2007 May 17

This issue sponsored by

Bentley Systems, Incorporated

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Editor's Introduction

I have been in Italy for the past two weeks, visiting family and friends, so I took the opportunity to catch up with GIS developments here. In this week's issue, I bring you a wide-ranging discussion with a faculty member at the Politecnico di Milano, Milan's prestigious science and technology university. Plus, the usual round-up of press releases.

As always, I encourage your feedback.


Matteo Luccio

GIS in Italy


While GPS-based car navigation systems are ever more popular in Italy as they are throughout Europe, the country lags behind many countries on the continent in the development of GIS and GIS training. However, this is beginning to change due to several initiatives in Northern Italy and at the national level.

I discussed the development in Italy of GIS (also known here as "sistemi informativi territoriali," or SIT) with Professor Franco Guzzetti at the Department of Hydraulic, Environmental, Infrastructure, and Data Collection Engineering (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Idraulica, Ambientale, Infrastrutture Varie, Rilevamento —D.I.I.A.R.) of the Architecture Faculty of the Politecnico di Milano, Milan's famous engineering school. Everything that follows is based on what he told me—and any errors are most likely due to my transcription, translation, and editing of the interview.

Guzzetti, a civil engineer specializing in transportation and cartography, received a PhD in geodetic sciences at the Politecnico, then was hired as a researcher there and began teaching topography and photogrammetry, becoming an associate professor five years ago. In his parallel activity as a consultant, in 1999 he began dealing with, first, cartography, then, increasingly, the utilization of the cartographic base for GIS. Now he deals mostly with GIS, as opposed to cartography.

The Public & Private Sectors

The most important current GIS development in Italy is an agreement between the national, regional, and local governments ("Intesa Stato-Regioni-Enti Locali per la realizzazzione dei sistemi informativi geografici" or "Intesa GIS" for short), which has been developing technical specifications—including some aimed at the unification of cartographic production and opening GIS toward various methods of data capture. This work, in which Guzzetti has been heavily involved, led to the issuing, a couple of years ago, of national directives, which regional governments are now beginning to implement.

Lombardia and Trentino Alto Adige, two northern regions in which Guzzetti does a lot of work, are a little ahead of other regions. Two years ago, Lombardia enacted a new regional law that mandates that local governments use GIS to exchange land use data. In particular, they must develop their "cartographic support" using the national standards developed by Intesa GIS, transitioning from the old cartography to topographic databases that are suitable for GIS. They must also use GIS for all urban planning to, among other things, convey information between local governments and the regional government.

In 2001, Italy launched a national road database project. It was seen initially as a surveying challenge; however, in reading the law and understanding its intent, it becomes clear that the issue is one of setting up a road GIS to collect in a single place data on, for example, accidents, road geometry, and noise propagation modeling. The national government funded this activity but devolved responsibility for implementation to regions and provinces—which, however, have nearly none of the required expertise. Often, not understanding its full potential, local and regional governments begin a surveying phase, which then dies in a drawer or on a video.

There are also many European directives with regards to both the GIS content and format. The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE), an international organization, has been a leader in this effort. Unfortunately, Italy often lacks official representation at these meetings and those who attend usually do so in their in individual capacity.

In Italy, the use of open source software lags far behind that in other countries where national agencies often use it to manage some or all of their data. The Trentino-Alto Adige region—in part because of its cultural ties with Austria and Germany—has agencies that are setting national standards in the use of open source software. In Bolzano, for example, a course on open source is taking place this week, taught by a German group and attended by the province of Bolzano, the cadastral office for the province, a consortium of local governments in the region, and other local agencies. These things are absent elsewhere in Italy, even though there are already directives specifying that a certain percentage of the software used by local governments must be open source and a large share of IT resources goes toward the purchase and maintenance of software.

Most local governments and agencies use ESRI software; the Politecnico, in particular, has historically used ESRI products, helped by ESRI educational discounts. Last year, professors Guzzetti, Paolillo, and Pelagatti began an effort to make open source software available in Politecnico classrooms. Intergaph software is also used a bit; Autodesk less, though use of the new MapGuide is now growing now, but not at the Politecnico.

In Italy, data gathering is all done by private companies, and public agencies manage the databases. For example, when a public agency needs a survey of roads or a new cadastre system, it invites private vendors to submit bids, within a given budget, and then, depending on the project, it verifies the data during and/or at the end of the project. There is no exchange of data between public agencies and private companies, and data integration is rather difficult.

The impetus given to GIS in Italy by Intesa GIS is helping people to understand that geographic data may come from different sources and platforms, but must reside in a single database and must be accessible by all intended users. In Italy the main perspective is still cartographic: for example, the Military Geographic Institute creates maps at scales 25,000:1 and below; regional governments produce maps of their territory at scales of 5,000:1 to 10,000:1; city governments need maps at 2,000:1 scale and the cadastre office manages maps at 1,000:1 scale. So, the same area is surveyed by four or five agencies at different times and in different ways, and with data that then don't match.

Until the advent of GIS, this was not a big problem, because each agency gathered and maintained a certain level of information. Now that information travels vertically, however, this arrangement is no longer tenable and problems arise. One of the basic tenets of INSPIRE, and even more so of Intesa GIS, is that data must be gathered only once, in the most convenient, direct, and immediate way possible, and where it can best be kept up to date. This premise is now radically changing, though slowly, the way of maintaining geographic information in Italy.

Currently, only the Lombardia region is activating a process of this kind: the national government funds local, provincial, and regional governments, as well as national agencies, to gather and maintain geographic data, depending on which is best able to do so. Each one of these agencies manages a database and makes the data available for free.

Private mapping companies, such as Navteq, don't bother acquiring data from the cadastre, because it is useless to them. They either negotiate barter agreements with city governments, especially in the case of the larger cities, whereby the city provides its data to the private company and the latter then provides updates to the city. Alternatively, they gather their own data, using standard algorithms to distribute street numbers along blocks. Requirements for new maps now almost always include georeferencing of street centerlines and house numbers. It is rare, however, for private companies to acquire data from city governments—whose databases, by the way, are often dirty and don't follow national standards. All of these problems, inevitably, come to the surface when one tries to set up a GIS, which simply cannot function if the data don't follow standards.

The hope is that setting up GISs will produce a good return on investment (ROI) for local governments—such as, in the short-term, increasing data access speed and better service to the public and, in the long-term, cost savings. In Italy there is a long tradition of the parties in power to court voters by delivering services shortly before elections. They used to, for example, pave roads; the equivalent today, often, is a Web-based city GIS.

There have been many incentives, delegated down the line from the national government to regional, provincial, and city governments, for the creation of the infrastructure—such as wireless Internet access in mountain villages and intranets connecting public agencies—but little for the education and training of staff. The result is that, for example, one consortium of 44 cities and towns in Piemonte has a very high speed wireless network and a customized application linking all of them, but the staff still uses the old application because nobody trained them in the use of the new one, they don't see any short-term benefits, and nobody penalizes them for not using the new system.

In this regards, too, the Lombardia region is leading the way. Last year, it launched a program to match any funds provided by local governments to produce topographic data. It provides that, for the development of base maps—which require street centerlines, hydrographic data, georeferenced street numbers, surveys of city boundaries, etc.—the data must be consistent and topologically correct for the whole region. Guzzetti did the technical project. The regional politicians were skeptical that their local counterparts would want to put money toward this; last year, however, of 1,600 municipalities in Lombardia, more than 500 applied for matching funds; now in the second year of the project, the region is trying to double the funding, because it is forecasting that 80 to 90 percent of the municipalities will apply. So, the demand for GIS is no longer just latent; however, there is little ability to prioritize tasks in such a way as to start having an ROI in the first year.

Guzzetti gave me three examples, all in Milan, of inefficiencies and redundancies in the current system that a GIS would correct:

  • The city has about 150,000 water drains on public roads, parks, etc.; instead of mapping them using GPS, the city numbered them by soldering a small metal plate to each one, at a total cost of about $607,000. Likewise, it has numbered trees with small labels—without bar code or RFID.
  • The city's GIS office, the independent agency that collects trash and cleans the streets, and the one that manages public transportation, each fly yearly photogrammetry to cover the exact same area. The same private company flies all three, but according to three different technical specifications.
  • The city's parks department has staff whose sole task is to walk around and report facilities and equipment in need of maintenance or repairs; they file their reports through an IT system, but not a GIS, so they are not georeferenced. So, the maintenance teams that respond to these reports have to search for the facilities or equipment in question.

Like elsewhere, engineers in Italy have a strong CAD tradition. Intesa GIS is now strongly promoting the notion that CAD is not suited for GIS purposes. In developing national GIS standards, it reviewed laws and regulations concerning the management of roads, urban planning, land use, water pollution, etc., so as to ensure that new GIS will be have all the attributes and feature classes that public agencies will need to meet those legal mandates. For now, however, many in Italy see the conversion from CAD to GIS as too costly.

It is very rare to find a proprietary GIS product that has an Italian national frame of reference. The country has now decided to transition to UTM WGS84 for cartography; only the Alto Adige region has actually transitioned its databases; the Lombardia region is thinking about it. However, everybody still works in the Gauss-Boaga projection with a very particular ellipsoid. If you take any international software and look for it, you will not find it. You will find Sardinia, because the U.S. government had an interest in that island for many years due to its mines and so it developed a regional geodetic reference frame which is implemented in GIS. Otherwise, you have to manually input all the proper settings in your GIS. Culturally, this is a problem. Italy straddles UTM 32N and UTM 33N; a few years ago, a proposal was developed for a system that would allow the country to use a single UTM zone. The biggest problems are for a few regions, such as Veneto, that straddle the zones.

The Role of the Cadastre

Italy is now just beginning to think in terms of lots and streets as the basic geographic units. However, in Italy, the cadastre is not responsible for maintaining legally binding boundaries. Cadastral maps here have never been surveys and don't contain measurements; rather, they only serve to identify the owner of each lot. What is legally binding is the description of the lot, and of any buildings on it, contained in the ownership title. The cadastre office keeps these title documents on file, but does not independently verify them, let alone certify them. In this sense, the Italian cadastre is anomalous; keep in mind, though, that it is one of the oldest in the world.

In 1988, however, the cadastre office was the first Italian agency to begin to think about the constant and progressive updating of its data. Cartography was updated via aerial photogrammetry every several years (for example, in 1988, 1996, and 2004), without the possibility of continuous updates, and parallel databases were, therefore, disconnected from geographic bases and often in conflict. The cadastre set up a process so that the owner of each parcel, whenever data changes, must follow a procedure, which serves to update and quantify the cadastre's database.

The Italian cadastre, however, has never wanted to take the next step—that is, to say that its geographic data should be the foundation for that of all other agencies. The cadastre approved the agreements and standards developed by Intesa GIS, but did little to implement them. For example, there are still many regions of Italy where the cadastre has its own, local reference system rather than the national one.

In Italy there is no single database of all administrative boundaries. The law says that the border is whatever the cadastre says it is; however, the cadastre, on its maps, does not have surveying data, because it does not want to say where anything is except in reference to the surrounding parcels. So, in order to accurately locate anything, you have to first look at the cadastral map, interpret it (for example: a municipal boundary might follow the side of a soccer field), then use another map to figure out the coordinates or go to the location and survey it. The cadastre does not store the sequence of coordinates that define the borders. Of course, the moment you start to set up a GIS this problem comes to the surface. So you end up with land that is claimed by two municipalities and land that is claimed by none—which is a disaster for a GIS.

Education & Training

Recent national and regional laws mandating the use of GIS have greatly increased the demand for GIS training and led Guzzetti and another faculty member at the Politecnico, Pier Luigi Paolillo, to begin teaching a course on GIS and land use management. A few other Italian universities, among them the one in Venice, offer courses in GIS; however, they have focused mostly on the theory of information systems—not basic training. There is no school in Italy that teaches architects, surveyors, and engineers how to exchange, verify, and query geographic information via GIS so as to make it a key element in planning.

Nationwide, many of Guzzetti's colleagues in topography and cartography work with GIS, but their work is not very institutionalized. The Politecnico has several courses with "GIS" in the name; its sister institution in Turin has a well-known geomatics laboratory; and Professor Galetto has for many years included a section on GIS in his topography and photogrammetry courses at the University of Pavia. The problem, however, is that these classes are taught only in the context of programs for engineers or architects and are often optional. Unlike other European countries, such as Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, Italy has no complete GIS program anywhere.

Given the lack of GIS training programs, for the past several years Guzzetti and various colleagues have been hired as consultants by local and regional governments, which need assistance in setting up their own GISs.

The fact that GIS is taught in the architecture and engineering departments is a problem; a much greater percentage of the geology students who take GIS courses then use GIS in the course of their professional work. Few students undertake to study engineering or architecture knowing that GIS should be an important component of their professional training. Therefore, they don't focus much on it. The courses are not very developed.

GIS courses are more developed and successful when aimed at mid-career professionals in public administration. It is part of a more general problem: in elementary schools in Italy, for example, geography is taught very little. On the other hand, it is common for a mayor to see Google Earth and tell city staff: "I want an application just like that one,that shows my town in detail, by next week."

News Briefs

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


    1. MDA Announces Acquisition of Vexcel Canada from Microsoft Corporation

      May 11, 2007, Richmond, BC - MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSX: MDA), a provider of essential information solutions, announced today that it has acquired Vexcel Canada Inc., a small expert company in advanced radar satellite image applications. Financial terms will not be disclosed.

      Founded in 1981, Vexcel Canada is based in Ottawa, Ontario, and specializes in providing advanced products and services using the latest radar image data sources. The company is a subsidiary of Vexcel U.S. that was acquired by Microsoft in 2006.

      John Hornsby of MDA said, "The acquisition of Vexcel Canada allows us to more rapidly enter the market for new applications once RADARSAT-2 is fully operational, and enhances our geospatial services business." The company will work with MDA's Geospatial Services group.

      About MDA (www.mdacorporation.com): MDA (TSX:MDA) provides advanced information solutions that capture and process vast amounts of data, produce essential information, and improve the decision making and operational performance of business and government organizations worldwide.

      About MDA's Geospatial Services: (http://www.mdacorporation.com/geospatial): MDA's Geospatial Services provides Earth observation data, information products and services from aerial platforms and the majority of commercially available radar and optical satellites. These products and services are used globally for resource mapping, environmental monitoring, offshore oil and gas exploration, ice reconnaissance, maritime surveillance and disaster management.

      MDA holds the exclusive distribution rights to Canada's RADARSAT-1 and MDA's RADARSAT-2 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites. MDA owns and will commence operation of the RADARSAT-2 satellite when launched in summer 2007. RADARSAT-2 offers unparalleled imaging flexibility, dual polarization and full polarimetric imaging options, high-resolution and a highly responsive programming and delivery ground segment.

    2. GeoDecisions Awarded Contract by the City of New York

      April 30, 2007/Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. — GeoDecisions, an information technology company specializing in geospatial solutions, was awarded a five-year, open-end contract by the City of New York Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

      Through the Geographic Information Technologies and Services/Citywide contract, GeoDecisions has the opportunity to perform geographic information system (GIS) services for approximately 30 New York City agencies and bureaus in a variety of assignments.

      GeoDecisions' New York City office is located at One Penn Plaza, Suite 2222, 250 West 34th Street, New York, N.Y., and can be reached at (212) 967-9833. GeoDecisions is a division of Gannett Fleming, Inc.

      GeoDecisions' experienced staff of professional consultants, analysts, and developers supports clients across the United States. Fundamental to the company's award-winning approach is the integration of spatial information to empower existing systems and processes. GeoDecisions' philosophy is based on an enterprisewide approach to the integration of diverse information technologies, data formats, and systems.

      GeoDecisions is ISO 9001:2000 certified for its operations nationwide.

    3. Bentley Acquires TDV GmbH, Leader in Analysis and Design Software for Bridges

      Exton, Pennsylvania — May 9, 2007 — Bentley Systems, Incorporated today announced that it has acquired TDV GmbH of Austria, a leading provider of structural modeling, analysis, and design software for bridge engineering serving engineers, designers, and owners since 1970.

      TDV's industry-leading RM 2006 product for static and dynamic design and analysis of steel, concrete, and composite structures is used by hundreds of bridge design firms worldwide. The software is applicable to the design of virtually all bridge types — from simple segmented bridges to complex cable-stayed and suspension bridges to long crossings — and has been proven on thousands of projects. A number of these bridges have achieved historic milestones and are, or will soon become, global landmarks. Examples include:

      • Stonecutters Bridge in Hong Kong, which has a main span of 1018 meters, making it the first cable-stayed bridge ever designed with a main span longer than 1000 meters
      • The 8206-kilometer-long Sutong Bridge in China, which will cross the Yangze River and include a multi-span cable-stayed section with a world-record-setting longest span of 1088 meters
      • Hardanger Bridge in Norway, a suspension bridge that will have a main span of approximately 1310 meters
      • The new Woodrow Wilson Bridge in the United States, which will consist of two side-by-side bascule bridges each 1852 meters in length

      "This acquisition exemplifies Bentley's strategic focus on providing comprehensive software solutions for infrastructure projects," said Bhupinder Singh, senior vice president, Bentley Software. "RM 2006 adds sophisticated, advanced structural analysis capabilities to Bentley's market-leading structural design solutions, including our RAM and STAAD product lines, and expands our transportation design portfolio to encompass all elements of a roadway or rail design project."

      By integrating the capabilities of RM 2006 with those of Bentley's recently acquired BridgeKey software for load analysis rating and heavy-load permitting on existing bridges, as well as its GEOPAK Bridge, InRoads Bridge, Bentley Rebar, Bentley PowerRebar, and other products, Bentley now provides a true end-to-end bridge design and management solution. This opens the door to streamlined workflows and significant productivity improvements for organizations in the roadway and bridge sectors.

      RM 2006 provides built-in time dimension, parametric geometry definition, and integrated tendon design, allowing sophisticated calculation of time-dependent properties for all bridge types and construction sequences. In addition, it supports design to a full array of international design codes, including AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Bridge Specifications, and offers highly sophisticated linear and nonlinear analysis options. These options include segmental construction loading, stage construction and erection control, stochastic wind event design, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), wind tunnel simulation, and more.

      Said Singh, "With the software's advanced parametric modeling and construction sequence-based analysis, bridge designers will be able to model and analyze every stage of the bridge construction project. In addition to staged construction analysis, the design team can now consider dynamic load conditions from wind, water, and high-speed trains."

      Said Dorian Janjic, former managing director of TDV and now vice president of Bentley Software's bridge engineering group, "On behalf of all of my colleagues at TDV, I want to say how pleased we are to be joining the Bentley team. Bentley's comprehensive portfolio of fully integrated road and railway software, coupled with its global reach, will enable us to offer our users more complete and scalable solutions that will lead to even greater success on their projects."

      For more information about Bentley's TDV line of solutions and services, go to www.tdv.at/wse/index.htm.

      About Bentley: Bentley Systems, Incorporated provides software for the lifecycle of the world's infrastructure. The company's comprehensive portfolio for the building, plant, civil, and geospatial verticals spans architecture, engineering, construction (AEC) and operations. With revenues now surpassing $400 million annually, and more than 2400 colleagues globally, Bentley is the leading provider of AEC software to the Engineering News-Record Top Design Firms and major owner-operators, and was named the world's No. 2 provider of GIS/geospatial software solutions in a recent Daratech research study.

      To receive Bentley press releases as they are issued, visit www.bentley.com/bentleywire. For more information, visit www.bentley.com. To view a copy of Bentley's April 2007 Annual Report online, go to www.bentley.com/April2007annualreport.

    4. DMTI Spatial Launches National Data Sharing Program

      Markham, Ontario, Canada — April 30, 2007. DMTI Spatial (DMTI), a leading provider of location intelligence solutions, launches the National Data Sharing Program focused primarily to serve Canadian Municipalities. This program is offered at no cost to local governments and is intended to help streamline data maintenance work flows, enrich existing data resources and improve connections to work with adjacent municipalities.

      "DMTI Spatial has cultivated many successful, long term relationships with local governments throughout Canada, putting us in a unique position to provide data sharing services that are tailored to meet their needs," James Tate, Manager of Strategic Sourcing. "Participants of the program are given geographic information pertaining to their own municipality as well as coverage for adjacent jurisdictions. This data is delivered in a common format to facilitate better communication with neighbouring municipalities through applications such as land use planning, policing and emergency services. The addition of a dynamic error reporting service ensures municipalities are working with extremely current and accurate data while simplifying their data management workflows."

      The National Data Sharing Program is a mutually beneficial collaboration between DMTI Spatial and local governments. DMTI provides access to market leading geographic data products such as: CanMap Streetfiles, enhanced points of interest (EPOI), postal geography; as well as advanced location intelligence technologies and services.

      For more information call James Tate, Manager, Strategic Sourcing at: 1-877-477-3684 ext. 2568

      About DMTI Spatial: DMTI Spatial has been providing industry leading location intelligence solutions for more than a decade to Global 2000 companies and government agencies. DMTI's world-class Location Hub platform uniquely identifies and cross-references a universe of location-based data. DMTI is the creator of the CanMap suite of geospatial data products, including CanMap Streets and RouteLogistics, the gold standard for location data in Canada. DMTI also provides professional services and software tools bringing full solutions to the marketplace. For more information see: www.dmtispatial.com


    1. More Accurate and Efficient Routing in Latest Release of ArcIMS Route Server

      Includes Support for Web Application Developer Framework

      Redlands, California — ArcIMS Route Server 9.2, the latest version of ESRI's routing extension to ArcIMS, is now shipping. New routing options and parameters in ArcIMS Route Server take into account even more real-life factors than before, producing more accurate and valuable routing results. In addition, developers have the option to use the Web Application Developer Framework (ADF) to build their own customized routing applications.

      ArcIMS Route Server offers fast and accurate routing and geocoding capabilities within the ArcIMS framework. It lets users perform rapid cross-country routing, set routing preferences (highway preferences and shortest or fastest route), use precision settings to fine-tune results, and calculate drive-time polygons. This latest version of ArcIMS Route Server also improves routing by providing time-based restrictions, trip planning capabilities, and support for pedestrian routing.

      ArcIMS Route Server 9.2 features the following enhancements:

      • A sample Web application built using the new ArcIMS Web ADF for .NET is included in the Route Server 9.2 installation. It exposes all the functionality available in Route Server 9.2 to developers who wish to customize their applications.
      • The routing engine supports time-based restrictions, such as an intersection where left turns are prohibited from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., provided the Smart Data Compression (SDC) datasets contain time domain information.
      • The arrival time is provided in the driving directions for each turn in a route in addition to the total time and distance.
      • Trip planning functionality allowing the scheduling of multiple-day routes is supported by the addition of new ArcXML elements.
      • One-way and turn restrictions have been exposed to support pedestrian and emergency vehicle routing.
      • The sample DHTML Viewer has been updated to take advantage of the new trip planning functionality.
      • Improvements have been made to the driving directions:
        • "Bear left/right" instructions are provided.
        • Forks in roads are reported.
        • The street side for a destination is reported.

      ArcIMS Route Server 9.2 is compatible with ArcIMS 9.2. For more information about ArcIMS Route Server, visit www.esri.com/routeserver.

      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.

    2. Autodesk Insight Powers New Service Launched by Vodafone Spain

      Customers Gain Tools to Manage Mobile Workforce to Better Business Advantage

      Amsterdam, Netherlands—May 15, 2007—Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) today announced the launch of the Vodafone Spain Mensa-Red Localizacion service powered by the Autodesk Insight mobile resource management solution. The service gives companies insight into the location of mobile employees, so that resources can be managed and deployed to improve crucial aspects of business such as operational efficiency, customer service and minimal workforce deployment costs.

      Autodesk Insight helps dispatchers schedule routes and assign resources based on location intelligence, so that companies can deploy mobile workers more quickly to an assistance call. Dispatchers use a simple, browser-based interface to get a mobile worker's location information securely from the mobile communications service provider's network, without breaching the mobile worker's privacy. This enables companies to make deliveries, assist customers more efficiently and increase productivity by allowing more field sales and service calls to be completed in a workday. In addition, customers receive more accurate appointment and delivery times, or are notified more readily if delays occur.

      Autodesk Insight (http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=7770330), an on-demand mobile resource management solution for businesses helps increase efficiency and improves customer service by providing real-time visibility into customer's mobile workforce. Vodafone Spain deployed the Autodesk LocationLogic platform for location-based services this year. Coupled with Autodesk Insight, the solution affords easy service provisioning and rapid deployment at minimal cost to the business customer, in terms of equipment, training and maintenance costs. Customers who have a PC, an Internet connection and Vodafone Spain mobile handsets can begin using the service without investing in any other equipment, in contrast to other fleet management solutions.

      "Forward-thinking companies are offering their customers new services that don't require massive capital investments or staff costs," said Joe Astroth, vice president and general manager of Autodesk Location Services. "The Autodesk Insight application and the award-winning LocationLogic platform are specifically designed for the wireless network operator to address the most critical customer needs points and deliver a tangible return on investment."

      The Vodafone Spain Mensa-Red Localizacion service based on Autodesk Insight technology addresses fundamental aspects of operations for mobile communications customers in a variety of sectors. These business activities range from sales to service and repair, vehicle rental, transport of goods or passengers, and security functions. The service's business management tools allow employers to communicate easily with their field force via SMS, and manage information flow to individuals or larger groups.

      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.

    3. BAE Systems Introduces Automation Technology For Map Creation

      San Diego — BAE Systems has released its Next-Generation Automatic Terrain Extraction (NGATE) software for creating 3D models from satellite or aerial imagery. The 3D terrain and surface models generated by NGATE can be used for geospatial simulations, mission rehearsals, situational awareness, and disaster relief and recovery.

      NGATE uses a hybrid matching process to create precise elevation data for 3D terrain and surface models. The software is particularly useful for mapping urban areas, large geographic landscapes, mountainous or rough terrain, and areas with little contrast, such as road surfaces on large-scale imagery and vast deserts.

      "NGATE represents a significant advance in image processing automation," said Dan London, vice president of sales and marketing for BAE Systems' Geospatial eXploitation Products unit in San Diego. "NGATE produces highly accurate, near-LiDAR (light detection and ranging) quality models quickly and efficiently. The software can dramatically reduce labor hours and is highly accurate when compared to other automated algorithms."

      The new NGATE module is an optional, licensed software add-on component for BAE Systems' SOCET SET v5.4, and will be available in SOCET GXP® v3.0. These applications are used for image processing, targeting, geospatial analysis, high-resolution terrain extraction, and surface modeling.

      About BAE Systems: BAE Systems is a global defense and aerospace company, delivering a full range of products and services for air, land, and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions, and customer support services. BAE Systems, with 88,000 employees worldwide, had 2006 sales that exceeded $25 billion.

    4. Newly Released 2007 Block Level Estimates

      If you need up-to-date information at the smallest level of census geography, the Demographic Data Center offers a new expanded list of U.S. population, household, and housing estimates at the Block Level. There are over 8 million blocks in the U.S. and we offer a large compilation of current 2007 estimates at this very small level of geography. Use these granular data to do statistical analysis of population and housing distributions and target small geographical areas.

      Our expanded variable list includes sex by age by race for the most precise population estimates available. We also have occupancy, owner vs. renter, households, families, and much more. To view the complete list of variables, go to: http://www.demographic-information.com/estimates/block_estimates_variables_f.htm

      The 2007 Block Estimates comes as a flat database file for easy import into your spreadsheet or statistical software packages. It is available at county level increments, so pricing depends on the number of counties or states that you want. Each county is a separate file, so if you wish to purchase all the counties in the nation you receive 3,141 files for each of the counties. For more information, go to: http://www.demographic-information.com/estimates/block_estimates_features_f.htm

      We also have 2007 Estimates and 2012 Projections at the block group, tract, zip code, county, and state levels as complete products with mapping and exporting capabilities. For more information about all of our estimates and projections, got to: http://www.demographic-information.com/estimates/estimates.htm

      If you want to order or have questions about any of our products: - Call us at 1-800-577-6717 - Send us an email at [email protected] - Online at www.demographic-information.com


    1. GITA Announces Partnership with INTERGEO

      International Exhibitor Trade Mission to be a Key Highlight of the Collaboration

      Aurora, Colo., May 8, 2007The Geospatial Information & Technology Association is pleased to announce that it has established a new partnership with the organizers of the INTERGEO Conference, which this year will take place Sept. 25-27, 2007, in Leipzig, Germany.

      GITA will work with the German Association of Surveying (DVW) on an International Exhibitor Trade Mission to help their respective exhibitors build or enhance their presence in the European market. GITA's corporate members/exhibitors will be offered special exhibit packages at INTERGEO, and European exhibitors from INTERGEO will receive the same for GITA's Annual Conference 31, which will take place March 9-12, 2008, in Seattle, Washington.

      The exhibit packages being offered will include perks such as exclusive meetings for exhibitors to target customers and potential business partners. These could be especially valuable for North American companies that are considering establishing a European presence.

      "It's important that North American vendor companies have international contacts, and GITA is dedicated to providing the best possible opportunities for our corporate members to do that," said Bob Samborski, GITA executive director. "This program will also benefit GITA conference attendees, as they'll have the chance to see more European technology right here in the United States. It's a win-win situation."

      The German Association of Surveying is focused on geodesy, geoinformation, and land management and is charged with promoting INTERGEO. HINTE GmbH, organizes the show's trade fair—a professional environment for the success of geospatial professionals that shaped the face of INTERGEO right from the beginning.

      "This is trade mission is great for everyone. We are looking forward to hosting GITA's corporate members, and are pleased to offer our vendor companies a special exhibitor package at GITA's Annual Conference 31," said Hagen Graeff, President of the German Association of Surveying.

      If your company is a GITA corporate member and would like to participate in the International Exhibitor Exchange Program to INTERGEO 2007 in Germany, please contact GITA headquarters at [email protected].

      About GITA: The mission of the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) is to provide excellence in education, information exchange, and applied research on the use and benefits of geospatial information and technology in business, utility, and government applications worldwide. Visit GITA on the Web at www.gita.org.

      About INTERGEO: With more than 17,000 visitors and delegates from more than 80 countries the INTERGEO in Leipzig will be the largest meeting point for the industry sectors geodesy, geoinformation, and land management in Europe and beyond. More information on the Web at www.intergeo.de.

    2. The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) Certifies More Than 1,500 Certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) and Welcomes Largest Monthly Cohort Ever.

      Park Ridge, IL - With the April 2007 cohort of Certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) surpassed the 1,500 GIS professional milestone. The first group of GISPs was certified in October of 2003 as a result of the pilot program used to test the rigor of the process. The Institute formally opened its doors on January 1, 2004. There are now 1,540 GISPs as of April 25, 2007.

      "Increasing numbers of GIS professionals are realizing the value of professional certification in dealing with other professionals," said GISCI President Bruce Joffe, GISP. "Increasing numbers of non-GIS managers, and human resources professionals, are relying on 'GISP' to indicate a GIS professional's experience and education."

      April was additionally historic as GISCI welcomed its largest cohort of GISPs on record. 61 GISPs were certified in April putting it slightly ahead of the largest previous cohort of 58 GISPs certified in March 2004.

      GISCI expected the growth of applications to remain steady in 2007 but numbers appear to be swelling. Already the number of GISPs has surpassed initial estimates for the first quarter. GISCI attributes the growth to better recognition of the credential by the industry, GISP-to-colleague networking, and the importance of properly defining GIS as a profession.

      Applications are processed individually and then verified as part of a monthly group. This makes it impossible to determine the identity of the 1,500th GISP. All members of the April 2007 cohort can take pride in knowing it was their application that helped GISCI attain this important achievement. Credit also goes to the 1,479 GISPs who preceded them.

      The full manifest of Certified GIS Professionals is on the website. To download application materials or for more information regarding the GISCI Certification Program visit www.gisci.org or call (847) 824-7768.

    3. K-12 GIS Education Track to Debut at URISA's Annual Conference

      May 11, 2007 (Park Ridge, IL) - URISA is pleased to introduce a new educational track, K-12 GIS Education, during URISA's 45th Annual Conference, August 20-23, 2007 in Washington, DC. Sessions in this program track will be presented on Thursday, August 23.

      The sessions will begin by introducing K-12 programs that have been developed to engage students in discovering GIS and will showcase how GIS is being applied in their studies. Additional sessions will demonstrate how the applications are being conducted in the classroom and through after-school programs, focusing on the practical steps to introduce GIS technology into the curriculum. In addition to this full-day track, a session will be offered to engage GIS practitioners and demonstrate how they might volunteer their services to promote the use of GIS in local school programs.

      Individuals interested in attending the K-12 GIS Education Track on August 23 may take advantage of a special $50 registration fee. (All full conference registrants are welcome to attend the track as part of their full registration package.)

      URISA 2007, themed "Sharing Technological Inspiration: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow", is scheduled for August 20-23, 2007 at the Hilton Washington in Washington, DC. For detailed conference information, visit http://www.urisa.org or contact any URISA staff member at 847-824-6300, e-mail [email protected].


    1. GIS Analyst Joins Firm

      Naples, Florida./May 11, 2007 — Pavan Kalvala, the newest member of WilsonMiller's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Business Unit, has a strong academic background in the technology WilsonMiller uses to manage and analyze spatial data. As a WilsonMiller GIS Analyst, Kalvala will join his professional colleagues in using specialized computer hardware and software to design applications that solve complex spatial problems and support better decision-making.

      "Pavan is a welcome addition to our team," said Jim Hunt, GISP, a WilsonMiller GIS Regional Manager. "His experience with ESRI's ArcGIS Server software products is a big plus."

      Developed by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), ArcGIS enables users to deploy GIS functionality in a variety of formats and locations. Kalvala has worked with the software at Ball State University in Indiana and at ESRI's headquarters in California.

      Kalvala earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Jawaharlal University in Hyderabad, India, in 2003, and a master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning, with a minor in GIS/Computer Science, at Ball State in 2006. While serving as a graduate assistant at Ball State, he helped train students in ArcGIS 9.1 software, offered technical support, served as a computer troubleshooter, and prepared GIS presentations and documents.

      In 2006, Kalvala worked as a summer intern at ESRI, helping prepare the release of ArcGIS 9.2 and the development of ArcGIS Engine and Run-Time Client software. He coordinated and managed various GIS extension teams, reviewed and tested software, and created conceptual documents. He also participated in ESRI's annual International User Conference last August in San Diego.

      About WilsonMiller: A multidisciplinary planning, design, engineering, and surveying firm with 10 Florida offices from northwest Florida to its corporate headquarters in Naples, WilsonMiller celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006. The firm offers a single source of high-level, diverse services for land development, infrastructure, transportation, and resource management projects for public and private clients throughout Florida and beyond. WilsonMiller ranks 137th on Engineering News-Record's 2007 list of the Top 500 Design Firms in the United States. The main office is located in the Wilson Professional Building, 3200 Bailey Lane, Suite 200, Naples, FL 34105.

  5. OTHER

    1. CSI Wireless Shareholders Approve Name Change to "Hemisphere GPS"

      Calgary, Alberta — May 11, 2007 - (TSX:HEM): CSI Wireless Inc. officially changed its name to "Hemisphere GPS Inc." at its annual general meeting held in Calgary on May 9. Company shareholders voted to accept the name change in support of the Company's renewed focus on the strengths of its GPS business. In conjunction with the name change, the Company's corporate website and email domain name has been changed to www.hemispheregps.com. Hemisphere's CUSIP number is 423 633 106.

      In addition, Hemisphere GPS stock is now trading under the new ticker symbol "HEM" on the Toronto Stock Exchange within the next week, subject to final TSX approval. An announcement will precede commencement of trading under the new symbol.

      The name change communicates the reemergence of a pure-play GPS company following the discontinuance of the Company's wireless businesses in 2006. Hemisphere GPS is serving the growing demand for accuracy and machine control applications and owns various product brands including Crescent GPS and Outback Guidance. Record GPS sales were reported for the first quarter of 2007, partly driven by Hemisphere GPS's reputation for high quality, high value products and performance.

      "The decision to focus exclusively on GPS was made based on the strengths of our GPS technology and products, and our market share leadership and sound industry reputation in our key markets of Ground Agriculture, Air, and Marine," stated Steve Koles, President & CEO of Hemisphere GPS. "We are already leveraging these strengths as the long term forecasts for these industries are very positive. We are diligently preparing for the anticipated demand."

      About Hemisphere GPS: Hemisphere GPS designs and manufactures innovative, cost-effective GPS products for positioning, guidance and machine control applications in agriculture, marine and other markets. The Company owns leading brand names, numerous patents and other intellectual property. The Company's head office is in Calgary, Alberta, and it has major product development and sales and marketing facilities in Arizona, Kansas and Texas. For more information about Hemisphere GPS, go to www.hemispheregps.com.

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