November 01, 2010
Be Inspired – Thought Leadership in Amsterdam - Conference Update
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News
Be Inspired – Thought Leadership in Amsterdam - Conference Update
By Susan Smith

Sixty journalists were invited to attend the Be Inspired Conference at the Hotel Okura in Amsterdam the week of October 16-21.

The focus of this and all Bentley conferences is on infrastructure; the company got their start in engineering and product groups, including geospatial, fall into the category of improving the world’s infrastructure.

The Netherlands is known for its infrastructure – the country has depended on windmills and dykes that keep land and sea separate for centuries. COO Malcolm Walter said in Tuesday's keynote that without infrastructure to pump water and keep it at bay, everything would be under water.

Other facts pertaining to geospatial:
  • Bentley is ranked #2 in the geospatial market according to Daratech.
  • Over 50% of Dutch municipalities use Bentley technology for urban planning, road design, GIS and mapping workflows.
The way the Be Inspired Conference is set up is as follows: unlike the basic user conference, this is a conference celebrating the achievements of the finalists for the Be Inspired Awards of the current year. A maximum of three finalists in each category were chosen and invited to present their project in breakout sessions called “Thought Leadership Presentations.”

Winner - UtilityTransmission & Distribution Networks
Jiangxia 500 kV Transformer Substation
Central Southern China Electric Power Design Institute
Wuhan, China

The projects demonstrate how different Bentley products are integrated together to solve big infrastructure problems. The emphasis is on how disparate data – from other software programs as well as imagery, spreadsheet data, and geospatial -- is pulled together into project management using Bentley products such as ProjectWise, Navigator, and AssetWise.

In a press briefing on Wednesday (see at GISCafe Today) CEO Greg Bentley introduced the launch of the Bentley Infrastructure 500 – modeled after Fortune 500 – which would identify Bentley customers who are especially successful. Bentley said their business represents $13 trillion in revenue.

This determination is made based on reported net tangible fixed assets – “the balance sheet view of the infrastructure. “ 

Most top candidates are private companies, coming from geographically diverse locations - all over the world. 

Bentley went on to say that “flat” pretty much describes Bentley’s financial growth right now.

Winner - Connecting Project Teams

Crossrail Limited
London, United Kingdom

Revenues went down almost 10% in 2009. In 2010 to date, revenues have been reported to be “within sight of 2008 revenues. By the end of the year  Bentley predicts their run rate will be back to what it was before 2009. “Maybe our organic growth is the new growth,” he said.

Some of the future products Bentley talked about which may be of interest to geospatial professionals:

- The V8i portfolio extends through various disciplines and operations.

- 3D cities requires the ability to relate information together in a BIM model, including geospatial data.

- Civil Engineer for Geotechnical Analysis passport subscription – geotechnical professionals will get to pick from a variety of modules from a dashboard - cantilever wall, spread footing, slope stability, etc.

For Geospatial, the breakout sessions were entitled Innovation in Government, Innovation in Utilities and Innovation in Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Networks, and Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. In the category “Connecting Project Teams,” winner Crossrail Limited talked about the integration of geospatial into the ambitious project of creating a new Crossrail system for the city of London.

The utility customers presented more information on plant software than on geospatial information, but the scope of those projects is indicative of the potential for future technologies, particularly in emerging economies such as Asia, where Greg Bentley said there is no recession.

Below are descriptions of some of the presentations:

Innovation in Government

There were three finalists in this category, GIS4Mobile, and Tvilum Landsinpektorfirma AS and Odense Commune, all of them Danish companies.

It was interesting to see how many of these finalists were early adopters of Bentley technology, helping to shape the products into final release.

GIS4Mobile, demonstrated by Ove Lindholt Hansen and Nikolaj Moller Nielsen of Denmark, focuses on the concept of connecting mobile device to office.

With this application “the very minute you have information in the field it is available in office,” said Hansen, emphasizing how important it is to have an online connection.

Coupled with that is the need to have, which GIS4Mobile provides:
  • Data capture with smartphone or GPS
  • Online with a background map
  • Synchronizing with GIS
  • Caching when offline
  • Publish data to mobiles
  • Capture position plus attributes plus image and voice
  • System has three parts – mobile (cellphone, handheld GPS), server (webservice)
  • GIS: synchronizing service/
GIS4Mobile is also designed for tablets. Hansen said that there is a need for a background map because the GPS in the handheld device is very inaccurate, “some times you have a 5-10 meter discrepancy,” he pointed out. “With the background map you can verify position. Google aerial maps verify your position also for adjustment of position. You may use this for registering different kinds of vegetation by GPS or by user defined point.”

Depending on theme, you can register different sets of attributes, collect images and use voice commands. Online registration is sent to the GeoDropBox server.

Server part of system – “GeoDropBox”
- web server running spatial GIS database
- Webservices for input/out
- Usernames/password (login)
- Configure using webpages
- Webpage for easy viewing registrations

The MicroStation application “GeoSync” is used for:
- import from GIS4Mobile spatial server
- export to GIS4Mobile spatial server
- position + attributes + images
- Synchronize deletes
- timestamps
- maintains a link-file locally (shadowfile)
- Detects modified elements automatically using checksum (every element in MicroStation has its own ID and is very useful for synchronizing data)

GIS4Mobile use cases include:
- field inspections (environmental)
- basic registration (fire hydrants, sculptures, monuments, road signs, bus stops, utility data, protected plants, illegal vegetation)
- farm/field data (obstructors, etc)
- Maintenance plan (wastewater)
- Rat hole inspection
- archeological site registration

Prices are based on a yearly subscription fee, starting from 1500 euros. The company is looking for resellers all over the world.

Rune Tvilum, IT developer, spoke on behalf of his company, Tvilum Landinspektofirmat A/S also of Denmark, a chartered surveyimg company, on the topic, “Mapping Using Web Feature Services (WFS).”

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You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.

-- Susan Smith, Managing Editor.

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