2007 August 23

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Professional Surveyor Magazine

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Editor's Introduction

This week, I discuss maps for the blind with Megan Lawrence, a Ph.D. student in geography at the University of Oregon, and summarize URISA's recent salary survey. Plus, 16 press releases.

Matteo Luccio

Maps for the Blind

Traditional maps, whether printed or displayed on a screen, are useless to millions of blind and visually impaired people. A small group of researchers is now using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study how blind people use tactile maps and what brain functions are activated by that task. I discussed this research with Megan Lawrence, a second-year Ph.D. student in the University of Oregon's Department of Geography.

Blind people's brains, Lawrence explains, have rearranged themselves to use the portion usually used for vision for other purposes. However, we don't know how blind people use maps — "especially middle aged people, who have never been introduced to maps because they were not being taught in the schools for the blind." Even today, Lawrence says, tactile maps for blind people — often made by their family or friends using sticks, Velcro, noodles, zippers, buttons, and other scrap — are used mostly to explain such concepts as a block or an intersection, not for navigation. She is hoping to make it simple and cheap to create tactile maps.

This task requires subjects to imagine themselves at the triangle, facing in the direction of the more acute angle, and determine whether the square is to their left or their right.

  1. What is the spatial resolution of our fingers?

    The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) says that two features have to be 7 millimeters apart and lines have to be at 1 point or higher. There are only about five fills that really work. Dots and hatching work really well.

  2. That's the equivalent of having only five colors available for making choropleth maps.

    It is exactly the same. All your maps have to be simplified, because you can only put so much information on a tactile map.

  3. You can have another map, at a different scale, to "zoom in."

    Exactly. There are different kinds of techniques, which is one of the things that we are researching right now.

    This map rotation exercise requires subjects to decide whether the map on the right is the same as the one on the left.

  4. What is the focus of your research?

    I have been looking at how blind and visually impaired people use maps. For example, for a right-left turn choice [see illustration, below]: you start at the square, then do you make a right or a left turn at the circle to get to the triangle? If you don't turn your map 90 degrees, how do you know? What part of the brain is used for making those kinds of spatial decisions? Now imagine that you are standing with the triangle [see illustration, above] pointing the same way as your nose. Is the square to your left or to your right? Answering might require you to imaging yourself completely turned around. We found in previous testing that this ability, which we call orientation, is used on maps that ask these kinds of questions. If you are good at orientation, then you are also good at navigation.

  5. With whom did you team up regarding the MRI?

    I work with Margaret Sereno, a cognitive neuroscientist, to design these experiments. In a scanner you are lying down and have to be perfectly still. We have you all padded-in, except for your hands, so that you can read the task. Then we've created a button box for your feet, to allow you to choose between responses.

  6. MRI time must be very expensive…

    Yes, it is about $500/hour and our experiment takes about two hours.

  7. What are the goals of this study?

    One of the goals is to collect data on what part of the brain processes maps. Another one is to improve training. We've done an initial scan, where we've given three different kinds of spatial tasks that involve maps. We are going to put together a weekend training class, where we show people how a map relates to the environment so that they get more used to using it as a navigation tool. Then we are going to scan them again and see whether their brains have changed. Can they do the task better, faster? Does the brain figure out a new and better way to answer the question? The third goal is to look for relationships. For example, does a right-left turn choice have a similar activation pattern as an orientation task? We find that sighted people have a general spatial attention network. Does that network exist in the blind and visually impaired as well?

  8. Are you comparing blind and sighted people?

    I have set up the study so that I could do that. The tasks are exactly the same, even though the input is different: some people are getting it through their fingertips and others through their eyeballs. But it is a difficult comparison to make.

    This map task requires subjects to decide whether they must take a left or a right turn at the circle to reach the triangle from the square.

  9. What is your main goal?

    I am trying to address the question of very basic training: What do you need to know about a map? You need to understand that streets connect and that those streets make blocks and blocks make neighborhoods. We are studying the basic connection between your map information and the real world.

  10. That does not require an MRI.

    It doesn't, but we don't know how that training affects the brain. When you see people, all of a sudden, doing a task faster or more efficiently — that is when we begin to understand how education really works on a neurological level.

  11. What are some of your preliminary findings?

    We have not analyzed the data from this experiment, because we are still scanning people. But one finding we had in the sighted population, which was really interesting, was that, when you give someone a map, they see it as a real place. If you give people pictures of places — for example, a house and a park — an area of the brain called the parahippocampal place area (PPA) starts going crazy. If you show them a human face or a cat, that area does not light up at all. We found that when you give someone a map, even though it is a representation of a place, they recognize it as a place, and their PPA lights up. So, we were finally able to say that people know and understand even on a neurological level that maps are "places."

  12. Where do you draw the line between a place and a thing? What about a mobile home?

    It's a ramp. Here's an experiment I've been wanting to do: if you show people a picture and a map of the subway system, which is just a schematic, where along that scale do you see their PPA light up? When does the representation become too abstract?

  13. What happens in people's brains when you use spatial language — such as "What is the shortest way to get from your house to the grocery store?"

    Some people actually imagine themselves inside the map, making turns, which is called alocentric body positioning. We've added an orientation task to our experiment because it forces you to flip your body around. Is the activation on this task the same as when you voluntarily flip your body? If you are really bad at this, can we train you at the orientation?

  14. What are you doing to improve map technology for the blind?

    We are putting together a mini-GIS that has some geography embedded in it, as well as tactile symbols that we created and tested. If, for example, your child was blind, you could download the software and make a map. We could then print it for you using microcapsule paper, which contains millions of tiny capsules that explode when you run a printed page through a small heater, creating a raised surface. Right now that is in production.

  15. What are the biggest challenges in creating tactile maps?

    The two hardest things are simplification — what to include and what not to — and the choice of symbols. Then there's the practical issue of how best to print them.

  16. What are some lessons for the larger community?

    One of the biggest problems that we run into is unwillingness to adopt new strategies and tools. Blind people were taught a certain way and have been doing things that way forever. They don't want to use a map. They want to have somebody go out with them in the environment and explain it to them.

URISA Salary Survey

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association recently released the URISA Salary Survey for IT/GIS Professionals, July 2007, based on responses collected last year from 2,402 individuals. Nearly two thirds of the respondents (63.8 percent) indicated that they had seen an increase in the number of GIS staff employed by their organizations over the past five years.

In addition to salaries, this exhaustive, 499-page survey reports and cross-tabulates data on job title/position, type of employer, location of employment, staff size, departments served, years of professional experience, education, computer skills, other job requirements, and demographic characteristics. Additionally, the data is broken down into four regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West), salary figures are broken down into ten-thousand-dollar brackets, and the number of respondents for each tabulation is indicated.

The report addresses the following questions:

  • How have salary levels changed since 2003?
  • Have GIS departments increased in size?
  • Are more non-technology skills required?
  • What GIS software proficiencies are necessary?
  • What benefits do organizations typically offer?
  • How long is the average workweek?
  • How has GIS certification impacted salaries?
  • Are GIS professionals actively pursuing continuing education?

Nearly two thirds of respondents (63.7 percent) are employed within some level of government, from local through federal agencies (down from 71.7 percent in 2003). About a quarter (26.8 percent) are employed in the private sector (up 19.3 percent in 2003). Slightly less than two-fifths of survey respondents work in municipal (19.1 percent) or county (20.3 percent) government.

GIS-related job titles are not standardized, so URISA compiled an extensive list of model job descriptions, which detail job responsibilities under various titles. The report includes these job titles and paragraph-length descriptions of their basic responsibilities. Respondents were asked to match the descriptions with their current positions and, predictably, the vast majority (84.6 percent) chose GIS-related titles. The top ten were:

  • GIS Manager, 21.6 percent
  • GIS Coordinator, 16.5 percent
  • GIS Specialist, 15.3 percent
  • GIS Data Analyst, 10.4 percent
  • GIS Technician, 6.9 percent
  • GIS Systems Software Analyst/Programmer, 6.3 percent
  • Director of Geographic Information Systems/Geographical Information Officer (GIO), 5.3 percent
  • Educator, 2.9 percent
  • User of GIS (heavy), 2.4 percent
  • IT/IS Manager, 1.9

More than one out of four respondents (27.4 percent) work for organizations with 1,000 or more employees. On average, 2,593 individuals are employed, in total, by their organizations, with an average of 8 GIS staff members in the respondents' departments and an average of 61 GIS employees organization-wide. A majority of respondents (58.9 percent) have fewer than 5 GIS staff members in their departments and less than 10 in their entire organizations (57.8 percent).

Respondents have an average of 9.6 years of GIS professional experience. Most (85.0 percent) hold a bachelor's degree or higher and more than one-third (37.3 percent) a postgraduate degree. Most often, their educational degrees were in geography (44.2 percent), GIS (33.1 percent), environmental science (12.2 percent), computer science (11.0 percent), and planning (10.2 percent). In addition, slightly more than one quarter are certified GIS professionals (28.1 percent) and more than half (58.2 percent) of those who are not currently certified plan to apply for certification in the next three years.

As for proficiency with GIS software, ESRI products were most popular:

  • ArcGIS, 91.2 percent
  • SDE/GeoDatabase, 47.9 percent
  • ESRI Extensions (Network Analyst, 3D Analyst, Spatial Analyst), 46.2 percent
  • ArcIMS, 37.9 percent
  • ArcView, 34.3 percent (down from 77.3 percent in 2003)
  • ArcPad, 26.7 percent
  • AutoDesk's AutoCAD, 22.8 percent (down from 33.0 percent in 2003)
  • ArcInfo, 20.8 percent (down from 67.4 percent in 2003)

As for salaries, on average survey respondents earned $60,050 in 2006, an increase of 13.8 percent over the 2003 average of $52,750. The top categories (with percentage change since 2003) were:

  • Director of Information Systems/
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO) $82,031 (down 3.7 percent)
  • Director of Geographic Information Systems/Geographic Information
  • Officer (GIO), $84,620 (up 16.3 percent)
  • Consultant, $96,785 (up 35.8 percent)
  • IT/IS Manager, $72,175 (up 12.1 percent)
  • Educator, $63,508 (up 3.6 percent)
  • GIS Manager, $67,302 (up 12.4 percent)
  • GIS Systems Software Analyst / Programmer $59,063 (up 10.6 percent)
  • IT/IS Coordinator, $52,250 (up 3.2 percent)

Briefly Noted

Recently disclosed plans to expand the use of imagery from U.S. spy satellites have raised concerns about a possible threat to civil liberties. In an August 17 New York Times article titled "Liberties Advocates Fear Abuse of Satellite Images; U.S. Intelligence-Sharing Plan Is Criticized," Eric Schmitt writes: "For years a handful of civilian agencies have used limited images from the nation's constellation of spy satellites to track hurricane damage, monitor climate change, and create topographical maps. But a new plan to allow emergency response, border control, and, eventually, law enforcement agencies greater access to sophisticated satellites and other sensors that monitor American territory has drawn sharp criticism from civil liberties advocates who say the government is overstepping the use of military technology for domestic surveillance. ... A new office within the Homeland Security Department, called the National Applications Office, will be responsible beginning in October for coordinating requests from civilian agencies for spy satellite information."

News Briefs

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


    1. Tele Atlas Selected by Sony to Power Unique Navigation Features for new GO!Explore on PSP

      New Satellite Navigation Package Delivers Rich Digital Maps and Innovative 3D Experience

      2007 August 22, Leipzig, Germany, Games Convention — Tele Atlas, a leading global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location-based solutions, today announced it will provide Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) digital maps and rich navigation content for the new PSP (PlayStationPortable) Go!Explore. Unveiled today at the Games Convention, this state of the art, combined in-car and pedestrian GPS navigation application for PSP will feature Tele Atlas digital maps and points of interest (POI) content, as well as 3D City Maps, 3D Landmarks and turn-by-turn routing that will help provide a clear and compelling navigation offering for PSP users.

      The Go!Explore will include Tele Atlas digital maps and related content for 16 countries including UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Delivering a rich and more realistic map, Go!Explore will feature millions of points of interest (POIs) in 100 categories and 3D City Maps for key European cities such as Berlin and London. Also included are hundreds of 3D landmarks such as the Tower of London, the Eiffel Tower and The Brandenburger Gate. Go!Explore is scheduled for release in 2008; additional maps and POIs will be available for purchase via the PlayStation Network in the future.

      "We're excited to work with Sony to deliver this unique navigation experience that marks the next generation of enhanced mobile entertainment devices, as well as the release of the first gaming package to feature Tele Atlas maps," said Jack Reinelt, Tele Atlas' Managing Director and Chief Operating Office of Europe, Middle East and Africa. "The PSP's new Go!Explore combines the ease-of use and potential of the PSP with the strength of our highly accurate digital maps and innovative navigation features to provide a flexible offering that meets the needs of their on-the-go consumers."

      "Our consumers seek a content-rich experience from their PSP, so incorporating GPS navigation with features that closely match what they actually see in their surroundings, such as 3D city maps landmarks, is a natural addition to the system," said Stephane Hareau, PSP European Marketing Manager. "Working with industry leader Tele Atlas, we are able to deliver innovative navigation content for the PSP that will empower our users to easily find more of what they want, wherever they are."

      About Tele Atlas: Tele Atlas delivers the digital maps and dynamic content that power some of the world's most essential navigation and location-based services (LBS). The information is the foundation for a wide range of personal and in-car navigation systems and mobile and Internet map applications that help users find the people, places, products, and services they need, wherever they are. The company also works with business partners who trust its digital map data to deliver critical applications for emergency, business, fleet, and infrastructure services.

      Through a combination of its own products and partnerships, Tele Atlas offers digital map coverage of more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The company was founded in 1984 and today has approximately 2,400 full-time staff and contract cartographers at offices in 24 countries and uses a sophisticated network of professional drivers, mobile mapping vans, and more than 50,000 data resources to deliver highly accurate and up-to-date digital maps. Tele Atlas is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (TA6) and on Euronext Amsterdam (TA). For more information, visit www.teleatlas.com.

      About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd.: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PLAYSTATION3, PlayStation2 and PSP (PlayStationPortable) software and hardware in 102 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories.

      Since the launch of PLAYSTATION 3 in Europe on 23 March 2007 and the end of March 2007 over 1.6 million units have been shipped across the SCEE territories, over 5.5 million globally. Between its European debut on 24th November 2000 and the end of March 2007, over 44 million PlayStation 2 consoles have been shipped across the SCEE territories, over 117 million worldwide, making it one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history. Between its European debut on 1st September 2005 and the end of March 2007, over 8 million PSP systems have been shipped across the SCEE territories, with over 25 million shipped worldwide since its Japanese launch in December 2004.

      More information about PlayStation products can be found at www.playstation.com or visit the Virtual Press Office at www.scee.presscentre.com.

    2. CH2M HILL Awarded Spatial Consulting Contract by Virgin Media

      2007 August 22, London,UK — CH2M HILL Enterprise Management Solutions, an industry-leading information technology management consulting and solution development business, today announced it was awarded a contract by Virgin Media to provide consulting services related to the long-term spatial platform requirements of the United Kingdom-based telecommunications company. Virgin Media was formed as a result of a merger between ntl: Telewest and Virgin Mobile earlier this year.

      The spatial consulting services establish a baseline from which Virgin Media can develop its physical network inventory data to support user functionality and needs. It also establishes a common framework to manage the capture of future data.

      Under this contract, CH2M HILL is supporting the planning, scoping and risk management of a major data migration project required to consolidate a number of geographic information systems (GIS) platforms that support Virgin Media's physical inventory management. CH2M HILL will also recommend strategies that effectively transition the GIS land base from Ordnance Survey LandLine to MasterMap and re-align their network to address the associated challenges of positional accuracy improvement.

      CH2M HILL Enterprise Management Solutions (EMS) is an industry-leading IT management consulting and solution development business. The EMS business provides a unique ability to leverage its core lines of business: consulting, spatial, collaboration, security and IT managed services to provide capabilities that span the entire client enterprise. For more information on EMS and its lines of business, visit www.ch2m.com/ems or contact Simon Cuciurean, Managing Director of Information Solutions EMEA via e-mail [email protected] or +07879-431803.

      About CH2M HILL: Headquartered in Denver, Colo., employee-owned CH2M HILL is a global leader in engineering, construction and operations for public and private clients. With US$4.5 billion in revenue, CH2M HILL is an industry-leading program management, construction management and design firm, as ranked by Engineering News-Record (2007). The firm's work is concentrated in the areas of transportation, water, energy, environment, and industrial facilities. The firm has long been recognized as a most-admired company and leading employer by business media and professional associations worldwide. CH2M HILL has more than 19,000 employees in regional offices around the world.

      About Virgin Media: Virgin Media is an innovative and pioneering UK entertainment and communications business. For the first time consumers can get everything they need from one company -- the UK's only quad play of TV, broadband, phone and mobile plus the most advanced TV on demand service available, the UK's first high definition TV service and V+, our high specification personal video recorder. We're the UK's most popular residential broadband provider, the largest virtual mobile network operator and the second largest provider of pay TV and home phone.

      Virgin Media owns two content businesses — Virgin Media Television (VMTV) and sit-up. VMTV owns seven entertainment channels — Living, Living 2, Bravo, Bravo 2, Challenge, Trouble and Ftn — and is a 50 percent partner in UKTV which consists of ten channels including UKTV Gold and UKTV History. Sit-up runs retail TV channels bid tv, price-drop tv and speed auction tv.

    3. Guy Carpenter Selects Pitney Bowes MapInfo Technology to Power Its Risk Management Solution

      World's Leading Risk and Reinsurance Specialist Integrates Location Intelligence into i-aXs Platform

      2007 August 16, Troy, New York — Pitney Bowes MapInfo, the leading global provider of location intelligence, today announced the integration of its location intelligence technology into i-aXs, an innovative, online risk management platform developed by Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC, the world's leading risk and reinsurance specialist. With the added component of location intelligence, i-aXs enables insurance companies to analyze and visualize their portfolio exposures and losses at a granular level, helping them make more informed reinsurance purchase decisions.

      Guy Carpenter already leveraged MicroStrategy's business intelligence technology within its i-aXs platform and sought a way to more efficiently analyze and report data from a location perspective. It integrated the Pitney Bowes MapInfo Location Intelligence Component with its MicroStrategy business intelligence platform and as a result, ceding insurance companies can now utilize location intelligence while concurrently accessing a range of enterprise reporting and analytic solutions. Pitney Bowes MapInfo also enables i-aXs to utilize the output of standard catastrophe model applications. Users are able to seamlessly generate maps of a catastrophe exposure based on reports as well as create reports based on maps.

      Shajy Mathai, managing director of Guy Carpenter, stated, "i-aXs is an ideal solution for risk managers who have previously struggled with having too much data and not having the proper resources to manage it and fully take advantage of what the data can provide. The Pitney Bowes MapInfo product provides our clients with the ability to visualize this information on a map, bringing greater clarity to the decision-making process."

      i-aXs enables reinsurance providers to better access and utilize exposure information about natural hazard risks, such as hurricanes, tornados and hail storms, or man-made risks, such as terrorism, from satellite data, GPS and catastrophe models. These tools help carriers better evaluate their risk exposures and select the appropriate reinsurance coverage.

      With real-time weather feeds from WSI Corporation and historical information from the Pitney Bowes MapInfo Risk Data Suite reinsurance providers are able to analyze geographic risk exposure with greater detail, resulting in more accurate business decisions. WSI provides unique and powerful real-time analyses of forecasted and unfolding weather events that allow carriers and reinsurers alike to understand and estimate the maximum probable loss associated with severe weather events. Historical weather data enables underwriters and analysts to understand the propensity of weather related loss for a specific area.

      "With more than 80 percent of all insurance information containing a location component, analysis of this information is critical to making sound insurance business decisions. The reporting power of business intelligence takes on special value when complimented by location intelligence. i-aXs represents the culmination of these efforts," said Craig Bedell, director of global insurance, Pitney Bowes MapInfo. "i-aXs is also an excellent example of utilizing web services for delivering powerful analyses and reporting made possible by our Location Integration Components with leading business intelligence solutions."

      About Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC: Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC is the world's leading risk and reinsurance specialist and a part of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. Guy Carpenter creates and executes reinsurance and risk management solutions for clients worldwide through 2,600 professionals across the globe. The firm's full breadth of services includes 16 centers of excellence in Accident & Health, Agriculture, Alternative Risk Transfer, Environmental, General Casualty, Investment Banking*, Life & Annuity, Marine & Energy, Professional Liability, Program Manager Solutions, Property, Retrocessional, Structured Risk, Surety, Terror Risk, and Workers Compensation. In addition, Guy Carpenter's Instrat unit utilizes industry-leading quantitative skills and modeling tools that optimize the reinsurance decision-making process and help make the firm's clients more successful. Guy Carpenter's website address is www.guycarp.com.

      About Pitney Bowes MapInfo: Pitney Bowes MapInfo, part of Pitney Bowes Inc. (NYSE:PBI), is the leading global provider of location intelligence solutions, integrating software, data and services to provide greater value from location-based information and drive more insightful decisions for businesses and government organizations around the world. The company's solutions are available in multiple languages through a network of strategic partners and distribution channels in 60 countries. Visit www.mapinfo.com and www.pb.com for more information.

    4. MotracLinde Selects Tensing Field Vision for Field Automation

      Rockville, MD - Tensing announced today that MotracLinde, an importer of internal transport systems, has chosen Tensing's mobile resource management product, Tensing Field Vision to optimize its field service processes in the Netherlands and Belgium.

      MotracLinde, a division of Pon Equipment & Power Supplies, delivers and services lift trucks, pallet trucks and warehouse systems. On a daily basis in the Netherlands over 100 field service engineers and 8 planners execute service and maintenance activities. In Belgium 70 engineers and 5 planners are involved.

      "With the implementation of Tensing Field Vision our field service engineers will have access to critical information needed to complete their jobs and our planners will have a complete view of field activities," said Daan Gutter, Manager Service Support at MotracLinde. "We have gone from a paper system to an automated system that will increase the efficiency of our service engineers and improve customer service."

      Tensing Field Vision will automate the entire field service process at MotracLinde and replace all paper work orders. Tensing Field Vision allows field service engineers to receive work orders and view customer history and information electronically on Symbol MC70 PDAs utilizing GPRS wireless technology. The planning tool in Tensing Field Vision allows planners to plan work based on set criteria such as time, location, skill level of engineer and more. Planners are able to monitor progress of service calls and re-plan service engineers as necessary in case of changing priorities.

      Additionally, Tensing Field Vision's open back-office interface allows the integration with MotracLinde's billing system. Field service engineers fill in an electronic form on their PDAs to document parts used and hours worked on a service call and send it electronically to the billing system once the job is completed; allowing MotracLinde to invoice customers immediately.

      About MotracLinde: MotracLinde is an exclusive importer of Linde lift trucks and warehouse vehicles in the Netherlands. The German brand Linde has European factories in Aschaffenburg (Germany), Elancourt (France), Basingstoke (England) and Merthyr Titfill (England).

      MotracLinde is part of Pon. Pon is a Dutch-owned international trade enterprise that operates in multiple industries and represents many brands. Globally Pon's activities can be divided into Pon Automotive and Pon Equipment & Power Systems (PEPS). MotracLinde is part of PEPS and was formed in March 2006. The group was founded by Pon Holdings because of the increasing growth in material handling, including internal transport, within Pon. This growth was the reason to bundle activities in a separate Pon group: Material Handling Europe.

      About Tensing: Tensing provides a full suite of mobility products that bring the back office to the field worker. Tensing solutions are being used by thousands of field workers in Europe, North America, Australia and the South Africa for a wide range of applications such as digital work orders, tracking & tracing, fleet management, geocoding, dispatch & scheduling, mobile mapping, navigation and messaging. Field Service, Utility, Transportation, Municipal and Public Safety industries recognize the value we add with our wide range of products and consulting services. More information is available at www.tensing.com.


    1. Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 With Connected Services Drives Down Travel Costs and Eases Stressful Commutes

      New product helps travelers save time and money with current traffic updates and gas price information

      2007 August 22, Redmond, Washington — Microsoft Corp. today launched Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services. The updated version of the program combines the No. 1 best-selling travel and mapping software(1) for the United States and Canada, a sleek Global Positioning System (GPS) locator, and the inclusion of a new MSN Direct receiver, providing drivers with current traffic updates and competitive gas prices without needing an Internet connection.(2) Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services also integrates with Live Search Maps, allowing consumers to find up-to-date local information that can easily be saved to take on the road. This affordable full-navigation solution is a unique synergy of offerings that will keep drivers on track so they can travel with less stress while enabling them to save money by knowing what to expect along the way.

      According to a new Consumer Federation of America report, the average price of a gallon of gas escalated from $1.12 to $2.72 (U.S.) between 1998 and 2007. Americans can only expect this trend to continue and are looking for help to be more economical and efficient when traveling. And when, according to ABC,News, "220 million adults average an hour and a half a day in their cars,"(3) it becomes painfully obvious that driving is expensive and time consuming. This year Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services is packed full of useful tools to help consumers manage these concerning trends.

      Traveling for the Budget Conscious. Road trips are a vacation tradition for many families, and despite increasing costs, Americans are still hitting the roads. Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services will arm consumers with all the tools they need to make the most out of their next road trip. Travelers will be able to easily locate and compare prices of nearby gas stations and plan their route accordingly to help them save even more money with the new MSN Direct gas feature. The program's fuel consumption manager provides a cost estimate for the trip based on the car's tank size and mileage per gallon and will alert travelers when it's time to refuel. The new Automatic Re-routing feature will catch that inevitable wrong turn and get them back on track in no time.

      Streets & Trips 2007 with GPS Locator gives you a navigator and tour guide who's ready to go virtually anywhere you want to go in the U.S. and Canada. Streets & Trips 2007 with GPS Locator gives you a navigator and tour guide who's ready to go virtually anywhere you want to go in the U.S. and Canada. "Whether you're commuting across town or traveling cross-country, you want it to be a pleasant experience without the hassles of getting lost or stuck in traffic," said Bobby Figueroa, director of product management for Local Search and Mapping Services at Microsoft. "Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services helps to relieve these common travel stresses by providing easy-to-use tools and updates through the MSN Direct service that will help save drivers time and money."

      Take the Guesswork out of Any Trip. When traveling, the last thing drivers want to encounter is an unexpected situation. Planning the trip ahead of time allows travelers to know what's around each corner before getting behind the wheel. Through Connected Services, travelers can now plan their trip to route around congested traffic by utilizing current Traffic Updates information, which can save them precious time and fuel. Drivers will want to use the GPS navigation tools, which allow them to follow a color-coded route with an easy-to-see arrow so they immediately know what in direction they are heading on the map. Spoken directions also provide the added comfort of verbal driving guidance, an easy-to-use, hands-free solution that delivers precise, turn-by-turn directional information.

      Customize Your Next Road Trip. Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services helps families plan trips based on their preferences. The route planning feature, accompanied by accurate directions and 1.6 million up-to-date points of interest including gas stations, ATMs, hotels, restaurants and national parks, allows families to plan personalized routes, making sure to incorporate every stop they want to make. Integration with Live Search Maps allows consumers to explore with confidence and find the all the local businesses and services they need along the way. Also included are a variety of drawing and map annotation tools that will make it easy for travelers to personalize maps and directions with custom images, icons, text, lines, shapes, arrows, pushpins and more.

      New Features and Information. Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services offers the following new features:

      • Traffic updates through MSN Direct will provide drivers with traffic flow, construction and incident information from the road to help them avoid unexpected delays. (Internet connection not needed.)(2)
      • Gas information through MSN Direct helps drivers save time and money by easily locating nearby gas stations and comparing their latest prices without being connected to the Internet.(2)
      • Automatic Re-routing helps drivers get back on track, even when they miss a turn.
      • Perspective map view gives drivers a view similar to what is seen through the windshield of the car.

      Additional features can be found at www.microsoft.com/streets.

      Availability. Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services is available now for an estimated retail price of $179.95 (U.S.). Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 with GPS Locator is available for an estimated retail price of $99.95 (U.S.), and Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 (Standard) is available for an estimated retail price of $39.95 (U.S.).(4)

      Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

      1. Source: NPD Group Inc./NPD Techworld, January 2000–February 2007. Based on total U.S. retail sales.
      2. To receive MSN Direct traffic updates and gas prices, you must be within an MSN direct coverage area; see www.msndirect.com for current coverage maps. Coverage areas are affected by reception limitations of the FM network as well as other factors, which may affect the ability to receive FM broadcasts. Coverage areas are subject to change; new coverage areas are being added regularly; not all content is available in all coverage areas. Traffic Updates and gas prices require a subscription to MSN Direct service — first year included with purchase of Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services; Internet access required to renew.
      3. Source: "Traffic," ABC News/TIME Magazine/Washington Post poll, Jan. 31, 2005.
      4. Actual retail price may vary.


    2. Surge In Production Deployments As Ubisense Releases World's First UWB Real-Time Location System Certified For Use In Both the United States And the European Union

      Taking advantage of common US and EU ultra-wideband (UWB) regulations, Ubisense has developed its new Series 7000 UWB real-time location system (RTLS) for both geographic markets and has now released the product after completing extensive production testing with customers on both sides of the Atlantic.

      2007 August 20, Cambridge — "Production installations of the Ubisense Series 7000 system offer our customers much greater range, lower infrastructure cost and a much lower sensor density than legacy WiFi and active RFID solutions while offering an order of magnitude greater accuracy", observes Udo Rieger, General Manager of eseg, the Germany-based logistics security company. "We have been installing Series 7000 systems at the rate of one production site a week, which is truly amazing in a marketplace littered with failed projects. The Ubisense solution is the first RTLS we have seen that can be installed and in production in our customers' very large distribution centres in days, enabling them to realize ROI in less than 12 months."

      "The feedback from our customers and partners regarding the reliability and increased performance of the new system has been fantastic, so now is the time to make it generally available and to fulfil a growing backlog of production orders", says Richard Green, CEO of Ubisense. "Ours is the first solution which is both FCC- and CE-compliant, and is the first to meet the ETSI EN302500 standard for UWB location systems, enabling us to satisfy growing demand in both Europe and the US."

      Raghu Das, CEO of RFID Industry experts IDTechEx, comments: "With the RTLS market poised to grow significantly, Ubisense's delivery of production installations is a real beacon for the industry as a whole. I congratulate the Ubisense team on their achievements and will watch them with interest as their customers realise enormous productivity gains through use of their system."

      About Ubisense: Ubisense is the global market-leading precise real-time location system (RTLS) company, utilizing ultra-wideband (UWB) technology to deliver a highly scalable, responsive and reliable location platform that is being deployed in mission-critical applications around the world. www.ubisense.net

    3. BusinessMAP Now Available as Add-on Solution for the New ACT! Contact and Customer Management Product Family

      Business Mapping Software Makes It Even Easier for Sales Professionals to View and Manage Customers and Prospects

      Redlands, California — The latest version of ESRI's BusinessMAP can now be launched directly from Sage Software's ACT! and ACT! Premium. BusinessMAP 4.5 is an affordable, easy-to-use database mapping solution for businesses, transforming contact management information from ACT! into maps useful for making better business decisions.

      "ACT! users can benefit from automating their key marketing activities," explains Paul Little, ACT! Add-on Solution program manager. "BusinessMAP is a useful tool for helping people visualize their ACT! contacts and executing successful marketing campaigns."

      With BusinessMAP as an add-on solution available from the toolbar of the new ACT! 2008 product family, users can view an entire database, an ACT! group of contacts, or a currently open contact on a map with the push of a button. Users can then perform geographic queries including, for example, finding all contacts within a 25-mile radius of an event location such as a trade show. These query results may then be saved to ACT! as a group for mail merges or other marketing activities.

      BusinessMAP makes it easy to understand customer concentrations, create sales territories, analyze areas by sales or number of customers, and generate meaningful reports. Geographic, demographic, and business data is built in to BusinessMAP including street maps from Tele Atlas, ZIP Code boundaries, census tracts, consumer expenditure data, and more than 22 million business listings from D&B.

      BusinessMAP allows you to perform

      • Color code analysis—Color maps quickly to reveal areas of greater population, higher income, better sales, additional customers, and more. New on-map charts also highlight variations in data values for further emphasis.
      • Territory design—Create territories or even a hierarchy with up to four levels such as area, region, and district. Separate prospect lists can be created geographically and given to sales representatives for action. Balanced territories are even easier to build using the new spatial calculator feature.
      • Ring study analysis—Analyze and reveal demographics in an area surrounding a location such as aggregate demographics and other data within one, three, and five miles around a potential store site or other location.
      • Drive-time analysis—Create up to three drive-time zones around a location that are defined by the time it takes to drive to or from a given point. These zones can then be analyzed for targeted advertising campaigns, new store locations, or the best locations for a new office.
      • Spider diagramming—Create spider diagrams depicting many-to-one relationships such as customer traffic to a retail store.
      • Find similar area —Use demographic data to uncover areas comparable to existing successful market areas.

      As a special promotion, any ACT! 2008 user can license a copy of BusinessMAP 4.5 for $299.95 (a $50.00 savings) by calling the BusinessMAP/ACT! Hotline at 1-888-523-0269. This offer expires September 30, 2007.

      About ACT!: The introduction of ACT! in 1987 established the "contact management" software category. For more than 20 years, ACT! has been the number one selling contact and customer management solution and preferred choice of more than 2.7 million registered users and more than 41,000 additional corporate customers to organize, access, and manage their critical customer information. ACT! delivers powerful contact and customer management capabilities with flexible deployment and customization options to help individuals, selling professionals, and corporate workgroups improve productivity and increase sales. For more details, visit www.act.com or call 888-855-5222.

      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.

    4. Topcon PI-3000 Image Modeler Software Captures 'Reality' In the Field

      Livermore, California — The new Topcon PI-3000 Image Modeler Software from Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) allows users to generate 3D models quickly from digital images. Models can be used for measuring, mapping, ortho images, and interpretation in a wide variety of applications.

      Combining an easy-to-use interface and advanced mathematical processing, PI-3000 software allows creation of extremely accurate 3D models with a minimum of preparation, special knowledge or training.

      Using digital camera images, the PI-3000 software produces photogrammetry models with accuracies up to 0.4 mm. The software produces three-dimensional coordinate points and surfaces by measurements made in two or more digital photographic images taken from different positions.

      Topcon's PI-3000 can be used for a wide variety of applications, including:

      • Close-range photogrammetric applications
      • Mining
      • Aerial Photogrammetry
      • Architecture
      • Archeology
      • Disaster monitoring/mapping
      • As-built civil and industrial applications
      • Accident investigation
      • 3D modeling and visualization
      • Civil engineering and survey deliverables.

      Scott Langbein, TPS product marketing manager, said, "Topcon PI-3000 Image Modeler Software not only provides unique data capturing and 3D modeling functionality, it offers advanced features for interpolating and handling the models and model data. "Combining this powerful software with total stations and GPS receivers provides a system solution for 3D modeling," he said.

      The advanced features of the software includes:

      • Calculation and display of model cross sections
      • Calculation and display of contour lines
      • Area and volume calculations
      • Distance measurements, point to point, or point to line
      • TIN model generation
      • 3D model rendering
      • Ortho image support

      A variety of export forms, including DXF, ASCII, VRML.


    1. Learn to Use the New Cadastral Editor Tools in ESRI's ArcGIS Survey Analyst 9.2

      Explore New Features to Build and Maintain a Cadastral Land Records System During Free Online Seminar

      Redlands, California — Surveyors and cadastral land record managers will start learning to work with the new Cadastral Editor technology in ArcGIS Survey Analyst 9.2 during a complimentary Web seminar in September. Introduction to the Cadastral Editor in ArcGIS Survey Analyst 9.2 will air on ESRI's Training and Education Web site at www.esri.com/lts on September 13, 2007, at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 3:00 p.m. (PDT).

      The ArcGIS Survey Analyst extension enables surveyors and geographic information system (GIS) professionals to create and maintain survey and cadastral data in ArcGIS. The application lets them centrally locate, process, and manage data, allowing them to work more efficiently. Using the capabilities in Cadastral Editor, cadastral survey records can be stored in a new type of dataset called the cadastral fabric. The cadastral fabric is a layer of parcels, representing multiple land record sources that are seamlessly connected and integrated. This informative seminar will provide an overview of the features of Cadastral Editor such as the ability to add new parcels from subdivision plats, split parcels, add control points, and improve the spatial positions of parcels without changing the original survey record data stored in the database.

      Seminar attendees will learn

      • The basic properties of a cadastral fabric dataset
      • How to use the Cadastral Editor to add new parcels, split parcels, and add control points
      • The key principles behind the surveyor's method of least-squares adjustment, which uses the record information from multiple connected parcel boundaries to achieve the best-fit coordinate positions
      • How to use the results of a least-squares adjustment to update the other GIS layers

      Those viewing the seminar should be familiar with working in the ArcGIS 9.x editing environment including knowing how to use the Editor, Coordinate Geometry (COGO), and Advanced Editing toolbars. A broadband Internet connection and an ESRI Global Account are needed to watch the seminar. Creating a global account is easy and free: visit www.esri.com/lts, click Login, and register your name and address. After the live presentation, the seminar will be archived and available on the ESRI Training and Education Web site. For more information about this free live training seminar and upcoming seminars, visit www.esri.com/lts.

      About ESRI Educational Services: With more than 160 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.

    2. GISCI Recognizes GeoSpatial Training Services Toward GISP

      The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) recently recognized GeoSpatial Training Services as an educational achievement credit provider for its Geographic Information Systems (GISP) certification. A broad range of education, experience, and professional contributions are necessary to achieve this certification. The educational achievement section plays a large role in qualifying applicants, and points can be earned toward certification through the successful completion of individual courses, workshops, and other formal, documented educational activities whose subject matter relates directly to geographic information technologies.

      As a recognized provider of educational achievement credit through the GISCI Certification Program, GeoSpatial Training Services offers a diverse array of virtual training opportunities including the following:

      • Introduction to VBA for ArcMap - 40 hours
      • Introduction to ArcObjects - 40 hours
      • Google Earth for ArcGIS Users - 24 hours
      • Google Maps for Your Apps - 16 hours
      • Geoprocessing with Python - 24 hours
      • Geodatabase Fundamentals - 16 hours
      • Geocoding and Address Matching in ArcGIS - 8 hours
      • Advanced Labeling and Annotation in ArcMap - 8 hours
      • Using AutoCAD Data in ArcGIS - 16 hours

      GeoSpatial Training Services is a provider of virtual and instructor led GIS training and consulting services. For more information regarding our services please visit our website at http://www.geospatialtraining.com or our GeoChalkboard blog at http://geochalkboard.wordpress.com.


    1. Tadpole Technology Appoints New Senior Sales Executive

      2007 August 21, Edinburgh, United Kingdom — The Geospatial Solutions Division of Tadpole Technology today announces that it has appointed Mr. John Stout as a Senior Sales Executive to support the development of its business within the process industries sector.

      Mr. Stout will be responsible for developing new business for the Division's process industry products and solutions. This new position has been created to support the division's strategic decision to introduce its products and services to the process industries sector.

      "Tadpole is committed to expanding its business into new markets and we welcome the appointment of John to help us successfully establish our technology within the process industries sector," states Mark Ketteman, CEO of the Geospatial Solutions Division. "John brings extensive experience and expertise to this new position, which will greatly strengthen our existing sales operations."

      Mr. Stout has over 25 years business experience working for a number of international organizations in Europe and the Middle East, where he sold IT solutions into the oil, gas, and petrochemical sectors. He has a strong engineering background and in-depth knowledge of IT systems, CAD and geospatial technology.

      About the Geospatial Solutions Division of Tadpole Technology Group: The Geospatial Solutions Division is a leading supplier of geospatial applications and technology for the office-based and mobile user. For over a decade and a half it has designed, developed and delivered highly sophisticated geospatial solutions that improve business efficiency and extend enterprise information. Its experience extends across a range of technical areas, in particular field GIS applications, workflow management systems, and geospatial data synchronisation technology and geospatial web solutions. Its technology is proven within a variety of industry sectors, including: national mapping agencies, the utility sector, government organisations, the oil and gas sector, and process industries. For more information please visit www.tadpoletechnology.com/gsd.

  5. OTHER

    1. Tele Atlas LBS Innovator Series Expands with "Maps in Apps" Contest

      Commitment to developer community continues with new program and content to foster collaboration and innovative application development

      2007 August 20, Boston, Massachusetts — Tele Atlas, a leading global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location-based solutions, announced the Tele Atlas Maps in Apps 2007 contest is now accepting applications. Maps in Apps is part of the Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series, an ongoing program held in conjunction with Tele Atlas DeveloperLink to help foster innovation and enable application developers to increase their visibility, credibility and success with key participants in the industry including investors, carriers and technology providers.

      "Location information can enhance mobile applications of all kinds and through Maps in Apps, our distinct new LBS Innovators Series program, we are aiming to promote innovation and support the developer community as they pursue the vast potential of improving application functionality through geographic relevance," said Al Cooley, senior director, global tools and services, Tele Atlas. "Tele Atlas is working to drive market development, advance mapping technology and enable mobile mapping experiences that will create a truly 'user-centric' experience."The Maps in Apps 2007 contest was created to help spur the growth of consumer and business applications that utilize mapping or location to enhance functionality. The contest entails:

      • WHO: Participation is open to all mobile application developers using Tele Atlas data.
      • WHAT: Up to three finalist applications will be showcased on websites and in the Tele Atlas booth at CTIA IT 2007; visitors and attendees will vote for their favorite application. One grand prize winner will be awarded $25,000 in cash and $50,000 in Tele Atlas map data; two runners up each will receive $10,000 in cash and $20,000 in Tele Atlas map data.
      • WHEN: Registration is open through September 23, 2007.
      • WHERE: To learn more about the Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series, including submission instructions for Maps in Apps 2007, and information on Tele Atlas DeveloperLink, please visit www.teleatlas.com/LBSseries.

      Maps in Apps is the latest program made available to developers through the LBS Innovators Series. Additional Tele Atlas programs for developers include:

      • Tele Atlas DeveloperLink: Designed to provide Internet, mobile and other next-generation application developers access to technology, business tools and services that can help reduce their time to market and increase their potential for success, the program features an expanding library of sample map data and applications, technical tools and business information. Launched in the spring of 2006, the Tele Atlas DeveloperLink community has grown more than 240 percent in the past twelve months to over 1,000 active participants – one of the world's largest community of geographic application developers.
      • Tele Atlas ContentLink: Through Tele Atlas ContentLink, developers have the flexibility to increase product appeal by tailoring and personalizing products for specific groups based on demographics, geographic regions and interests through a continually expanding catalogue of location-related content. This unique Web-based program links application developers with providers of this specialized content, and provides the technologies both groups need to improve the quality and marketability of their products.

      About Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series: Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series features the Attendee Choice Awards at CES, the Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series held at the annual Dow Jones VentureWire Wireless Ventures, and the recently launched Maps in Apps contest. More information on the program, including details for submitting applications, is available at: www.teleatlas.com/LBSseries.

      About Tele Atlas: Tele Atlas delivers the digital maps and dynamic content that power some of the world's most essential navigation and location-based services (LBS). The information is the foundation for a wide range of personal and in-car navigation systems and mobile and Internet map applications that help users find the people, places, products, and services they need, wherever they are. The company also works with business partners who trust its digital map data to deliver critical applications for emergency, business, fleet, and infrastructure services.

      Through a combination of its own products and partnerships, Tele Atlas offers digital map coverage of more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. The company was founded in 1984 and today has approximately 2,400 full-time staff and contract cartographers at offices in 24 countries and uses a sophisticated network of professional drivers, mobile mapping vans, and more than 50,000 data resources to deliver highly accurate and up-to-date digital maps. Tele Atlas is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (TA6) and on Euronext Amsterdam (TA). For more information, visit www.teleatlas.com.

    2. MAPPS and ASPRS Applaud National Land Imaging Program

      2007 August 17, Reston, Virginia — MAPPS (http://www.mapps.org) and ASPRS (http://www.asprs.org) today praised the Bush Administration for its commitment to land remote sensing with the release of the National Land Imaging Program (NLIP) strategy by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

      This program is designed to meet U.S. civilian moderate resolution land imaging needs to monitor the changes in land surface, Polar Regions, and coastal zones due to the changes in population growth, development and climate changes. It establishes a program office in the Department of the Interior, reporting at the Secretary and Assistant Secretary level, to provide focused leadership and management for the nation's land imaging efforts. NLIP will focus on maintaining a core, operational government commitment and capability to collect moderate-resolution land imagery through the procurement and launch of a series of U.S. owned satellites thereby ensuring the continuity of U.S. collected and managed Landsat-like data, well into future decades.

      "ASPRS and MAPPS fully endorse the findings and recommendations of the plan. The plan's explicit recognition of the essential value of moderate resolution imagery to our environmental, economic, and homeland security is enormously important," said Kass Green, (The Alta Vista Company, Berkeley, CA) President-elect of ASPRS and a past President of MAPPS and Marvin E. Miller, PLS, PPS, CP (AERO-MERTRIC, Maple Grove, MN) President of MAPPS in a joint statement. "Our organizations have long held that a government operated moderate resolution satellite program is an important governmental function that does not compete with the private sector. We are pleased with this report, its findings that such a land imaging program provides enormous societal benefits, and its recognition that growth of the remote sensing market and the provision of value-added remote sensing services are exclusively a function of the private sector."

      "Now the nation will have a focused program, dedicated to monitoring land changes throughout the world which will allow humanity to more effectively assess impacts, manage resources, and plan for future global needs," Ms. Green said.

      "This is a significant step in global climate change monitoring by the Bush Administration," said Mr. Miller.

      The program is a product of several months of intense research and analysis conducted by the Future of Land Imaging (FLI) Interagency Working Group which was composed of individuals from fifteen federal agencies including, among others, NASA, NOAA, USDA, and the Department of Defense. Both MAPPS and ASPRS contributed significantly to the effort, providing testimony to the commercial uses and public value of moderate resolution images. The findings of ASPRS's Survey on the Future of Land Imaging are cited repeatedly in the plan and the survey results are included as an exhibit.

      Sustaining the U.S. commitment to moderate resolution imagery collection and management are achievements of ASPRS and MAPPS efforts beginning in 2005, when the two associations advised the Bush Administration of the necessity of a sustained operation in a joint letter. NLIP calls for the sustained operation the two associations have worked to achieve.

      "OSTP stated in its announcement, 'The United States should establish and maintain a core operational capability to collect moderate-resolution land imagery through the procurement and launch of a series of U.S.-owned satellites' which is precisely what MAPPS and ASPRS advocated," said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello and ASPRS Executive Director James Plasker.

      In addition to establishing and maintaining a U.S. core operational moderate resolution land imaging capability, NLIP responsibilities will include, among others,

      • acting as the lead organization for coordinating and planning future U.S. civil operational moderate resolution imaging;
      • ensuring that all U.S. needs for civil moderate-resolution land imagery data are met;
      • working closely with other federal agencies to assess U.S. moderate resolution imagery needs by convening a multi-agency Federal Land Imaging Council;
      • maintaining ongoing assessments of user needs and advanced technologies in remote sensing;
      • negotiating international agreements to augment U.S. civil operational moderate resolution land imaging capabilities; and
      • will ensure that, consistent with the 1992 Land Remote Sensing Policy Act (15 USC 5601), development of the remote sensing market and the provision of commercial value-added services based on remote sensing data should remain exclusively the function of the private sector.

      The plan also calls for the creation of a Federal Advisory Committee on Land Imaging composed of individuals from commercial, state, local government, academic, and other nonprofit organizations to guide these activities. ASPRS and MAPPS pledged to work with Congress and the Administration on implementation of the NLIP recommendations.

      About MAPPS: Formed in 1982 and currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of the association, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. Current MAPPS memberships spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, hydrography, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Members, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other firms from around the world. MAPPS provides its members opportunities for networking and developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing, education, public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional development and image enhancement. For more information on MAPPS, please visit www.MAPPS.org.

      About ASPRS: Founded in 1934, ASPRS is an international professional organization of 6,000 geospatial data professionals. ASPRS is devoted to advancing knowledge and improving understanding of the mapping sciences to promote responsible application of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems and supporting technologies. For more information, please go to www.asprs.org.

    3. Templates from ArcGIS Server Grant Winners Now Posted Online

      ESRI and Stratus Technologies Encourage Governments to Use Publicly Available Resources

      2007 August 22, Redlands, California ? Innovative applications and data delivery templates from the winners of the ESRI and Stratus Technologies ArcGIS Server Demonstration Project Grant Program are now available online at www.esri.com/servertemplates. These reusable applications are based on server GIS technology and can be used by governments with similar projects.

      Through these public domain templates, ESRI and Stratus Technologies hope to encourage government agencies to share applications. Exchanging ideas and resources on issues that affect their communities enables governments to meet objectives and better serve the public.

      The winners of the ArcGIS Server grant received software, hardware, and training valued at more than $800,000. The recipients were

      • Town of Amherst, Massachusetts, Information Technology Department
      • State of Texas, Parks and Wildlife Department
      • Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska, Information Technology Department
      • St. Clair County, Michigan, Road Commission
      • Regional Transportation District of Denver, Colorado, Information Technology Department
      • City of New York, New York, Fire Department
      • Cabell-Huntington Health Department, West Virginia
      • St. Johns County, Florida, GIS Division
      • State of Missouri, Office of Administration, Information Technology Services Division
      • County of Santa Cruz, California, Public Works Department

      To learn more about the ESRI and Stratus Technologies ArcGIS Server Demonstration Project Grant, visit http://www.esri.com/grants and select past grants.

      About Stratus: Stratus Technologies provides customers worldwide with services and systems designed to provide complete, continuous-availability solutions for critical computer-based operations. With its Continuous Processing technology, Stratus serves government, public safety, telecommunications, banking, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and many other industries in which uptime reliability is important and downtime is not tolerated. Visit Stratus at http://www.stratus.com.

      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.

    4. Digital Quest and SkillsUSA Announce 2007 Geospatial Technology Champion

      2007 August 20, Ridgeland, Mississippi — Digital Quest, Inc. and SkillsUSA are pleased to announce the gold medalist in the Postsecondary Geospatial Technology Challenge at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference and Competition that was held in Kansas City, Missouri on June 26, 2007.

      June Garneau of Berlin, New Hampshire won first place and is the recipient of thousands of dollars in ArcGIS software and a cash award both donated by ESRI of Redland, California. Garneau's gold medal was based upon an extensive pre-challenge project, STARS testing, and completion of challenge events at the conference. Garneau is a 2007 graduate of the one-year Spatial Information Technology/Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate program at New Hampshire Community Technical College in Berlin.

      "My interest began one year prior to the competition, when I enrolled in a GIS course for kindergarten through 12th grade teachers," said Garneau. "I was so interested after the course that I decided to pursue the field of GIS. I am so pleased to end my year of study with this competition and the gold medal."

      This is the second year Skills USA has offered national college competitions which were designed to provide colleges with an effective way to validate their technical programs and measure them against national standards. The Geospatial Technology Challenge was initiated in February 2007 with an on-line, 150 question qualification exam that tested academic knowledge, technical knowledge within the subject area, and general employability skills. Qualifying contestants were required to complete a STARS certification project.

      Garneau's project involved Global Positioning System (GPS) data collection, surface model development, and site analysis based upon pre-set competition criteria. June chose White Mountain Regional High School as her project, which focused on the best location for a garden. According to Garneau, she put at least 80 hours into her project, which included choosing a location in which to use digitizing techniques and GPS data collecting to create a campus based model including building, water sources, sport facilities, and other campus features. From her base model, she created 3-dimensional models and a preferred garden location based upon six preset criteria. As part of the competition, she had to prepare a PowerPoint presentation, maps, and a written report.

      "The experience gave me a unique opportunity to expand my knowledge, build my confidence and abilities in GIS, and to successfully meet challenges that took me through a whole range of skill sets," says Garneau.

      As part of the prize package, Garneau earned the STARS Certification from Digital Quest, Inc. STARS (Spatial Technology and Remote Sensing) is a fully developed "turn-key" certification program for high schools, colleges and university as well as career professionals looking to integrate geospatial tools into their on-on-the job skill set. STARS is the first industry-recognized geospatial certification recognized by NASA, the U.S. Department of Labor, and by industry leaders.

      More than 5,000 students from high school and colleges throughout the U.S. competed in the 43rd Annual SkillsUSA Championships in 87 different contests. High school and college students may download the free 2007 SkillsUSA Competition hands-on examination in preparation for the 2008 examination from www.esri.com/arclessons.

      Digital Quest, Inc. is a Mississippi-based development and training oriented company with a primary focus of enabling educational institutions to provide skill training in the new and ever-more vital field of Geospatial Technology. Digital Quest, an active member of the EIGS geospatial technology cluster, is headquartered in Ridgeland, Mississippi and operates the SPACESTARS Geospatial Training Laboratory at NASA's Stennis Space Center. For more information about Digital Quest, visit www.digitalquest.com or contact Eddie Hanebuth at 1-877-573-6683, [email protected].

      SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. . The national organization helps all students excel in their training programs and future technical, skilled and service careers. SkillsUSA serves more than 285,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations. More than 14,500 instructors and administrators are professional members of SkillsUSA. For more information, visit www.skillsusa.org.

      ESRI is the world leader in the geographic information system (GIS) software industry. ESRI software helps you accomplish tasks faster, easier, and more efficiently. For more information, visit the company website at www.esri.com or the ESRI Education Portal located at http://edcommunity.esri.com.

    5. Deadline Extended for Geospatial Technology Report Surveys

      GIS Users Who Participate At gita.org/gtr_survey By Aug. 31 To Receive Free Copy

      2007 August 16, Aurora, Colorado — The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) announced today the deadline to complete surveys for the ninth annual Geospatial Technology Report has been extended to August 31. The report will contain detailed information on the complexity, direction, and completeness of geographic information systems (GIS) projects being implemented at nearly 400 infrastructure-based organizations around the world. Users with active GIS implementations are invited to complete the survey at gita.org/gtr_survey. User organizations that complete the survey will receive a free copy of the report. The deadline to complete the survey has been extended to Wednesday, August 31. The 2006-2007 edition is currently selling for $449 for GITA nonmembers and $299 for members.

      Other than company name, number of customers, and start date of the companies' GIS, all information is kept confidential, and none of the data provided is associated with the responding organizations in the published report.

      The survey saw a record 31% growth in 2006 as nearly 400 user organizations participated. GITA is hoping to continue growing the survey by making it easier to fill out. Information from past participants has been saved, so they can simply login and enter in updates and new data.

      The report is widely hailed as one of the major industry surveys of the geospatial community. The 2006-2007 report is available for purchase at www.gita.org/gtr.

      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.

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