GITA Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference 31 Report
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GITA Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference 31 Report



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Industry News
GITA Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference 31 Report

by Susan Smith

The problem of aging and out of date infrastructure has become of prime importance in today’s world.

What I heard at the GITA Conference 31 (newly named Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference) was a reinforcement of that concern. GITA was even rebranded in response to the industry’s focus on infrastructure, spurred by the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) Infrastructure Report Card, which states that an estimated $1.6 trillion is needed to bring America’s infrastructure up to “good” status by 2010.

The concern about infrastructure is across the board, not just a geospatial thing: it touches other industries such as architecture, engineering and construction, obviously, plant and process, even manufacturing. As more professionals share this overriding concern, the dividing lines between technologies must blur to accommodate a growing need for industries and people to work together. Utilities and municipalities are working creatively to find the funding to be able to address their infrastructure issues, for tools that cost less and are simpler to use. The deepening concern about infrastructure is not limited to aging infrastructure, it extends to infrastructure we need to build in order to keep current, to protect our environment, and to protect our country from hostile forces.

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GITA’s conference chair Michael Cerkas
GITA’s conference chair Michael Cerkas, technical team manager at GeoAnalytics, Inc., manages technical staff on client projects such as COTS applications as well as custom geospatial development. Teamwork and client interaction are key to these projects, and “adapting to change and coordination of resources,” added Cerkas.

As the technical team manager he also helps to coordinate resource allocation, recruit new staff and external resources, jointly develop training plans with the staff and guide their professional development. Before GeoAnalytics, Cerkas was GIS manager with the Wisconsin Public Service which has since merged to form a bigger entity, the Integrys Group.

Cerkas met the challenge of creating a completely new conference program this year, with the rebranding of the conference to hone in on Infrastructure and Emergency Response.

Industry issues this year revolve around new market sectors driven by the federal government’s definition of infrastructure, which states that infrastructure is basically everything and anything that supports our way of life with communities, i.e. utilities, transportation including air, maritime, rail, trucking, consumer, educational system, medical infrastructure, communications infrastructure, financial and national historic buildings. “We can see where we’re building off utilities, but also want to recognize the fact that we need to change along with industry and expand our focus on infrastructure,” Cerkas explained. “We’re now looking at a system of systems, rather than just looking at geospatial applications.”

For Monday’s Opening Session, Cerkas introduced former Pittsburgh mayor and senior resident fellow of the Urban Land Institute, Tom Murphy, who shared some of his experiences with the need for geospatial and infrastructure.

Murphy’s experience with geospatial may have begun with the purchase of RouteSmart for managing garbage trucks better in the city of Pittsburgh. Knowing where trucks were blossomed into knowing the location of more things, services, people.

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Former Pittsburgh mayor and senior resident fellow of the Urban Land Institute, Tom Murphy

Since 9/11, Murphy said that our need for geospatial has grown. “When I was mayor, we got a call form the FBI that there was a plane that was not responding, a plane coming towards Pittsburgh, it flew within 10 miles of Pittsburgh,” Murphy said. “For 25 minutes it was the worst time of my life. My emergency personnel were all meeting in my office, we notified major buildings to evacuate, we gridlocked the city. People had never done an evacuation of the U.S. Steel building where 10,000 people were. The plane passed by Pittsburgh and crashed in Somerset.”

From that point on, Murphy said we have been working on shaping the ability to respond better.

Murphy said that our “American Dream” has changed, we are no longer in the land of “Ozzie and Harriet.” Four forces have caused this to happen:

- global warming
- competing demand for energy
- lack of infrastructure investment
- unsustainable development trends

Because of global warming, natural disasters are occurring with greater frequency and put more strain on an already aging infrastructure.

65% of our oil comes from foreign oil. “Do you want your economic future depending upon foreign oil?” asked Murphy. China is number two in world car ownership now. “What does that mean as we approach $4 a gallon?”

The 1990s saw more people emigrate to the U.S. than in 1910. In 1903, Horatio Nelson Jackson, a doctor who made the first U.S road trip to go across country to a medical convention in California, debated with other doctors about the impact the automobile would have on society. The other doctors didn’t think it would have much impact; there were 8,000 roads in the U.S. in 1903 and no state highway departments. By 1923, there were 10 million cars, state departments of transportation and many more paved roads.

Murphy talked about how regional government with regional cooperation is a huge issue, citing successful examples:

The Denver-Transit bond issue was successful in raising money to build the Fastrak subway transit system, 120 miles with over 50 systems. In response to the concern that the mountains around Denver would be destroyed by sprawl, the government and citizens brought together 7 countries and 32 municipalities and got $2 billion bond approval to build the subway transit system and control growth.

Since 1971, St Paul-Minneapolis has been involved in tax base sharing, where 188 municipalities and 7 countries share 40 % of their tax.

Five counties in the Cleveland area tax district got together and decided the park system shouldn’t be at the bottom of their list of priorities for communities, and they created Cleveland Metroparks, with an independent funding system for parks.

Seven counties around Orlando developed a GIS map to show alternative scenarios to dealing with their rapid growth rate. The population is expected to more than double from 3.5 million to 7.2 million residents. The Central Florida Regional Growth Vision attracted 20,000 participants to their local meetings.

Murphy also talked about a public private partnership where big transportation arteries like turnpikes are leased, and tax increment financing is used to be able to get financing for infrastructure.

China also recognizes the need for infrastructure which they haven’t invested in until recently, and are now investing approximately $160 billion annually into new projects. In just 12 years, they have completed a 25,000 mile highway system, comparable to the U.S. interstates. The Beijing subway expanded from 70 to 335 miles in little more than a decade. Thousands of miles of high speed rail lines are under construction to speed up travel between large cities.

“The Chinese government has offered to build a rail line from Long beach to Chicago for the U.S. because they know the goods that arrive in Long Beach are going to get stuck in the port there,” said Murphy.

Murphy pointed to the reauthorization of the federal highway trust fund next fall, which will allocate $350 billion for six years in the single largest investment by the government in infrastructure. Some people are beginning to organize a national referendum on how we invest in infrastructure in the federal government.

With that in mind, it’s time to make a blueprint for the investment of infrastructure of all kinds in the U.S. and govern differently.

“We need to look at infrastructure as an interdependent system,” said Murphy in conclusion.

For GITA Award winners see www.gita.org

Power Panel – The Ties that Bind: GIS Technology for ‘the Greater Good’

A Power Panel held on Tuesday at GITA, moderated by Matt Ball of Vector 1 Media, brought together a number of distinguished panelists to discuss the topic, “GIS Technology for ‘the Greater Good.”

Panelists included GITA Speaker Award Winner Dr. Bob Austin, the City of Tampa; Ron Langhelm, Booz, Allen & Hamilton; Timothy Nyerges, University of Washington; and Tom Nolan, Seattle Public Utilities.

Ball summarized what the panel would address: as a result of GITA’s focus shift onto infrastructure, he encouraged panelists to speak to infrastructure data issues which may include national defense and Homeland Security, emergency response, data sharing, educating the public, and the physical protection of assets. Within each of these topics, the human aspect of geospatial was to be taken into account.

Panelists were asked to summarize a project or situation in which they or their organization helped use GIS for the greater good.

Austin said that the most recent contribution his organization has made occurred with Michael Baker working on recovery with FEMA on Katrina, and also on recovery work in the manual assessment of damage with Charlie. “Just prior to Katrina we were able to get a sensor over New Orleans to get 163,000 people to qualify for reimbursement, which made life a lot easier for those families to get assistance.”

Langhelm reported that following a number of disasters he was involved in including 9/11, the shuttle recovery and an earthquake, he submitted a paper to FEMA recommending the building of geospatial response teams on a local level. After Hurricane Katrina, FEMA extended funding and the response teams were deployed for the wildfires in California.

Nolan related his experience developing some of the first LiDAR in the country in the development of the Puget Sound Regional LiDAR System. A cooperative project with lots of organization, the project involved NASA as pioneers of the project, the USGS, with a focus on seismic activity, and habitat studies as per transportation requirements.

Nyerges spoke about his work on the National Standards Committee. His PhD advisor was on the chair of the committee for the National Spatial Data Transfer (NSDT) and Nyerges posed the idea of spatial options in the digital world of cartography and GIS. “Computer systems don’t talk to one another very well. We need to look at aspects of how people and computer systems can get together better,” said Nyerges.

“We’re all falling in love with Microsoft,” Langhelm said. “In the old days it was hard to get people to understand technology. Interfaces are much better today; you can drill into other systems for more information than you used to be able to.”

Echoing that sentiment, Nyerges said that “Community is understanding the people community as well as the geospatial community. As we get into web based stuff and what it means to interoperability, there is people interoperability as well.”

A concern shared by all participants is the fact that data ages so quickly. All agreed that the tools seem adequate, yet we need a better way to interact with the public and let the public know how to use the system.

This raised some more questions, such as what did people have in mind when they created the databases? If people can’t understand the databases and the data is not up to date, then they will question the validity of the data, and associate that with the aging infrastructure and then question the usefulness of the GIS.

Sharing information between organizations can be useful when both organizations have something to gain by doing so. In providing data to the public, it’s important to keep in mind that high quality data is not cheap, and there is always software to be maintained. Issues of security are a priority when providing data to the public, also.

“Being an academic, I’m working on a $20 million proposal for a Data Net, a $100 million program being developed by the National Science Foundation, which is intending to be what the Internet is not now,” said Nyerges. “The Internet doesn’t allow us to share data in a multidisciplinary way. The buzzword here is ‘oncology,’ – what is the meaning of your database in the nature of your organization? Organizations have a different intent in building databases.”

Austin recounted a data sharing example of different departments for the City of Tampa maintaining different address schemes. “The Parks Department didn’t want to use the same address scheme as the rest of the city. A 911 call revealed that the ambulance couldn’t find the location for a particular emergency, and although this incident did not result in great injury or fatality, it was dramatic enough to get attention to seek ways to share data.”

Another interesting data sharing example: the code enforcing department began finding abandoned buildings. The fire department became excited about this research because they consider abandoned buildings to be more likely to catch fire. The police department wanted to know about the abandoned building locations because they are also known as places where drug deals take place. It was only when they realized that they had a common need for this data, that they began sharing.

Langhelm said that for the most part, the tools are evolving as quickly as people can articulate the need for them. The big problem is with data sharing, and just making sure your data is out there and available during times of crisis.

A question from the audience precipitated more on data sharing: What happens when people misuse data or don’t understand it? How do you ensure that it’s not misused?


Disconnected systems offer more opportunities for things to go wrong. A way of tracking data lineage, i.e. who created the data, who put their hands on it, could be created by software vendors.

“The research world and the commercial world do not know how to get people from one level of knowledge to another,” noted Nyerges. A possible solution is to study what people do with data.

This may involve a “customer care center” where people access data, with a policy in place to find out if they got from the data what they needed. Also helping people learn how to manage data could be useful.

On the Exhibit Floor

Below are summaries of products seen at press conferences and on the exhibit floor: This year very few vendors were exhibiting new products, but rather, giving an overview of their offerings and how they fit into the bigger picture.

One of the biggest buzzes I heard at the show was about Safe Software’s new advancements in spatial data access with the release of FME 2008, which includes the new FME Server and a new version of FME Desktop, the standard for spatial ETL (extract, transform and load) (formerly Spatial Direct).

Throughout the conference, a common theme was the need for spatial data access. According to Safe president, Don Murray, FME Server targets large migrations and data distribution. FME Desktop is a replacement product for the former FME Spatial Direct, and brings new robustness to desktop spatial data access.

FME 2008 allows users to transform data over the web and support true 3D geometries. FME Server is the first enterprise ready spatial ETL solution available on a scalable SOA, that centralizes spatial data conversion and distribution tasks. This includes live data streaming into mashups and web applications, downloading spatial data onto the web and making it available for distribution over the web, and high throughput data conversion capabilities that enable enterprises to more efficiently manage large spatial ETL projects and to participate in spatial data infrastructure (SDI) initiatives. More FME Engines can be added as needed.

A newcomer on the exhibit floor this year was Microsoft, showcasing their upcoming SQL Server Spatial, and also their Virtual Earth for the public sector. According to Jerry Skaw, marketing communications manager, Virtual Earth Business Unit, if you have data that needs to be on a map, Virtual Earth can help. The new SQL Server Spatial will make a back end database of Virtual Earth.

Microsoft is adding 30 Terabytes of data every month to Virtual Earth, including orthophotos, 3D models, and oblique imagery (from Pictometry). This month they are adding imagery from Portugal, as that country wanted them to put orthophotos and DEM on VE. Virtual Earth is being ported over to the gaming industry.

Microsoft projects that a lot of people using SQL Server will move over to SQL Spatial. The new Autodesk FDO provider for SQL Server Spatial will be available in April.

According to Geoff Zeiss, director of technology for Geospatial at Autodesk, there are a lot of parallels between SQL and Oracle, although SQL is considered easier to use.

ESRI’s presence in the infrastructure market dominates the U.S. market but is evident all around the world. Bill Meehan, director of Utility Solutions for ESRI, said that many new contracts are now coming from outside the U.S., in regions such as the Netherlands, Korea, the Middle East and Portugal.

Meehan has written a book on utilities at ESRI, entitled Empowering Electric and Gas Utilities with GIS, a collection of case studies of GIS use over a wide span of utility activities. He’s also working on another book which will focus more on detailing data models and workflows.

Describing the ESRI utility customer base, Meehan says it is “diverse.”

Meeting the challenges of that diverse group requires a particular strategy. Meehan credits ESRI’s business model as a GIS company with helping them to remain a dominant player in the utility market. “We haven’t gotten into vertical applications or domain specific applications. We allow our business partners to do that.”

Just announced for the North American market is Spatial Business Systems’ Strategic/Operational Asset Management application for the simulation of asset management strategies. A full service solutions provider for geospatial technologies, Spatial Business Systems (SBS) supports all major platforms and addresses the full geospatial project lifecycle including: spatial strategy, implementation, data related services, integration, and value added applications.

Dennis Beck, president of SBS, said the company is very active in their support of Oracle Spatial as a platform. They are dedicated to empowering utility, telecommunications and government organizations to unleash the potential of their spatial information. In the past year, SBS has nearly tripled their revenues, doubled in size and established an Asia-Pacific office in Melbourne, Australia.

The Fichtner Group in Stuttgart, Germany, an engineering group that has been in business since the 1920s, developed the Strategic/Operational Asset Management application, according to Beck. Fichtner focuses on utilities and infrastructure, and among their customers are desalination plants in the Middle East, as well as utility organizations throughout Europe. A strategic alliance with Fichtner seemed like the perfect fit for both companies as Fichtner had no presence in North America and Australia, two strong areas for SBS, while SBS needed a presence in Europe and the Middle East. Fichtner has an equity interest in SBS.

Strategic/Operational Asset Management is an integrated application that provides online simulation of financial technical assets and key performance indicators to deliver asset management strategies. In Europe, utilities must compare their asset performance to other utilities in the same category. The product has a customizable framework for unique requirements, such as building U.S. specifications into the German model.

Intergraph discussed the use of their InService outage management system to support SmartGrid operations, used in combination with systems from Siemens for the Texas-based utility ONCOR in advancing their outage management system, where they will integrate power systems analysis and service restoration with a single graphic user interface. ONCOR, the third largest utility in the U.S., will use Intergraph’s InService to provide a geospatial map that is shared by both field personnel and dispatchers using mobile devices, using visualization that displays different views of SCADA, AMI, and other data input. . The implementation will take place over a phased, 18-month period, with the first of three phases going live in May of this year.

GE Energy, known for its purchase of Smallworld and for its more recent partnership with Oracle last year, definitely has its finger on the pulse of industry trends. John Eason director, Utility Solutions for GE Energy, spoke about the transition in geospatial awareness that has grown from CAD use in the 1970s, to AM/FM/GIS in the 1980s, to enterprise GIS in the 1990s. Today, Eason said, “GIS is no longer a monolithic piece of software. Utilities and telecommunications want to spread it across their IT landscape, so that it becomes more of a component of the IT ecosystem.”

The hottest area for GE Energy right now is field force automation, with a focus on crew scheduling and dispatching, optimizing how crews operate in the field, driven by the rising cost of fuel. In relation to Smart Grid, GE products deliver the network information to the Smart Grid and are designing a sensor that sits on top of the electric network.

GE Energy’s focus is on the application side of business. To address this, the company provides business process-focused Office Suites that are pre-integrated GE and partner applications, holistically designed across the Internet, field and desktop applications. All GE’s relevant software products have been packaged into these suites, which will be aptly named Global Transmission Suite, Gas and Liquids Suite, and Electric Office. Electric Office will be released April 22. The price will be calculated on the size of the utility.

Boulder-based Valtus Imagery Services, a division of North West Geomatics Ltd., announced that its database of imagery over the United States is being updated to include 1 and 2 meter imagery of six U.S. states: South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and partial coverage of New Mexico. The additional states extends Valtus U.S. data services to coverage of 15 western states and cover many of the most active energy areas in the U.S.

With a focus on the energy industry, Valtus manages and distributes the largest private database of LiDAR data in North America with over 400,000 kilometers in Western Canada, according to Kenny Waugh, product manager for Valtus. Their database of imagery is publicly available, with a coverage map of Valtus imagery available on their website.

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GETAC B300
GETAC Inc., showcased their newly introduced ruggedized GETAC B300 laptop and E100 tablet. GETAC B300 offers 1200 Nit screen for daylight readability and an optional Night Vision capability for use in any lighting conditions, without affecting battery life. The unit weight 7.7 pounds and features a 13.3 TFT XGA transmissive Ultra-Bright, sunlight readable display with optional integrated touchscreen, powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo Merom L7500, 4MB L2 cache process that operates at 1.6GHz and offers up to 12 hours of battery life on one battery.

Weighing only 3 pounds, the GETAC E100 is described by the company to be the lightest rugged tablet PC on the market. Designed with field and customer service in mind, the E100 offers an 8.4 inch TFT SVGA transmissive display with integrated touchscreen panel or an optional Ultra-Bright sunlight readable display and 800 Nit backlit LCD screen with very good readability. It is also considered to be as tough as the heavyweight tablets available and meets the MIL-STD-810F and IP54 standards for durability and is well protected against the elements. With up to five hours of battery life, the E100 is powered by an Intel Stealey 512KB L2 cache processor that operates at 800MHz and offers up to five hours of battery life.

Top News of the Week

Infoterra Ltd, a leader in the provision of geospatial products and services, announces that the new version of ERDAS IMAGINE is now available to order by customers in the UK and Ireland.

With an improved surfacing tool, ERDAS IMAGINE 9.2 increases its handling from 500,000 points to more than 50 million points, quickly and efficiently. Promoting classification and productivity, ERDAS IMAGINE 9.2 now includes IMAGINE Subpixel Classification and swift and accurate image segmentation tools in IMAGINE Professional. Additionally, ERDAS IMAGINE now provides ECW support, offering increased interoperability with the recently acquired ER Mapper suite of products. ERDAS IMAGINE 9.2 is expected to begin shipping in late March 2008.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has selected Carahsoft Technology Corp., a government information technology provider, and TerraGo Technologies, the leading provider of geospatial data distribution and collaboration solutions, to provide interactive electronic mapping solutions for the agency's use in response to critical emergency events.

Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances

CX2 Technologies, Inc. announced the signing of a consulting agreement with GEOCommand, Inc., a developer of homeland security software for emergency responders. CX2 and GEOCommand have partnered to design and develop software that uses the CX2 wireless, IP-based narrowband network and CX2 data modems to integrate weather, radiation, chemical, and biological sensor data with GEOCommand's Dynamic Server™ technology.

iMapData Inc., a consulting firm specializing in customized, geospatially-based decision support solutions for the public and private sector, has been acquired from ChoicePoint Inc.® (NYSE: CPS) by a private investment group. The investment group is led by, and the business will be managed by, the founders of iMapData.

Announcements

GyPSii, a geo-location and social networking service provider for mobile phones and Internet devices, received highly sought after industry acclaim at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, when it was a winner in the NAVTEQ LBS Challenge, a contest in which over 300 companies competed.

The award coincided with GyPSii's live launch at the event, following a three month public beta trial with users worldwide. The honor further positions GyPSii as the leading player in the emerging mobile social networking and LBS market.

Snowflake Software announced that GO Publisher WFS is the first Web Feature Server to meet the new stringent Team Engine WFS 1.0.0 and WFS 1.1.0 Compliance Tests of the Open Geospatial Consortium. GO Publisher WFS was awarded certification to the OpenGIS® Web Feature Service Implementation Specification, Version 1.0.0 and Version 1.1.0 after passing over 200 individual tests on February 28, 2008.

AWhere, Inc. (AWI), the developer of geoanalytic solutions for the visualization of business intelligence data, announces the release of AWhere Express. The new software allows users to quickly visualize data by building easy-to-read maps from MS Excel and other tabular data sources. AWhere Express leapfrogs complex Geographic Information Systems (GIS) solutions that require special training and a large financial investment. At $249, AWhere Express allows any MS Excel user to inexpensively create visualizations or "mash-ups" of their data.

Geographic Technologies Group, Inc. (GTG) released GeoBlade Search & Rescue application. GeoBlade Search & Rescue is just one of a family of “blades” incorporated into the GeoBlade toolset. Blades are additional functionalities to the core viewer, specific to an agency’s departmental needs.

People

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) announced that the OGC's founder and Chairman of the OGC Board of Directors, David Schell, has been appointed to a three-year term on the recently formed US National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC).

Enspiria Solutions, Inc. announced that Peter Batty has joined its leadership team in an advisory role. As Chief Technical Advisor, Mr. Batty will work closely with the Enspiria® Research and Development Team, as well as the Enterprise GIS Consulting and Delivery Project Teams, defining and guiding the technical direction of Enspiria to ensure continued benefits to its clients. He also continues to be President of Spatial Networking, a startup company focused on combining location and social networking.

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) has appointed Intergraph Corp. utilities industry manager Kecia Pierce to the conference chair position for its next Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference to be held April 19-22, 2009 in Tampa.

East View Information Services (EVIS) and East View Cartographic (EVC) are excited to announce the addition of several highly accomplished members to its management team in recent months. Since 2007, EVIS has added Robert Lee, Director of Online Publishing and Dena Schoen, Director of Sales. EVC has added Dana Richard, Director of Operations. Finally, several corporate roles have been established over EVIS and EVC, which include Doug Keefer, Chief Financial Officer, Rodney Buhrsmith, Chief Marketing Officer and Ben Bowman, Chief Technology Officer.

Barb Wenninger, Appleton, has been promoted to the position of Director of Sales and Marketing at American Digital Cartography, Inc. (ADCi). In her new position Wenninger will be responsible for managing and growing ADCi’s sales activity; as well as planning, implementing, and directing the company’s marketing and public relations strategies. Wenninger has been with ADCi for six years and brings more than 20 years experience to her new role.

Anthony J. Pietropola was recently appointed to the Committee on Geographic Information Science and Applications on behalf of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Executive Committee. Pietropola’s term will begin on April 15, 2008, and run through April 14, 2011.

New Products

TerraGo Technologies, the provider of geospatial data distribution and collaboration solutions, announced the release of Map2PDF Professional for Acrobat, the geospatial industry’s first solution designed to automatically create mapbooks in the GeoPDF format, at the GITA Conference in Seattle, WA. Mapbooks created with the Map2PDF Professional for Acrobat software provide timely and easy access to intelligent, interactive sets of maps for field users, first responders and emergency management personnel across all levels of government.

Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging announced the release of Leica TITAN 2008. This dynamic online solution allows users and communities to share geospatial data, web services and location-based content internal and external to an organization, and to a variety of client applications.

Abaco Srl, provider of the research and development of GIS tools and applications, presented at GITA 2008 the new version of Assioma, designed to make it easier to manage territorial assets like real-estates, networks, tools, etc.

The solution includes several years of experience designing and developing CAD/GIS applications integrated with Management Information Systems, in order to coherently store information with historical changes of terrains, buildings, street networks, and hydrograph networks. Progetto Assioma contains advanced software components (DbCAD/DbMAP), a comprehensive software framework (SITI) and application modules (Assioma).

SmartSynch has introduced a newer version of its Coverage Validation Unit (CVU) - a highly integrated, ruggedized handheld device that enables utility technicians to verify GPRS, CDMA or Wi-Fi frequency coverage prior to SmartMeter deployments. With competing solutions, utility technicians must rely on a trial-by-error approach; deploying advanced meters first, then returning to their offices to measure their performance.

Intergraph Corp.'s newest design and asset management software now supports Oracle Locator for storing geospatial data, allowing for greater interoperability among other corporate systems and further compliance with corporate and industry data storage standards. The software integrates geospatial data with corporate systems such as work management, outage management and network analysis to fully support planning, design, construction, operations, maintenance and emergency response functions.

Keigan Systems announced the release of its newest public safety/emergency management service, CLEER-Impact Plus. CLEER-Impact Plus uses CLEER’s powerful modeling and analytic capabilities to predict hazardous vapor dispersion, and maps the results using Google Maps™. First Responders and Emergency Managers anywhere can use this subscription product to support informed, timely decisions; all they need is access to a web browser and Internet connection.

Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging announces the release of Image Web Server (IWS) 8.5. Previously an ER Mapper product, IWS is a high-speed, specialized server application that efficiently distributes large volumes of geospatial image data. IWS solves the infrastructure congestion problems associated with deploying large amounts of image data, empowering users to quickly access the information they need.

Upcoming Events

Web 2.0 Mapping and Social Networks March Meetup
Date: March 18, 2008
Place: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Menlo Park, CA USA
We are excited to feature two demos from our Web 2.0 Mapping and Social Networks Meetup members: Mapufacture.com and REmapper.com!  Our Meetup group is about sharing, teaching, learning, and networking around current and future web-based geospatial and social networking technology.  You belong if you are an entrepreneur, VC, developer, social-networker, product manager, programmer, developer, visionary, geographer, geologist, explorer, marketer, business exec, project manager, student, or a creative person who is curious about Web 2.0 mapping and social networks. We welcome all and exclude no one.  The format of this Meetup is as follows: introductions, discussion of current events or current technology as it relates to web 2.0 mapping and social networks, presentation(s), 60-second audience announcements, and of course, networking.  Please join us!
6th US Missile Defense Conference and Exhibit
Date: March 31 - April 3, 2008
Place: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, DC USA
A key objective of the 6th Annual U.S. Missile Defense Conference is to ensure that the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Team maintains critical relationships, communication channels, and strategic direction as the BMDS continues its development and global deployment.
Spatial Analysis for Business 2008 Conference
Date: April 5 - 8, 2008
Place: University of Redlands
Redlands, CA USA
The University of Redlands School of Business invites you to participate in the 2008 Spatial Analysis for Business Conference organized by the University of Redlands in partnership with the Small Business Administration and ESRI. This conference brings together noted experts in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), researchers, and business professionals to create a unique learning experience. The conference will consist of refereed paper and panel presentations, workshops, hands-on GIS tutorials and key note speakers.
URISA/NENA Addressing Conference (formerly GIPSC)
Date: April 7 - 10, 2008
Place: Doubletree Hotel - Lloyd Center
Portland, OR USA
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) have announced a new name for its joint conference. The 2008 conference will be the first one presented under this name: The URISA/NENA Addressing Conference.
Map Middle East 2008
Date: April 8 - 10, 2008
Place: Dubai World Trade Centre
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Map Middle East 2008, the Fourth Annual Middle East Conference on Geospatial Information, Technology & Applications will provide a platform to showcase the innovative applications of the Geospatial domain.
2008 North American Snow Conference
Date: April 13 - 16, 2008
Place: Kentucky International Convention Center,
Louisville,, KY USA
National conference and tradeshow specific to snow & ice control and winter operations.

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