October 04, 2010
Hexagon Acquires Intergraph, or Measurement meets Spatial Data Creation
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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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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Industry News
Hexagon Acquires Intergraph, or Measurement meets Spatial Data Creation
By Susan Smith

On July 13, 2010, I wrote about the agreement for Intergraph to be acquired by Hexagon AB,  a global measurement technology from Sweden in my GISCafe Today blog

Measurement companies have been exploring infrastructure – namely CAD and GIS companies -- for some time now. Nokia acquired NAVTEQ in 2007 for approximately $8 billion, and Intergraph is being acquired for approximately $2.125 billion. Optech purchased DiMAC, combining laser based surveying with imagery. Trimble, a company associated with navigation, digital surveying as well as 3D mapping, acquired Definiens, an image analysis software company.

According to the press release, “Upon closing of the transaction, Intergraph will operate as a separate Hexagon division under the Intergraph name and branding.  Intergraph will become Hexagon’s core software platform and will continue to provide differentiated and vertically-focused software solutions to its core industries.  Intergraph software will also be integrated into Hexagon’s existing measurement and precision technology system markets to provide a visual presentation layer for the management, analysis and sharing of the vast amounts of critical data produced by these products.”

This past week I had the opportunity to speak with Intergraph former CEO Halsey Wise and Hexagon president and CEO Ola Rollén.


Intergraph president & CEO Halsey Wise

CEO Halsey Wise  has been with Intergraph for seven years. When asked what he felt he had brought to the company, he said: “Most memorable to me is that we gave the company a revitalized sense of strategic intent and strategic importance. In order to do that, as a company we were able to make change our ally, we challenged the way we did business in 2003. I don’t think that was the best way for Intergraph to be set up and focused. We set up Intergraph to be extremely focused on our end markets and customers and then we operated behind that with what we called three phase transformation and growth plan called ‘Now, Next and After Next.’ That three phase plan was really the road map for the full transformation that we’ve made at Intergraph and the sum of it all is we’re more relevant than we’ve ever been before, by any measure you might use, number of customers, revenue growth, R&D spend, customer satisfaction, profits, etc.”


As far as “Now, Next and After Next,” Wise said that Intergraph is in the “early innings” of ‘After Next’ now, with a focused plan that is in keeping with Hexagon goals.

Wise said that “I hope the company continues to live by the core values we have; how we do things is as important as what we do. We’ve taken profits and they’ve increased nine times since 2003 and our R&D, customer satisfaction and the number of patents and trademarks are as high as they have ever been. We use change and innovation and plowing back investment in our customers as really something that’s differentiated.”

Wise said he doesn’t have immediate plans but is focused on getting this transaction closed and handed off to Hexagon. Because he “loves the industries and software,” it’s likely we will see him in the software industry in the near future.



Hexagon president & CEO Ola Rollen

According to CEO Ola Rollén, it is unusual for such a small company as Hexagon to buy a big company like Intergraph, but measurement technologies are important to spatial data creation.


The acquisition of Intergraph is a smart move for several reasons: their imaging analysis and digital/LIDAR imaging cameras augment Hexagon, which already owns Leica Geosystems, of which ERDAS is part. Intergraph is no stranger to the hardware business, although they transitioned away from workstations long ago and focused on their digital imaging cameras in recent years.

Intergraph shares the view with Hexagon of serving dedicated industries and offering comprehensive indepth solutions for industrial applications. “Our measurement data ends up in CAD models or in GIS models, so it’s fairly obvious that if you have that view you can rationalize that you can do something far more intelligently than we can do separately today,” explained Rollén. Not to mention that the acquisition expands the company’s reach into the airborne digital mapping market.

Going forward, Rollén said, “I think we will see completely new technologies that will change how we do things. Intergraph has verticalized into public safety and we have some idea of how to develop that information for police forces and their departments, rescue teams, etc. how we could improve their day to day activities and enhance productivity for them.”

Although Hexagon and Intergraph do have some customers in common, the two companies service different departments of the same company. As an example, currently Intergraph will sell a piece of software to the design department and Hexagon will provide a service to the maintenance department. The maintenance department would take over once the design is done. A customer could remain with the same familiar products throughout all aspects of their project. “The idea is to create an information system where you can live in the same system from cradle to grave. It completes the whole building lifecycle,” said Rollén.

Top News of the Week

NAVTEQ is focusing on a range of potential use cases at IAA this year.  The objective is to clearly demonstrate the business benefits, cost savings and returns on investment to be gained by implementing fleet and logistics solutions developed using the company's digital map products.

MapQuest announced the beta launch of four new European mapping sites built on OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. The sites in France, Germany, Italy and Spain will utilize the new MapQuest brand and UI and will have data from OSM, allowing users to improve areas like streets in their neighborhoods, bike paths, parks and hiking trails. Each site will be a stand-alone offering that lives alongside the existing MapQuest sites – which are based on commercially available map data – in the four countries.

A few days ago the ‘Service Portal for Metadata’ of the Spatial Data Infrastructure Berlin/Brandenburg (GDI-BE/BB)has been launched successfully: the Landesvermessung und Geobasisinformation Brandenburg (LGB) and the geoinformation service provider DELPHI IMM GmbH from Potsdam announce the official end of the testing phase. The Service Portal for Metadata represents a reliable and freely available 24-hour solution for the administration of the land Brandenburg and the regional service providers to capture, to collect, to validate and to publish metainformation of their geo data, geo services and geo applications.

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

Geospatial Systems Inc. (GSI) is pleased to announce the successful delivery and deployment of multiple TerraPix Imaging Systems for Merrick & Company’s new Helicopter-Acquired Data Products and Services platform. The systems include KCM-16 and KCM-MS camera modules, which are co-mounted alongside an Optech Orion C200 light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensor in a Eurocopter AStar 350 BA helicopter. The KCM-16s provide high resolution oblique imagery in forward and aft orientations; and the KCM-MS enables the production of high fidelity CIR imagery.


The National Street Gazetteer (NSG) is being used as part of the planning for the Olympic Route Network (ORN) and Paralympic Route Network (PRN). The ORN/PRN is the definitive list of designated transport routes essential to the smooth running of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Dotted Eyes experienced continued growth in recent times. In order to build on this momentum and meet current market demands, Dotted Eyes has taken the next step up in enterprise level capability and appointed Dan Woodrow as Director of Operations. The executive team are pleased to welcome Dan, who joined on 6th September ’10 and reports to Managing Director, Ben Allan.

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-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.

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