Points of Interest: January 17, 2005

Microsoft to Create GIS for India. The AP reports that Microsoft Corp. will help the Indian government "digitize its vast collection of satellite images, data from sensors and other information about the country's terrain." It's the first project under a newly signed memorandum of understanding noted recently in conjunction with the new Microsoft Research lab in the country. The goal is to produce a GIS "to make data available to the public in an easily understandable form." While the aim is to support relief efforts, I'd be curious is the raw data will become available to the public. That's one of the challenges in that country today. Further, since the data is likely already digital, the work should be mostly compilation. A columnist from the Seattle area, home of Microsoft, indicated the tsunamis did indeed direct the work of the new lab, though some of the vision (such as identifying areas vulnerable to the tsunamis) had been articulated before the lab opened.

Intergraph Wins Over HP in Germany. While several hardware vendors approached by Intergraph with hardware patent infringement charges settled after seeing a few big wins, HP did not. It sued Intergraph for software patent infringement, CAD software. One of those cases, in Germany ended on Jan 7. It was thrown out and HP was directed to pay all costs. The only place I've seen the story in on Ralph Grabowski's Blog, though the documents on the case are posted on the Intergraph Intellectual Property website.

Inaccurate Undersea Map Kills One. On land, at least here in the US we spend more time mapping where the people are and less where there are just trees and rangeland. The same is true of the ocean. Unfortunately, that meant that a "less traveled" area 360 miles southeast of Guam was not mapped too accurately, nor too often. A nuclear-powered attack submarine crashed (the original story is from the New York Times, but here no registration is required) into an underwater "mountain" recently using Defense Mapping Agency charts from 1989 that showed no obstacles. Many sailors were injured and one died. Recent satellite imagery, interestingly from Landsat, suggested a hazard. Unfortunately, the Navy had not asked that charts be updated and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (which subsumed DMA) does not have the manpower to update charts.

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Source: Material used herein is often supplied by external sources and used as is.