, RMSI has no separate R&D section; rather, it sees every project as an opportunity for R&D. "We always keep improving our processes. If there is a good process that can be replicated next time, we don't just replicate it. We try to research and improve that process." Long after the end of each project, Chakraborty adds, the company runs a "project windup" phase, in which the project team "does nothing but find out what has gone well, what has gone wrong, and what could be improved." The information gathered then is input into RMSI's knowledge base, as a basis for further productivity improvements. Successful frameworks are also plowed back into the company's new projects. "This helps one start all the projects on a very uniform base," says Chakraborty. "We take every project very seriously. Even if it is a small project, we make an absolute effort to ensure that there is no compromise on the quality."

CAD, Surveying, and GIS

Over the past few months, I have been exploring the changing relationship between CAD, surveying, and GIS. This week, I discussed the subject with Lindsay Hernstrom, ESRI's Technical Marketing Team Lead. After six years in research and development at ESRI, four years ago she moved to corporate and technical marketing, where she does a mix of presentations and illustration of what ESRI products can do for users as well as help the company understand their needs. She and the other dozen members of her team develop demonstrations for meetings, webcasts, conferences, client meetings, and the annual user conference.

At this year's user conference, Hernstrom demonstrated how ArcGIS is open to AutoCAD. "In AutoCAD there are many ways to get at the geodatabase or imagery supplied by ESRI servers. One of the methods that I showed was distributing the geodatabase to AutoCAD. This demonstration was showing a process of 9.2 functionality, coming out at our server release, that allows you to use geoprocessing models to do an ETL ("extract, transform, and load") process on your data and provide it to other clients. In technical terms, we have a model on the server that talks to our geodatabase, the geodatabase was exported into a CAD file, and that CAD file was already open. From our Web application we were able to push these features, now CAD entities, into the existing CAD files in their own layers. So I have an ETL process that was written to go from one place, which is the geodatabase, into a CAD document in another place. There are many considerations. This is not the one solution for every CAD user; this is one solution that we wanted to highlight that is possible with ArcGIS Server."

Are CAD and GIS merging? "I think that the CAD and GIS folks will always remain CAD folks and GIS folks. There will always be a difference. We will have a very difficult time having an environment, or even a software package, that follows exactly the needs of both user groups. I see the technology offering more opportunities for possible workflows. I see us not as merging into one group, but as merging into more collaborators and making use of the technology to make that possible."

The method she showed on stage at the user conference, Hernstrom explains, was an export of features from one type to another—for use when the workflow requires CAD objects, yet users want to touch geodatabase or GIS data. "Say, for example, that I am a Bentley Microstation user and I wish to edit the geodatabase, today, inside Microstation. My solution for least resistance—meaning that no coding is required, there is multiuser support, and so on—would be to use Bentley's ProjectWise, which allows me to manage the geodatabase from a non-ESRI client. I can do the same in an AutoCAD client, using Bentley's GISConnect, which allows me to edit the geodatabase directly."

A different scenario Hernstrom describes involves CAD users operating in a distributed environment, such as regional offices, and field users who need to edit their data. "That's where you could take advantage of ArcGIS Server," she says, "the Web editor that we have out-of-the-box, which requires no code at 9.2. There are many options depending on your workflow."

At the user conference, she focused on those who want their data as CAD. "What we're hearing from most CAD users is that they don't want to edit the geodatabase," says Hernstrom. "So, what we are trying to do at 9.2 and future releases is provide a framework, where you can have more data interoperability—not at the databit level, but at the application level. Our GP (geoprocessing) server at 9.2 makes this possible. While the solution that we showed on stage is not going to fit 100 percent of the CAD users, it would fit for a particular group of people with that need."

Does GIS still have precision limitations that make it the wrong tool for certain jobs? "I think that GIS has been given a bad wrap with regards to precision," Hernstrom told me. "I disagree that it can't be as accurate as CAD. The way that the workflow has been interpreted is completely different for a GIS user and a CAD user. Our tools, workflows, and software need to become more rich and understand these differences and I think that that is where we are going. AutoDesk and Bentley see that as well. They are not trying to win the entire market and have everyone live in CAD. Likewise, we don't want everyone to live in GIS. We're having more discussion as CAD professionals and GIS professionals than we used to have before. It is not going to happen over night, but the possibilities now make room for opportunity."

If I replaced "CAD users" with "surveyors," how would it change this discussion? "I'd rather have precision defined for me before I can answer that from a surveying point of view," says Hernstrom. "When you say precision for surveyors, are you speaking of distance on the Earth and are you are talking about GIS being features that are cartoons and snap and not real features? Can you define what you mean by precision in a survey space?" I told her that I'd have to think about that one... Would any surveyor like to take up the challenge?

The old prejudice among surveyors about GIS is starting to change. They are starting to realize that it is not as big an issue as they thought... "Correct," Hernstrom agreed. "What surveyors identified as limitations was simply a way of looking at how the data is acquired and maintained. You get into a maintenance discussion rather than an argument about precision theory. The tools are used to create the data—say, to delineate all of the data from a survey—and to turn it into features, say in GIS or CAD. Taking the survey data and moving it to CAD is one step; taking the survey data to GIS is a second step in that it already goes into a geometry and in GIS you also have an association or a relationship. In the past, surveyors saw the relationships between features as not accurate enough, in that the features could shift based on rules. However, users control how much that data can move in GIS. So, I think that there is a misconception that there is no precision in survey in GIS. That said, we weren't perfect. We did a good job, but we are doing a lot better today in listening to the needs of surveyors and in adapting the GIS tools to fit more of the workflow and the theory of a surveyor."

"In the mind of a surveyor, in the past," Hernstrom concludes, "surveying was separate from CAD and from GIS and it still is today, but I am feeling that we are more respectful of those tradecrafts and willing to adapt our tools to adhere to the needs of other people. Even in the past five years, it was more black and white: 'Listen, you can't give me what I need, so forget it, it's just terrible!' We asked for the full monty, rather than say 'Let's work this out.' This will take time. I feel that's more what the market is doing now, rather than being black and white and negative about the possibilities."

Showing GIS to the Public

ESRI recently released 12 four- to eight-minute videos showing different applications of GIS technology. The videos, on a CD titled GIS Day Video Kiosk CD, are intended to help presenters at GIS Day activities explain the roles of GIS in analyzing and mapping data in fields such as public safety, firefighting, health care, and retail marketing. According to an ESRI press release, the videos use "slides or video of maps or GIS users at work" and "narrated segments" to show how scientists, fire agencies, law enforcement officers, and others use GIS.

This collection is as useful as it is overdue. However, it should be just the start of a trend. Now it is up to other GIS developers, vendors, and large users to produce many more multimedia presentations showing how GIS helps address a wide range of scientific, public service, and commercial challenges. These presentations should be distributed widely to schools, libraries, and the mass media, and posted on websites.

Geospatial technology has already entered the mainstream—mostly thanks to GPS-based car navigation systems, GPS-enabled cell phones and PDAs, and Google Earth—yet very few people know what GIS is and how it can help them. Short, engaging, and factual presentations will help the GIS industry bridge this gap and vastly expand its user base.

News Briefs

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


    1. On September 13, at the GIS in the Rockies conference, in Denver, Colorado, geospatial industry leaders, executives of the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, and members of state and local workforce investment boards will launch the Geospatial Industry Workforce Information System (GIWIS, pronounced gee-whiz). GIWIS is the nation's first and only online geospatial workforce information network. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has selected Denver as a supported model site for geospatial industry growth.

      The event is the culmination of a DOL grant received by GITA and the Association of American Geographers (AAG). The grant supports President Bush's High Growth Job Training Initiative by forming high-level partnerships among industry, education, government, and the public workforce investment system to collaboratively develop solutions to the workforce challenges and labor shortages facing the geospatial industry.

      Denver will play a lead role in preparing workers to take advantage of new and increasing job opportunities in the geospatial industry—which the DOL considers one of the three most important emerging and evolving fields. Geospatial skills will be an increasingly vital part of jobs in the region's fastest growing industries, including aerospace, energy, information technology, and homeland security.

    2. Intermap Technologies, Inc. has entered an agreement with CyberCity 3D LLC to use Intermap's elevation models in conjunction with ViewTec's TerrainView software to create 3-D visualization models of five California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, San Diego, and Ventura. The resulting models, named "3D Terrains," will be available in the coming weeks.

      Each county, ranging in size from 945 square miles to 4,752 square miles, will feature aerial imagery draped over Intermap's elevation data that has a vertical accuracy of one meter or better. Users of the TerrainView software may select from a wide palette of environmental attributes—including time-of-day, skybox, distant haze, volumetric clouds, and rain, snow, and wind effects—to generate realistic scenes within these counties. They will also have the ability to create and save flight paths, points of interest, and take 3-D measurements of the displayed areas and features.

      The 3-D models will be utilized by local and state government agencies, as well as commercial enterprises, in the fields of urban planning, utilities and telecommunications infrastructure, watershed management, tourism, safety, and navigation.

    3. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has purchased the entire suite of DigitalGlobe's CitySphere product, which it will use to access imagery of 200 of the world's major metropolitan areas. CitySphere is an off-the-shelf collection of orthorectified color imagery provided by DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite.

      CitySphere features orthorectified 60 centimeter (2 foot) mosaic color imagery of 200 of the world's largest cities, such as Beijing, China; San Francisco, California; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Rome, Italy. Each city is comprised of imagery that is refreshed every year, so that no content is older than 24 months. CitySphere can help NGA serve clients such as the U.S. State Department and other intelligence community agencies. CitySphere can meet the geospatial content needs associated with embassy security, convoy and route planning security operations, the location of new property compounds, and the development of evacuation plans.

    4. The City of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has deployed aerial imaging technology from Pictometry International Corp., a provider of digital, aerial oblique imagery and measuring software systems. Myrtle Beach recently received more than 9,700 high-resolution aerial photos that Pictometry captured and processed in 45 days.

      Pictometry's software enables users to access up to 20 different oblique images of any property, building, highway, or other feature. Because the images are taken at an angle, users see how buildings and objects relate to each other and get a sense of the proportion and space involved. The software also allows users to measure distance, height, elevation, and area directly from the oblique imagery. Pictometry offers solutions for ESRI, including ArcGIS extension, ArcIMS integration, ArcSDE support, as well as coordinate pass-through capabilities.

      In a rapidly growing community such as Myrtle Beach, the images help illustrate properties and document conditions before and after construction. Addresses, streets, and parcels all can be located, queried for information, viewed at north, south, east, and west angles, and exported to other formats for presentations to the city council, contractors, and developers. Additional uses for Pictometry include the ability to compare before and after aerial photos of structures that may be affected by hurricanes or other disasters.

      The company offers a Rapid Response Program free of charge for customers who experience a Category 2 or greater hurricane. In the future, the City plans to integrate Pictometry with its E9-1-1 computer dispatch system. This connectivity could provide dispatchers and emergency responders with a map of the area from which a call for service originates, along with multiple oblique aerial views, potentially improving response efforts.

    5. On July 31, in Bangkok, Thailand, Mr. Chanchai Peanvijarnpong, Deputy Executive Director of the GeoInformatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) of Thailand and Dr. Bob Ryerson, President of Kim Geomatics Corporation of Manotick (Metro Ottawa), Ontario, Canada signed a contract that will see Kim Geomatics providing advice on data policy and related strategies for the Thai Earth Observation Satellite (THEOS) to be launched in the late 2007/early 2008 time-frame.

      The contract, of unspecified value, will see Kim Geomatics providing strategic advice over the coming months, culminating in a user workshop and detailed "made-in-Thailand-for Thailand" data policy. GISTDA, a public organization in Thailand, will own and operate THEOS, which builds on more than twenty years of experience in receiving and applying remote sensing data to a wide range of domestic issues in Thailand. The satellite, with an orbit designed to minimize cloud cover in the tropics, will have a 2 meter panchromatic sensor with a 22 kilometer swath from the green to near IR portion of the spectrum and a multi-spectral sensor with a 15 meter resolution sensor and a 90 kilometer swath.

      Kim Geomatics provides high level consulting to the public and private geomatics and space sectors world-wide in policy, strategy development, marketing, business development, program development, and commercialization of research. From its base in Canada its people have worked in more than 60 countries world-wide for clients including governments, the private sector, and international organizations.


    1. ORBIT Geospatial Technologies has released Orbit FlashMap for 64bit processors. Available for all popular platforms, all Orbit FlashMap products now support 64-bit Linux/Unix-based processors. The product comes in a free "lite" version, a "view and consult" provider version, and an interactive version for online creation and editing.

      Version 4.2 contains many configurable items and a full public API to embed and control the map client. The OFM product package includes server-side and client-side software, and a development 'cockpit' sample application in Flash. Orbit FlashMap natively supports a wide range of vector and raster data, up to terabytes of imagery including SID and ECW files and Orbit's platform- independent OMI format. A free conversion utility comes with Orbit GIS.

      Orbit FlashMap blends into the Orbit product range, connecting to the standard server system, and updated on-line by the Orbit GIS desktop GIS tool. Any data editing is immediately viewed online using the same server technology. The wide range of open APIs and format support makes it perfectly integratable in any environment. Orbit FlashMap is designed for fast deployment by webmasters, while presenting professional tools for the GIS specialist.

    2. MWH Soft has released InfoSWMM Conduit Storage Synthesizer (CSS). The new InfoSWMM Suite extension gives users expanded power and accuracy in estimating stage-storage relationships for large and complex gravity-pumped systems, leading to more reliable and cost-effective design and operation.

      The InfoSWMM urban drainage network analysis and design program addresses all operations of a typical sewer system—from analysis and design to management functions, like water quality assessment, pollution prediction, urban flooding, real-time control, and record keeping—in a single, fully-integrated, geoengineering environment. InfoSWMM enables users to manage urban runoff and wet weather water quality problems in combined, sanitary and storm sewers, optimizing BMP and LID designs, and meeting SSO and CSO regulations.

      The program can be used to model the entire land phase of the hydrologic cycle as applied to urban stormwater and wastewater collection systems, or to perform single event or long-term (continuous) rainfall-runoff simulations that account for climate, soil, land use, and topographic conditions of the watershed. InfoSWMM can also predict runoff quality—including buildup and washoff of pollutants from primarily urban watersheds.

      The software incorporates full dynamic solution modeling of backwater effects and reverse flow, open channels, trunk sewers, storage and treatment units, pumps, and complex hydraulic structures like weirs and orifices. An advanced real-time control scheme makes it easier to optimize storage and operational procedures.

      InfoSWMM also supports a variety of specialized treatment plant control devices and river profiles. An Integrated Catchment Management solution allows users to model the sewer system, the receiving water, and the wastewater treatment plant in a unified manner. The new InfoSWMM CSS extension determines storage capacity in a conduit network based on a dynamic analysis of the wastewater system volume under changing heads. This is a step forward for wastewater engineers who are analyzing large and complex gravity-pumped systems. Faced with such challenges, engineers often deactivate the gravity portions of the network and model only the pressurized network components—allowing the wet-wells draining the gravity networks to supply the boundary conditions and inflow points for the "decoupled" network. However, ignoring the storage available in gravity conduits can lead to oversized pump designs, because the overall storage volume is much larger than the volume available in the wet-well alone.

      In contrast to such inaccurate volume approximation procedures, InfoSWMM CSS' advanced hydraulic computational analysis technology produces the most accurate and representative stage-storage relationships modeling in the industry. CSS dynamically computes and returns the gravity-system conduit volume upstream from the wet-well as additional volume-resulting in the most accurate and effortless model decoupling process available. The module builds a depth-storage curve for the gravity portion of the collection system, integrates it with the original depth-volume relationship of the wet-well, and constructs aggregated depth-area curve for the wet-well. Model results are provided in tabular and graphical format for easy review. InfoSWMM CSS can also calculate the depth/volume relationship for natural channels and flood plains.

    3. Karttakone has produced a map series covering all Nordic Countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) that can be used in online services, as background in GIS applications, or as media maps. The datasets are based on Navteq data and include all roads for all of the Nordic Countries. The series are produced in 1:35,000 and 1:250,000 scales. The data products are delivered in .tiff raster format, as PDF vector files, or directly from the Karttakone server.

    4. With hydrocarbon exploration and production activity increasing in the Williston Basin, WhiteStar Corp. has expanded its line of CartoBase digital cartographic products to include North Dakota. WhiteStar, which developed the CartoBase series of subscription data sets specifically for oil and gas mapping, has already released products for Texas, Colorado, Louisiana, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah.

      WhiteStar offers the CartoBase products on a subscription basis, whereby clients receive quarterly updates of key data layers for two or three years following the initial purchase. Each CartoBase product contains up to 24 seamless layers of geospatial data covering the entire state and delivered on DVDs equipped with the CartoBase software application that allows users to export data in their choice of mapping formats. Popular software formats supported include Petra, AutoCAD, Kingdom, GeoGraphix, ArcGIS, and ArcView.

      The CartoBase product contains high-resolution statewide data coverage from WhiteStar's most popular National Database products, including: the Public Land Survey Grid, containing the 1:24,000 land base derived from U.S. topographic maps; the Pipeline Database of the location and attribute details for oil, gas, and petroleum pipelines operating in the state; and the Well Location File, including the location and attribute information for oil, gas, and coal-bed methane well heads.

      Other data layers vary from state to state, but most include TIGER file cultural features at 1:100,000 scale, digital elevation models at 1:24,000, political boundaries, TeleAtlas transportation networks, geologic formations, and soils maps. The North Dakota CartoBase covers all of the townships in the 17 western North Dakota counties of the Williston Basin that account for nearly all hydrocarbon production in the state. Data sets for several producing formations, including the Bakken Middle Member, are included in the North Dakota CartoBase product.

      CartoBase clients say that confidentiality is another major benefit of the subscription product. When an energy company buys a CartoBase product from WhiteStar, the operator obtains all of the cartographic and well information needed to plan and implement activities - without fear that a local county clerk will accidentally reveal its intentions to a competitor. With CartoBase, the client buys the entire state without focusing on any specific location.


    1. The Northwest GIS User Conference will take place September 13-15, in Spokane, Washington. A Preconference Training will take place September 11-12; course topics include Introduction to Geoprocessing Scripts Using Python; Creating and Editing Parcels with ArcGIS; Geoprocessing and ModelBuilder: A Local Government Example—Geospatial Training & Consulting; Introduction to Spatial Analyst for ArcGIS—Juniper GIS; and Skills for the Geodatabase and Geoprocessing and the ModelBuilder— Kessler GIS.

      The conference agenda will include a keynote address, ESRI technical presentations, and user paper presentations. ESRI technical presentations: ArcGIS 9.2 Desktop Highlights; New Geodatabase Options and Features; ArcGIS Server/ArcGIS Explorer; ESRI Image Server; Terrains in ArcGIS 9.2; and Developing Applications with the ArcGIS Server Mobile Application Development Framework (ADF). User paper presentations topics include cadastres, economic development, imagery, infrastructure management, natural resources, public safety, cross-governmental collaboration, historical mapping, hydrology, transportation, emergency management, web applications, Python, permit applications, and GIS integration.

      The conference will also feature a map gallery and vendor exhibits. In addition, there will be several social activities, including a tour of pubs through downtown Spokane, a golf tournament, and a bike ride along the Centennial Trail.

  4. OTHER

    1. Students at Kealakehe High School in Hawaii will be hitting the beaches this year with GPS-Photo Link software from GeoSpatial Experts, to study the extent and possible causes of shoreline erosion. The study is funded through a Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant sponsored by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

      The students will select several beaches on the island and, using standard Ricoh digital cameras equipped with GPS cards, they will document beach conditions throughout the school year. They will then use GPS-Photo Link software to integrate the GPS-located photos into a GIS to determine whether, and to what extent, the beaches are eroding as a result of sea level rise and island subsidence.

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

      Up to 400 students in ninth through twelfth grades are expected to participate in the B-WET project this school year. B-WET was established in 2002 to improve the understanding of environmental stewardship through education for both teachers and students. There are currently B-WET programs active in Hawaii, the Chesapeake Bay, and Monterey Bay areas.

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