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February 23, 2004
DigitalGlobe & Keyhole Agreement and Review of Keyhole
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on GIScafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
Each GIS Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the GIS industry, GIS product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by GISCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Message from the Editor -

Welcome to GISWeekly! When we talk about making GIS accessible to a lot of people, Keyhole is the type of product that really does it. It can revolutionize the way we think about geography; how we visualize the globe and our place on it. Read about the recently signed agreement between DigitalGlobe and Keyhole, and about the Keyhole product and service, 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, Appointments/Resignations, New Products, Going on Around the Web, and Upcoming Events.

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



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Industry News
DigitalGlobe & Keyhole Agreement and Review of Keyhole
By Susan Smith

On January 27th a relationship was penned between Keyhole and DigitalGlobe that provides the combination of DigitalGlobe's QuickBird satellite imagery and Keyhole's Internet-based 3D earth visualization solutions to customers of both companies. The two companies' solutions are aimed at business decision makers, who will be able to view satellite imagery in a very dynamic way by viewing an entire globe onscreen and zooming in on that globe to a specific area like a city or neighborhood to view roads, terrain and borders, and other details.

Traditionally, DigitalGlobe has attracted very high-end, government clients who use their data for scientific or analytical applications. This relationship with Keyhole really opens up opportunities for them to penetrate more non-government markets. For DigitalGlobe, the agreement affords them access to commercial markets, and Keyhole business customers have the added advantage of viewing satellite imagery in addition to Keyhole's other datasets.

Said Keyhole CEO John Hanke, “We're really designed to be a service, so we offer some software that's very unique and is pretty breathtaking to experience in terms of really smooth and fast 3D interaction with these very large geodatasets. But we offer that software with access to our database primarily, so we have over 12 terabytes of data today that are in that database. The software and access to the data come together as a package - a service that folks subscribe to on an annual basis. The application is designed not really for your traditional users of GIS remote sensing tools but for business people, designed as a decision support tool that gives them everything they need in a single easy to use and relatively inexpensive package, so they can leverage geoinformation in their line of work.”

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In addition, the product does have data for business geographics. “Many of our users use it as a kind of very rich basemap on which to project their own proprietary data.”

At first many users may be reminded of ArcGlobe when they see Keyhole because the screen fills with an entire globe and the user can zoom in down to the smallest detail - your own house, for example. But that's where the similarity ends. ESRI's ArcGlobe is designed as an extension to ArcGIS 3D Analyst and enables users to manage and visualize very large sets of 3D geographic data. It is also a desktop application that allows users to interact with geographic data in layers on a 3D globe. It works with ESRI's local dataset so if an ArcGIS user has datasets that he or she wants to visualize from within a globe, they can buy the ArcGlobe extension to ArcGIS 3D Analyst to see their data projected on to a globe. ArcGlobe requires that you provide the data that will go into the dataset and create something with the product.

On the other hand, Keyhole was developed in 2001 as a service offered to users and is presented to the user similarly as a very simple globe. All the data is already there and is designed so that users can interact with geographic data in layers on a 3D globe, and you can spin the globe around to a spot and fly into it. “Keyhole software runs on your desktop PC. It's a 3D globe that's sitting on your desktop and you can reach up with your mouse and click on a spot and fly into it; there's a cursor that works a little like a hand and you can just reach out and grab the globe and spin it around to the area that you're interested in then you can fly in. According to Hanke, “It's like a video game. It's not like a traditional database product where you're selecting an area and it queries and returns some results to you. You simply point where you want to go and then you fly down to the streets of Chicago, San Francisco, or wherever you want to go. We stream the data to you as you're moving, so as a user you have this phenomenally powerful sensation that this enormous dataset is just sitting right there in front of you on your PC in this globe and you can look at wherever you want to look at and very fluidly fly to that location. Then you very fluidly spin around, zoom in and out, pan around, turn on layers of data. You can turn on your GDT roads or any of the six million businesses that are encoded in and see icons laid on top of the imagery. Everything is draped over a terrain model, so there's a 3D element to it as well. We just present it as this extremely easy to use globe that they can use as an information resource.”

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Keyhole has a very lightweight client application which is used to access the information from the service. Prior to its relationship with DigitalGlobe, Keyhole covered 52% of the U.S. population by rooftop, using aerial photography for much of it. “Just the nature of satellite collection means that we can reach out to areas that it wasn't practical to do with aerial photography, so we expect that the extent of our database and the currency of it will benefit enormously from the relationship with DigitalGlobe,” concluded Hanke.

The price is $599 /yearly for the professional product. That includes the viewer that you need to access the information and also includes access to all the data that populates the globe. Currently Keyhole covers more than 60 US metros with high resolution imagery, terrain data, road data and business information.



The Review

The way Hanke described the product is very much as it is to use. The product does have some great potential as a sales tool for real estate, travel agencies, education, and many other professions. There is nothing like it to give a visual and spatial understanding of where you are on the globe. And, users will find great value in having access to over 12 terabytes of data.

Using Keyhole Pro (the commercial version), I encountered a little confusion when you get to a screen that gives you a choice between “Sign up” and “Continue” -after you have already signed up and been given a password, etc. Continue at this point and you will be able to select layers such as roads, addresses, boundaries and terrain data. You can also select businesses and find out addresses and other information on businesses as needed. You can tilt the globe to be able to see the terrain details and various interesting views of the globe and landscape.

I was impressed that Santa Fe, which isn't a high density population center (except during the summer) showed up on the globe with some fairly current data included. It did not have the quite the rooftop data that larger cities have, but there was some nice current aerial imagery of areas that are newly developed. You can also look up addresses and phone numbers very quickly and efficiently with this tool, and find them on the globe.

It is great fun to have on your desktop. Children also enjoy being able to see the entire globe and zoom in to a particular location very quickly. It only takes a few minutes to figure out. Anyone can use Keyhole. Keyhole Pro has some additional capabilities to measure and incorporate your own overlay data, and do high resolution printing. There is also a LT version that does not have these features that can be had for $59/yearly. The LT version has the primary feature - which is zooming down from space literally into your own backyard. You can demo either version of Keyhole by visiting the website.

When we talk about making GIS accessible to a lot of people, this is the type of product that really does it. People don't need to know what the data layers entail, yet they are using sophisticated geographic information when they use this product. It can revolutionize the way we think about geography; it is how we would like real globes to be.



Alliances/Acquisitions/Awards

GlobeXplorer has announced the formation of a new sales team focused on vertical market integration. This group of leading industry veterans is a key part of GlobeXplorer's plan to lead the aerial and satellite imagery business into its next phase of online Web services.

Joining the team as Senior Director of Sales and Channel Development is Eric Waldman, who will head up GlobeXplorer's growth plans in the mapping/AEC market, the federal government and visualization/simulation sectors. Waldman brings 19 years of sales, management, and business development experience in the spatial industry to GlobeXplorer. His background includes extensive work in the aerial imagery, simulation and civil engineering arenas. He most recently served as head of Sales for GIS Express and before that, worked with EarthScan Network and Space Imaging.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department has hired the team of Judith Nitsch Engineering, Inc., and James W. Sewall Company to develop a digital topographic base map of the Boston Common and Public Garden. This effort initiates a 10-year plan to upgrade drainage, irrigation and pathways in the centuries-old historic parks. The base map of the Common and the Garden, the first ever developed from aerial photography, will indicate contour elevations at one-foot intervals; surface features such as buildings, monuments, trees, and pathways; site furniture such as benches, light poles, and trash cans; and infrastructure such as manholes, catch basins, and electrical, irrigation, sewer, and water lines. With the data residing on the Department's CAD-based computer system, Department officials will also be able to monitor park conditions for maintenance purposes and to add other relevant layers of information, such as historical data on park monuments.

WSI Corporation and Maptech announced a partnership to integrate WSI's new real-time marine weather service, named The Weather Channel(R) Marine(TM), with Maptech's new i3 marine navigation system. Maptech customers who purchase the i3 display and The Weather Channel Marine will be able to view continuously updated WSI NOWrad(R) weather radar, sea-state conditions, storm tracking and special marine weather forecasts directly on Maptech's navigational charts and the i3 display.

BAE Systems Platform Solutions has been awarded a $70 million contract to provide 128 radar map display subsystems for U.K. Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 ground attack aircraft. The company's Avionic Systems business unit will supply the equipment to BAE Systems Customer Support & Solutions of Warton, U.K., prime contractor and aircraft platform integrator for the Tornado Advanced Radar/Map Display Information System, or TARDIS. The award follows the U.K. Defense Logistics Organization's recent award of a Tornado GR4 cockpit upgrade contract, valued at about $150 million, to Customer Support & Solutions.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions (NASDAQ: INGR) announced the Municipality of Madrid, Spain, has chosen GeoMedia(R) technology as the geospatial infrastructure management solution for its irrigation system. Madrid's Department of Irrigation Management will implement GeoMedia Professional, GeoMedia PublicWorks Manager and GeoMedia WebMap to streamline maintenance and operation workflows of the city's water network. The Web-based solution will enable the department to integrate and visualize all existing and newly created irrigation network data in a centralized, easily accessible repository.



Announcements

Analytical Surveys, Inc. (ASI) , provider of utility-industry data collection, creation and management services for the geographic information systems (GIS) markets, this week announced financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2003.

First quarter revenue was $2.6 million versus $4.3 million in the same period a year ago. Net loss available to common shareholders was $1.2 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, versus a net loss of $817,000, or $0.99 per diluted share, in the first quarter last year.

Mobile information professionals from the largest wireless carriers, mobile electronics vendors, automobile manufacturers, homeland defense and computer companies will meet March 4-5 for GPS-Wireless 2004 ( http://www.gps-wireless.com/ ) at the Marriott Hotel-San Francisco Airport.

TRUSTe, the leading Internet privacy seal program, announced the launch of its Wireless Privacy Principles and Implementation Guidelines which provide vendors serving the mobile market with actionable and practical guidelines for protecting consumer privacy. As part of this program, TRUSTe, along with leading partners AT&T Wireless and Microsoft, has formed the Wireless Advisory Committee whose function is to promote privacy standards to increase consumer use of advanced wireless features and applications.

NavCom Technology, Inc. announced that its strategic partner C&C Technologies, Inc. has entered into a service contract with the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide GPS service for use in defense and government bathymetric surveying. Terms of the contract provide for C&C Technologies to supply its C-Nav GcGPS (Globally-corrected GPS) positioning services, equipment and training to the Royal Navy Hydrographic Squadron.

NOAA will hold a conference for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) data users May 10-13 in Broomfield, Colo. The meeting will provide users with the status of the future GOES-R satellite constellation instruments and operations.

The new GOES, planned for launch in 2012, will scan the Earth nearly five times faster than the current system. The satellites will provide the user community-television meteorologists, private weather companies, the aviation and agriculture communities, and national and international government agencies-with about 50 times the amount of data currently provided.

Intermap Technologies Corporation (TSX Venture: IMP.a) announced that it has received purchase orders from the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the National Assembly of Wales totaling GBP 63,000 (CDN $1,393,000 at current exchange rates) for terrain elevation and image data from its previously acquired NEXTMap Britain data set. These contracts demonstrate the significant resale opportunity of Intermap's NEXTMap Britain archived data. Product delivery under the contracts is expected to occur during the first quarter of 2004.

MapInfo announced the release of the latest 2001 Expenditure Estimates, a marketing dataset that provides the retail, property and telecommunications sectors with vital information regarding consumer and business spending in the UK.

GIS and GPS Courses offered by University of California Riverside, Extension Geospatial Analysis and Technology, click www.ucrextension.net/geo

There are several courses that begin later this month and in March. It's not too late to enroll. Courses accepting enrollment include “Introduction to ArcIMS,” “Programming ArcMap Using VBA,” and “GIS Data Capture Using GPS Technology.”

ESRI Canada, in the interest of supporting and promoting open and accessible data sources, announced the immediate availability of GeoBase data as OGC-compliant data services. Several layers of GeoBase data are now available on the Geography Network Canada ( http://www.geographynetwork.ca ) as Web Map Services (WMS) and ArcIMS services. Through the Geography Network Canada portal, users have access to quality geospatial information at no cost and with unrestricted use.

HP (NYSE:HPQ)(Nasdaq:HPQ) unveiled technologies and products enabling the graphic arts industry to realize the long- awaited benefits of the digital publishing revolution. Driving this transformation are HP's comprehensive product portfolio, color science advancements, and workflow solutions, which enable customers to capitalize on efficient on-demand printing, effective real-time targeted marketing and streamlined workflows.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions (NASDAQ: INGR), in collaboration with the Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe (AGILE), announced the second Intergraph research grant opportunity for AGILE members. The grant is open to any member using or intending to use Intergraph's GeoMedia(R), IntelliWhere or ZI technology as the foundation for geographic information science (GIS) research. The Intergraph Research Grant Program will award $5,000 (U.S.) cash funding and a $50,000 software donation in recognition of an exceptional and innovative applied research proposal submitted by an AGILE member in an effort to further the implementation and evolution of GIS.

On February 13, on behalf of GeoConnections, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) launched a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the revision of the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) Target Vision and Implementation Plan. Development of this project will involve consultation and collaboration with stakeholders in the public and private sectors and in academia.

The deadline for submission of proposals is March 8, 2004. For more information

Applications are currently being accepted for URISA's 2004 Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIGtm) Awards. The awards recognize exceptional achievements in the application of information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services. The deadline to submit an application to the ESIGtm Review Committee is June 7, 2004. For more information, visit URISA's website at http://www.urisa.org or contact URISA Headquarters (847/824-6300, Email Contact ).



Appointments/Resignations

Laser-Scan is pleased to announce the appointment of Arash Karimi as Radius Topology Sales Manager.



New Products

Visual Learning Systems (VLS) & BAE Systems introduced a new feature extraction capability tool, Feature Analyst™ for SOCET SET™. The two companies will integrate VLS's Feature Analyst as an extension to SOCET SET, a world-class digital photogrammetry application. Feature Analyst provides a pathway for automated feature extraction and is a leader in image understanding technology. Feature Analyst for SOCET SET will also provide users with advanced 3-D feature extraction capability. The enhanced version of SOCET SET will be available later this year

Tele Atlas announced that it has teamed with Space Machine, Inc., to power Space Machine's latest Release 3 of the PocketMap Navigator USA 2004. The PocketMap Navigator is a powerful yet easy-to-use GPS navigation software for the Pocket PC that conveniently travels with users wherever they go. With this new Release 3, PocketMap Navigator users can now enjoy stunningly brilliant 3D visual maps with advanced text-to-speech voice instructions at every turn for an overall satisfying navigation experience.

Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. announced the GPSMAP 276C, a versatile and portable sunlight-readable color GPS navigator that's at home on the high seas or highways.

The GPSMAP 276C contains the Americas Autoroute basemap with tide data and accepts pre-programmed or user programmed data cards with MapSource(R) BlueChart(R) or Recreational Lakes with Fishing Hot Spots(R). The award-winning BlueChart features depth contours, inter-tidal zones, wrecks, and navaids -- while Recreational Lakes includes fishing areas, boat ramps, marinas, and hazards for thousands of popular U.S. and Canadian lakes.



Going on Around the Web...

Flexible Display Screens Readied for Production, Washington Post, Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, Feb. 2, 2004 --After years of unabashed hype and dashed hopes, truly flexible displays are at last being ramped up to commercial production.

Satellites to Track Tiny Dolphins, Wired News, February 19, 2004, by Kim Griggs. -- New Zealand's public conservation agency is planning to use satellite tagging for the first time to track the movements of Maui's dolphins, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world.

Wi-fi changes virtually everything, USA Today, by Michelle Kessler, February 18, 2004 --Wi-Fi is catching on fast - and changing the way people use the Internet. Fans say it leads them to do more things online: They pay bills from the living room, search recipes from the kitchen and check e-mail on the go. Tech analysts say that's just the beginning of what Wi-Fi can do. In the future, it will connect all kinds of devices - lamps, stereos, computers - and, for the first time, truly integrate the Internet into daily life.

In spite of the fact that Wi-fi has achieved great popularity with some people, others feel the technology has been stuck in techno-limbo. Read about it in Before Wi-fi can Go Mainstream, Business Week Online, February 18, 2004.



Upcoming Events...

IT/GIS in Public Works URISA Conference
Date: February 25 - 27, 2004
Place: Charlotte, NC USA
The conference focuses on the effective application of information technology in public works departments. The two-day educational program will feature full day of pre-conference workshops.

FME Training Course
Date: March 11 - 12, 2004
Place: Surrey, Canada
Join our two-day (1/3 lecture, 2/3 exercise and problem solving) course and learn to unlock the powerful features of FME to more effectively manage your data translation and data transformation challenges. FME Training can help open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. Questions are encouraged throughout the class and attendees are welcome to bring their own sample data files.

FME Training Course
Date: March 11 - 12, 2004
Place: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Join our two-day (1/3 lecture, 2/3 exercise and problem solving) course and learn to unlock the powerful features of FME to more effectively manage your data translation and data transformation challenges. FME Training can help open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. Questions are encouraged throughout the class and attendees are encouraged to bring their own sample data files.

MapWorld 2004
Date: March 16, 2004
Place: Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers New York City, NY USA
Whether you are a power user, developer, manager or are new to using MapInfo, MapWorld 2004 is the place to be.



You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.

To read more news, click here.


-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.


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