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January 09, 2006
Estimating Post-Katrina Populations with STI: PopStats
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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!

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As we move into 2006, we are well aware that entire populations have regrouped or moved as a result of Hurricane Katrina and Rita. With the loss of homes, businesses and schools, not only an entire way of life, but an extraordinary amount of data was also lost.


In an interview with Robert Welch, president of Synergos Technologies, Inc. (STI) this week, I learned about the company's STI: PopStats product, which is the market research industry's only quarterly population estimating product. The first 2006 release of STI: PopStats will include population estimates for those areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina and Rita. Read about STI: PopStats in this week's Industry news.


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Industry News


Estimating Post-Katrina Populations with STI: PopStats

By Susan Smith


CLICK TO ENLARGE
As we move into 2006, we are well aware that entire populations have regrouped or moved as a result of Hurricane Katrina and Rita. With the loss of homes, businesses and schools, not only an entire way of life, but an extraordinary amount of data was also lost.


In an interview with Robert Welch, president of Synergos Technologies, Inc. (STI) this week, I learned about the company's STI: PopStats product, which is the market research industry's only quarterly population estimating product. The first 2006 release of STI: PopStats will include population estimates for those areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina and Rita.


How is Synergos able to come out with population estimates every three months? “Our STI: PopStats product is radically different from every other population estimating product,” claimed Welch. “We're the only the only company that can do an estimate every three months.”


How were you able to get data on New Orleans? “The difference with New Orleans is that much of the data that we depend on for our regular analytic model was not available, because things were in such disarray,” Welch explained. “We had to come up with a different method for assessing the affected areas--specifically the areas of Orleans Parish, St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Parish. Those three parishes were affected as far as data loss is concerned. In the other areas the model worked just fine, even in areas of Alabama that were affected.”


“We took a large amount of satellite data and used that to create a new population model, which then had to be calibrated with an onsite visit to New Orleans-area neighborhoods. So I went to New Orleans and toured the area in three days.” Welch found that STI: PopStats' population estimates were on target.


Why was it necessary to use satellite data? “Some of our government sources provided some good information, but we just weren't getting all the data that we needed. Remote sensing data told us the obvious - certain areas were simply wiped out, and so it's impossible for people to live there now.”


CLICK TO ENLARGE
To the remote sensing data, Synergos added information from school systems and local governments and finally the federal government, FEMA and the USGS. This data was all added into the model using the “new analytic methodology” to build the estimate STI has come up with. The numbers cited in the chart below existed as of December 1.


“My whole model is a GIS-based model, as opposed to traditional approaches to demographic analysis. Since it's GIS-based, I'm able to take advantage of things like remote sensing and be able to complement the population estimate.”


How the population moved around after the hurricane follows a natural course of events. For example, New Orleans is divided (not exactly in half) by the Mississippi River. The area below the river was literally untouched by flooding, but it was still affected by population shifts because the school system doesn't exist any longer. People had to move to areas where there were schools for their children. “This is why Jefferson Parish actually increased in population, as a lot of people moved there to take advantage of the school system.”


According to Welch, traditionally providers of population estimates rely heavily on the postal delivery system for their data, but as a result of the hurricanes, this was unavailable in the New Orleans area. The postmaster in each area has the option of whether to divulge those statistics or not. “The postmaster in the New Orleans area has chosen not to divulge those statistics for quite some time,” noted Welch.


Synergos has been around since 1992, and was an outsourcing GIS firm for its first ten years. During that time, they worked extensively with the grocery industry, which was dissatisfied with population information available at the time. “In 2001, I came up with a method to create quarterly population estimates, tested it with grocery clients, they all loved it and said the numbers they were getting were vastly superior to what they were getting from competitors, so in 2001 we changed the direction of the company,” said Welch. “It is no longer an outsourcing company, but is now a data company.”


Retailers remain STI: PopStats' #1 client. Since it's a quarterly product, people can buy a subscription to it, and receive a fresh population estimate for the entire country
every three months.


Clients include virtually all grocery stores like Kroger, major drugstore chains like Walgreens, big box retailers like Family Dollar and many others.


“We use GIS techniques to develop the estimate but we're not selling a GIS,” noted Welch. “These clients all have a GIS system in house - and they each have a different GIS. One of our challenges is to make the data generic enough so that it can fit in to whatever GIS systems required. We send the data directly over to our resellers and they will reformat the data into the format appropriate to the GIS system being used by the client.”


Most demographic companies release their data in May, according to Welch, however Synergos' ability to provide data quarterly has grown their business considerably since 2004. Hurricane Katrina has placed the company in even greater demand with data that is critical to many retailers and governments.


Examples of the population insights provided in STI: PopStats' January 2006 release include the following:


  Pre-Hurricane Post-Hurricane
Orleans Parish 484,674 103,326
Jefferson Parish 455,466 452,615
East Baton Rouge Parish 412,852 447,841
St. Tammany Parish 191,268 221,521
St. Bernard Parish 67,229 2,679


The next quarterly release of STI: PopStats will be in April 2006.




Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances


Tele Atlas, a global geographic content provider, and Skyhook Wireless, provider of the industry's first Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS), announced an agreement aimed at delivering next generation location-aware solutions.


eSpatial and PCI Geomatics are pleased to announce the signing of a strategic technology partnership. The alliance will combine eSpatial's iSMART Geospatial platform with Geomatica, PCI's image management products and solutions software suite, to provide an integrated environment for GeoSpatial solutions delivery.


Both companies are currently working on an integration of their technologies, particularly PCI's advanced MappingCentre, an automated image processing and mapping delivery system, and eSpatial's iSMART GeoPortal.


A new agreement between Ordnance Survey and the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) has been signed to continue their promotion of education and research. Under the agreement, Ordnance Survey will provide core funding of £150,000 to help the Society achieve its strategic aims in encouraging public interest in geography and promoting and developing its value in formal education, research and lifelong learning.


MSN announced that it has acquired Toronto-based GeoTango International Corp.


The acquisition furthers MSN's rapid push into creating an immersive mapping and local search framework that enables users to easily find, explore, discover and share information and content for anywhere on earth.


Telogis announced that it has signed an agreement with NAVTEQ, a leading global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, to work as a sales channel partner and reseller. The agreement allows better service to location-based service, telemetry, telematics, and asset tracking companies worldwide by offering a single-source integrated product. This product, Telogis' GeoBase(TM) mapping engine, will utilize NAVTEQ(R) digital map data of the United States, Canada and Mexico.




Announcements


NAVTEQ, global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation and location-based solutions, announced that for the first time since the introduction of in-vehicle navigation in North America, annual sales of embedded navigation systems exceeded one million units. Based on customer sales data from January 2005 through October 2005, approximately one million vehicles were sold with factory-installed navigation systems, representing growth of more than 40% over recorded sales from the same time period in 2004. Over 90% of car models offering navigation systems in North America use NAVTEQ maps.


NAVTEQ is offering a map with navigable coverage throughout South Korea through its wholly owned subsidiary, PMI. This offering is another notable achievement in NAVTEQ's initiative to grow its map portfolio and to support its customers' efforts to service the rapidly growing Asian market.


Group 1 Software, Inc., a Pitney Bowes Company, announced that Microsoft Corp. has chosen to incorporate Group 1's GeoStan geocoding software and data into its online offerings, MapPoint Web Service and Windows Live Local, for real-time geocode assignment. Group 1's GeoStan will enable Microsoft to improve the accuracy of the address location on its online mapping systems.


ESRI has been accepted as a partner of the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (the Federation). The Federation is a network of researchers and associated groups that collect, interpret, and develop applications for satellite-generated earth observation information. It is developing the Earth Information Exchange, a portal where member data products and tools will be available to researchers, decision makers, educators, and others.


Peter Morville, author of Ambient Findability and a 2006 GeoTec Event keynote speaker, appeared on the NPR program
OnPoint this week to discuss the “ambitions and implications” of Geospatial Web.


In 2006, the oldest of the baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, will turn 60 years old. Among the Americans celebrating their 60th will be our two most recent presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Other well-known celebrities reaching this milestone include Cher, Donald Trump, Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton. To commemorate this occasion, the
Census Bureau has compiled a collection of facts relating to, perhaps, our most celebrated generation.




Financials


Analytical Surveys, Inc., a provider of utility-industry data collection, creation and management services for the geographic information systems (GIS) markets, announced financial results for its fiscal year ended September 30, 2005.


Revenue for the fiscal year was $6.1 million compared with $11.6 million in fiscal 2004. The Company's operating loss totaled $3.3 million before interest and other expense as compared with an operating loss in fiscal 2004 of $2.1 million before interest and other expense. Net loss available to common shareholders was $3.3 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, versus $1.2 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, last year. Net loss in fiscal 2004 included a $1.5 million gain on the extinguishment of debt.


PlanGraphics, Inc. announced it has filed its annual report for the period ended September 30, 2004 on Form 10-KSB and the three subsequent quarterly reports through the quarter ended June 30, 2005 on Forms 10-QSB with the Securities and Exchange Commission.




New Offices/Locations


ESRI Canada is increasing its presence in Pacific-Canada with the opening of a Kelowna office. ESRI Canada's Kelowna office will provide existing clients with support including consulting and training, and will enable ESRI Canada to promote and support the use of GIS in other organizations.


Wind Lake Solutions, Inc. has announced that it has relocated its operations to a new expanded facility in southeast Wisconsin. Recent longer term contract awards have enabled Wind Lake Solutions (WLS) to significantly increase staff and equipment. To accommodate the increased growth, WLS has relocated to a larger office facility in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. The new facility provides WLS with an enhanced GIS development and production environment as well as offering future expansion options. The office is located approximately 30 miles from the city of Milwaukee, in suburban Waukesha County.


The Carbon Project, the world leader in Open-Geospatial .NET technology, has opened a new corporate office in Burlington, MA to accommodate its growing staff and the expanding market for its CarbonTools software products and related services.




Awards


Intergraph Corporation announced that Intergraph and its customer, Ordnance Survey of Great Britain, received a prestigious award for excellence in innovation at the Elan Conferences Information Management 2005 Awards ceremony in London. The pair was commended in the Content Management category for its implementation of an Intergraph Z/I Imaging DMC® (Digital Mapping Camera) and TerraShare® image management solution used in the production of Ordnance Survey's OS MasterMap digital map data.


The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) has recently posted the application materials for its prestigious Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG-TM) Awards. The awards recognize exceptional achievements in the application of information technology that have improved the delivery and quality of government services. Applications may be submitted in two categories, Single Process and Enterprise Systems. Applications must be submitted by May 22, 2006. Winners in each category will be recognized at URISA's 44th Annual Conference, September 26-29, 2006 in Vancouver, British Columbia.


For more information or to review this year's winning submissions, visit the
URISA website or call (847) 824-6300.




Appointments


Geographic Technologies Group, Inc. (GTG), a provider of professional GIS services and software for local government, would like to announce that Sean Hawley, Project Manager for GTG, is now an ESRI authorized ArcGIS instructor in ArcGIS I as well as ArcGIS II. Mr. Hawley joined GTG in 1999.


GeoSpatial Innovations, Inc. (GSI) announced the appointment of Dave Goughnour as director of sales to promote GSI's mobile and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) solutions for utilities.


John Copple CEO of Sanborn announced that Jill Caporal Jones has been named vice president, government affairs. Jones will develop strategy to support federal business for the company, and will be responsible for executing that strategy in Washington D.C.




New Products


Avatech Solutions, Inc. announced the availability of Avatech Earth Connector, a unique AutoCAD plug-in which allows architects, building designers, and engineers to place 2D and 3D structures developed in AutoCAD-based products directly into Google Earth's 3D world.


Visual Learning Systems (VLS) is pleased to announce the release of Feature Analyst® 4.0 for ERDAS IMAGINE, providing a sophisticated solution for extracting features of interest from imagery and scanned maps. Feature Analyst 4.0 offers significant new benefits including enhanced image and vector handling, direct read/write capability with the Geodatabase, and a developer API for creating plug-in tools.


DigitalGlobe announced that its Brazil-based partner INTERSAT has introduced a new product, Virtual Reality Simulator. Designed to train airplane pilots, this flight simulator package relies on DigitalGlobe's high-resolution QuickBird satellite images for a three-dimensional visual perspective. View
sample images.


OLAP for GIS add-on is a free download that allows you to use the strength of online analytical processing (OLAP) technology in ArcGIS Desktop.


Users of Topcon Positioning Systems GPS+ technology can now access three additional GLONASS satellites following a Christmas Day launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.


Topcon GPS+ is said to be the only dual frequency satellite-based precision positioning system that allows its users the option to access both the GPS and GLONASS satellite constellations, virtually eliminating jobsite downtime due to weak or obstructed satellite reception.


The launch, which increased the number of GLONASS satellites to 17 (with GPS, the total satellites available to Topcon users is 41), is the first of a series of satellite placements the Russian Federal Space Agency has scheduled in the next two years to bring the GLONASS system to full deployment.


The US Geological Survey (USGS) now offers, at no cost, selected Landsat 4, 5 and 7 satellite data. Orthorectified Landsat data are available for free download from the Global Visualization Viewer (GloVis) and
Earth Explorer.


The Landsat Orthorectified data collection is a global set of high-quality, relatively cloud-free orthorectified Landsat 4-5 Thematic Mapper and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) imagery.


GE Energy has announced the availability of its Smallworld Analysis and Optimization* 4 (A&O) product for the electric utility design market. The product allows users to take advantage of advanced analysis algorithms without having to become experts in the field. An addition to GE Energy's Smallworld Engineering Management product line, A&O employs state-of-the-art power flow analysis algorithms that are embedded as “engines” in Smallworld Core Spatial Technology*, providing analysis and optimization tools to any organization managing electric networks using the Smallworld application.


LeadDog Consulting, LLC announced the release of geographic databases of city streets for the Moroccan cities: Agadir, Casablanca. Fes, Marrakech, Meknes, Mohammadia, Oudja, Rabat, Tanger and Taza to support asset-tracking, government, and commercial GIS applications. Designed to help companies track their assets and provide accurate base level mapping, LeadDog's product provides numerous vector layers and attributes such as:


  - Streets at 1:5,000 scale

  - Street names

  - Street classifications

  - Extensive Points of Interest (government ministry offices, banks, hotels, etc…)

  - Landmark polygons


Wallingford Software announced the release of Version 7.0 of InfoWorks, the leading software for modeling infrastructure planning and operational management in water distribution and supply, wastewater management and sewerage provision, river management and coastal engineering. Version 7.0, released as scheduled, is the second new InfoWorks release of 2005, confirming that Wallingford Software continues to meet the most aggressive product development schedule in the industry.


Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. announced a premium GPS navigation system for customers using Palm OS-based personal digital assistants (PDA) or smart phones with Bluetooth. This GPS package includes proven navigation software with feature-rich points of interest and Garmin's GPS 10, a sensor that receives location data from the Global Positioning System (GPS) and transmits that information to mobile devices enabled with Bluetooth wireless technology. Garmin announced this Palm OS-based product at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.


Garmin International Inc. announced the GVN 52, a customer- configurable, "black-box" GPS navigation system that features Garmin's robust GPS hardware and familiar StreetPilot user interface and is designed to be integrated with mobile audio/video entertainment systems.


Synergos Technologies, Inc., a leading geodemographic technology and data products provider, announces the latest version of STI: Streets, based on the most recent release of the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 First Edition TIGER/Lines files, which were issued on Monday, December 12th, 2005. STI: Streets' files are released in today's popular geographic information system (GIS) formats.


ThinkGeo announced the release of
Map Suite Geocode USA. This new product offers C# and VB.NET software developers access to a powerful and feature-rich.NET component that comes complete with a highly optimized dataset encompassing the entire United States.




Letters to the Editor


Thanks for a wonderful year of GIS informations. - Frank L. Gouin




Around the Web


Autodesk To See Q4 Upside On Surprise Rebate Maya Roney, Forbes, January 6, 2006- Autodesk introduced an upgrade promotion for customers running 2002-based products. Starting on December 12, all obit/retirement upgrades from 2002-based products became eligible for a rebate. The rebate is $125 across all 2002-based upgrades and the promotion runs through January 27.


Digital Maps Going Beyond the Roads Business Week, by Anick Jesdanun, AP Internet Writer, December 29, 2005 - A quote from this article, “Digital maps produce so much more than driving directions these days” suggests this publication hasn't been reading GISWeekly lately.


EU Launches Galilleo Satellite CNN News, December 28, 2005 - The first satellite in the EU's Galileo satellite navigation program was launched from Kazakhstan, a major step forward for Europe's answer to the United States' Global Positioning System.


Governments Tremble at Google's Birds Eye View The New York Times, by Katie Hafner and Saritha Rai, December 20 2005 - Google Earth has received attention of an unexpected sort since its debut last summer. Officials of several nations have expressed alarm over its detailed display of government buildings, military installations and other important sites within their borders.


India, whose laws sharply restrict satellite and aerial photography, has been particularly outspoken. "It could severely compromise a country's security," V. S. Ramamurthy, secretary in India's federal Department of Science and Technology, said of Google Earth. And India's surveyor general, Maj. Gen. M. Gopal Rao, said, "They ought to have asked us."




Upcoming Events


Mapping California Communities: An Introduction to GIS and Community Analysis Workshop - One Day Workshop

Date: January 10, 2006

Place: Sacramento, CA USA

This fast paced, hands-on workshop teaches the fundamentals of how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) in a way that is particularly relevant to social service providers, planners and researchers. Participants learn to make thematic maps of their community, geocode addresses and perform spatial queries and analysis. Participants also learn to extract and map Census variables such as race, poverty, language, education, health and many other demographic variables. Exercises are designed for beginners. Intermediate Excel skills required. Each students is assigned a computer on which to work for the day.


Mapping California Communities: An Introduction to GIS and Community Analysis Workshop - One Day Workshop

Date: January 11 - 12, 2006

Place: San Francisco, USA

This fast paced, hands-on workshop teaches the fundamentals of how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) in a way that is particularly relevant to social service providers, planners and researchers. Participants learn to make thematic maps of their community, geocode addresses and perform spatial queries and analysis. Participants also learn to extract and map Census variables such as race, poverty, language, education, health and many other demographic variables. Exercises are designed for beginners. Intermediate Excel skills required. Each students is assigned a computer on which to work for the day.


Mapping California Communities: An Introduction to GIS and Community Analysis Workshop - One Day Workshop

Date: January 11 - 12, 2006

Place: San Jose, CA USA

This fast paced, hands-on workshop teaches the fundamentals of how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) in a way that is particularly relevant to social service providers, planners and researchers. Participants learn to make thematic maps of their community, geocode addresses and perform spatial queries and analysis. Participants also learn to extract and map Census variables such as race, poverty, language, education, health and many other demographic variables. Exercises are designed for beginners. Intermediate Excel skills required. Each students is assigned a computer on which to work for the day.


GIS Ostrava 2006

Date: January 23 - 25, 2006

Place: VSB-Technical University Ostrava Czech Republic

Let us invite you to participate in International Symposium GIS??? Ostrava 2006. This meeting has been organized every year since 1994 and it has been developed to one of the most important GI/GIT conferences in the Czech Republic. Every year about two hundred participants mainly from the Czech Republic and Slovakia attend the conference. Reputable foreign speakers have been invited to present main topics to Czech and Slovak GI community. The aim of this series of conferences is bringing together researchers, developers, users, and practitioners from the field of GI/GIT. We have decided to open GIS??? Ostrava 2006 meeting to keynote speakers from informatics area. We hope that they can
bring new ideas to GI-community how to effectively use IT for GI.


DGI Europe 2006

Date: January 23 - 26, 2006

Place: QE II Conference Centre Westminster, London, United Kingdom

DGI (Defence Geospatial Intelligence) is the annual European event for the Military Geospatial Intelligence community, bringing together government, industry, and military leaders together with leading suppliers and industry experts.


Mapping California Communities: An Introduction to GIS and Community Analysis Workshop - One Day Workshop

Date: January 25 - 27, 2006

Place: City of Orange, USA

This fast paced, hands-on workshop teaches the fundamentals of how to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) in a way that is particularly relevant to social service providers, planners and researchers. Participants learn to make thematic maps of their community, geocode addresses and perform spatial queries and analysis. Participants also learn to extract and map Census variables such as race, poverty, language, education, health and many other demographic variables. Exercises are designed for beginners. Intermediate Excel skills required. Each students is assigned a computer on which to work for the day.


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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