Operating in the Dark

  • Going on Around the Web: The Race To Wire America

  • November 17 - 21, 2003 By Susan Smith
    A weekly news magazine featuring important industry news profiles, a summary of recently published GIS product and company news, customer wins, and coming events. Brought to you by GISCafe.

    Message from the Editor

    Welcome to GISWeekly! In this week's webcast hosted by GITA, The August 14th Blackout: A Perspective on the Future of Utility Automation and IT, the seriousness of the country's electric power dilemma was addressed and the role of GIS and IT technology challenged. According to Mike Marullo of InfoNetrix, a market research firm, the August 14 Blackout stunned the nation, yet those people directly involved in the day-to-day planning, design, and operation of the grid were not surprised. Read what Mike had to say in this week's Industry News.

    GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Alliances/Acquisitions, Announcements, New Products, Going on Around the Web, and Calendar.

    GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think. Send your comments to me at Managing Editor

    Best wishes,
    Susan Smith, Managing Editor

    Industry News

    Operating in the Dark
    By Susan Smith

    In this week's webcast hosted by GITA, The August 14th Blackout: A Perspective on the Future of Utility Automation and IT, the seriousness of the country's electric utility dilemma was addressed and the role of GIS and IT technology challenged. One presenter, Mike Marullo, Director, Strategic Market Research, InfoNetrix LLC spoke on the topic: “Blackout Impact on Utility Automation and IT: The Short and the Long of it.” According to Marullo, the August 14 Blackout stunned the nation, yet those people directly involved in the day-to-day planning, design, and operation of the grid were not surprised. Many industry practitioners surveyed by InfoNetrix just prior to the Blackout were already speculating that such an event would occur.

    InfoNetrix developed a methodology for looking at market drivers, issues and trends over the past couple of years. “We look at the structure of the electric utility marketplace in the U.S. and Canada,” explained Marullo. “There are basically about 3500 utilities in the North American continent. About 3150 in U.S., another 375 in Canada and this amounts to roughly a ten to one ratio. The significance we find is this ratio is typically reflected in annual utility automation and IT spending as well. In any given year you can figure the Canadian portion of the market is going to be anywhere between 5 and 15% depending where the dollar is against Canada. It averages out to about 10%. There are about 250 large investor owned utilities and some of the large federal power agencies that collectively account for about 75% to 80% of all expenditures in these areas. Historically, this percentage has been pretty consistent but we do expect and we are seeing a slight shift of more projects going to smaller utilities going forward. This is really the result of municipals and some of the larger and even smaller electric coops advancing some of their automation and IT platforms progressively in the years ahead. That is being precipitated by deregulation and market restructuring.”

    Key Utility Automation & IT Initiatives
    The backbone of real time automation systems in this area is SCADA-“Supervisory control and data acquisition” - and external applications such as outage management, are increasingly moving up to the enterprise level where before they were sort of buried at a lot of utilities, said Marullo. Over time they have become more valuable and as they've become more visible throughout the enterprise. Specifically this means things like SCADA and asset management, etc., are becoming more core to utility business. And also they are beginning to achieve tangible benefits for the utility. They are moving up the scale in terms of utility consciousness, awareness and priority. “This is very consistent with utility managements' focus on return on investment and the shift to what we sometimes refer to as 'application execution mode.' The translation of application execution mode simply means that after many years and in the case of a lot utilities, decades, and after having spent million of dollars in investments in automation, projects like this will increasingly expect to have a measurable ROI now and in the future, and will ask the management to play a major role in that emphasis.”

    “As a result these million critical automation components are moving up the priority list where they are becoming substantially more visible than ever before. And also for the first time , specifically due to the Blackout, at some utilities are now being used as a critical part of the core infrastructure upon which utilities will rely in the future for safe, reliable deregulation. Moving ahead, there's the new issue of cost effectiveness in their operation--whereas historically utility industries have been predominately focused on safety and reliability in a regulated environment.”

    According to Marullo, two of the most pervasive impacts on the Blackout were transmission congestion and customer service.

    “Transmission congestion was a problem that was talked about for many years extensively prior to this dramatic system outage that we experienced in August, but quite frankly, most of that discussion was in technology circles like the Power and Engineering Society, EEE, and some congressional subcommittees, etc. There was no public awareness of how bad this congestion had actually become and the amount of investment required to rectify it. Many of you have heard Spencer Abraham comment that anywhere from $50 to $100 billion would be required - I just saw recently in an article that they're talking about in the next ten years, it will cost into the trillions. But that kind of dialog and discourse was almost nonexistent prior to the Blackouts. We say the squeaky wheel gets the grease and I think we can all agree that 50 million people losing power is a pretty loud squeak.”

    Customer service is another area where the Blackout helped to dramatically elevate the public mindset. “This was something that had already gained a lot of momentum in the utility mindset as deregulation began to move throughout the country, but the public really is become very tuned in to customer service issues, particularly when it comes to reliability and availability,” noted Marullo. “Performance based regulation, which we commonly refer to as PBR, makes utilities more accountable for their expenditures -- particularly those affecting rates, and is quite possibly the most positive outgrowth of the federal energy regulatory commission's market restructuring initiatives. The most immediate result of PBR is it's giving consumers a louder voice in how they are served, not only by whom. This is an interesting twist because in the early days of deregulation I think many, if not most, people thought that competition, right of choice, would be the primary purpose and focus of deregulation. That's changed somewhat.”

    Important Markets and Trends

    “InfoNetrix is in the process of compiling our annual market reports for principle areas that we define as comprising utility, automation and IT markets space. In order to help us track market changes and organize in a technically consistent manner, we developed something we call the Seven Signs of Market Evolution.

    “Markets and trends we've identified as being the most important ones:
    1) Politics and fear associated with economic, regulatory, security and other dimensions of the market are having a fundamental impact on the overall market direction and growth. Needless to say, the Blackout exacerbated an already unsettled set of conditions that began with the California power crisis and all the county scandals, collapse of Enron, etc. 2) Most of the research talked about in markets like this have historically been very technically driven and we look at the market drivers and things that are really determining the future of the market today and many of them are non technical; more business, political or regulatory related, so that's a pretty dramatic shift in the marketplace.

    “3) Over the past decade utilities have been indoctrinated in the art of doing more with less. Sometimes this comes at the expense of mission critical applications and that's a growing problem. The advent of greater standardization will partially help to alleviate some of those issues, but regulatory mandates and some of the new rules, things like PBR, GASB34 which is a government accounting standards board, and NERC 1200 - the new security mandate -- will still play the starring role in the shaping of this marketplace.

    “4) Improved security, 5) growing economic stability, 6) more realistic solution sets and 7) return of operational stability by the utilities themselves will also play very important roles in future market evolution. The stability issue is something that for the first time ever in the history of the utility industry became an issue - now that the economy's getting a bit back to normal, utilities are getting back to core business-a good thing for the industry overall.

    “Looking to the future, utilities are going to be faced with all kinds of new challenges in years ahead. Besides issues of transmission congestion and outages that were underlined by the Blackout, suppliers for example, continue to be plagued with security compliance, ROI justifications, communication, cost issues and complexities and particularly, continued downward pricing pressure at virtually all levels.

    “Utilities will continue to have their own security compliance issues, however, especially as related to finding money for implementation while they're already struggling to handle existing workloads with fewer resources, more rigorous accounting measures, and ultimately trying to digest the last frantic round of utility mergers and acquisitions. Meanwhile the critical successful factors in this market will center around competitive pricing, open standards for viable project execution, cost effective system migration paths and new technology, and particularly the ability to create a sound business case to justify projects in the future.

    “This is how we see the market evolving over the next three to five areas in two key areas- 1) TMS, which is Team Management Solutions which includes all the real time automation and control disciplines. Transmission level systems will benefit immediately from what we sometimes characterize as hysterical spending when there's a major event like a Blackout. The public outcry has a big impact, the politicians all wake up and take notice, the utilities themselves have shareholders to consider; a lot of activity in the short term. However, over the next 18 months we expect that will subside and be replaced by a more pragmatic approach to gradually upgrading the entire power and delivery network

    “We see the distribution area as being a strong candidate for being a beneficiary of the Blackout as power and delivery investment becomes more fashionable again in years ahead. This is something utilities have swept under the mats for a long time.”

    GIS Technology

    Utilities expect to dominate the field data devices area with increasing demands for cheap standard devices, according to Marullo. The full impact of NERC 1200, the newly released security standard, will also be felt most dramatically after January 2005, even though it goes into effect this coming January.

    Another area InfoNetrix looks at carefully is geospatial mobile computing solutions or GMCS, said Marullo. “It's broken down into subcategories, the first one is AM/FM/GIS - and related conversion services. This market has flattened out quite a bit since the days when had the $20 year, $20 million conversion investment projects.”

    Utilities, moving into this application/execution mode, will be looking for tangible benefits and measurable ROI, and mobile computing is very likely to lead the way as applications are being increasingly pushed out in the field.

    Mobile computing is presently a much smaller market than the traditional AM/FM/GIS area, but is growing at a very rapid rate, in the double digits, and is an integral part of this application/execution phase of evolution. “Among other things the Blackout called attention to the need for mobility, especially in terms of restoration strategies and the ability to restore service quickly after a massive failure like the Blackout. In the future you can expect mobile to migrate rapidly from being predominately a GIS mainstream to a GIS mainstream enterprise role, and this migration will be fueled by improving communications, better security, more bandwidth and lower prices.”

    In summary, Marullo said that InfoNetrix believed the Blackout ironically is likely to have a more positive impact than negative, if not in the short run, most certainly in the longer view. The rising awareness of the beneficial value of automation coupled with the urgency to relieve transmission congestion, and also better tools to detect, prevent and recover from power outages can contribute to investing in power delivery.

    In the past, utilities have responded to Blackouts and other crises by building more generation, but Marullo cited a report that generation is substantially overbuilt and the economic recovery will probably not have a huge impact on demand that goes beyond our capacity at the moment.

    Other advantages are that utilities may find a more balanced approach to prevention or remediation, “an outcome that can not only yield a safer more reliable power supply but also the potential for huge savings on both sides of the meter by placing greater emphasis on recovery rather than just prevention,” concluded Marullo. “Finally, it will encourage the industry to strive for solutions that are easy to own, operate and support, systems that deliver a tangible return and also offer a clear path to solution sets.”


    NavCom Technology, Inc., communications and precise positioning company, announced that it has signed a dealer/distribution agreement with Beijing UniStrong to represent NavCom's GPS products and services in the People's Republic of China. “Beijing Unistrong looks forward to a long and prosperous relationship with NavCom", Mr.Guo the general manager of Beijing UniStrong said. "We believe that the high-quality, high-accuracy NavCom receivers represent the best and most cost-effective solution to the growing market need."

    IDELIX(R) Software Inc. and Paragon Imaging announced a partnership agreement that will see IDELIX's award-winning Pliable Display Technology (PDT) integrated into Paragon's industry leading ELT(R) (Electronic Light Table) Series software.

    Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS - News), satellite data ground processing and command, control and communications systems company, announced that it has been awarded a one- year study contract by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for ground segment work supporting the advanced Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) program. Scheduled to launch in 2012, GOES-R will feature highly advanced sensor technology and will provide much higher resolution and data frequency than the current GOES spacecraft family.

    The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a $142.5 million fixed-price-incentive-fee contract for three additional Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. This action authorizes modernization and production of GPS-IIF satellites numbers four through six, and the production of long-lead parts for IIF satellites seven through nine.


    Istambul British Embassy
    QuickBird image depicting the Turkish city of Istanbul, where powerful explosions ripped through the British Consulate and a London-based bank near a popular shopping area in Istanbul Thursday. This image is of the British Consulate (upper left side) collected by DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite on October 22, 2002. (Image courtesy of DigitalGlobe)

    As the U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing industry matures and expands, the issue of identifying the value chain for imagery to potential customers in different market segments from agriculture to emergency planning. Despite the correlations between commercial satellite imagery and aerial imagery, traditional focus has been on the competition of the two data sets. Industry experts & leaders are gathering at the U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing Industry forum, December 1 & 2 in Washington D.C. to converge on these emerging issues. Complementing the discussions on the future of commercial remote sensing, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) will be exhibiting to introduce the Director's Innovative Initiative (DII) program. The DII Program (http://dii.westfields.net/.) provides a risk tolerant environment to invest in cutting edge technologies and high payoff concepts relevant to the NRO's mission.

    The Open GIS Consortium, Inc. (OGC) is issuing a Request for Quotations and a Call For Participation in the Emergency Mapping Symbology (EMS) Initiative. This call seeks interested technology providers to make proposals in response to a defined set of requirements addressing interoperability needs for the use of symbology in emergency mapping. The EMS Initiative will mature OGC's specification framework for interoperable geographic symbolization while simultaneously testing emerging standard map symbol sets for emergency response developed by national-level agencies. The Call document is available at http://www.opengis.org/initiatives/?iid=87.

    HP (NYSE:HPQ) reported financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31, 2003. Fourth quarter revenue was $19.9 billion, an increase of 10% year-over-year and 14% over the third fiscal quarter. This compares to analyst consensus estimates of $19.0 billion for the quarter. Non-GAAP(1) operating profit was $1.4 billion for the quarter, or 7.2% of revenue, an increase of 63% year-over-year and 67% sequentially. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share (EPS) was $0.36 for the quarter, compared to analyst consensus estimates of $0.35, up 50% from $0.24 last year and 57% from $0.23 in the third quarter. Non-GAAP diluted EPS and non-GAAP net earnings include a $241 million adjustment on an after-tax basis, or $0.08 per diluted share. The pre-tax adjustment includes $190 million of restructuring charges, $143 million in amortization of purchased intangible assets, and $29 million for various acquisition-related items. All non-GAAP financial information in this release is reconciled in the table below titled, "Non-GAAP Consolidated Condensed Statement of Earnings."

    Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions announced the City of Siegburg has selected Intergraph's GeoMedia(R) WebMap Professional as the new technology for the foundation of its SiGIS geographical information system. SiGIS provides city departments with comprehensive access to geospatial data. The city maintains more than 25 different types of information - from statistic, cadastral and real estate information to tourist and utilities information - to serve more than 35,000 residents. Previously based on SICAD, SiGIS will now use a GeoMedia-based solution to give city employees high-performance access via an intranet and provide public access for residents and visitors via the Internet.

    The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) announced that the Call for Abstracts for its XXth Congress attracted a record number of submissions, more than 1770. Convening in Istanbul, Turkey, 12-23 July 2004, the Congress will feature a Scientific Programme with more than 50 poster sessions and 100 oral presentation sessions. Over the 12 days of the Congress, these sessions will be organized so that similar topics have minimum overlap and participants have time to visit the exhibition to learn about recent technological developments.

    Intermap Technologies Corporation, announced that it has received its first contract for digital mapping data from its recently announced NEXTMap USA program. The contract, valued at approximately US $852,000 (CDN $1,141,000), is for digital elevation mapping data within the state of Mississippi. Preliminary work has begun with progressive deliveries occurring through Q2 2004.

    The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) praised energy legislation being proposed by Energy Conference Committee Chairmen Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Billy Tauzin (R-La.). The proposed "Chairman's Mark" released November 15th, includes two significant provisions designed to stimulate investment and create new jobs in the U.S. geothermal industry. "Geothermal energy is an enormous, underused heat and power resource that is clean (emits little or no greenhouse gases), reliable (average system availability of 95 percent), and homegrown (making us less dependent on foreign oil)," according to the US Department of Energy's web site ( http://www.eere.energy.gov/geothermal ). There is roughly 3,000 MW of geothermal power on-line in the Western United States.

    The Department of Homeland Security is pleased to announce an additional $725 million dollars from the FY '04 Budget for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), for grants to urban areas within the United States to help enhance their overall security and preparedness level to prevent, respond and recover from acts of terrorism. These funds are being made available in addition to the nearly $800 million that the Department's Office for Domestic Preparedness awarded during FY '03 specifically for urban areas.

    Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that its series of Extreme Mapping(SM) Seminars is continuing with several European dates. Mapping professionals in local governments, cadastres, federal agencies, engineering firms, and utilities can learn how they can benefit from capabilities such as "fuzzy-to-focused" methodologies and 3D technology that are only available in Bentley's mapping solutions.

    Seminar dates and locations will be scheduled in the coming months. For more information or to register for a seminar, go to Extreme Mapping or call +1 610 458 5000.

    ESRI announced that ArcIMS users wanting to add routing capabilities to their ArcIMS software-powered Web sites can now use the ArcIMS Route Server extension with updated Geographic Data Technology (GDT) and Tele Atlas data packs.


    EarthData announced the promotion of Jorge A. Canovas to the new position of director of international and government relations. The appointment of Canovas, an attorney experienced in international relations and federal affairs, is another step in EarthData's drive both to provide international markets with the same advanced technologies and services available in the United States and to continue building congressional support for critical domestic geospatial preparedness and other programs. As director of international and government relations, Canovas will expand EarthData's business in nations where geospatial services are critically needed, as well as broaden EarthData's government affairs practice to increase the U.S. legislative constituency for and awareness of the latest mapping technologies.

    Matrox Electronic Systems, Ltd., announced that co-founder and president, Lorne Trottier, has been awarded Le Prix Lionel-Boulet. Awarded to researchers who have distinguished themselves through their inventions, their scientific and technological innovations, their leadership in scientific development, and their contribution to Québec's economic growth, this award is dedicated to the memory of Lionel Boulet (1919-1996), an engineer and founder of ERIQ, the Electricity Research Institute of Québec. It honors leading figures who have distinguished themselves through their industrial research and development (R&D) activities.

    New Products The City and County of San Francisco presented a preview this week of the new CrimeMAPS (mapping analysis for public safety) technology at the third annual Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Day at City Hall, with appearances by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., Police Chief Alex Fagan and other city officials. The goal of the new IT system is to transform the way police track and uncover crime patterns.

    BAE Systems Mission Solutions has introduced its commercial Geospatial eXploitation Products(TM) line of business with worldwide direct sales of SOCET SET(R) and VITec(R) software applications. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Geospatial eXploitation Products has regional sales offices covering the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia, Asia, and the Pacific Rim region.

    Leica Geosystems announced the introduction of a new family of surveying total stations optimized for construction and building applications.

    Advanced Merchant Solutions Inc., the creators of the award winning Pocket Verifier family of software, has released Pocket CrossCheck for wireless check guarantee. Pocket CrossCheck operates on a wide variety of wireless PDA's, including the popular Treo sold by Sprint, T-Mobile and Cingular, the Kyocera 7135 from Verizon, the Samsung i300, 330, and 500, and many more that use the Palm Operating System.

    Canadian company DMTI Spatial announced it's latest contribution to the GIS community with the launch of CanMap® v7.3 and Enhanced Points of Interest (EPOI) v3.0.

    Ekahau announced the availability of Ekahau Site Survey 2.0 (ESS) software. ESS is an easy-to-use software tool for 802.11a/b/g network site surveys and optimization.

    Cheves Media LLC announced a new publication, The American Surveyor, a fresh and innovative publication for today's land surveyors and geomatics professionals. With a broad circulation that includes both print and electronic formats, The American Surveyor promises to blend “world-class feature editorial, contributions by respected columnists, and unique journalistic portraits of contemporary American surveyors.” Eight issues will be published in 2004, beginning with the charter issue in January. Content will focus on all aspects of surveying, mapping, and measurement and positioning.

    Books -

    upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. announces the launch of Tailoring Visio 2002, the e-book for new and experienced Visio users. The 378-page e-book contains step-by-step tutorials for learning how to customize the popular diagramming software. The e-book is authored by Ralph Grabowski and Frank Zander. Tailoring Visio 2002 is published exclusively in Adobe Acrobat format. Price is $25.95 with electronic delivery; $29.95 on CD, shipping included. (All prices in US funds.)

    GIS Web services offer geographic information system (GIS) functionality through a worldwide connection on the Internet. An increasing number of industries rely on these services to use GIS content and capabilities in applications without having to host the data or develop the necessary tools themselves. Connecting Our World: GIS Web Services, a new book from ESRI Press , provides an introduction to GIS Web services and a broad sampling of the applications that have been developed using them.

    Featured Downloads

    Utilities and Scripts

    FME SDP Server Evaluation Software The FME Spatial Data Provider (SDP) Server allows users of OLE DB consumer applications to directly access over 100 FME-supported formats. This enables powerful integrations and customer solutions to be quickly and easily set up and deployed. Customer data can be published directly from its native format or database system without any need for conversion. Organizations and GIS Professionals using this product will save time and money by leveraging off existing data inventories.

    Going on Around the Web...

    Fast and Furious: The Race to Wire America, by Matt Richtel, NY Times (registration required), November 16, 2003-- Like the building of the railroads in the 19th century and the development of the highway system in the 20th century, the wiring of America represents huge opportunities - and risks - for companies large and small. To the winners will go monthly access fees from tens of millions of households and businesses.

    In Utah, Public Works Project in Digital by Matt Richtel, NY Times, November 17, 2003--Salt Lake City and 17 other cities in Utah are planning to construct the largest ultrahigh-speed data network in the country, using fiber optic cables, at a cost of $470 million.

    COMDEX Goes Business Class,CNET.com News (registration required), Sunday November 16, 2003 - In recent years, Comdex has served as a showcase for consumer items. This year, however, it will focus on technology for the working world, such as mobile computing and utility computing.

    Going on in November...

    2003 CityView User Conference
    Date: November 5 - 7, 2003
    Place: Toronto, Canada
    Integrating the Enterprise. Meet with and learn from your peers and find out about new features in CityView.

    Date: November 6, 2003
    Place: Hadley's Hotel Hobart, Australia
    DataVision GIS, in conjunction with ESRI Australia, Ultimate Positioning and RIA Mobile GIS, will host a Mobile GIS Seminar on the 6 November 2003. The seminar will be held at Hadley's Hotel in Hobart, Australia, at 2pm. This is a great opportunity for Tasmanians to learn about the latest in mobile geographic information systems technology. Please note that although the seminar is free you will need to register, by 31 October 2003, in order to reserve your place. The Registration Form can be downloaded from: http://www.datavision.net.au/Seminar_Mobile.html

    30th International Symposium on Remote Sensing of Environment
    Date: November 10 - 14, 2003
    Place: Honolulu, HI USA
    The symposium will bring together the knowledge and experience of experts from around the world in remote sensing of environment, and you are invited to be a part of it. In our commitment to sustaining development into the new millennium, specific perspectives will be featured in the technical program of this international assembly of the remote sensing community, the themes of Hazards & Disasters, Global Change, Natural Resources, and Technology and Infrastructure.

    ESRI Mid-Atlantic User Group ESRI Mid-Atlantic User Group
    Date: November 12 - 14, 2003
    Place: Sheraton Reston Hotel, Reston, VA USA
    The ESRI Mid-Atlantic User Group (ESRI-MUG) announces its annual GIS conference November 12-14, 2003, at the Sheraton Reston Hotel, 11810 Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA, 20191. November 12th will be devoted to three all-day training seminars. On November 13-14, 2003, the conference will feature keynote speakers, vendor exhibits, poster displays, user presentations, and ESRI technical sessions. For more information on the conference or to register, visit the ESRI-MUG web site (www.esrimug.org ) or contact Jeff Poplin, Conference Chair, at jpoplin@dewberry.com or (703) 849-0614. For exhibitor information, contact Delaney Meeting and Event Management at (802) 655-7769.

    Seven Hills Regional User Group for GIS (SHRUG)
    Date: November 17 - 21, 2003
    Place: Tallahassee - Leon County Civic Center Tallahassee, FL USA
    2nd Annual GIS Workshop - "Expanding Our Boundaries" Training Sessions : November 17-18, 2003 GIS Workshop: November 19-21, 2003 Building on the success of the 2002 SHRUG GIS Workshop, we are extending the 2003 Workshop another full day. The first day of the Workshop coincides with GIS Day (November 19th)! Pre-Workshop training sessions will also be available for purchase. These professionally-instructed, two-day sessions will take place on November 17-18. The sessions will cover a variety of popular GIS topics, ranging from Beginner to Advanced. The Seven Hills Regional Usergroup for GIS webpage will provide additional information like costs, directions, registration, hotels, and training availability. Inquiries: workshop@shrug-gis.info

    CARIS 2003 - Gateways in Geomatics
    Date: November 18 - 21, 2003
    Place: Adam's Mark St. Hotel St. Louis, MO USA
    Hosted in St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, the CARIS 2003 conference theme, "Gateways in Geomatics," reflects the exciting results of recent advances in geospatial technology. Join us to learn how CARIS software is are opening doors for improved data quality, data sharing, facilitating the introduction of Geomatics to new audiences and is turning data into information...learn how CARIS is creating Gateways in Geomatics!

    GIS Day
    Date: November 20, 2003
    Place: USA
    November 20 every year GIS Day serves to make people aware of mapping technology and the vital contributions it is making in the fields of science, technology, information, and the humanities. It is a day for GIS enthusiasts to show individuals and organizations how to apply geographic information in their own communities, businesses, and environments and experience the amazing benefits of GIS technology. Principal sponsors of the event are the National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the United States Geological Survey, the Library of Congress, the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science, Sun Microsystems, and ESRI. Users of GIS technology are invited to be a part of this worldwide educational mission and register to host an event. Participating organizations will receive support in promoting their event to local schools, newspapers, and other organizations.

    FME Training Surrey
    Date: November 20 - 21, 2003
    Place: (Safe Headoffice) BC, Canada
    Learn from the source how to use the core components of the Feature Manipulation Engine (FME) through hands-on training. During our two-day (1/3 lecture, 2/3 exercise and problem solving) training course, attendees learn to unlock the powerful features and functionalities of FME to more effectively manage their data translation and data transformation problems. Questions are encouraged throughout the class and attendees are encouraged to bring their own sample data files.

    GeoInfo 2003
    Date: November 24 - 27, 2003
    Place: Havana, Cuba
    "Informatics & Geosciences" GEOINFO'2003 will gather a wide group of specialists involved in urban and territorial planning, integral environmental studies, the exploration and rational exploitation of the natural resources, the integrated handling of water resources and the residuals, precision in agriculture, the protection of ecosystems of high fragility, the studies of environmental impact, electrification and telecommunications network systems and the environmental education. They should have as a main scope the sustainability of the socioeconomic activity and the mitigation and/or attenuation of impacts caused by the natural and anthropic disasters.

    ESRI Canada Regional User Conference
    Date: November 25, 2003
    Place: St. Johns, NL, Canada

    II International Congress on Territorial Zoning
    Date: November 26 - 28, 2003
    Place: Toluca, Mexico
    Territorial zoning is an instrument, process, strategy and/or policy of technical and political planning whose main purpose is to arrange the long-term organization of the use and occupation of territory according to its own potential and limitations, the expectations and needs of the people and the objectives of sustainable human development. The policies of territorial zoning are developed through programs which are carried out within a spatial organization or the existing territorial order of use and occupation adapted to a socially coordinated objective image.

    For the full GISCafe calendar see http://www10.giscafe.com/EVENT/

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.