2007 August 30

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Professional Surveyor Magazine

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Editor's Introduction

This week, I focus on developments in satellite imagery, with a look at the recently released plan for a national land imaging program and an interview with John Pike, the director of GlobalSecurity.org. Plus a correction and fifteen press releases.

Matteo Luccio

Developments in Satellite Imagery

Much is happening in the world of satellite imagery:

In what follows, I focus on the plan for a national land imaging program and discuss a few questions about satellite imagery with John Pike.

Plan for a National Land Imaging Program

The U.S. Landsat program has a 35-year history of providing indispensable land-imaging data. Yet, no U.S. government agency has ever had the responsibility to plan, budget, and be accountable for the continuation of this capability. Now, to fill this gap in management and leadership and provide for long-term continuity of moderate-resolution, multi-spectral land imaging for the United States, a report by the Future of Land Imaging Interagency Working Group (FLI-IWG), A Plan For A U.S. National Land Imaging Program, recommends the establishment of a National Land Imaging Program (NLIP) led by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The establishment of the NLIP would not require Congressional action.

Because Landsat imagery is currently distributed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), an Interior Department agency, distribution of imagery will probably not change. The NLIP would convene a Federal Land Imaging Council composed of NASA, the NGA, the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Agriculture, Homeland Security, and State and other relevant agencies. The plan also calls for the creation of a Federal Advisory Committee on Land Imaging, to be composed of individuals from commercial, state, local government, academic, and nonprofit organizations.

The NLIP would "ensure that U.S. land imaging needs are met in the future" and "maintain U.S. leadership in civil land imaging and land science, including the development and operation of U.S.-owned operational space assets dedicated to civil land imaging purposes," augmented by partnerships with private companies and foreign governments. The report points out, however, that, consistent with the 1992 Land Remote Sensing Policy Act, "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."

According to a White House source, MAPPS, ASPRS, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other professional organizations were engaged in the development of the plan. In fact, ASPRS conducted a user community survey on FLI-IWG's behalf to gather and analyze the land imaging needs and preferences of a broad cross-section of the Landsat user community. Although FLI-IWG did not consult with individual commercial vendors such as GeoEye and DigitalGlobe, they were able to provide input via the professional organizations, according to the source.

The 120-page report's appendices provide an excellent primer on the history and capabilities of land imaging satellites, including a table listing past and future launches. The report outlines the uses and benefits of high-, moderate-, and low-resolution imagery systems. It defines moderate-resolution satellites as those that provide imagery with a pixel resolution of 5-120 meters, a geographic coverage swath per image of 50-200 kilometers, and a frequency of repeat coverage of the same location of 15-30 days. "Benefits of a continuous global record of moderate-resolution land imaging," it says, "include the management of U.S. lands and territorial possessions, domestic agriculture and natural resources, monitoring global change, national security, and other aspects of general U.S. economic welfare."

However, the report laments, unlike the case with high-resolution aerial and satellite imaging and with telecommunications satellites, policies aimed to foster the commercial development of moderate-resolution satellites have not succeeded. Furthermore, it points out, moderate-resolution land imaging management efforts are shared among NASA, which develops the satellites, USGS, which operates them and archives and distributes the data they collect, and several agencies that "procure and use various types of land-imaging data without coordination or collaboration."

According to the report, three characteristics make the existing U.S. moderate-resolution land imaging system unique:

  • Landsat is the only moderate-resolution satellite that provides global cloud-free coverage of the entire Earth's land surface on a seasonal basis.
  • The radiometric, spectral, and geometric quality of Landsat's imagery is unparalleled and its coverage across several key spectral bands is unique among the world's satellites.
  • The 35-year-old U.S. Landsat archive, managed by the USGS, is a unique repository of satellite imagery, allowing accurate comparisons of natural and human-induced changes on the Earth's surface over several decades.

Despite all this, the United States has never established an operational program centered on a moderate-resolution land imaging capability, analogous to those it has for weather forecasting and for study of the atmosphere and oceans. Rather, the Landsat satellites "have been justified, built, and flown as experimental, scientific research systems," without any long-term funding. In his cover letter to the report, on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council John H. Marburger III, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, points out that the United States' "continuous record of moderate-resolution land imaging since the launch of Landsat 1 in 1972 … has been maintained despite the lack of a coordinated long-term program commitment thanks to the dedicated efforts of a number of individuals who planned, launched, and operated those spacecraft on an ad hoc basis."

Furthermore, the current U.S. moderate-resolution satellites (Landsat 5 and 7) "are operating beyond their design lifetimes in degraded status and are subject to failure at any time." Neither satellite is expected to operate beyond 2010, due to fuel limitations, and their successor, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) — which will have a repeat rate half that of the combined repeat rate of the two current Landsat satellites — is not scheduled for launch until at least 2011, resulting in a gap in coverage. Soon, French, German, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, and Brazilian land imaging programs "may rival today's Landsat in both quality and coverage."

According to the report, the challenges that have inhibited commercialization include "lack of expected market growth, higher costs for Landsat products (to help cover investment costs and profit expected by the private sector), failure to realize operating cost savings, inhibited applications of the data, and reduced data use by the end-users resulting from these cost factors." The FLI-IWG examined various possibilities for meeting the country's moderate-resolution operational land imaging needs, including public ownership, private ownership, and a combination of the two. It came down on the side of public ownership and recommended making a single agency, the Department of the Interior, "responsible for technical leadership, gathering user requirements, developing and promoting user applications, and managing satellite and data acquisitions and resources, including long-term archiving of critical land imaging data sets."

Interview with John Pike

John Pike, the founder and director of GlobalSecurity.org, is an expert on defense, space, and intelligence policy.

  1. What can the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies get from classified imagery that they cannot get from sub-meter commercial imagery? Is it primarily a question of resolution, coverage, cost, or reliability?

    [Military satellites can] see through the clouds. If I want sub-meter, radar cloud penetration I have to go to classified systems. There may also be capacity and tasking management issues. In both the classified and the commercial systems, the camera is operating intermittently, but the data playback is more or less continuous. It may be that the commercial systems are booked up when they are over the United States and that the classified systems are resting on their oars while they are over the United States. So there may be capacity constraints on commercial systems and spare capacity with classified systems.

  2. Can the classified systems be tasked more quickly to cover a target?

    I don't think that is a strong differentiator. We don't know what the tasking responsiveness of the classified systems is; presumably it is better than that of the commercial systems, simply because they spent more money on the darned thing. But tasking responsiveness is not simply a technical attribute. It is also something that happens in practice. A situation might arise in which the classified system, at the technological level, had greater tasking responsiveness than the commercial system did, but certain requesters would have an easier time getting a commercial image than a classified one because they were pretty low on the totem pole.

  3. Is the resolution of commercial imagery approaching the limits of what the U.S. government is willing to allow? Vice Admiral Robert Murrett, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, predicts that the NGA will rely increasingly on GeoEye and Digital Globe as those companies launch higher-resolution platforms. Is there a tension between this increased reliance and wanting to limit the resolution available to the general public?

    Probably not a lot. I think that the sensitivity that is emerging on the half-meter systems is a temporal resolution issue, not a spatial resolution issue. There is correlation of some sort between temporal resolution and spatial resolution. If I am working with a 5- or 10-meter image, the scene may change on a time-scale of seasons, but not on one of days. So, people who work with 5- or 10-meter imagery, which has inter-seasonal variation, are just fine with getting last month's image next month. But when you go from being able to see runways to being able to see airplanes, you want to see where the airplane is now, not two months ago. Apart from somehow disclosing the best spatial resolution available to a national system and thereby facilitating cover and deception on the part of an adversary, I don't think that spatial resolution is that big of a deal. The United States 20 years ago stopped flying the satellite with the best spatial resolution it ever flew, the KH8, which had about a 3-inch resolution and was used for arms control verification, so that they could definitely be sure what type of missile they were looking at. When they became less concerned with the type of intricate technical verification, the requirements for super-high resolution went away, as did that system. Everybody has been able to live just fine with about 6 inches ever since. If you get much lower than that, you are starting to count the bolts on the roof.

  4. Both commercial and military satellites can reveal your new swimming pool and neither can read your license plate. What threats to privacy and civil liberties, if any, do military satellites pose that commercial ones and aerial photography do not?

    If one thinks about the potential for abuse, for criminal wrong-doing, for political repression, for waking up one morning and discovering that we were living in a police state and didn't even know that it had happened — for all of those the National Security Agency (NSA) telephone monitoring activities are much more relevant than this stuff. However, if we have decided that all of those old distinctions between what foreign intelligence services do to foreigners and what domestic law enforcement agencies do to citizens were quaint twentieth-century constructs that have no relevance post-9/11 for the NSA and the NGA, then you do have to ask what other agencies have also had that bright line distinction erased. The issue of the use of military satellites domestically is probably, to my way of thinking, more important for the questions it raises in other intelligence activities where the bright line might have been eliminated. Because the fact that they are doing it for overhead optical the same way that they were doing it for signals intelligence at least raises the possibility that they also decided that other agencies that previously had to treat citizens differently from foreigners don't have to do that either. If you think about what the potential is for privacy intrusion and all the things you might worry about, this is probably not it. I think that it is appropriate to ask those questions, but I think that the answer to it is that you probably have other things to worry about.

Department of Corrections

Last week's interview with Megan Lawrence failed to acknowledge the two lead scientists on the mini-GIS for the blind: they are Amy Lobben and Steve Fickas. Lawrence is their research assistant on the project. Amy Lobben and Margaret Sereno are her advisers on the fMRI research project.

News Briefs

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


    1. GeoDecisions to Provide Land Use Delineation Services for Erie County, Pennsylvania

      2007 August 28 — Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — GeoDecisions, an information technology company specializing in geospatial solutions, will provide custom geographic information system (GIS) services for Erie County, Pa., that will enable county and local officials to efficiently conduct comprehensive plans and regional planning initiatives.

      As part of the project, GeoDecisions will develop a tax parcel-based land use layer for the county's GIS. The land use delineation approach combines existing hydrology layers and assessment data with the county tax parcel base. Aerial photography is then used to delineate land use and land cover for each municipality in Erie County. The resulting GIS data will allow decision makers to determine the conservation or development potential of each property in the county.

      "This GIS layer will provide essential information for county and municipal comprehensive planning and community development efforts and be a useful tool for making informed land-use decisions," said Jake Welsh, director of the Erie County Department of Planning.

      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.

    2. Bushnell Enhances the Utility of their GPS Devices by Putting the Power of DigitalGlobe's Satellite Imagery into the Hands of Outdoor Enthusiasts

      DigitalGlobe Continues to be the Imagery Provider of Choice in the Growing Handheld GPS Device Industry

      2007 August 29 — Longmont, Colorado – DigitalGlobe, provider of the world's highest-resolution imagery and geospatial information products in the mobile industry, today announced that it will partner with Bushnell Outdoor Products to enhance the navigational capabilities of the company's devices, including the industry-leading ONIX200 and next-generation ONIX200CR and ONIX400, with easy access to DigitalGlobe's vast library of satellite imagery.

      The addition of DigitalGlobe imagery will provide Bushnell consumers with a more accurate and realistic understanding of their location and the geography of their surroundings. The imagery will be part of the Bushnell multi-faceted interface that combines layers of various data to offer a safe, useful and engaging outdoor experience.

      "We want to give our outdoor enthusiasts the best imagery available," said Joe Messner, CEO of Bushnell Outdoor Products. "DigitalGlobe has the highest-resolution imagery on the market, so they were the clear choice to power the imagery on our products."

      DigitalGlobe's work with Bushnell is an extension of the DigitalGlobe's ImageAtlas product, which now provides instant online access to the world's largest aerial and satellite image library.

      With the ONIX line of devices, GPS users have the option to self-locate by downloading a satellite image that is instantly calibrated for their precise location and navigational needs. The image will be downloaded to the Bushnell server system (http://www.bushnell.com/gps/gps.cfm) and then viewable on the Bushnell GPS device via a user-friendly interface that utilizes a unique screen layering feature. The ONIX devices layers a satellite image, aerial photo or topographic map, plus navigational aids in perfect harmony on a single screen.

      With its work with Bushnell, DigitalGlobe continues to partner with leading handheld GPS device companies. "By supplying the imagery supporting Bushnell devices, DigitalGlobe continues to build on its reputation as the go-to source for the imagery in this rapidly growing industry," said Marc Tremblay, vice president and general manager of DigitalGlobe's commercial business unit. "We look forward to expanding our footprint in this market and facilitating solutions that make accessing imagery easier. At the same time, we are always proactively seeking partners who will help us bring imagery to the general consumer."

      About Bushnell Outdoor Products: Bushnell Outdoor Products is a global manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer products based in Overland Park, Kansas. Bushnell Outdoor Products sells its products worldwide under the Bushnell, Tasco, Serengeti, Bollé, Uncle Mike's Law Enforcement, Stoney Point, Hoppe's, Blackwater Gear and Butler Creek brand names. For information about any of these brands or products, please contact Bushnell Public Relations at (913) 752-6105.

      About DigitalGlobe: Longmont, Colo.-based DigitalGlobe (www.digitalglobe.com) is the clear leader in the global commercial Earth imagery and geospatial information market. The company's technical superiority and innovation, unparalleled commitment to customer service, extensive business partner network and open systems philosophy make DigitalGlobe the preferred supplier of imagery products to government and commercial markets.

      DigitalGlobe is the only geospatial content provider to take an end-to-end approach to geospatial imagery, from acquiring proprietary high-resolution images through a leading- edge satellite and aerial network, to integrating and distributing that data through GlobeXplorer, a proprietary web-based search and retrieval system that makes it easy to find, purchase and download global imagery.

      DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite is the world's highest resolution commercial imaging system. The company's next-generation WorldView-1 satellite is scheduled to launch on September 18, 2007, and its WorldView-2 satellite will be ready to launch in late 2008. The company's updated and growing ImageLibrary contains over three hundred million square kilometers of satellite and aerial imagery suited to countless applications for people who map, view, navigate and study the earth.

    3. New CartoSat-1 Stereo Pairs On-Line

      2007 August 27 — According to license agreement with the Indian ANTRIX company, SCANEX Center successfully performed the 2007 summer season stereo pairs acquisition from IRS-P5 (CartoSat-1) satellite of the European part of Russia.

      The Indian CartoSat-1 satellite is equipped with a two-camera optical system, allowing the creation of a stereo pair on one pass of a 29-km swath area at 2.5 m resolution.

      Russian ground station in Samara acquired stereo pairs from IRS-P5 of the areas within almost all regions and republics in the European part of Russia, as well as of Yamal-Nenets and Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Areas and regions in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus. Klin, Rusa, Moshaisk, Dorokhovo, Verei, Ramenskoye, Bronnitsi, Stupino and Kashira towns of Moscow Region were covered with images.

      According to Russian and foreign satellite data processing experts, CartoSat-1 spacecraft delivers best in its class stereo pairs to the present-day market in terms of quality and operational efficiency.

      Stereo pairs are the source material for digital elevation models, topographic maps and 3D models generation. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) performed a multi-temporal stereo imaging of the whole territory of India in 2005-2006 using IRS-P5 to the benefit of creating a nationwide series of 1:25 000 scale topographic maps and of the DEM of India.

      Samples of new images are available in the on-line web-catalog of SCANEX at http://catalog.scanex.ru. The archived images can be purchased or new ones ordered in SCANEX's processing and sales department at (495) 651-3587, (495) 651-3590 or by e-mail to [email protected].

    4. Leica Geosystems to Supply WSDOT with Customized GPS System to Proactively Monitor Key Bridge Infrastructures

      2007 August 28 — Norcross, Georgia — Leica Geosystems announced today that it is supplying a Global Positioning System (GPS) system to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for monitoring the Mercer Slough bridge interchange. The system will be used for proactive monitoring of this key infrastructure outside of the Seattle metropolitan area.

      "The automated Leica GPS monitoring system provides a cost-effective method for WSDOT to maintain public safety and develop effective bridge repair plans" said George Comstock, Regional Bridge Inspection Engineer. "This continuous monitoring system provides highly accurate and timely information that significantly contributes to meeting our mission".

      Mercer Slough interchange consists of several bridges dating from the 1940s through the 1990s that carry the I-90 mainline and ramps in Bellevue, Washington. These structures were built over the Mercer Slough, a broad, flat, peat-filled wetland. Over the past four decades, ongoing lateral movement of the 60-ft-thick peat deposit has resulted in damaging deflections to the pile supported structures and a major waterline that runs parallel to I-90. In order to develop a permanent, long-term repair to the existing bridges, and to aid in the design of new structures, WSDOT determined that accurate, quantitative data were needed.

      Leica Geosystems' monitoring system provides this valuable data, and consists of field-proven technology that delivers millimeter level motion detection. "We are extremely pleased to be providing this advanced bridge monitoring technology to WSDOT", stated Gerard Manley, vice president of engineered solutions for Leica Geosystems. "Our system offers the marketplace an attractive and efficient solution for real-time bridge monitoring".

      The technology deployed precisely measures superstructure deflections in real-time, and provides automated alarms when movement exceeds pre-determined thresholds. The GPS monitoring system, combined with the close working relationship between WSDOT and Leica Geosystems, illustrates the importance of collecting accurate quantitative data to aid in transportation infrastructure management decisions.

      About Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT): The Washington State Department of Transportation's mission is to keep people and business moving by operating and improving Washington's transportation systems. More information on WSDOT can be found at www.wsdot.wa.gov.

      About Leica Geosystems: With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information.

      Those who use Leica products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 2,400 employees in 22 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.

    5. Scenery Solutions LLC Selects DMTI Spatial To Provide Topographic Features

      28 August 2007 — Markham, Ontario, Canada — DMTI Spatial (DMTI), a leading provider of Location Intelligence, has been selected by Scenery Solutions LLC, creators of proprietary custom software for flight simulation scenery, to provide accurate roads, railroads, water and other topographic features for the next generation of their Ultimate Terrain Canada product.

      The virtual world created within Ultimate Terrain requires quality vector source data to accurately represent the various landscape features provided. DMTI's CanMap Water, RouteLogistics and Rail data provide Ultimate Terrain users, especially those that fly by visual fight rules, with the ability to "see" Canadian water features including lakes, rivers, oceans and reservoirs as well as simulated moving traffic for all major roads, highways and freeways.

      Scenery Solutions offers a variety of products for avid flight simulator enthusiasts that incorporate unparalleled geographic and mapping data to provide the user with the most realistic and accurate representation of the terrain they fly over. Each piece of geography must be placed to match its real world location to ensure an authentic experience.

      "When it comes to obtaining quality vector data for Canada, DMTI Spatial has no equal in the industry," stated Allen Kriesman, CEO and President, Scenery Solutions LLC. "The ability to incorporate quality water, railroad and road data that covers all of Canada into our products has enabled us to create an experience for our users that is unsurpassed in the market."

      For more information about DMTI Spatial data products see: http://www.dmtispatial.com/products/. For product specific webinars see: http://www.dmtispatial.com/webinars.html

      About Scenery Solutions: Scenery Solutions LLC has been developing PC-based flight simulation scenery since the year 2000. With its USA Roads title in 2003, Scenery Solutions was the first developer to utilize commercial road data within Microsoft's Flight Simulator product. Scenery Solutions Ultimate Terrain product series has been highly praised by top reviewers and has won multiple users choice awards in the flight simulation industry.

      For more information about Scenery Solutions and their products, please visit: http://www.scenerysolutions.com

      About DMTI Spatial: DMTI Spatial has been providing industry leading enterprise 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 about Location Intelligence see: http://www.dmtispatial.com/location_intelligence/

    6. GIS Server Technology Speeds Sanborn Review Processes

      Imagery Clients Find Easy Access to Accurate Data

      Redlands, California — Sanborn, a geographic information system (GIS), photogrammetric, and remote-sensing services provider, is now using ESRI's ArcGIS Image Server to provide its clients access to large imagery datasets. By enabling imagery to be quickly served to the Web, ArcGIS Image Server significantly reduces the turnaround time from image capture to review for Sanborn customers' quality assurance (QA) activities.

      ArcGIS Image Server takes imagery in its native format, mosaics it, and lets end users perform enhancements on the fly. It can serve imagery to multiple clients including GIS, CAD, imaging, and Web clients. Imagery Sanborn captures can now be removed from the sensor in its raw form, loaded into ArcGIS Image Server, and served almost immediately. This fast turnaround is critical to numerous Sanborn imagery end users such as disaster responders and local government.

      As a company that processes hundreds of terabytes of data per month, Sanborn immediately saw the advantages of ArcGIS Image Server and became an ESRI implementation partner. ArcGIS Image Server serves massive amounts of imagery to client applications without the need to extensively preprocess or alter the source data. This capability intrigued Sanborn because part of the company's delivery process is facilitating a client QA review so that users can immediately check imagery and provide feedback.

      ArcGIS Image Server, combined with ArcGIS Server, makes it possible for clients to perform QA reviews online rather than wait for datasets to be processed and delivered on CD or other storage devices. The online QA tool also reduces quality check error rates while ensuring customer requirements are met. Users are granted entry to the image Web application via secure login privileges to access a particular project. Clients may add to the project QA flags that require additional review, and these become immediately available inside ArcSDE for viewing by Sanborn's production staff. They, in turn, are able to make fast, responsive changes to the imagery such as color balancing and edgematching.

      ArcGIS Image Server also provides metadata such as imagery acquisition dates and sensor attributes. The online solution will significantly reduce client feedback time and expedite final quality delivery to the customer.

      "By offering immediacy and consistency, ArcGIS Image Server helps provide a turnkey solution in which Sanborn can offer clients the ability to easily manage large datasets through a time-saving quality assurance process," said John Copple, chief executive officer of Sanborn. "With this partnership, we are able to deliver complete end-to-end solutions for our customers and effectively give them the information and support they need."

      About Sanborn: Sanborn offers end-to-end spatial solutions to GIS and photogrammetric mapping customers. The company's combined product and service offerings include consulting; off-the-shelf products; analog, digital, and lidar data acquisition; photogrammetric mapping; geospatial solutions, remote-sensing solutions; and data conversion. For more information, visit www.sanborn.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.

    7. NVision Unveils New Homeland Security Tool for Counter-Terrorism Exercise

      2007 August 27 — Kent, Washington — NVision Solutions Inc., The Boeing Company, and NAVTEQ recently demonstrated a prototype emergency management "common operating picture" at the 2007 Pacific Northwest Asymmetric Warfare Initiative.

      The federally-funded Center for Asymmetric Warfare (CAW) designed the annual regional emergency-management drill to increase protection against terrorism and provide shared working experience for thousands of first responders, military and other homeland defense professionals responding to a crisis.

      On July 24th NVision, Boeing, and NAVTEQ streamed real-time emergency notifications from observers around the Port of Tacoma onto a high-resolution map depicting aerial photography as well as NAVTEQ map data, enhanced GIS attributes, and NAVTEQ Parcel Boundaries in the Exercise Control Center. Boeing employees acting as mock first responders logged simulated terrorist attacks using wireless, GPS-enabled, handheld computers. Simulated terrorist attacks involved live actors, pyrotechnics, and boats.

      "Working with Boeing and NVision to build and participate in CAW efforts to demonstrate multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional collaboration is another example of NAVTEQ's dedication in supporting Homeland Security initiatives," stated Roy Kolstad, Vice President and General Manager – Enterprise, NAVTEQ.

      "NVision is very excited this technology has matured to address critical issues such as counter-terrorism, emergency management and recovery, and homeland defense issues such as border security," said NVision CIO Craig Harvey, "Portions of this technology have been under development with NASA's Stennis Space Center for over three years."

      About NVision Solutions, Inc.: NVision Solutions, Inc. is a small, disadvantaged, minority, woman-owned certified 8(a) firm specializing in advanced geospatial solutions. NVision, an active member of Mississippi's EIGS geospatial industry cluster, is headquartered at the NASA Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi. For more information about NVision Solutions, Inc., visit www.nvisionsolutions.com

      About Boeing Integrated Defense Systems: A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.4 billion business with 72,000 employees worldwide.

      About NAVTEQ: NAVTEQ is a leading provider of comprehensive digital map information for automotive navigation systems, mobile navigation devices, Internet-based mapping applications, and government and business solutions. Chicago-based company was founded in 1985 and has over 3,000 employees located in 168 offices in 30 countries.


    1. Bentley Releases Enhanced AutoPLANT P&ID

      New Version Adds Support for AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2008

      27 August 2007 — Bentley has released a significant enhancement to AutoPLANT P&ID, a well-established and proven product that includes all the components needed to create P&ID CAD drawings quickly and uniformly. Version 8.9.3 of AutoPLANT P&ID brings important new capabilities, including support for AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2008 and greater compatibility with ISO 15926.

      The new version's support for AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2008 enables AutoPLANT users to stay abreast of the latest versions of AutoCAD. At the same time, because AutoPLANT v8.9.3 also maintains full support for legacy versions of AutoCAD, AutoPLANT users enjoy the flexibility of deploying the AutoCAD version of their choice.

      AutoPLANT P&ID v8.9.3 continues to support the export of data in ISO 15926-compatible format and achieves even greater levels of compatibility. Going forward, those capabilities will continue to be expanded. AutoPLANT P&ID project data can be exported in an ISO 15926-compatible format for storage in Bentley's ProjectWise Lifecycle Server or for use with any other application mapped to the ISO 15926 schema.

      Other key features of AutoPLANT P&ID include:

      • AutoCAD-based – AutoPLANT is based on AutoCAD, ensuring that users can make full use of their AutoCAD training while creating and editing P&IDs. With continuing support for the latest versions of AutoCAD, AutoPLANT P&ID leverages the latest versions of AutoCAD and adds to the productivity of AutoCAD. Moreover, users familiar with AutoCAD will be immediately productive with AutoPLANT P&ID.
      • Creates fast, simple, and consistent reports and lists – AutoPLANT P&ID populates a project database while the drawing is being created and modified. By using labels with predefined fields, tag data format is always consistent and correctly inserted into the project database. Reports are automatically extracted from the database in predefined formats.
      • Checks data consistency quickly – AutoPLANT P&ID provides built-in consistency checking. It will check for connectivity and data consistency along pipe lines. Inconsistencies such as branch line sizes exceeding header sizes or valve sizes different than line sizes without reducing components are highlighted and reported, ensuring errors are reviewed and fixed sooner.
      • Maintains consistent drawing quality – AutoPLANT P&ID uses "spec-driven" valve placement functions, drag-and-drop symbol placement, and predefined line styles to ensure drawings are created to project standards. All tags are predefined, ensuring that tag styles are consistent across the project.
      • Integrates with external relational project database – AutoPLANT P&IDs are created as part of a project. An external project database is automatically created according to the project data schema and all P&IDs are linked to this database. This allows data to be shared across P&IDs, as well as across other design functions, and ensures data consistency for the whole project. Also, the external relational database environment enables AutoPLANT P&ID to create intelligent plant schematics, enabling engineers to learn more about their plant design in a fraction of the time required to study hundreds of layout drawings or 3D models.
      • Scales for use on large or small projects – The AutoPLANT data architecture is designed to be scalable. Coupling with industry-standard relational databases, AutoPLANT P&IDs will be productive on both large and small projects. AutoPLANT P&ID supports Microsoft Access and MSDE (Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine) for smaller projects and Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle for larger projects.
      • Includes international standard symbol libraries – AutoPLANT P&ID comes with ISO and DIN standard symbol libraries. The definition of the industry standard (including line styles) is part of the project-creation process, ensuring all P&IDs are drawn to the same standard across the whole project.
      • Allows teams to work in distributed environment with subcontractors – AutoPLANT P&ID is a proven product that has been used on hundreds of real-world projects and produced thousands of P&IDs. Examples of current users include Colt Engineering, ConocoPhillips, Intel, Petro-Canada, SNC-Lavalin, Southern Company, VECO, and many others. Featuring the ability to be used in a stand-alone environment and utilizing the Bentley "Split/Merge Project" capabilities, AutoPLANT P&ID allows fully distributed workforces to collaborate on the project.

      Users of Bentley's AutoPLANT product line who are also subscribers under Bentley's SELECT Program agreement will receive AutoPLANT P&ID v8.9.3 free of charge. For more information about AutoPLANT, please visit www.bentley.com/AutoPLANT+PID or contact Bentley by phone in the United States at +1 800 BENTLEY or outside the U.S. at +1 610 458 5000.

    2. Topcon TopPad 7.0.1 Software Provides Enhanced Mobile GIS Functions

      Livermore, California — A new Mobile GIS field software program — TopPAD 7.0.1 — from Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) allows users to take GIS layers into the field for verification and update. When installed on Topcon's hand-held GMS-2 or a Topcon field controller, TopPAD can collect and update position and attribute information using customized forms.

      Barbara McInerney, Topcon's GIS product marketing manager, said, "The program is based on ESRI's ArcPad with a special added functionality for Topcon GPS hardware. The software was designed for use by experienced GIS professionals familiar with ESRI and ArcPad products and who wish to take advantage of the benefits of Topcon GPS hardware."

      New features available with TopPAD 7.0.1 include:

      • Support for Topcon receivers (GMS-2 internal and external receivers) from within ArcPad version 7.0 or higher using Topcon protocol;
      • High accuracy position solution using RTK survey configurations;
      • Additional information about GPS and GLONASS satellites such as PDOP, Position Type, SNR graph, and graphical skyplots;
      • Image capture using internal GMS-2 camera in bmp or jpeg format for line and polygon features;
      • Use internal compass to store azimuth values with images.

      About Topcon Positioning Systems: Topcon Positioning Systems, a developer and manufacturer of positioning equipment, offers the world's leading selection of innovating precision GPS, GIS, laser, agriculture, optical surveying, and machine control products, software, and applications. Topcon Corporation is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (7732).

    3. Hemisphere GPS Introduces Outback S-Lite Entry Level Guidance System

      2007 August 28 — Decatur, Illinois — Today, Hemisphere GPS introduced Outback S-Lite from the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois. As the entry-level product of its popular Outback brand, S-Lite is a low-cost, portable, entry-level GPS guidance solution for non-precision spraying, spreading, and broad-acre tillage and seeding.

      Offering many of the same features as its popular Outback S series products, Outback S-Lite includes Straight Guidance, Contour Guidance, and Return to Point. It can eliminate the need for a foam marker and is expandable to work with Outback AutoMate which monitors and controls individual sprayer sections to minimize overlaps and skips. It is SBAS (WAAS, EGNOS, etc.) enabled and includes Hemisphere GPS's e-Dif solution so it does not require any additional costly GPS subscription services. At the heart of Outback S-Lite is Hemisphere GPS' Crescent GPS receiver technology, providing accurate and robust GPS reception.

      "As the costs associated with the agricultural industry continue to rise, the marketplace has been demanding ways to offset those increases, "said Steven Koles, President and CEO of Hemisphere GPS. "Utilizing GPS guidance tools like Outback S-Lite generates valuable cost saving, and offers a very quick return on investment, for the large segment of farmers globally whom require an entry level GPS offering for their precision agriculture needs." Hemisphere GPS will begin shipping Outback S-Lite in November 2007. With a manufacturer suggested retail price of only $995, it comes with a 1-year standard manufacturer's warranty. It will be available through Outback Guidance Centers, other distributors in North America, and through select Hemisphere GPS distributors worldwide.

      Please visit Hemisphere GPS at the Varied Industries Tent at the Farm Progress Show, today through August 30th in Decatur, Illinois. The latest Outback Guidance products will be on display, and information will be available on products that are soon to be released.

      About Hemisphere GPS: Hemisphere GPS (formerly CSI Wireless Inc.), 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 is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, with major product development, sales, and marketing facilities in Arizona, Kansas, and Texas. For more information about Hemisphere GPS go to www.hemispheregps.com.


    1. Exhibit Floor and Hotel Room Block at GITA's GIS for Oil & Gas Conference Sell Out After Expanding

      2007 August 27 — Aurora, Colorado —With just under one month to conference start, the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) is very pleased to announce that the exhibit floor and hotel room block for its 2007 GIS for Oil & Gas Conference and Exhibition have sold out. The exhibit floor had already been expanded to include two more booths, and the hotel room block was expanded previously as well. The event is set for Sept. 24-26, 2007, at the Marriott Westchase Hotel in Houston, Texas.

      GITA has secured an overflow hotel for registrants at the Hilton Westchase Hotel, which is located across the parking lot from the host Marriott Westchase Hotel. Registrants can visit http://gita.org/events/oil_gas/07/hotel-travel.asp to get more information on the added rooms.

      The Solutions Spotlight vendor track is also sold out, and will complement a solid lineup of seminars and technical sessions, which reflect some exciting trends in the geospatial oil and gas industries.

      "This is a new first for this conference's show floor to sell out a month before the conference begins," said Henry Rosales, GITA's deputy executive director. "We are thrilled, and look forward to hosting a busy exhibit floor and conference."

      The only event of its kind, GITA's GIS for Oil & Gas Conference includes a series of 20 paper presentations organized into two concurrent tracks, panel discussions, the exhibition hall, four in-depth preconference seminars, and numerous networking opportunities all developed expressly for professionals in the oil and gas industry.

      The early rate registration deadline, which saves attendees almost 20 percent on fees, is this Friday, Aug. 31st. To register or for more information, please visit gita.org/oilgas.

      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 infrastructure applications worldwide. Visit GITA on the Web at www.gita.org.

    2. All Star Panel to Address the Future of GIS at the 2007 GIS in the Rockies Conference

      2007 August 24 — Denver, Colorado — The 2007 GIS in the Rockies Conference will feature an all star panel of innovators and leaders in the fields of GIS architecture, remote sensing, data management, and infrastructure. This group of six GIS all stars will address the past and future of geographic information systems in a ninety minute panel session on Wednesday, September 12th from 3:30pm – 5:00 pm. The panel is among several special events planned to celebrate the 20th Anniversary Year of GIS in the Rockies Conference in Denver, Colorado.

      "We believe this outstanding group of speakers will be the high point of the 20th year celebration. The expertise of the panel spans from the earliest GIS system to the most cutting edge solutions available today," said Chris Longo, 2007 GIS in the Rockies Program Committee Chair. "As this year's conference looks at the past and present of GIS technology, we look forward to hearing the panel members' opinions and predictions for the future of the evolving geospatial industry."

      The all star panel is comprised of:

      • Peter Batty, Former Chief Technology Officer of Intergraph Corporation
      • Joseph K. Berry, Keck Scholar in Geosciences, University of Denver and Principal, Berry & Associates
      • Jack Dangermond, President, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)
      • William Gail, PhD, Director, Strategic Development - Microsoft Virtual Earth
      • Geoff Zeiss, Director of Technology, Infrastructure Solutions Division, Autodesk, Inc.
      • Andy Zetlan, National Director of Utility Industry Solutions, Oracle Corporation

      The 2007 GIS in the Rockies conference will be held September 12 – 14, 2007 at INVESCO Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado. The six sponsoring societies for the 2007 GIS in the Rockies conference have developed a series of program tracks with the theme "Celebrating 20 Spatial Years". Presentations and workshops are designed to appeal to a broad community of GIS users, surveyors, and other interested technology professionals.This year's panel topics include:

      • Advanced Data Acquisition and Mapping
      • Utilities, Infrastructure, and Management
      • Surveying: Building GIS from the Ground Up
      • GIS for Urban and Regional Government
      • Emergency Management and Homeland Security
      • GIS for Managers
      • Sustainability and Renewable Resources
      • GIS Application Development
      • GIS for Communities
      • Federal Track: GIS in the National Picture
      • Geospatial Imaging: GIS Foundation & Layers of Value

      Off-site visits and activities will take place in and around the Denver metro area on Sept 14th. Additional information on panel sessions, exhibits, and off-site activities can be found at the event website at www.GISintheRockies.org. Questions about exhibiting at the conference should be directed to Kim Longo at [email protected] or 303-250-0612.

      About GIS in the Rockies: GIS in the Rockies is a technology conference providing community outreach, education and professional development for people interested in Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. Formed by several professional societies and organizations, the conference enjoys its 20th annual event at INVESCO Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado USA. The sponsoring societies include: the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA), the Colorado Section of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM), the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), the Professional Land Surveyors of Colorado (PLSC), the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and GIS Colorado.

      For more information about GIS in the Rockies and links to the sponsoring societies, visit www.gisintherockies.org.

    3. Integrating GIS & CAMA 2008 Conference

      Call For Presentations – Submission Deadline: September 17

      2008 February 25-28 — Sheraton New Orleans

      The 12th Annual Conference for Professionals in Property Assessment, Tax Administration, Mapping and Information Technology

      The Big Easy Way To Jazz Up Your Value

      The International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) are pleased to announce the 12th Annual Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference, to be held February 25–28, 2008 in New Orleans. This conference is designed to foster collaboration and integration of data, technology, and functionality.

      The 2007 Integrating GIS & CAMA Conference in Las Vegas broke all previous attendance records. The 1999 conference took place in New Orleans and it held the previous attendance record. Be sure to make plans to come to join us for the 2008 conference!

      We invite you to share your knowledge and ideas with your colleagues and peers. You are encouraged to submit an abstract for consideration by the Conference Program Committee. A review committee of IAAO and URISA members will organize an education program based on the abstracts submitted through this Call for Presentations.

      All abstract submissions received by September 17, 2007, will be reviewed and considered for this comprehensive educational program.

      Program Topics: The Committee has specified three general program tracks for this year's conference and has provided topic ideas for each (please note that all abstracts will be considered for the program – whether or not they fit directly into one of these tracks):

      Systems & Data Integration — How do you integrate systems, computer applications, databases, work processes and networks in the assessment and land records offices? There is a lot to consider, including: data management and maintenance, network operations, system design, process and data modeling, database design, cooperative development and collaboration within multiple departments in your jurisdictions, and many other topics. How to integrate, creating queries and views, etc., would all be welcome topics within this track.

      CAMA Modeling — CAMA Modeling has come a long way. What are the methods and results of mathematical models used in the appraisal of property? The presentations in this track may focus on the use of location in models, visual display of results with GIS, advanced modeling techniques, 3-D visualization and other related topics.

      Management Issues & Case Studies — Administrators in today's assessment and land records offices are seriously challenged when it comes to managing GIS, CAMA and land records data. Further challenges arise in the implementation of multiple databases such as GIS, CAMA and land records, and the collaboration and development of practical applications. Not only are there hardware and software considerations to manage, but there are also staffing concerns, political boundary issues, legal responsibilities and multiple agency/department issues to manage. Internet and public access issues are also important topics within this track.

      Abstract Submission Deadline: September 17, 2007

      Conference Sponsors:

      • IAAO — The International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) is a non-profit research and educational association. Established in 1934, IAAO's mission is to promote innovation and excellence in property appraisal as well as property tax policy and administration through professional development, education, research and technical assistance. For more information, visit www.iaao.org
      • URISA — The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) is a non-profit professional and educational association that promotes the effective and ethical use of spatial information and information technologies for the understanding and management of urban and regional systems. URISA is a multidisciplinary association where professionals from all parts of the spatial data community can come together and share concerns and ideas. For more information, visit www.urisa.org
    4. International LIDAR Mapping Forum 2008

      Call for Papers

      The ILMF organizers invite all professionals associated with the growing LIDAR industry to consider presenting a paper at the ILMF2008.

      The Conference Technical Committee is seeking papers and work-in progress reports on all aspects of airborne and bathymetry LIDAR with a particular emphasis on papers that address the key commercial and technical issues facing the industry.

      The topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

      • Data acquisition by laser scanning technologies
      • Integration of LIDAR sensors with complementary technologies and peripherals
      • Data processing technologies, feature extraction, visualization, viewing and imaging software and techniques
      • Innovative project examples of uses of LIDAR mapping technology, applications and services
      • Developments in GIS and other data models relative to LIDAR operations
      • Trends in technology, development and research

      All abstracts will be reviewed by the ILMF Technical Committee, who will be jointly responsible for finalising the conference program.

      Guidelines for Authors: In the first instance, authors are requested to send an abstract of no more than 500 words to the Technical Committee Chair at [email protected] The deadline for submission is September 14, 2007. When submitting abstracts, please include the following:

      • Contact Author
      • Contact information (address, email, phone, fax) and Submission category from the above list of topics of interest.
      • Authors will be notified of their paper being chosen no later than October 12, 2007 with the final programme confirmed by October 15, 2007.

      A PDF file of the full paper will be required from chosen Authors by January 17, 2008 in order to ensure the paper is available to ILMF delegates as part of the ILMF Proceedings.


    1. ESRI (UK) Strengthens Customer Service and Marketing Teams With New Appointments

      28 August 2007, Aylesbury — ESRI (UK), the leading provider of enterprise Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software and services, has appointed Jackie Loudon as Customer Services Manager, Natalie Jenkins as Product Marketing Manager and Angela Baker as Community Programmes Manager.

      Jackie will take up the position of Customer Services Manager responsible for ESRI (UK)'s technical support, training, order processing and maintenance and post-sale customer facing teams. With 25 years experience in customer service and IT, she joins ESRI (UK) from ICI Paints Dulux UK.

      At ICI Paints, Jackie was the UK and Ireland Commercial CRM Manager where she was responsible for driving profitability through the deployment of CRM solutions contributing to a £500m sales turnover.

      Natalie has over 15 years experience in marketing management including product management and strategic marketing roles in publishing, software and technology companies.

      Natalie will be responsible for developing and implementing strategic marketing campaigns for ESRI (UK)'s 100 software products while working closely with its product development team.

      Angela Baker has been appointed Community Programmes Manager as part of ESRI (UK)'s commitment to supporting GIS in education, disaster and humanitarian relief, charities and community initiatives. Angela joins ESRI (UK) from the Association of Geographic Information (AGI) where she was Chief Operating Officer responsible for managing the AGI team and the operations of the organization.

      About ESRI (UK): ESRI (UK) is part of the global ESRI network. With the single, largest pool of GIS expertise in the UK, the company is the technical authority on GIS. ESRI (UK) provides solutions, technology and services including off the shelf applications built on the ArcGIS software suite and an extensive range of consulting and training services.

      Its offerings meet a range of business needs in different markets including Business, Local & Central Government, Public Safety, Utilities and Telecommunications, as well as catering for system integrators and application developers through the ESRI Developer Network.

      ESRI (UK)'s customers include both public sector clients such as Manchester City Council, Leeds City Council, Metropolitan Police, DCLG, The Environment Agency and businesses including Thames Water, Royal & SunAlliance and The AA.

      By building a deep understanding of its customers' needs, ESRI (UK) is able to help businesses become more profitable and public service more efficient through the better use of GIS. This process of enhancing sustainable business growth by developing solutions with the power to anticipate and meet industry specific requirements is known as Visionary Thinking.

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