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Conferences & Meetings

Geospatial Supply Chain to the

The Complex Animal of Data Quality
They sort of knew that the subject of cleaning legacy data and the role of automation in the supply chain would be a tough one. Thus, UKs Laser-Scan took its customers and partners out on a punting trip, booked a world champion snooker player-turnedcomedian and did some golfing just before everybody went home. The outcome of three days of lectures and debate: the golden egg of your organisation is in the existing data you have already invested in.

By Remco Takken

Aerial Data of the Forties

With 100 billion euros invested in geospatial data throughout Europe, stated Laser-Scans Steven Ramage, it should be worthy to maintain that investment, and maybe even get more out of it by making it do a whole lot of other things than we would have expected earlier on. Chris Corbin of European GI Policy came up with a neat example. In taking the RAF and Luftwaffe aerial data of the forties, and those of the USSR after the collapse of communism, these old data suddenly became valuable again when it became available online. He also pointed out that there is economic value to be gained from exploiting public sector information. The current ageing demographic in the EU calls for a smaller public sec-

tor. We need to release people for other activities. E-Government, interoperability of systems and greater conformance to standards should be helpful in that regard, he said. Corbin was one of the first speakers of the Laser-Scan User and Partner Conference 2006, held between June 27th and June 29th at Wyboston Lakes, just outside of Cambridge, UK.

the required product. Watson named this supply chain quite a complex animal. Nevertheless he did succeed in describing all steps from data entry up to final extraction and encoding. Data Integration Warehousing and making an inventory out of it came just after the core of what Laser-Scan is doing: the part of quality assurance and data reconciliation.

A Complex Animal
Paul Watson, chief scientist with Laser-Scan, called the spatial data supply chain fundamental. It is a business process that manufactures a product out of sources of geospatial data new and old. For the difficulties that rise with legacy systems placed within new systems, and the need to combine the existing data with new information in order to produce

Radius Studio
During the conference, Laser-Scans Chris Tagg and eSpatials Bryan Hughes demonstrated what it is exactly that a product like the recently launched Radius Studio does with faulty data. For their presentation Tagg and Hughes chose cable information which had been drawn on vectorized raster maps. When

July/August 2006

Conferences & Meetings

Fore at Laser-Scan Conference

displaying these data onto a modern digital map, all kinds of distortions and unwanted placement occurred, rendering the data unusable. By applying a set of rules, which can add up to an amazing 6,000 in some cases, Radius Studio was able to sort out the spaghetti data. Tagg and Hughes repeatedly checked, reviewed and repaired some 8,000 mistakes each session, which ran just under a minute. This is not a dinosaur with wings that is starting to fly as one lecturer aptly stated, but before you can run quick little checks like these, a lot of work has been done by figuring out all the business rules that apply to the data. The collection and implementation of the rules is a tedious job, because most of the knowledge about spatial data is spread out over point applications, documents and the heads of individual workers all through an organisation. But once the business rules are saved in Radius Studios Knowledge Management Tool, they can be useful for years to come in order to ensure quality checks of future data. Radius Vision is an additional editing environment for manual correction for data that isnt suited to automated processing. It also exists in a mobile version for field use, ensuring data consistency in newly captured data.

From Core to Daily Life

Perhaps due to their well-known partnership with Oracle, Laser-Scan is more known in the GIS than in the CAD world. Having Autodesks VP of Engineering Gary Lang talking about their fairly recent move into Geospatial Open Source was therefore informative to most people attending this conference. According to Lang, all things that seem free these days have moved outside of the marketplace because it has moved from whats core into normal daily life. MapServer is not unique anymore, it is a commodity. What we ascribe value to changes over time, Lang said. Most notable is the fact that Lang understatedly admitted that geospatial is not seen as core business to Autodesk by giving away the code to MapGuide in Open Source. Of course, only parts of the solution are free, that is the commodity components.

Tom McGuffog provided the audience with a value chain management prayer.

Geographic Swiss Army Knife

Another recent development important for platform neutral companies like Laser-Scan is the gradual move of mapping agencies towards the platform neutral Geographic Markup Language (GML). While Galdos CEO Ron Lake characterised GML as being all-round like a Swiss Army Knife, it was Snowflakes Ian Painter who made a likely portrayal of GML in the context of major implementations by mapping agencies that require reading and writing of GML data. In the Netherlands, NEN 3610 was recently adapted to GML as a base for GI exchange. Painter explained how TOP10NL is a master map with five subdivisions. Each of those comes with a full collection of pre-built objects for different users, like the agricultural and the archeological worlds. While Painter heralded NEN3610s compliance to ISO and OGC standards, he also found that some of the problems are that they are doing too much. There are too many very vague definitions and options in order to keep everyone happy. As for the German format NAS-AA, Painter explained that this particular example was more than a move into a new application schema, because it has new data content, makes use of generalisation and is scale independent. The 190 feature types within it are, as opposed to the Dutch model, very specific, and they cover all possibilities. There are still

issues of adoption though, and Painter suggested that with the considerable re-engineering task Laser-Scans Radius Clarity could be of help in Germany. Also, about 90 percent of the possible rich attribution in NAS-AAA does not yet exist in the data.

Golden Eggs
Laser-Scan CEO Mike Sanderson only took the stage for a couple of minutes, right at the end of the conference. He gathered that there were so many great speakers available, that he could suffice to just sit there and listen. In that brief moment, he summarized the three past days as follows: We have heard that we are indeed living in a brave new world, with SOA, driven by the web and so forth, and that we can do more with less. But in those and other ugly words like GML, SOA, Ontology, and Semantics we still must find our recipes in moving forward. Throughout those sunny days in June it became apparent that the fake eggs (they were chocolate, not stone) lying around on all tables, symbolized golden eggs. All attendees were unknowingly sitting on them in their organisations. It is the existing geospatial data which has to be treasured and maintained.
Remco Takken ( is editor of GeoInformatics. Have a look at for more information on the topics discussed in this article.

Value Chain Management Prayer

Tom McGuffog is an economist who has been working with Nestl and Tesco, and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He looked at geospatial data from an outsiders perspective, and hit the nail on the head when he commented that the investments in data have made people frightened to share. If you look at joint use, we might get more out of it when sharing this expensive data for free, for instance to be able to provide better customer service. All parties would be better off once they agreed on this. Not only did McGuffog come up with great one liners like Opportunity and risk are the mother of inventory, he even provided the baffled audience with a value chain management prayer, quoted here in full: Give us the will and insight to remove uncertainty caused by lack of cooperation, the character to accept irreducible uncertainty caused by dynamic users and markets, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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FIG-INTERGEO: the World Cup for Surveyors

Barriers exist throughout the world when different languages, cultures, and even industries come together. Finding common ground where these barriers do not limit productive engagement is challenging.
While attending a World Cup soccer match in Germany this year, I quickly came across a language barrier, since I do not speak German and many locals did not completely understand English. When I tried to explain where I was from in the U.S.originally from Maine, but recently relocated to Californiathey did not fully understand. They knew the location of California, but didnt know where Maine is and asked me to draw a map and point to it. I did so and explained that from central Maine to southern California is about 5,000 kilometers driving distance. With a significant language barrier, we were able to communicate with a distance and a map sketched on a scrap piece of paper. How was this possible? The language of mapping and surveying has provided a means of communication that transcends languages providing common ground. This has evolved through history and continues to evolve. Christopher Columbus, an Italian credited with the discovery of America, was sailing for Spain. John Cabot, another Italian (Giovanni Caboto) is credited with the discovery of Newfoundland while under the charge of England. These early means of communicating were with maps, latitudes and longitudes, log books, sextant and octant observations, among other means. Today there are many more users of geographic information other than ship captains and explorers. As the number of geographic information users grows, so do the language of geography and the uses of geographic information. In order to meet the needs of the world to communicate geographically, increased collaboration among geographic information professionals becomes critical. The INTERGEO DVW and the FIG XXXIII Congress meeting in Munich October 813, 2006, provides a venue for this collaboration. Conference themes include Professional Standards and Practice, Professional Education, Spatial Information Management, Hydrography, Engineering Surveys, Cadastre and Land Management, Spatial Planning and Development, Valuation and the Management of Real Estate, and Construction Economics and Management. Along with this collaboration, an increase in geographic information users and uses leads to a demand for more data and more accurate data. Geographic information that spans across large areas introduces complexity with geographic communication. Geographic data types are not the same. Coordinate systems, datums, and spatial reference systems are not necessarily designed to operate with each other. This drives the integration of traditional and modern survey measurements and geodesy with geographic data management technology and GIS - and increases the ability to communicate geographically. Held during Geodetic Week in Germany, FIG-INTERGEO is a great place to learn of these new technologies and trends.

Brent Jones ( is the 2006 President-Elect of GITA and Survey/Engineering Industry Solutions Manager at ESRI.

In order to meet the needs of the world to communicate geographically, increased collaboration among geographic information professionals becomes critical.

This geographic collaboration has grown beyond cooperating professional associations and is being modeled in North America with the Geospatially Enabling Community Collaboration (GECCo) initiative by GITA. This initiative assists communities with emergency response and recovery by developing methods and procedures at the local level to communicate geographically. Initiated in Honolulu, Hawaii, by GITA and supported by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), GECCo is now beginning in half a dozen North American communities and continues to spark interest both in the US and internationally. This collaboration leverages the ability to use the common language of geography to overcome typical obstacles to cooperation in emergency situations. As the FIG-INTERGEO model is being replicated in other parts of the world, so will the GECCo model. In the spirit of the 2006 World Cup hosts, Germany, FIG-INTERGEO promises to be a world-class event. Attendance is expected to be more than 15,000 with over 500 exhibitors, and at least 80 countries represented. This event is the World Cup for surveyors. Ich hoffe, Sie in Deutschland zu sehen. (I hope to see you in Germany.) Ol!

The trend of collaboration in the interest of geographic communication continues in North America following the FIG-INTERGEO model. In 2008, the Geospatial Information and Technology and Association (GITA) and American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) will co-locate their annual conferences in Seattle. This can be viewed as a North American FIG-INTERGEO. As with FIG-INTERGEO, this cooperation of professionals yields great benefits to the conference attendees.

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A Changing Role for GIS

John Renards Views on Market Developments
In a rapidly changing market it is interesting to hear the views of a manager of a renowned company. John Renard, Managing Director of Infotech Enterprises Europe Ltd, shares his views about the traditional and emerging geospatial markets and about the trends he sees within these markets.
users of GIS. But although they are traditional markets, lots of things are changing. Renard sees many changes and identifies the most important trends. First he recognizes a need to share and access geospatial information at an enterprise level, rather than to use GIS as a departmental tool. A second trend is in the data: the issue around data is no longer acquisition or format, but fitness for purpose. Renard: For example we are seeing a real drive with the major telecom companies to invest and make sure they have accurate data to meet their business needs. Realising fitness for purpose around geospatial data will remain a big issue and also a big cost for these organisations. The trend of information sharing continues, so web enablement of applications and changing their architecture to thinner clients will remain and gather strength. Renard also recognizes changes in legislation: across all verticals national or EU legislation is becoming a big driver for geospatial activities or GIS. And GIS is only part of the solution he sees geospatial solutions and systems becoming part of a wider IT solution. Hence there is less emphasis on GIS needing to do everything clients are choosing the best commercial off-the-shelf based solutions for their requirements. Renard adds: At a broader level, there is also more globalization in the market. We are seeing solutions that work in one country or region being much more easily deployed into other geographies or markets.

By Robin Wevers

John Renard: Realising fitness for purpose around geospatial data will remain a big issu.e

Software Services Company

Infotech Enterprises Ltd was founded in 1991 in Hyderabad, India, by the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mohan Reddy. The 4,000 people software services company has competencies in geospatial information, engineering design and IT services company has competencies, specialising in software services and solutions. It combines software development capability based in India with global delivery through offices in the US, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Middle East, Singapore and Australia that provide local customer interface and project management. Accommodating the largest operations for geospatial software, data management and aerospace engineering design services out of India, Infotech also operates from twenty-two global locations and five development cen-

ters. During the last nine months Infotech added around 750 people to the geospatial services team. Infotech categorises its offerings for geospatial services into three distinct verticals: utilities, including telecommunications, transportation and the public sector, including civil government. Each market has different characteristics. In each segment they have various customers. For example in transportation, TeleAtlas is a large client of Infotech. In the Public Sector the bulk of the work has been in the UK or the US with national or regional agencies.

New Markets
Apart from these traditional GIS markets there are some emerging market segments. Renard says: It is interesting to see a greater use of GIS in segments like insurance and risk underwriting. The online and ASP mapping markets, dominated by companies such as Multimap, are also closely linked to the traditional GIS markets we operate in. Another very exciting and fast growing area of GIS usage is the personal navigation market you only have to look at the advertising being done by companies such as TomTom or Garmin to appreciate that this market has arrived. Infotech participates in these markets, normally through strategic alliances and partnerships, and considers it important to fully

Utilities, telecommunications, transportation and civil government are traditional GIS markets in the sense that they are long-term


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track and anticipate emerging market trends. Renard: Hence we have significant investments in areas like mobile mapping and personal navigation solutions. At the same time, we also need to balance any investment in this area with a continued focus on our areas of core competence.

Renard about the role of GIS: Mapping has always been a great visual tool and an excellent way of interfacing with what is otherwise often complex and difficult data. Infotechs solutions are focused on geospatial information. Opportunities for new applications continue to emerge on a regular data, information and functionality, which basis where the underlying functionality of typically resides within a GIS, can be used GIS is key to transforming the business proand leveraged across an organisation. cess. The borders between GIS and network Not surprisingly Renard does not consider management have become even more entanInfotech to be a GIS product company. The gled in fact it could be argued they have products referred to on the companys webdisappeared altogether. The same is true for site are niche and specialist applications, the other market segments. The issue is which do not form a large part of the revless about GIS as a series of standalone enues. They are also not representative for applications, but more about how geospatial

the future direction of the business. Infotech sees itself as an IT services company with a geospatial focus and expertise. The solutions it delivers will remain focused around geospatial; for example the company does not envisage getting involved in areas like billing systems for telecom companies or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Government. Infotech recognizes however that often you cant look at GIS in isolation hence the need for broader IT skills and experience to deliver a complete and valuable solution to the client. Renard says: The common theme with all our clients is that they have large, complex and business critical physical networks that need to be managed and maintained. It is around this business need that we can add value and apply our geospatial skill sets.
Robin Wevers ( is a freelance writer of geo-ICT articles. More information can be found at

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Further Advances in Airborne

Several New Imagers Introduced at ASPRS
The 2006 edition of the ASPRS Annual Conference was held in Reno, Nevada between 1st and 5th May and attracted 1,350 participants. As usual, they were offered the first-class technical exhibition that we have come to expect at this meeting. Almost all the major system suppliers and software houses were present, as were several of the main commercial providers of mapping services in North America. Besides which, all the major U.S. government agencies concerned with mapping (USGS, NOAA, NIMA, EPA, NASA) had interesting displays. However a special feature of this year's technical exhibition was the introduction of a number of new airborne digital frame cameras based on the latest generation of larger-format CCD area arrays that have been released by the manufacturers over the last half-year or so. These arrays provide a substantial increase in performance, especially in terms of the ground coverage and resolution that can be achieved within an individual frame image. Besides these important products, the exhibition also saw the launch of a new airborne multiple camera system and a new airborne pushbroom scanner, both designed to acquire oblique digital imagery. Yet another introduction was that of a new model of an airborne laser scanner. On the DPW front, the exhibition saw the introduction of a number of stereo-displays, including an example of an auto-stereoscopic system, as well as numerous enhancements to DPW software. by Gordon Petrie

Fig. 1 - (a) The new UltraCam-X large-format airborne digital frame camera dominated the Vexcel stand at the ASPRS 2006 Conference Exhibition held in Reno. (b) The UltraCam-X camera is shown (at left) together with its newly introduced data storage unit (in the middle) and its control monitor screen (at right), the latter showing its graphical user interface. The recessed handles at the corners of the UC-X camera case designed to reduce the space requirements on-board the survey aircraft can clearly be seen. (Source: Vexcel)


1. Airborne Digital Frame Cameras

1. (a) - Vexcel
The main news here - apart from the small matter of the company being taken over by Microsoft! - was the advent of a new model of the company's large-format digital frame camera, called the UltraCam-X (UC-X). This has

a re-designed external casing, including recessed handles at each corner, with a view to a reduction in the space requirements of the camera on-board a survey aircraft. Internally there are several major changes. Despite these changes, fundamentally, the UC-X still retains the same basic design characteristics as the previous UltraCam-D (UC-D) model. This comprises the distinctive four

in-line lens arrangement used in conjunction with multiple CCD area arrays and the stitching together of the resulting nine individual images to form a single composite pan image. This merging process is followed by the colourizing of this pan image using the data from the four additional multi-spectral images collected by the camera. However the most important change with the


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Digital Imaging
1. (b) - Intergraph
The other major supplier of large-format digital frame cameras to the commercial market Intergraph with its DMC - did not reveal any major changes to this camera at the Conference. However the company did announce that it had just received a Type Certification from the USGS in respect of the DMC camera - which is the first large-format airborne digital imager to achieve this status. To obtain this important certification, the camera had to undergo extensive reviews of its design by the USGS, which also carried out detailed inspections of Intergraph's manufacturing, testing and calibration facilities and procedures to ensure that they met the required standards. Presumably the considerable effort and expense involved in achieving this certification will be beneficial both to Intergraph in terms of sales and to the American users of its DMC camera in terms of them bidding for aerial photography contracts.

range of lenses of different focal length - 40, 50, 80, 120 and 150mm. (b) A Phase One H25 digital back producing a 22 Megapixel image as fitted to the Rollei AIC medium-format digital camera. (Source: Rollei)


Figure 2 - (a) The modular LS version of the Rollei AIC (Aerial Industrial Camera) that can be equipped with a

new UC-X lies in the use of higher density CCD area arrays having pixels that are 7.2m in size instead of the 9m size used before in the UC-D model. The result of this change is that the final composite pan image of the UCX is now 14,430 x 9,420 pixels (= 133 Megapixels) in size as against the 11,500 x 7,500 pixels (= 84 Megapixels) of the UC-D model giving a 60% increase in the pixel count. Similarly the size of each of the four multispectral images in the new UC-X model has been increased to 4,992 x 3,328 pixels (= 16.6 Megapixels) instead of the 4,008 x 2,572 pixels size (= 10.3 Megapixels) used in the UC-D.

Some big changes are also taking place among those medium-format frame camera systems that utilize Bayer interpolation to generate their colour images. Up till now, we have seen the introduction and widespread sale of medium-format frame cameras employing digital backs based on the Kodak KAF-16802 4k x Besides which, the previous Rodenstock APO-Sironar lenses have been replaced by 4k CCD chip, which produces a 16 Megapixel new customized versions of the same lens frame image. These cameras include those from Applanix (DSS 301), Rollei Figure 3 - (a) The latest version of the DiMAC camera's cylindrical outer case - in its "stealth" black colour finish. (Source: DIMAC (AIC) and IGI (DigiCAM) built Systems) around the digital backs sup(b) This diagram shows the side-by-side arrangement of the two vertical images which cover the areas to the left and right of the flight plied by the American manufacline, as used in the latest configuration of the DiMAC camera. (Drawn by Mike Shand) turer, MegaVision (for the DSS) and the Phase One company from Denmark (for the AIC and DigiCAM). Since 2004, these Kodak CCD chips and the corresponding digital backs have increased in format size to 5,436 x 4,092 pixels (= 22 Megapixels). However the camera performance in this area will rise dramatically with the release of Kodak's new chips using Bayer interpolation and having substantially increased format sizes in terms of the numbers of (3b) pixels generated by the resulting

developed by Linos, the successor company to Rodenstock. These lenses have focal lengths of 100mm (for each of the four pan imaging lenses) and 33mm (for each of the four multi-spectral imaging lenses) respectively. The substantially increased size of the format in terms of the numbers of pixels generated by the UC-X will result in a considerable reduction in the number of flight lines needed to cover a given area. As well as the new camera, Vexcel presented a brand new onboard storage system which allows multiple DX data storage units to be exchanged during flight. Thus it offers continuous and almost "unlimited" recording of the image data inflight without the need for a special data download operation after the aircraft has landed.

1. (c) - Medium-Format Frame Cameras


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Figure 4 - The arrangement of the single vertical camera and the four obliquely mounted Canon EOS small-format cameras forming the main part of Track'Air's MIDAS fivecamera system as seen (a) from below, and (b) from the side, with the outer cylindrical case having been removed. (Source: Track'Air)

images. Thus the KAF-31600 chip produces images with 6,496 x 4,872 pixels (= 31.6 Megapixels) and the KAF-39000 gives 7,216 x 5,412 pixels (= 39 Megapixels). Of course, once these chips had been released, a race between the various suppliers then took place to build digital backs based on these new chips and to then utilize them in medium-format airborne digital frame cameras. In the case of the digital backs used in airborne cameras, the race appears to have been won by Phase One, which has produced several different backs e.g. the P30 (with the 31.6 Megapixel chip) and the P45 (with the 39 Megapixel chip). As for the actual cameras using these digital backs, Rollei appears to be in the lead at the moment since the company announced at the ASPRS Conference that they had already delivered two of the 39 Megapixel versions of their AIC camera to customers prior to the start of the meeting. Given the very substantial increase in the numbers of pixels and in the performance resulting from the new digital backs, one can expect the other suppliers of airborne digital cameras with products in this area, such as Applanix and IGI, to soon follow suit.

the cylindrical drum case, each with a vertical pointing of the optical axis of their respective lenses. The CCD area arrays are then offset with respect to the optical axes so that they cover the areas to the left and right of the flight line. In this way, the individual images acquired by each camera do not need to be rectified as they did with the previous oblique configuration. Instead, the two vertical images will be merged using in-house software (DiMerge) to produce a colour image that is 10,500 x 7,200 pixels (= 75.6 Megapixels) in size. Up till now, the DiMAC cameras have only been prototypes operated by its sister CICADE mapping company based in Belgium. However a new partnership has now been formed with VX Services from Colorado - who manufacture and maintain the older Vexcel Imaging VX 4000 film scanners - to take this new development forward with a special eye on selling the camera in the American market. An order for this new version of the DiMAC camera has already been received from an American mapping company.

in Rochester, New York. [N.B. An article on the Pictometry system and the applications of the resulting imagery by Frank Arts was published in the March 2006 issue of GeoInformatics.] The Pictometry stand at the Conference Exhibition showed numerous examples of the resulting oblique and vertical imagery - which appears to have found especial favour with emergency (police, fire and ambulance) services. The Pictometry literature also mentioned that the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, together with 125 individual counties, have been covered systematically by this combination of oblique and vertical imagery. Besides which, Pictometry has licensed its technology to the Blom company, which allows its use by Blom and its subsidiaries in 13 countries within Europe. However there are competitors in this field of acquiring and processing oblique photography using the images from a cluster of small-format digital cameras. Most notable have been the Oblivision and MultiVision systems developed in Israel by the Idan Computer and Ofek Photography companies respectively. In this context, it was very interesting therefore to note the new MIDAS system comprising five Canon EOS-1D Mk. II digital cameras configured to produce one vertical and four oblique photographs that was being shown on the stand of the Track'Air company from the Netherlands. Examples of the MIDAS system have already been supplied to Aerial Cartographics of America (ACA) and the COWI organisation in Denmark, the latter being the owner of the well known Kampsax mapping company. Both ASA and COWI have been users of the Ofek MultiVision software. Of course, Track'Air is taking a very different approach by selling its multiple camera systems to mapping

1. (e) - Multiple Digital Camera Systems

A striking though somewhat unexpected development of the last few years has been the increasingly widespread use of oblique aerial photography acquired using multiple smallformat digital cameras. The idea of using multiple oblique photographs is not at all new- numerous examples of three, five, seven and nine lens film cameras with a central vertical frame image surrounded by a series of oblique images were built and operated in the 1930s and many others have appeared since then. Most prominent among the recent exponents of this configuration using digital cameras has been Pictometry International, based

1. (d) - DIMAC Systems

Another new development announced at the ASPRS Conference was made by DIMAC Systems. The company has decided to completely re-configure its DiMAC (Digital Modular Aerial Camera) on the basis of these new digital backs. The previous DiMAC configuration comprised between one and four separate cameras (modules) that could be set in an oblique configuration within a cylindrical drum casing. Now however, the new arrangement is to utilize two of the cameras (modules), both equipped with the new 39 Megapixel digital back from Phase One. These sit side-side in

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However, with the new airborne digital imagers, the situation is sometimes very different. Because of the limited size of current CCD area arrays, multiple arrays and lenses are in use with large-format frame cameras - eight in companies. By contrast, Pictometry is acting and wireless transceivers and operates the the case of the DMC and UC-X. In the case of StarFire Network that offers a global positionlarge-format pushbroom scanners, some - e.g. more as a service provider, licensing its ing service in competition with European comthe Wehrli 3-DAS-1 and the Starlabo imagery to users (in the U.S.A.) and its techpanies such as OmniSTAR and Veripos. At the StarImager - use three lenses. In a number of nology to Blom (in Europe). Conference, it also showed its VueStar aerial these digital imagers, off-the-shelf lenses from 1. (f) - John Deere navigation system based on the Navcom GPS commercial suppliers are being used rather In this area of multiple small-format digital receivers and the StarFire Network. One gains than purpose-built lenses that have been opticameras, it was also extremely interesting to the impression that, with all these various mised for photogrammetric and mapping purvisit the booth belonging to John Deere & Co., acquisitions and developments, the John Deere poses. Each of these multiple lenses will have the major supplier of agricultural machinery. company is going to be a considerable force a slightly different focal length and distortion Deere has purchased the GeoVantage company within airborne digital imaging in the future, pattern and, in some cases, the lens distortion based near Boston, which I had visited after especially in specifically targeted areas such as is not only large but it is non-regular (i.e. last year's ASPRS Conference. This company precision agriculture, forestry and environmenasymmetric) in nature. The situation is little has been operating over 20 multi-camera systal monitoring. different with the medium-format digital frame cameras which are constructed on the basis of tems world-wide. Each of these systems is 1. (g) - Camera Calibration existing good-quality film cameras and lenses based on the use of four tiny and inexpensive Based on the numbers that were being quoted available off-the-shelf that are modified by CCD cameras made by Sony, each with a forat the panel session on airborne digital camhaving a digital back replacing the film magamat of 920 x 1,280 pixels. Each system also eras and at the various user group meetings zine. As for small-format digital cameras, often utilizes an integrated DGPS/IMU unit to meathe lens mounts and the CCD arrays are not being held during the Conference, there are sure the positional and attitude data in-flight mounted in a stable manner and many of the around 120 large-format airborne digital for each vertical (not oblique) frame image. lenses have huge distortion values. Calibration imagers (DMC, ADS40, UC-D) and perhaps 150 This data is then used to carry out the geo-refof these small-format cameras is seldom carmedium-format airborne digital cameras (mainly erencing and ortho-rectification of the numerried out and indeed, given the instability of from Applanix and Rollei) in operation at the ous tiny frame images that are generated by these components, it might not be too valupresent time. Besides which, there are still the imaging system. The overall package is able to carry out a camera calibration. Of larger numbers of small-format digital cameras quite unbelievably small and portable and can course, the manufacturers of the large- and being used for the acquisition of airborne easily be shipped anywhere in the U.S.A. (or medium-format cameras are very well aware of imagery. With all this development, increasingly elsewhere!) and then be operated from a rentthis situation and have developed suitable calthe matter of camera calibration is coming to ed light plane such as a Cessna 172. ibration procedures to cope with it. However it the fore. With the large-format photogrammetric film cameras, there is only a single purposeis only too apparent from listening to the disThe John Deere organisation also owns the Navcom company that manufactures GPS sets built and highly refined lens (e.g. the Pleogon cussions at various user groups held during the Conference that quite a number Figure 6 - (a) The system box of the Leica IPAS10 (Inertial Position & Attitude System) with its new DGPS/IMU engine that has of these different types of digital been developed for integration into Leica's ADS40 airborne pushbroom scanner and ALS50-II airborne laser scanner. (b) The new ALS50-II airborne laser scanner in its latest compact form providing data capture at pulse rates up to 150kHz and at imagers have come into the hands of users with little or no background flying heights up to 6,000m above ground level. (Source: Leica Geosystems) in photogrammetry. They appear to be unaware of the need for accurate calibration and of the implications for their mapping activities of not taking proper care of this factor. All of which points up still further the importance of the activities of the EuroSDR group on airborne digital (6b)

Figure 5 - (a) The various components of the GeoVantage multiple camera system. The multiple camera unit containing the four small-format CCD frame cameras is in the centre; the main system control box lies to the left; the removable hard disk (on which the image and GPS/IMU data is recorded) is on the right; and the display screen is at the back. (b) This GeoVantage multiple camera unit has been fitted externally to one of the legs of the undercarriage of the Cessna 172 aircraft. (Source: GeoVantage/John Deere)

[from Zeiss], Aviogon [Leica] and Lamegon [Jena]) to cope with. These have lenses with distortions that are very small (< 10m) and highly symmetric, such that, for many purposes, they can be considered "distortion-free". Besides which, the values of the focal length (principal distance), the position of the principal point and the pattern of lens distortion have been very accurately determined through a rigorous calibration procedure carried out either by the camera manufacturer or a specialist calibration lab (or both).



July/August 2006


Figure 7 - The new Wehrli/Geosystems 3OC airborne 3-line pushbroom scanner designed specifically for the acquisition of continuous strips of colour vertical and (7) oblique scanner imagery in digital form. The 3-OC scanner features three Kodak Tri-linear CCD arrays, each viewing the ground through a separate Planar lens. (Source: Wehrli Associates)

imager calibration that were described by Michael Cramer in the March 2005 issue of GeoInformatics. The USGS Type Certification mentioned above is a parallel effort being implemented in the U.S.A.

appropriate U.S. government departments the State Department and the Department of Commerce - who do not wish this advanced technology to fall into unwelcome hands. So Leica has also decided to change the suppliers of the inertial components used in the ADS40 and will now source these from iMAR (Germany), Sagem (France) and other European suppliers - who, apparently, operate under a different and rather more liberal licensing regime. This will allow the ADS40 to become more competitive in markets such as China where the U.S. controls have inhibited sales. Turning next to the ALS50 laser scanner, it has also undergone integration with the IPAS GPS/IMU system and the use of the European IMU components already discussed above in the context of the ADS40. Thus they form part of the second generation ALS50-II instrument that was introduced at the Conference. The other major feature of the new model was the increase in the maximum pulse rate from the previous 83kHz to a staggering 150kHz combined with a maximum scan rate of 50Hz with a claimed accuracy of 11cm (including GPS errors) at all pulse rates. The ALS50-II scanner's maximum operating altitude has also been extended from the previous 4km AGL (above ground level) to 6km AGL. This brings it back to the altitude level that could be reached with the older ALS40 laser scanner which had a very much slower pulse rate than the ALS50. The format size of the optional digital frame camera offered with the ALS50 has now been improved to 1,280 x 1,024 pixels. Taken altogether, the compact ALS50-II really is state-of-the-art in terms of current airborne laser scanning technology.

2. Airborne Scanners
2. (a) - Leica Geosystems
As discussed in my report on the Geospatial Imaging Division of Leica that was published in the January/February 2006 issue of GeoInformatics, the airborne sensors side of Leica has been removed from that Division and transferred to its Geosystems Division. The Geospatial Imaging Division is now concerned mainly with the software products developed by the former ERDAS company bought by Leica in 2001. Notwithstanding this change, the company's two main airborne digital imagers - the ADS40 pushbroom line scanner and the ALS50 laser scanner - continue to be very successful in the market place. Dealing first with the ADS40, a major change that was highlighted at the ASPRS Conference was the move away from complete reliance on the Applanix POS/AV system for the supply of the GPS/IMU components that form a fundamental part of any airborne pushbroom line scanner. This move appeared fairly inevitable once the Applanix company had been bought by Trimble, one of Leica Geosystems' main competitors in the surveying instrumentation field. So the ASPRS Conference saw the introduction of the IPAS (Inertial Position & Attitude System) that had originally been developed by the small Canadian company, Terramatics, which Leica bought in 2005. The IPAS system has now been integrated into the ADS40 pushbroom line scanners. Another disadvantage of the Applanix POS/AV system from Leica's point of view is that it utilizes inertial system components from U.S. suppliers who are subject to stringent export licensing and controls by the

cooperation with the Geosystems company from the Ukraine. Like the DiMAC frame cameras, the 3-DAS-1 scanner has only appeared in prototype form so far. However the ASPRS 2006 Conference saw the introduction of a completely new Wehrli/Geosystems 3-line pushbroom scanner, called the 3-OC, that has been developed specifically for an America mapping company. Like the 3-DAS-1, the new 3-OC pushbroom scanner uses three Kodak Trilinear arrays, each with 8,000 pixels, pointing in the forward, nadir and backward directions. However, in this new instrument, the forward and backward arrays are both pointing at an angle of 45 to the vertical, instead of the 26 forward- and 16 backward-pointing arrangement of the 3-DAS-1. Within this new 3-OC scanner, the three Rodenstock lenses are placed in a line parallel to the flight direction with their optical axes all pointing downwards in the vertical direction. The 45 forward and backward pointings are achieved by placing suitable prisms in front of the two outer lenses of the three used in the scanner. It would appear that this configuration of the 3-OC scanner is designed specifically to produce continuous oblique linescan coverage of the ground with a view to satisfying the oblique imagery market that appears to be emerging from the emergency services and law enforcement agencies in the U.S.A. - a matter that was discussed earlier in this article in the context of multiple digital airborne camera systems.

2. (c) - Other Airborne Pushbroom Scanner Systems

The resources required to design, build, test and market any large-format airborne imager are considerable. Moreover, with the pushbroom scanner approach, it requires the very close integration of the GPS/IMU system into the design for the imager to function at all. Obviously Leica has had the financial and human resources to be able to do this successfully with its ADS40. However all the other companies in this
Figure 8 - The new Planar Systems SD2320W 3D stereo-display as seen (a) from the front, and (b) from the side. It features a large semi-reflecting mirror set between twin 23 inch (58.4cm) flat panel LCD monitor screens displaying the individual overlapping photos comprising a stereo-pair. 3D stereo-viewing is achieved using suitable polarising filters and viewing spectacles. (Source Planar Systems)

2. (b) - Wehrli Associates

Wehrli Associates - which is based in New York State - introduced its large-format 3-DAS-1 three-line airborne pushbroom scanner at the ISPRS Congress held in Istanbul in 2004. The instrument was built in



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July/August 2006



area are finding it hard to make playing the component images of the progress - for a variety of different reastereo-pair. At the Reno meeting, Planar sons, including political, financial, busishowed further developments of the ness and technical reasons. For example, technology with an extended range of the Jena Optronik company had been monitor screen sizes and resolutions. expected to show its new JAS (Jena These included (i) the SD-1710 model Airborne Scanner) at the ASPRS featuring 17 inch LCD screens with 1,280 Conference through its American agent, x 1,024 pixels (SXGA); (ii) the SD-2020 E. Coyote Enterprises. The introduction using 20 inch LCD screens with 1,600 x has however been delayed through the 1,200 pixels (UXGA); and (iii) the SD(9) bankruptcy of the company supplying 2320W with 23 inch LCD screens having the electronics boards for the JAS and 1,920 x 1,200 pixels (WUXGA). All of Figure 9 - The IRIS-3D auto-stereoscopic display system being driven by an Intergraph ImageStation DPW, as shown at the ASPRS 2006 Conference the need to find an alternative supplier. these stereo-displays can be driven using Exhibition in Reno. The left LCD monitor screen is used to display the This has also affected the JSS (Jena off-the-shelf graphics cards. Nearly all the user menus; the hood in the centre covers the main 3D stereo-image display; Spaceborne Scanners) being built for photogrammetric system suppliers in the while the right LCD monitor displays a 2D version of the 3D stereo-image. installation in the series of RapidEye Exhibition were demonstrating their sys(Source: IRIS-3D) satellites that are being constructed by tems using the Planar stereo displays. have also been made to various other (DTM, SSTL for the Canadian MDA company. Besides IRIS-3D orthophoto and satellite triangulation) modthis delay, one has to add the quite unrelated However there was a complete newcomer in ules of the ImageStation software suite. but sad news that the Japanese Starlabo company, which has been building the StarImager this field (from Glasgow, Scotland) in the form Leica Geosystems series of airborne three-line pushbroom scanof the IRIS-3D auto-stereoscopic display that As discussed in the January/February 2006 ners, has gone out of business. was shown on the Intergraph stand, being issue of GeoInformatics, Leica Geosystems duly driven by an Intergraph ImageStation DPW. introduced (i) its Leica Virtual Explorer; (ii) its This display uses a novel "projection engine" 3. Photogrammetric Systems Image Analysis and Stereo Analysis extensions that includes projection lenses and relay mirAs has been reported over the last two or for ArcGIS; and (iii) the new versions (v.9) of rors that transmit the images of the stereo-pair three ASPRS Annual Conferences, currently the Leica Photogrammetric Suite (LPS) and the onwards from their displays and a "head unit" there are few fundamental changes to digital ERDAS IMAGINE image processing software containing a beam splitter and a concave mirphotogrammetric systems and software. that were described in that issue. ror. The concave mirror forms a system exit However a myriad of minor changes to softpupil which the user looks through to see the Inpho ware and a number of small changes to hardstereo-model in 3D. Trying it out, it performs Like the other software companies, Inpho ware are being made by each supplier - with outstandingly well as a stereo-measuring introduced a whole raft of small improvements an emphasis on the increased automation of device, especially for the measurement of to its main photogrammetric software products the processing of digital images and an heights and contours and for feature extrac- MATCH-AT (for automated aerial triangulaimproved accuracy of the final product. tion. However, at least in my opinion, it really tion); MATCH-T (for automatic DTM generaneeds the addition of a head rest to keep 3. (a) - Software tion); DTMaster (for airborne lidar processing); one's head in the optimum position for stereoOne can see this trend for example with the and its orthophoto products - OrthoMaster and viewing and measurement over long periods market leaders as follows:OrthoVista. It is now supporting satellite of time - just as one does with analogue and images in the last four of these products. analytical stereo-plotting instruments featuring BAE Systems Similarly its American partner, DAT/EM, introbinocular viewing systems. This additional feaThis company showed the latest version (v.5.3) duced new and improved handling of the ture would be very easy to implement. of its SOCET SET software. This includes (i) imagery acquired by the three major airborne enhancements of its 'SOCET for ArcGIS' modlarge-format digital imagers (DMC, ADS40, UC4. Conclusion ule; (ii) improvements to both terrain surface D) in its Summit Evolution DPWs that carry out Although there were plenty of other interesting (bare-earth) models as well as reflected sur3D feature extraction from stereo-imagery. It products and displays on the stands of other face models; (iii) the installation of more was also announced at the ASPRS Conference exhibitors at the ASPRS 2006 Annual sophisticated and rigorous sensor models to that Applanix has chosen Inpho's software suite as the recommended software to carry Conference in Reno, there was a real buzz import and process space imagery, including out the processing of the imagery acquired about the new airborne digital imagers that one for OrbView-3; and (iv) enhancements to by its DSS322 medium-format airborne digital were being shown in the Exhibition. They are its orthomosaic module. frame camera for the production of geodefinite pointers to what we can expect from Intergraph referenced orthophotos. other system suppliers in the coming months In the case of Intergraph, it introduced its new and years. It is an exciting and enticing ImageStation PixelPipe product. This incorpo3. (b) - Hardware prospect. Planar Systems rates the existing TerraShare, PixelQue and Last year's ASPRS Conference held in Gordon Petrie ( is Emeritus OrthoPro products in a fairly seamless fashion, Professor in the Dept. of Geographical & Earth Baltimore saw the introduction of the Planar so giving users the opportunity to implement Sciences of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, U.K. SD1300 3D stereo-viewing display featuring a a single solution that covers nearly all aspects large semi-reflecting mirror and polarizing filof orthophoto production using a highly autoters placed over two 17 inch LCD monitors dismated procedure. A number of enhancements

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GNSS Update
Positive and Negative Developments
In the past few months a lot has happened regarding the implementation and testing of new GNSS frequencies. Not all results are positive however, especially with GPS there are some items that warrant attention in the long(er) run. Furthermore critics of the Galileo program seem to be proven partially right when looking at the more recent developments of the program. But not all is amiss in the world of navigation. The EGNOS signal is scheduled to become operational soon and WAAS has been put to use on a new aviation level in the United States. By Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk

Vice chairman of the European Commission Jacques Barrot (source:

Potential problems with the modernized GPS signals The first block IIR-M GPS satellite became active in December 2005, being the first satellite to transmit the L2C signal and to have a flexible power option. The latter makes it possible to vary the power of the military P and M codes, making disruption of the signals more difficult. However users of combined L1/L2/L2C receivers as used in survey applications for example have experienced problems during the short time that both the L2C signal and

WAAS in the United States (source: [adapted])

the flexible power option were tested. The main cause of the problems was a phase shift experienced during switching on the flexible power. There is however a deeper problem. If users are not informed of these types of changes in the future then more problems can be expected. Information can be distributed to the users by inserting it in the navigation message as sent by each satellite. In a first reaction, the American government announced that they were unaware of the impact on RTK-like applications. Regular receivers will not experience these problems since they do not utilise phase measurements. Potential solutions are furthermore reported to be investigated.

L1C frequency Together with the United States, Europe has published a recommendation for a joint signal structure with regard to the L1 and L1C signals as used by both the Galileo and GPS satellites. The chosen solution (multiplexed binary offset carrier) is cheered by suppliers of high-resolution GPS receivers. For the cheap(er) segments problems may arise since these use simpler receiver technology. As a result mobile receivers will have to operate with lower power and bandwidth which could result in a downgraded performance in urban areas. However the results obtained will still be improved when com-


July/August 2006


pared to the results with the current C/A code. The L1C signal, which will be transmitted on top of the current C/A code, will at the earliest be implemented in the block III GPS satellites. These are scheduled for launch in 2013 as a result of budget cutbacks by the American government. And last but not least it has become clear that there is no serious consideration by the United States government to add a so-called integrity message to the GPS signal structure. The monitoring of the integrity of GNSS signals is important for critical applications like aircraft navigation and will be part of Galileo.
Current and future signals with the GPS system.

Galileo signal specification On May 19th the draft version of the Galileo interface specification was published. This specification describes the characteristics of the open signal structure like frequency and data messages. Part of the message specification is a correction for determining the time difference between Galileo system time and GPS time. This message is necessary to manufacture combined GPS / Galileo receivers. A disadvantage of the specification is the restriction on the use for commercial applications. The comparable GPS specification does not impose any restrictions. Manufacturers wanting to use the specification (for the development of Galileo receivers) need an additional license from the Galileo program. The main question therefore is how many manufacturers will want to participate in Galileo on this basis. Progress of the Galileo program According to vice-president Jacques Barrot of the European Commision the Galileo project is in accordance to the growth strategy. Barrot states the project will generate more jobs as well as innovation and progress for every European citizen. As far as budget is concerned it was deemed too early to state an exact figure. Exact figures will be set for the duration of the concession (20 years). Around the same time the managing director of the Galileo Joint Undertaking, Rainer Grohe, announced that Galileo is currently 400 million euros over budget. As main reason miscalculations concerning the building and launch of Giove-A and B are named. Improvements on the security side also added to the current expenses of 1.5 billion euros. The total project budget is estimated at 4.5 billion euros. The contract to improve the security was awarded recently to LogicaCMG at a price of 20 million euros. China and Galileo China and Europe signed an agreement regarding Galileo in 2003. Purpose of the agreement is the exchange of knowledge and the stimulation of knowledge development. Europe has always regarded the agreement as a showcase for the worldwide application of Galileo. The agreement however ends at the end of this year as the Galileo Joint Undertaking formally comes to an end. Recently it was rumoured that China may super impose their military Beidoe signal on the frequency of the secure Galileo services and maybe even on top of the military GPS signal. This will have far-reaching consequences for the reception of these signals and has caused great concern throughout the world. Furthermore it has become known that China, who is contributing 200 million euros to the Galileo project, and India which is negotiating for participation, expect to take a leading role in the development of receivers and software. This could have farreaching consequences for the expected 140,000 jobs Galileo is supposed to create. The latter has been a strong argument for the participation of many European countries. EGNOS in operation Starting July 2006, EGNOS will proceed from the testing phase (ESTB Egnos System Test Bed) to the operational phase. With that transition the reception in Northern latitudes should improve as well. For the moment the signals are transmitted on an as is and as available base. This signifies that the signals cannot be used for aircraft or other critical purposes such as emergency response. EGNOS for the visually impaired In Madrid a system was demonstrated whereby visually impaired got directions from GPS and EGNOS based systems. In this experiment a GPS phone was equipped with special software developed by ESA and the Spanish company GMS Sistemas. The navigation instructions were transmitted through an earpiece to the visually impaired who then could find his way through the city. In this application the processing of the position data was performed in a central computer and then transmitted back to the user. The system is not meant to replace the guide dog or cane but is mainly an addition to these. MSAS The Japanese alternative to WAAS / EGNOS, the MSTS Satellite Based Augmentation System (MSAS), has come a step closer to completion with the launch of the new QZSS satellite. This satellite differentiates from all other satellite dGPS satellites in that it does not have a geostationary orbit but will rotate in short, figure eight type, orbits. This way the availability over Japan should improve dramatically.
Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk ( is a freelance writer and trainer in the field of positioning and hydrography.

Satellite dGPS Systems

WAAS Recently the American aviation authorities (FAA) have granted permission to use WAAS, the American counterpart to EGNOS, for aircraft approaches up to 200 feet (60 meters) above airfield level. Below 200 feet aircraft will have to use the traditional systems. During the last two years the coverage of WAAS over the United States has been around 99 per cent with an availability of 99.87 per cent of the time.

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Conferences & Meetings

Reaching Out to the World of

Colin Powell Steals Show During Intergraphs Users Confe
During their International Users Conference in Orlando, Florida, Intergraph put strong emphasis on security. Users were shown the latest spatially aware solutions that encompassed video and pixel search. By Remco Takken

Intergraph is reaching out to the world of security, thereby broadening the sense and meaning of GIS or geospatially aware solutions. It was one of the great things to witness during the International Users Conference held between June 12th-15th. Sensors for Intergraph are just agnostic ways to capture data, said CEO Halsey Wise. Meanwhile he pointed out the recent venture into photo and video pixel search and the general need of data capturing in a place where an accident (or incident) has happened. The help of video enhancement during the search for the location of Saddam Hussein and identifying a kidnap car in Tampa, Florida served as successful examples. Wise also explained how for the first time in years the Users Conference was being held for partners and customers of both the Process Power and Marine division as well as Security, Government and Infrastructure. Four business groups were recently brought down to one, said Wise. Because our former structure could be a problem for the customer, we changed. We had many overlapping and isolated features throughout the business groups, Reid French added to that notion.

intelligent automated video analysis. Intelligence consists of a combination of skills, which Batty called the sensor web. Sensors measuring temperature, traffic, live cameras in workers helmets and, most interestingly, pseudollites, a neologism describing local positioning systems that are capable of indoor tracking.

The current visual management tool within Intergraph is called TerraShare. A new, enhanced version is beginning to fuse imagery sensor integration and intelligent video. Antonio Montoya pointed out that the 2005 London bomb attacks worked as a catalyst for this development. After a London metro fire a few years ago, radio communication got perfected. Now after the London bombing the same development is going to be seen with video imagery. Chief Security Architect John Halsema called it turning data into information. He said: London already had a great camera system, but did it prevent the bombing? No. He also noticed that because of camera prices going down, the infrastructure will only be growing. Therefore he emphasized the Intergraph solutions I/Sight, I/Alarm and I/Sensor for respectively sensors, video and weather data.

Skills, Cameras and Videotape

Intergraph CTO and VP Peter Batty mentioned the focus on the Internet as well as integration, visualization, imagery and, again, video. Regarding the Internet, Batty introduced the Intergraph users to Skyline (, an Intergraph partner that likes to call itself Google Earth On Steroids. He added: In the geospatial world, we were always fairly on the 2D side of maps. Now we are seeing more of a multimedia approach to the world. Concerning data management, Batty said: If you have that many cameras, for instance in the city of London, which ones are you going to look at? The solution to this problem is

Ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell: We have to remain open as a country, that has always been Americas main strength. It is up to organisations like Intergraph to serve our society to reach for a new openness after 9-11.


July/August 2006

Conferences & Meetings

Z/I Imaging
Intergraphs president for the Security, Government & Infrastructure Division, Ben Eazetta, started out by saying: Ortho images are very important for the new countries in the European Union, because of the agricultural subsidies that come with the membership of the EU. On the Intergraph Technology Expo potential new European clients could take a good look at the mighty Z/I Imaging panchromatic camera, which was exhibited together with the heavy iron foot that prevents the camera from shaking when placed in the airplane. In the imaging workflow, automation is the key word. DMC post-processing takes raw image data and stitches together the four different panchromatic images into one. ImageStation is for processing from this point on.
CEO Halsey Wise pointed out the recent venture into photo and video pixel search and the general need of data capturing in a place where an accident (or incident) has happened.

characterized by high resolution (1900x1600) and zero crosstalk between the left and right eye views. The result is an exceptional clarity of stereo display.

GIS to the masses didnt sound pompous anymore after seeing the live demo.

Colin Powell
Arguably the climax of the Users Conference was ex-Secretary of State Colin Powells show. Lets be frank about that: a show it was, be it a really good one. His entrance alone earned him a standing ovation by most Americans while the utterly surprised Europeans shyly followed in the enthusiasm. About one and a half hour later, Powell had blown off the roof. Talking about the first Gulf War, Powell sketched the situation: We were still merely fooling around with the Internet back then, and although the old generals hadnt heard of GPS, they didnt get lost. In 2001 we got lots of GPS. We boughtem at Radio Shack. Reminiscing about his glory days as Secretary of State under both Bush presidents, he sighed: Ah well, I sometimes miss my private plane. Colin Powells mediagenic face may be well-known all over the world, sometimes he still has to endure the same severe security checks as every other person entering or leaving the U.S. One day, he remarked to a security guard who recognised him and searched him all the same: OK, I can see you have recognised me alright. Perhaps you wanna go search Bin Laden now? On a more serious level, Powell showed his concerns about the rigid security policy in the U.S. after 2001. We have to remain open as a country, that has always been Americas main strength. It is up to organisations like Intergraph to serve our society to reach for a new openness after 9-11.
Remco Takken ( is editor of GeoInformatics. The website provides more information on Intergraph and its products.

Many of Intergraphs partners presented their tools and solutions on the technology expo. When picking a few of the nice, and smaller, products seen during the conference, the neat automated cartographic text placement of Maptext, Inc. ( comes to mind. Their Label-EZ product comes with a typically American style of Route shields (remember those historic signs saying Route 66?). This is compensated for by a completely different feature where the labels are flexibly placed inside European-style cased roads. This cartographic solution is not only suitable for curved area placement, character spread and other road map-like features, but is also useful for contour line placement. The contour line is split and the appropriate value is placed centrally in the intervening space, aligned to the contour.

Also on the Technology Expo were the people of TerraGo Technologies. They demoed MAP2PDF for Geomedia (and also DCS). This variation on Adobe Acrobats PDF documents let users create and publish georegistered maps. Non-GIS users can view maps, turn layers on and off, query attributes, display coordinates and create redlines and notes. Changes can be exported back into the master GIS database without the need for non-GIS users to have GIS applications. TerraGos free GeoPDF Toolbar plug-in turns Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat into GIS viewing, markup and enterprise collaboration tools. It is capable of obtaining coordinates of points within the map, toggle layers on and off, display attribute data and locate specific points by keying the coordinates and Google Map. GeoPDFs marketing slogan take your

As cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors are being widely replaced by liquid crystal displays (LCD) this has presented a problem for users of applications that have a stereo viewing capability. LCDs do not work with the stereo viewing technology that has been used with CRTs so alternative solutions had to be found. Intergraph partner IRIS-3D ( has developed a stereo display using LCDs that is auto-stereoscopic, that is the user does not need to wear polarized or shutter glasses to see a stereo image. The IRIS-3D is also

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Bentley and their Belief in Lea

A Well-Trained User is a User for Life
Sitting in a classroom or at your office in front of a pc: which location would you prefer for a training? Since the end of June this year the Bentley Institute offers it all: distance learning, e-learning and classroom training. Main difference is the distance between participant and instructor, and of course whether or not personal contact is preferred. On-line learning: rejected by customers ten years ago, now fully accepted. By Sonja de Bruijn
from several offices or want to have training for their personnel at different times. The advantages for Bentley as a company: speeding up adoption of new, often more complex software versions, which till now took one to two years. Besides this Bentley instructors do not need to travel as much as they used to do. Especially talented instructors who are fluent in several languages sometimes had to make long journeys, immediately afterwards followed by a full-day training, several days in a row. Providing more professional training for infrastructure professionals is an important priority for Bentley, as evidenced by the growth in learning units (hours) delivered by the Bentley Institute in the past few years. Bentleys projected world wide training delivery goal for 2006 is over 300,000 learning units, up from about 103,000 learning units delivered in 2001. Growth for instructor-led distance learning via the Internet shows that during the first half of 2006 distance learning hours are already 50 per cent higher than all of 2005.

Three Options
From the end of June there are now basically three options to choose from with the Bentley Institute. Firstly, there is classroom learning. This is performed either on-site or at a Bentley facility, and consists of either a set or a customized program. Distance Learning is the second option: instructor-led via the Internet with live interaction between

Concentration easily wears out when sitting in class. Or perhaps you are lucky enough to be inspired by an enthusiastic instructor.

Enthusiastic Teachers?
Who doesnt remember the endless hours in the school benches, trying hard to keep eyes and ears open? Or were you lucky enough to be inspired by enthusiastic teachers explaining things in such a lively way that you really felt sorry when the bell rang for the next lesson? Back home or at your student house is where discipline comes in. It is totally up to you to either go out this evening and feel groggy the next morning, or to start studying right away and increase the chance of getting a high mark for the exam tomorrow morning. We all know concentration easily wears out when sitting in class. Will this be different when you can follow lessons via a pc back home or at your office? No teacher will snap his fingers when your eyes are wandering to the window instead of the pc or piece of

paper in front of you. But on the other hand you can take a rest whenever you feel the need to, or skip certain passages that you are already familiar with and move on to a topic that really interests you.

No-travel Policy
Some of the main advantages of nonclassroom training are less loss of time, less money spent on travelling, and not having to spend days away from projects, Bentley indicates. Some companies Bentley Distance Learning is instructor-led via the Internet with live interaction have a no-travel policy, between the instructor and participants, either scheduled or account-specific and have to train people both by text and sound (spoken words).


July/August 2006


rning via the Internet

the instructor and participants, either scheduled or account-specific, both by text and audio. Breakout sessions are possible for one-onone contact between participants or a participant and instructor. Eropean Sales Director Bentley Institute Bas van Laar: In Asia for example this can be an advantage, since people over there sometimes find it difficult to indicate they are understanding what is said. Besides this there is the virtual whiteboard. Other collaboration tools are Direct Messaging (chat) and a participant information panel with emoticons and a symbol for raising your hand. A participant can also share the instructors screen or share his screen with the instructor. Van Laar recently did some tests with Distance Learning in Europe Nordic area and the Middle East and was very satisfied with the results. compared to the other forms of training. However travel expenses should not be neglected either. Furthermore Distance Learning enables splitting up a training in four-hour sessions for example, instead of having to be in class the whole day. With respect to Distance Learning or eLearning, Van Laar emphasizes the importance of a separate room for following trainings to prevent both working and doing training at the same time. And it is even better to follow a training at home. Blended learning, a mix of classroom training, eLearning and Distance learning, is possible; but account-specific training can also be A transcript shows class titles, learning units and accreditation, and types provided: customized, either on-site or at a Bentley facility of trainings. and all about distance learnroom training 50 per cent. Minimum input ing. All courses are accredited by institutions for ETS is USD 20,000, which boils down to like AIA, the GIS Certification Institute and 25 to 30 licenses. This implies that for a IACET. Certificates have been replaced by crecompany with 5 licenses it might be wiser to dentials, which are assigned per user. opt for Bentley LEARN or have Bentley offer Bentley keeps a record of every training that a training program according to their needs. is followed, both by means of the credential Van Laar is particularly enthusiastic about system and the training history. A transcript ETS: I like this program because it offers shows class titles, learning units and accrediunlimited training, even if an enterprise tation, and types of trainings (classroom, disexceeds these costs. The background of this tance learning or eLearning). The star rating program lies in the fact that we want to get is also indicated. A star is achieved for more insight in our customers knowledge, every 18 hours of Bentley training, says Van needs, and what phase they are in. Bentley Laar. When somebody has followed 5 times sets up and executes a training program 2 training days he gets five stars. This fact is based on these facts. highlighted during events.

Bentley LEARN
The latest type of training offered by the Bentley Institute is electronic Learning, or eLearning. About a year and a half ago a pre version was released, at that time called ETS resource center. By the end of June Bentley LEARN was officially introduced, a subscription companion to Bentley SELECT which gives organizations unlimited access to OnDemand eLearning from the Bentley Institute. So what does it mean exactly? First of all the customer determines the pace at every possible time of the day. When for example he wants to load a DWG file but doesnt know how to do this, he can go to the Bentley LEARN site and learn how to do this via an AVI movie. By using 20 per cent of a SELECT subscription a customer has unlimited access to all kinds of eLearning sessions, whether it is Civil, Geospatial, or any other vertical. Personal guidance by a trainer is absent. Van Laar explains the difference between support and eLearning: When a customer contacts the support department, very often he is advised to follow a course. Naturally this is different when a customer is reporting errors in the software. However support should never replace eLearning.

Enterprise Training Subscription

Training is available for several business models: Enterprise Training Subscription (ETS), Bentley LEARN, training savings account, account-specific training and scheduled courses. Buying training a whole year long and getting back two percent of the fee at the end of the year is now also possible, with the Training Savings Account. ETS involves two options: scheduled classroom training or distance learning. Distance learning costs 40 per cent of SELECT, class-

Sonja de Bruijn ( is editorial manager of GeoInformatics. Have a look at for more details about Bentley LEARN. The Learning Units graph can be found on page 35 from the 2005 annual report: More information on the benefits and drawbacks of eLearning can be found at or

Travel Expenses
Van Laar admits that the benefit of classroom training is a high adoption level when

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Back to the Future

When asked to contribute to this issue of GeoInformatics on the subject of education, I immediately thought to myself that this was a prime opportunity to outline some of my personal experiences of geomatics education in the UK and continental Europe.

I think it worthwhile to give the mainland European reader a brief review of the current geomatics survey education situation in the UK. I believe that we, in the UK, are blessed with some of the finest geomatics/geospatial courses and departments in the world. RICS accredits the vast majority of UK geomatics courses and the majority reside in the Russell 21grouping of top UK universities. (The Russell Group is an association of 19 major research-intensive universities of the United Kingdom, Student numbers seem to be steadily improving since a low in the late 1990s and many in the geomatics survey industry would probably attribute that steady rise to the excellent work done by the survey industry initiative This initiative is run by the geomatics department at the University of Newcastle and is a perfect example of how the triumvirate of industry academia professional institution - can and must work together.

although the UK exported the Torrens and other systems worldwide. Some Universities have even started to combine GIS and property syllabuses. This is the future for geomatics in the UK. We cannot possibly paint ourselves into a smaller corner than we have. Property is ready for a high tech, geo orientated revolution with UK initiatives such as e-conveyancing, Home Information Packs, and changes to land registry, flooding risk assessments and many more on the horizon. One area of particular concern is technical training. I attended a very good CLGE conference on professional qualifications in December 2005. Two days of high-level papers from academics and industry leaders but no mention of technical geomatics/land surveyors. And who do you think actually does the work? Who is on site at 0800hrs on a freezing January morning with a GPS kit? Who is setting out on construction sites whilst concrete lorries queue up? Usually the technical engineering/land surveyor. RICS fully recognises the worth of technical surveyors they are the backbone of our profession and we ignore them at our peril. The UK educational revolution of the early 1990s, when vocationally orientated polytechnics were given full university status, sounded the death knell for certificate and diploma survey education in the UK. Only recently has the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) system been introduced and resourced by HM Gov. The NVQ (level III & IV), which roughly translates to the old diplomas and certificates, is in Spatial Data Management, and has been a godsend to a UK survey industry starved of good technical staff. Indeed, the UK Survey Association, an umbrella trade body for survey private practice companies, has stated that at least James Kavanagh ( is a Chartered Land Surveyor and Chartered Geographer and is Director of the Land group (environment, geomatics, Minerals, Rural and Planning) at RICS London UK. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is a global standards and membership organisation for professionals involved in land, property, construction and environmental issues. RICS has over 120,000 members worldwide.

Geomatics is the future of property and property is the future of geomatics but you forget the technical surveyors at your peril.
Of course, it is not all-good news. Many geomatics courses have difficulty in not only attracting good students but also justifying their very existence to vice-chancellors. Ours is a tech heavy, space hungry profession easier to replace geomatics with chalk and talk subjects such as media studies. Some universities have moved from traditional geodesy focussed curriculum. The UK has always been a bit more measurement focussed than mainland Europe probably due to a lack of a cadastre at home,

70 per cent of its companies cannot take on any more contracts due to a lack of good technical staff. UK survey companies now trawl the universities of mainland Europe looking for good surveyors, graduates or otherwise. Various EU directives such as those on services, cross border recognition of qualifications and mobility testify to how Europe is becoming a geographically seamless marketplace. So my message to the rest of Europe from the UK is: support your universities but dont forget the technical field surveyors. They make the survey profession what it is.

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Knowledge Economy for Wh

Task for Europe in Internationalisation of Education
Martien Molenaar and Fred Paats have undertaken international projects, consulting missions and lectures in diverse countries for a considerable time now. Martien Molenaar is Rector and Fred Paats is Head Education of ITC, one of the few institutes in Europe with an international focus. According to these gentlemen cooperation and exchanging knowledge are what it takes to help countries that are economically and/or technologically less advanced. By Sonja de Bruijn

Seeking Advice
As Head Education for ITC Paats has a strong international focus. He has worked in Africa for 7 years and has been involved with the Dutch institute for 22 years now. He makes clear that in the Netherlands universities and colleges are currently seeking advice from ITC on how to internationalise. They need to be able to profile on a European level as well as strengthen knowledge acquirement at the institutes themselves. It is Molenaars concern that the present internationalisation of higher education is mainly focusing on strengthening the Dutch or European knowledge economy instead of purely being aimed at the developing countries. In general he is not very charmed with the Dutch immigration policy, which seems to cause an administrative barrier not always taken anymore by foreign students. It can be quite humiliating being treated as somebody who just wants to enter the Netherlands for opportunist reasons. We are not the only organisation noticing this. The International Criminal Court for example also bumps into obstacles when trying to get people come over from other countries. This way the Netherlands is becoming unattractive for foreigners.

EU Students
ITC is one of the five institutes for international education in the Netherlands that is aimed mainly at less developed countries. Other institutes and universities that are internationally active offer courses mainly to EU students but much less to students outside the EU. Worldwide institutes of this type are quite rare, at best as a side task of a university or institute. Up till four years ago the ITC Master and MSc degrees were not even officially part of the Dutch system for higher education. Like the Dutch Universities, ITC currently provides officially recognised Master degrees. All these institutes are financed by the Dutch Ministry of Education. All ITC courses are aimed at the use of Geographical Information Systems. Molenaar: Already in the initial ITC concept it was stated that countries need maps to control resources and arrange space. Although we now talk about geo-information instead of maps, this aspect is still very important.

Fred Paats (left) and Martien Molenaar, respectively Head Education and Rector of ITC, the Netherlands.

Developing Countries
The International Institute for GeoInformation Science and Earth Observation (ITC), briefly discussed in GeoInformatics 42006, pages 48 and 49, has a 55-year history in international education, research and projects. More specifically: helping developing countries gaining more knowledge on geo-information science and earth observation. Striking is the fact that ITC offers courses at different levels of education in a relatively well focussed and coherent field. Students can follow both short and long courses leading to Master of Science (MSc) degrees, Master degrees, Postgraduate diplomas (PGD), diplomas and certificates. To address the increasing demand for flexi-

bility in academic degree and diploma programmes, ITC has engaged in partnership arrangements with reputable qualified educational organizations in joint education programmes in a range of countries, 13 at the moment which will be extended to 20. The advantage: people dont need to leave home or work for a longer period of time. eLearning is in an experimental phase: introduction modules are currently running. This is done for two reasons: supporting ITCs joint education programmes and meeting the growing demand for a direct eLearning service. As Paats says: We are doing everything to ease access to the knowledge at ITC and to prevent people from being away from home and work for a long time.


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We notice that other disciplines are starting to realize that all human and management actions have a spatial footprint.
Implement Knowledge
Students at ITC mostly have a Bachelor of Science degree and about 7 years of working experience. The organisation they are working for wants them to do additional trainings. The goal of ITC and other similar international institutes is having these people implement their knowledge within their organisation. One can think of better service, better management or better access to and use of information technology. Most of our students work with the government or non-governmental organisations (NGOs), but we would like to see the private sector more present, says Paats. This is partly our concern, because from the beginning we were aimed at (semi-)governments. But I also think that for authorities it is easier to send somebody away than it is for the private sector. The Head Education adds that the private sector is insufficiently represented. It is his opinion that the usefulness of geo-information should be put forward more with NGOs. However, the ITC diploma course on Geoinformatics is quite popular in the private sector in Saudi Arabia for example.

Prove the Benefit

Molenaar expresses his concern about the attitude of the Netherlands with respect to our responsibility to developing countries. More and more we have to prove the benefit of what we do for the Netherlands as a country. It is not self-evident anymore. On the other hand higher education is internationalising very fast which means ITC has to set the pace to make clear our role and which needs we are fulfilling. Since the Dutch policy is aimed at enforcing the Dutch knowledge economy we need to justify our activities more and more. Another development is that ITC needs to fit more and more into the framework and quality demands laid upon higher education in the Netherlands. But that is not our aim. Our aim is capacity building in developing countries,

Community mapping of crime spots, Punhuato, Morelia, Mexico during fieldwork; an integral part of ITCs courses (photo R. Maneja).

Think in Processes
Due to cooperation with other institutes in the Netherlands Paats notices that spatial thinking often is not embedded in other specialist areas. At the University of Twente, for example the department of public administration, people think in processes without a spatial component. It is interesting to see these two worlds coming together and strengthening each other: the UT can embed a spatial connotation in their education system for Dutch students and we can use their process-like ideas regarding management processes for integration in our activities in developing countries. Molenaar agrees and adds: We notice that other disciplines are starting to realize that all human and management actions have a spatial footprint. All human actions are done spatially. Decision making often takes place in the light of economic balancing, but since space is becoming more scarce it is becoming part of your cost factor. This is why the link with spatial components is becoming more evident. Paats: Borders between old disciplines are fading. While the cadastre used to be quite technical, nowadays you can see municipalities all over the world offering digital desks with the cadastre as a basis. Developing countries are very interested in this aspect.

Course participants of the ITC remote sensing course module in Thumphu, Bhutan.

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information sciences can support this. This is a question ITC needs to answer more and more. Developments in the upcoming ten years will be strong, and there is a clear mission for ITC in all this. Not only for us but other European institutions are playing an essential role in this too. This really means sharpening your standpoints and aims and making clear arrangements with your financers.

Group Work
At ITC exchange of knowledge between students and practical examples instead of lots of theory are very important. Group work is done more and more, but there is a dark side: some students are not used to this. They have been educated in a traditional way where listening to the teacher instead of interaction was common. Such students will never ask a professor a question. But when they are coupled with students from a culture where this is not the case, they do dare asking questions. Sometimes however participation remains a problem. On the other hand Paats notices that many students are very diligent: they come back to ITC after dinner to practice once more. Paats: Another difficulty we are facing are the different entry levels of students enrolling in ITCs courses. Each year we are working with 70-80 different countries, all with different education systems. It is a challenge for us to deal with these different entree levels. Partly this has to do with the computer skills. Even five years ago many students had never worked with a computer, they were only allowed to look at their boss pc. Nowadays they are bringing their own laptop. But there are still countries that are lagging behind. Fortunately we have the means to pay special attention to such students. Language is a different issue: we assume that everybody taking part in our courses is capable of speaking and understanding English.
Sonja de Bruijn ( is editorial manager of GeoInformatics. More info on ITC via Erasmus Mundus: programmes/mundus/index_en.html and GEO:

ITC has engaged in partnership arrangements with reputable qualified educational organizations in joint education programmes in a range of countries.

says Molenaar. We must keep our balance between the Dutch policy with respect to higher education and our mission. The countries we are operating in are also making more demands. Of course it is good to notice that this brings forward a higher level of professionalism and a clearer role of ITC in the Dutch educational system.

Enhance Quality
Molenaar also highlights the fact that instead of acting as an independent organisation taking part in international networks occurs more often, like Erasmus Mundus, which is funded by the EU. This co-operation and mobility programme in the field of higher education aims to enhance quality in European higher education and to promote intercultural understanding through co-operation with developing countries. For example, as an Associated Institution of the United Nations University in Tokyo, ITC and the UNU developed a joint programme for capacity building in land administration and disaster management. The intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO), contains a chapter on capacity building, which will be lead by ITC and other institutions. There are several advantages to this cooperation: broader market access, access to external knowledge which can be merged and

jointly acquiring the (financial) means for this project. Another major change Molenaar detects is the movement from a technical orientation on the topics taught at ITC towards the role of these topics in governance. The industry offers technology, the question of government is: what can I do with it? People are more aware of the fact that they are acting in space. And how information on earth observation and geo

Education at ITC, a multicultural environment (photo 2005: Gerard Kuster).

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A Call to Action
Geography and GIS Matter in Education and Life
Our interactions with the world around us and the decisions we make as we move through it constantly involve geography, geographical thinking, and geoanalytical processes that mirror GIS. Unfortunately for many, geography and geographic decision making are unseen and performed unconsciously. In consequence, the relevance and importance of geographical thinking is missed or diminished. Our mission must be to actively change this situation. By George Dailey
The NRC research project brought together a committee active in geography education and educational psychology to investigate the importance of spatial literacy to academic pursuits and everyday life. In the process, scores of geography, GIS, and other educators provided testimony. The resulting report, Learning to Think Spatially, provides a rich discussion and resonant imprimatur that spatial thinking represents an essential skill set for everyone: it is a problem solving integrator, it is best embodied across subject areas, and GIS can play a significant role in its escalation. While this report is U.S.-centric in its focus, its message and content reach easily to other parts of the world where geographic inquiry, problem-based learning, GIS education, and similar inquiry-focused educational approaches are spreading and being debated. Print and electronic versions of the report are available from the National Academies Press at with other information available at

Natural and human spawned events bring geography and geographic decision making into sharp focus for participants and observers: Thousands living in the shadow of a smoldering Indonesian volcano find themselves faced with the moment they have feared; Ethnic and resource conflict in Sudan has propelled hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring countries; Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States pushing more than one million people across the country, and creating vast social, economic, and environmental consequences.
Learning to Think Spatially, new report on spatial literacy,

Increase and Diffusion

Working to expand geographic literacy is nothing new to the National Geographic Society. Part of its mission since 1888 has been the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge. Since the 1980s, NGS has birthed and supported a long-standing effort in geography education. In May 2006, NGS launched, with the help of a coalition of public, non-profit, and private organizations, My Wonderful Worlda 5-year campaign aimed at more rapidly and dramatically altering the continued lack of geographic skills witnessed among young people. This campaign, too, has a strong American bent but its messages are global in context: Geography is important and it is pervasive. The primary conduit for information about the effort is at Besides campaign background, the site has direct and practical suggestions for youth, educators, and parents to engage with geography and geographic inquiry in their neighborhood and around the world.

Geography Invisible to Many

Our personal geographic interactions are of such simple and systemic quality that they can go unnoticed, making geography invisible for many. For example: Choosing a walking path through the neighborhood; Selecting appropriate outdoor apparel to match the weather forecast; Determining how to avoid a traffic problem and arriving at the destination on time Exploring the local and global news. On the other hand, we are presented regularly with geography that is conspicuous.

We know that lurking inside each event is the knowledge that they are not isolated local happenings but rather have connections, relationships, and effects that can ripple across countries and the globe. However, when these kinds of geographic manifestations fall from view, here too, it is easy for geography to be become invisible again.

New Report and Literacy Campaign

The critical nature of geographical thinking and the evidence of its lack in education have come forth in the form of a new report from the U.S. National Research Council (NRC), Learning to Think Spatially: GIS as a Support System in the K-12 Curriculum, and a new literacy campaign led by the National Geographic Society (NGS), My Wonderful World. Both are a call to action.

Make Geography Relevant to Others

The NRC report and the My Wonderful World campaign point to simple messages: that


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spatial thinking is important, that geography is relevant. However, while more vital than ever, breaking down unconscious barriers and mindsets that stifle the spread of geographic literacy remain daunting. As geographic professionals and educators of many stripes, we have a responsibility to help communicate and invigorate a message about the importance of geography, geographical thinking, and GIS to colleagues, the public, and most especially young people. In stressing these ideas, we need to communicate that these skills and approaches are relevant to classroom, community, and workplace1.

ESRI-UK, ESRI-Sweden, GEODATA ASNorway, Informi GIS-Denmark,;

Community While geography is global in nature, the terrain people relate to immediately is their community, the geography of home. Some of the most successful youth-focused geography and GIS research projects are centered on local geography, real-world issues. Getting involved with activities and programs such as the ones listed below is a great way to help make geography more relevant to youth and others.
4-H National GIS/GPS Integration Team,; Digital Worlds,; Earth Science Week (8-14 October, 2006),; ESRI Community Mapping,; ESRI International Distributors,; GIS Day (15 November, 2006); My Community, Our Earth,; Society for Conservation GIS, Geographical Information Systems Applications in Schools (GISAS),

Classroom Besides the strength of the NRC report, there are organizations and programs that are advancing the presence of geography and GIS by performing outreach, creating curricular and other support materials, and offering learning pathways for teachers and students. Some to become familiar with include:
Association for Geographic Information,; Association of Geographic Information Laboratories Europe,; Australian Geography Teachers Association,; Canadian Council for Geographic Education,; ESRI Education Program,,; European Network of Geography Teachers Associations (EUROGEO),; Geografforlaget (DK),; Geographical Association (UK),; HERODOT, Thematic Network for Geography Teaching and Training (Europe),; International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography, ; National Council for Geographic Education (US),; National Geographic Society Educational Foundation,; A growing number of ESRI international distributors are actively working with the education community in their countries. Some key European distributors include: ESRI-BeLux, ESRI-Espaa, ESRI-Finland, ESRI Geoinformatik-Germany and Switzerland, ESRI-Nederland, ESRI-Polska,

Mapping Our World, GIS lessons focused on global themes,

Make a Difference
What we do with geography, GIS, and other geospatial tools has a relevance that is missed by many in other walks of life, in other spheres of experience. We have great opportunities through programs and organizations such as those discussed here to help make a difference. Actions can be focused or grand, but action is needed. For instance, create a GIS Day event, mentor a class, share your GIS data with a school, provide an internship, design Web-based GIS educational tools, or find the approach that works best. Inspiring a spatial sense and a geocuriosity among the youth of today is vital for tomorrow.
1. In the mid-1990s the ESRI Education Program in promoting the application of GIS in schools began focusing on the three areas of classroom, community, and workplace. Helpful in centering on these was an April 1996 article by Michael Hartoonian and Richard Van Scotter, School-to-Work: A Model for Learning a Living, Phi Delta Kappan Magazine. In the article the authors identify three distinct but interrelated attributes or qualities: scholarship, citizenship, and artisanship. They view these areas of active educational engagement as essential for moving through school and into the world of work but more importantly into everyday life. Dubbed the three ships, dropping geographic inquiry and GIS into their frames was a natural.

Workplace Asking a person on the street what careers are available for someone with a geographic skill set, we might get a handful of occupations with cartographer or mapmaker at the top of the list. The problem is that not enough people, especially students, know what people do with geographic skills and tools. Here are several Web sites that help make this more evident. Association of American Geographers,; American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing,; Career Voyages,; ESRI Map Book Gallery (and lesson), ( rclessons/search_results.cfm?id=220); Career Portal,; Geospatial 21,

George Dailey ( is Program Manager for GIS in Schools, ESRI Education Program.

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Spotlight on NOAA, USGS and

A Commitment to Geospatial Education

In 2002, NASA estimated the increasing growth rate of the geospatial industry worldwide would exceed annual revenues of $21 billion US by 2005. With rapid technological advances and the widespread use of geospatial information, the industry would be hard-pressed to keep pace with the increased demand for qualified people. by Frank Arts
This astronaut photograph, taken on February 26, 2003, is centered on the Kingdom of Denmark. The entire region is overlain with deposits of Pleistocene glaciers. Taking advantage of remarkably fair weather over north central Europe for the time of year, the crew of the International Space Station took this panoramic view that extends from the North Sea coast of the Netherlands on the left to the Baltic Sea shores of Sweden on the right. The late-winter landscape has little snow cover except over northeastern Germany, Sweden, and the rugged mountains of Norway. Such images, composed by astronauts, provide unique, synoptic perspectives of the Earth's geography and natural processes. Image Credit: NASA.

In North America there have been various recommendations from government, industry and academia as to how to address the expected shortfall. One solution has been to foster an awareness of Earth and space science at an early age and thereby encourage students to consider careers in the geosciences. This article takes a look at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In particular it is shown how their expertise in oceanic and atmospheric research, satellite technology, earth observation and the environment, has been formulated into key educational tools for teachers and students from kindergarten to university and beyond.

NOAA a Voyage of Discovery

NOAAs Office of Education and its Education Council were established in 2003, under the Office of the Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. The organization has been concerned with education issues since 1972, with its involvement in the National Marine Sanctuary Program. However

the role of the new structure is to lead NOAA the Nation and its neighbors along the North in establishing a comprehensive education Atlantic region, that the potential for hurriplan and support its mission of increasing cane strikes this year was extremely high. environmental literacy with a well-defined Formalized Education Plan education policy. In a move towards implementing its formalAs one of the worlds leaders in oceanic and ized education plan, NOAA has designed atmospheric research, NOAA plays a decisive numerous education and outreach programs role in improving public awareness and for both teachers and students. The prounderstanding of our natural environment grams are based on the organizations ability through a literacy program. It generates to understand and explain the complexities information on weather and climatic conditions, atmospheric research, marine ecosystems, fisheries protection, and natural disasters, in addition to its emergency response and homeland security responsibilities. This is a tall order for a single organization, but its success in producing significant and timely geoscience data is unquestioned. A typical example of the organizations public awareness activities can Backdropped by a colorful Earth, this full view of the International Space be seen in the Hurricane Station was photographed from the Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-114 Season 2006 publication. Return to Flight mission, following the undocking of the two spacecraft. Image Here NOAA announced to Credit: NASA.


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of our atmosphere, oceans and climate. They can be accessed via dedicated pages on the NOAA web site. Amongst others there are pre-planned lessons, activities and quizzes on weather, climate change and our planet, oceans and coasts, satellites and space, together with information on safety, with a focus on natural disasters. One particular section called Kids Hazards Quiz offers multiple choice answers for what to do in the case of earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, thunderstorms and landslides et cetera. These are natural disasters with which North Americans are often faced.

Field Study Initiatives In addition to providing online educational materials, NOAA is also responsible for various field study initiatives designed to give teachers and students first-hand operational experience in atmospheric research and the conservation of marine resources. Carrie McDougall, NOAA Education Policy Analyst, explained that over the years NOAA has initiated many programs that according to her have been extremely successful. The Sea Grant Program, initiated in 1990, is a university-based scheme to support coastal resource use and conservation. It is a nationwide initiative that involves 30 universities that work closely with coastal communities to enable staff and students to conduct scientific research, education and training in marine conservation practices. Hands-on Research Experience Two particular programs, Teacher at Sea and Teacher in the Air, are designed to give teaching staff the opportunity to bring hands-on research experience back to the classroom. This is done by spending time with NOAA scientists and crew on various marine operations and atmospheric research missions. Whether it is aboard a NOAA ship or aircraft, staff are involved in daily tasks, such as fisheries research in the arctic, or atmospheric data capture operating a GPS dropwindsonde from an aircraft. Similarly, NOAAs National Marine Sanctuary Program provides teachers with the resources and training necessary to promote awareness and genuine interest in our oceans. The complete curriculum includes

Mount St. Helens on July 22, 1980. This eruption sent pumice and ash 6 to 11 miles (10-18 kilometers) into the air, and was visible in Seattle, Washington, 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the north. The view here is from the south. Image credit: USGS.

planned lessons and activities in marine technology and the environment. A current example focuses on Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) technology and its use in oceanography. Students are encouraged to learn how to build an ROV and to enter a team from their school in regional competition. NOAA has recognized it has a responsibility in advancing education and its multi-level approach has proved extremely successful at the national, regional and local levels. Its vision is to establish an environmentally literate public and a diverse workforce who will use and understand NOAA resources and services to make informed decisions.

agency that comes under the Department of the Interior. It was created by an act of Congress in 1879 and has since become the Nations largest civilian mapping organization dealing with earth, water, and natural science. It provides reliable, impartial scientific data and geospatial information on the issues facing our natural resources. The USGS has its finger on the pulse of the planet with science research programs covering landscape evolution, oceans and climate studies, geologic processes, geography and mapping.

USGS Science for a Changing World

The USGS is the oldest science organization in the United States and the only science

Comprehensive Guidelines Unlike NOAA, the USGS does not have an official education policy. However it does have a comprehensive set of guidelines which have been developed to allow for consistency in lesson design and material avail-

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ability to follow the national standards in the United States. Geographic analysis and mapping, earth characteristics, ecology and the environment are just some of the topics presented in its educational web pages. These have been designed as a formal education tool and resource for public information and awareness. In a recent announcement, the USGS has realigned its geospatial programs to form a National Geospatial Program Office. Its mission is to serve the needs and interests of the geospatial community throughout the Nation, and to educate and inform data users in the use and application of USGS products and services. Joseph J. Kerski, Geographer at the USGS in Denver, Colorado, explained the Agencys responsibility in the areas of curriculum design, focusing on geography, science, history and mathematics. He emphasized

that all have a common geotechnology base using GIS, GPS, remote sensing, web mapping services and virtual globes. The main focus at USGS is educational partnerships with academia, government and nonprofit organizations, and research into the implementation and effectiveness of GIS in education. Kerski places tremendous importance on customizing curriculum development to fit the USGS science literacy mission and the agencys mission overall, which is to match the national education standards and ultimately incorporate spatial analysis into critical thinking.

Real World Applications Real world applications using USGS data form the basis for many lessons. Its GPS, Map, and Compass education resource pages contain a wealth of information, teaching tips and ideas on how to explore and integrate GPS technology with various earth science, geography and environmental studies. Guidelines are provided for

using USGS topographic maps with GPS receivers and compasses. An illustration of how students are introduced to working with GIS data can be seen in a tutorial using raster and vector analysis to determine the best location to position fire towers in Nebraska. Wildfires in the United States are a frequent occurrence during the hot, dry summer months. In 2002, more than seven million acres of land where devastated by wildfires and it is an increasing problem. Fire towers are used by firefighters to spot the location of fires in heavily wooded or grassy areas. This lesson enables the students to access National Land Cover Data (NLCD) and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data, and analyze these using ArcGIS software against a given set of criteria.

Effective Public Awareness Similarly, the Cascades Volcano Observatory website is just one of the many USGS resources that contain classroom activities and computer lab information structured to stimulate an interest in geology and geophysics. It includes current volcanic activity data and links

NOAA research vessel Thomas G. Thompson. Image credit: NOAA. WP-3D Orion research aircraft.. Image credit: NOAA.

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July/August 2006



to volcano-related resources for the western United States, Hawaii, and Alaska. There are currently 65 active and potentially active volcanoes in the United States and as a consequence the USGS has implemented an effective public awareness agenda through its Volcano Hazards Program. USGS also administers a Cooperative Research Units program in partnership with various state agencies and universities. This program is designed to give graduate students an opportunity to train as wildlife professionals by taking part in applied research in geology, hydrology, mapping and related sciences.

2005 Atlantic Storm Tracks. Image credit: NOAA.

NASA See Learning in a Whole new Light A major part of the NASA mission is To inspire the next generation of explorers as only NASA can. With this in mind, NASA is actively pursuing a comprehensive education program to inspire and motivate students at all levels to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). NASAs continued mission of exploration and understanding depends on a well educated and motivated workforce. Its education fact sheet states It is not enough to depend on the excitement generated by NASAs images of its achievements in space and on Earth; NASA must capitalize on that interest to provide meaningful education programs that will benefit the Agency and the Nation. To that end NASAs education enterprise has been extremely successful in encouraging students to pursue STEM-based careers. Well defined in supporting education in the Nations schools, and through its informal education and public outreach efforts, the organization believes that by making available NASA-related learning experiences as early as the elementary school stage, students are more inclined to follow study paths through to the postgraduate level, leading to successful careers in the geosciences. Solid Commitment The NASA Office of Education has a very solid commitment to improved science learning and awareness. For example, the Educator Astronaut plan has trained almost 200 teachers who go on to interact with approximately 9,000 colleagues across the country to give them NASA content and teaching strategies for their classrooms. The Explorer Schools program is designed to encourage schools to partner with NASA in a variety of professional development activities. Both students and teaching staff are intro-

duced to NASA materials via lesson plans, instructional guides and various interactive multimedia resources. Each year the program establishes a three-year partnership between NASA and 50 school teams from across the country, with an emphasis on attracting minority communities and less affluent schools. It recently conducted an extensive review of its Internet-based learning technology, selecting cognitive tools that focus on a students ability to think, learn and remember. These tools have been incorporated as part of the Virtual Design Center, a feature of the NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future. Here technology-intensive, high-quality materials incorporate NASA expertise and data. Teachers are equipped with professional development resources specifically designed to enable students to thrive in a learning environment of enthusiasm and stimulation. Navigating through the NASA Education web site allows access to an enormous amount of information, activities and programs geared to all academic levels, from the Kids Club games, such as Back to the Moon, to post-secondary education opportunities like the Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars Program.

sensing, using imagery from NASAs Terra, Aqua and Landsat satellites. Californias Channel Islands and the Panama Rainforest are the subject matter for the tutorials, animations and video clips. Fire detection with false-color images allow students to build a composite image of the Amazon rainforest with false-color data using the MODIS Airborne Simulator Compositor. The program coaches students in how to combine various bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to show features the human eye cannot detect. In this exercise it is the difference between fire, smoke, and clouds. Earthquake asks students to investigate earthquake faults in the San Francisco area and evaluate the proximity of increased urban expansion, using comparative analysis with Landsat 1 and Landsat 7 satellite imagery. Also the question of recent seismic activity is posed with regard to the planned location of new development.

Earth and space science education has undergone a tremendous transformation in the past decade, a result of the increasing availability of geospatial data and resources, and the power of online visualization and teaching methodologies. All three organizations work closely when it comes to data sharing and education initiatives through their support and involvement with the National Science Teachers Association Conferences. Between them, NOAA, USGS, and NASA offer a rich variety of educational reference materials and cutting-edge technology designed to promote investigation and nurture enquiring minds.
Frank Arts ( is a Contributing Editor of GeoInformatics. Surf to NOAA USGS homework_geography.asp NASA

Popular Choice for Educators The Earth Observatory experiments section offers a number of interactive resources designed to be used with examples of NASAs space-based remote sensing activities, focusing on how and why our Earth is constantly changing. The subject matter is varied and extensive. Below are three examples which illustrate why the NASA portal is one of the most popular choices for educators seeking earth system science resource information. Image Composite Editor is designed as a first look at Earth system science through image processing, data analysis and satellite remote

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July/August 2006



The European Geography Ass

Exchanging Knowledge and Fostering Interests Students
In 1987 students from Warsaw, Barcelona, Vienna and Utrecht universities came together and started the idea of a European geography association for students and young geographers. Since then, 17 congresses have been held and EGEA has grown from the four participants (entities) to 80 entities in 33 different countries. It is estimated that EGEA has over 2,000 active members European wide. By Gert Ruepert
sions for students from every geography specialisation. Each spring four regional congresses take place. Besides these five official congresses, entities organise other events, like thematical seminars, national weekends, and expeditions. Another way for EGEA members to meet are the student exchanges. Exchanges are organised quite often, in a cheap and simple way. Two entities visit each other, usually for one week, with a group of 10 to 20 persons. The host entity is responsible for the programme and accommodation. Exchanges have got a geographical programme but cultural exchange and socialising are just as important.


Florian Fischer (27) Working at Maximilians University Munich, board member of EGEA and organiser of the EGEA Annual Congress 2006 Fisher explains why EGEA wants to promote the use of GIS: In recent years GIS found its way to everyday life mostly due to the constantly growing use of GIS in the Internet applications. Everybody can discover every place on earth while accessing huge archives of maps and geodata about the world. We are coming closer and closer to the vision of the digital earth. For students in spatial science the use of GIS is quite common nowadays and it has already been popular for a long time. GIS helps students to understand the complexity of spatial phenomona. It helps to understand urban development processes, climate change, traffic jams and many more spatial phenomena. Furthermore GIS enables students to analyse these spatial processes and to manage them, like in risk management or land management. Unfortunately GIS skills are not evenly taught in all universities in Europe and that is why EGEA wants to support und strengthen the GIS skills of all EGEA members. During the EGEA congresses and seminars every year there are always some workshops using GIS to discover or analyse a special topic, mostly in a playful way. Experience shows that many people get interested in GIS after that and try to improve their skills. In future we want to extend the number of workshops that make use of GIS and maybe organise some kind of international summer school on GIS. As geographers we are very broadly educat-

At the top, excursion during the Alps Seminar 2005 in Austria.

Foster Interests
The European GEography Association (EGEA) is the European network for geography students and young geographers. It aims to exchange knowledge and information between geography students and to foster their interests. To achieve this EGEA organises congresses and exchanges and it has an extensive Internet forum. EGEA has a partnership with ESRI and is funded by the European Union. The European Office is hosted at the faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University in the Netherlands. In geography studies the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is getting more and more important. EGEA acknowledges the importance of GIS. On EGEA congresses there

are always workshops where GIS are being used. This article gives an introduction to the work of EGEA and what four geography students from Koper, Athens, Barcelona and Prague will tell about the use of GIS in their studies.

Annual Congress 2006

The main event is the Annual Congress, where over 200 students meet for 5 or 6 days. Each year the Annual Congress is organised by another entity. The Annual Congress 2006 will be held from 10th till the 15th of September in Bad Aussee, (Salzkammergut, Austria), jointly organised by EGEA-Vienna and EGEA Munich. The theme of the congress is Europe, inside out and it will contain workshops and excur-


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ociation and GIS

ed. But the job market often asks for specialists. We as geographers know how to work with GIS and this is what can give us an advantage over students from other disciplines. Now GIS is used more and more, also in other studies, from sociology to archaeology to chemistry. If we want to keep our advantage we have to deepen our knowledge in GIS. EGEA wants to foster the interests of European geography students, and because we think that knowing how to work with GIS is in the interest of geography students, we are promoting the use of GIS at our geography departments. areas. The faculty encourages students towards research work, so significant importance is given to the methodology of geographical research. Unfortunately, for now only one subject for practicing GIS is available. The first final theses of the geography department however were based on GIS (cartography of sea flooding), which suggests that students are aware of the importance of GIS programmes and are willing to practise them individually. In the coming years a renovation of the geography programme is planned to improve the study. Experiences, suggestions and opinions of the first graduates and academic staff will be implemented in the future programme. As GIS are becoming the primary methodological tool for interpreting and presenting geographical features and processes, the improvement of GIS education on the geography department should be one of the highest priorities of the mentioned program renovation. As the Faculty of Humanities is moving to a new location in the next two years, also better facilities for GIS practising should be available. Working on my final thesis now, I wish I had deeper insight in GIS during the study. Fortunately the professors are willing to help at all times. It is of great importance to be competent with GIS, especially for those of us who are interested in research work. So loosing sleep in front of the computer doing a thesis in cartography is in my opinion more than worthwhile.

Petra Slavec (23) Geography student, Faculty of Humanities, University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia The faculty of Humanities is part of the recently established University of Primorska. The first generation of geography students entered their studies only five years ago and went through an educational programme based on interdisciplinary and electiveness, which allow students to choose subjects depending on their individual interests. As it is positioned in a specific intercultural space, the faculty above all offers direct insight into spatial, social and political processes of bordering

Vasileios Peppas (21) Geography student, Department of Geography, Harokopio University of Athens, Greece GIS, Cadastral applications and Remote Sensing constitute one of the five main thematic units of the curriculum. Four core subjects cover the basic skills required from a geographer, whereas three elective courses offer advanced knowledge and a wider scope of applications. It is intrinsic in the Departments philosophy that GIS should be taught as a tool, rather than as a subject per se. Therefore, applied knowledge is promoted against pure GIS studies, mostly applicable to IT professionals. Accordingly, the GIS thematic courses cover a conservative 10 per cent of the curriculum and contribute a likewise 10 per cent in earned credits towards a Geography degree. However, GIS as an academic tool has been incorporated in the syllabuses of all major advanced mainly elective- courses, ranging from Spatial Planning and Natural

Excursion during the Tatra seminar 2006 organised by EGEA Krakow.

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July/August 2006



Disasters Management to Remote Sensing and Applied Geomorphology. The generic character of GIS studies in the Department qualifies young geographers with dexterity to adjust to market needs in an emerging sector in Greece. This is also evident in the high number of final year theses that encounters GIS problem-solving. I do like GIS since they are practical in basic geographic research and timesaving. However, there are some drawbacks. For example, in Greece it is difficult to find digitised maps on request and sometimes you have to perform digitising yourself, which takes time and possibly costs money.

another one in remote sensing, for the education in GIS, but those are not compulsory. Our faculty is equipped with a thousand PCs with the suitable software, but there is no room for only GIS computers. Personally I like GIS, but I have seen that especially human geographers don't really like dealing with it. I did part of my studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands where they have very good GIS education and GIS facilities. The knowledge I gained was very useful for obtaining my job. Currently I work at the GIS department in the cartographical institute of Catalonia. I am working with the computer on databases and GIS. I like it, but sometimes I miss the geography component a bit.

Laura Roman (26) Graduated Geography Student, Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona, Spain We study two courses of GIS: geoinformatics and a second one where we go more deeply into GIS. In the first course we use the ESRI software, but in the second course we use software developed by our university, called MiraMon, broadly used in Catalonia. On the non-GIS subjects where some spatial analysis is implied, the use of GIS, either MiraMon or the ESRI software, is also applied. There is also a third course in advanced GIS and

Roman Matousek (22) Geography and cartography student, Faculty of Science, Charles University Prague, Czech Republic The department of applied geoinformatics and cartography is mostly responsible for teaching GIS. Students of geography get in touch with GIS during their bachelor studies (BA). An introductory course of GIS takes place in the first year for 3 European Credit Transfer System points (ECTS; an academic year comprises 60 ECTS points). Students have to

prove some basic skills in ArcGIS, which is the most common software used at the university. In the second year an advanced course of GIS is obligatory for all geography students (for 4 ECTS). In the third year, a remote sensing course and using of PCI Geomatica is being taught (for 5 ECTS). A few teachers in other subjects, such as physical and human geography, require the use of GIS in some assignments, which obliges students to use and improve their skills even if they do not want to specialize in GIS. During the master studies (MA), students can choose courses focused on using GIS in their specific field of interest, like physical or human geography. GIS courses are very popular among students, partly thanks to young and enthusiastic teachers. Some students feel that using other software besides ArcGIS would be useful. Students of non-geographical fields, such as biology, geology or environmental science, can choose GIS courses for their specific purposes.
Gert Ruepert (, is the Director of EGEA. For more information about EGEA:


July/August 2006


The Best Career Advice You Will Ever Get

Have you heard of the Big Crew Change in the energy industry? Over 50 per cent of the workforce will retire in the next 5-10 years, causing an abrupt loss of technical know-how and expertise. At the same time, global demand for energy is expected to double or triple this century, whilst CO2 emissions need to be reduced. A new crew is required to tackle this multiple challenge. But who? The frantic search for sustainable gigajoules and megawatts has turned into a war for human talent.

This is great news for all those wanting to make big careers in technical disciplines. Despite additional incentives, however, not many people choose a path in geosciences, geomatics or engineering. Whether universities lower their entry standards or companies pay big bonuses, it is as difficult to attract young people to a technical career as getting pandas to mate in a zoo. As a seasoned colleague of mine recently said: Is it because nobody wants to do real work anymore? Or have technical subjects simply become too difficult for a generation who cant work out 1+1 unless they can Google it? Nobody really knows. But there are many reasons why technical professions such as geomatics are rewarding and fascinating. First, it is reassuringly pragmatic. Toblers First Law of Geography states that everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things. Yes, a sunbather in Spain might feel the breeze caused by a butterfly in New Zealand, but a flying golf ball which encounters a space-time conflict with your head is indeed a lot more noticeable. Obvious, no? Second, it is also delightfully confusing. For example, too far east is west how on earth does that happen? Does Thai Chicken turn into Texas Steak if you add too much lime and coriander? And how come a GPS receiver does not display zero degrees longitude when you stand on the prime meridian in Greenwich? Or why do in-flight magazines pretend that aeroplanes take the long way from Europe to America, via Greenland rather than straight across the Atlantic? Ah well, only geomaticians know the real secrets of the earth hence our nickname, geomagicians. Some may call it millimetric madness but we know better. It is all

about real science for real applications. It is not like those ridiculous examples you were taught in high school, like theres 5 people on a bus, 8 people step out, leaving 3, so when 3 people go back inside the bus is empty With our magic secrets, you can pin-point your position anywhere on the planet and compute the shortest route to the nearest caf. Although, to be fair, we still need to learn the language of the average human. 4852'12.69"N and 218'22.80"E does not mean much to most people even though it is the same as saying Champs-Elyses, Paris. Well, in WGS84 dialect it is. Thanks to recent advances in geomatics we can now also admire flying cars in Australia, courtesy of Google Earth. If you dont believe me go and have a look at 32 0'43.28"S and 11547'11.02"E. Sorry, I mean Honour Avenue, Point Walter, Perth.

Thierry Gregorius ( is Programme Manager for Geomatics and Information Management at Shells international headquarters in the Netherlands, and was previously Global GIS Coordinator. The views in this column are entirely personal.

Too far east is west how on earth does that happen? Does Thai Chicken turn into Texas Steak if you add too much lime and coriander?

There are many other reasons why our jobs are so cool. If you know some more please drop me a line, perhaps we could publish a hit list and hand out prizes for the best. And if young people do not want to join us, well it is their loss. We will just have to solve the worlds most complicated challenges on our own, and keep the glory and rewards to ourselves.

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July/August 2006



Web-based Information Service

All Information and Data Available in Standardized For
Together with provincial and territorial government and other partners the federal governments Agriculture and Agri-food department has announced the development of an Internet-based National Land and Water Information Service. With federal government funding of CDN$100.1 million, the service will provide geospatial information and tools to assist in agri-environmental decision-making across the country. By Ronald Baynes

An example of the web mapping services that the National Land and Water Information Service will provide is an interactive fence locator that Agriculture and AgriFood Canada (AAFC) developed in collaboration with the Manitoba Riparian Council. Landowners use it to come up with rapid, precise estimates about costs and locations of fences to keep their cattle clear of waterways or to section off areas of land for rotational grazing. Ron Lewis, AAFCs Agricultural Information Manager in Manitoba says: The application displays an orthophoto map of the land, complete with waterways and trees. The user sketches in proposed location options for the fence and receives an automatic readout of how many metres each will take. The application then cues the landowner to enter such variables as distance between fence poles, the number of wire strands and how much the user will pay for a roll of wire. Other spatial information is available that enables the landowner to place the fence far enough from the waterway to comply with environmental guidelines or regulations.

duced the Land Resource Viewer (LRV). This web mapping application puts geospatial information into a context appropriate to the users interest, for instance a watershed context for a user whose interest centers on watersheds. The first release of the LRV provides a national agricultural view so that users can see the Canada-wide context for their area of interest. In Phase 2, also under way, the team will build the Information Technology infrastructure for the data maintenance portion of the service, including GIS-based data warehouse, and associated tools and applications. In this phase, the National Land and Water Information Service will use commercial offthe-shelf technology including thin client computer systems, to consolidate distributed data bases into a single integrated environment. In this phase we will be using primarily the same technologies we have been using previously, says Assistant Deputy Minister Susan Till who heads the service. However we will use them in more effective ways that will allow us to better share and manage data.

Canada-wide Collaboration
The Internet-based National Land and Water Information Service supports a Canada-wide strategy called the Agricultural Policy Framework. Under this framework federal, provincial and territorial governments are working together to make Canada a world leader in food safety, innovation and environmentally responsible agriculture. Green components of the strategy include environmental farm planning, farm stewardship, water supply expansion and water quality surveillance. Decision makers who hitherto have had to patch together soil, water and other agrienvironmental data from a multitude of sources will now be able to access it in

standardized formats through a single, recognized Internet portal. The site will provide direct access to information, tools and advice from experts and will eventually incorporate links to the collaborating organizations. All information and data will be available in standardized formats and in Canadas two official languages English and French.

Phases 3 and 4
In Phase 3 the service will make customized applications available on the website introducing new web services on a nationwide scale. The Canada Parcel Locator, a land-use application, which AAFC currently provides in the Prairie Provinces, is an example of a web service that will be expanded to cover more agricultural areas of Canada. The Locator allows users to zero in on geospatial, webmapped renditions of data and information on specific parcels of land and spatially enable tabular data. Information will be delivered using formats that are consistent with national standards and policies defined by the Canadian

First Phases
The National Land and Water Information Service is being implemented in four overlapping phases from 2005 to 2009. In Phase 1, which began in May 2005, the project team consolidated Agriculture and Agri-food Canadas existing GIS capabilities and intro-


July/August 2006

will come into use as they are developed. We wont need to wait five years to see results.

Three Modes
The Service will be available in three modes. Self service allows clients to use the sites help menu to access information free of charge, including information on how to search and navigate the website. Assisted service takes place through tutorials or technical backup from a service office now under development. Custom service are applications or interpretations individually tailored to meet clients needs created in collaboration with experts from the National Land and Water Information Service. With its inherent emphaSome tools and applications are already available on, the interactive portal to the National Land and Water Information Service. sis on sharing and consistency of data, the serGeospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI). The vice depends for its success on a close CGDI has been developed under dovetailing of effort by many partners and GeoConnections, a national program funded collaborators. These include Canadas federal, by the federal government. provincial, territorial and municipal governIn Phase 4, data access and linkages ments, agricultural producers and industries, between collaborators will be enhanced and NGOs and academic institutions. Provincial a new, capability-rich suite of products will Working Groups are helping to identify applibe introduced. Till: By the end of Phase 4 cations. users will have access to information and The National Land and Water Information interpretation capabilities currently available Service has signed several agreements to only to organizations that own their own access data from provincial and federal sophisticated GIS systems. One advantage of departments and agencies and is in the prothis phased approach is that applications cess of negotiating with others. Response so far has been enthusiastic and we have heard from many people who want to work with us, says Till. We are off to a good start.
Leading the National Land and Water Information Service is Dr. Susan Till, Assistant Deputy Minister in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Ronald Baynes ( is a free-lance writer based in Ottawa. More information about the topic discussed in this article can be found at

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July/August 2006



Royal Netherlands Army to Afg

Latest Map Data from East View Cartographic
A new series of 1:50,000 scale topographic maps of Uruzgan province has been produced by East View Cartographic (EVC), specifically for the Royal Netherlands Army Geographic Agency. This latest mapping and geospatial information for the region allows strategic planning, analysis, tactical operations and so on, to be undertaken quickly and effectively using the most current geospatial decision-making tools. by Frank Arts

International Community United States military curThe Netherlands has been involved with reconrently operating in the struction efforts in Afghanistan for several south of the country. They years. It has shared this responsibility with the will take part in Stage III international community under the leadership of the International of the UN. It has made Afghanistan a partner Security Assistance Force country to receive development assistance (ISAF) mission, in principle through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Task for two years, to set up a Force. Provincial Reconstruction Uruzgan province is one of the most difficult Team and help maintain areas of the country in which to implement peace, security and stabilithe international missions foreign assistance ty in this extremely programs, a result of the increased opposition volatile part of the world. by the Taliban insurgency. Uruzgan has been A new series of 1:50,000 plagued by aggression and hostility while scale topographic maps of many other provinces have been able to begin Uruzgan province has reconstruction work in a much improved envibeen produced by East ronment of safety and security. View Cartographic (EVC) NATO map of ISAF expansion showing the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (ISAF PRTs). Image credit: NATO. The RNLA are experienced in peacekeeping headquartered in and stabilization operations focusing on secuMinneapolis, MN, specifiIntroduction rity assistance and reconstruction efforts. As cally for the Royal Netherlands Army Afghanistan is one of the most rugged areas part of the first contingent of NATO forces Geographic Agency. EVC, which was estabof Central Asia with approximately three quargoing into this area, the European allies and lished in 1995, produces worldwide topographters of the country dominated by the Hindu the United States are standing firm in their ic map data, having accumulated a corporate Kush mountain range, stretching almost 900 resolve to help the people of Afghanistan library comprising in excess of 200,000 maps, kilometers west from Pakistan into northeastrebuild their country. 15 terabytes of digital geospatial data, and 10 ern Afghanistan. Terrain elevations vary from million GIS-based records. 259 meters at its lowest point in the Kara Kum desert in the north, to peaks in excess of Interview 2500 meters in the northeastern and central parts of the country. GeoInformatics spoke to Ron McCoy, Approximately two thirds of the projects The highest point is on the Afghan/Pakistan EVC undertakes are outside of the United border at Tirich Mir where it rises to 7,692 States. Is there a particular reason for Director of Business Development at EVC, meters above sea level. In contrast, the souththis? ern and western regions are mostly comprised about the mapping project for the RNLA of arid desert. Afghanistan is divided into 34 Naturally we tend to focus where the business provinces, one of which is Uruzgan, often is and where our customers interests lead us. and how his companys expertise in described as one of the most remote and We are perhaps more comfortable with interruggedly beautiful areas of the country. national mapping projects than some other remote-area global data capture met the Replace US Military US-based companies. Over a period of years In August, as many as 1,600 Royal Netherlands military specifications required by the we have developed a reputation for successful Army (RNLA) personnel will be deployed to performance on these types of projects. Uruzgan province as part of the NATO coalition Royal Netherlands Army Geographic I understand that EVC maintains one of forces international peacekeeping operation. the worlds largest available collections The Dutch troops are scheduled to replace the Agency.


July/August 2006


hanistan in August
use data from a variety of imaging technologies, such as airborne digital camera systems and high-resolution satellite imagery from IKONOS or QuickBird for example. Spot-5, with its improved 5 meter and 2.5 meter resoluSpot-5 satellite image of part of Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, image tion, plus its wide-swath credit CNES/SPOT. field-of-view, provides an ideal balance between highof maps, including Afghanistan and other resolution and wide-area coverage. Together countries in that area. Did this have a with options for along track or stereo acquisibearing on EVCs success in securing tion, the swath coverage can be configured to this contract? produce either a 60 kilometer x 60 kilometer band or in its twin-component mode 60 kiloEVC already has mapping experience in the meters x 120 kilometers. This can be particuAfghan region, having produced the Terrain larly effective for observation and analysis of Analysis of Afghanistan publication a few years surface change affecting both large areas and ago. Even so key to the companys success is specific locations. This type of functionality is its ability to provide just-in-time access to any ideal for medium-scale mapping projects. mapping asset in existence, together with the How large is the project area and what resources to supply detailed map coverage of were the military standards specified by remote and difficult to acquire areas around the RNLA? the globe. What is not currently in existence and therefore unavailable to source, we will The complete project area covers 20,000 create on a custom basis, as in this particular square kilometers and includes 31 TLM50, or project. topographic line map, sheets which include What are you using as source-data new map sheets and a percentage of preimagery for this area of Afghanistan? existing updates. Since the pre-existing maps were produced some time ago many of the For this application we are using Spot-5 satelareas have changed. This is primarily a result lite imagery acquired in November 2005. of population growth, the development of variDepending on the type of project and the ous transportation networks, and a shift in the clients specific requirements however we will way the land is now being used. The military specifications include those associated with TLM and VMAP2 standards. TLM is a stock topographic product used by the US military and various other NATO forces. It is a map that depicts topographic, planimetric, hydrographic and cultural features at either 1:100, 000 (TLM100) or 1:50,000 (TLM50) scales. Therefore, data capture includes aspects like terrain relief, vegetation, drainage Hindu Kush Mountain Range, image credit NATO. patterns, road and rail networks, cultural features and populated areas. These types of maps give the user a true depiction of ground detail and are primarily used by personnel in both the army and air force for mission planning, strategic operations, target acquisition and terrain analysis. The VMAP family of databases was developed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as a set of digital vector mapping information. This is used for military, simulation and geo information systems, as well as for the production of military analogue and digital maps. The vector smart map level 2 (VMAP2) format is a standard vector product. Its detail level corresponds to 1:50,000 scale geographic mapping with point, line and area objects subdivided into ten feature classes or thematic layers. These include: Major road networks; Railroad networks; Hydrologic drainage systems; Vegetation; Utility networks (cross-country pipelines, transmission lines); Major airports; Contour elevation data; Coastlines; International boundaries; Populated places.

The final products will be in multiple geospatial industry standard digital formats. Can you expand on this?
Data delivery will include ESRI ArcView SHP shapefiles and feature attributes, standard Geotiff with embedded georeferenced data, and electronic charting software( e-chart) files which are standard topographic maps in PDF format for fast reproduction and dissemination.
Frank Arts ( is a Contributing Editor of GeoInformatics. Listed below are several URL's for additional information: article.asp?articleref=AR00001836EN

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July/August 2006


Conferences & Meetings

Bentley Focuses on Advancing

Report on BE Conference Europe 2006
Making clear to your users how to increase knowledge, productivity, and competitiveness by using your products: isnt this the main reason why major companies are organising conferences at least once a year? Bentley went one step further by organising a geospatial research seminar on the first day of the conference. This event presented quite a unique opportunity for academics, Bentley staff, and users from the geospatial and AEC communities to exchange ideas and learn from each other. By Sonja de Bruijn

get GIS adopted in infrastructure. One of them is indexing infrastructural data in the same way as web search engines such as Google do. He was also clear about another aspect: the necessity of using 3D models in infrastructure, with clear communication being one of the obvious benefits.

CAD versus GIS camp

It is Bentleys vision that a good GIS should be able to plan, design, model, analyse, in fact all of the things a user can do with data. In this respect, there will be no CAD versus GIS camp anymore, at least not in Camateros expectations. He summed up the capabilities of a good GIS: based on openness, open standards, and interoperability. In this respect OGC, GML, XML were mentioned, as well as Oracle, Google Earth, and PDF, being called de-facto standards by Camateros. To round out his lively presentation, the VP highlighted two other aspects: the importance of working in small groups from 5 to 6 people, and the necessity of a workflow-centric approach instead of a task-centric approach. There should be multidisciplinary projects that are focused on the whole enterprise.

GeoSpatial Server works in a similar way as Google.

Keynote Summary
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Tony Flynn spoke on preparing the next generation to improve the worlds infrastructure. Prepare kids by educating them to be their best and you might not be there, but your spirit will were some of the thoughts he shared with the audience. The CMO recommended that those of us in the infrastructure community meet with schools and tell them what we need, read BE Award educational stories and become inspired, hire and teach interns how to apply our software tools, and volunteer to be a mentor in the Future City Competition. The next topic highlighted was Bentley Institute, which is elaborately discussed on pages 28 and 29 of this issue of GeoInformatics The small increase in productivity in architecture and engineering compared to industry in general (1 per cent vs 3 per cent) brought Flynn to the Bentley conclusion that we need to get better and better at what we do because it is our job to improve the worlds infrastructure.

ProjectWise and were presented by Bhupinder Singh, Senior Vice President (VP), Platform Products, Bentley Software, and VP of Platform Product Management Tom Anderson, who had to improvise on his presentation because of a hardware problem during the demo. Keith Bentley was unable to attend the conference, but the audience viewed his recorded presentation during BE Conference 2006 in Charlotte, N.C. , USA, two weeks prior.

Long Lifecycle
It does not seem to be easy to integrate GIS and infrastructure. Styli Camateros, VP Geospatial Bentley, filled part of the Geospatial Research Seminar by providing for a highspeed presentation. First he mentioned characteristics of infrastructure that dont make the situation an easy one, such as a long lifecycle (50-75 years) and increased requirements on infrastructure asset management due to aspects like Disaster Management and Terrorism Prevention. This doesnt mean, however, that GIS isnt used in this area, but diversity and heterogeneity in data are major obstacles. Camateros spoke about several drivers of change that, according to him, are needed to

Almost Exact Duplicate

By connecting MicroStation to Google Earth, Bentley gave a clear signal that CAD and GIS can and should be combined. This years European conference, an almost exact duplicate of BE Conference Charlotte in May, only underlined this idea. At least during the geospatial presentations and workshops there was a clear focus on advancing GIS for infrastructure. According to Camateros, the CADGIS division is only there because of historical reasons. In fact, they have a lot to do with each other. Regardless of the type of data, all Bentley applications strive to integrate planning, analy-

ProjectWise V8 XM
The technology keynotes concentrated on the V8 XM Editions of MicroStation and


July/August 2006

Conferences & Meetings

GIS for Infrastructure

Server tracks assets over time, not only versions. GeoWeb Publisher integrates many information sources and makes queries and analyses possible.

Searching by Content
The main part of the Geospatial Technology Keynote consisted of the three types of solutions in action, based on a fictive situation in Toronto, Canada. It was quite nice to see how lots of different data could be called up by searching by content. As Camateros made clear: Indexing rather than conversion of documents preserves the richness and detail of the original design documents. Many other features were shown, of which I particularly liked the so-called conflict inspector in Geospatial Server, with which conflicts in changes made by several users can be resolved. PowerMap Field, part of the Bentley Geospatial Mobile Applications, showed the audience that near real-time information can be available for disconnected use. It offers a redlining tool and annotation tools for capturing as-built information. Whats easier than informing citizens of a major change in their neighbourhood by sending them electronic mail? It is even more userfriendly to add a URL and the citizens lot. Clicking on the URL guides the citizen to a demo created in GeoWeb Publisher and activated in Google Earth, so that the visitor can see exactly what will happen in his area. Filling in his lot will guide him to the parcel where he lives, so that it can clearly be seen if the action which will take place in the future will be close by. This last demonstration formed a nice ending of a quite elaborate technical keynote.
Sonja de Bruijn ( is editorial manager of GeoInformatics. More info on BE Conferences: MicroStation V8 XM edition: ProjectWise V8 XM edition: CADscript image gallery: GeoWeb Publisher: his Prague BE Conference 2006 keynote, Bentley CEO Greg Bentley stressed that a solution to stagnating productivity is more, better, and faster application of information technology. US/Products/Bentley+Geo+Web+Publisher/ GEF-RIS: Bentley annual report: annualreport

MicroStation V8 XM.

sis, design, and modelling. The release of the commercial version of MicroStation V8 XM at the BE Conference USA, in May, as well as the presentation of the newest version of ProjectWise at the European Conference, fit well into this vision. Both products are now available to all Bentley SELECT subscribers. ProjectWise V8 XM has been developed for organisations running a portfolio of projects and includes a new project framework, containing search tools that make cross-project queries simple as well as providing templates with inherited properties. Furthermore, there are usability and administration enhancements like editable workflows and environments, and centralized view management, which provides a common view of project documents for all users across all projects.

applications, improvement of standards, and the ability to build smarter software. Essentially, there are three types of geospatial solutions that can seamlessly be integrated: Bentley Geospatial Desktop, Bentley Geospatial Server, and Bentley Geospatial Web Publishing. The Bentley Geospatial Server works in a similar way as Google and allows for simultaneous, multiple-use editing. There is a time component as well: the Geospatial

GeoSpatial Technology Keynote

What is XFM? Which geospatial products does Bentley offer and what are they capable of? All this was explained by Camateros and his colleagues Robert Mankowski, Alain Lapierre, Jeff Eichler, and Vonnie Smith during the Geospatial Technology Keynote on Tuesday morning. For readers who are not familiar with XFM: it is an acronym for XML-based Feature Modelling and allows the user to do feature modelling, instead of just making drawings. Or in Camateros words: the underground technology that drives Bentley Geospatial Desktop. The benefits of XML, according to Bentley: the possibility to move to enterprise

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July/August 2006



Part 5: System Selection and

Practical Satellite Navigation
In the previous articles the (im)possibilities of satellite navigation systems were discussed. Some readers might have wondered why it is important to have this knowledge. In this article I will try to discuss the selection of receivers based on a number of possible applications. Global knowledge of items discussed in the previous articles is necessary to fully appreciate this article. By Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk
Next to accuracy another important element in our measurement is the availability of our positioning system. When, for example, we are attempting to land an aircraft it is useful to have 100 per cent availability or at least know that it is not available (integrity). Precision and reliability are thus a geometric accuracy while availability is a time-determined factor. In reality 100 per cent availability is never achieved, but for landing an availability of over 99 per cent is usually required. For a large number of other applications a (short) outage of the signals will not pose a problem, so a lower availability is reasonable for these applications.

Precision and Reliability. A. High precision; low reliability B. Low precision; low reliability C. Low precision; high reliability D. High precision; high reliability

Channels and Frequencies

The number of channels determines the number of satellites a receiver can track simultaneously. In the past one could differentiate between so-called multi-channel, sequential and multiplexed receivers. The latter two date from the time when GPS chipsets and radio receivers were expensive. Now they are almost obsolete. All current receivers can receive up to 50 GPS (and Glonass) channels simultaneously. The number of channels is not synonym with the number of satellites that can be tracked; this depends on the number of frequencies that need to be received. A combined L1 / L2

Receiver Characteristics
Before discussing the specifics of the receivers and how to select the correct one, it is wise to take a step back. Every application of course requires certain receiver characteristics. But actually there is usually a more fundamental question underlying this choice, for example a certain precision requirement for the derived position. But also whether measured positions can be stored, whether (external) power supply is available and if we need the measurement in real time. Ultimately we are looking for the cheapest solution that will fulfil the requirements of our application. The examples in this article are chosen to be as generic as possible, but can as a result deviate from specific applications. They are therefore meant only as an indication: every user will have to determine for himself if the specifics mentioned are applicable for his application. Table 1 gives an overview of possible GPS applications and the specifics deemed important for these applications by the author. The various columns in the table will be explained throughout the article.

reliability. Precision is usually defined as the average deviation (standard deviation) in meters from our average position as found when a large number of measurements is averaged. The reliability can be defined as the difference between our averaged position and our true position. These definitions are often used in statistics when determining the accuracy of our position.

Precision, Reliability and Availability

The choice for a specific type of receiver is often based upon the required precision and
The use of dGPS in aviation is complicated and usually consists of a combination of WAAS / EGNOS and a local reference station (source:


July/August 2006


rule, give better results. Furthermore almost all socalled carrier phase systems use two frequencies during initialization. Differential Reception In the previous article it was shown that there are two basic types of differential techniques, code phase dGPS and carrier phase dGPS. The former will deliver a precision of When operating under these circumstances a watertight and robust receiver is up to several decimeters essential. in the horizontal, the latter a precision of centimeters receiver uses two channels per satellite. in all three dimensions. This makes carrier When, in the future, a third frequency is phase dGPS extremely suitable for applicaadded (L5) this would require a channel of tions where accurate height measurements its own for each tracked satellite. play an important role, such as surveying. The advantage of receiving multiple frequenWhen selecting a dGPS system, the method cies, as made clear in previous articles, is used for transmitting the corrections plays the option to determine the ionospheric and an important part. There are for instance free tropospheric errors. These receivers will, as a of charge WAAS / EGNOS (w) corrections (see also previous article and the table on page 57) that can only be received with a suitably equipped GPS receiver. A next step could be a, usually paid for, code phase dGPS service (d). But a RTK carrier phase system (r) with a reference station is amongst the options as well, especially when operating in out of place locations. The choice for a differential system will therefore usually depend on the required precision on one hand and on the other on the available budget and infrastructure.

With the receiver we mean the box itself. This seems trivial, but weight and size play a large role in many applications. A receiver for position determination during hiking should for example be as small and lightweight as possible. Some receivers are equipped with an integrated, internal antenna (i), while some others can be connected to an external antenna (e). The latter is important for receivers that are installed in enclosed spaces such as aircraft and ships.

Under these circumstances high accuracy and reliability are highly important.

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July/August 2006



Two land surveyors using RTK backpacks and separate GPS antenna.

Furthermore the power supply is important. Do we need an internal battery (i) and if so, how long does it perform on a single charge? Can we also couple an external power supply (e) to the receiver? Finally robustness should be mentioned. Receivers that need to operate under all circumstances need to be dust- and watertight as well. But extreme temperatures can cause problems such as overheating during prolonged use and the receiver selected must be able to withstand these.

employ the receiver in the most economical way, a simple method of operation (s) is highly important so that the user will get acquainted with the system as fast as possible. A simple way of operation however is not synonymous with a limited functionality. It is more a matter of logical placement of buttons, menu options and such. For receivers that are to be used outside, a good readability of the screen is important. These systems should perform well under circumstances with bright sunlight (and the accompanying use of sun glasses). And finally, it must be possible to operate the system with (fingerless) gloves if it is to be used in cold environments. Experienced users will need a system that next to a simple operation has a wide variety of customizable settings (c) so that they can adapt the receiver to the demands of the project. Some receivers are of the black-box type and can only be programmed using an external computer. This can cause practical problems, especially if the accompanying software uses a so-called hardware key (dongle). Most users will, for this reason, prefer a receiver that can be operated without further hardand / or software other than required for the application. However for applications where a large number of, untrained, operators use the system a black box type receiver can be an ideal solution.

storage can be needed. A common protocol for data transmission to other equipment is the NMEA 0183 protocol. This protocol consists of a hardware and message specification and was conceived in the maritime sector. Furthermore most manufacturers use their own specific data messages that can usually contain more information. However not all software is capable of using these protocols. For some applications, such as a GIS, a receiver that can transfer data in a number of formats is required. When considering data storage, a large number of solutions is found as well. Most receivers capable of storing data have an internal memory (i). Next to that, memory cards are in wide use. There are several types of memory cards, but most modern receivers employ the same types of cards as found in digital cameras and MP3 players.

It should be clear from the previous paragraphs that every application has its own specific receiver demands. And even though only an impression of certain specifics is given, it should be clear that there are many possibilities. Every user therefore will have to determine which characteristic is more important for his application.

User Interface and Display

These are perhaps the most important criteria when purchasing a system. If we want to

Ports and Storage

Depending on the application a number of communication ports (p) or an internal data
Notes: 1. WAAS / Egnos is a benefit, but not required 2. Depending on the type, with a backpack the antenna is external, otherwise it is internal 3. External power supply is important for an RTK base station 4. Depending on the application, a dGPS system with waterlevel corrections will do. In these cases vertical precision is not important. 5. The system is sometimes controlled externally, in these cases no user interface (black box) and / or display is needed.

Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk ( is a freelance writer and trainer in the field of positioning and hydrography. Table 1: Applications versus specifics of GPS receivers. = less important; + = important

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July/August 2006


Educational Corner
What is UNIGIS? UNIGIS is a network of
universities co-operating to supply postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters courses on GIS by distance learning as well as short workshops on current developments in GIS. It was founded in 1990 and currently includes sites in eleven countries on three continents. About 900 students have taken the UNIGIS Diploma Course world-wide. For more information: This page is a product of the UNIGIS International Network and is authored by the UNIGIS Port Elizabeth, South Africa Office. Information: UNIGIS South Africa, Port Elizabeth, Tel: +27 41 504 3668, e-mail: Internet:

Friends of UNIGIS Organisations which work closely together with the UNIGIS International Network are ESRI and Intergraph. These Friends of UNIGIS make available their products for UNIGIS students for a low price and support students in MSc-projects. Currently UNIGIS is in negotiation with other potential Friends. For more information on the Friends of UNIGIS Programme contact: Henk Scholten,

UNIGIS and Distance Learning

Educating GIS Professionals World Wide
Do you want to embark on a lifelong learning experience in Geographical Systems and Science? You can now start a UNIGIS course from anywhere at anytime in the English Language. By Ann Olivier

Passion and Enthusiasm

The InterGIS program is a global virtual university for GI Science. Members of the network all have a passion and enthusiasm for the field of study and work together in research and curriculum development related to GIS education. This has led to the collaboration in the design of a very adaptive learning system. All course material is applications related and provides an understanding of the conceptual, technical and organisational aspects of GIS. The course structure is modular with a variety of electives and specialization pathways to choose from and presented on advanced online platforms. Specialisation pathways/streams have been added to the course structure to encompass and cater for the diverse student backgrounds. Examples of some of the core streams are depicted in the table below. There are many different structures offered at the various institutions.

Part-time Courses
The UNIGIS program was initiated in 1990 to fulfil a need to provide professional development and education in Geographical Information Systems and Science to those students that could not study full time at a university. As the distance learning courses are part-time they provide a unique opportunity for working professionals to develop their knowledge base and stay abreast of current issues. The program has since then become the largest and best established eLearning GIS program in the world enrolling more than 400 students worldwide annually. There are currently over 3,000 UNIGIS alumni in more than 40 countries. The network has grown to seventeen sites in fourteen countries. These sites are committed to offering the highest quality

Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters Courses in English, Czech, German, Hungarian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Short Courses
Development of online learning platforms is an ongoing process. Summer and winter schools and other intensive short courses are held on an annual basis to facilitate face-to-face contact and the advancement of practical skills. Due to the immense international student community UNIGIS has strong ties with institutional, business and industry partners.
Ann Olivier ( is Head of the Spatial Technologies Unit, School of ICT, Faculty of Engineering, North Campus.

InterGIS Project
In order to retain market leadership this network has to maintain growth. An example of this is the Asia initiative. UNIGIS India culminated from the AsiaLink InterGIS project after two years of intense development. The UNIGIS curriculum was modified for the explicit educational needs of Asia. Under the auspices of UNIGIS Salzburg the University of Goa is the latest institution to join the network. Through this collaboration staff have come to realise the differences in pedagogy between the universities and countries which culminated in an understanding of the expansion of the network into Asia.

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July/August 2006


Product News

Dif ferential Corrections via NTRIP and Direct IP with MobileMapper CE

MobileMapper CE, Thales handheld GPS receiver for GIS applications, now offers differential corrections via NTRIP and direct IP . The new functionality will be available for delivery and via upgrade for current MobileMapper CE owners starting August, 2006. Thales will offer current owners of MobileMapper CE a free firmware update at the Thales FTP site. Thales MobileMapper CE offers real-time, sub-meter GPS positioning, embedded Microsoft Windows CE .NET, Bluetooth wireless technology, removable SD card memory and an all-day removable battery. MobileMapper CE Version is available as a stand-alone purchase, bundled with ArcPad, including ArcPad License, or bundled with ArcPad Application Builder including ArcPad Builder License. The MobileMapper CE GPS receiver offers a Windows computing environment, an 18-button backlit keyboard and touch-sensitive screen. The MobileMapper CE GPS receiver is designed to operate in harsh environments and built

Leica Virtual Explorer 3.1

to withstand a 4.9 foot (1.5 m) drop to concrete and remain waterproof even when totally immersed in water. Source: Thales


Nikon-Trimble Introduces Three Nikon Total Stations

Nikon-Trimble introduces the 602 Series of Nikon Total Stations, new high-precision mechanical total stations that include both a prism and prismless (reflectorless) model. The company also added a reflectorless model to the Nikon 502 Series. The new Nikon products are available through Tripod Data Systems (TDS) in the United States and Trimble internationally. The 602 Series adds functionality to the Nikon Total Station solutions. Both the DTM-652 and NPL632 feature a CompactFlash (CF) slot and a USB port. The DTM-652 offers 1 angle and 2+2 ppm distance measurement capabilities. The NPL-632 features 2 accuracy and reflectorless operation with 3+2 ppm distance measurement accuracy. The NPL-522 adds prismless operation to the speed and precision of the DTM-522. It features 3 accuracy and reflectorless operation with 3+2 ppm distance measurement accuracy. As with all Nikon survey products, the DTM652, NPL-632 and NPL-522 include Nikons optics. According to Nikon-Trimble their all-weather construction and long-life batteries allow surveyors to work all day in any weather condition. Source: Nikon-Trimble Internet:

Leica Geosystems announces the availability of Leica Virtual Explorer 3.1. This version offers new tools for third-party integration and additional texture and navigation options. Key new features include: Automatic placement of 3D models through the use of GIS vector layers; Tile texture and 3D roofs for more realistic vector presentation; When adding vector feature layers an attribute field can be used to define per-feature texture; Unicode support, allowing users to customize the default graphical user interface and scene content in their native language; ActiveX control enables Leica Virtual Explorer to be embedded into third-party applications; Available toolkit API, so that developers can create applications, tools or customized interface for Leica Virtual Explorer; Support for leading geospatial databases to enable users to directly access enterprise data; Enhanced navigation, including updated Spherical Navigation mode and roaming mode; North arrow; Server geocoding to provide thin clients geocoding services when connected to Leica Virtual Explorer Server; Percentage based lookup tables, allowing greater control over the visual output of the scene. Source: Leica Geosystems Internet:

Leica Geosystems Launches Leica GPS900

The GPS900 RTK rover consists of a Leica RX900 Controller and a Leica ATX900 GPS Antenna. Leica Geosystems believes that with its type of onboard software the Leica GPS900 is an ideal solution for a wide range of jobs including foundation and drainage work, alignment stakeout, topographic and as-built surveys. The RTK reference and rover fit easily into a single rugged case. The GPS900 rover is lightweight and optimised to reduce operator fatigue. The iconbased, graphical onboard software can be easily operated using the VGA touchscreen. Import and export functionality allows the instrument to be compatible with Leica TPS400, Leica TPS800 and System 1200 TPS and GPS. Source: Leica Geosystems Internet:

Intergraph Releases Z/I Mission

Intergraph announces the availability of Z/I Mission, a comprehensive photo flight management system that provides a solution for aerial survey procedures. Z/I Mission provides a data environment that, according to Intergraph, can access any geo-referenced raster backdrop, vector mapping data, and digital orthophotos for flight planning. This mission planning system addresses functions such as flying a particular azimuth, planning the most economical mission for a given region of interest, and 3D mission planning. The Z/I Mission Core module facilitates basic functions such as viewing of projects, data import or export, definition of coordinate systems, display layout definition through legend manipulation, explorer functionality and catalogue handling. Source: Intergraph Internet:


June 2006

Product News

Commercial Release MicroStation V8 XM Edition

Fastrax Announces iTrax Multiplatform Family

Fastrax launches the iTrax Multiplatform family of OEM GPS receivers. The iTrax Multiplatform approach provides a common form factor between multiple OEM GPS receiver models with different chipsets. The iTrax Multiplatform family includes the iTrax300, iTrax130 and iTrax03-S receivers, powered by SiRFstar III, Sony CXD2985 and u-Nav uN2110 chipsets, respectively. The increased range of choices allows consumer electronics manufacturers and OEMs to select the optimum receiver for each application, product and market segment Key features of the iTrax Multiplatform product family: Includes Fastrax iTrax300, iTrax130 and iTrax03-S receivers; Tiny form factor: 16.2 mm x 18.8 mm x 2.3 mm; High sensitivity down to -157 dBm; Low power consumption down to 34 mA; Common connectivity; NMEA and binary protocols; Two serial ports; 1PPS output; GPIO available for custom purposes; Other peripherals include SPI bus, MMC bus, Capture Timer input, Pulse Measurement input, A/D converter depending on the module.

Bentley Systems has launched the commercial version of MicroStation V8 XM Edition. An intuitive new interface, an unchanged DGN file format and full support for existing V8 standards are some of the features. Others are: Reference Enhancements: the ability to attach a PDF reference to a design file, dynamically manipulate reference clipping boundaries with handles, and attach multiple instances of the same model at different stages of development using Design History; Element Templates: integrate CAD standards with MicroStation Tasks to align features and tools with design and production workflows, so that teams can create consistent work; ProjectWise StartPoint: built-in technology providing an entry-level collaboration tool to manage, find, and share CAD and geospatial content using Microsoft Office SharePoint technologies; Link Sets: for managing and navigating relationships of content within files such as drawings and specification documents and across formats including DGN, DWG, PDF , and Office formats; Keyboard Position Assignments: patented keyboard position assignment to provide immediate access to

any MicroStation command at the stroke of a key, and programmable mouse functionality to increase the performance of view and model navigation; 3D Modeling Advancements: creation of parametric 3D geometry, mesh modeling for creating lightweight structures, and new handles for intuitive and interactive editing; Visualization and Animation: improved visualization capabilities for photo-realistic rendering and new animation tools; Microsoft Designed for XP Logo Compliance: new installers now ease the process of implementation and SELECT updates are structured to reduce the overhead of administration.

Source: Fastrax Internet:

Commercial Versions Open Source Web Map Publishing Software Autodesk

Autodesk announces the commercial version of its open source web mapping platform, Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise 2007. This certified version features all of the benefits of the open source version, plus additional quality assurance, technical support, connectivity to additional data sources including Oracle and SQL Server, as well as integration of several third-party components. Also available is Autodesk MapGuide Studio 2007, an authoring environment for creating and publishing maps and related data with the open source or commercial versions of MapGuide. Specific customer benefits of an Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise subscription include the ability to: Contact web support with unlimited incidents; Connect to Oracle and SQL Server databases; Integrate third-party components such as the Mentor co-ordinate system; Access continual enhancements from Autodesk through regular updates that provide additional features and new hardware support. Source: Autodesk Internet:

MicroStation V8 XM Edition is now available to all Bentley SELECT subscribers for immediate download from SELECT Services Online. Source: Bentley Systems Internet:

ESRI GIS Portal Toolkit 3

ESRI announces the availability of a new version of the GIS Portal Toolkit. This includes improved installation and configuration, better metadata management and access control, and integration with ArcGIS Desktop. The GIS Portal Toolkit is a technology and services solution for implementing local, regional, national, and global spatial data infrastructure portals. GIS portals organize content (using metadata) and services such as directories, search tools, community information, support resources, data, and applications. Metadata records can be queried for relevant data and services and can link directly to online sites that host content services. The content can be visualized as maps and used in geographic queries and analyses. GIS portals are also designed for interoperability and comply with finalized OGC specification standards. Source: ESRI Internet:

ALS50-II LIDAR System Leica Geosystems

Leica Geosystems ALS50-II Airborne Laser Scanner allows data capture at pulse rates up to 150kHz. With the Leica ALS50-II, users can enjoy tight planimetric spacing while achieving accuracy of 11cm (including GPS errors) at all pulse rates. Leica ALS50-II is the second generation of the Leica ALS50 and features: Expanded flying height envelope (200m 6000 m AGL) and faster scan rates to 90 Hz; Simplified operation with all functions now controlled via advanced graphical user interface, and no need for discrete laser attenuators; Incorporation of Leica Geosystems new IPAS GPS / inertial measurement engine; Redesigned Control Electronics for a 54% reduction in volume and 33 kg reduction in weight. Source: Leica Geosystems Internet:

gisportal-toolkit/index.html or

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July/August 2006


Product News

Leica IPAS10 Available

Leica IPAS10 is the new Inertial Position & Attitude System from Leica Geosystems. It works with both Leica ADS40 digital imaging and Leica ALS50 airborne LIDAR sensors as well as being available as a standalone system for use with a wide range of sensors. It readily adapts to various Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) types. According to Leica Geosystems the system eliminates the need for aerial triangulation on a wide range of mapping projects, reduces the need for ground control and facilitates quality control of acquired sensor data. Leica IPAS10 is capable of direct georeferencing of airborne sensor data and the providing of various data such as calculated position, velocity, roll, pitch and heading at high rates and accuracies.The Leica IPAS10 System consists of three components: The control unit with embedded GPS board for high dynamic airborne applications and a universal plug-and-play interface for various IMU types; The Controller Software as the operators graphical user interface interactive and Windowsbased software with all main operation information contained in a single window; The IPAS Pro software which blends IMU data with GPS trajectory information to provide postmission position and orientation data solutions.

Handbook of Of fshore Surveying

Source: Leica Geosystems Internet:

Leica MNS1200 GNSS Solution

With the new Leica MNS1200 GNSS solution, Leica Geosystems presents a machine navigation system specifically designed for construction and mining machine operation at toughest conditions and supporting full GNSS signals (L2C and GLONASS). Leica MNS1200 GNSS consists of three robust components: the MNS1200(GG) receiver, the MNA1202GG antenna and the radio modem. Supporting GPS and GLONASS satellites thanks to a new Measurement Engine supporting ultra-precise GNSS signals with 72 channel, this solution optimises working around trees, in canyons, mines and sites with overhead obstructions. It is also equipped to support future GNSS signals such as Galileo or GPS L5.

Source: Leica Geosystems Internet:

BAE SYSTEMS Releases SOCET SET Version 5.3

BAE Systems released the latest version of its geospatial analysis and photogrammetry software. The new software, SOCET SET v5.3, includes automated features that are meant to reduce errors, increase accuracy, and streamline workflow processes all integral to daily workflows and with built-in quality checkpoints. In addition, SOCET SET v5.3 offers sophisticated sensor models to import and process imagery.

On May 30th Skilltrade presented the Handbook of Offshore Surveying to a number of contributing editors. The Handbook of Offshore Surveying was written by Skilltrade BV and published by Clarkson Research Services Ltd. It is largely based upon Skilltrade course material and focuses on developing hands-on practical skills. During the presentation, Skilltrade B.V. and STC B.V. (Industrial Training and Consultancy division of the STC-Group / Shipping and Transport College of Rotterdam, the Netherlands) announced their intention to establish an IHO-FIG accredited course in Hydrographic Surveying at the B level. The first course will be available in 2007. Similar to the handbook, the course will be geared towards teaching practical skills rather than theory, except where theory is needed for a proper understanding of the knowledge required to perform. Source: Skilltrade Internet:, or

Source: BAE Systems Internet:

Launch Goportail FME 2006 GB by Safe Software

Safe Software released FME 2006 GB, the latest version of the company's Feature Manipulation Engine technology. New security options in FME 2006 GB allow users to password protect workspaces, custom formats, custom transformers and mapping files. Authoring workflows and debugging has also been made easier with the inclusion of optional counters in the Workbench canvas. These show the number of features passing through each link between transformers and feature types. Users running FME 2006 GB on selected 32-bit versions of the Microsoft WindowsT operating system can now process large datasets by setting the /3GB switch via a simple edit to a system file. The /3GB switch "borrows" one gigabyte of memory from kernel processes and makes it available to the application, for a total of 3 gigabytes of application addressable memory. When run on 64-bit versions of Windows, FME 2006 GB automatically has 4GB of user application addressable memory available. MRFCleaner, a new transformer which is useful for repairing the geometry of data, is available as an extra-cost item for FME 2006 GB. New format support in FME 2006 GB includes a TOP10NL writer, an Additional Military Layers (AML) reader, support for the Open Geospatial Consortium's GML Simple Features Profile, and optimized access to Microsoft ExcelT, SQL ServerT, and AccessT databases through Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects. Goportail was launched on 23rd June by French president Jacques Chirac at the Elyses Palace, Paris, France. The service has been developed by Institut Gographique National (IGN), Frances National Geographic Institute, and makes the whole of France available at 50cm resolution. Currently only 2D navigation is possible with plans in 2007 for 3D capabilities. The first version has been developed by Teamlog, a French computer services company, and Digitek., at a cost of around 6 million euros. Goportail contains 3,700 topographical maps and 400,000 aerial photographs with a 50 cm resolution. Eventually IGN will aim at integrating other data so that the site will become a portal for a very diverse group of users.

Source: Safe Software Internet:

Source: IGN Internet:


July/August 2006

Industry News
In the article titled What the Macro World Needs is 3D (GeoInformatics 4-2006, pages 14-15) a typographical error has occurred. The Hexagon Measurement Technologies sales turnover is 1.5 billion USD and not 1.5 million USD. Our apologies for this mistake. Geokosmos companies in Russia and Kazakhstan, IGN France International and Geomod. Under the contract more than 5,000 km of gas pipelines will be surveyed and an information system will be created. The contract was signed at the end of the year 2005. First stages of the project were initiated in February, 2006. The implementation of this project will provide a highly efficient gas pipeline monitoring system to allow to manage effectively the gas supply in the Central Asia region. Channel Manager who is based in the new Singapore office. Ganeshkumar holds a masters degree in GIS and Remote Sensing and has broad industry experience in various organizations throughout the region.

Thales Adds GeoSpatial Experts to Business Partner Program

Thales navigation business has formed another partnership in its Business Partner Program. New Business Partner GeoSpatial Experts offers GPSPhoto Link software, which is now fully compatible with the Thales MobileMapper CE handheld GIS data collector. This solution delivers digital photo geo-referencing capabilities for nearly any GIS application including asset management, utilities, forestry, and national parks services. GPS-Photo Link provides a well-organized photo geo-referencing solution with output formats including html, Google Earth and ESRI shapefile. Users can capture their position with sub-meter accuracy using MobileMapper CE and automatically apply location data to digital photos taken at the same spot using the GPS-Photo Link PC software. For more information about GPS-Photo Link software visit the GeoSpatial Experts Web site at:

ESRI Geoinformatik GmbH and con terra GmbH Announce Affiliation

ESRI Geoinformatik GmbH in Kranzberg, Germany, has acquired a majority interest in con terra GmbH of Mnster, Germany. At the same time, Dr. Albert Remke has joined ESRI Geoinformatik GmbH as additional shareholder. con terra has been working with ESRI in close partnership for more than twelve years. Both companies will continue to provide their distinctive services and products, operating independently under the existing management.

3D Laser Mapping Appoints Reutech Radar Systems as Distributor

Leica Geosystems Extends Active Customer Care Services

Leica Geosystems has widened its Active Customer Care program to reflect the importance that is given to customer satisfaction by establishing Customer Care Packages. To address the varying demands of customers, Leica Geosystems has introduced several different Customer Care Packages (Blue, Silver and Gold) that allow customers to make use of those benefits that are most suitable for them. Packages also include local benefits to reflect specific local needs. Customer Care Packages start with TPS1200, GPS1200, TPS800, TPS700 and TPS400. Additional Packages will follow shortly. In a first step these Packages are available in Europe with a broader world-wide roll out following in the next stage.

ISO Certificates for NGA

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has achieved a technological milestone with the accomplishment of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications 9001, 15000 and 27001. NGA is the first intelligence community agency to become ISO 9000 certified, first in the Department of Defense to become ISO (British standard) 15000 certified, and first in the United States - public or private - to become certified in all three (9001, 15000 and 27001). The ISO certifications serve as a baseline to build the improvements necessary for NGA to succeed. They contribute to a culture of continuous improvement, and help NGA develop a fully digital, self-aware, self-sustaining and self-healing infrastructure.

3D Laser Mapping Ltd is boosting its presence worldwide with the appointment of a distributor for Southern Africa. Reutech Radar Systems (Pty) Ltd (RRS) has become the exclusive distributor for 3D Laser Mapping's long range 3D laser scanning and slope monitoring systems in South Africa and the SADC region. In the Southern Africa mining sector, both RRS and 3D Laser Mapping are suppliers to Anglo American. 3D Laser Mapping's slope monitoring system, SiteMonitor, which connects to a REIGL 3D laser scanner, is already in use at a major Platinum mine. Other systems to be supplied by RRS include 3D Laser Mapping's Rapid Mapping System for quickly mapping and measuring open pit volumes. RRS has also developed Movement and Surveying Radar (MSR), an advanced low cost radar system designed to operate in harsh mining environments that provides real-time detection of slope instabilities.

GeoEye Awarded Airport Mapping Database Contract

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Stereo Airfield Collection program has awarded GeoEye a $3.7 million contract to image 365 airfields and produce Airport Mapping Databases (AMDB) over a 12-month period. GeoEye will deliver IKONOS stereo imagery and perform three-dimensional airport feature extraction services in accordance with NGA specifications. This is the NGA's third and largest Airport Mapping Database award to GeoEye, following two prior awards for three airfields in 2004 and 15 airfields in 2005. The effective date of this award is June 2006.

Vision for Britains Underground Assets Group

The UK National Underground Assets Group (NUAG) has set out the vision for the future of buried services. It aims to develop and implement standardised procedures on how location information is recorded and stored by the end of 2007. This is to ensure that every organisation with an interest in buried services can access and share information easily, to help themselves as well as others carry out works more effectively. The ultimate goal is to have the ability to visualise and distinguish on demand all underground asset records in any one given area.

DigitalGlobe Appoints SOVZOND

DigitalGlobe appointed SOVZOND of Moscow, Russia, as the exclusive distributor for its QuickBird satellite imagery in the eight CIS countries of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. SOVZOND is an authorized distributor and sales representative for Earth information organizations worldwide. Amongst others the company's customers include the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Federal Cadastral Agency, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and many local municipalities in Russia's largest cities.

Topcon Steps Forward in Hungary

Topcon Europe Positioning recently re-organized its dealer structure in Hungary. Laser Sys Kft., the former laser dealer, will be responsible for machine control markets and activities. At the same time a new dealer, Navicom Plusz Bt., has been appointed as Topcons Survey and GPS+ dealer.

Thales ProMark 3 Now Supports Hungarian Language

Thales ProMark3 survey system now provides Hungarian language support. The firmware upgrade, which provides the user interface for ProMark3 fully localized into Hungarian, is available from Thales dealer Guards Telecom Co Ltd who led the translation project.

Geokosmos Wins European Union Bid

Geokosmos Ltd has won a European Union bid to create the gas pipeline information system for the Central Asian countries (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan) and Kazakhstan. Under the leadership of Geokosmos a consortium was formed by the following international companies: Group of

ER Mapper Opens Office in Singapore

ER Mapper announced the opening of a new ER Mapper Office in Singapore. The main role of this office is to manage the distribution channels of ER Mapper's geospatial imagery technologies and solutions in South and South-East Asia. ER Mapper has appointed Mr Shanmugam Ganeshkumar as a

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Industry News
GDC at AGI2006
At AGI2006 GDC will focus on a new release of its SVG Geo-Statistics product, GeoReveal 2.0. This web based geo-statistical reporting solution delivers clear, concise and accessible interactive statistics. GeoReveal 2.0 can be used in a range of situations that relate to communicating information on Whats going up or down and where? Examples include statistics for crime reduction, census trends in local government or performance information for any business, within public or private sectors. GeoReveal 2.0 will be available in two packages: GeoReveal Studio and GeoReveal Enterprise. The first version provides a design environment for creating interactive geo statistical presentations and reports from common data formats like Excel, Access, MapInfo and ESRI. GeoReveal Enterprise adds complete data management and live exploration for large databases like Oracle or SQL Server. GDC will also feature development plans based on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) approach using Web Services and the latest Java Development environments for the support of the widest range of IT platforms. The new products will be scaleable to large numbers of users and deliver new user functionality and enhanced collaborative working. During the remainder of 2006 and the start of 2007, GDC will be introducing new gazetteer and metadata web services culminating mid 2007 with the launch of entirely new products for Internet and intranet mapping applications. The gazetteer web services product from GDC provides a set of secure web services for developers to integrate gazetteering operations into enterprise

Winner of GDC competition at AGI05.

applications. It is a spatial service that acts as an address enabler for back office applications and public access systems. The product offers an endto-end solution for distributing and interacting with enterprise gazetteer data in a live capacity. The service is scalable allowing the use of multiple gazetteers or data sources such as NLPG, Ordnance Survey, Royal Mail and custom business data. It is developed to be a platform independent, secure channel for distributing live and on demand gazetteer services. The metadata web services product from GDC provides a toolkit for collaborative metadata management. The Metadata console offers the ability to create, edit, delete and publish metadata records. The Manager provides an intuitive browser based user interface incorporating productivity enhancements for record creation. The architecture has been designed to provide low cost extensions or custom metadata schemas to suit a businesses internal requirement for metadata.

Source: GDC Internet:


July/August 2006

Industry News
SiRF Teams with Fastrax
SiRF announced an alliance with Helsinki-based Fastrax to strengthen SiRF's global value added manufacturer (VAM) program. SiRF's VAM program is designed to enable a broad range of customers to integrate GPS technology quickly into their products without investing significant resources in their own GPS development.

Swift LG Appoints Cadcorp Business Partner for Local Government

Cadcorp has announced the appointment of Swift LG as a business partner for the UK local authorities market sector. Part of the Swift Computing Group, Swift LG specialises in the development and provision of integrated software applications for the public sector and has over 70 UK local authorities as customers. The Swift LG product portfolio includes applications for GIS, local land charges (LLC), planning, building control and enforcements, environmental health, licensing, abandoned vehicles and document image processing.

OGC, where he served as director of business development. In that role, he contributed to establishing the European organization as well as running its day-to-day business.

Conferences & Meetings

Trimble International User Conference
Trimble will hold its International User Conference November 6-8, 2006 at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. The theme of Trimble Dimensions 2006 is Building Your Connected Site. It emphasizes how process integration and intelligent positioning technologies enable surveying, engineering and construction professionals to reduce rework, utilize assets more efficiently, accelerate design updates as well as improve the bidding, planning and billing cycles.

GeoNet Inzenjering New Topcon Dealer in Serbia

Topcon Europe Positioning BV will transfer all its Survey and GPS+ Positioning Sales and Support activities of Serbia to GeoNet Inzenjering d.o.o., a Novi Beograd based Design, Engineering and Consulting Company. GeoNet Inzenjering was established in 2004 as an engineering consulting firm, and among other activities the local dealer of the ADW Software Company.

STAR-APIC at National Forestry Agency in France

STAR-APIC has been chosen by the National Forestry Agency (ONF), in the frame of a so-called CarteOdysse project, aimed at setting up a GIS based geographical data consulting solution. Worth 125 K?, the project plans to equip approximately 3200 seats spread all over the French country. One of the main targets of the ONF is to offer a very user-friendly and easy-to-use working environment to the users. The project will end with the launch of a first release early 2007. Thanks to the deployment of such a solution, the ONF will optimize the different missions of forests management and environment monitoring on a piece of land covering more than 12 million hectares of forests and natural zones.

Intergraph Speeds Delivery of Accurate Geospatial Information

The Czech Land Survey Office has launched its new GEOPORTAL ZU Web portal, based on Intergraph's GeoMedia technology. GEOPORTAL ZU uses the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Web Map Services (WMS), and features an Internet store for customers to order digital and paper maps as well as web services for agencies to download geospatial datasets of the Czech Republic. The web site makes examining, ordering and using geographic data easier for the public, commercial businesses and government agencies. Additionally, the Czech Land Survey Office can quickly provide up-to-date and accurate data for regional state administration offices. The Web portal was recognized by the board of independent industry experts as The Best Geo-Application of The Year in 2004.

Free and Open Source Software for Geoinformatics International Conference

The Free and Open Source Software for Geoinformatics 2006 Conference takes place in Lausanne, Switzerland, 12-15th September 2006. It will concentrate on various implementations of Open Source GIS technologies throughout the world. Seminars and workshops will share a fundamental theme: the progress of Open Source GIS technologies and especially the management and the technical aspects as well as the latest trends. There will be presentations of different types of software, such as UMN MapServer, Mapguide Open Source, Cartoweb, Postgis, and Jump, and their use for various applications. Besides this all the current GIS questions and trends could be approached, like spatial data infrastructures, data sharing and interoperability, 3D visualization, Location Based Services, and open and/or free data. The event opens with one day devoted to workshops (more than 25) and is followed by a joint plenary session that will set the direction of the conference. An exhibitor showcase will run in the meantime. This will provide government, academia, private organisations and associations with the opportunity to prove their talents and inform the participants of GIS Open Source technologies.

Laser-Scan Strengthens Senior Management Team
Laser-Scan is pleased to announce that Graham Stickler has joined the Company as Product and Marketing Director. In this role Stckler will have overall responsibility for LaserScans Product Strategy. Stickler replaces Steven Ramage who will now move into the Business Development Director role.

Intergraph Assists in Protecting Historic Venice

Intergraph announced a partnership with the Italian government to safeguard the Venice lagoon from the rising tides of the Adriatic Sea, which threaten to erode this city and erase history in the next 50 to 100 years. Consorzio Venezia Nuova (CVN) is a private consortium which proposed a solution to the sinking of Venice. The solution, Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico (Electromechanic Experimental Module) or MOSE, was approved by the Italian government in 2003 and is slated for completion in 2011. It features 78 submerged, mobile dams at the three entrances to the lagoon. When the sea tide rises above 110 centimeters, the dams can be activated by inflating compressed air and expelling water, thereby preventing the flooding of the lagoon and the city of Venice.

Topcon Appoints new Regional Sales Manager South-East Europe

Topcon Europe Positioning appointed Mr. Laszlo Szentpeteri as the new Regional Sales Manager for South-East Europe. Szentpeteri has over 15 years experience in the satellite positioning and satellite geodesy.

200th Addition CitySphere Collection

GlobeXplorer announced the successful loading of its 200th DigitalGlobe CitySphere market to its suite of online data services for mapping/GIS users and Web developers. Dated from 2002 to 2006, the CitySphere collection includes high-resolution satellite imagery of 200 of the largest cities across the globe, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. DigitalGlobes CitySphere collection features orthorectified 2-foot color imagery. For more information about GlobeXplorers selection of CitySphere imagery, see our-content/digital-globe.shtml.

New Business Development Manager for ESRIs EMEA Group

Guenther Pichler has joined ESRI as business development manager for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Group. Pichler has more than 22 years of experience in the GIS industry and comes to ESRI from the Open Geospatial Consortium (Europe) Limited (OGCE), the European arm of the

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