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June 06, 2011
Universal Geocoding from NAC Assigns Unique Codes to Every Location on Earth
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Industry News

Universal Geocoding from NAC Assigns Unique Codes to Every Location on Earth

By Susan Smith






Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easier way to describe exact location so that it could become more memorable? NAC Geographic Products Inc. is working at doing just that.

In an interview with Dr. Xinhang Shen, president of NAC Geographic Products Inc. , he spoke of NAC’s creation of its own Universal Geocoding format. NAC Geographic Products Inc. developed the
Universal Address System that has assigned a unique code called Universal Address to every location on the earth. According to Dr. Shen, there are many organizations using NACs as their addresses.  For example, you can search Google with keywords:
“Universal Address” and campground to see thousands of campgrounds with their Universal Addresses.

GISWeekly: How does this Universal Geocoding format differ from assigning lat long to a particular address or location?

Dr. Shen:
You may have noticed that there are rarely people using lat long in their daily activities. This is because the lat long coordinates are too long for people to remember when they are accurate to individual houses. Therefore they are mainly used by machines rather than human brains. A Universal Address is a human-friendly representation of lat long designed for both human brains and computers. For example, the Brazilian address: Rua Mituto Mizumoto 220, 01513-010 Sao Paulo, Brazil is at lat: -23.5585 and long: -46.6317 that require 16 characters, while its Universal Address requires only eight characters:
C3DL C266. Because of the short length, the Universal Address can be neatly displayed on small devices, easily read, communicated and remembered, efficiently input into devices, beautifully printed on photos, gracefully included on business cards and compactly listed on yellow pages. With the Universal Address, visitors can efficiently navigate to the location, postal/courier services can automatically sort mail/parcels from the world level to the final mail boxes, and taxi and emergency services can reliably deliver their services to the location.

Unlike lat long that are awful to be marked on large scale maps, the Universal Address is the coordinates of the Universal Map Grids that can be marvelously applied onto all maps in any scales and projections and make the location information of these maps directly connected. Actually, it connects all the location information no matter whether it is from GPS devices, paper maps or interactive electronic maps for location based services, postal services or census statistics used by professionals or consumers.  The Universal Address can be used to unify all representations of addresses, postcodes, area codes, geographic coordinates, map grids, map sheet numbers, property identifiers,
etc in the world.

In the Natural Area Coding System, we use highly efficient unified codes to represent both points and areas with 30 most popular characters in the world (ten digits and 20 capital consonants). These codes are called Natural Area

Codes (NACs) defined by a series of NAC grids. The first level NAC grid is formed by dividing the full range of longitude and latitude in the WGS-84 datum into thirty equal divisions respectively with one character representing each of these divisions as shown in Figure 1.


Figure 1


A cell on this grid is represented by two characters such as NAC: D H the black cell in Figure 1. To further divide each of these cells into thirty equal divisions, we get the second level NAC grid. A cell in the second level NAC grid is represented with four characters such as NAC: DK HP. Repeating the same procedure will make the third, fourth, fifth and even higher level NAC grids.


For CSDL C266, the first part CSDL represents longitude and C266 represents latitude. "C C" is the first level grid coordinates, "S 2" is the second level grid coordinates, "D 6" is the third level and "L 6" is the fourth level. [some comments from Dr. Shen’s talk at the GeoTec Event]

2) GISWeekly: Do you expect the Universal Geocoding to become a standard?

Dr. Shen: Yes, we have been working to make it a world standard so that people all over the world can enjoy the benefits from the same efficient, language independent and unique addresses for all locations in the world. As the Universal Address is both a digital address and a global address, it is also becoming the symbol of the digital and globalization era.

GISWeekly: How do you propose to get this technology to countries who do not have address systems or databases?

Dr. Shen:
Actually we haven’t proposed it to any countries because we don’t know which country has put the issue on their agenda. All the contacts are initiated by the countries which believe the Universal Address System is the best solution for their address or postal code system. Thus, they can turn the disadvantage of lack of street addresses or postcodes into an advantage in the revolution of digitization and globalization, immediately ahead of industrialized countries which are racking their brain to fix their chaotic address systems. According to our experience in geocoding services, there are only about 30 countries in the world that have workable address databases. Even with these databases there are more than 10% addresses that can’t be found or mismatched. Since addresses are defined mainly in urban areas, most locations of a country (even a developed country) remain no addresses, not to mention countries that don’t have address systems yet. The Universal Address can solve all the problems caused by lack of traditional addresses, but further solve many problems of traditional addresses such as non-uniqueness, language dependency, variations, outdatedness, incompleteness, etc. The Universal Address, more generally, the Natural Area Code can be used as the representation of all areas and locations in the world: addresses, area
codes, postal codes, geographic coordinates, property identifiers, universal map grids, etc for 911 responding, GPS navigation, automatic mail sorting, local searching, mapping and various geographic information systems. All these will surely attract more countries seeking improvements in their location applications.



GISWeekly: When accessing by smartphone, what does the user need to do to have this capability?

Dr. Shen: There have been several NAC enhanced applications (NACMaps, Mobile GMaps, Locago, nactag.info, mlbs.net, Locamagic, etc) for smartphones that allow users to get their current Universal Address with the smartphone’s internal GPS or use the Universal Address to specify the location for retrieving maps, making local searches or getting driving/walking directions. Users can download NACMaps on Blackberry AppWorld, Google’s Android Market and Palm’s App Catalog. Mobile GMaps is available for most J2ME phones (
http://www.mgmaps.com). Locago is available at
http://www.locago.com. If the smartphone has HTML5 web browser, it can directly use the HTML5 version of NAVMaps on
http://nactag.info/. With the Universal Address capability, users in most countries now can use this application on their smartphones to get door-to-door navigations or other location based services.

GISWeekly: What makes universal Geocoding more accurate than traditional methods of providing location data?

Dr. Shen:
The Universal Geocoding Solution takes a completely different approach in obtaining the geocodes. Instead of searching the user’s address in an address database, it asks the user to directly input the Universal Address on a web application. Since the user knows their location better than anyone else, the Universal Address they have obtained using either their smartphone’s GPS or online high resolution satellite image maps has been verified by the user, but database based geocoding is carried out in the server hidden from the user, its database can never be 100% complete and up to date and always has typos, the user input address may be
outdated or not written in standard form or match multiple locations, and many locations do not have addresses, which make database based geocoding frequently fail.

GISWeekly: Who are some of your customers so far?

Dr. Shen: Our clients are the Government of Mongolia, the Government of Somaliland, hundreds of subscribers of our NAC Real-Time Geo-Services Suite and other companies under individual licensing agreements.

GISWeekly: How do you propose this is used in remote or forest areas where there is not very good coverage for smartphones?

Dr. Shen:
NAC itself does not need wireless networks. All smartphones with internal GPS should be able to get the NAC of their current location in remote and forest areas, just the same as to get lat long. If you want to use a GPS application which needs map data, then you’d better make sure that the GPS application is able to download and store the necessary map data in your phone. Once you have the map data, the GPS application should be able to work without network coverage.





Top of the News


Pictometry International Corp. announced  that it has acquired Indianapolis-based GeoEstimator, a provider of roof measurements based on aerial imagery.

As a result of the acquisition, GeoEstimator’s 80-person workforce will join Pictometry’s global team but will continue to work out of their Indianapolis headquarters. In addition, Pictometry will be making a significant investment to further scale the overall operation to meet the growing demand for roof reports, as insurers recognize the benefits of quick, independent and accurate reports to speed the claims process.

Fullpower-MotionX  announced
MotionX-GPS version 16.0 for the iPhone and iPad, including a newly revamped mapping engine and waypoint display interface to provide the best possible online and offline map viewing for outdoor enthusiasts.

Now MotionX-GPS includes fast unlimited on-board downloading of four map types:
  • Street Maps
  • Topo Maps
  • Cycle Maps
  • Marine Maps

  • Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances

    Urban Mapping, a provider of web services and on-demand data for interactive mapping applications, announced  an agreement that enables Oracle's products to include direct access to Urban Mapping's Mapfluence platform.

    The ability to access Mapfluence, Urban Mapping's hosted mapping platform with on-demand data, will be integrated into Oracle Fusion Middleware's MapViewer feature. Oracle customers will be able to easily leverage Urban Mapping's expansive catalog of on-demand data across many industry segments. For more information, Oracle customers may visit
    Urban Mapping Oracle.

    RapidEye announced  that Cambodia and Laos-based Aruna Technology is now part of its growing distribution network. As part of the agreement, Aruna's territory will be Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.

    RapidEye announced  that a partnership agreement has been signed between RapidEye and the ImageSat International.


    The agreement allows ImageSat to use RapidEye imagery to colorize their panchromatic 0.7 meter resolution imagery to produce a colorized product.

    ISC and Tribridge, two leading Microsoft Gold Partners, announce a new partnership to provide a complete 311 government call center solution for ISC’s HeyGov! product and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Through this partnership, ISC and Tribridge have developed a world-class 311 call center solution with a web-based citizen service portal, mobile apps, telephony integration and more for government customers in the United States.

    SimActive Inc. is pleased to announce that HyVista Corporation has acquired its Correlator3D photogrammetry software.  The transaction was brokered by Credent Technology Asia Pte Ltd., SimActive’s partner in South East Asia and Australia.

    Announcements

    According to a new research report by Berg Insight, the number of mobile money subscribers in emerging markets is forecasted to grow from 133 million users in 2010 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 percent to reach 709 million users in 2015. The total value of mobile money transactions will simultaneously grow at a CAGR of 54 percent from US$ 25 billion in 2010 to US$ 215 billion in 2015. Asia-Pacific is expected to become the most important regional market, accounting for more than half of the total user base.

    CoreLogic released its April Home Price Index (HPI) which shows that home prices in the U.S. increased on a month-to-month basis by 0.7 percent between March and April, 2011, the first such increase since the home-buyer tax credit expired in mid-2010. However, national home prices, including distressed sales declined by 7.5 percent in April 2011 compared to April 2010 after declining by 6.8 percent* in March 2011 compared to March 2010. Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices declined by 0.5 percent in April 2011 compared to April 2010 and by 1.6* percent in March 2011 compared to March 2010.  Distressed sales include short sales and real estate owned
    (REO) transactions.

    Combining remote sensing measurement tools with 60-meter meteorological tower data is an accurate, cost-effective alternative to collecting wind information vs. with 80-meter met towers alone, according to a
    cost analysis from Second Wind.

    The analysis determined that one wind study using Second Wind's Triton remote sensing system and one 60-meter meteorological tower costs 35 percent less than the same study using an 80-meter met tower. Because of the portability of Second Wind's remote sensing system, the savings mount to 45 percent if two wind studies are conducted.

    MAPPS, the national association of private sector geospatial firms, praised the adoption of an amendment in the U.S. House of Representatives this week that placed a moratorium on insourcing of commercial activities in the Department of Defense.

    The
    amendment to H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), was sponsored by Representative Nan Hayworth (R-NY) and cosponsored by Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX). It was included in a managers amendment by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA).

    The
    2011 Esri Homeland Security Summit promises to be an information-packed event put on by Esri for police, fire, emergency management, and other homeland security professionals. The summit will be held July 9–12 at the Hilton Bayfront in San Diego, California.

    ESRI Canada  announced that its Community Maps Program is succeeding in creating a detailed, online national basemap of Canada.  The program provides a cost-effective and efficient framework for governments to contribute their geographic information to be shared with the public.  Launched in June 2010, the Web map now includes content from more than 40 federal, provincial and municipal organizations across the country.

    The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) announced new membership options for organizations based in emerging economies.

    To support the current trend toward more global participation in the OGC's open standards process, the OGC has responded to requests for a fee structure that gives certain categories of organizations discounts based on their country of registration. These categories include government, academic, research, not-for-profit, individuals, and some for-profit organizations. Discounts are based on world economic indicator data compiled and published by the World Bank.

    Bentley Systems, Incorporated announced that it is accepting entries for the
    2011 Be Inspired Awards competition. Be Inspired brings together infrastructure professionals from around the world as well as members of the academic community to:
  • advance best practices and innovation in information modeling leading to higher-performing infrastructure and more cost-effective project realization,
  • promote the extraordinary achievements of architects, engineers, constructors, geospatial professionals, and owner-operators in sustaining infrastructure empowered by Bentley software.

  • To learn more about the 2011 Be Inspired Awards program or to submit an entry, visit
    www.bentley.com/BeInspired or email
    Email Contact.

    Financials

    Autodesk, Inc. reported financial results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2012.
    press release

    People

    Avineon, Inc., announced the appointment of Neil Bourassa as Manager, Advanced Programs -- Defense Systems.

    AeroMetric is pleased to announce the addition of  Andrew Beck, PSM, PLS as an account manager. Beck will assist clients directly with project definition, approach, scoping, estimating, and schedule coordination.

    New Products

    Pitney Bowes Business Insight announced the launch of Flood Risk Pro, a new Risk Data Suite bundle. This new product will enable
    National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Excess Flood coverage insurers to build up-to-date flood risk information into their underwriting processes.

     WebMapSolutions have just released a demo of a native ArcGIS application running on the new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

    The application is written in Adobe AIR and includes both basic and advanced functionality. It is built using an extremely flexible framework which will allow the easy addition of new tools or widgets.

    Optech Incorporated is pleased to announce the release of the world’s first compact shallow-water mapping solution for its innovative line of ALTM Airborne Laser Terrain Mappers.

    New Jersey-based Arc2Earth has been working at the interface of GIS and the web since 2006, creating products that bridge the gap between Esri’s ArcGIS and Google mapping. In the last 5 years, Google has made great strides with their mapping offering (who doesn’t use Google Maps?) culminating in the recent release of the Google Earth Builder. Arc2Earth has matched this rate of development and the latest version of their suite of products covers a range of operations that everyone moving geospatial data into the cloud must achieve.

    GeoIQ is making it even easier to integrate SoLoMo data into the business decision-making process by adding enhanced performance and usability features to their location data management, visualization and analysis platform.

    A subset of these new capabilities was made available yesterday through the launch of GeoCommons 2.0, the newest version of the community site powered by GeoIQ. See a tour of these new capabilities
    here
    .

    Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. announced the redesigned and upgraded eTrex handheld GPS device – evolving from one of the world’s most reliable and popular handhelds, with millions sold. This entry level option has been given enhanced ergonomics, an improved interface, paperless geocaching and in certain models, a 65k color screen with expanded mapping capabilities. These new additions - along with up to 25 hours of battery life - make the new eTrex more versatile and user-friendly, while maintaining its storied toughness and durability.

    Blom has launched Blom3D.  This is the largest catalog of 3D city models in the world with more than 340 cities worldwide, covering more than 12,000 km2.

    Blom3D models are created from an extensive collection of up-to-date, high resolution vertical and oblique images produced by Blom. Each model is created in four different levels of detail, from basic building blocks to fully photorealistic textured models, adding a powerful element of visual impact. Every building included in the Blom3D archive is a unique entity, allowing the ability to edit and integrate databases and events to the data.

    Around the Web

    GISCafe Today Blog

    UN body partners emergency agency on imminent floods June 1, 2011, NEXT

    25% of Orang suitable for rhinos: Study, May 31, 2011, The Telegraph, Calcutta, India

    Ubisense raises £6m and floats on AIM May 31, 2011, Business Weekly UK

    Spacepower versus bin Laden May 31, 2011, Space Review

    Japan governments rolls-out 'eco map' May 31, 2011, FutureGov Asia Pacific


    Events

    Date: June 7 - 9, 2011
    Place: 300 Reunion Boulevard

    Dallas Texas, USA

    The first Defense Intelligence Information Enterprise (DI2E) Worldwide Conference & Technology Exposition will take place at the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion. The theme of this year’s conference is “Converging the Enterprise”. The DI2E is the logical integration of the successes of the Distributed Common Ground/Surface System (DCGS) and Joint Intelligence Operations Center (JIOC) Enterprises to support our defense, national, and international partners with all-source intelligence and counterintelligence.
    Date: June 8 - 10, 2011
    Place: Shrigley Hall

    Nr. Macclesfield, Cheshire , United Kingdom

    The British Cartographic Society’s Annual Symposium is an established three-day training event that provides delegates with the opportunity to gain mapping knowledge from a wide range of world class presentations and interactive workshops.
    Date: June 13 - 17, 2011
    Place: Moonrise Hotel

    St Louis, MO USA

    In today's work environment, it doesn't pay to sit still. Keeping your skills sharp and current can make the difference between moving ahead and becoming stale or even obsolete.  Learn from the best minds in the profession and take your skills to the next level by attending the URISA Leadership Academy!
    Date: June 14 - 17, 2011
    Place: Macaé Centro

    Maca, Brazil

    The third largest offshore industry trade show in the world, Brazil Offshore summarizes one of the major successes in the business trade show scenario, presenting a vertiginous growth in terms of exhibitor companies and visitors quantity and quality.

    As the offshore industry dynamic polo, the trade show gained notoriety by concentrating all the products and services chain and attracting thousands of professionals specialized in deep waters, throughout Brazil and abroad. Today it is part of the sector international events calendar.
    Date: June 14 - 15, 2011
    Place: Manekshaw centre

    New Delhi, India

    Geospatial information is a critical foundation for many aspects of defence and homeland security as it facilitates multi-source information sharing and integration across agencies and organisations by providing a common framework upon which other information is tied. Those tasked with homeland security and national defence must become more agile and innovate more quickly.
    Date: June 15, 2011
    Place: USA

    ERDAS IMAGINE®, the world’s leading geospatial data authoring system, incorporates geospatial image processing and analysis, remote sensing and GIS capabilities into a single powerful, convenient package. To enable users to fully leverage the flexible features of ERDAS IMAGINE, this webinar will introduce users to ERDAS IMAGINE’s interface and core time-saving features such as the “shoebox,” which facilitates management of a user’s working files.  Additionally, we will demonstrate how to view metadata and histograms for raster imagery and examine attributes for vectors. The webinar will also
    showcase the power and flexibility of mosaicking in ERDAS IMAGINE with the MosaicPro tool, illustrating the mosaicking of orthophotos, automated and manual adjustment of seamlines, and correction of color discrepancies in mosaics.
    Date: June 15 - 17, 2011
    Place: Münster, Germany

    The third in a series of Geoinformatics conferences, GEOINFORMATIK 2011 builds on the successes of previous conferences and calls upon researchers from the academia and industry to what promises to be another exciting moment in the history of GI science. Probably one of the biggest gatherings in the field of Geoinformatics in Germany, the conference offers an opportunity to researchers, both international and local, to discuss the state-of-the-art in GI science, applications and explore emerging research directions.
    Date: June 19 - 25, 2011
    Place: Albena sea-side and SPA resort

    Bulgaria
    The SGEM conference considers the questions concerned to the geology and mining, oil and gas, geodesy, photogrametry, remote sensing, cartography and GIS, informatics, geoinformatics, micro and nanotechnologies, water resources, air and climate, ecosystems, soils, renewable energy, environmental protection, environmental economics. Accepted papers will be published into the SGEM Proceedings (ISBN 13: 978-954-91818-1-4) indexed by ISI Web of Knowledge, Web of Science.


    Date: June 21 - 22, 2011
    Place: Centre for Geospatial Science

    University of Nottingham , USA

    The OSGIS conference series has a strong international focus and takes a holistic approach in bringing together speakers and delegates from government, academe, industry and open source communities. High profile speakers from all over the world are invited for giving presentations and running hands-on workshops for the conference series.
    Date: June 26 - 30, 2011
    Place: The Sagamore Resort

    110 Sagamore, Bolton Landing (Lake George), NY USA

    The MAPPS Summer Conference is a unique event brining the leading private geospatial firms together for business education and networking. MAPPS meetings bring owners, principals and senior level executives together for education on the latest business and technical trends in the geospatial profession. Additionally, MAPPS host sessions with government agency partners for briefings on the latest activities.
    Date: June 27 - 29, 2011
    Place: Newton

    MA USA

    Caliper Corporation invites you to attend training for Maptitude Geographic Information System for Windows. The classes will be at our training center in Newton, Massachusetts.

    The three days of classroom training cover materials valuable to both new and existing users of Maptitude. Day 3 provides time to work with your own data with a Maptitude trainer.
    Date: June 27 - 30, 2011
    Place: Atlanta, GA USA

    URISA is pleased to present this specialty conference, to explore the many uses of GIS for public health access, processes, and decision-making. The conference was developed as a result of a high level of interest in the 'public health program track' at URISA's annual conference for several years. A dedicated committee of well-known and respected professionals in the field has spearheaded this effort to create a specialty conference to promote sharing of information and networking within the discipline.
    Date: July 3 - 8, 2011
    Place: 2 Place de la Porte Maillot

    Paris , France

    In 2011, France will host the 25th Conference of the International Cartographic Association, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the first General Assembly of the Organization. During these fifty years, the ICA has skilfully remained true to its two fundamental objectives, namely, to maintain its position as the benchmark international conference for cartography and geomatics, thanks to its solid and progressively updated scientific content, whilst remaining a conference which is open to a variety of participating groups: researchers, decision-makers in the field of geomatics, teachers and lovers of cartography.
    Date: July 5 - 8, 2011
    Place: Salzburg, Austria

    The University of Salzburg
    Institute for GIScience at the Austrian Academy of Sciences offer an annual forum to the worldwide geoinformatics community, bringing together English-speaking researchers and practitioners across disciplines and industries. Simultaneously, the GI_Forum connects participants into a well established co-located regional symposium -  Applied Geoinformatics (
    AGIT) - sharing the state-of-the art AGIT-EXPO exhibit.
    Date: July 6, 2011
    Place: USA

    The reliability of any GIS depends on the caliber of its supporting imagery and basemap data.  ERDAS IMAGINE®, the world’s leading geospatial data authoring system, complements ArcMap by taking data quality to the next level.


    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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