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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, Top News of the Week, Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances, Announcements, New Products, Around the Web and Events Calendar.
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Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Just the Data You Want
By Susan Smith
Broadband mapping fills a niche in reporting areas that are not well served by the internet and broadband coverage.
Geared toward the enterprise market space, Broadmap's MapConnect Enterprise arose in response to the Recovery Act need to map serviceability of broadband and high speed internet access to determine where citizens were served or underserved in coverage. The product offers displays, geocoding and high quality boundaries, postal, Census and administrative boundaries. Broadmap maps the areas in question, reports results to the states and can do so for the federal government as well. Even the carriers didn't know where their service areas were at one point.
As a result of this effort, Broadmap was awarded with 8 states and territories.
A competing product to Broadmap's MapConnect Enterprise is Connected Nation which is accelerating broadband availability in underserved areas and increasing broadband use in all areas, rural and urban, as well. Their theory is that these areas can enjoy more economic growth and community service, health care and other advantages by having broadband mapping and service. They have deals with about 12 states.
Broadmap is new but has a lot of GIS experience, as it has derived from GDT and TeleAtlas. Broadmap's Todd Schmitt was with GDT/TeleAtlas for 11 years, while Mark Dykstra, senior director of sales, was also with TeleAtlas.
Although TeleAtlas was acquired by TomTom, it is interesting that MapConnect Enterprise is based on NAVTEQ based map data.
Broadmap's focus is on the enterprise market and understanding what people need in the way of display, geocoding and high quality boundaries, postal, census and administrative boundaries. Schmitt said these boundaries “play a critical role in the enterprise.”
Dykstra said they have a monthly fee from the post office which is useful for those in the direct mail business and those involved in geo-demographics. “They are always looking for the most up to date postal boundaries, looking for major changes,” said Dykstra. “Historically the post office has made huge changes in the July mid-summer August timeframe, and we've been suffering from the latency of some of the other products and want to kick those back out in a timely manner. The goal here is to keep those things up to date and high quality and turn them around quickly and get them back out to the marketplace.”
Schmitt noted an area in which the old GDT excelled -- its integrated, perfectly overlaid, very current, complete and correct boundary layers for postal and Census geographies - was a great precursor to the needs of enterprise customers today. “I think as GDT was acquired by TeleAtlas and TeleAtlas was acquired by Tom Tom, the focus of that company moved away from enterprise customers which we kind of considered business customers and government customers and moved into a focus from the two large data providers into 1) serving personal navigation devices and 2) serving automotive navigation,” said Schmitt. Enterprise didn't have a place in that equation, but all the expertise was still available. There is still a huge customer base that depend on the completeness and correctness of the postal and Census boundary data. That is the gap that Broadmap has stepped in to fill with a much needed product for that audience.
MapConnect is a simple product to use right out of the box, for enterprise and government customers. “It is really geared toward geocoding and display and ease of use, making sure the layers all sync together and overlay on top of each other, are logical and organized in thematic data layers,” said Dykstra.
Based on NAVTEQ data, MapConnect Enterprise prides itself on ease-of-use.
“Part of what we do is to reformat the data to present it in as easy-to-use a format as possible for these users, because the enterprise users are not scientists and they're not PhD geographers, they're business people with business problems and they use GIS to help solve business problems,” said Schmitt. “They want something simple and out of the box. They don't want a huge technical product built on a relational database model, just a flat, feature rich, attribution rich data product that's easy to use.”
Broadmap has also added certain Census codes and takes away some data that is not interesting to enterprise users. They have improved geocoding by making sure there is a one to one match between the segment link and the Census code they are associated with, and have also improved the display.
“We also include some auxiliary files, one of which is called is called a Locator that is a geocoding tool,” said Dykstra. “With this Locator file, you can take the data right out of the box and be up and running geocoding a file in a matter of minutes - you don't have to match up fields to each other or decide what data layers to use, the software does it (the Locator file that Broadmap creates) does it all automatically. Geocoding becomes a snap right out of the box, and the same thing with the display -- it's an ArcMap file, it's called a MXD file, so instead of pulling all the data out and figuring out how to display it, this file automatically right out of the box does map representation for you - you just have to open up this file it knows where all the other data files are. It has all the colors chosen, the symbology, the zoom layering, the scales at which certain features are or are not displayed, everything else is preconfigured. The first thing you have to do is double click on that MXD field and your rich cartographic display is right in front of you.”
Broadmap also offers MapConnect Broadband which builds a set of comprehensive maps of broadband serviceability at the local, state, territory and federal levels.
Top News of the Week
Geosparc, the company commercially supporting the open source GIS application framework Geomajas, unveiled at Foss4G the new release of its GIS application framework to build web-based and scalable GIS solutions, Geomajas 1.7.
Geomajas 1.7 now has a mechanism that fully supports plug-ins from third parties. A company or a developer can develop, add, remove or upgrade a specific functionality for Geomajas and simply plug it into the framework. The support for plug-ins is a major step forward for Geomajas as it frees the users from having to upgrade the whole application framework.
At the same time the Company announces the immediate availability of ten (10) plug-ins ranging from a Printing plug-in over an OpenStreetMap Layer plug-in to a WMS Layer plug-in.
Esri expands the power of geoportals with the release of the ArcGIS Server 10 Geoportal extension. The extension allows organizations to quickly set up Web sites, called geoportals that help them manage and share their geospatial information externally with the public or internally with employees.
Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances
ITT Corporation announced that it was selected to build the imaging system-the “eyes” of the satellite-for DigitalGlobe's WorldView-3 high-resolution commercial earth imaging satellite, anticipated to be available for launch by the end of 2014.
OpenGeo announced that is has signed agreements with Orkney, an open source business solution provider located in Yokohama Japan, and Mapconcierge, a business solutions and GPS/UAV provider located in Tokyo, Japan, to provide support and translation services for the OpenGeo Suite in Japan.
Trimble and the Hilti Group announced that they have reached a definitive agreement to form Intelligent Construction Tools, LLC. The joint venture, 50 percent owned by Trimble and 50 percent owned by Hilti, will focus on leveraging technologies from both companies to develop measuring solutions for the building construction trades.
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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.