2007 April 19

This issue sponsored by

Professional Surveyor Magazine

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Editor's Introduction

This week I present the results of our reader survey; host an appeal to local governments by the national Geospatial One Stop program; report on a congressional hearing on voice over IP (VoIP) and the future of the 9-1-1 system; bring you the comments on the hearing by a representative of Rosum Corporation; and report on Boeing's selection of Rosum as a subcontractor for DARPA's Robust Surface Navigation Program. Plus, my usual dose of press releases.

As always, I encourage your feedback.

Matteo Luccio

Who You Are

We recently asked you to tell us a little about yourselves. Here are your responses, as percentages:

Q1. Which title best describes you?

  • Manager — 21.3
  • Technician — 19.5
  • Other — 14.8
  • Engineer — 14.1
  • Surveyor — 9.7
  • Scientist — 8.3
  • Research Analyst — 6.5
  • Planner — 3.6
  • Policymaker — 1.4
  • Journalist — 0.7

Read more…

GOS Reaches Out To Local Governments

Web Mapping Services Important Toward Building National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI)

Sam Wear, the Assistant CIO (GIS) for Westchester County, New York, is on a temporary detail with the U.S. Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.), serving as the national local government liaison to the Geospatial One Stop. His focus is building local government capacity in GOS. He sent GIS Monitor the following:

The Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) project encourages local governments to register and publish metadata for Web mapping services on the GOS portal at www.geodata.gov.

Read more…

U.S. Senate Hearing on VoIP and 9-1-1

In 1968, the only people who communicated over long distances by flipping open small, hand-held devices were the crew of the starship Enterprise. That was the year when the 9-1-1 system was launched, and yet its basic architecture has not changed to reflect the huge changes in technology and in people's communications habits. Additionally, according to the National Emergency Number Association, Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in rural areas covering 20 percent of the country and 50 percent of the counties still do not have enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) capability—which provides to 911 operators the location of callers who use traditional land lines—and only 46 percent of PSAPs, covering one third of the population, have the necessary technology to locate wireless 9-1-1 callers.

Today, in addition to many more ways of communicating—by voice, e-mail, instant messaging, etc.—we also have a large variety of sensors that could provide additional information to emergency dispatchers—such as digital photos and videos from cell phones, data from automatic crash notification systems, alerts from medical devices, and bio-chemical information from sensors in subways. The current 9-1-1 infrastructure, however, is not able to handle such inputs.

All of this is relevant to the GIS community, for two reasons. First, because location, of course, is a key component of every emergency call. Second, because the prodigious expansion in the popularity of cell phones—and, hence, of the number of 9-1-1 calls originating from them—led the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress to mandate wireless carriers to phase in, over a period of a few years, the capability to locate handsets and pass that information on to 9-1-1 operators at PSAPs. This requirement to location-enable millions of handsets, in turn, laid the groundwork for the development of location-based services (LBS).

Read more…

Rosum Corporation's Comments on the Hearing

I discussed the hearing with Jon Metzler, Director of Business Development for Rosum Corporation, which manufactures devices that supplement GPS by deriving positioning from broadcast TV signals. The company is happy to see the emphasis on the need for indoor 9-1-1 capability. In particular, Metzler pointed to comments by Hatfield about the need for hybrid offerings, "which is precisely what we are."

Some of the themes of the hearing—such as funding problems for PSAPs and the need for the 9-1-1 system having to adapt to new technology—have been around for more than a decade. So, what's new? According to Metzler, new data shows that the majority of wireless calls, in general, and wireless 9-1-1 calls specifically, are being made from indoors, and that people are increasingly doing away with their wireline phone completely, varying from 5 percent of households in San Francisco to as many as 19 percent in Detroit. These data, Metzler says, have highlighted the need for 'in-building' 9-1-1.

Read more…

DARPA's Robust Surface Navigation Program

The Boeing Company has awarded to Rosum Corporation a contract in support of Boeing's development for the Robust Surface Navigation Program (RSN) of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The RSN program seeks to exploit "signals of opportunity" to help deliver location information to U.S. troops in environments where GPS works poorly or not at all—such as in urban canyons, inside buildings, and in the presence of GPS jammers. Rosum will develop subsystems utilizing its proprietary positioning technology, which uses terrestrial broadcast signals, such as those from television transmitters. The project team also includes Navsys and Shared Spectrum.

Rosum, whose founding team includes the original architects of the GPS constellation, derives positioning from either unmodified broadcast TV signals or a combination of TV and GPS signals. The company has also developed a deployable signal offering in support of defense and first response applications.

Read more…

News Briefs

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


    1. ESRI (UK) Helps Amey Increase Scottish Road Safety

    2. DigitalGlobe Imagery Powers Latest Garmin Marine Cartography

    3. InMaps Implements Automated Driving Survey for Yankee Gas

    4. Merrick & Company Begins Digital Orthophotography Update for Lake County, Illinois

    5. Plateau Wireless Selects TruePosition to Provide E-911 Phase II Location Solution

    6. San Diego Pushes GIS Out To Blackberry Smartphone

    7. North West Acquires Additional Leica Airborne Sensors

    8. Geomatic Technologies Designs Online Editing Solution in Partnership with DSE


    1. ESRI Announces Updates to the ArcWeb Services REST API

    2. Hemisphere GPS Introduces Crescent VS100 Series GPS Compass

    3. ESRI's Latest Mapping API Helps Organizations Improve Efficiency

    4. BOWE BELL + HOWELL Expands Product Line With Company's First Wide-Format Scanner


    1. ACSM to Delay Annual Conference Co-location with GITA


    1. Avineon Names Ramkumar Valliyur Director of Engineering Services

  4. OTHER

    1. OSGeo Graduates MapGuide Open Source to Full Project Status

    2. CARIS Opens Asia Pacific Office

    3. Mapping New Ways to Learn about the World

    4. 3D Nature Provides Free Imagery for Earth Day

    5. City of Sheboygan Wins APA Award Using Autodesk Emergency Response Solution

    6. NAVTEQ Study Shows Integrated Navigation Reduces Costs — including 15% off fuel

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Matteo Luccio, Editor
GIS Monitor

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