2007 April 5

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Editor's Introduction

This week I focus on the Morpheus Data Transformation Project, which seeks to develop a searchable repository of 'data transformations' that allow developers to save, search, and reuse data conversion scripts and programs. As always, I welcome your comments.

Matteo Luccio

The Morpheus Data Transformation Project

How much time do you spend re-inventing the wheel? The Morpheus Data Transformation Project, a collaborative project between database researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Florida, aims to save software developers a lot of time by making it easier to manage the integration of disparate databases into a data warehouse. According to Doug Bright, an MBA student at MIT's Sloan School of Management, Morpheus "attempts to do this primarily by offering a searchable repository of 'data transformations' that allow developers to save, search, and reuse the scripts and programs that convert data from each database into the global schema in the warehouse."

A few weeks ago, Bright found my listing in the MIT alumni directory and called me to ask how well this concept might apply to the geospatial industry. He posed three questions that the project hopes to answer:

  • Would the ability to save, search, and re-use custom data transformations across an organization (or across several organizations using a common repository) be useful in the GIS industry?
  • Would a library of 1,000 or so "common" GIS data transformations, available for individual or bulk purchase, be valuable?
  • Would the ability to offload transformations of large datasets to a server to improve execution time be useful?

In turn, I passed the questions on to several experts. This week I report on the answers I received from four of them:

Next week I will present another batch of answers—including, I hope, a few that you will send me.

Everyone with whom I have discussed this project thinks that, in principle, it is a good idea. The key question is whether it is feasible and useful to apply this concept to geospatial technology, given its complexities. "To some degree, it would be," Gatewood told me. However, he cautioned, transformations become very complex even when just upgrading from one version of a platform to the next. For example, he pointed out, there are some significant differences in certain tables between Version 7 and Version 8 of Hansen, "so we have to write specific transformations just for that relationship. You could have hundreds of transformations just between two products."

"If you are talking about coordinate transformations or projection transformations," Gatewood continued, "there are many tools that do that already. What is missing is less of trying to document every type of transformation that you have—than to build some sort of socket at the vendor side."

What if enough developers contributed their code, so that, pretty soon, if you check the repository before writing a new transformation, you will find even the most esoteric one? "I think that when that occurs," Gatewood says, "you start to have too many transformations to dig through to find one that fits your application—so you are probably better off writing your own." That's where the repository's search capabilities become critical. However, Gatewood is skeptical that context rules or fuzzy logic could do the trick—especially given that different developers have different documentation styles. The one exception, he points out, could be neighboring municipalities, which might only be interested in a dozen variations of coordinate transformations.

Gatewood has done a lot of work with specialists in ETL [extract, transform, and load]. "I can talk to five of them about going from database A to database B and get five different answers," he says. "Unfortunately, ETLs are, to some extent, still an art form. Unless I know exactly how a transformation works, I am probably going to be more content to write my own rather than trust one that I have no idea how it works."

What about Safe Software? "[The company] has a huge coordinate system list," Gatewood says. "If you have a transformation that is well documented, they have no problem putting it in their store, so that people can transform from, say, state plane to lat-long. That's a case in which [the repository concept] does work. However, Safe Software also controls transformations between objects from different systems. So, if I have an ESRI system and I want to get it to a Microstation system, I not only have spatial ETL, I also have an object ETL. So, if I have to get from a point to a line, for example, I have some way to bridge that."

One advantage that Safe Software has over the Morpheus project, Gatewood points out, is that it is a development company. "I threw them some curves and they said, 'we'll go ahead and throw some people on it and we'll figure it out.'" Additionally, Safe Software has its own, low-level, proprietary format and all of their transformations go through that format—the equivalent of Gatewood's 'socket' concept. Similarly, MapInfo uses what is known as a 'unit sphere model.' "So," Gatewood says, "if you want to use an existing projection or coordinate system or create your own coordinate system, you are free to do so. But once you place that object in that coordinate system, MapInfo re-maps it to its unit number, so it is not really written in a projection except its own, internal projection."

Jayaraman thinks that the Morpheus project is "on the right track"—but that a GIS ETL tool will require "a totally different approach." He, too, points to Safe Software's FME products as "good tools in the market" and likes the Morpheus project's open source approach and its browsing feature, "which is quite similar to what I've seen in FME2."

Jayaraman thinks that the knowledge-base generation will be the most difficult task for the Morpheus project but likes its approach to building an ETL tool based upon a common set of building blocks or GIS geometric parameters. "I think that's really going to help the GIS industry."

"If their data transaction model is going to be XML-based," he adds, "I think that that will be fantastic. Transaction-based objects embedded in your Postgre XML object, I think that would be a good option to pursue. Of course, they could also pursue it as a GML version, so that it is an open source and easily exportable to any of the target sources."

As for the available data formats, Jayaraman says, "whether you take SmallWorld, ESRI, or any of the CAD formats for that matter, they need to define the data structures for translating the various parameters in this source data and ensure that all the transformations are complete. Each of the formats have their own structures and their own internal definitions of the fundamental guiding principles of your GIS data format. For example, for any detail mechanism for a GIS data transformation, we need to conserve the geometric parameters of the source format, the cartographic styles, and the topological information available for you to export and any key attribute linkages."

Once a transformation is run, Jayaraman points out, you often still require a certain amount of manual intervention to make corrections. Unlike with simple data transformations, where you can somewhat predict where errors might occur, you cannot build QC routines into the process of transforming geographic representations.

Furthermore, geographic data is not easily normed and is usually in closed, proprietary formats, Jayaraman says. For example, ESRI provides an interface that, it says, allows you to export the data into an open GIS format, but the internal data structure is closely guarded (except for shapefiles). Therefore, he concludes, "We have some way to go to really automate all this process."

Yancey sent me this comment: "Morpheus seems like it could be a potentially good alternative to the existing data exchange processes we have available, but GIS pose a special problem, both graphically and non-graphically, wherein we have to contend with multiple formats and multiple ways to present data. If a majority of schemas or exchange formats could be pre-written, Morpheus may be a useful tool. However from experience we (GIS professionals) have to deal with so many different data formats, so much data, and such complex entity-to-entity relationships that creating or setting up the exchange programs for each of them may not be economically viable."

The Morpheus project is "an excellent theory and supported by many industries," Henstrom told me. "However, it is a 'day late and a dollar short' given existing solutions and their successful implementations across multiple GIS vendors and the GIS community."

Would the repository that the Morpheus project proposes be useful in the GIS industry? "Of course. However, this process already exists today in the 'interoperability space'. Many GIS users employ ETL as a common practice today. The major player there is Safe Software, who supports a wide variety of vendors, not just ESRI. They serve the greater GIS community. Safe Software shares and distributes data transformations and supports custom transformations as well. Interoperability extensions to GIS products (not open source) provide this COTS solution to the most common data transformations (as direct read and transformations into different formats). If custom data transformations are required, Safe's FME Workbench offers tools for such. ESRI and its users employ this across multiple industries with great success today. Moreover, many users consider their custom-transformations as personal/company intelligence. Most folks won't want to share their work as this is valuable tradecraft. And if they do, forums exist for this today in environments GIS users already frequent."

Would a library of "common" GIS data transformations available for purchase be valuable? "Yes, it would be valuable to have these available for purchase as individual and/or bulk transformations. Safe Software offers this today. Furthermore, Safe Software's partners are currently working to provide additional custom support in key, niche areas where GIS users are demanding more. A peek at their website offers insight to the offerings."

Would the ability to offload transformations of large datasets to a server improve execution time? "This offloading of transformations to a server environment is key to a) wider use/availability b) processing/execution time and c) integration into existing workflows. ESRI supports this today with Data Interoperability Extension for ArcGIS Server."

News Briefs

Please note: I have neither edited nor verified the content of these press releases.


    1. NAVTEQ Taps Autodesk to Collaborate on Dynamic Online Venture to Reach Developers

      Relationship to Further Enable the Next Generation of Location-Based Wireless Applications

      Chicago, IL — April 3, 2007 — NAVTEQ (NYSE: NVT), a leading global provider of digital map data for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, today announced it has chosen Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) to bring an additional array of tools and technical support to the developer community through the NAVTEQ Network for Developers site. In providing a web presence that assembles the resources necessary for developers to build innovative applications, NAVTEQ aims to help accelerate the successful creation of superior location-based content for wireless and internet channels.

      By offering developers access to an extensive assortment of valuable tools and data, the NAVTEQ Network for Developers site is on the forefront of a connected ecosystem designed to support growth in the next generation of location-based services. Once registered, developers benefit from sample NAVTEQ map data and access to industry-leading geospatial tools for evaluation and development from Autodesk and other tool providers. Developers seeking information and insight can attend online forums, access frequently asked questions and e-mail technical support provided by NAVTEQ and Autodesk experts.

      In addition, the site will provide access to a variety of resources including NAVTEQ product and technical information, NAVTEQ leading analysis and proprietary research, as well as a range of powerful business development and technical services such as business plan reviews and testing services. The NAVTEQ Network for Developers site can be accessed on the Web by visiting: http://developer.navteq.com.

      Registered members that log on to the NAVTEQ Network for Developers site are able to gain access to the Autodesk LocationLogic geospatial software. Autodesk empowers application developers to build and deploy location-aware wireless services using the award-winning Autodesk LocationLogic platform, application programming interfaces (APIs), dedicated support for technical and business-related issues, and a network of carrier relationships in which Autodesk is a trusted advisor for new applications.

      "Teaming up with platform provider Autodesk greatly enhances the user experience for registered members of the NAVTEQ for Network Developers site" said Marc Naddell, Vice President of Partner and Developer Programs. "With access to mapping, routing, geocoding and point of interest search functions, members are provided the tools that enable the rapid development of next-generation location-based solutions."

      "By joining forces with NAVTEQ, we expect to make it easier for developers, operators and enterprise customers to build and deploy location-based services that benefit both the application developers and their end-users," said Joe Astroth, Vice President and General Manager of Autodesk Location Services, Autodesk.

      About NAVTEQ: NAVTEQ is a leading provider of comprehensive digital map information for automotive navigation systems, mobile navigation devices, Internet-based mapping applications, and government and business solutions. NAVTEQ creates the digital maps and map content that power navigation and location-based services solutions around the world. The Chicago-based company was founded in 1985 and has approximately 2,200 employees located in 144 offices in 27 countries.

    2. Oracle names Autodesk Recipient of 2007 Spatial Excellence Partnership Award

      Award recognizes Autodesk for leadership, innovation and partnership, in delivering geospatial data across the business enterprise

      WASHINGTON, DC, March X, 2007— Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced that it has received Oracle's (NASDAQ: ORCL) Spatial Excellence "Partnership Award" at the 2007 Oracle Spatial User Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The Oracle Spatial Excellence Awards are given to those leading organizations that have contributed to the advancement of mainstream enterprise solutions using geospatial technology.

      The award highlights the strong joint effort between Autodesk and Oracle to develop solutions that integrate Oracle's enterprise software with the open architecture and utility-rich geographic information systems (GIS) and computer-aided design (CAD) applications of Autodesk. The companies' shared vision of a powerful, geospatially enabled business infrastructure led to the development of complete solution suites that help entire organizations quickly and seamlessly share precision data across their enterprise, reaching the broadest audience of technical and non-technical users.

      "Autodesk is honored to be recognized by Oracle for its Spatial Excellence Partnership Award," said Lisa Campbell, vice president, Autodesk Geospatial. "The combined Oracle and Autodesk solutions help customers easily leverage their existing data in any format and extend it across the organization to create, manage and share CAD and GIS data in a single, open and standards-based environment."

      The award follows a recent announcement by the companies to form a heightened strategic alliance to offer two new joint solution offerings for federal, state and local government users:

      • The Autodesk Map 3D with Oracle Database 10g Bundle, for creating maps and associated data and storing them in a relational database. This solution contains Autodesk Map 3D 2007 software and Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition with Oracle Spatial 10g.
      • The Autodesk Web Mapping with Oracle Database 10g Bundle, for sharing maps and data stored in an Oracle Database over the web. This solution contains Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2007, Autodesk MapGuide Studio, Autodesk Map 3D software and Oracle Database 10g Enterprise Edition with Oracle Spatial 10g.

      "Given the strong technical and business alliance we share with Autodesk, recent launch of industry-specific solutions based on Oracle Database 10g and Oracle Spatial 10g, and joint customers worldwide, it was a natural fit for Autodesk to be given our Spatial Excellence Partnership Award this year," said Jim Steiner, senior director of Product Management, Oracle. "Beyond the technical synergies between Autodesk and Oracle, our relationship benefits from the tremendous user base of both companies within the commercial and government markets. Our large combined footprint offers much opportunity to build on the solid foundation of our collaboration."

      In addition to the recent solution suites, Autodesk and Oracle have previously worked together to develop custom solutions for many government customers, including the Las Vegas Valley Water District. LVVWD was also honored at this year's event for their solution leveraging its Oracle Spatial database with Autodesk Topobase software — the company's premier infrastructure design and management application.

      "Government customers rely on the powerful technology that Autodesk and Oracle deliver," said Bill Goodson, Vice President, Autodesk Government Sales. "Our mutual dedication to open architectures and technology partnership deliver the baseline needed by many government agencies to fulfill their Enterprise Architecture requirements."

      About Autodesk: Autodesk, Inc. is the world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment markets. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk has developed the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art digital prototyping solutions to help customers experience their ideas before they are real. Fortune 1000 companies rely on Autodesk for the tools to visualize, simulate and analyze real-world performance early in the design process to save time and money, enhance quality and foster innovation. For additional information about Autodesk, visit www.autodesk.com.

      About Autodesk Government: Autodesk Government is a dedicated organization within Autodesk that has served the needs of federal and state/local government agencies for more than 20 years. Autodesk Government delivers software solutions that integrate geospatial, manufacturing, design and engineering data with other critical information to reduce the time it takes to make informed decisions. In roles that include emergency response management, physical infrastructure design and protection, mission rehearsal, simulation and training, and asset tracking, Autodesk Government is a trusted partner to help agencies ensure mission success.

    3. Intermap Technologies and GeoContent Announce Partnership to Deliver Highly Accurate and Uniform Countrywide Geospatial Data of Germany

      DENVER (April 4, 2007): Intermap Technologies, Corp. (TSX: IMP.TO, AIM: IMAP.L) and GeoContent GmbH have agreed to provide a bundled solution that meets the geospatial needs of dozens of applications and markets in Germany. The partnership, focused on complementing high-resolution aerial imagery with the most accurate and uniform 3D geometric datasets available of Germany, will pave the way for greater accessibility and savings in German geospatial markets.

      GeoContent (www.geocontent.de) is Germany's only provider of quality aerial imagery covering the entire country. The imagery, branded "Digitale Luftbildkarte," or "DLK," is fully geo-referenced, color balanced, and mosaicked. All of the imagery was collected at nominal 50-centimeter resolution since 2000, thus ensuring a current, highly accurate product. Updates are ongoing since 2005, with a 200-city, 10-20-centimeter resolution mapping program.

      "By partnering with Intermap, our customers can now quickly and affordably procure high-quality elevation data collected as part of Intermap's ongoing NEXTMap Europe program. The Germany elevation data, with a 5-meter posting and vertical accuracy at one meter or better, was collected late last year and is ideally suited for advanced GIS applications that cut across a wide variety of disciplines," said Matthias Bachman, Sales Director of GeoContent. "Intermap is leading the way by collecting highly accurate entire-county datasets in Europe. We are proud to be offering these high resolution datasets as an option to our current customers."

      Intermap's data, including digital terrain models, digital surface models, and orthorectified radar imagery, is available through GeoContent's sales and distribution channels. This complete, seamless dataset of Germany includes a 20-kilometer buffer around the country's border. Under the terms of the agreement, Intermap will bundle and promote GeoContent's DLK imagery to their customers and clients in the burgeoning German geospatial market.

      "We are excited to be working with GeoContent to offer a complete solution of high-quality color imagery combined with the most current, accurate, and uniform 3D elevation data available for Germany," said John Weeber, Intermap's Director of Business Development. "Our combined datasets are complementary and geo-referenced. The result is GeoContent's orthorectified color aerial imagery with a better than 2-meter horizontal accuracy. The imagery perfectly overlays roads, rivers, lakes, and other geographic features upon Intermap's orthorectified radar imagery and digital surface models. This paring is essential for numerous GIS, mapping, 3D visualization, telecommunications, forestry, agriculture, and engineering applications.

      "Customers in Germany can now benefit from a bundled, complementary suite of geospatial products offered at a significant discount when compared to obtaining each dataset separately," Weeber continued. "This partnership will enable customers who have historically used outdated geospatial data to easily obtain a complete solution that is current, accurate, and affordable."

      About GeoContent GmbH: GeoContent provides a complete set of high quality Digital Aerial Maps to the industry based on an archive of color orthorectified imagery covering all of Germany. An "off the shelf" archive of Digital Aerial Maps (DLK®) is available to feed every mapping, GIS or geo-marketing system with base map information. This complete set of digital color orthorectified imagery can be combined with addressable geo-coded objects for the complete number of approximately 20 million buildings in Germany.

      About Intermap Technologies: Intermap enables customers to facilitate better decision-making and create applications for numerous commercial, governmental, military, and consumer products through the purchase of high quality and affordable 3D geometric datasets. The Company is proactively remapping entire countries and building unprecedented national databases, called NEXTMap, consisting of highly accurate digital geometric maps that include elevation data.

      Demand for NEXTMap data is growing as new commercial applications are emerging, including geographical information systems (GIS), engineering planning, transportation, automotive, navigation, flood, irrigation, environmental management and planning, telecommunications/wireless network planning, aviation, simulation, and 3D visualization. Internet applications include virtual tours, topographic maps and computer games. Datasets are also used to add interactive intelligence to airborne and satellite imagery.

      Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Intermap employs more than 400 people worldwide, with additional offices in Calgary, Detroit, Jakarta, London, Munich, Ottawa, and Prague. For more information, visit www.Intermap.com.

    4. Hydrologic Engineering Center and ESRI Sign Cooperative Research and Development Agreement

      Redlands, California — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hydrologic Engineering Center and ESRI will cooperate on developing a new generation of geographic information system (GIS) technology for hydrologic engineering and ecological analysis.

      The Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), based in Davis, California, and ESRI, the leading GIS software developer, announced today the signing of a three-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) that will focus on

      • Adding a geospatial analysis component to HEC's software that analyzes how an ecosystem (i.e., plants, animals, and soil) reacts to water flow
      • Developing terrain models and terrain representation for hydrologic and hydraulic analyses
      • Publishing HEC's modeling techniques with ArcGIS Server

      "Management of water resources is one of the most critical issues facing society today," said ESRI president Jack Dangermond. "HEC is looked up to as the leader in water resources modeling and analysis. ESRI is pleased that we can support its work to understand and model this critical resource."

      HEC designed a successful family of hydrologic software including the River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) for modeling the hydraulics of water flow through channels and the Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) for simulating precipitation and runoff in watersheds. In cooperation with ESRI over the past six years, HEC has added geospatial components — HEC-GeoRAS and HEC-GeoHMS—to the software. This successful application has enabled spatial and temporal processing and visualization of water flow.

      One complex problem HEC is working on is analyzing water's impact on ecosystems and land-use activities. ESRI and HEC plan to work together to

      • Develop an ArcGIS application for HEC's new Ecosystem Functions Model (EFM). EFM analyzes responses of the ecosystem to changes in water flow. GIS software will provide the spatial analysis, visually illustrating and quantifying the effects of flow changes on habitats within the watershed. This application will take advantage of the new capabilities of ESRI's ArcGIS 9.2, including managing large terrains, and the geoprocessing capabilities of ModelBuilder technology.
      • Publish HEC's hydrological and ecosystems modeling technology, with GIS data, in ArcGIS Server, opening opportunities to share the technology with many different agencies, natural resource managers, and the public. Users of the systems will then be able to build and run their own hydrologic models.
      • Implement models that use terrains, a new data type in ArcGIS 9.2 that permits the analysis of large, complex surface models—something that was not possible previously.
      • Explore the possibility of cooperating in areas such as geographic data structures for water resources modeling and analysis, flood damage analysis, and spatial hydrologic data products.

      Dean Djokic, a senior applications programmer and consultant in water resources and principal investigator for CRADA at ESRI, said he expects the collaboration between ESRI and HEC will profoundly improve hydrologic and ecological modeling in the future.

      "ESRI believes this cooperative agreement will result in the next generation of water resources tools to help handle the complex problems of environmental hydrologic analysis," Djokic said. "[This work] will advance the science of water resources engineering."

      The staff at HEC looks forward to continuing to work closely with ESRI. "There's a natural connection between hydrologic simulation modeling and GIS," added Tom Evans, HEC's principal investigator on CRADA. "Through our partnership with ESRI, HEC and the Corps have been able to provide GIS tools that the engineers in our field use every day. I look forward to improvements in those programs and working on entirely new ones, like the ArcGIS developments that will support our Ecosystem Functions Model."

      About HEC: HEC is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Institute for Water Resources and supports the nation in its water resources management responsibilities by increasing the Corps' technical capability in hydrologic engineering and water resources planning and management. By means of programs in research, training, planning analysis, and technical assistance, HEC keeps abreast of both the evolving water analysis needs of the Corps and the nation and current developments in the professions of hydrology, hydraulics, and water resources engineering. The center strives to use this information to enhance the effectiveness of the Corps and the profession by bridging the gap between academic researchers, practicing hydrologic engineers, and planning professionals. HEC incorporates state-of-the-art procedures and techniques into manuals and comprehensive computer programs. Most of these products are available to the Corps and professionals in the United States and the world online and through technical assistance, publications, videotapes, and training.

      About ESRI: Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at www.esri.com.

    5. St. Lucie County Chooses MultiVision USA as Oblique Imagery System Provider

      ORLANDO, Fla., April 3, 2007 — MultiVision USA, a provider of high-resolution oblique imagery and 3D viewing software, has announced that is has signed a contract with St. Lucie County, Fla., to provide the MultiVision 3D Plus oblique imagery viewing system to the county.

      Under the agreement, MultiVision will acquire high-resolution oblique aerial imagery of the 600-square-mile county. Imagery acquisition has already begun. St. Lucie County is located on "The Treasure Coast of Florida," along the state's eastern shore, and has a population of approximately 250,000.

      Typically used for property assessment, emergency response planning and flood modeling, MultiVision 3D Plus is the first integrated oblique aerial imagery and 3D viewing solution designed for multiple diverse applications within a federal, state or local government organization. Acquired with a proprietary aerial imaging system, MultiVision USA imagery offers a pixel resolution of +3 inches, sufficient to identify and measure even small building details or infrastructure assets. The MultiVision 3D Plus solution includes 3D modeling capabilities showing actual building facades, 3D flood inundation analyses, and integration of existing GIS layers.

      The MultiVision 3D Plus system includes detailed aerial photographs that enable appraisers to efficiently assess property values without spending time on location taking manual measurements. Additionally, police and firefighters use the system to plan their approaches to crime and rescue scenes, and to determine the most appropriate routes for parades, marathons and other events. Disaster assessment teams also refer to the photography in order to find areas that are at risk for flooding and other natural disasters.

      About MultiVision USA: The MultiVision imagery database and software provide several advantages over other oblique aerial products. MultiVision processing technology registers the oblique images to standard orthophotography to create a seamless multi-dimensional viewing environment in the end user's GIS coordinate system, resulting in highly accurate feature mapping and measurement. In addition, the MultiVision software provides easy-to-use 3D modeling functionality. With MultiVision USA, you are always in control of your imagery.

    6. GeoDecisions Developing Custom GIS for Adams Electric Cooperative

      April 2, 2007/Harrisburg, Pa. — GeoDecisions, an information technology company specializing in geospatial solutions, is developing a custom geographic information system (GIS) application for Illinois-based Adams Electric Cooperative. When complete, Adams will have a fully functional GIS database that will enable its users to view electrical data with increased spatial accuracy. As a result, Adams will quickly and efficiently compile and analyze its electrical data for outage management and other engineering analysis functions.

      As part of the project, GeoDecisions is updating and converting Adams' electrical data from AutoCAD® files to an ESRI®-based format geodatabase with orthophotography. The orthophotography background in the GIS is used for increased data placement accuracy and serves as a visual aid for crews out in the field.

      To ensure all data is current, updates will be made to the GIS using Adams' hardcopy map books and fuse/switch hardcopy maps. Additionally, the application will allow personnel to generate plots and prints from the GIS database that resemble the current appearance of familiar hardcopy maps.

    7. BlueSky Credits Leica Geosystems Products with Productivity Gains

      Norcross, GA — The first quarter of 2007 has been a productive one for aerial mapping specialist BlueSky International Ltd. The Leicestershire, U.K.-based firm processed imagery of Wales — 22,000 square kilometers — using software from Leica Geosystems to orthorectify, mosaic and cross-check the 25 centimeter-resolution data. The resulting dataset was over 1 terabyte in size.

      At the same time, Leica Photogrammetry Suite (LPS) was being used to orthorectify high-resolution photography flown over two English counties, totaling some 6,700 square kilometers and comprising of over 18,000 images. IMAGINE MosaicPro? was then used to edit and correct seams in the 10 and 12.5 centimeter-resolution data. And, keeping things lively, the firm was capturing and processed imagery over ten U.K. cities, delivered in 10 centimeter-resolution, as well as several European targets.

      According to Operations Director James Eddy, handling this heavy volume involves long hours for his staff and a hefty investment in state-of-the-art hardware. It also requires software able to reduce the time it takes to process and correct imagery. For example, editing seamlines, such as those between buildings, was always "a bit of production bottleneck," he said. With IMAGINE MosaicPro, seamlines are automatically generated and easy to edit, which enables BlueSky's staff to work three to four times faster. "The software is so intuitive that with the right training we can have someone editing and checking seamlines in a matter of days," said Eddy.

      He credited Leica's ORIMA for LPS orientation management software with speeding orientation and triangulation of orthophotos, improving project workflow and providing a better end product. "It's been a dramatic improvement," Eddy said.

      For a firm that processes an average of 1,000 images per project, dependable production software is a make-or-break proposition. "We're in a very competitive market and we demand the very best of our people and our products," said Eddy. "We're extremely pleased with Leica's products and plan to continue using them for our projects all over the world."

      "It's satisfying to see our products performing well under rigorous conditions like BlueSky's high-volume operation," added Richard McKay, Vice President, Sales, Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging. "We are looking forward to working with BlueSky on future projects and hope to boost their productivity even more."

      About Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging Division: When building image-based maps, you need reliable measurements and solutions for your entire workflow. So when it has to be right, more geospatial professionals trust Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging, LLC to help them collect, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is powering geospatial imaging by putting precise imaging to work. Its broad array of photogrammetry and remote sensing software solutions capture data efficiently, reference imagery accurately, measure and analyze easily and present spatial information, even in 3D. Those who use Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging products every day trust them for their precision, their seamless integration, and their superior customer support. Delivering geospatial imaging solutions with precision, integration, and service from Leica Geosystems. When it has to be right. For more information about Leica Geosystems or its products and services, call +1 770 776 3400, toll free +1 866 534 2286, or visit gi.leica-geosystems.com.

      About Leica Geosystems: With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information in 3D. Those who use Leica Geosystems products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 2,400 employees in 23 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.

    8. Avineon Awarded Contract with City of Richmond, Virginia to Support Enterprise GIS Initiative for Public Utilities

      Alexandria, Va. — April 2, 2007 — Avineon, Inc., a successful provider of IT, engineering, geospatial and program management services, today announced the city of Richmond, Virginia's Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has awarded the company a contract to perform geographic information system (GIS) data conversion of its gas, water, wastewater and street lighting systems. As a key effort of the enterprise geographic information systems initiative, the DPU data conversion project will enable the city to continue to provide efficient and responsive utilities service to businesses and residences in Richmond and the surrounding counties of Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover.

      The DPU provides a variety of utility services directly to Richmond residents. As one of the largest water producers in Virginia, Richmond serves approximately 61,000 individual customers and three wholesale customers. Its wastewater treatment plant, the largest in Virginia, serves nearly 60,000 customers. The DPU is the eighth largest municipally-owned natural gas utility in the country, with more than 1,700 miles of gas mains and more than 100,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers. Richmond's Street Light utility operates and maintains more than 37,000 streetlights and the city's streetlight electric distribution system. These large-scale services rely extensively on geospatial data that currently resides in disparate hard copy and digital formats.

      Eddie Childers, GIS conversion project manager from the city of Richmond DPU, stated, "Avineon's extensive experience converting and migrating data into a number of different GIS systems will allow us to consolidate data across various utilities, enabling spatial data to be better visualized, analyzed and maintained by the city. In turn, this will allow us to continue to provide the best service possible to our utility customers."

      The DPU data conversion project will result in an integrated geodatabase utilizing ESRI's ArcGIS. In addition to data conversion and clearing the existing work order backlog, the project will require development of data models for each utility, a data maintenance application and an application to generate a hard copy product similar to the city's existing map book series from the new geodatabase. Together, these GIS services will enhance data accessibility and functionality, improving the DPU's GIS data management.

      Gary Wilkison, vice president of Avineon's Geospatial and Engineering Services division, stated, "Avineon's team of professionals has extensive experience in performing data conversion and other related GIS services for municipal clients in the utility industry. We look forward to applying this expertise and our proven quality and project management methodologies to help the city of Richmond achieve its present and future GIS goals."

      EMA, Inc. and Mansai Corporation will support Avineon as subcontractors on the project. EMA is a specialized consulting firm focusing on the technology and business management needs of utility, public works/municipal and manufacturing organizations. The firm has extensive experience in GIS consulting and application development for municipal customers. Mansai provides highly skilled and experienced information technology professionals to a wide variety of customers.

      About Avineon: Avineon, a CMMI Maturity Level 3 and ISO 9001:2000 registered company, is a diversified high technology company that provides information technology (IT), geospatial, engineering and program management services. With headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, and offices in Alabama, Florida, Indiana and Virginia, Avineon also maintains subsidiaries in Europe and India. In IT, Avineon specializes in web-based architecture, systems engineering, application development and on-going network and security support. For additional information please visit www.avineon.com.

    9. Geomatic Technologies Completes ETSA State-wide Rural Asset Survey

      21st March 2007, Adelaide, Australia — Geomatic Technologies (GT) has completed, on behalf of ETSA Utilities the State-wide Rural Asset Survey. The project began in 2005 when ETSA engaged GT to conduct a pilot data capture survey of rural electricity assets. GT completed the pilot and was awarded the task of extending the work to encompass a state-wide audit of South Australian rural electricity assets. A total of 191,000 powerpoles were captured throughout 700 rural feeders. GT completed the project ahead of schedule.

      GT was required to accurately position (plus or minus one meter) assets such as poles, conductors, service connections and transformers. Important attribute information was collected at each positioning and at times 37 attributes were collected per pole. This level of data collection allowed ETSA Utilities to build an accurate and functional GIS for management of their assets. Information previously supplied to GT by the client consisted mostly of legacy information where it was available.

      GT's team was comprised of surveyors equipped with 4WDrive vehicles, Differential GPS Satellite positioning, laser range instruments and in-car computer equipment to complete the project. Two field teams were based within rural towns for up to 8 weeks at a time. Each team would map the surrounding area using GPS and GT's own AIMS Mapping System which was tailored to suit the project.

      GT implemented a strict environmental awareness policy, including minimising vehicle movement in areas of high conservation value and regular wash down of vehicles to reduce the risk of spreading diseases and weeds through sensitive areas such as grape growing districts.

      Management of environmental issues and consultation with landowners and the general public were two of the key challenges facing the project. Each field team was able to mitigate such risks, including customer complaints, bushfires, hazards, plant and animal diseases (Phytophthora, Phylloxera, OJD, Footrot, and Nightshade).

      About Geomatic Technologies: Geomatic Technologies Pty Ltd is a leader in the provision of spatially based business solutions, information products and services including spatial database hosting and web services, photogrammetry, linear asset mapping and field workforce solutions. The company services Government, Transportation, Utilities, Telecommunications and other commercial enterprises.

    10. Earthdata Begins Next Phase Of Landmark Tennessee Base Mapping Program

      Frederick, MD (March 28, 2007) — As a member of the Tennessee Geographic Information (TGI) joint venture, EarthData International is working with the State of Tennessee on a nine-county pilot program that will initiate a transition from conventional film-based photography to digital imaging for orthophoto updates. Awarded through the state's Office for Information Resources (OIR) — GIS Services Division, the pilot is an extension of the Tennessee Base Mapping Program, a landmark 7-year effort scheduled for completion this summer that combines black-and-white digital orthophotography from film cameras with a digital parcel database and other planimetric layers.

      "TGI, and its prime subcontractors EarthData and Smart Data Strategies have done an amazing job with the initial statewide base map production," said Dennis Pedersen, OIR-GIS Services director. "Now that this work is nearing completion, the challenge is to leverage new technology and find the most costeffective approach so that we can maintain the base map and meet the needs of state and local users." The effort includes evaluating potential involvement with the state's Department of Transportation and participating in the "Imagery for the Nation" initiative led by the National States Geographic Information Council. Aerial data acquisition is now underway for the pilot counties of Anderson, Blount, Hamblen, Hawkins, Loudon, Putnam, Roane, Sumner, and Washington.

      From the Leica ADS40 imagery, EarthData will use its ISTAR processing software to produce countywide 1"=200' natural color orthophotos with a 1'-pixel resolution. "It is an honor to continue our work with the state of Tennessee," said Sam Moffat, regional business manager for EarthData. "Having mapped all 95 counties under the original program, we are eager to help the state further improve what already is considered one of the nation's most comprehensive datasets." With plans underway to provide broader access to the statewide base map data, the "Tennessee Map" (TNMap) will serve as the state's enterprise GIS portal and will provide federal, state, and local government users with the ability to locate GIS data through a metadata search engine, as well as view and query the base map data via a web browser.

      EarthData's work on the original and pilot programs exemplifies the organization's philosophy of partnering with customers for the long-term to offer the most advanced mapping technologies and products that best serve customer needs.

      About EarthData International: EarthData provides a full range of mapping and GIS services to support customers' needs in a wide variety of natural resource management, urban planning, economic development, national defense, and engineering activities. With its fleet of aircraft, the organization collects aerial photography, uses airborne laser (lidar) and imaging radar (GeoSAR) systems to produce 3D terrain models, and develops or deploys other remote sensing technologies to detect thermal and multispectral information about the earth's surface. EarthData offices in the United States and China use this data to create and supply photogrammetric, lidar, radar, and digital orthophoto mapping and GIS applications and services, world-wide. (www.earthdata.com)

    11. Monroe County, NY 9-1-1's use of Pictometry helps Propel Agency to Top Honor as Outstanding Call Center of the Year

      ROCHESTER, NY - March 29, 2007 - Pictometry International Corp., the worldwide leader in digital, aerial oblique imagery and easy-to-use measuring software systems today offered its congratulations to Monroe County's 9-1-1 Communication Center, one of the early adopters of Pictometry's location-enabled imaging technology, for being honored by the E9-1-1 Institute as the 2007 Outstanding Call Center of the Year.

      Gregory Rohde, the Executive Director of the E9-1-1 Institute said, "We honored the Rochester/Monroe County 9-1-1 Communication Center for their leadership and excellence in integrating systems, implementing new technology, managing key emergency communications, and educating the public. Their leadership in ensuring public safety and awareness is outstanding."

      The combined City of Rochester and Monroe County, NY's state-of-the-art communication center is fully compliant to Phase II E9-1-1 requirements and is responsible for managing over 1,200,000 calls for service on an annual basis for 16 police departments, 45 fire departments, and 32 emergency medical services agencies. "We were one of the first public safety agencies in the nation to install Pictometry in our call center.

      This critical component of our total approach to Phase II 9-1-1 enables our telecommunicators to better respond to our calls for service," said Monroe County 9-1-1 Director John Merklinger.

      A video on how Monroe County 9-1-1 is using Pictometry can be found on Pictometry's homepage at www.pictometry.com. Pictometry has gained significant acceptance from its proven results in vital public safety applications that include helping 9-1-1 centers rapidly locate landline and cellular calls for service, rapid response for delivering post disaster imaging, and providing SWAT teams and fire fighters with a touch screen software interface for mobile deployments for en route as well as on-the-scene tactical planning. The company has established business partnerships with over 25 leading public safety mapping and dispatch technology companies. Using Pictometry, counties can achieve Visual Interoperability(tm) where imagery of incident locations can be shared between responding agencies for more informed and better coordinated responses. A case study on Pictometry's public safety applications can be found at www.pictometry.com/casestudies/ps-07.asp.

      Pictometry's patented aerial imaging technology captures and catalogues image libraries of entire counties and states. The company's industry-leading software allows users to access up to 20 oblique (3D-like) aerial photos of every square foot in an area, including every building, highway, or other feature. The software also enables users to instantly obtain measurements such as distance, height, and areas on both horizontal and vertical structures, directly from the Intelligent Images(r) as well as overlay GIS data and create fully textured, Pictometry Real3D(tm) models. As an ESRI Developer Partner, Pictometry also provides additional GIS solutions for ESRI that include an ArcGIS extension, ArcIMS integration, ArcSDE support, and a COM interface.

      Last year's E9-1-1 Institute Outstanding Call Center of the Year Award went to another user of Pictometry technology, Elmore County, AL's 9-1-1 Center.

      About the E91-1 Institute The E9-1-1 Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization working with the Congressional E9-1-1 Caucus to promote strong, more capable 9-1-1 services and emergency communications throughout the nation. The E9-1-1Institute assists the E9-1-1 Caucus in promoting public education on E9-1-1 and emergency communication issues. For more information on the E9-1-1 Institute, visit www.e911institute.org.

      About Pictometry: Pictometry International is a rapidly growing software company that provides visual information systems. The company's patented imaging process captures georeferenced, high-resolution oblique (at an angle for a 3D-like view) and ortho (straight down) Intelligent Images(r) of counties and states. Combined with the company's interactive software solution, users can see everywhere, measure anything, and plan everything. The company has a growing customer base exceeding 400 counties, the State of Connecticut, the State of Massachusetts, the State of Rhode Island, federal government organizations, as well as private business users.

      Major metropolitan areas using Pictometry include Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Applications include 9-1-1, appraisers, assessors, emergency management agencies, engineering, financial institutions, fire departments, GIS, golf communities, homeland security, insurance, law enforcement, planning officials, real estate, transportation, and utilities. Pictometry is a second order visualization tool that does not produce authoritative or definitive information (surveying) from its digital, aerial images.

      The company is hosting its second annual User Conference, Pictometry FutureView 2007, from October 28 - 31, 2007 in Orlando, FL. For more information on Pictometry, visit www.pictometry.com.

    12. McDonald Bradley Selects ESRI Software Toolset to Implement a New Nautical Charting System for Data Management at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

      Redlands, California and Herndon, Virginia — March 23, 2007 — McDonald Bradley, Inc., a rapidly growing information technology solutions provider to the government, through its acquisition of Software Performance Systems, Inc., has taken over the $10 million prime contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to develop, integrate, operate and maintain the Nautical Charting System II — an enterprise solution for managing chart data. The Company has selected ESRI, the world's leading geographic information system software developer, as a subcontractor on the project. In addition, the team will utilize a software toolset from ESRI as part of the solution.

      The NOAA project for the Office of Coast Survey, Marine Chart Division will utilize the ESRI Production Line Tool Set (PLTS) for ArcGIS—Nautical Solution. The toolset is part of the ESRI family of focused, production-oriented applications and end-to-end workflows tailored to specific domains.

      The goal of this NOAA program is to create an enterprise nautical chart production system that collects source data from a myriad of providers, stores the information in a single database, allows cartographers to process the data in a single production line, and produces various paper and electronic charts. Data is obtained from over 50 entities including NOAA Survey Ships, the Army Corps of Engineers, the US Coast Guard, and even Power Squadrons. In the current system these data must be applied multiple times, stored in multiple applications, and processed through multiple production lines to create paper or electronic charts.

      Built on top of ESRI's flagship desktop ArcGIS technology, Nautical Solution will provide robust functionality, including the ability to automatically update multiple datasets from edits to a central database. Applications will streamline database editing, product maintenance and quality control by supporting high-volume S-57 and chart production and workflow management.

      As the provider of nautical charts for all U.S. coasts and the Great Lakes, NOAA manages data and products covering approximately 11 million square miles. This new solution will enable the Marine Chart Division to quickly and easily produce vital navigation products, ensuring NOAA continues to provide leadership in the international hydrographic community.

      About McDonald Bradley: McDonald Bradley is a mid-sized, privately-held information technology solutions provider to the government marketplace with headquarters in Herndon, Virginia. Since it was founded in 1985, it has steadily built an exceptional reputation in delivering IT solutions to Defense, Intelligence, Homeland Security, Federal Law Enforcement and Federal Civil clients, averaging 41 percent annual growth each year since 2001. Core technology expertise includes: service-oriented architectures, data interoperability, and information assurance solutions. McDonald Bradley is the winner of the 2005 GovCon Small Contractor of the Year Award. The Company ranked 30th on the "2006 Technology Fast 50" list for Virginia.

      About ESRI: Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at www.esri.com.


    1. Encom Extends 3D Environment For Geoscientists Working With Mapinfo Professional

      Encom, a leading provider of desktop software, data management and advanced technical consulting for the geosciences has released Discover 3D 2.5. The latest release of Encom Discover 3D for MapInfo Professional, delivers to geoscientists an exciting range of productivity tools and enriched interactive 3D display capabilities. Discover 3D provides tools for interactive analysis of drillholes, trenches, profiles, mine models, terrain, geochemistry, geophysical models, topography and geological sections directly linked to a user's GIS work environment.

      Visualisation enhancements include 3D performance, transparency management, volume clipping, object selection and new data object links, Discover 3D creates and edit points, lines and polygons in 3D to add interpretive elements directly to the 3D volume. It uses these objects to create features such as 3D fault surfaces, interpretive geological surfaces, untested target volumes and resource outlines.

      The new voxel and block model handling is used to analyse multi-parameter geochemistry in the context of geological models and the original drillhole data. Dynamic slicing and isosurface colouring by geochemistry provides powerful tools for understanding 3D geological trends.

      "Working in 3D changes the way you think about geological relationships and improves the quality of drilling decisions" said Dave Pratt, Managing Director, Encom. "Discover 3D is fully integrated with MapInfo Professional, provides direct support for many mine planning applications and gives the exploration geologist the flexibility to do what they do best — search for the next world class deposit".

      MapInfo and Encom have been partnering for over 12 years to deliver an integrated geographic information system (GIS) tailored specifically for geoscientists. "The marriage of MapInfo's core GIS engine and Encom's expert knowledge of the geoscience sector has proven to be a highly successful partnership" said Jonathan Wright, Managing Director — MapInfo Asia Pacific. "Encom's advanced understanding of the geosciences has largely been responsible for 'MapInfo Professional & Discover' becoming one of the leading GIS-based solutions for the mineral exploration industry".

      About Encom: Encom is a leading innovator and global supplier of specialist software, data and services to mineral exploration, petroleum exploration and engineering companies. Encom is a long term MapInfo strategic partner, with a network of over 60 resellers worldwide and GIS customers in 100 countries. Following a merger with Perth company Meridian GIS, Encom's geospatial software applications have been integrated with the Compass Enterprise system to provide workflow and productivity solutions for GIS, geology, geophysics and engineering specialists.

      For further information on Discover 3D, please visit www.encom.com.au/Discover_3D

    2. Topcon Announces Upgrade for Topcon Tools Software

      New software package includes post processing, GIS and design modules

      Livermore, CA — March 30, 2007 —Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) has released a new version of Topcon Tools office software that offers significant enhancements.

      TPS' version 6.11 of Topcon Tools includes:

      Post Processing/Advanced module

      • Raw data plot and Epoch View
      • Troposphere Model
      • Multiple new antenna calibrations
      • 7-parameter datum transformations

      High-accuracy GIS module

      • New improved DGPS engine
      • Multiple Photo Note support and orientation from TopPAD field software

      Design module

      • Enhancements to Inverse, point in direction, point to line and intersection functions
      • Improved road input/edit user interface
      • Conversion from road alignments to points
      • Conversion from road alignment to 3D surfaces
      • Comparison of volumes between road alignments and surfaces
      • Best fit alignment

      In addition, the new software includes duplicate point resolution on import and multiple background image transformation. "Topcon Tools offers the user the flexibility to utilize and pay for what they need from a easy to use post processing software to a complete stand alone office software that can create, manage and design whole projects," said Jason Killpack, TPS product marketing manager.

      "The power of our software is the ability to customize modules depending on the need of each customer. The addition of a new DGPS processing engine in the GIS module will be a big benefit for those firms that utilize standard surveying practices as well as perform GIS mapping as additional services," Killpack said.

      "The software has new multiple background image support adds detail and definition to projects with off-the-shelf digital camera or with unique integrated imaging technology that is present in the GMS-2 field controller or the GPT 7000i imaging total station," Killpack added.

      Topcon Tools can be downloaded for a free upgrade by current users of the software from the Topcon software download page at www.topconpositioning.com A demonstration version is also available for free evaluation there as well.


    1. Program Details for URISA's 45th Annual Conference

      April 3, 2007 (Park Ridge, Illinois) - Program details and registration for the 45th Annual Conference of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) are now available online at http://www.urisa.org/conferences/annual/info. URISA 2007, themed "Sharing Technological Inspiration: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow", is scheduled for August 20-23, 2007 at the Hilton Washington in Washington, DC.

      The conference will begin with twelve pre-conference workshops offering proven education and take-home workbook materials. More than 200 speakers from around the world will present at URISA 2007. The educational sessions are organized into the following topical tracks: Partnerships & Collaborations; Professional Development; Management; Data; Tools; Applications; Disaster & Emergency Response; Public Participation GIS (PPGIS); and K-12 Education.

      Conference Highlights will include:

      • Hopeworks - Young people from the Hopeworks GIS program will provide what is certain to be an inspirational keynote presentation at the URISA conference, demonstrating their accomplishments. Visit www.hopeworks.org
      • New Haven Census Use Study, 1967: Forty years ago, the New Haven Census Use Study presented its initial reports on computer mapping and address matching at the 1967 URISA conference. In this plenary session, several former CUS staffers recount their experiences with the Study and URISA, along with their thoughts on the impact of this work on GIS and society.
      • Summit on Cross-Organizational Collaboration - Conference attendees represent all areas of the spatial data community - government (international, federal, tribal, state/provincial, regional, county, city), academia, nonprofit, vendors - and there is no better venue than the URISA conference to sort out and establish collaborative relationships among the communities represented.
      • Networking - URISA conferences are known for their "hallway discussions" and the welcoming atmosphere. Lifelong friendships and working relationships begin and are nurtured at URISA.
      • Exhibit Hall - There is a good balance between intensive conference programming, networking, and opportunities to check out the latest technology being offered by vendors in the exhibit hall.

      For detailed conference information, visit http://www.urisa.org/conferences/annual/info or contact any URISA staff member at 847-824-6300, e-mail [email protected].

      For information about exhibiting, please contact Kim Green at 847-824-6300 or [email protected].

      Mark Your Calendar:

      • Geospatial Integration for Public Safety Conference - April 15-18, 2007, New Orleans
      • GIS in Public Health Conference - May 20-23, 2007, New Orleans
      • URISA's 45th Annual Conference - August 20-23, 2007, Washington, DC
    2. Deadlines Extended for URISA Conferences

      The deadline for both the URISA Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Award and the first annual Student Paper Competition has been extended to April 23, 2007. That gives submitters over 3 more weeks to submit materials for consideration.

      1. Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Awards: Has your organization improved the delivery and quality of government services through the application of information technology? If so, that achievement should be recognized and shared with your peers. Nominate your organization for a prestigious URISA Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Award.Applications may be submitted in either category:

      A. Enterprise Systems: Systems in this category are outstanding and working examples of using information systems technology in a multi-department environment as part of an integrated process.

      B. Single Process Systems: Systems in this category are outstanding and working examples of applying information system technology to automate a specific SINGLE process or operation involving one department or sub-unit of an agency. http://www.urisa.org/awards/esig

      2. First Annual Student Paper Competition: Calling All Students. Submit Your Work to the First Annual URISA Student Paper Competition. Are you an undergraduate, graduate, or Ph.D. student? Are you interested in a career using geographic information systems, information technology, geospatial technology, planning or community development? If yes, your writing and research should be recognized and shared with your peers. Submit a paper to the first annual student paper competition.

      First Place (additional prize places are available): $500 cash. Free conference registration and recognition at the URISA 2007 Annual Conference, August 20-23, 2007 in Washington DC. Paper may be published in the URISA Journal.

      The URISA Student Paper Committee will review all papers and winners will be notified by June 2007. http://www.urisa.org/student_paper_competition

    3. GeoAnalytics CEO To Speak At CalGIS

      MADISON, WI — April 2, 2007 — GeoAnalytics Inc., an IT consulting firm that specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of spatial intelligence systems, announced today that its CEO, William S. Holland, will present at the CalGIS Conference in Oakland, California on April 5th.

      Holland's first presentation, "The Intersection of Data Warehousing/Business Intelligence and Geographic Information Systems" will cover how the intersection of DW/BI and GIS can be leveraged to make information technology and systems strategic resources, understanding the pitfalls and possibilities of merging these architectures, and putting into context of how DW/BI and GIS can become integral components of advanced decision support.

      His second presentation, "Creating an Enterprise GeoSpatial Data Integration System in Support of Domestic Security and Performance Management," will be held at the AG Symposium which is in conjunction with CalGIS. This presentation highlights the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Geospatial Data Integration (GDI) project. The GDI system has helped create a consolidated data model that reconciles differing spatial and non-spatial data forms and content maintained in various business systems and to integrate the information on an enterprise level to support domestic security preparedness and response and performance management.

      About GeoAnalytics, Inc.: GeoAnalytics (www.geoanalytics.com) is an IT consulting firm that specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of enterprise information systems in support of spatially enabled business and predictive intelligence, asset and resource management, and decision-making. GeoAnalytics is headquartered in Madison, WI and has team members located in Chicago, IL; Austin, TX; Philadelphia, PA; and Orlando, St. Augustine, Tampa, and Jacksonville, FL.

    4. Industry Thought Leaders to Outline GIS Successes during ESRI Business GeoInfo Summit

      Keynotes from STDB Inc., Royal & SunAlliance, and More to Share Best Practices for Improving Business Performance with GIS

      Redlands, California?Business professionals will hear how commercial businesses are profiting from integrating geographic, demographic, and customer data at the ESRI Business GeoInfo Summit, to be held April 23–25, 2007, in Dallas, Texas. Keynote speakers from the real estate and insurance industries will share how using geographic information system (GIS) technology to integrate business information and support problem solving in their industries.

      Jay R. Lucas, CCIM and president of STDB Inc., the technology arm of the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute, will describe the STDBonline real estate portal (powered by ArcGIS Business Analyst Online), which services more than 17,000 commercial Realtors and handled transactions worth more than $200 billion in 2006.

      "Real estate is all about location, timing, and demographics," says Lucas. "Using GIS to see information spatially helps provide the knowledge that we need, such as identifying changes in the market, to identify opportunities. Being able to use the GIS platform helps us make the right decisions." Lucas adds that he decided to use ESRI technology for the STDBonline Web portal while attending last year's Business GeoInfo Summit and had the new application up and running after a short, six-month effort.

      Rob Osment, Geographic Risks Manager for Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA), one of the UK's leading insurance groups, will chart how R&SA is building one of the insurance industry's largest global enterprise GIS systems for managing the underwriting process and improving the understanding of risks and perils. "Now, we don't write new business without a GIS analysis," says Osment. "We have peril models for arson, crime, flood, and subsidence, and we use those models to differentiate the rates that we charge. The insurance industry can make use of every kind of ESRI technology from making a basic spatial analysis to integrating entire underwriting systems and processes."

      Additional keynote speakers, such as Lisa Derenthal, expert in GIS applications for home building and real estate, will talk about how GIS technology helps business departments share and visualize information.

      "This year's summit will show how GIS is being used to solve many different business problems and is a successful platform for integrating business functions," says Simon Thompson, ESRI commercial industry sector manager. "The combination of keynote speakers, workshops, sessions, and exhibits will give business professionals an excellent overview of the value of GIS and how it can provide new understandings and opportunities in their markets."

      Sessions will explore the strategies, challenges, and methodologies for developing an enterprise GIS, building a commercial real estate GIS portal, and identifying next generation market planning solutions for retailers. User presentations give attendees an opportunity to learn about actual peer experiences in GIS implementation; using GIS for customer, market, and economic analysis; and more. Exhibitors, including Information Builders and Tele Atlas North America, Inc., will be on hand to demonstrate the latest in GIS business application software and datasets.

      For those interested in learning technical skills, Dr. David Huff will explain the use of ESRI's ArcGIS Business Analyst extension to perform his Spatial Interaction Model for predicting consumer spatial behavior. In addition, ESRI and other experts will give technical workshops on using ESRI business applications for site selection, market analysis, and customer profiling and to set up ArcGIS Business Analyst and other Web-enabled services.

      For more information and to register for the 2007 ESRI Business GeoInfo Summit, visit www.esri.com/geoinfo.

      About ESRI: Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at www.esri.com.

    5. Wangari Maathai to Present Keynote Address at 2007 ESRI User Conference

      Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Environmentalist, and Founder of the Green Belt Movement to Speak at World's Largest GIS Conference

      Redlands, California—Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and world-renowned environmentalist and social activist, will be the keynote speaker on Monday, June 18, 2007, at the 27th Annual ESRI International User Conference. The conference, which is the largest in the world devoted to geographic information system (GIS) technology, will be held June 18–22 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California (www.esri.com/uc).

      "We're extremely honored to have Wangari Maathai as this year's keynote speaker," says Jack Dangermond, president, ESRI. "For nearly 30 years, she has been making a difference in the environment and in people's lives through her dedication and work as an environmentalist, civil society and women's rights activist, parliamentarian, and author. The work she does through the Green Belt Movement makes a positive impact by planting tens of millions of trees throughout Kenya, and it empowers people to improve their communities. We're looking forward to having her speak to our users and share her life experiences."

      The annual ESRI International User Conference draws GIS users from more than 120 countries. Thousands of attendees come to meet new people and visit with familiar faces, share and collaborate, learn about ESRI's latest technology and services, acquire new skills, and much more. One of the many User Conference highlights is the keynote speaker presentation, which has previously included speakers such as former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey and world-renowned chimpanzee expert, conservationist, and humanitarian Dr. Jane Goodall.

      Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement: Wangari Maathai is founder of the Green Belt Movement (GBM), one of the most prominent women's civil society organizations, based in Kenya. In 2004, she became the first African woman and the first environmentalist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in GBM and its impact on people and the planet.

      GBM has assisted hundreds of thousands of women and their families to improve their lives through the planting of trees. It also conducts educational campaigns to raise awareness about women's rights, civic empowerment, and the environment throughout Kenya and Africa.

      The mission of GBM is to help communities worldwide protect the environment and promote good governance and cultures of peace. Founded in 1977, GBM began as a grassroots tree planting program to address the challenges of deforestation, soil erosion, and lack of water; it is now a vehicle for empowering women. The act of planting trees is helping women throughout Africa become stewards of the natural environment. By protecting the environment, these women are also becoming powerful champions for sustainable management of scarce resources such as water; equitable economic development; good political governance; and, ultimately, peace.

      Today, more than 40 million trees have been planted across Africa. The result: soil erosion has been reduced in critical watersheds, thousands of acres of biodiversity-rich indigenous forest have been restored and protected, and hundreds of thousands of women and their families are standing up for their rights and those of their communities and so are living healthier, more productive lives.

      The organization's goal in the next decade is to plant one billion trees worldwide. A healthy natural world is at the heart of an equitable and peaceful society. And protecting the environment is something every individual can take part in.

      You can read about the life of Wangari Maathai and her organization through her two books, Unbowed: A Memoir and The Green Belt Movement. Also, visit http://greenbeltmovement.org to learn more.

      About ESRI: Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit www.esri.com.

    6. ESRI Becomes Platinum Sponsor for URISA's GIS In Public Health Conference

      March 29, 2007 (Park Ridge, IL) — URISA is pleased to welcome ESRI as the Platinum Sponsor of its inaugural GIS in Public Health Conference, taking place May 20-23, 2007 in New Orleans. The conference begins with three full-day preconference workshops, followed by an exceptional program developed through a Call for Presentations.

      "URISA was extremely pleased with the response to the Call for Presentations", noted Wendy Nelson, URISA Executive Director. "The quality of submissions went beyond our highest expectations and we're looking forward to this becoming a regular event on URISA's conference schedule. We greatly appreciate ESRI's support of this educational program."

      Thirty-two educational sessions will be presented within these program tracks:

      • Hazard Preparedness, Emergency Response, and Disease Surveillance
      • Environmental Health
      • Infectious & Food-Borne Disease Outbreaks
      • Urban Health
      • Social Factors in Health
      • Chronic Disease
      • Maternal and Child Health
      • Public Policy and Health Advocacy
      • Models, Methods and Spatial Data Infrastructure

      The keynote address will be delivered by - Charles Croner, PhD, NCHS/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on "GIS in Public Health: Exciting Developments and Horizons". Geospatial technology and science are responsible for continued advancement of public health well-being. The geospatial toolkit is empowering and now provides a responsive and integrated role for effective public health improvement from local to global settings. Through geospatial enablement, public health challenges can be better understood, prepared for and responded to, more than anytime in our history. These are new and exciting times for GIS and public health.

      The closing plenary session, "Rebuilding a Healthy New Orleans - How can information systems help?" will be a panel discussion on the role of information systems in rebuilding a healthy New Orleans. Speakers include Susan Bergson, Program Manager of Urban Health Initiatives for the Louisiana Public Health Institute, Craig Colten from Louisiana State University and author of 'Unnatural Metropolis', an environmental historical geography of the city of New Orleans, and Lynn Dupont from the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission. Each of these speakers will discuss the future public health of New Orleans and the role of information systems in creating a healthy city. The session will be chaired by Dr Russell Kirby.

      For complete program information, including speakers and specific presentation topics, visit the conference website: http://www.urisa.org/conferences/health. For information about exhibiting, visit http://www.urisa.org/health/exhibits

      The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is a non-profit professional and educational association that promotes the effective and ethical use of spatial information and information technologies for the understanding and management of urban and regional systems. It is a multidisciplinary association where professionals from all parts of the spatial data community can come together and share concerns and ideas.

      Since 1963, URISA has been the professional home of choice for Public Sector GIS and IT Executives throughout the United States, Canada and other countries worldwide.

    7. Learn to Work with CAD Data in ESRI's ArcGIS 9.2

      Web Seminar Includes a Focus on Incorporating CAD Data into ArcGIS Workflows

      Redlands, California—A free online seminar this month will teach people the new methods and tools in ESRI ArcGIS 9.2 software for working with computer-aided design (CAD) data. Working with CAD Data in ArcGIS 9.2 will air on ESRI's training and education Web site at www.esri.com/training on April 26, 2007, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. Pacific daylight time.

      ArcGIS 9.2 contains many new methods and tools for working with CAD. The seminar's presenters will introduce the new CAD dataset organization, rendering, and expanded property support as well as the new tools for georeferencing CAD data. They will also discuss the techniques for using CAD data as input to ArcGIS geoprocessing tools and demonstrate methods for converting data to and from CAD and geographic information system (GIS) formats. The seminar will cover ArcGIS for AutoCAD, a free AutoCAD application that allows CAD users to visualize and query ArcGIS Server map services within the AutoCAD environment.

      The online seminar is designed for people familiar with ArcGIS Desktop who want to learn to integrate CAD data into their GIS. However, experienced CAD users new to ArcGIS also will find the seminar of interest.

      A broadband Internet connection and an ESRI Global Account are needed to watch the seminar. Creating a global account is easy and free. It only takes a few minutes to set up by visiting www.esri.com/lts, clicking Login, and registering your name and address.

      A few weeks after the live presentation, the seminar will be archived on the ESRI training and education Web site at www.esri.com/ts. For more information about this free live training seminar and upcoming classes, visit www.esri.com/training.

      About ESRI Educational Services: With more than 150 courses to choose from, ESRI Educational Services is a recognized leader in GIS training. Courses cover a variety of topics related to ESRI software, the theory underlying GIS technology, and applying GIS tools to find solutions in particular fields while combining hands-on experience, interactivity, and instructional support to create an effective learning environment. Visit www.esri.com/training for more information.

      About ESRI: Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at www.esri.com.


    1. TerraGo Technologies Expands Direct and Indirect Sales Force

      Industry Veteran Jaymes Pardue Joins Company to Manage West Region and Asia Pacific Sales

      ATLANTA, GA — April 4, 2007 — TerraGo Technologies, provider of GeoPDF, the format for distributing geospatial intelligence in PDF files, has partnered with sales and services organizations in the United States, Europe and southeast Asia to help satisfy customer demand for its software products and services. The company has also hired geospatial industry veteran Jaymes Pardue to expand U.S. company presence west of the Rockies and in the Asia Pacific region.

      New domestic channel sales partners include GIS Services, Inc., Tucson, AZ; Western Air Maps, Inc., Overland Park, KS; and Universal Mapping Concepts, Camarillo, CA. International partners are Irish Mapping and GIS Solutions Limited (IMGS) in Dublin, Ireland and Geospatial Enabling Technologies, Ltd. in Greece; Credent Technology Asia with offices in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia; and International Development Advisory Services (IDAS) providing sales and services for the Caribbean Basin. These companies offer a broad range of expertise in geospatial technologies and services across state and local governments, utilities and other industries.

      Pardue has been responsible for business development and sales activities for market leading geospatial technology companies for the last 15 years. TerraGo Technologies has also added Scott Lee, formerly with Leica Geosystems, as a sales engineer.

      "We're very excited about the growth of our worldwide sales organization and the rapid adoption of our products across various markets," says Brian Soliday, TerraGo Technologies vice president of sales. "We are committed to providing our customers access to our products and services through quality organizations and professionals with deep expertise in geospatial applications. The addition of these channel partners and TerraGo Technologies staff certainly reflect that corporate goal."

      GeoPDF is the only geospatial data distribution format that connects anyone with Adobe Reader to interactive mapping data. Geospatial professionals are able to give connected and disconnected workers controlled access to information in a format they already understand utilizing an application they already have.

      About TerraGo Technologies: TerraGo Technologies makes it simple to connect all kinds of users to geospatial mapping data. GeoPDF is the industry's first geospatial distribution solution to leverage the ubiquitous Adobe portable document format breaking down technology barriers between geospatial professionals and the people who need access to geospatial data. Using MAP2PDF, geospatial professionals are able to convert complex geospatial information into user friendly, interactive GeoPDF files with extensive embedded data and mapping features. Users leverage Adobe Reader to perform a variety of viewing and editing functions. Customers include government agencies, utilities and other private enterprises. For more information, visit www.terragotech.com.

    2. Timmons Group Hires Apurva Goyal as GIS Developer

      Richmond, VA—April 2, 2007 — Timmons Group, a leader in geospatial and engineering consulting services, today announced that the company's Technology sector has hired Apurva Goyal as GIS Developer and key member of their leading application development team. Goyal comes to Timmons Group from EarthData International where he was a Lead GIS Applications Developer, designing and developing advanced solutions for clients. Mr. Goyal was also integral to the ESRI ArcGIS Server, SOA, and Geocoding web services development work for the City of Indianapolis.

      "There are many opportunities for talented ArcGIS Server developers and Apurva could have chosen to work anywhere. We are proud to have Mr. Goyal join our team. He is excited about his growth potential with Timmons Group and has already begun developing ArcGIS Mobile solutions for our clients" said Lowell Ballard, Director of Advanced Technology for Timmons Group.

      About Timmons Group: Timmons Group is a leading provider of geospatial, information architecture and engineering services focusing on ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Mobile and Enterprise solutions. Timmons Group is a privately held ENR 500 company and maintains a strong business partner relationship with ESRI. Timmons Group has been a recipient of both the ESRI Business Partner of the Year award and the ESRI Foundation Partner of the Year award.

      For more information about Timmons Group's technology services, contact Lowell Ballard at [email protected] or visit http://www.timmons.com/markets-and-services/technology.asp.

  4. OTHER

    1. Library of Congress Creates Smart Maps, Giving Policy Makers the Big Picture

      Map Book Shows How Geospatial Analysis Helps Legislators Better Visualize and Clarify Issues Facing the Nation

      Redlands, California—A new book showcases analytical maps created by the Library of Congress using powerful geographic information systems (GIS). The book explains how the maps help Capitol Hill legislators easily visualize and assess issues, trends, and crises.

      Mapping for Congress: Supporting Public Policy with GIS, published by ESRI,presents some of the best examples of how the library's Congressional Cartography Program uses GIS technology to analyze and map everything from the potential hazard zones around a proposed liquefied natural gas facility in New Jersey to the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina flooding. The book, filled with colorful maps created using GIS, also defines GIS, explains its value, and describes how policy makers—at every level of government—could benefit from incorporating the technology into management and decision making.

      "GIS technology is providing access to our country's cultural and physical geographic knowledge," says ESRI president Jack Dangermond. "This is helping local, state, and federal agencies make better decisions and more effectively coordinate their efforts. Finally, GIS is helping governments at all levels connect with their citizens in a visual and analytical framework that is easy to understand."

      The Congressional Cartography Program's GIS staff produced more than 25 maps that dealt with transportation, social welfare, health care, environmental management, and other public policy issues. Congress members and other policy makers, often during committee meetings, use the maps to better visualize the scope of problems or issues before taking action.

      In addition, maps of the United States created by ESRI staff using GIS software, demographic data, and Community Tapestry segmentation illustrate trends in technology, population, transportation, personal finance, education, and health. The maps demonstrate the visual power of data analyzed and mapped using GIS; for example, they may show the percentages and locations of the following:

      • People aged 85 and older
      • Medicare and Medicaid recipients
      • Online shoppers
      • 401(k) participants
      • High school dropouts
      • Cell phone and personal computer users
      • Hispanic, Asian, and black populations

      Mapping for Congress: Supporting Public Policy with GIS (ISBN 1-58948-145-3, 93 pages, $14.95) is available at online retailers and bookstores worldwide or can be purchased at www.esri.com/esripress or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, contact your local ESRI distributor. Visit www.esri.com/international for a current distributor list. ESRI Press books are distributed to the trade by Ingram Publisher Services. Call 1-800-648-3104 or visit www.ingrampublisherservices.com.

      About ESRI Press: ESRI Press publishes books on GIS, cartography, and the application of spatial analysis to many areas of public and private endeavor including land-use planning, health care, education, business, government, and science. The complete selection of GIS titles from ESRI Press can be found on the Web at www.esri.com/esripress.

      About ESRI: Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit ESRI at www.esri.com.

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