2006 October 27

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Editor's Introduction

This week I follow up on Rosum's progress in deploying its hybrid positioning module (HPM); I preview next week's 8th Annual GIS Day Conference and College Fair at the University of New Hampshire; and I profile the Data Resource Center at Metro, the regional government for the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. Plus, my usual round-up of industry news from press releases.


Rosum Partners With Intrado

A month ago, I reported that Rosum was about to introduce a hybrid positioning module (HPM) that uses unmodified analog and digital broadcast television signals to supplement GPS in urban canyon and indoors. Since then, according to Todd Young, Rosum's Director of Product and Business Development, the company has "made a lot of progress" both in rolling out its infrastructure to support wide-area positioning in the United States and "with the HPM and evaluations and integrations with customers."

On the infrastructure side, Young says, it has completed the roll-out of Rosum monitors to cover the entire Northeastern section of the United States, from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area to Manchester, New Hampshire—and area inhabited by 56 million people. "When we say that we have coverage there," says Young, "we mean that you can walk into any random building and position reliably in that building."

Rosum has also announced that it has chosen Intrado as its infrastructure partner, to roll the monitors on its behalf. "Their business is based on public safety and 9-1-1 call routing," Young says, "and they are just the perfect partner for Rosum in rolling out infrastructure and services to address public safety needs."

As for the HPM, Young says that Rosum has been working "with a company that produces a radio for first responders," but declined to identify it. "We have integrated the HPM with their first responder radio," he added, "and shown that we can position that radio in indoor environments where GPS fails."

According to Young, Rosum is also getting "broad interest" in the HPM in other markets, including law enforcement tracking and offender monitoring. "Many states have laws on the books for tracking high risk parolees or offenders," he says, "and we are working with one of the leading companies in that space to get the HPM built into their product line."

The HPM is production-ready, Young says. However, Rosum is a "fabless" operation: it sells a reference design to other companies that have the systems integration and manufacturing capability to make the boards themselves. "We are selling developer kits and we are building those out ourselves," Young told me, "but when we receive orders for large numbers of HPMs we will just sell or license the reference design for the HPM to that company and then work with them to integrate it into their products."

When I suggested that it will probably take at least six months before any devices incorporating the HPM are actually operational and in the hands of a public safety agency, he acknowledged that my estimate was "probably a fair assessment."

UNH GIS Day 2006 Focuses On Ocean Mapping

In recent years, one of the most interesting and successful GIS Day events has taken place at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). This year's event—UNH's 8th Annual GIS Day Conference and College Fair — is backed by an impressive line-up of sponsors and focuses on a fascinating topic: ocean mapping.

Image courtesy of the Center for Costal and Ocean Mapping

The event will take place from noon to 5:00 pm on November 1—rather than November 15, due to a scheduling conflict with the Northeast Arc Users Group's annual conference—at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space on the University of New Hampshire campus. Captain Maureen Kenny, of the Office of Coast Survey of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will give a keynote presentation at 12:30.

The centerpiece of the event will be NOAA's Ocean Mapping and Ocean Exploration Cartographic Exhibition. It consists of more than 150 global, regional, and local views of the 70 percent of our planet that is covered by water—including highly detailed 3D sonar images, NOAA navigational charts, bathymetric maps, shipwreck and underwater archeology maps, marine species maps, deep sea research photos, and satellite imagery.

Image courtesy of the Center for Costal and Ocean Mapping

The event will also include:

  • a special collection of scale models of undersea exploration and ocean mapping vehicles, on loan from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, including one of the ALVIN deep dive research submersibles
  • a professional map and poster exhibit, featuring cartographic works from dozens of local and regional geo-spatial science professionals from planning, education, emergency management, resource management, science, government, and industry
  • a professional Geo-Spatial Science Vendor Hall and a regional Geo-Spatial Science College Fair, with representatives from many firms and educational institutions within the industry
  • a GIS Day store, carrying atlases, globes, compasses, navigational software, GPS units, and other "geo-merchandise"
  • video clips of undersea mountains from the University of Oregon

According to Michael Routhier, a UNH information technologist and the event's coordinator, its main goal is "to interest students in science and mathematics." He adds that "geography and mapping are an excellent way to do that, because they are so graphical. Students can understand [these subjects] and think [that they] are really cool." He expects about 250 high school students from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island to attend during the morning. Then, from 1:00 to 5:00, it will be a professional conference. "In previous years," Routhier says, "our day's attendance has reached up to 1,000 people."

Image courtesy of the Center for Costal and Ocean Mapping

This year's event will be "very digital," Routhier says. While it will feature about 200 paper products, about half of them will be in 3D and participants will view them using 3D glasses. Additionally, there are going to be at least a dozen 30-inch flat screen monitors, provided by the Center for Coastal Ocean Mapping, that will display digital fly-throughs of underwater features. "The students will be able to sit down and actually try the technology," says Routhier.

"We started with the first international GIS Day, back in 1999, when ESRI first came up with the idea," Routhier says, "with a very small event, here at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space. We probably had a turnout of about 50 people and we had a dozen maps and posters out of work that we were doing inside this building. The following year, we opened it up to invite other people from the surrounding community. Here in the Institute we also house the New Hampshire GRANIT project, which is the state's GIS archive. They have a lot of contact with the planning commission and various state offices. So, we sent the word out to them and they joined us the second year. We then started to introduce students into the mix and slowly the event grew to what it is today."

Image courtesy of the Center for Costal and Ocean Mapping

"Four years ago," Routhier continues, "the theme was old-fashioned maps. The next year our keynote speaker was a U.S. astronaut, Dr. Jay Apt. He was a Shuttle astronaut and photographer. We also featured a 150-piece satellite image collection that we got from NASA. Last year we collaborated with the National Geographic Society and had about 200 pieces here. It was their '90 Years of Cartography' exhibition. They had loaned us that exhibition as well as many other pieces from their archive. Our keynote speaker was the Society's Chief Cartographer. This year we are working with NOAA and we are very fortunate that we have the Center for Coastal Ocean Mapping here on campus, one of the big ocean mapping centers for NOAA."

NASA's New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium, the Complex Systems Research Center, the University of New Hampshire Vice President's Office for Research, the Institute for the Study of Earth Oceans and Space, and Tele Atlas provided major funding for the event. The UNH Center for Coastal Ocean Mapping Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM/JHC), the UNH Ocean Processes Analysis Laboratory (OPAL), other UNH departments, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and NOAA provided major cartographic contributions for NOAA's Ocean Mapping Cartographic Exhibition.

GIS Shops In the Portland Area: Metro

The Portland, Oregon, metropolitan region is nationally recognized for its advanced GIS capabilities and rich GIS data. Last week, I reported that Google Transit began in Portland because of the technological sophistication of the regional mass transit agency, Tri-Met. This week, I begin a systematic examination of the major GIS shops in the region, starting with Metro, the regional government. Its jurisdiction covers the metropolitan areas of Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties, and it is principally responsible for administering the area's Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

I discussed Metro's GIS work with Carol Hall, GIS Program Supervisor for the agency's Data Resource Center (DRC), and Mark Bosworth, who supervises the agency's "storefront," which includes a map counter. Hall's team does nearly all of the GIS work for Metro's councilors, attorneys, and executive departments. Their duties range from large, long-term projects to producing simple maps on short notice or answering such geographic queries as whether a certain tax lot is inside the UGB. Bosworth's team provides GIS services to other government agencies, private companies, and the public.

Hall told me about the origins and strengths of Portland's regional GIS and of the services her team provides to the DRC's "internal clients."

In the late 1980s, Hall recalls, Metro had the first GIS in the region. "All of our member jurisdictions agreed that it was a good idea that we do this," she says. "The idea was that we would digitize the assessors' tax maps and keep them updated. Then we would, in turn, provide maps and analyses to our partner jurisdictions. We had tax lots, street centerlines, zoning, soil data, and things like that. It was pretty limited. As the years went by, we continued to maintain more and more data. In the 1990s, the counties got their own GIS departments and then the cities did too. We just gave them all of the data for their jurisdictions that we had been maintaining. So, they are all using the data that was first developed here."

For this reason, Hall argues, the GIS data for the Portland area is much more seamless than that of other metropolitan areas, where cities and counties often battle over turf issues and the data stops at each jurisdiction's boundaries. The Portland area GIS community, she says, is "unusually strong and cooperative" and most GIS specialists in the region have known each other for a long time.

Local governments benefit from the regional data in several ways. Public safety answering points use it to dispatch first responders to emergencies outside their jurisdictions, under cooperative agreements among local governments. Land use planners use it to plan annexations. Transportation planners use it to forecast demand. "So," Hall says, "it seems just logical to us."

Hall and four staff members she supervises are primarily responsible for maintaining Metro's GIS, called the Regional Land Information System (RLIS), and updating it on a quarterly basis. "That," Hall says, "involves getting data in from the local jurisdictions and making it serve seamlessly across our three counties. We then publish that data to our subscribers." Additionally, they do many studies, such as when it's time to expand the UGB. "We also do forecasting for employment and housing," says Hall, "and we have a land use allocation model that we developed here that looks way into the future of where we think that housing and jobs will occur."

Cities and counties maintain such data as tax lots and zoning and send it to Metro every quarter. "That process has been in place for years," says Hall, "so it is just automatic." Her group, however, has to stitch together street centerlines maintained by Portland and the counties. Every quarter Metro publishes about 200 layers of data. According to Hall, they include a lot of natural resource and land use data, as well as "some data that has come out of Metro projects and that we think is useful to our subscribers."

Does Metro collect any data directly, such as by driving down centerlines? "We do get GPS points, for instance, for the locations of hydrants," she told me. "Those are usually inventoried every summer by the fire departments. But most of the data is pretty mature and we get it as shapefile data, from the jurisdictions." In some cases, Hall and her staff digitize data, usually as needed for particular projects.

When a new area is developed, the local jurisdiction surveys it and sends Metro the data. Developers submit plats to the counties that incorporate them into their tax lot layers. The UGB and all of the administrative boundaries, however, are Metro's responsibility. "So, when the UGB changes," Hall says, "that happens here in-house." Her group makes the change and updates that layer. "We actually keep a lot of history about the UGB as well."

The DRC does produce some the data it distributes to its subscribers, such as an inventory of vacant land that it delineates every year from aerial photographs. To expedite such projects, the unit is beginning to use feature extraction software it recently acquired from Visual Learning Systems. However, it does not yet have this year's photography, which will include a false color infrared band. According to Hall, "that will be really helpful with using the VLS software." During this transition, Hall and her staff still use aerial digital photography as background and digitize on top of it.

The DRC provides services "for pretty much everyone in the building," says Hall, "particularly our parks, trails, and green spaces, long-range planning, and solid waste departments." These are sometimes very long-term projects. As examples, Hall cites the selection of target sites for a greenspaces acquisition measure that is going to be on the ballot in a few days as well as a study to determine whether or not to expand the UGB. "There's a lot of GIS involved in that," she says.

Most of the DRC's 15 staff members are GIS specialists. "We also have a few programmers, a land use modeler, a couple of economists, and a manager, who has been here for 20 years," Hall told me. Bosworth has worked in GIS for Metro for about 19 years, Hall for 16, and most of the staff she supervises for at least several years. All of them have seen a lot of evolution in GIS—particularly, Hall says, with the slow transition to the ArcGIS paradigm. "We used to maintain all of our data in coverage format, using ArcInfo, and we still do for the most part. We are just now beginning to put our streets into a geodatabase and maintain them in SDE. But, of course, we are having to do that while we're doing our normal work as well. So, sometimes we have to maintain data on both platforms."

The next thing that will go into the geodatabase, says Hall, will be probably the administrative boundaries. "We've been working pretty much this calendar year on that. Everybody is learning how to do this whole editing in SDE, which is entirely different from what we're accustomed to. But we think that the future with this new software is going to be really exiting. We will be able to do many things that we have not been able to do in the past." She expects to complete this transition by next summer.

To allow non-GIS staff and the public to look up geographic information, the DRC developed a widely used on-line application called MetroMap. Users can turn layers on and off and, by entering an address, can see such information as the tax lot and the nearest schools and parks. MetroMap is more interactive than the city's Portland Maps that uses pre-made maps, but both applications use the same data.

In the spring, Metro, jointly with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, will collect its first LiDAR data. To pay for the flights, local government agencies will form a consortium, as they did for aerial photography. Hall hopes that, together with the VLS software, LiDAR data will allow her team to develop "some robust impervious surface information and some things like building heights, for which we do not yet have a good source." She hopes that feature will also help

Metro's Nature and Neighborhoods program monitor changes in vegetation and restoration efforts.

Hall came up through the ranks as a technical person. "At this point," she says, "except for the new software, I've got all of the technical piece under my belt. I really am glad that I can keep my hand in that, because that is what we all love to do." She serves on the board of the local URISA chapter and on the committee that puts on the annual GIS In Action conference, in partnership with ASPRS. In 1998, Hall was one of the three founders of Women in GIS. The organization has taken the lead in the region with GIS Day, supported by an annual budget from URISA, and does a lot of work for nonprofits. Hall is a member of national URISA and recently gave a presentation at its conference in Vancouver.

Bosworth told me about the services his team provides to the DRC's external clients.

Metro, Bosworth explains, has always provided a public interface to its GIS datasets. It is known as "the storefront program" and includes a map counter, which served several customers during my interview with

Bosworth. "We are a profit center," he says. "A little enterprise within the government." He describes the operation with a metaphor: The storefront sells "sawdust" from Carol's "lumber mill"—that is, data that her team created for other purposes. "We re-package it into different data products."

The storefront's flagship product is RLIS Lite, a quarterly data compilation on DVD-ROM that it sells on a subscription basis—mostly to real estate companies, title companies, law firms, etc.—and gives for free to local jurisdictions as a quid pro quo for their data. "We have more than 150 subscribers now," says Bosworth. "For private industry—such as title companies—the subscription cost is about $900 a year, which is a bargain. For nonprofits and our government partners it is half that."

"RLIS Lite," he explains, "came about as a result of the invention of the shapefile, which allowed us to move away from the heavy duty, topologically laden coverage data model and actually just use flat files on a file system. It makes it much more portable and faster." RLIS Lite is very similar to the "heavy" version, but with much fewer attributes, columns, and layers.

According to Bosworth, RLIS Lite is "very popular" and the DRC enhances it frequently. "I call it our flagship product," he says, "because, in addition to creating a lot of revenue, it is also a very high profile thing. People think of RLIS because RLIS Lite is out there in the world."

As for the map counter, "We have a pretty consistent stream of customers," says Bosworth, "who come to ask for bread and butter products—such as access to our digital aerial photography. We make posters for people of their houses." Often, he says, attorneys will request photos or maps of intersections where one of their clients was involved in an accident. "We create custom products based on those requests. It then moves up the ladder, in terms of complexity, to what we call custom mapping. That's where we start to get into an hourly rate." A typical project, for example, might involve locating "all the properties zoned residential within half a mile of a light rail stop."

Fifteen or 20 years ago, Bosworth recalls, "jurisdictions would come and ask for maps from us, because they did not necessarily have GIS capabilities. But most of the jurisdictions now have grown up their GIS staff sufficiently that they do not really need us to make a map for them." Instead, they are more likely to negotiate joint projects. "There's some bartering that goes on." For example, a couple of years ago, Tri-Met wanted to analyze pedestrian access to mass transit, particularly in the suburbs, "where you might be within that magic quarter mile of a transit stop but you can't get there from here because there is no sidewalk." So the two agencies partnered and built a sidewalk dataset. "We would not have done it on our own. They didn't have the resources to do it, so they contracted with us to do it."

The DRC provides street centerlines and other GIS data that 911 dispatch centers use with their proprietary software and maintains the hard-copy maps used in fire trucks and fire stations. It also makes large wall maps for the fire stations, maintains on-line applications that allow dispatchers and firefighters to make their own maps, and supplies them with aerial photography. The DRC's external clients also include a couple of school districts for which it developed an online tool that allows them to look up the school attendance area for an address. These, Bosworth points out, are institutional relationships and don't necessarily come through the storefront. Nowadays, however, most of the storefront's clients are private individuals and companies.

At about the same time when the shapefile was invented, Bosworth says, Web mapping came along as a tool. "So, we've taken advantage of that. We've had an application called MetroMap up since even before ArcIMS. That's our premier public access portal for access to the data itself." Metro's website includes a dozen of what he calls "interactives"—simple mapping applications, often designed to answer a single geographic query, such as "Who is my councilor?" or "Find a park".

Why did Metro create these the small, specialized mapping applications in addition to MetroMap? "We found that MetroMap is a little complicated," Bosworth says. "We are constantly walking people through how to get to something in MetroMap. People don't go to a government website just to spend time. They want the answer. So we are trying to move into that more agile approach to giving people a simple answer. Then, if you want to explore the region and have a couple of hours, you can play around with the bigger application. That has also been a way of making GIS more ubiquitous in our Web presence too. Wherever you are on our website there is some relevant interactive map that comes up. They are clones and all use the same data." Nevertheless, "when MetroMaps is down, we hear about it," says Bosworth. "People still use it, because it has been around for a long time."

"We were first out of the shoot with Internet mapping," Bosworth points out, "and we are now the dinosaur in the region in terms of technology, because Portland Maps came along and they are the millionth version of Web mapping." Regionally, he concludes, there is now a discussion about taking a united approach to all of Portland maps.

News Briefs

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


    1. The Romanian government is implementing a Land Parcel Information System / Integrated Administration and Control System (LPIS/IACS) based on ESRI's ArcGIS Server software. The implementation is expected to meet stringent European Union (EU) agricultural land regulations, which is essential for the country's admission to the EU.

      ESRI's ArcGIS Server and GAF AG's LaFIS, an agricultural information and decision support system, will be installed in the country's Agency of Payments and Interventions in Agriculture, including its 210 local offices.

      A large percentage of Romania's population is actively involved in agriculture. In the first phase, only authorized employees from the 210 local offices will have access to LPIS. A dedicated geoportal for use by the general public will later be integrated into the system architecture, providing access for farmers to register online for subsidies.

      Historically, Romania has had a very complex agricultural environment in which to develop modern farming methods. Farmers often own or work a number of small, noncontiguous parcels of land. There are approximately 2.5 million agricultural plots farmed by more than 1.5 million people in the country. It is estimated that LPIS will handle about 1.5 million subsidy claims per year and will manage about 755,000 claimants.

      A consortium of companies including SIVECO Romania, ABG Ster-Projekt, GAF AG, ESRI Romania S.R.L., and the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) will cooperate to develop the server-based architecture for the LPIS/IACS IT system.

    2. The town of Brunswick, New York is utilizing MapInfo Corporation's ExponareT, to create an online resource of property information for town employees and residents. Using Exponare—a suite of pre-built, configurable, map-enabled applications—town employees and residents can now look up property details such as zoning and land history as well as images, simply by entering an address or parcel number or clicking on a map.

      Previously, employees and residents would have to consult with several different departments and search numerous file cabinets and disparate databases in order to obtain requested property information, a process that would take days. Using Exponare, town employees and residents can now access this information immediately, and have the ability to view and analyze maps and data, perform queries, and generate reports.

    3. The Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, one of Canada's three leading engineering universities, has selected MWH Soft's InfoWater Suite, InfoSurge, and InfoWater SLM software, to conduct an extensive study of the risks of contaminant intrusion in drinking water distribution systems due to pressure transients and various operational and routine maintenance activities. This research is sponsored by the Canadian Water Network, one of the four Networks established in 2001 through the Government of Canada's Networks of Centers of Excellence (NCE) Program.

      A leader in science and technology for more than 125 years, the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal is one of the most significant teaching and research establishments in Canada, ranked first in Quebec for number of students and quality of research activities. With 220 professors and nearly 6,000 students, the University provides teaching in eleven engineering specialties and is responsible for about one quarter of all university engineering research in Quebec.

      Unlike competing products, the network modeling technology of the MWH Soft geospatial software suite addresses every facet of utility infrastructure management, optimization, and protection —delivering the highest rate of return in the industry. Built atop ArcGIS and drawing on the most advanced numerical computation and object-component geospatial technologies, it reads GIS datasets; corrects network topology problems and data flaws; extracts pertinent modeling information; and automatically constructs, skeletonizes, loads, calibrates and generates optimized solutions very quickly.

      The result is performance modeling that sets new levels of scalability, reliability, functionality, and flexibility within the powerful ArcGIS environment. With these tools, users can simulate and evaluate various hydraulic, water quality, and transient conditions, pinpoint system deficiencies, and determine the most reliable, cost-effective improvements to achieve optimum performance and regulatory compliance, protect public health, and meet new security challenges.


    1. The Demographic Data Center has released a CD for Geocoding ZIP+4 Records. ZIP+4 2006 is invaluable for profiling customers and/or clients. If you have incomplete addresses, but do have ZIP+4 data, this CD provides the latitude / longitude coordinates and assigns the 2000 block, block group, tract, and county identification numbers / FIPS code. The latest version even lets you import and geocode your own lists of ZIP+4s, as well as append demographic data right to the ZIP+4 records. ZIP+4 2006 also gives users the ability to include demographic information that is automatically appended to their ZIP+4 records.

      The standard version has more than 60 geographic and demographic variables from Census 2000 Long Form. With the expanded ZIP+4 CD with 2006 Estimates and 2011 Projections, users can also append the latest demographic data for customer and client profiling. All in one simple step.

      The ZIP+4 2006 is updated with the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 2nd Edition TIGER/Line files and the U.S. Postal ZIP+4 database from March 2006. The ZIP+4 CD uses improved geocoding technology and includes more than 42 million ZIP+4 records.

      With the new software interface, the ZIP+4 2006 now lets users import a DBF or CSV file and the program will output a file with the latitude, longitude, census designation, and the demographic data of choice. Therefore, if you have a list of ZIP+4 records, you can run your file and append these data in one quick and easy step. The program also lets the user run a report that will download a given area of ZIP+4 records, such as all the ZIP+4s in a county, much like previous versions of this program.

      The ZIP+4 CD with 2006 Estimates and 2011 Projections gives users the basic 60 variables, plus an expanded selection of demographic variables that includes population, households, age, race, income and more from the 2006 Estimates and the 2011 Projections. The data that is appended to the ZIP+4 records are block group data.

    2. WhiteStar Corp. has introduced CartoPlat, a digital database of georeferenced maps depicting the original lot and tract surveys of U.S. townships. Scanned from actual township maps, CartoPlat products can be overlaid on WhiteStar CartoBase layers or any other common digital land grid for use in new or existing land mapping projects.

      Offered as georeferenced raster tiff images, CartoPlat products are available for the entire state of Louisiana and many townships in Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Arkansas, California, Oregon, Alabama, and Mississippi. WhiteStar can create CartoPlat products for any other U.S. township. The database products can be purchased on a per-township or per-state basis.

      WhiteStar creates the CartoPlat digital map products by obtaining the original township survey maps from local governments across the United States. These original documents comprise the legal basis for land title descriptions that courts rely upon if ownership disputes arise. In many areas, additional official surveys have been made to correct earlier inaccuracies, and WhiteStar includes these revised plats in the CartoPlat database.

      The surveys, up to 200 years old in some cases, are scanned by WhiteStar and georeferenced to modern land grids with geographic coordinates. WhiteStar then formats them so the surveys can be overlaid with other raster or vector data layers in any popular mapping and GIS package.

      The CartoPlat raster maps serve as base layers for the WhiteStar CartoBase lines of products. Each CartoBase product contains up to 24 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. Software formats supported include Petra, AutoCAD, Kingdom, GeoGraphix, ArcGIS, and ArcView.


    1. ESRI has extended to November 7 the deadline to submit an abstract for the ESRI International User Conference (UC), the Education User Conference (EdUC), and the Survey & Engineering GIS Summit.

  4. OTHER

    1. Intermap Technologies Corp. has announced an engineering innovation and technological advancement to the IFSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) radar collection technology. The company has added to its STAR-4 airborne mapping system an advanced planar array antenna that improves the efficiency and accuracy of the IFSAR technology.

      The company fully integrated the upgraded system into its production stream last week and it is expected to enable Intermap's STAR-4 mapping system to collect 3D elevation data 12-15 percent more efficiently than with the previous antenna configuration.

      Intermap's STAR-4 mapping system is currently collecting 3D data in the United States as part of Intermap's NEXTMap USA program and will continue to collect data around the world on custom projects. The company has four additional aircraft equipped with IFSAR technology that are being used for data collection in its NEXTMap programs and for its fee-for-service business throughout the world.

    2. The Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP Federation) is represented at a workshop in Beijing, China to explore the interest by Chinese colleagues in establishing a comparable China-based ESIP-like Federation. This meeting is a culmination of nearly two years' discussion between the ESIP Federation and Chinese representatives. Representing the ESIP Federation are current President Chuck Hutchinson, past Presidents John Townshend and Tom Yunck, and Executive Director Dick Wertz. Chinese attendees at the workshop include representatives from government, universities, non-governmental organizations, and commercial entities.

      The workshop is taking place October 23-25 at Beijing Normal University in China. Among the many topics being covered during the three-day workshop are:

      • ESIP Federation operations
      • ESIP Federation governance
      • data and services within China and
      • technical issues related to improving the delivery of services and products.

      During its visit, the delegation also expects to meet with Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, Xu Guanhua.

      The ESIP Federation is a 97-partner consortium of Earth science data centers, researchers, scientists, technologists, educators, and applications developers. The Federation promotes increased accessibility, interoperability, and usability for Earth science data and derived products. Initiated by NASA in 1997, the Federation is sponsored by NASA and NOAA. The Foundation for Earth Science serves as the secretariat for the ESIP Federation.

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