2007 October 25

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Editor's Introduction

This week, I summarize two recent reports: one by the market research firm LDC on current attitudes toward location-based services (LBS) and one by the RAND Corporation on the sharing of geospatial data among U.S. military organizations. Plus a quick follow-up on a story I wrote last week and 22 press releases.

Matteo Luccio

IDC Releases LBS Study

Last fall, I wrote: "For years now, location-based services (LBS) for consumers using cell phones have been just over the horizon… which is that imaginary line that recedes as you approach it! Now, however, that might be finally changing, as wireless carriers and software companies begin to make full use of handsets' GPS capabilities." A year later, a study by IDC, a market research company, paid for by True Position, an LBS company, concludes that the rapidly evolving field of wireless LBS, is now "ready to emerge as an important new opportunity for the wireless industry." After being "kept alive" for several years by the enterprise market, wireless LBS is finally "on the cusp of mass-market adoption for both the consumer and the enterprise."

The 20-page study, Opportunities for Location-Based Services in Consumer and Enterprise Markets, to be released next Monday, contains no striking new revelations, but serves to confirm well-known trends. Written by Carrie MacGillivray, it is based on a recent on-line survey of 5,000 consumer and enterprise decision makers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Spain. With a few exceptions, the differences in responses between the countries were insignificant. Also, in most categories, the respondents gave high ratings (on a scale of 1 to 10) to most of the options they were given, with little differentiation between them.

The study starts with the bold assertion that the technology challenges associated with LBS "have been resolved." To support this claim, it cites three factors:

Read more…

RAND Report on GIS in the Military

From the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to workcenters on military installations in the United States and abroad, the Department of Defense (DoD) uses a vast amount of geospatial information — to support everyday business functions (such as environmental management and emergency response), intelligence, and warfighting. Both the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and DoD have issued guidelines and directives stressing the need for coordinating, sharing, and integrating these geospatial data assets, most of which are in the form of GIS datasets, across DoD and other federal agencies. To this end, in July 2004 DoD created a new organization, the Defense Installation Spatial Data Infrastructure (DISDI) office, reporting to the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, and, in April 2006, it designated the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as the lead office for DoD geospatial information management issues.

A recent report, Installation Mapping Enables Many Missions: The Benefits of and Barriers to Sharing Geospatial Data Assets, by the National Defense Research Institute, a unit of the RAND Corporation, assesses the net effects of sharing geospatial data within and across the business, warfighting, and intelligence mission areas of DoD's Global Information Grid. It also recommends how DISDI could maximize the benefits of such sharing. To identify the range of missions for which DoD uses geospatial data and its current and potential future effects, RAND researchers interviewed more than 100 producers and consumers of geospatial data, reviewed literature on both geospatial technology and effect assessment, and examined sample geospatial data. They also developed a complex methodology for assessing the effects of sharing geospatial data, then used it to estimate some effects across the department. In addition, they identified barriers "that limit the widespread use and sharing of such assets within and outside DoD" and made recommendations for how DISDI could help overcome them.

This monograph — commissioned by OSD and written by Beth E. Lachman, Peter Schirmer, David R. Frelinger, Victoria A. Greenfield, Michael S. Tseng, and Tiffany Nichols — provides a window into a world that is mostly separate from the civilian world. It should be of great interest to the larger GIS community, for three reasons. First, because this 285-page report — with 22 figures, 22 tables, and more than 150 examples, covering a vast range of applications, from department-wide, long-term planning to managing and monitoring janitorial services at Langley AFB — is one of the most detailed ever written on all the ways in which geospatial data is used within a single large organization. Second, because it provides analysis of the barriers to sharing information and recommendations as to how to overcome them. Third, because its methodology for assessing the value of sharing geospatial data is noteworthy.

Read more…


Last week I reported on which desktop GIS products support Microsoft Windows Vista. According to Moshe Binyamin, global product manager for MapInfo, MapInfo Professional version 9, which was released in June, is fully compatible with Vista.

News Briefs

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


    1. Spot Image Launches 'One World, One Year' Imagery Layer on Google Earth

    2. Oracle Offers Database Customers Access to Satellite and Aerial Imagery from DigitalGlobe

    3. Enspiria Solutions and Tensing Sign Partnership Agreement.

    4. NVision Solutions and Computer Sciences Corporation Selected by National Geospatial Intelligence Agency for first NGA Mentor-Protégé Program in Mississippi

    5. 1Spatial leading Open Geospatial Consortium Research Initiative on Data Quality

    6. eSpatial Announces Partnership with NAVSYS and Demonstrates "WebGRIM", an Advanced Application for the Real Time Capture, Processing and Delivery of Geo-Referenced Imagery at GEOINT SYMPOSIUM 2007

    7. GAF AG to Support Distribution of ERSDAC PALSAR L-Band SAR Data — Enhancing Capabilities in Mapping and Monitoring

    8. Amador Water Agency California, Selects Munsys To Map and Manage Water and Wastewater Networks

    9. Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging Signs Agreement with Infoterra Ltd

    10. PEMEX Signs New 5-Year RADARSAT Environmental Monitoring Contract With MDA

    11. East View Cartographic Supports Wildlife Conservation Society


    1. CANON U.S.A. Introduces The New imagePROGRAF iPF9100 and iPF8100 12-Color Large Format Printers

    2. Valtus Announces Significant New Coverage in Central Alberta Now Online

    3. Navman Wireless OEM Solutions Introduces New Mobile Data Terminal

    4. Universal Address Makes Mobile GMaps Universal

    5. Pictometry Military Planner to Debut at GEOINT 2007

    6. Topcon Offers GSM Upgrades for GR-3 GNSS Receiver


    1. California Land Surveyors Association Annual Conference

    2. UNH GIS Day 2007 Conference to Feature United States National Park Service Cartographic Exhibition

    3. URISA Announces Leadership Academy Course Details

  4. OTHER

    1. Environment Canada's Science and Risk Assessment Branch Recognized for using GIS to Monitor, Account, and Report on Greenhouse Gases

    2. DMTI Spatial Releases New Whitepaper: Building Capacity for Location Intelligence in the Enterprise

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Matteo Luccio, Editor
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