2006 November 02

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Editor's Introduction

This week I continue my tour of the major GIS shops in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, with the first part of my report on TriMet, the city's mass transit agency. I also review a new book from ESRI Press. Plus, my usual round-up of news from press releases.


GIS Shops in the Portland Area: TriMet (Part 1)

The Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet)—the mass transit agency for the Portland metropolitan area—has integrated GIS deeply into its internal operations and its interface with customers. The agency, which Google Transit chose as its first site, has developed the first open source application for the transit industry, is laying the groundwork for wireless location-based services (LBS), and is preparing to roll out a completely updated interactive mapping service. This is the first of a two-part report on the agency's GIS shop; the second part will appear in next week's issue.

Screenshot of Google Transit in action

I discussed TriMet's GIS projects with Bibiana Kamler McHugh, TriMet's IT Manager of GIS & Location-Based Services. She has been with the agency for almost ten years. "When I first moved to the area," she told me, "I felt like a kid in a candy store just because of all the data, and a lot of that is thanks to Metro. So, I was able to focus less on data and data integration and more on application development."

TriMet's GIS section is part of the agency's IT department and, according to McHugh, is "very, very well integrated with IT." GIS and IT have a common systems engineering approach and share the same database design review process and application development standards, as well as three or four Oracle DBAs (database administrators) and several developers. "We align our goals with IT," says McHugh.

TriMet's GIS shop, McHugh explains, provides applications, technical support, training, data, and consulting services to the rest of the agency. "Our main responsibility," she says, "is to make sure that the spatial data is maintained accurately and supports all the requirements for the systems and the users throughout the agency and also to our external customers." About 50 people at TriMet use ArcGIS on a daily basis—including data analysts, planners, and attorneys. "Our section is mainly here to support them," says McHugh.

Additionally, because transit data is inherently spatial, almost all of TriMet's applications now have a mapping component. "GIS applications are literally on every desktop and are used by pretty much everyone in the agency," McHugh says. These applications track and display in real time, among other things, "accidents and incidents," "stops and amenities," work orders, customer complaints, grade crossings, and restrooms.

For all of its systems, TriMet uses Metro's regional centerline file as the base map, so that it is common with the region. "We maintain all of our transit-specific data on top of that base map and share our data with the region," McHugh explains. This transit layer, included as shapefiles on Metro's quarterly RLIS Lite data CD, includes bus stops, bus routes, amenities, transit centers, park & ride lots, and light rail alignments. "We also maintain a lot of other information in our TriMet directory," she says, "like our service district boundaries, facilities, fare zones, and layovers."

TriMet used to geocode the locations of its bus stops to street centerlines, but McHugh saw the need for the agency's business units to have a more accurate representation. Therefore, in the summer of 1998, she convinced several departments to contribute money toward the purchase of three GPS units. She then hired three interns for the summer, redesigned the database, gathered the requirements, and trained everyone. "They went out and collected the data for our stops and amenities database," she recalls. "The great thing about the GPS units is that we did not just use them to grab accurate locations. We could do that with a lot of our detailed aerial photography. The big advantage is that you have a unit that asks you, for instance, 'Is there a trash can? What kind?' So, when you come back, there is no data entry."

Meanwhile, her staff was developing an on-line tracking system to maintain this data. TriMet now uses aerial photos to locate its bus stops—except for periodically using GPS receivers to locate new ones—and enters amenities (everything that is associated with a bus stop, such as trash cans, benches, curb cuts, and shelters) directly from work orders. This process keeps the database up to date. "You might say that it almost maintains itself," says McHugh. "I know of a lot of agencies that go out and collect data, but it is just a snapshot. Before you collect any data, you really have to have a system in place for supporting it and maintaining it." She credits the success of TriMet's database in large part to the attention to detail of Myleen Richardson, who is in charge of the database and the data. "I would say with confidence that our database is probably 99 percent accurate, for 8,500 stops."

All of TriMet's busses and light rail trains are equipped with an automatic vehicle location (AVL) system. It consists of a GPS receiver and an on-board computer that communicates with the agency's dispatch center and displays the position of each bus in real time on a map. The on-board systems also collect "service event" and "stop event" information. "Every time the bus stops," McHugh told me, "a lot of information is collected automatically—for instance, the time it arrives, the time it departs, whether the wheel chair lift was used. Also, every bus has infrared beams at the front and back doors; depending on which beam is broken first, it is logged as a passenger on or passenger off. So we are able to generate our passenger census from that data as well."

TriMet's GIS section writes applications, such as the bus dispatch system (BDS) mapper, that assist staff in analyzing the historical and real-time data collected by the AVL units, which were installed more than 10 years ago. This raw data is then processed by algorithms and aggregated in various ways to generate, among other things, a quarterly passenger census.

"We associate a map now with all of our applications," says McHugh, "so that you can view it in addition to the tabular data. That really facilitates the use of the data and the analysis of it as well." For example, she says, the BDS application allows analysts to pull up the passenger census for the most recent quarter and display where the majority of passengers got on and off. The AVL system was implemented in the mid-1990s. "However," Hugh explains, "it took us several years to write the programs and aggregate the data correctly so that we could generate a correct passenger census. I think we have on-line passenger census going back to 1999 or 2000. Before that, we just did it every ten years because we had to do it manually, which is very, very costly."

"We are getting ready to roll out more information to our external customers and re-do our interactive system map," says McHugh. "When we did that five or six years ago, it was hot technology. In the next year, I think our customers will be seeing more maps on TriMet's website." The public now has access to real-time information via Transit Tracker, which predicts next arrival times using AVL data and predictive algorithms, though not real-time bus mapping. The busses are polled every four or five minutes. "We are waiting on an upgrade to our system," McHugh says, "so that it can poll more frequently."

Transit Tracker is very popular, according to McHugh. "Most people call it on their cell phones. They are not really interested in where the bus is. They want to know, 'When is it coming to my stop?'" TriMet staff, on the other hand, have different requirements. "We may want to know where the bus is, in case we need to contact one of the operators or in an emergency or if there is a disruption in service on Max (light rail)."

While the GIS section has staff dedicated to analyzing the BDS data—for example, asking the question "Where are the majority of our riders?"—other TriMet analysts, such as planners, also analyze it, using ArcGIS on their desktop. McHugh's staff develops applications that facilitate that and minimize the training and expertise required, she told me. "Origin and destination studies are a really big one. We want to know where our frequent riders originate, where they are going, and why they are riding, so that we can better provide services for them and keep them happy."

TriMet staff also analyze extensively data about employers, who fund a large part of the agency's budget through taxes, and work with many of Portland's major employers on community surveys. "For instance," McHugh says, "we'll geocode blindly, to a very general level, to where people who work for them live and ask 'Can we offer transportation options that will encourage [these employees] to take public transportation?'"

McHugh called Google about a year and a half ago and said, "Hey, guys, have you ever thought about making it as easy for your customers to plan [mass] transit trips as car trips?" Then, as soon as Google began to develop Google Transit to do just that, she started to provide them the data and assistance with testing. "Ever since," she says, "we've been encouraging other agencies to also come on board."

Book: Mapping Global Cities

Aye Pamuk, Mapping Global Cities: GIS Methods in Urban Analysis (Redlands, California: ESRI Press, 2006), paperback, 182 pages, $49.95

Nearly twenty years ago, when I earned my graduate degree in political science at a highly quantitatively-oriented university (M.I.T.), I never even heard of GIS. Today, according to Aye Pamuk, "Spatial analysis methods using GIS have not yet become integrated into the standard methods toolbox of all social scientists." Her book challenges this omission, by demonstrating how GIS can "add value" to conventional nonspatial social science quantitative methods and why it "should be adopted by those not yet fluent with these methods."

She does so by focusing on the "new challenges unleashed by international and domestic migration patterns worldwide," driven by her "long-standing desire to understand the evolution of human settlements throughout the world." The book displays the author's passion for her subject, the complexity of the problems she addresses, and the power of the GIS tools she details.

Mapping Global Cities is both a manual and a substantive study on the patterns of immigration into major metropolitan areas ("world cities"). Among the questions it addresses are these: "What spatial commonalities and differences exist in major metropolitan areas where immigrants are located? Where do immigrants settle in specific global metropolitan regions? What is the level of concentration and density of different immigrant groups in these areas? What processes seem to explain the formation, change, and persistence of ethnic enclaves and communities in global cities?"

Pamuk is an associate professor of urban studies at San Francisco State University and a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Institute of Urban and Regional Development. Her primary expertise is in housing and urban policy, international planning, and research methods. Mapping Global Cities, the result of a multiyear team project, includes 21 figures, 58 maps, 16 tables, a bibliography of nearly 200 sources, and a CD with five short exercises and a self-directed project, demonstrating how GIS concepts are put into practice with ArcGIS software. It is a companion volume to Richard LeGates' book Think Globally, Act Regionally: GIS and Data Visualization for Social Science and Public Policy Research, which I reviewed this summer.

Mapping Global Cities artfully draws the connections between research questions, practical issues, and techniques. It addresses various common research problems and analytical fallacies, such as the modifiable area unit problem and the ecological fallacy. The book will be useful to GIS analysts who are new to urban mapping and planning and includes a thumbnail history of the use of GIS in urban mapping. At the same time, like most ESRI Press books, it can also serve as an entry point to GIS for subject matter specialists. Introductory material, such as a section on the differences between vector and raster data and one on basic GIS methods of analysis and software functionality, are brief and advanced users can easily skip them.

Part I of the book introduces fundamental spatial analysis concepts and sources of spatial data to carry out spatial analysis with GIS. Part II provides exemplary uses of GIS in local government and nonprofit settings throughout the world and the use of GIS in solving public policy problems for social service delivery agencies. Part III focuses on theories of immigrant settlement patterns in global cities and demonstrates the use of census data in spatial analysis.

Chapter 2 discusses the types and sources of spatial data available from government, commercial, and nonprofit sources—with a focus on data for urban planning and policy analysis—including issues of data quality and metadata.

Chapter 3 reviews the key GIS inventory and policy analysis applications used by urban planners and policy makers in local governments and nonprofits to address community planning problems.

Chapter 4 discusses how GIS can help with the planning and delivery of social services. "More often than not, community needs assessment studies carried out by government agencies and nonprofit groups lack spatial analyses even though knowledge about physical access to services can play an important role in program design," Pamuk writes. "This chapter makes a case that GIS and spatial analyses can help social service providers do their job better." It uses the example of the location of poor children and child-care centers in San Francisco.

Chapter 5 examines the relationship among the demographics of the immigrant populations, their residential location decisions, and housing market dynamics in global metropolitan regions, using, again, San Francisco as the example

Finally, Chapter 6 provides analysis results from three global metropolitan regions with significant immigrant population concentrations: the San Francisco Bay Area, the New York metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and the Los Angeles MSA.

As with all ESRI Press books, Mapping Global Cities has great production values: the layout is attractive, the illustrations are sharp, and the typeface very readable.

News Briefs

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


    1. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has awarded EarthData International a $4.3 million contract to map portions of one of South America's largest countries using the GeoSAR radar mapping system. GeoSAR, owned and operated exclusively by EarthData, will produce high-resolution image and terrain maps to support a variety of land and information management activities. Mounted on a jet aircraft and using X and P radar bands simultaneously, the GeoSAR system will fly over the area and collect extremely accurate images and three-dimensional models of the forest canopy surface as well as the terrain beneath the canopy.

      GeoSAR, with its foliage and cloud-penetrating P-band capability, is the company's latest innovation. In addition to this project in South America, EarthData's GeoSAR system is currently deployed in Papua New Guinea and other parts of the Asia / Pacific region.

    2. NAVTEQ, a provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, has concluded a European agreement with vehicle routing solutions specialist Optrak Distribution Software Limited. The high level of detail within NAVTEQ's road network, enables Optrak to more precisely model a company's distribution requirements and has a direct bearing on the quality of the results. Consequently, clients can benefit from more accurate vehicle routes and arrival times, which in turn lead to better service for the end-customer.

      Additionally, as one-way streets and other traffic flow controls, such as turn restrictions, are incorporated, drivers receive accurate, logical routes and the sequence of deliveries is also more efficient. This has proved increasingly important as more traffic restrictions—such as lorry bans, brown routes, and congestion zones—are introduced.

      Optrak already has several clients using the NAVTEQ maps for both operational and strategic planning. Specific applications include bulk lubricants, brewing, cash-in-transit, and planning routes for newspaper delivery rounds from local depots to newsagents.

    3. The City of Nampa, Idaho, is using GPS and digital photo mapping software to create a Web-accessible map database showing the precise locations of all the grave sites in its public cemetery. Completed in just one summer, the mapping project was made possible by GPS-Photo Link software from GeoSpatial Experts.

      A long-time user of geospatial technology, Nampa decided to develop a digital map of the cemetery. Technicians uploaded digital burial records into a GPS receiver with built-in GIS collection capabilities. A part-time employee took this device along with a standard digital camera into the cemetery to map its 18,000 grave sites. At each grave marker, the employee keyed in the name of the interred, verified the dates, and took a digital photo of the tombstone. The GPS receiver recorded the precise latitude/longitude coordinates of the burial location.

      At the end of each day, the digital photos and GPS data were loaded back into the city's GIS. GPS-Photo Link software then automatically linked the digital photographic images with the GPS location data and mapped the photographs on the GIS layer. This created a digital map in which the tombstone photos and interment details were linked to their accurate geographic locations on the GIS map. Nampa expects the grave mapping project will save many hours per week for clerks, who will no longer have to field genealogy requests personally. In addition, the website may also make it easier to sell grave sites. The clerks plan to use it in their office to show prospective buyers where available plots are located in the cemetery. Nampa will have the grave site location application live on its website by late November.

    4. Informi GIS A/S, ESRI's distributor in Denmark, recently signed a contract with the newly expanded NyVejle municipality that will give NyVejle a professional and state-of-the-art enterprise GIS based on ESRI's software. The enterprise GIS will ensure user-friendly and easily accessible GIS software and give many different users the opportunity to share maps and store data in a central location.

      ESRI's ArcGIS, ArcSDE, and ArcIMS software were chosen for the NyVejle GIS because of their analytic, storage, and Internet capabilities. The software is appropriate for both advanced GIS users and those with more basic needs. During the past year, the Danish political map has changed dramatically as many small municipalities have been consolidated into bigger units. For GIS professionals, the impact is profound.

      With the restructuring, the NyVejle municipality has assumed the responsibilities of the smaller municipalities it has absorbed. To meet the challenge of its new responsibilities and accommodate its new workflows, a special solution was developed by Informi and NyVejle that integrates GIS with the electronic systems for managing cases and documents (ESDH), commonly used by the Danish municipalities. The GIS integration with these information systems allows the social services department to include physical location in the analysis of their clients.

    5. In June, HDR, Inc. awarded a contract to Merrick & Company—a provider of LiDAR, digital ortho imaging, photogrammetry and GIS mapping services—to deliver raw and processed LiDAR data, 1-foot contours, 6-inch color digital orthophotography, and three-dimensional wireframes and footprints for 1.7 square miles of the University of California's Riverside (UCR) campus. Final delivery of all data products is scheduled for late fall. HDR will extract additional planimetric features from the orthophotography, such as streets, walkways, trees, and lights, and import existing CAD data in order to deliver to UCR all of the spatial data, the campus' first seamless GIS basemap.

    6. TerraGo Technologies, provider of GeoPDF and the MAP2PDF family of products, has entered into a strategic agreement with In-Q-Tel, the independent strategic venture capital fund that identifies technologies to support the missions of the Central Intelligence Agency and the larger intelligence community.

      The equity and technology advancement agreement allows for development of new mapping products needed by government agencies, such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and other In-Q-Tel intelligence community partners, that use TerraGo products to share geospatial data throughout their organizations.

      Leveraging the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF), TerraGo customers are able to send complex, georegistered maps as PDF files with layers and embedded feature attributes. A GeoPDF can be easily distributed and used in connected or disconnected modes with the free Adobe Reader and GeoPDF Toolbar software. Users are able to view finished digital maps, turn layers on and off, query attributes, display coordinates, measure distances, and track locations via GPS without the need for specialized geospatial knowledge or training.

      TerraGo's products are used by government agencies and commercial organizations that rely on extensive mapping data to do their jobs effectively. Customers using TerraGo's products include organizations in the fields of national defense, infrastructure, emergency response, public safety, public works, oil, and gas.


    1. ESRI Canada has released K-12 lessons and tutorials for ArcView 9.x and GIS Resources for Grades 7 & 8 lesson and data CD. For more than nine years, ESRI Canada's Schools and Libraries program has been dedicated to raising the awareness of geography and GIS in schools (K-12) across Canada. Today, more than 3,500 elementary, junior, and secondary schools across the country are incorporating GIS into a variety of curriculum (geography, history, business, science, and more) and using ArcView as a teaching tool in the classroom. As a result of this growth, ESRI Canada has expanded support for both teachers and students by developing new resources and materials.

      ESRI Canada created K-12 lessons, tutorials, and other support materials to assist teachers in the infusion of GIS in the classroom. A series of topic-based lessons, tutorials, and PowerPoint presentations are available for free for download from the K-12 website. The step-by-step instructions in the lessons allow teachers to concentrate on teaching geographic concepts and begin using the software in their classrooms right away. The topics include agriculture, forest fires, health care, glaciation, and settlement, and the lessons make use of the data that is provided on the ArcCanada CD dataset.

      The updated lessons and tutorials for ArcView 9.x will support teachers in the migration from ArcView 3.x to 9.x. Updated lessons include: migrating from ArcView 3.x to ArcView 9.x; K-12 Quick Start for ArcView 9.x; integrating GIS and GPS; and using ArcView to teach students about latitude, longitude, map projections, and more.

      GIS Resources for Grades 7 & 8, Lesson and Data CD is a new resource package designed to help grade 7 and 8 teachers enhance their geography and history curriculum using GIS technology. GIS Resources for Grades 7 & 8 is a CD-ROM containing lessons, data, and resources and allows teachers to explore key curriculum concepts with students in an interactive and exciting way. The package includes ten lessons that use ArcView 3.x software, and one Web-based lesson to introduce students to career options related to GIS. Each lesson includes the necessary data, teacher resources, and student resources.

      Lesson topics include: Discovering Earthquakes; Finding Your Place: Canada; Population Characteristics: Where and How People Live, Patterns of Human Settlement, and many more. Each lesson is comprised of three folders: data, teacher resources, and student resources. The data folder contains the data required for the lesson. The teacher resources folder contains evaluation rubrics, an answer sheet, and a teacher's guide. The guide provides general background information on the topic, the lesson objective, specific curriculum tie-ins, additional resources, and some background information on the data. The student resources folder contains a blank answer sheet and the student instructions.

    2. Pictometry International Corp., a provider of digital, aerial oblique imagery, announced at its FutureView 2006 User Conference a new suite of 3D products. The company's software enables users to access up to 20 different oblique views of any property, building, highway, or other feature and to obtain measurements such as distance, height, elevation, and area directly from the oblique imagery as well as overlay GIS data.

      The company has taken aerial photographs of an area where approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population resides and anticipates having 80 percent of the developed United States covered by 2007. The Pictometry 3D Suite of products provides Pictometry customers with the option to create 3D models using Pictometry images themselves or have them professionally created by Pictometry and its partners. Each Pictometry Real3D product option utilizes data from Pictometry's all-digital oblique imagery to create a rich, 3D experience:

      • Pictometry Real3D Medalist is a self-contained modular program that allows Pictometry users to create wire frames of select buildings. It can then automatically drape facades (sides of buildings) on the wire frames at a rate of approximately 30 buildings per minute. This product will soon be available to all qualified Pictometry customers.
      • Pictometry Real3D Bronze Medalist is Pictometry's entry-level professionally-rendered 3D process that delivers buildings as untextured 3D objects. It is recommended for situations where the 3D view is more critical than the realistic rendering of buildings, such as line of sight analysis.
      • Pictometry Real3D Silver Medalist is the mid-level 3D product that adds building textures based on Pictometry's Intelligent Images. Each side of a building is individually textured from the corresponding oblique image. The Silver Medalist allows counties to have large areas of photo-realistic models at an attractive price point.
      • Pictometry Real3D Gold Medalist is Pictometry's premier 3D product. Announced earlier this year with Harris Corporation at the 2006 ESRI User Conference, it offers the highest level in the industry for details of building sides and roof line contours, true colors, intricate details of structures, and rich building textures that are extremely realistic. The product incorporates a true ortho, a digital terrain model, and incredible levels of accuracy and detail in the 3D structures. This product contains a unique line-of-sight tool and measuring capabilities that are well-suited for law enforcement professionals requiring more detailed visual analysis of locations when responding to emergency calls.

      All Real3D models include a standard viewer that allows for visualization, fly-throughs, and measurement capabilities. Most models can be configured to be viewed in other 3D viewing systems such as ESRI's ArcGIS 3D Analyst.

    3. DeLorme has introduced its new XMap 5.0 GIS Enterprise suite of products, which includes a range of mapping, routing, navigation, GPS, and GIS file management features. A three-tiered solution, it delivers the appropriate measure of capabilities to users at different operational levels—GIS administrators, field technicians, and now, for the first time, top echelon enterprise GIS managers as well.

      As with previous releases, XMap 5.0 GIS supports the most common GIS data formats, including AutoCAD (.dxf, .dwg), ESRI (.eoo, .shp, .prj), .gml, .gpx, MapInfo (.mif, .tab), MrSid files, and GeoTIFF .tfw.

      At its various levels, XMap 5.0 GIS offers a variety of features—including geospatial querying, buffering tools, bulk geo-data import, coordinate geometry support, and command line bulk import tools for advanced GIS users. All XMap 5.0 GIS solutions include DeLorme's core mapping and GPS features.

      The three levels include:

      • XMap 5.0 GIS Enterprise (new) , a GIS database management tool for enterprise GIS administrators. Priced at $1,499.95 per seat, it allows users to deploy GIS data to the field (now with ArcSDE support and check out/in database controls); create raster layers using multi-point image registration; and apply database integrity tools (check out/in, field redlining, and database synchronization). It includes all of the features of XMap 5.0 GIS Editor.
      • XMap 5.0 GIS Editor (upgrade from XMap/GIS Editor) is a full-featured tool for administrative users, yet easy enough to use for entry level. It is priced at $749.95 per seat and can be used as a stand-alone GIS or as a supplement to existing GIS infrastructures. It allows users to import or create vector GIS layers with CAD, attribution, COGO, and topological editing tools; build buffer zones and perform geo-spatial query analysis of critical GIS data; and share data through print, file exporting, and Web publishing tools. It includes all of the features of XMap 5.0 Professional.
      • XMap 5.0 Professional (upgrade from XMap 4.5) is an advanced GIS viewer for mobile professionals and field crews. Priced at $199.95 per seat, it allows users to import their data with the new bulk geodata import (includes command line support); view GIS data layers enabled through XMap 5.0 GIS Editor and Enterprise administrators; redline field data corrections using draw tools enabled through XMap 5.0 GIS Enterprise; and navigate to their destination with voice-guided GPS routing.

      Detailed base map and aerial imagery datasets are available separately from DeLorme, including updated versions of U.S. / Canadian street-level data, U.S. topographic data, and Phone Data 2007.

    4. The GRASS Development Team has released Version 6.2.0 of GRASS GIS. This new stable release adds hundreds of new features, supports the latest GIS data formats, and includes new translations for many languages.

      The Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS) is a GIS used for spatial modeling, visualization of both raster and vector data, geospatial data management and analysis, processing of satellite and aerial imagery, and production of sophisticated presentation graphics and hardcopy maps. GRASS combines powerful raster, vector, and geospatial processing engines into a single integrated software package.

      The GRASS GIS project is developed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) by volunteers the world over. GRASS differs from many other GIS software packages used in the professional world in that it is developed and distributed by users for users, mostly on a volunteer basis, in the open, and is given away for free. Emphasis is placed on interoperability and unlimited access to data as well as on software flexibility and evolution rate. The source code is freely available, allowing for immediate customization, examination of the underlying algorithms, addition of new features, and fast bug fixing. GRASS is currently used around the world in academic and commercial settings, as well as by many governmental agencies and environmental consulting companies.


    1. Visual Learning Systems (VLS), a provider of automated feature extraction (AFE) software, is sponsoring free workshops at the upcoming MAPPS/ASPRS Conference being held in San Antonio, Texas. The workshops showcase Feature Analyst and LIDAR Analyst geospatial data production workflows for satellite imagery and LiDAR.

      Mr. Jason San Souci, the 2006 AFE Analyst of the Year, will be leading the workshops, with emphasis on forestry, local government, and military applications. Mr. San Souci is the Director of Geospatial Applications for Native Communities Development Corporation, a VLS-certified trainer, and two-time recipient of the AFE Analyst of the Year award.

      Workshops will cover the following topics: tree canopy cover mapping; forest density mapping; biomass estimation using individual crown width species model; pervious / impervious mapping; hierarchal masking techniques; extracting surface types in shadows; feature modeler example; and 3D feature extraction from LiDAR.

      To take advantage of this offer, conference participants need to register in Booth #8 on Tuesday night during the Welcome Reception.

    2. Civil engineering will now be a central component of ESRI's annual survey and GIS conference. This event, officially renamed the Survey & Engineering GIS Summit, will take place concurrently with the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, California, 2007 June 16-19.

      The summit will continue to focus on key topics for surveyors and related industries, including geodetic control, GPS, integrating surveying and GIS technology, land management, implementing GIS, and working with government agencies. However, the new program will be enhanced to include prevalent issues in engineering, including GIS integration with site and land development, LiDAR, photogrammetry, engineering and analysis, and construction and as-built surveying. The fifth annual Survey & Engineering GIS Summit will also include a focused forum for survey GIS educators led by geomatics professor Dr. Gary Jeffries.

      Paper submissions are still being accepted for the summit. User presentations and paper topics should cover important issues in both surveying and engineering such as

      • Survey data requirements for GIS applications
      • GPS technology
      • Survey data collection requirements, methods, and accuracy
      • Engineering and analysis
      • LiDAR and photogrammetry
      • Construction and as-built surveys
      • Government implementation


    1. DMTI Spatial, a provider of location intelligence solutions, has appointed Alex MacKay as Chief Executive Officer. He brings more than 20 years of experience in the sales and management of complex technology solutions and has held several senior management positions within high growth-oriented organizations. Before joining DMTI Spatial, Mr. MacKay was the President & CEO of Sofea Inc. and prior to that held Vice President and General Manager roles in SAP, Siebel, and Descartes.

    2. Infotech Enterprises America, Inc., formerly VARGIS, LLC, has hired Mr. James Fass as its new Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Fass brings more than 22 years of experience with a broad background in the geospatial data services industry. At Infotech, Mr. Fass's main focus will be developing and sustaining best practices for the delivery of photogrammetric and GIS services.

      Prior to joining Infotech, Mr. Fass was the Operations Manager for the Reno, Nevada, office of Michael Baker, Jr., Inc. Mr. Fass is frequently identified as a champion for promoting project management best practices and has designed and implemented many systems for budget and schedule tracking, data acceptance threshold modeling, and team performance metrics.

  5. OTHER

    1. The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) recently unveiled a supplement to its Code of Ethics, entitled "Rules of Conduct." The GISCI Code of Ethics presents a set of principles toward which professionals must continually strive. The Rules of Conduct is a set of implementing laws of professional practice that seek to express the primary examples of ethical behavior consistent with the Code of Ethics. Both the Code and the Rules govern ethical professional practice standards and violations of either may be brought before the GISCI Ethics Committee for punitive action.

      GISCI is committed to making ethics more than a professional buzzword. Therefore, GISCI holds its Certified Geographic Information Systems Professionals (GISPs) to higher ethical standards through the Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct. These documents represent a way of living a professional life, beyond simple guidelines for behaving at work. Achieving the GISP certification is an initial milestone on the path to being recognized as a professional. Living the ethical life of a professional is a daily test that will present numerous challenges for which the Code and Rules offer a guide to decision making.

      GISCI wants to enforce the principle that GISPs put their credential at risk with each professional exchange. Earning professional GIS certification means GISPs acknowledge and welcome this risk. They voluntarily agree to operate under ethical principles designed to guide their professional interactions and career development. GISPs found guilty of ethical violations may be faced with a range of penalties from private admonishment to public censure to removal of the GISP credential. These penalties are designed to educate the GISP in regards to their unethical behavior and to prevent similar situations from recurring. There were 1,289 GISPs as of September 25.

    2. To meet the requirements of the GIS community in the Middle East and North Africa, ESRI has established ESRI Northeast Africa (ESRI NEA) to expand its software distribution into Libya, Chad, and Sudan and provide the support and services required by its growing customer base in the region.

      ESRI NEA is a free zone company located in Egypt with business that is spread across the region. ESRI NEA was established due to the success that was demonstrated by Quality Standards Information Technology (QSIT), ESRI's distributor in Egypt and the surrounding region since 1994. ESRI NEA's vision is to be a leader in providing state-of-the-art GIS solutions to governments and businesses in the Middle East and North Africa.

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