2006 October 5

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Editor's Introduction

This week I discuss the challenges involved in designing GPS receivers for consumer applications and profile eRide, a company that specializes in doing that. I also point out an article about a new system to select business locations, correct a small error in last week's issue, and round up news from press releases.


eRide and Furuno to Jointly Develop High Sensitivity GPS Receiver Chip for Consumer Applications

Developments in GPS (Global Positioning System) technology directly affect GIS, primarily for two reasons. First, because GPS receivers are a key means of collecting much GIS data, such as street centerlines. Second, because the explosion in the availability and use of consumer-grade GPS receivers—in PDAs (personal digital assistants), PNDs (personal navigation devices), car navigation systems, and, most of all, cell phones—drives demand for digital maps and, through LBS (location-based services), for related GIS functionalities.

The central challenge in the design of consumer-grade GPS receivers is optimizing the competing requirements for sensitivity, accuracy, size, cost, and power requirements. Sensitivity is particularly important for consumer devices because they are used mostly indoors and in urban areas, where buildings form "urban canyons" that block the signals from several GPS satellites. When a receiver is not sufficiently sensitive, the services it supports are often unavailable; this translates into a poor user experience and slows down consumer adoption of the technology.

GM-83 GPS receiver chip, manufactured by Furuno under license from eRide

Two weeks ago Furuno, a Japan-based manufacturer of GPS receivers and other electronic equipment, announced an alliance with eRide, a U.S. company that specializes in developing GPS receivers for consumer applications. The two companies are jointly developing a single-chip GPS receiver with -161dBm sensitivity, the highest in the industry, and a 1-second time-to-first-fix (TTFF). Furuno has invested $5,000,000 in eRide and has licensed eRide's technology, which it will distribute worldwide. In addition to conventional static GPS positioning, eRide's architecture assists the GPS receiver by downloading data from a network using a cell phone's GPRS modem. Japan's largest cell phone carrier has adopted eRide's technology and, starting next year, third generation cell phones in Japan will use it to provide a caller's location to emergency dispatchers, under a directive similar to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's E-911 mandate.

Paul McBurney and Arthur Woo co-founded eRide seven years ago, after they and a handful of others left Trimble. Woo, now eRide's President and CEO, had led the Trimble project team that brought to market the first handheld GPS receiver. McBurney, now eRide's CTO, held the title of Senior Scientist and managed a unit called Trimble Lab, where, from 1996 to 1999, he and Woo developed for Seiko Epson a very low power GPS architecture to go into watches and other very low power devices.

I discussed eRide's history and technology with McBurney during a recent visit to the company's office in San Francisco and a follow-up telephone conversation this week.

While McBurney and Woo worked on the project for Epson, SnapTrack refocused GPS for the phone, using assistance techniques and increasing sensitivity. "Basically," McBurney told me, SnapTrack "redesigned the GPS architecture so it would work more where people use the technology." At the time, he recalls, "Trimble was not interested in that market, while Epson really had a good record with us developing chip sets and software." So McBurney and Woo left Trimble to develop the next generation of consumer GPS receivers, starting with "a clean sheet of paper." They continued to develop technology for Epson and license it to that company, but without giving it any equity in eRide. Then, about two years ago, the two companies parted ways.

SnapTrack, McBurney says, was "very phone-centric" and focused on how to add GPS to a phone using a minimum number of components. It reused the phone's memory and signal processing tricks and developed, he says, "a really beautiful solution" that took advantage of the phone infrastructure. However, it required a lot of battery power and bandwidth. eRide, instead, focused on autonomous GPS and sought to achieve the same results in a different way.

Qualcom then acquired SnapTrack for a billion dollars in stock. According to McBurney, the acquisition was able to bear such a high price because of SnapTrack's "huge patent portfolio." Many small companies, he says, were launched and developed "copycat technology"—for example, reusing the DFT (Discrete Fourier Transform) concepts and using the cell site as an approximate location—"blatantly infringing on SnapTrack's patent approach." He and Woo, McBurney says, decided to take a very different approach. To navigate through what he calls "a patent mine field," he says, eRide developed technology with the same features—high sensitivity, network assistance, etc.—but "we developed a whole new patent portfolio that allows us to do business and try to produce assisted-GPS technology."

ERide's technology has been adopted as the standard in Japan and is being produced there in very high volume. Because eRide licensed the technology, it is free to continue to use it.

I asked McBurney how eRide's GPS receivers are assisted. "We developed our own server network," he told me. Qualcomm's approach, he explains, is to get a lot of information from inside the telephone infrastructure, including time and frequency. "Basically, GPS is tightly integrated into the infrastructure." By contrast, eRide decided to focus on autonomous technology that would still function without such deep aiding.

In high sensitivity, McBurney explains, the challenge is to improve the signal-to-noise ration (SNR). "If you integrate a signal, as you integrate each code and frequency hypothesis independently, the power you integrate grows linearly, but, as you average, the noise grows less than linearly." The problem is that sensitivity is inversely related to accuracy and bandwidth. Manufacturers of high end receivers, such as Trimble and Novatel, put a lot of emphasis on multipath mitigation. However, McBurney points out, those are only open skies solutions that don't work if there is any reflection. By contrast, "down in the urban canyon, reflected signals are all you have to work with."

"If you have a really wide bandwidth system for really super precise measurements," McBurney continues, "you don't have a very sensitive system. When you are in the urban environments where people are using this technology indoors, you want to be narrow bandwidth, you have to use all the signals you can get, and you need tons of correlators, because to do high sensitivity you need to spend a lot of time correlating at each code and frequency before you make a measurement."

"We basically have one channel," McBurney explains. "You record the data with low-speed sampling. You have two buffers of 10 milliseconds and while you are recording into A, you are playing back B and when A is ready you switch and start recording in B. So it's real time. Then you play that data back really fast. In principle we can do 130 channels. And, even though we only have a few hundred real correlators, our effective correlators are 44,000."

eRide is currently transitioning from an IP licensing and royalty-based model into a fabless semiconductor model. Its new partner, Furuno, is one of the largest OEMs for car navigation systems in Japan—which has the highest volume car navigation market in the world. According to McBurney, eRide's solution has almost 15-20 DB more sensitivity than Furuno's. "For them to catch up in high sensitivity," he says, "they realized that they needed to find a partner. They are going to be phasing out their hardware and using our hardware."

To produce high sensitivity GPS receivers that are significantly cheaper than those made by companies like SiRF, eRide has developed what it calls a measurement platform (MP). It includes the GPS hardware as well as a small system on a chip, designed so that most of the software can run on the host CPU. This design takes advantage of the fact that, nowadays, most devices like phones have big CPUs and a lot of RAM and ROM. "MP is really our lowest cost solution," says McBurney, "and it is designed for really high volume customers." eRide is also developing a PVT (position, velocity, time) chip, for "customers who want really fast integration and are less sensitive to cost." However, he adds, the GPS performance of the two solutions is identical. Outdoors, he claims, it has an accuracy of 2 to 5 meters, but it will also work in -160 dBm indoors.

"We are working on anything from USB sticks to Bluetooth communicators that allow you to easily connect the GPS to laptops or PDAs and then we are working to getting those to be assisted," says McBurney. "That means that the user experience is going to be improved: they are going to see faster TTFF and more availability, because of the assistance and also the sensitivity."

Briefly Noted

CNNMoney.com reports that a physicist has developed a new method to quantify the relationship between businesses and has applied it to find optimal locations for stores.

Department of Corrections

In last week's News Briefs I gave an incorrect URL for LandAir International. The correct URL is www.landairmap.com.

News Briefs

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


    1. North West Geomatics Ltd. has completed three forestry projects in the northern United States and Canada with the new Leica ADS40 Generation II sensor system. These areas total approximately 12,000 square kilometers and were flown in July/August of 2006. The purpose of the data collection was for detailed forest inventory programs in these regions using proprietary, semi-automated individual tree crown process.

      North West was the first company in North America to purchase and transition to the ADS40 technology. During this coming winter season, North West will be upgrading all of its current ADS40 systems to the Generation II configuration for the 2007 season.

    2. Workers on a major underground construction project in New York City are depending on surveying instruments from Leica Geosystems to ensure the safety of personnel and structures as part of an automated deformation monitoring system.

      The $400 million South Ferry Terminal improvement program involves a major upgrade of the existing station, which is located underneath Peter Minuit Plaza in Lower Manhattan, adjacent to Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The work is being done under a design-build contract by Schiavone Construction Company of New Jersey, and includes underpinning of the existing tunnels using mini-piles and cut-and-cover excavation of a new tunnel.

      Schiavone contracted with Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers (MRCE) and Geocomp Corporation to provide specialty geotechnical design and monitoring services for the underpinning and tunnel construction. The monitoring system, developed by Geocomp and MRCE, includes 10 Leica TCRP1201 total stations, monitoring more than 450 prisms above and below ground. The system also includes seismographs inside the tunnels to record vibrations, tiltmeters on selected structures to monitor deflection, and inclinometers installed in the support-of-excavation walls and in the ground in front of nearby historic structures to monitor lateral deflections.

      The Leica TCRP1201 robotic total stations, permanently mounted at fixed locations, take continuous laser measurements to prisms mounted on buildings and other structures on the surface within a several-block radius of the worksite. Other TCRP1201 total stations are performing the same function underground, taking precise measurements to prisms attached to the tunnel walls. The automatic monitoring system alerts authorities to any out-of-tolerance movements that could pose a danger to the buildings or workers above and below ground. All 10 total stations are controlled and synchronized using Leica GeoMoS monitoring software. Because of the limited access to the monitored locations, Geocomp deployed a wireless monitoring system for remote access and automated data transfer to a Web-based monitoring and reporting system. Data is available 24/7 via a secure real-time Internet link using Geocomp's SiteCentral system.

    3. Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. (MDU) has selected Telvent Miner & Miner 's Fiber Manager Application as its solution for viewing and editing fiber optic information. Fiber Manager is a set of tools within the ArcFM product to manage fiber optic networks, and as a result Montana-Dakota was able to leverage their existing enterprise GIS data and solution.

      Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a division of MDU Resources Group, Inc., Bismarck, North Dakota, generates, transmits, and distributes electricity and provides related value-added products and services such as fiber optic connectivity to more than 250 communities in portions of five states.

      Montana-Dakota can now take advantage of the tools to manage their overhead and underground fiber optic plant, including a fiber level Connection Manager that allows editors to graphically drag and drop fiber level connections within splice enclosures, patch panels, and the ports within patch panels. In addition, several traces are available including dark fiber, light path, ownership, and OTDR outage tracing. Users can then generate reports on splices, patch panel connectivity, and fiber paths.

      Prior to using the application, the organization tracked fiber assets using multiple spreadsheets, CAD drawings, and manual labor. The users remained constrained by limited functionality and isolated information within the organization. With the new application, they will have the ability to quickly pan, zoom, trace, query, analyze and visualize the different fiber optic features and connections within their system, which will increase cartographic, attribute, and operational accuracy.

    4. SANZ has been awarded a multi-faceted contract to supply comprehensive data management solutions to the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). The first element is the EarthWhere product suite, a software package developed by SANZ to provide geospatial imagery on demand. The second element is data storage hardware, software and integration services.

      The mission at USNORTHCOM is to conduct operations to deter, prevent, and defeat threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories and interests in support of the Department of Defense (DoD) and other civil authorities. USNORTHCOM's initial exposure to SANZ EarthWhere occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when the agency utilized an existing implementation at the USGS Rocky Mountain Mapping Data Center to deliver critical geospatial data to emergency personnel and first responders. Later, USNORTHCOM invited SANZ to participate in the 2006 Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) event where trial participants instantly accessed geospatial imagery provided by the EarthWhere suite.

      USNORTHCOM selected SANZ EarthWhere as a key component of a broader program designed to improve situational awareness by demonstrating and improving interoperability between agencies involved in threat mitigation and disaster preparedness and recovery. In addition to the EarthWhere implementation, the data storage installation will include 13 terabytes of raw disk capacity. The solution will reside in the geospatial infrastructure within the USNORTHCOM facility in Colorado Springs.


    1. CARIS has released Hydrographic Production Database (HPD) version 2.4. With new product editors, new database support, and new utility programs, the HPD user group of national hydrographic offices will advance towards a truly integrated hydrographic data management and production environment.

      Version 2.4 combines ideas and feedback from CARIS HPD users. Eighteen nations have already adopted HPD in their hydrographic production workflow indicating industry acceptance of a database-driven approach to hydrographic data management and production.

      Among the highlights of 2.4 is the release of two new product editor programs. Additional Military Layer (AML) Editor for creation of S-57 format AML products and Generic Product Editor for interactive, graphical extraction of "product neutral" features, based on user-defined filtered sets of features and attributes. These product editors expand the existing HPD product suite, which already includes the HPD Source Editor, S-57 ENC Product Editor and Paper Chart Editor.

      CARIS has established a solid working rapport with leading hydrographic offices around the world. Each release of HPD works to bring together the experience, knowledge and feedback received from these hydrographic offices in order to introduce the features and functionality that will transition HPD users further to one hydrographic production database.

    2. Pharos Science & Applications, Inc. has launched the Drive GPS 135, the Drive GPS 140, and the Traveler GPS 525+ personal navigation devices. All three new models deliver GPS navigation along with business productivity and entertainment features. Each will be available to consumers later this month at major retail outlets.

      The Pharos Drive GPS 140 features a 4-inch color touch screen and a thin profile. It can navigate throughout North America, provide traffic updates, connect to a Bluetooth phone for hands-free calls, play MP3 music, and display videos. It is equipped with a 20-channel SiRFstarIII GPS receiver. Manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) is $549.95. Technical specifications include a Samsung S3C2440 400 MHz processor; 256MB Flash Rom and 64 MB SDRAM memory; a resolution of 320 x 240; SD/MMC expansion; Bluetooth 2.0; Microsoft CE 5.0 operating system; 2GB SD card preloaded with U.S. and Canadian Maps; and car mounting kit, including charger.

      The Pharos Drive GPS 135, with a MSRP of $349.95, features a 3.5 inch color touch screen, a 20-channel SiRFStarIII GPS receiver, Pharos' OSTIA navigation software, pre-installed street level maps of the United States and Canada, and a windshield mount. The device employs a Samsung S3C2410A 266 MHz processor; has 64 MB Flash Rom and 64 MB SDRAM memory; a resolution of 320 x 240; SD/MMC expansion; Microsoft CE 4.2 operating system; 2GB SD card preloaded with U.S. maps; and a car mounting kit, including a charger.

      The Pharos Traveler GPS 525+ is an update of the Traveler GPS 525 model. Powered by Windows Mobile 5.0, it includes a 2GB SD card preloaded maps of the United States and Canada, Microsoft Media Player, and Pocket Office. The unit has integrated WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS, and has access to Pharos' real-time traffic information via a wireless Internet connection. It allows users to make VoIP calls from WiFi hotspots. The device's MSRP is $549.95. It features a 20-channel SiRFstarIII GPS receiver; a SC32442X 300 MHz processor; 64MB RAM/128MB ROM of memory; a resolution of 240 x 320 with 65,536 colors; an SDIO expansion slot; Bluetooth version 1.2; 802.11b with 64-128 bit WEP standard data encryption; a stereo headset with microphone for music and VoIP use; and a car mounting kit, including a charger.


    1. Azteca Systems, Inc. has moved the 2007 Cityworks User Conference to May 22 - 24, to ensure that it wouldn't interfere with participants' plans for Memorial Day weekend. The conference will be held in Park City, Utah at the Park City Marriott. The event will feature pre-conference training on May 20 and 21 for new and existing users as well as specialized implementation training for authorized business partners. Training will be followed by the Conference, which will include numerous user case studies, technical and application sessions, vendor presentations, an exhibit hall, and a Cityworks Doctor's Office.

    2. Officials from Google, the Regional Transportation Authority of Chicago, TriMet and other related concerns are joining forces on a Transit Forum to present, debate, and plan new potential open source transit projects at the second annual Government Open Source Conference (GOSCON '06), set for October 12-13 in Portland, Oregon.

      Open source software is already having an impact on transit systems around the country, as developers and engineers seek to make systems more user friendly and efficient. Transit Forum attendees will learn how maps, trip planning accessories, and scheduling are being enhanced through software that is constantly being evaluated and enhanced by the programming community globally.

      Speakers will include Stephanie Hannon, product manager for Google Transit; Fred Hason, General Manager of TriMet, Portland, Oregon's transit authority; Gerry Tumbali of the Regional Transportation Authority of Chicago; Bibiana Kamler McHugh of TriMet; and Paula Okunieff of Consensus Systems Technologies Corp.

      Conference registration offers an opportunity for all attendees to sit in on these transit-focused sessions, and for transit attendees to also attend keynote and GIS sessions.

      The Transit Forum is one of four tracks being offered this year at GOSCON. Attendees may also participate in sessions focused on Strategy or Operations or take part in the Case Studies and Applications presentations.

      The growing demand for information on open source software and associated development methods and what that means to government IT has dramatically increased interest in GOSCON. GOSCON has also garnered additional support from private companies, such as IBM, Novell, Red Hat, SugarCRM and Cignex.

      Last year's debut GOSCON conference drew hundreds of participants and focused new attention on the unique challenges and opportunities of open source technology in government information technology environments. Oregon State University, organizer of the conference, is a recognized leader in open source software among public institutions. Its Open Source Lab hosts some of the world's most popular open source projects, including the Mozilla Firefox browser and the Linux kernel - the heart of the Linux operating system.

    3. Surveyors, engineers, and professionals in related industries have the opportunity to highlight their GIS projects at the fifth annual Survey and GIS Summit to be held June 16-19, 2007, in San Diego, California. The summit will provide opportunities for both ESRI users and nonusers to learn about integrating surveying and GIS. Land surveyors, engineers, educators, and other professionals will hear about key issues in the industry and experience the latest technology advancements.

      The deadline to submit abstracts for the event is October 20. User presentations and paper topics should cover important industry issues such as survey data requirements for GIS applications; survey data collection requirements, methods, and accuracy; as well as integrating survey and GIS in the following areas: national survey control frameworks; national mapping programs; cadastre and land records systems; government; and private sector.


    1. GeoAnalytics Inc., an IT consulting firm that specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of enterprise information systems, has hired Hank Garie as the Director of State and Federal Practice. Garie brings to the company more than 25 years of state and federal GIS experience. For the past three years, he was at the U.S. Department of the Interior serving as the Executive Director of Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) that provides the geospatial component for President Bush's Management Agenda to enhance government efficiency and improve citizen services.

      Garie has also served on the leadership team for the National Geospatial Program Office in the US Geological Survey; was appointed the first GIS Coordinator for the State of New Jersey; was the Chair of the New Jersey State Mapping Advisory Committee; was former member of the Mapping Sciences Committee of the National Research Council; and was president of National States Geographic Information Council.

      Garie, who holds a Masters degree in Environmental Science from Rutgers University, was an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University and is a nationally respected author and speaker.

      Working out of the Northeast region, Garie will lead GeoAnalytics' burgeoning federal and state professional services and solutions teams. Of strong interest to these government clients and other public and private sector clients is GeoAnalytics expertise in the emerging field of spatial intelligence - integrating business data with spatial information across multiple platforms, and applying advanced statistical and modeling analytical tools to support decisions.

    2. GeoDecisions has appointed Andrew H. Freckmann as business development manager. Based in Washington, D.C., Freckmann is responsible for supporting business development efforts and exploring opportunities in the commercial, military, government, and law enforcement industries. He focuses on securing, managing, and developing new projects, as well as integrating IT solutions with existing services.

      With more than 16 years of experience in sales, marketing, and business development, Freckmann creates strategic partnerships to promote growth and improve business operations. Prior to joining GeoDecisions, he served as a regional manager with EarthData International and launched initiatives to market geospatial solutions in the municipal and federal markets.

      Freckmann holds a bachelor of science in marketing management from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is a member of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association and the Geospatial Information & Technology Association.

    3. Galdos has appointed Jim Farley as Vice President to lead its Sales and Strategic Marketing group. Farley brings more than 25 years of industry experience to this new role, including an extensive background in enterprise applications and interoperable spatial data infrastructure, two key focus areas for Galdos Systems.

      Farley joins Galdos from Leica Geosystems where he was Vice President of Strategic Market Development. Prior to this he served as Senior Principal Product Manager in Oracle's Spatial Development Group. He is a co founder of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and a 1999 Smithsonian-Computerworld Laureate. Farley was also co-founder and technical director at the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies (CAST) at the University of Arkansas where he served as CTO and Professor in the College of Arts & Sciences.

    4. Topcon Positioning Systems has named Dale Jefferson of Maysville, Kentucky, software business development manager. He will report to Jamie Williamson, senior vice president for sales and marketing. His primary responsibility will be to develop software business for all Topcon strategic markets. He will be based out of the Topcon Technology Center in Columbus, Ohio.

      For more than 10 years, Jefferson was with Carlson Software in the business development division. He has degrees from Berea College and Princeton University.

  5. OTHER

    1. Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) has successfully tracked GIOVE-A signals from the first Galileo test satellite with its production receivers GR-3 and Net-G3. Topcon becomes the first manufacturer to successfully track GNSS signals from all currently available GNSS satellites — GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo - with production instruments.

      Engineers and scientists from the Topcon Technology Center in Moscow, Russia, successfully tracked signals from the GIOVE-A satellite using production receivers GR-3 and Net-G3 equipped with Topcon's patented G3 technology.

      In 2005, Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) unveiled its G3 technology, the first satellite receiver technology with Universal Signal Tracking. The unique tracking system was designed to track all signals from all three satellite positioning systems.

      With the introduction of the GR-3 receiver in July 2006, the company enhanced its GPS+ technology and added to its long list of world's first products and technological breakthroughs brought to market. The GR-3 also sets a new standard for rugged construction and unparalleled durability: it is designed to withstand a fall on a range pole (two-meters), comes with a bulletproof warranty to back it up, and integrates a long list of features designed specifically to satisfy Topcon's markets.

    2. At the ninth ESRI Regional User Conference in Montreal, Quebec, September 26-27, ESRI Canada presented an Award of Excellence to the Corporation of Urgences santé (Urgences santé). Alain Dombrowski, ESRI Canada Regional Manager for Quebec, presented the award to Francois Robitaille of Urgences santé in recognition of its work to improve the delivery of emergency services by developing an application that enhances the data it uses for ambulance routing.

      Urgences santé is the provider of emergency pre-hospital services, including ambulance transports, for the cities of Montreal and Laval, Quebec. With nearly 1,300 employees and 160 vehicles, Urgences santé responds on average to more than 900 calls per day and carries out more than 536 ambulance transports daily.

      Urgences santé is a pioneer in North America for using computer aided dispatch system for emergency ambulance routing. Since 1998, all ambulances have been equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. Ambulances are tracked and their status is color-coded and displayed on a map. The point of origin of calls is automatically located and the system displays, in a split second, the most appropriate ambulance to answer the call effectively. The shortest path is calculated with the ArcGIS Network Analyst extension and then transmitted to a mobile computer in the ambulance.

      Regular updating of the geographic and descriptive data is a vital process for Urgences santé. Obsolete or vague data can have major consequences—for instance, the inability to locate a call or transmitting incorrect routes to ambulance technicians can mean the death of a citizen.

      In the past, updating the digital road network that Urgences santé uses for routing was carried out manually, using ArcMap's standard editing tools. The procedure included more than one hundred steps and presented a high risk of errors. It was practically impossible to track the history of individual changes through the various updates.

      To maintain their data, Urgences santé combines its geographic and descriptive data with data from the cities of Laval and Montreal. Each supplier uses data structures and conventions which are adapted to their specific needs. Therefore, Urgences santé must carry out a series of operations to adequately integrate all data to its system.

      Urgences santé's IT department developed a digital road network synchronization module built on ArcObjects that allows for a substantial gain of productivity while increasing the degree of reliability of the operational database.

      The benefits of the data synchronization module include:

      1. A reduction of the time required the integrate supplier data from more than one week to less than one day.
      2. Improved and extensive logs of all edits performed on the digital road network.
      3. The implementation of tools that automatically detect the changes to the road network that do not meet pre-established criteria and submit them to an additional step of quality control review.
      4. The introduction of tools for ad-hoc editing of the road network.
    3. Municipio de Tampico, in Tamaulipas, Mexico, has won a 2006 BE Award for its Integrated System of Cadastre Administration project. The award category was "Geospatial: Mapping and Cadastre." The BE Awards of Excellence, which are selected by an independent jury of industry experts and presented at an evening ceremony during the annual BE Conference, honor the work of Bentley users.

      Municipio de Tampico's project was part of a broader program to improve government and its services. The program's goal was to reengineer administrative processes and introduce modern information technology to help government better meet the needs of its citizens. One area of particular concern was cadastre administration. This function has a direct impact not only on future infrastructure development, but also on the ability to assess property values and collect taxes. Because it lacked a GIS solution, the municipality was forced to rely on outdated maps and manually acquired information, much of which was incorrect. As a result, its information was only about 30 percent complete.

      With the implementation of its integrated cartographic system, Municipio de Tampico became the first municipality in Mexico to take advantage of 3D technology for cadastre administration. The project involved photogrammetric flights, a door-to-door census, verification of existing parcel information, comparisons with new information, and the incorporation within the database of roughly 90,000 properties. As a result of this effort, the municipality can now quickly identify all construction types within its boundaries and detail the public services available within each zone.

      Using MicroStation GeoGraphics and Bentley PowerMap, Municipio de Tampico found it easy to integrate topographical information from the digital terrain model with cadastral financial information. MicroStation GeoGraphics provides all of the tools needed to quickly and efficiently search all of the data, and is totally integrated with the existing systems used by the municipality.

      Benefits of the new cadastral system to Municipio de Tampico and its citizens include the following:

      • The planned return on investment from this project was about 12 months, but the new system paid for itself in less than six months. A substantial portion of the return came from an eight percent increase in property tax revenues, which resulted from the detection of more than 15,000 residential and commercial building structures omitted from the previous database.
      • The citizens of Municipio de Tampico are enjoying increased administrative efficiency, which, for example, enables them to more quickly pay their taxes and secure cadastral information. In-person customer service time has decreased from three hours to under a half-hour, and the time required to arrange for a physical inspection of a property has dropped from three weeks to a week or less.

      Because Municipio de Tampico is located in a hurricane zone, citizens will also benefit from the municipality's ability to integrate its cadastral information with its hydrologic risk map. In the event of a hurricane, this will enable the municipality to identify secure zones and evacuation routes to minimize loss of life.

    4. Guests attending this year's Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress and Exhibition in London, England, are invited to visit the Applanix Mobile Mapping display being exhibited within the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade pavilion. The ITS display highlights the company's Position and Orientation Systems (POS) solution for vehicle-based airborne, land, and marine surveying. Designed for superior accuracy under the most demanding and dynamic conditions, Applanix POS systems measure and record the robust attitude, heading, roll, pitch, yaw, position, and velocity data needed for vehicle based surveying applications.

      By integrating precision GPS with superior inertial technology, POS solutions enable vehicle mounted mobile survey teams to work more efficiently, safely, and economically. Applanix POS solutions benefit all areas of transportation infrastructure surveying, including bridge clearance measurement, surface condition mapping, upgrading transport network GIS datasets, airborne corridor mapping, and more. Beyond surveying applications, Applanix POS technology designed specifically for Land Operations proved to be an essential navigation and guidance component for successful automated robotic vehicle designs competing at the DARPA Grand Challenge 2005, helping guide Carnegie Mellon University's autonomous vehicles Sandstorm and H1ghlander to success.

      The 13th annual ITS World Congress will be held October 8-12 and will focus on the exchange of information on every aspect of intelligent transport system and software deployment.

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