2007 September 20

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Editor's Introduction

This week, I report on Safe Software's expansion of its coverage of European GIS formats and review a new book on marine GIS. Plus, fifteen press releases.

Matteo Luccio

Safe Software Expands Support for European GIS Formats

  • New European Formats

    In June, Safe Software released FME 2007, the latest version of its spatial ETL (extract, transform, and load) platform that enables users to extract, translate, transform, integrate, and distribute spatial data in GIS, CAD, and database formats. The release's main focus was support for raster formats. However, it also included support for national data models and country-specific formats and coordinate systems. According to the company, these formats make up more than 30 of the 190 formats supported by FME.

    In conjunction with two European user conferences — one in Germany this week and one in Sweden next week — last week, Safe Software issued a press release highlighting FME 2007's support for European formats. Here are some highlights of that press release:

    Read more…

  • Interview with Dale Lutz and Marcel LeBlanc

    I discussed the significance of these new formats with Dale Lutz, Safe Software's Vice President of Software Development, and Marcel LeBlanc, its Director of Business Development.

    1. You released FME 2007 in June. Why did you wait until now to make this announcement?

      DL: We are having two European user conferences next week. We have a bunch of things that we have never announced separately, so we thought that we would package them all into one announcement to highlight the fact that we are having an active user meeting in Europe and all the things that we've done for the different communities there.

    2. What's new in FME 2007, aside from support for European formats and coordinate systems?

      DL: For many years FME did vector forms and types, but in FME 2007 we finally came out with a raster set of formats and a full and complete subsystem for translating and manipulating raster data. Our European initiatives play into that because, as a result of our support of a number of European coordinate systems, we end up being one of the few tools that can re-project imagery according to the algorithms that are used in some of these specific places, such as Sweden and Germany. One of the things we highlighted was this German BETA datum shift business. It came out just subsequent to the release of FME 2007 and we made it available as an update. It wasn't quite there, finalized, when 2007 shipped, but we've updated the product for that as well. Some of the work with Geoconcept is ongoing as well. There will be some additional announcements regarding some of the French formats too.

      ML: Many of these formats are native to European countries. GeoConcept, from France, has really shown a lot of interest in wanting to be able to create an interoperable solution between their tools and those of other GIS vendors. That's where we have some pretty exciting announcements to make. We support their format. We will be able to demonstrate that in October at the GeoConcept user conference and also at ESRI France.

      Read more…

Book: ArcMarine: GIS for a Blue Planet

Arc Marine: GIS for a Blue Planet, by Dawn J. Wright, Michael J. Blongewicz, Patrick N. Halpin, and Joe Breman; foreword by Jane Lubchenco (Redlands, California: ESRI Press, 2007), paperback, 202 pages

If you think that mapping physical features, land coverage, and human activity on dry ground is complex, try mapping the ocean! While most land mapping is two-dimensional — street maps, for example, usually ignore elevation — nearly all marine features and phenomena worth mapping are at least three-dimensional — with depth (–z) replacing elevation (z). Furthermore, most features on land — and land masses themselves — move only a few centimeters a year, so these movements can be safely ignored for most applications. Compare that with twice-daily tides, rapidly changing shorelines, and the constantly shifting and inherently fuzzy boundaries of ocean regions and you will begin to understand the complexity of mapping the two thirds of the planet that are covered by water.

Yet this is a vital and urgent task, notes Jane Lubchenco, Distinguished Professor of Zoology at Oregon State University, in her foreword, citing some alarming statistics: a quarter of the world's most important fisheries are vastly depleted; 90 percent of the large fishes have disappeared due to overfishing; hundreds of "dead zones" have appeared in the last few decades due to nutrient pollution from agriculture, livestock operations, and sewage; oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic; and so on. To help understand these phenomena and devise solutions, scientific surveys are gathering datapoints by the billions. Marine science, the authors write, "has progressed from applications that merely collect and display data to complex simulation, modeling, and the development of new coastal and marine research methods and concepts."

GIS plays a key role in organizing and presenting this data. To support better management of complex spatial analyses within marine applications and a wide range of marine objects — from fish to autonomous underwater vehicles, from wave sensors to current meters, from acoustic dopplers to nutrient monitors — a team of subject-matter specialists developed the marine data model initiative, aka Arc Marine.

Read more…

News Briefs

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


    1. Atmos Energy Implements MapFrame's FieldSmart Software in 45 Days

    2. GeoAnalytics Retained By the South Florida Water Management District for IRIS System GIS Expansion

    3. Snowflake Software Enables Routing with ArcGIS Network Analyst with GO Loader's ITN Tool

    4. Applied Geographics to Provide Statewide GIS Strategic Planning Support for Utah


    1. New BlackBerry Models Run GIS/GPS Applications

    2. IDELIX Creates Online Land Rush with Lat49.com Mapvertising

    3. WebEOC Mapper Provides the Power of GIS for Optimized Situational Awareness, Decision Support, and More Much More


    1. 1Spatial Addresses Spatial Data Quality at FOSS4G

    2. Houston Area GDC GIS Day 2007 Showcases GIS Use and Promotes Geography Week

    3. Training4GIS commits to National Geographic Information Education Programme

  4. OTHER

    1. DigitalGlobe Successfully Launches Worldview-1

    2. Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging Increases Role in the Open Geospatial Consortium

    3. Azteca Systems Recognizes 2007 Cityworks Innovative Users

    4. Avineon Marks Fifteenth Anniversary with Global Expansion

    5. TruePosition Wins Patent Infringement Litigation Against Andrew Corporation

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Matteo Luccio, Editor
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