2007 October 4

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Editor's Introduction

This week, I report on Autodesk's decision to release the source code for CS-Map to the open source community, First American's purchase of Proxix Solutions, and Minecode's release of a stand-alone program to post-process LiDAR data. Plus, 21 press releases.

Matteo Luccio

Autodesk Donates Coordinate System Software to Open Source

Last Thursday, at the annual Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) conference in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Autodesk announced that it will donate to the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) the source code for CS-Map, which consists of a coordinate system library and a set of projections.

CS-Map was developed by Mentor Software, which Autodesk recently acquired. Its founder and principal, Norm Olsen, who created and supported the technology, will join Autodesk as a senior software engineer. This donation, the company said, will enable all open source geospatial projects to support the projections and transformations necessary to support more than 3,000 coordinate systems worldwide. According to Autodesk, "this donation will help to accelerate innovation for the larger geospatial community through faster development cycles and lower costs."

This is Autodesk's third donation to the open source community, after MapGuide Open Source, a web mapping program, and FDO, a geospatial data access software package. The company announced in February 2006 that it would put those programs into open source. "Before this donation, any enhancements to the software were my sole responsibility," said Olsen. "Now, this technology can be supported by me and many more developers who can now make their own contribution."

The technology is presently embedded in Autodesk's own software products, including AutoCAD Map 3D and Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise, and, according to Autodesk, it is used by hundreds of thousands of organizations worldwide. Autodesk software engineers are now preparing the source code for donation by ensuring that it is properly documented and organized as an open source project. The company expects to donate the software as an open source project to OSGeo by the end of 2007.

I discussed this announcement with Andrew Mackles, Autodesk's Director of Geospatial Product Management. He told me that the first two donations have been a success for Autodesk and that the company decided to put the coordinate system into open source for the same reasons that guided its previous donations: "Similar to FDO, where we have literally hundreds of different data formats to keep up with, we have even more coordinate systems out there. It makes a lot of sense to us to put it out in the community, because if customers need things they don't have to rely on us to provide the coding, they can go out to the community. The real winners here are our customers, because they get access to technology a lot sooner than they would if they were relying solely on us to provide the technology."

In addition to a library of nearly all the coordinate system projections commonly used, Mackles explains, CS-Map includes a builder that allows users to build their own, compatible coordinate systems. "It has been very commonly used in the industry," he says. "We used it and Mentor had many customers, especially in the oil and gas industry, so this is an opening up of a technology that is pretty widely used today."

According to Mackles, this technology is extremely precise. "Many of our customers are in oil and gas," he says, "so, for them, millimeters count and they are digging on a z axis also. Now the ability to build extremely accurate coordinate systems will be out there, in the community's hands."

Autodesk decided to relase CS-Map now, Mackles explains, because all Autodesk products already use the Mentor coordinate system except for MapGuide Open Source. The company wanted to have a single coordinate system across all of its products. "That means," he says, "that an Autodesk customer can develop in open source, buy MapGuide Enterprise, use Map, use TopoBase, and all of the coordinate systems are talking the same language. For us it makes sense, because we wanted to incorporate Mentor into all the different products. Plus, by putting it out there, it enables the community to solve coordinate system issues, rather than having to go to a vendor."

Mackles declined to tell me what product Autodesk might donate to open source next, but told me that these decisions are based on customer demand. "With things like data providers and coordinate systems," he says, "our ability to satisfy customers' needs means having to have compatibility with so many different kinds of formats and databases. Where we see customer demand for interoperability and compatibility, that's a very interesting place for us to think about open source. We've had 34,000 downloads of MapGuide open source and more than 9,000 downloads of FDO. If customers need a provider written, there are many people who can do that. The same dynamic plays on coordinate systems."

First American Buys Proxix Solutions

In February, First American Corporation, one of the largest providers of business information, acquired CoreLogic Systems, a provider of mortgage risk assessment and fraud prevention solutions. In

April, it began selling location data to external partners. This week, First American acquired Proxix Solutions, a geospatial company that combines location intelligence with enterprise solutions to produce geospatial solutions, and will merge it into its new First American Spatial Solutions (FASS) division, based in Austin, Texas. FASS will use property location information and analytics to develop solutions for insurance, financial services, the public sector and other markets. It is led by Scott Little, Executive Vice President, and Paul Wray, President, First American-Proxix Solutions.

First American, a Fortune 500 company with more than $8.5 billion in annual sales that services the lender, mortgage, and insurance industries, is one of the largest title insurance providers in the United States, as well as one of the largest providers of property and credit information. It claims that its products "touch more than 90 percent of all property transactions that occur in the United States every year." The company has offices in every state and a capillary data acquisition system.

Proxix Solutions, Inc. was founded in February 2003 by a team of location technology experts led by Wray. It developed the PxPoint Geocoder, a parcel-level geocoder, as well as various databases and risk models. Most recently, Proxix developed CATUM, which combines parcel-level geocoding technology with hazard risk and premium tax databases to help insurance companies analyze their risk.

In recent years, First American's property information business has grown rapidly. "That is where we are really starting to find a sweet spot for a lot of our data products and in creating analytical solutions," David Rogers, First American's Director of Marketing, told me. "Proxix really fits that sweet spot." The Spatial Solutions group, he added, will provide solutions to many of First American's traditional industries, as well as servicing the company's other divisions and pursuing new industries, "particularly where Proxix has already established itself — in the insurance industry as well as in all the industries that utilize some of the geocoding services that Proxix has."

Proxix has been "a group of software and data developers that have specialized in accurate, specific geocoding," says Wray. "We are about 45 people. We were the first company to release a geocoder, PxPoint, that would geocode down to an individual parcel, not just a parcel point." The product has been shipping for almost two years in the United States and will begin shipping later this year in Europe. "We typically sell to property and casualty insurance companies, which are probably a little bit more than 50 percent of our business." When they are about to underwrite a policy, he explains, these companies want to understand the overall risk associated with a given address — whether it is related to a Katrina-type event, brush fire out in the Western states, floods, or other hazards.

According to Little, First American wants to develop further its ability "to deliver to users data that they could use in their solutions," while also starting to develop internally solutions for specific markets. This acquisition, he explains, "is our first step from purely data to offering solutions and we expect for that to continue to expand over time."

"The biggest problem in the industry today," says Wray, "is that people deliver a whole bunch of tools — whether it be software or data — and require companies to integrate them into their systems. We have a system called CATUM, which is both browser-based and an XML SOAP delivery system. So, with minimal development, in less than a couple of hours, someone can embed our application into their system and start consuming data in real time by giving us an address. We can tell you how far it is from the coast line, in what rating territory it is, what its premium tax is, where the closest fire station is, whether it is in a brush fire area or a hurricane storm area, how far is it from an earthquake fault, whether is it near any levies and dams or in a floodplain. We can also tell you whether or not there are any risks inside any portion of that parcel — because we have the parcel boundaries embedded in all of our software."

First American has the ability to bring in large portfolios, Little points out. "We currently track more than 80 million properties. So, we are able to take this data and store a lot of information on our side, combine that with different analytical tools that we have, and provide information to our clients that they can use in their day-to-day business. It is a combination of having the location data, the real estate data, the risk data, and then forming solutions in software that the clients can use to make their business decisions. We hope to continue to add different pieces to the overall First American spatial solutions group to continue to expand that."

"We are delivering this today," Wray emphasizes. "We are providing Web services for numerous, very large property and casualty companies, delivering the information down to their individual agents in real time. We also provide data and/or software that they install behind their firewalls."

"We have an unlimited amount of data that can be used in conjunction with Paul's products to develop solutions on a case-by-case basis," Little adds. "We can go into different clients, understand what their needs are, then go back to the First American family, determine where we are capturing different sets of data, and incorporate that into the solutions going forward. Additionally, First American brings to the table its overall financial strength, its multiple data centers, and its ability to have relations at the community level. That enables Proxix to continue to grow their solutions and their products and let First American's infrastructure help on collecting some of the core data that they need."

The new division is going to collect data, develop complete solutions, and deliver consulting services. "Obviously, we have multiple data sets to sell," says Little. "We have the ability to go into different markets with different solutions."

"First American sells a lot of data," Wray points out. "Clients buy data in bulk to put behind their firewall. Typically, when we license our software and data, we go do that implementation in the client's office. Those types of engagements are only a few days to a few weeks of work. Unlike the last five to ten years, where people just bought data and the problem was for the company to implement that and bring all the other software to consume it, we will provide that in a total, integrated solution. This is a big step forward for First American, as a corporation: it starts really taking a lot of the data sources that is has and starts to create these analytical solutions and move out into new industries."

Are we seeing the start of a trend, I asked Little, in which large companies will consolidate their geospatial data, software, and expertise into a single geospatial division? "I think that you are right on point," Little told me. "First American realized in what direction the technology was going and that, in many cases, they are sitting on a hundred years of data. The way to get out in front of the curve is to start spatially enabling this data and offering solutions. That's the key to setting up the division and to have a consolidated focus on different ways to do that in different markets and to do that internally. I think that Paul's group is going to be a big part of that."

Minecode Releases Stand-Alone LiDAR Software

Last week, Minecode Corporation, a provider of software and product development solutions, released LiDAR-M version 3.2, a stand-alone LiDAR data processing software developed on Microsoft .NET technology. LiDAR software is used for displaying, viewing, editing, and processing LiDAR files. According to the company, LiDAR-M is extensively used in markets such as energy, engineering, utility, surveying, and municipal governments.

LiDAR, which stands for "Light Detection and Ranging," is an optical remote sensing technology that measures properties of scattered pulses of laser light to determine the range and other properties of distant targets. LiDAR-M is used to analyze this data and then process it into industry-standard file formats, such as LAS, BIN, and DXF.

LiDAR-M allows users to observe cloud points in different cross-sectional views, classify data points automatically and manually, "zoom" and "pan" images, and input/output data files in multiple formats. It also supports the mapping functionalities of CAD software.

Minecode is a privately held company with offices in India and the United States. Its clients include small and medium-sized businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies.

Minecode's in-house LiDAR classification software

I discussed the new version of LiDAR-M with Sridhar Seshadri, VP for Business Development IT / GIS, and Siddhartha Samal, Director of Minecode Operations in India. Seshadri has more than 14 years of IT experience in utilities, oil and gas, transportation, engineering, surveying, and other domain areas and expertise in integrating IT with GIS. He has worked for Autodesk, Inc. and Bentley Systems, Inc. through channel partners and for other IT companies. At Minecode Corporation, Seshadri promotes IT services on various IT platforms. He holds a Bachelors degree in Technology in Civil Engineering, a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering, and is currently pursuing his MBA in Business Information Technology.

Top view of a transmission line

Minecode, Seshadri explains, offers GIS conversion services, software development, and product development services for various industries, including utilities, oil & gas, and transportation, as well as IT services for the health care industry and many Web-based applications. It uses .NET, C#, C, and Visual Basic, mostly on a Microsoft platform. The company also has a photogrammetry LiDAR center, where it processes projects for clients, and a 3D city modeling division. "We do a lot of city modeling work for clients in the United States," he says.

Profile view of a transmission line

The company provides services and develops software based on the lessons it learns internally, in processing data for its clients. "In that process," says Seshadri, "we developed two of our core products: LiDAR-M, our first release, and PMX, a project management application. One of the reasons we released version 3.2 of LiDAR-M is because our clients were looking for a stand-alone version that would not be dependent on third-party software, such as AutoCAD or Microstation. Clients would also like to generate a vector file — that's a key thing that we brought into the market. It not only generates the LAS and BIN files, but also the vector file in a DXF format."

LiDAR project for Monroe and Ontario counties, New York

Photogrammetry project costs, Seshadri explains, increase in direct proportion with accuracy requirements — for example, going from five-feet contour intervals to two-feet contour intervals. Therefore, the more the software is able to automate the processing, the more it reduces costly, labor-intensive manual processing. LiDAR-M, Seshadri points out, includes cloud point removal options that allow users to filter out points due to rainy, cloudy, or foggy weather, so that a survey can be done at any time, without seasonal restrictions. He adds that Minecode has developed an algorithm that allows LiDAR-M, unlike other LiDAR software, to handle an unlimited number of points.

LiDAR-M also supports automatic data classification. "We can classify all the points that are available from the data," says Samal. "You can do building classification, vegetation classification, etc. You can distinguish between low, medium, and high vegetation. Because it is built on Microsoft .NET, it is easy to customize it and add features to it."

Currently, LiDAR-M still requires post-processing of the data. However, the company is working on a real-time version. Also, while the current version allows users to define different cross-section angles, they are limited to static views. Seshadri says that the company is developing a dynamic view, which will allow users to rotate models using their mouse.

Is there an inherent tension for the company between processing data and developing data processing software? In other words, is the company competing with yourself? "Not really," says Seshadri. "We have created another line of business."

News Briefs

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


    1. Burbank Water & Power Integrates Telvent Miner & Miner's Responder OMS with OASyS SCADA

      Fort Collins, Colorado — Telvent Miner & Miner has partnered with the City of Burbank Water and Power (BWP) to integrate Responder, the GIS-based outage management solution (OMS) with OASyS SCADA. As both systems are part of the Telvent offering, BWP will benefit from their integration to improve operational efficiency and provide for more timely and accurate data to feed the Responder OMS.

      Responder OMS integration with OASyS will leverage BWP's existing investment in the GIS by providing dispatchers and key management immediate notification while effectively managing outage incidents. BWP implemented ArcFM utilizing ESRI's ArcGIS technology several years ago, and Responder was another strategic step in taking advantage of their enterprise GIS.

      This modern, GIS-hosted Responder system, coupled with Telvent's OASyS DNA distributed open architecture platform that includes Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), historical archiving, and web services, will improve BWP electric operations and greatly reduce their system's restoration time in the event of an outage.

      BWP has set a strategic direction to be a "world class" electric and water utility. According to Larry Wilke, BWP's Facilities Technology Coordinator," The OMS implementation and SCADA upgrade will help the company achieve increased operational efficiency and improved reliability, which in turn will contribute towards reduced annual operating expenditures and improved quality of service for the Burbank residents."

      The City selected Telvent Miner & Miner for several reasons, including their understanding of the utilities business processes and the integration platform offered by Responder to bring together real-time SCADA information and GIS-based OMS. In addition to world leading technology, an important contributing factor is the methodology and capability of the Telvent Miner & Miner team to Design, Develop, and Deploy these modern technologies. The integration is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007.

      About Burbank Water and Power: The City of Burbank, CA is the "Media Capital of the World" and home to 110,000 people. The city has operated its own electric and water system since 1913 and provides electric service to over 52,000 customers within the city boundary. For more information, visit the company's web site at www.burbankwaterandpower.com/.

      About Telvent Miner & Miner: TM&M is a world leader in the development and implementation of GIS software for utilities. TM&M's ArcFM Solution and extended services assist electric, gas, water, and wastewater utilities in increasing productivity, lowering costs, and improving services by allowing them to effectively manage spatial information. Founded in 1946 as a full-service electrical engineering firm, TM&M has been a business partner of ESRI since 1987. This partnership has enabled TM&M to become the world's leading developer of ArcGIS applications for the utility industry. TM&M services include implementation, integration, and customization of software to fit the needs of individual utilities. For more information, please visit www.telvent.com/miner/.

      About ESRI: For more than 30 years, ESRI has been the leading developer of GIS software with more than 300,000 clients worldwide. ESRI also provides consulting, implementation, and technical support services. In addition to its headquarters in California, ESRI has regional offices throughout the United States, international distributors in more than 90 countries, and more than 1,700 business partners. ESRI's goal is to provide users with comprehensive tools to help them quickly and efficiently manage and use geographic information to make a real difference in the world around them. ESRI can be found on the Web at www.esri.com/.

      About Telvent: Telvent, the IT company for a sustainable and secure world, specializes in high value-added products, services and integrated solutions for the Energy, Transportation, Environment and Public Administration industry segments, as well as Global IT Services. Its innovative technology and client-proven expertise enable the efficient and secure real-time management of operational and business processes for industry-leading companies worldwide.www.telvent.com/.

    2. eSpatial Announces Significant U.S. Deals In Federal Government and Commercial Sectors

      2007 September 24, Herndon, Virginia — eSpatial, a global enterprise geospatial software and technology company announces significant deals in the United States with the United States Department of Defense (U.S. DoD) and Jeppesen Aviation (a Boeing Subsidiary).

      eSpatial have signed an agreement with DoD to further enhance and extend the MilitaryHOMEFRONT Location Based Services (LBS) application originally launched in August 2006 which provides a global web portal with information on over 250 US military installations and communities worldwide.

      Built using eSpatial's iSMART product, enhancements will be made to extend the application including improved navigation, searching, links to additional information plus inclusion of satellite imagery for selected geographic areas. The application is available at http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil

      Boeing Commercial Aviation Subsidiary, Jeppesen have selected eSpatial to help streamline online spatial Information Processing for Aviation Chart production. Jeppesen is the world's leading producer of Aviation charts and is using eSpatial's iSMART as a core component within its Data Driven Programme for the development of integrated, enterprise grade applications to streamline time consuming processes as part of Aviation chart production.

      Chief Operating Officer, eSpatial, David Miller says, "Both the Jeppesen and the U.S. DoD announcements illustrate the growing acceptance our iSMART product and expertise to address the needs of both US Federal Government and significant US commercial clients. The geospatial industry has been undergoing significant changes over the last few years as organizations strive to use location information as a key differentiator as part of their enterprise environments."

      With its headquarters based in Dublin, Ireland, eSpatial has been successfully providing Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Location Services applications to top tier clients since 1997. Since entering the North American market in 2003, eSpatial has secured an impressive list of clients from within the US Federal Government as well as commercial companies in aviation and telecommunications industries.

      Current US clients include Verizon Wireless, US Department of Defense, United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Institute (NOAA), Jeppesen Aviation and the City of Houston.

      Over the past few years, eSpatial has established partnerships with leading IT and specialist software companies including Oracle Corporation, Accenture, Michael Baker Corporation, CH2MHill, SAIC, Great Circle Technologies, Navsys & GeoDecisions. In addition to existing partners in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Greece, Portugal, and Norway, eSpatial also recently appointed new international resellers in Brazil & Australia. For more information on eSpatial and its scope of services, please visit www.espatial.com.

      About eSpatial: eSpatial is a global software and consulting company specializing in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and Location Services. eSpatial leverages ten years of Oracle Spatial experience to deliver sophisticated and powerful web applications. The company has a consistent track record of cost-effective solutions that deliver significant return on investment for its customers. iSMART, the award winning software suite, is the most comprehensive solution to complement Oracle's Spatial technology platform and is fast becoming the first choice for Oracle Spatial.

      eSpatial enables customers to realize the potential in on-line mapping and location applications that support and integrate with real-world internal and external business systems. The company also has a global partner and customer-base that is growing rapidly. This is testament to our commitment to flexibility and responsiveness in ensuring faster time to market for enterprise grade system deployment. eSpatial is an Enterprise Ireland client company.

      About Enterprise Ireland: Enterprise Ireland is the trade and technology board of the Government of Ireland. The core mission of Enterprise Ireland is to accelerate the development of world-class Irish companies to achieve strong positions in global markets. This deal is being announced as part of the Enterprise Ireland September 2007 US East Coast Visit by Ireland's Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D. www.enterprise-ireland.com

    3. Timmons Group Partners With ESRI on GIS for Public Works Seminar Series

      2007 October 2, Richmond, Virginia — Timmons Group, a leader in geospatial and engineering consulting services, has partnered with ESRI and will be presenting in five cities on the upcoming GIS for Public Works Seminar Series. The seminar is focused on how GIS technology can integrate and support critical business functions such as asset management, work order management, mobile data collection, capital improvement planning, executive dashboards, and work force management and automation.

      "Timmons Group's Infrastructure Solutions business unit delivers robust spatially enabled enterprise asset management solutions to public works, utility, and transportation agencies across North America," explains Ed Singer, PE, Timmons Group Infrastructure Solutions. "Our solutions transcend our client organizations and deliver results that are measured in time, money, and improved levels of service. We are honored that our business partners recognize the value we offer our joint client base and the successes we continue to achieve. We look forward to working with ESRI to get our GIS / Asset Management message out to the masses."

      For more information about the GIS for Public Works Seminar Series and information on attending, visit http://www.esri.com/events/seminars/public_works/index.html.

      About Timmons Group: Timmons Group is a leading provider of geospatial, information architecture and engineering services focusing on ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Mobile, and Enterprise solutions. Timmons Group is a privately held ENR 500 company and maintains a strong business partner relationship with ESRI. Timmons Group has been a recipient of both the ESRI Business Partner of the Year award and the ESRI Foundation Partner of the Year award.

      For more information about Timmons Group's infrastructure solutions, contact Ed Singer at [email protected] or visit http://www.timmons.com/markets-and-services/technology.asp.

    4. Applied Geographics to Provide Statewide GIS Strategic Planning Support for New York State

      2007 September, Boston — The New York State Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination (CSCIC) has hired Applied Geographics, Inc. (AppGeo) to support the development of a statewide GIS strategic plan. The project, funded through an FGDC Cooperative Agreements Program Grant, will focus on strategies for how the state can best engage the geospatial community of New York in cooperative strategies to maintain and share National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) framework data.

      "New York has a mature GIS coordination program in place and this project will build on that base," said Michael Terner, Executive Vice President of AppGeo. "We will assist New York in soliciting input from stakeholders and in identifying strategies that will foster data sharing to the benefit of both the state and local governments."

      In coordination with the CSCIC, the NYS GIS Coordinating Body and the NYS GIS Association, AppGeo will conduct meetings around the state to gather input from stakeholders representing all levels of government and the GIS community. From these meetings, AppGeo will assess prevailing incentives, institutional structures, and relationships affecting framework data. The final report will articulate a consensus vision for broad geospatial data sharing within New York and will make specific recommendations for what is required to realize that vision.

      New York is one of ten states that have engaged AppGeo to assist with their statewide strategic planning exercises. AppGeo's state clients include Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Utah and Wyoming. In 2006, AppGeo developed GIS Strategic and Business Plan templates and a state scorecard under contract to the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) in support of the FGDC's (Federal Geographic Data Committee) Fifty States Initiative.

      About CSCIC: Established in 2002, the New York State Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination (CSCIC) is responsible for leading and coordinating the State's efforts in cyber readiness, GIS, and critical infrastructure preparedness. CSCIC works collaboratively with both public and private sectors to foster communication and coordination.

      About Applied Geographics, Inc.: Applied Geographics, Inc. (AppGeo, www.appgeo.com) has been providing high quality GIS services and innovative solutions to government and private sector clients since 1991. AppGeo empowers its customers to put GIS to work through the intelligent use of geographic data and applications that improve work flows and business processes. AppGeo provides a full range of GIS consulting services: GIS strategic and implementation planning, data development, custom applications, training, cartography, implementation assistance and technical support. AppGeo services are available through a variety of state blanket contracts and nationwide through its GSA IT Schedule 70.

    5. InMaps Automated Driving Survey Saves 30 Staff-Hours per Month at UGI Penn Natural Gas

      2007 October 1, Holderness, New Hampshire — UGI Penn Natural Gas (UGI-PNG), the largest natural gas distribution company in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, has automated the record-keeping related to gas detection surveys by implementing the GIS-based Automated Driving Survey (ADS) application from InMaps.

      "The InMaps Automated Driving Survey has virtually eliminated the paper documentation required for mobile gas survey compliance," said Tony DeCesaris, Manager of Leak Detection & Technical Services at UGI-PNG in Wilkes-Barre, PA. "We estimate the ADS application has reduced staff time spent on paperwork by 1.5 hours per day, or 30 hours per month."

      UGI-PNG, which serves 158,000 natural gas customers in Pennsylvania, maintains 2,500 linear miles of gas distribution pipelines spread over 13 counties covering 750 square miles. State and federal regulations require UGI-PNG – and all other natural gas distribution utilities – to perform a mobile inspection of its entire gas pipeline network every year to detect leaks. UGI-PNG has equipped six vehicles with flame ionization hydrocarbon devices to drive the service territory and locate underground gas leaks.

      InMaps, a GIS consulting services firm specializing in electric and gas utility applications, developed ADS to facilitate the reporting aspects of government-mandated driving surveys. The InMaps ADS interfaces with an onboard GPS receiver and runs on a GIS-equipped laptop in the vehicle to automatically track the streets that have been surveyed. When a leak is discovered the vehicle operator can map its precise location in ADS with a single key stroke on the mobile computer.

      "InMaps has developed GIS applications for numerous gas utilities, and we have heard repeated complaints about the paperwork involved in leak detection compliance," said Richard St.Pierre, InMaps President and CEO. "We created the ADS Survey application to run inside the utility's GIS so that leak location and status data could be instantly accessed."

      InMaps ADS enables utility operations managers to click on the GIS-based distribution network map and access the status details of open and repaired leaks on a segment of pipeline. The ADS applications then outputs survey summaries in a variety of graphical and tabular formats for hardcopy or digital presentation to utility regulators. InMaps designed ADS to run on the GE Smallworld platform, but it will soon integrate with other popular GIS packages.

      "Reporting consistency is another huge advantage to using ADS," said UGI-PNG's DeCesaris. "We have six different leak survey crews, and each one had its own style of documenting survey results, which sometimes confused the regulators. Now all the paperwork is digital and standardized in ADS, making our reports easier to review."

      About InMaps: InMaps provides geospatial consulting services for natural gas and electric utilities, with special emphasis in Smallworld systems. Consulting services include application development, technology upgrades, PowerOn support, system integration, compliance reporting, training, and on-site services. Products include GPS Locator and Dimension Toolkit. Field solutions include Automated Driving Survey, for the natural gas industry, and Mobile GIS, which gets Smallworld into the field. InMaps is a GE Energy Value Added Reseller.

    6. SunGard Interfaces OSSI Dispatch System with MultiVision USA Oblique Imagery

      2007 October 1, Orlando, Florida — MultiVision USA today announced that SunGard HTE Inc. has developed a MultiVision 3D Plus interface for its OSSI Public Safety Suite computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software. The interface enables public safety dispatchers and emergency response personnel to view MultiVision oblique aerial photography on their OSSI CAD systems.

      A leading provider of public safety software, SunGard offers solutions that help local governments connect their departments, staff, citizens, and businesses with critical information and services. The SunGard OSSI Public Safety Suite is a multi-jurisdictional communication system that provides real-time information to police, sheriffs, fire, rescue, and emergency medial services departments. The OSSI suite includes computer-aided dispatch functionality.

      "The SunGard OSSI-MultiVision interface offers a new level of safety to emergency services personnel," said MultiVision USA President Dave Ledgerwood. "Emergency dispatchers can view MultiVision oblique imagery onscreen to determine how to deploy and position first responders safely and effectively."

      The new SunGard OSSI interface allows the OSSI CAD, CAD Resource Monitor (CRM), and Mobile Communications Terminal (MCT) to pass coordinate information received during a 911 call to the MultiVision viewing application, which then processes and displays the appropriate oblique aerial imagery of the location onscreen. As a result, police and rescue crews working with laptops in their vehicles can easily find landmarks to help them reach an emergency scene more quickly — and can plan their positioning more efficiently in the case of fires, hostage situations, and other emergencies. The photography helps crews identify the locations of fire hydrants, entrances to the building, and terrain around the location.

      Tom Hilton, QA Manager at SunGard said, "We're pleased to add this interface to our OSSI software. By integrating MultiVision USA's detailed 3D photography, we're providing an integrated tool to the first responder that will allow them to better serve their community. MultiVision USA photography allows them to get a better feel for what the property is like, so they can make critical decisions more quickly and effectively. Now, dispatchers and responders alike can view this valuable information with a simple click of a button."

      The MultiVision 3D Plus solution was developed to enable users to fully exploit the unrivaled clarity and information content of MultiVision USA oblique imagery. Acquired with a proprietary aerial imaging system, MultiVision USA imagery offers a pixel resolution of 3+ inches, sufficient to identify and measure even the smallest building detail or infrastructure asset. The solution includes 3D modeling capabilities showing actual building facades, 3D flood inundation analyses, and integration of existing GIS layers.

      The MultiVision 3D Plus and SunGard OSSI solutions are purchased separately.

      About MultiVision USA: The MultiVision USA imagery database and software provide several advantages over other oblique aerial products. MultiVision processing technology registers the oblique images to standard orthophotography to create a multi-dimensional viewing environment in the end user's GIS coordinate system, resulting in highly accurate feature mapping and measurement. In addition, the MultiVision software provides easy-to-use 3D modeling functionality. With MultiVision USA, you are always in control of your imagery.

    7. Ann Arbor, Michigan, Saves Time and Money Using Cityworks

      Study proves substantial time and cost savings

      2007 October 3, Sandy, Utah — Azteca Systems, Inc., the leading provider of GIS-centric management solutions, announced today that the City of Ann Arbor, MI, experienced significant time and cost savings utilizing Cityworks with the City's sidewalk inspection program. Results of their study demonstrated cost savings of $52,000 a year.

      The City of Ann Arbor has been a Cityworks user since 2000. Over time, the City has grown into a full, enterprise-wide implementation. Recently, they implemented the software in their sidewalk inspection group within Public Services, experiencing fast, tangible results. Every five years, Ann Arbor's sidewalk inspection staff inspects more than 27,000 sidewalk segments. Before Cityworks, inspections were done on paper costing the City $100,000 per year. Utilizing Cityworks on Tablet PCs, field inspectors assess the condition for each property with all phases of the inspection tracked through Cityworks. A study conducted to measure economic benefits from using Cityworks showed that using Cityworks, inspection time was minimized, resulting in a cost savings of $500 per week per team, with an annual cost savings of $52,000.

      "Ann Arbor's demonstrated time and cost savings is yet another confirmation of Cityworks' ability to drastically improve processes of organizations," states Brian Haslam, President of Azteca Systems. "A longtime Cityworks customer, we appreciate their dedication to the software, realizing the principle reason they continue to expand throughout the City is because of the results they experience, such as this case."

      About Azteca Systems, Inc.: Founded in 1986, Azteca Systems, Inc. is the leading provider of GIS-centric Enterprise Management Systems. Built exclusively on top of ESRI's leading GIS technology, Cityworks is powerful, scalable, and affordable, designed for agencies that own and care for critical infrastructure, capital assets, and property.

    8. CRH Subsidiary Automates Field Service Operations With Tensing Field Vision

      Tensing announced today that Heras, a subsidiary of CRH plc and a leader in the manufacture and installation of fence structures, has successfully implemented Tensing Field Vision to automate and streamline their field service operations. Tensing Field Vision is a field service management solution specifically designed to optimize the management of field staff for higher quality service delivery and improved field technician productivity.

      Heras' service division employs a mobile workforce to maintain, repair, and replace existing fencing systems.

      Tensing Field Vision replaces the manual system of service delivery at Heras. The application is integrated with back office systems for seamless workflow between office and field. The field component of Tensing Field Vision is integrated with TomTom for optimized routing and navigation.

      Field technicians use rugged Symbol MC70 PDAs to send and receive service orders, obtain relevant customer information and needed job materials, and report status as well as navigate to job sites through wireless communication networks. Upon completion of the job, information on materials usage, time sheets and invoices are automatically reconciled with the back office. Additionally the customer instantly receives an e-mailed summary of completed work.

      "With Tensing Field Vision we are able to streamline our service process and achieve efficiencies in our operations. The organization, as a whole, benefits from the implementation," said Michiel Nuyten, Service Manager at Heras. "Our customer service has improved greatly with the resource optimization that Tensing Field Vision provides. Repair time windows are shortened and we can communicate to our customers the immediate status of their repair or maintenance. Our accounting department is able to invoice sooner and the materials department is able to manage materials stock more efficiently."

      Tensing Field Vision is an end-on-end solution that connects the mobile workforce with back-office systems via state-of-the-art wireless communications and mobile PDA's, laptops and pen computers. Tensing Field Vision supports any mobile process, any back-office system and any device to optimize dynamic business processes. Organizations that employ remote/mobile workers can improve the management and exchange of business critical information with their mobile work force, in any mobile process.

      About Heras: Heras is market leader in the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) in manufacturing and installing fence structures. Founded in 1952, Heras is a subsidiary of CRH Fencing and Security Group, which in turn is a 100% subsidiary of CRH plc.

    9. DLR and Infoterra Use DIMS-EO for the Management of High-Resolution Radar Data

      2007 October 1Lueneburg/Neustrelitz, Germany — The Data Information and Management System for Earth Observation DIMS-EO from Werum Software & Systems now also manages the data of the new earth observation radar satellite TerraSAR-X.

      On June 15, 2007 the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X was successfully launched from the Russian cosmodrome at Baikonur in Kazakhstan into a near-earth orbit at an altitude of 514 kilometers. Just four days after the launch the first brilliant satellite images were received by the ground stations of the German Aerospace Center DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V.).

      One of the biggest challenges: Every day up to 90 gigabytes of data have to be received, processed, managed and archived on a long-term basis. This task is performed by the multi-mission system DIMS-EO, which is the technical core of the "payload data ground segment" for TerraSAR-X. The distributed system is operated at two DLR (www.dlr.de) sites: At the Neustrelitz ground station the data is received and systematically processed to higher-level products.

      The Oberpfaffenhofen site is responsible for long-term archiving, cataloguing, and order management. It makes the TerraSAR-X data available for scientific use as well as for commercial exploitation through Infoterra GmbH (www.infoterra.de), a subsidiary of Astrium GmbH. DIMS-EO controls the entire process from ordering the remote sensing of data through processing, archiving, and delivery. In addition, the software is also responsible for what is called "user services", which will provide and offer the data for commercial downloads via internet.

      Dr. Martin Boettcher, Project Manager at Werum, explains the process: "Registered customers and authorized scientists can log into online platforms operated by DLR and Infoterra. Here they can either obtain systematically recorded data or request future acquisitions from specific locations on earth. For time-critical applications, such as in the event of natural disasters, the satellite images are available through an internet connection in near real time approximately two hours after acquisition and reception. Alternatively the data can also be supplied on storage media."

      Since 1997 the DIMS components are developed as scalable multi-mission modules in close cooperation between Werum and DLR's German Remote Data Center DFD (Deutsches Fernerkundungsdatenzentrum). These components have been available on the market since 2004 as Werum's commercial software product DIMS-EO.

      A central part of the system is the "Product Library", which serves as a source and target for product generation and guarantees consistency and long-term availability of products. Combined with the "Processing System Management" component this is a strong autonomous configuration for systematic and on-demand processing. On this basis the "Order Management" component controls the data flow for order handling up to delivery via the "Online/Offline Delivery" component. Interface components handle the communication with users, external systems and operators.

      With its multi-mission capability DIMS-EO has proven itself in practical use over several years in numerous DLR installations, where the system is used for managing all earth observation data, among them also the MODIS, METOP and ENVISAT satellites. But DIMS-EO is also operated in other environments on an international level: The European Space Agency (ESA), for example, has introduced DIMS-EO components for product and processing management into a heterogeneous environment at six sites and has migrated all their scientific missions to this platform. In the framework of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative additional European projects, e.g. GAMME (GMES hAarmonization in a Multi Mission Environment), are also using DIMS-EO.

      Radar Data in Highest Quality Also For Commercial Users. TerraSAR-X observes primarily the land masses of the earth. The data acquired by the remote sensing satellite is used, among others, for cartographic surveys of forest regions, the creation and update of land use maps, the identification of field crop types on agricultural land or the exploration and monitoring of geologically active regions such as earthquake and volcano zones. This all is possible thanks to the use of weather-independent synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that "illuminates" the earth's surface with transmitted radar pulses. These radar pulses are scattered back from the surface. Antennas receive the radar echo signal and record it.

      Another satellite of almost identical technical design, the TanDEM-X, is currently being constructed. It is intended to use TanDEM-X together with TerraSAR-X from 2009 onwards in an interferometic constellation to create stereo imagery that will be used to derive a global digital terrain model with a new level of accuracy.

      For more information about the mission and the technical details please visit the websites: www.dlr.de/tsx and www.infoterra.de


    1. GeoSpatial Experts Introduces ArcPad Edition of GPS-Photo Link Software

      2007 October 2, Thornton, Colorado — GeoSpatial Experts today introduced the ArcPad Edition of its GPS-Photo Link photo-mapping software. Designed primarily for mobile GIS users, the GPS-Photo Link ArcPad Edition automatically links digital photographs to existing or new ArcPad records while the user is in the field.

      "GeoSpatial Experts created the ArcPad edition for the growing numbers of GIS users who capture or edit geospatial data working onsite in their project area," said Rick Bobbitt, President of GeoSpatial Experts. "This new edition saves time and improves the efficiency of field work for anyone who uses ArcPad by allowing them to link photos to geodata in the field without going back to the office."

      The GPS-Photo Link software automatically links digital photographic images with GPS location data and then accurately maps the photographs in their correct georeferenced locations on a GIS layer. In addition, GPS-Photo Link creates web pages in which the watermarked photographs are integrated with satellite imagery, street maps, or other GIS-based mapping layer. The software enables users to display their photo locations as icons in a Google Earth map layer and add arrows indicating the directions in which the photos were taken.

      The new version runs inside of ESRI's ArcPad software on any standard field data collection device, personal digital assistant (PDA) or mobile GIS system that can communicate with a GPS receiver. The photo-mapping software also requires a Bluetooth or WiFi compatible digital camera, such as the Ricoh 500SE, which wirelessly transmits photos to a data collection device.

      As the user takes digital photos, GPS-Photo Link ArcPad Edition automatically creates a new ArcPad record and georeferences it to the correct location in the GIS data layer. Multiple photos can be linked to the same record, allowing the user to take pictures from several angles and store them as attributes. Once the record is created, the user can proceed to record other attributes in the ArcPad interface screen.

      In the map update mode, the ArcPad Edition enables users to take existing GIS data with them into the field and access records from any ArcPad layer. GPS-Photo Link lets them acquire new digital photographs for inclusion in the attribute fields of a given feature. Other attributes can be updated in standard fashion using the ArcPad menu. Once the user returns to the office, the ArcPad files can be uploaded with the photos into the GIS for immediate updating of the appropriate data layers.

      "The ArcPad Edition of GPS-Photo Link is a fast and easy way for mobile GIS users to build a historical record of georeferenced photographs showing the condition of features in the field at specific times," said Bobbitt. "This is a great tool for utility and municipal GIS users who repeatedly map assets and their attributes."

      For more information on GPS-Photo Link, visit www.geospatialexperts.com.

    2. Tri-Global Technologies to Demo MobileStaker 3.0 Utility Staking Tool at ESRI Electric & Gas User Group Meeting

      2007 October 3, Athens, Georgia — Tri-Global Technologies LLC will be demonstrating the new features of its Tri-Global MobileStaker 3.0 application in Booth 110 at the ESRI Electric & Gas User Group Meeting being held Oct. 8-11 in Nashville, Tenn. The latest version of MobileStaker is designed to improve the efficiency of utility staking operations.

      Introduced by Tri-Global Technologies only one year ago, Tri-Global MobileStaker has already become a popular mobile field application for electric utility crews designing new service drops or power line installations. Tri-Global Technologies developed MobileStaker to provide a mobile application component to the Partner System utility job management software from Partner Software of Athens, Ga.

      "Tri-Global MobileStaker adds mobile GPS capabilities to the utility staking process, which allows staking professionals to map the precise locations of planned pole locations during field design," said Mike Bellrose, Chief Operations Officer of Tri-Global Technologies.

      MobileStaker runs on most Trimble mobile GIS devices with integrated GPS mapping capabilities, such as the Trimble GeoExplorer series. During power line staking operations, the utility field crew uses MobileStaker to collect the locations of poles, lights and other equipment that will be installed. The application provides highly accurate, real-time calculations of distance, bearing and deflection measurements from any selected asset location. It can even make extremely accurate power line span estimations.

      MobileStaker allows the field user to select from a standard list of the utility's construction assemblies while designing the job. This information can be wirelessly uploaded from the mobile device into the Partner Field Design tool, which generates staking sheets, cost estimates, and other job reports. Within minutes, the entire field survey can be imported digitally into any industry-standard accounting system or GIS package.

      "Once the field information from MobileStaker has been uploaded into the Partner Field Design tool, the technician can update the utility's GIS, and the work order is automatically updated with the most recent materials that have been called for in the job design," said Bellrose. "The staking professional can also create alternative versions of the design and provide the customer an instant cost estimate for each version."

      Enhancements in the new 3.0 version of Tri-Global MobileStaker include an improved user interface screen with map display supporting ESRI Shapefiles. Data transfer functionality between the field and office computer have also been upgraded.

      About Tri-Global Technologies (www.triglobal.net): Headquartered in Athens, Georgia, with offices in Houston and San Antonio, Texas, Tri-Global Technologies LLC provides innovative GPS/GIS field solutions, software engineering and development, customized training, and data collection services to the oil & gas, utility, pipeline, transportation, agriculture, forestry and public works industries. As a Trimble Business Partner, Developer and Factory Service/Repair Center, Tri-Global offers sales and rental of Trimble Mapping and GIS equipment. The firm is also an Authorized ESRI Business Partner.


    1. URISA Accepting Submissions for Caribbean GIS Conference

      2007 September 25, Park Ridge, Illinois — URISA is now accepting abstract submissions for its Fourth Caribbean GIS Conference. The conference will take place August 25-29, 2008 at the Ritz Carlton Resort on Grand Cayman and will feature workshops, keynote presentations, dozens of educational sessions, an exhibition, and networking opportunities.

      The Program Committee will organize an educational program based upon the abstracts submitted through the Call for Presentations. All abstract submissions, received by December 7, 2007, will be reviewed and considered for this comprehensive educational program. Abstracts are being solicited in the following categories:

      • Disaster Management, Law Enforcement, Public Health and Safety
      • Standards, Policy and Management
      • Land, Environment, Planning and Natural Resources
      • Utilities, Business and Organizational GIS
      • Hot Topics

      Visit the URISA website, for details and submission guidelines.

      The previous three Caribbean GIS Conferences took place in the Bahamas (2006), Barbados (2004) and Jamaica (2001). The chair of the 2008 conference committee is Alan Jones, Director of Lands & Survey for the Cayman Islands. The committee is comprised of well-respected GIS professionals from across the Caribbean region, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

      As in the previous gatherings, the conference objectives are:

      • To inform broad cross-section of Caribbean users about GIS technology and applications
      • To share experiences regarding GIS implementation and management issues
      • To establish new relationships with the vendor/consultant community
      • To provide workshops and sessions that are application driven, and are relevant to the Caribbean community of GIS users
      • To foster a Caribbean GIS network

      Visit www.urisa.org for conference information.

    2. Merrick & Company Announces Support of Remote Sensing Research At RIT

      2007 October 1, Aurora, Colorado — Merrick & Company, a world leader in LiDAR, digital ortho imaging, photogrammetry and GIS mapping is pleased to announce the support of remote sensing research at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science by the provision of its MARS Explorer software and related technical support at a reduced academic price.

      Dr. Harvey Rhody, a professor in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science noted, "We evaluated several tools for LiDAR data processing and found MARS Explorer to be best suited to our needs because of its ease of use, advanced processing capabilities and exceptional display. We are particularly interested in integrating LiDAR and aerial imagery, and this provides us with the necessary tools for the rapid exploration of different approaches to processing our LiDAR data."

      MARS Explorer will be used in the development of computer vision tools for the integration of LiDAR and airborne imagery gathered by RIT for the purpose of building radiometrically accurate scene models for its synthetic scene generation tool called DIRSIG. These tools will subsequently be used for sensor development and algorithm evaluation in the remote sensing community.

      Merrick Advanced Remote Sensing (MARS) software is developed and sold by Merrick & Company, a full-service engineering firm headquartered in Aurora, Colorado. MARS is a production-quality Windows application specifically designed for processing, analyzing and managing terrain data. MARS provides unparalleled application and visualization performance for massive LiDAR datasets and includes a modular tool suite that is used to manage field collection, data analysis, quality assurance, production, and client deliverable workflows.

      About Merrick & Company: Founded in Denver in 1955, Merrick & Company is a world-leading multidisciplinary engineering, architectural, geospatial solutions, and construction management firm. The employee-owned company provides these services to municipal, state, federal, and private-sector clients. With approximately 450 employees, Merrick has offices in Aurora and Colorado Springs, CO; Los Alamos and Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Kanata, Canada and Guadulajara, Mexico. Learn more at www.merrick.com/MARS

    3. ACM International Symposium on Advances in GIS

      2007 November 7-9, Seattle, Washington, USA

      The ACM International Symposium on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM GIS 2007) will be in Seattle, November 7-9, 2007. The invited speakers include Michael Jones of Google Earth and Franz Leberl of Microsoft-3DI (Vexcel) and the University of Graz. The information can be found at http://www.cise.ufl.edu/dept/acmgis2007/index.html and the program is there as well.

    4. GeoAnalytics' Carol Roffer to Speak At South Florida GIS Expo

      2007 October 1, Madison, Wisconsin — GeoAnalytics Inc., an IT consulting firm that specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of enterprise class, spatially enabled information systems, today announced that Senior Consultant Carol Roffer will be present at the South Florida GIS Expo, in West Palm Beach, FL, on October 5.

      Roffer's presentation, "The Power of Enterprise Addressing Systems," will focus on recent advances in technology and management practices that have driven the creation of GIS-enabled, Enterprise Address Systems. This presentation will showcase an approach for implementing an enterprise addressing system, and provide suggestions on how to approach an EAS project.

      About GeoAnalytics, Inc.: GeoAnalytics (www.geoanalytics.com) is an IT consulting firm that specializes in the planning, design, and implementation of enterprise class, spatially enabled information systems that create true spatial intelligence. More than data and information, spatial intelligence combines system and data integration with business and predictive intelligence as well as spatial analytics to provide knowledge and understanding from all corners of the enterprise. The firm is headquartered in Madison, WI and has team members located in Chicago, IL; Austin, TX; Philadelphia, PA; and Orlando, St. Augustine, and Tampa, FL.


    1. NVision Staffs Up to Serve Clients Using ArcServer 9.2 and Oracle

      2007 October 1, 2007, Bay Saint Louis, Missouri — NVision Solutions, Inc., is pleased to welcome Jamie Hughes, Shelia Reed, Aaron Gibson, Nate Coolidge, Suzanne Shean, Jeff Hudson, Jason Weick, John Nielson, and Tara Cross who recently joined the company to serve NVision's growing client base using ESRI's ArcServer 9.2 as well as Oracle and other technologies to build next generation GIS applications.

      NVision currently works onsite at two Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offices in Mississippi and Florida. NVision also has staff onsite at the Mineral Management Service in New Orleans, LA. In addition to these enterprise ESRI and Oracle installations, NVision supports the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic Division (NAVFAC), Applied Enterprise Solutions, and 3001, Inc.

      NVision continues to grow to support these and other clients developing new enterprise GIS applications that provide new capability with integration of legacy systems.

      Jamie Hughes holds a degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and is a graduate of the NASA Develop program, He joins NVision as a 3-D Feature Extraction Specialist.

      Sheila Reed has a degree in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from Alcorn State University and has over a decade of experience in the Information Technology field and will specialize in database support.

      Aaron Gibson received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and will provide GIS web application development for NVision's customers.

      Nate Coolidge received his Computer Science degree with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Southern Mississippi and is trained in developing ArcGIS Server 9.2 applications for both the .NET and Java frameworks.

      Suzanne Shean comes to NVision as a GIS Specialist with extensive and diverse experience in GIS, Remote Sensing, Web Application Development and a Master's degree in Urban & Regional Planning.

      Jeff Hudson is a member of the Oracle Technology Network and is certified in Oracle Architecture and Administration and received and Associate degree in Computer Information Systems. Jeff is joining the NVision team as an Oracle specialist.

      Jessica Herr has a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Southern Mississippi and recently joined NVision as a Technical Proposal Writer.

      Jason Weick received a BS in geography and brings a strong background in GIS and Image Processing to NVision's 3-D Feature Extraction and GIS teams.

      John Nielson received a BS in Mathematical Sciences and comes to NVision as a GIS Web and Remote Sensing Application Developer.

      Tara Cross comes on board with an undergraduate degree in Geography and a Masters degree in Geography. She joins NVision's new 3-D Feature Extraction Team.

      The knowledge, experience, and skill of these new NVision team members will continue to grow NVision's reputation as a nationwide, award-winning, leading integrator in the geospatial technology industry.

    2. GIS Analyst Earns GISP Certification

      2007 October 2, Naples, Florida — Marcia Fern, a Geographic Information System (GIS) Analyst from Australia based in WilsonMiller's Naples office, has earned the Certified GIS Professional (GISP) designation from the GIS Certification Institute. To obtain her certification, Fern demonstrated advanced education in GIS-related coursework and training, experience in GIS applications, contributions to industry associations, and high professional standards of ethics.

      Fern is the fourth WilsonMiller professional receive GISP certification, joining Regional Manager Jim Hunt and GIS Project Managers Michael D. Coles and Bryan Piersol. The quartet is in select company, being among only 181 Certified GIS Professionals in Florida and only 1,709 worldwide through August of this year.

      GIS technology is used at WilsonMiller to design, model, develop, integrate, manage, analyze, and present spatial data and applications using specialized computer hardware and software to solve complex spatial problems and support better decision-making. GIS is used to help public and private sector clients provide facilities management, asset management, and emergency response for local communities.

      Fern, who joined WilsonMiller in August of last year, graduated from Charles Sturt University in Australia with a degree in Spatial Information Systems (Urban Environment) in 2003. She also studied Visual Basic Programming at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2005.

      At WilsonMiller, Fern has worked on numerous GIS projects for clients in Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, Collier, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. In addition, she contributed to the development of a specialized land acquisition tool that allows clients to confidentially search for vacant land via the ESRI ArcReader mapping application in select county markets in Southwest Florida.

      About Wilsonmiller: WilsonMiller is a multidisciplinary planning, design, engineering, and surveying firm with a history of more than 50 years in professional consulting. With strategically located offices throughout Florida, the firm offers a single source of high-level, diverse services for land management, infrastructure, transportation, and environmental projects to public and private clients in Florida and beyond. WilsonMiller ranks among the top 150 design firms in the United States, according to Engineering News-Record's 2007 list.

  5. OTHER

    1. Capital Regional District Receives Award For Their Enterprise GIS and Web Mapping Applications

      2007 October 2, Victoria, British Columbia — The Information Technology and GIS Services Division at the Capital Regional District (CRD) was presented with an Award of Excellence at ESRI Canada's Regional User Conference in Victoria today. Blaine Castle, ESRI Canada Account Manager, presented the Award to the Capital Regional District in recognition of their enterprise GIS and web mapping applications.

      The CRD is the regional government for the 13 municipalities and three electoral areas that are located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The urban centre of the CRD is the City of Victoria, and the regional district also includes many of the Gulf Islands, a number of rural municipalities, and a vast tract of wilderness that lies along the south-western coast of Vancouver Island.

      "The Award of Excellence is going to a very deserving organization that is dedicated to the advancement of GIS within municipal government," said Mr. Castle. "They have made significant improvements with regard to the way that spatial data is created and maintained and have improved access to this data by leveraging internet mapping technology. Such initiatives are assisting the CRD in meeting key priorities in their Strategic Plan and giving them the tools necessary to make information available to the public, employees, and other government partners."

      The Capital Regional District began implementing an enterprise GIS in 2001 to centralize GIS data and maps and disseminate information via Internet mapping technology. The CRD provides GIS data and services to the public via a popular application called the CRD Natural Areas Atlas (www.naturalareasatlas.ca). In addition, the CRD has fostered partnerships across the various CRD municipalities through spatial data sharing arrangements. These partnerships have contributed significantly towards ensuring geographic information is easily accessible to local government partners, employees, and the public.

      In 2007, the CRD launched a new web map viewer to combine the functionality and data from the Natural Areas Atlas, the CRD Harbours Atlas, and CRD intraMap. In addition to further enhancing their public web mapping, the CRD is integrating GIS with their financial system in order to create an asset management and maintenance management system in preparation to meet the PS3150 requirements. Such initiatives are helping the CRD meet the key priorities in their Strategic Plan by reducing bottlenecks, improving data sharing, enhancing workforce management, and improving service delivery.

      The CRD also uses GIS for a variety of planning and operational purposes including emergency preparedness and fire protection, regional parks and trails, population growth and development, liquid waste management, transportation, and water supply and distribution. In June, the CRD successfully integrated a work order and asset management system into their GIS to improve the dissemination of information between their public works and engineering departments.

      About ESRI Canada: Established in 1984, ESRI Canada is a Canadian owned company specializing in geographic information systems (GIS) solutions. ESRI Canada distributes the world's leading GIS software solutions from ESRI Inc., Miner and Miner, and Azteca. In order to provide organizations with complete industry-specific solutions ESRI Canada has established an extensive business partner program that includes more than 125 Canadian organizations.

      ESRI Canada also provides professional services including consulting, training, technical support, and enterprise GIS implementation. ESRI Canada is a leader in providing world-class enterprise GIS solutions for many industries including local government, utilities, public safety and defence, business demographics, education, natural resources, and transportation. ESRI Canada has fifteen regional offices across the country, with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. For more information, please visit www.esricanada.com or call 1-800-447-9778.

    2. PhillyHistory Mobile Uses GIS to Guide Virtual Tours of Philadelphia's Past

      Redlands, California — PhillyHistory Mobile gives Philadelphia residents and visitors the ability to access more than 41,800 historic and cultural photos with simply a cell phone or wireless Internet-equipped device. The new, innovative, geographically searchable mobile Web site has an easy-to-use search screen where users can enter an address, intersection, keyword, or historic date for nearby historic or cultural sites. The resulting display returns a map of the area showing coordinates for various historic and cultural assets in close proximity, accompanied by photos of those assets.

      PhillyHistory Mobile is made possible by Sajara, a Web server-based geographic information system (GIS) application and digital asset management software product created by Philadelphia-based Avencia, Inc. Built on ESRI's ArcGIS Server and ArcIMS software, Sajara allows the Philadelphia Department of Records (DoR) to manage, update, and record metadata pertaining to each image in the city's photo archive. By uploading images, entering metadata, and assigning map coordinates to the images via Sajara's flexible geocoding function, PhillyHistory Mobile gives users the ability to view photos of their geographic location dating back, in some instances, to the mid-nineteenth century.

      "The PhillyHistory project has been a truly groundbreaking effort to create a whole new way of accessing historic material," says Robert Cheetham, president and CEO of Avencia. "It represents a convergence of technologies and opportunities. ESRI's products, Avencia's Sajara software, the Philly Wi-Fi initiative, and the increasing number of Internet-enabled phones and handheld computers have been brought together to provide additional texture to our experience of the city."

      PhillyHistory Mobile is an extension of PhillyHistory.org, the framework from which the mobile version is built. Developed by Avencia in 2004 to help the city preserve its deteriorating and aging photographic memories, PhillyHistory.org attracts thousands of unique visitors each month. Its e-commerce module supports funding of the project and creates revenue through the sale of prints and digital photos. PhillyHistory Mobile is a tool to support the city's tourism industry and to increase traffic to the Web site's growing e-commerce store. New images from the city's estimated two million photos are uploaded and viewable from both PhillyHistory media at an approximate rate of two thousand per month.

      "There is enormous potential for this sort of platform beyond the historic photos and maps in the PhillyHistory project," says Cheetham. "It can be applied to cultural resources, tours, real estate, and environmental information."

      To take a mobile tour of Philadelphia's past from a handheld computer or other mobile device, visit mobile.phillyhistory.org. For more information on ESRI's products and services, go to www.esri.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.

    3. GOcité Partners Receive Award For Corporate Municipal GIS

      2007 September 26, Montreal, Quebec — It was with great pride that Alex Miller, President of ESRI Canada, the world leader in GIS technology, presented the Award of Excellence to the partners of the GOcité project during the ESRI Regional User Conference in Montreal today.

      Prior to the award presentation, Michael Howard, GIS Manager, City of Sherbrooke, provided more than 200 conference attendees with a general outline of the GOcité project and the advantages that this innovative corporate municipal GIS offers to the City of Sherbrooke.

      "This Award of Excellence was presented to GOcité in recognition of the quality of the project and the positive impact it has had not only for GOcité partners, but also for the entire Quebec municipal community," said Mr. Miller.

      GOcité is the first municipal inventory management software package designed by cities, for cities. It brings together data models that meet specific municipal needs and includes specialized tools to improve the effectiveness of a variety of different users. Developed using industry standard systems, GOcité enables municipalities and related organizations to make use of spatial reference data with the help of advanced technological tools, while recognizing certain economies of scale.

      The GOcité project was formed as a result of a 1996 initiative between the Cities of Sherbrooke and Longueuil who were looking to develop a common geomatics system. In 2006, DMR Consulting (a Fujitsu Company) assumed responsibility for the upgrade and migration the GOcité project to ArcGIS. Today, the Cities of Sherbrooke, Longueuil, Victoriaville, Thetford Mines, and Saint-Eustache and the borough of Saint-Laurent in the City of Montreal have all collaborated on the GOcité project.

      GOcité is architected as an enterprise GIS. The spatial data, including infrastructure and base map data, is centrally maintained in an RDBMS using ArcSDE. Data updates are handled by the various municipal services that have the necessary expertise to ensure the quality and integrity of the information that enters the system. The data serves a number of applications including infrastructure and asset management, urban planning, taxation, and operations planning. Datasets available include hydrographic, cadastral, sewer, electrical, topographic, and environmental data.

      The GOcité web platform, built on ArcIMS technology, provides access to maps and online services for City employees via an Internet browser. This service has proven to be very useful for municipal employees who are not proficient in geomatics and need to access their City's spatial data. The data is also available to selected City employees via ArcGIS Desktop.

      About ESRI Canada: Established in 1984, ESRI Canada is a Canadian owned company specializing in geographic information systems (GIS) solutions. ESRI Canada distributes the world's leading GIS software solutions from ESRI Inc., Miner and Miner, and Azteca. In order to provide organizations with complete industry-specific solutions ESRI Canada has established an extensive business partner program that includes more than 125 Canadian organizations. ESRI Canada also provides professional services including consulting, training, technical support, and enterprise GIS implementation.

      ESRI Canada is a leader in providing world-class enterprise GIS solutions for many industries including local government, utilities, public safety and defence, business demographics, education, natural resources, and transportation. ESRI Canada has fifteen regional offices across the country, with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. For more information, please visit www.esricanada.com or call 1-800-447-9778.

    4. MAPPS Praises House Passage of FIRM Act

      2007 September 27, Reston, Virginia — MAPPS (www.mapps.org) praised today's passage of H.R. 3121 the "Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization (FIRM) Act of 2007", by the U.S. House of Representatives.

      The FIRM Act will reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, through 2013. The bill doubles funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program, from $200 million to $400 million per year. It extends mapping to a 500-year flood plain, as well as areas protected by levees and dams, and reestablishes the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC). During House consideration of H.R. 3121, an amendment by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, was adopted by voice vote.

      The amendment included three key areas that the MAPPS Task Force on FEMA flood map modernization and reform recommended to Congress. The provisions included using current, state-of-the-art geospatial technologies for collection of new elevation data, mapping on a watershed basis rather than by political jurisdictions, and the inclusion of a member of a professional mapping association on the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC) that will advise FEMA on further improvements to the NFIP mapping program.

      "Passage of this bill is a testament to the hard work of the MAPPS staff and our FEMA Task Force members," said Marvin Miller, CP, PLS, PPS, MAPPS President (AERO-METRIC, Inc., Maple Grove, MN). "The members of the MAPPS Task Force have worked to educate members of Congress and their staff of the capabilities available to enhance data acquisition for NFIP."

      MAPPS created a FEMA Task Force in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and developed recommendations to improve FEMA's Flood Map Modernization program. MAPPS established this Task Force, comprised of leading geospatial professionals with expertise in flood mapping, to review Federal policies and to make recommendations, to assist in the protection of property, and to instill financial integrity to the government's flood insurance program.

      The members of the task force are: Silas Suazo, CET, Bohannan Huston, Inc. (chairman); Michael Bullock, Intermap Technologies, Inc.; Vince DiCamillo, CFM, Greenhorne & O'Mara, Inc.; David Greenwood, Michael Baker Jr., Inc. and David Maune, Ph.D., CP, CFM, Dewberry, Inc.

      On June 12, 2007 Dr. Maune testified before a House Financial Services Subcommittee on behalf of MAPPS on flood mapping improvements. In his testimony, he urged Congress to adopt the MAPPS reforms, which were included in the bill passed by the House today. The House passed H.R. 3121 by a vote of 263 to 146. "This is a great victory for MAPPS, but more importantly, this bill will benefit the entire Nation," said Suazo, Chairman of the MAPPS Task Force.

      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 Active 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 Firms, 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.

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