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eNews Archive

eNewsletter July 2010

Esri Announces Quick Migration to ArcGIS 10, Alliance with NGA, and Availability of ArcGIS Server 10 via Amazon’s EC2

During its 30th annual International User Conference, in San Diego, July 12-16, Esri announced that its partners are quickly migrating to ArcGIS10, that it has formed a strategic alliance with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and that it has made ArcGIS Server 10 available to customers via Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). They also announced a new way to say "ESRI," finally endorsing the inevitable pronunciation of "ez-ree." There were lots of giggles in the crowd as presenters struggled with this change.

According to Esri, its partners are rapidly migrating to the ArcGIS 10 release, which includes new tools and performance enhancements. Conference attendees were able to see more than 35 new solutions run with ArcGIS 10. During development of the new release, more than 100 partners provided feedback through the ArcGIS 10 Beta Program. This participation, in turn, helped with adoption of the new release.

Esri and NGA have formed a strategic alliance to strengthen national geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) capabilities. The agreement was signed in June by U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert B. Murrett, NGA director, and Jack Dangermond, Esri president. The alliance will provide a framework to advance the strategic goals and objectives of the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) in geospatial sciences and systems and computer science. This new strategic alliance is meant to support the strategies and goals Murrett set last year to ensure the interoperability and reliability and improve the quality of NSG products and services.

The agreement underscores the critical role geospatial technology plays in GEOINT within the national security community, which provides geographic information system (GIS) products, services, and analysis to intelligence officers and decision makers. Originally restricted to technical analysts working on the desktop, GIS is now available throughout the community in Web-enabled enterprise applications.

In order to reduce the complexity of software deployments for many organizations, Esri has made ArcGIS Server 10 available to customers via Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Instead of installing and maintaining local instances of ArcGIS Server on premises, customers can launch preconfigured ArcGIS Server on EC2 instances. While they run on machines hosted in the Amazon cloud infrastructure, these instances can be administered as if they are local servers.

ArcGIS Server on Amazon EC2 also simplifies the scaling of a GIS to support compute-intensive GIS tasks, providing virtually unlimited computing power for jobs such as sophisticated GIS analysis and large batch geocoding. With an Esri enterprise license agreement (ELA), customers can take advantage of Amazon's elastic computing infrastructure and deploy unlimited ArcGIS Server instances to handle peak load situations and scale back as demand dissipates. See www.esri.com, www1.nga.mil, aws.amazon.com/ec2/.

Pictometry Provides Imagery as Native Content within Esri Products

Pictometry International Corp., a provider of aerial oblique imagery and measuring software, has begun to provide imagery and 3D models as native content within ArcGIS 10 and other Esri products. See www.pictometry.com.

PCI Geomatics Releases Upgrade to Feature Extraction

PCI Geomatics, a developer of geo-imaging software and systems, has released an upgrade to FeatureObjeX, its software tool for the automatic and semi-automatic extraction of visual features in satellite and aerial imagery. The latest version of FeatureObjeX 1.0.4 includes linear feature extraction, which allows users to extract centerlines of polygonal markup using a toolbar command. It also includes shape labeling, whereby users can create and edit labels and add text to shape layers.

Additionally, version 1.0.4 includes support of MrSID (from LizardTech) format and feature improvement upgrades to multi-band and vector layer display. FeatureObjeX can be used in multiple areas, including urban planning, forestry, environmental monitoring, and change detection. See www.pcigeomatics.com.

ITT Corporation Releases Image Analysis Toolbox for Esri ArcGIS Platform

ITT Corporation, the developers of ENVI image processing and analysis software, has released the third phase of the strategic integration of its software technology with Esri’s ArcGIS platform. Building on the multi-year integration of the two platforms, this latest phase will give ArcGIS users the ability to access ENVI tools for analyzing geospatial imagery directly from within the ArcGIS desktop and server environments, which means that users will not have to switch between two windows.

"One of our key goals with ArcGIS 10 was to make imagery core to GIS not only by providing easy access to tools for interpreting and processing imagery within ArcGIS, but also by giving our partners an improved platform for integrating advanced image analysis functionality into today's GIS workflows," said Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. "With this phase of the Esri and ITT integration, ITT will deliver high performance image analysis tools across the entire ArcGIS spectrum including the desktop, enterprise and Web to give GIS users worldwide direct access to the important information contained in geospatial imagery."

The ENVI Toolbox for ArcGIS will provide ENVI image analysis capabilities as a set of discreet tools that will be automatically available from the ArcGIS Toolbox upon the installation of ENVI products. These tools will make it easier to add information from imagery to GIS applications. Popular functions for image analysis will be provided in the toolbox, including tools to extract features, classify land cover, detect anomalies, identify targets and more. The ENVI tools can be used independently or incorporated into models to add image analysis functionality to GIS workflows and to publish functionality to the Esri ArcGIS Server environment. In addition, these tools can be extended or customized using Esri’s Python scripting interface. The ENVI Toolbox will be available in ENVI 4.8 and ENVI EX in the fall of 2010.

As a part of this phase of the integration, ITT will also release a new version of its ENVI product for deployment on Esri’s ArcGIS Server , which will provide ENVI capabilities to ArcGIS Server users in both workgroups and enterprise environments. ITT will also release an advanced version of ENVI for ArcGIS Server that will deliver a set of pre-built ENVI tools, support for the NITF file format, and the ability to deploy a host of customized tools from the full ENVI complement of image analysis functionality. The ENVI tools available with ENVI for ArcGIS Server will also be compatible with Esri’s GIS Web Services, allowing image analysis functionality to be incorporated into Web mapping applications developed with ArcGIS Server. See www.itt.com.

ERDAS Releases ERDAS APOLLO on the Cloud

ERDAS announces the release of ERDAS APOLLO on the Cloud, a new cloud-based geospatial data management and delivery solution. ERDAS APOLLO on the Cloud provides a simple entry point into the geospatial server world.

ERDAS APOLLO on the Cloud is a turnkey solution. This all-inclusive, pay-as-you-go monthly subscription makes it easy to understand your total cost of ownership. Organizations can maintain their entire geospatial serving operation in a highly secure, scalable environment, eliminating the need for in-house hardware, IT head count and expertise. The shared infrastructure costs and low management overhead available in this offering translate into quantifiable savings for the customer.

Available immediately to customers in the USA, this solution is ideal for GIS users that want a quick server implementation with elasticity. ERDAS APOLLO on the Cloud is ideal for organizations that have limited IT infrastructure and expertise, yet still want to web-enable their large volumes of geospatial data. This solution is also a good alternative for users requiring a geospatial server solution on an intermittent basis or for a one-time project.

With the proven ERDAS APOLLO suite of products, organizations can securely catalog and make sense of rich, geospatial data and metadata, and deliver these assets with unprecedented variability and performance. ERDAS APOLLO implements an out-of-the box Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). On top of handling terabytes of images, ERDAS APOLLO easily delivers feature data, terrain and virtually any geospatial data object. To purchase, or learn more about ERDAS APOLLO on the Cloud, please visit www.erdas.com/apollocloud.

Sweden's Hexagon (owner of ERDAS) buys Intergraph for $2.1 billion

On July 6, 2010, Hexagon AB entered into an agreement to acquire U.S.-based software provider Intergraph Corporation. Founded in 1969, Intergraph is a leading global provider of enterprise engineering (CAD) and geospatial intelligence software (GIS) that enables customers to visualize and manage complex data. Businesses, governments and security organizations in more than 60 countries rely on Intergraph's industry-specific software solutions to organize vast amounts of data into understandable visual representations and actionable intelligence.

Operating through two divisions, Process, Power & Marine (PP&M) and Security, Government & Infrastructure (SG&I), Intergraph's solutions empower customers to design, build and operate more efficient plants, ships and offshore facilities, create intelligent maps, protect critical infrastructure and provide security for hundreds of millions of people around the world.

The U.S. made up around 40 percent of Intergraph's sales in 2009, with Europe, the Middle East and Africa next largest followed by the Asia Pacific region. Intergraph’s growth is driven by global growth trends in key end-markets, particularly energy consumption and the need for security and infrastructure development. Intergraph is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, and employs approximately 4,000 people in 34 countries. See www.hexagonab.com and www.intergraph.com.

Intermap Technologies Makes High-Resolution Elevation Map Data Available for the U.S.

Intermap Technologies, a 3D digital mapping and geospatial solutions company, has made its NEXTMap USA countrywide digital mapping program fully commercially available. Uniformly accurate digital elevation models and images for the contiguous United States and Hawaii (approximately 8 million square kilometers) are now available via the company's Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC)-based cloud computing platform, TerrainOnDemand, and its worldwide network of distributors and strategic partners.

The NEXTMap USA dataset features digital surface models (DSMs) that include cultural features (such as vegetation, buildings, and roads), digital terrain models (DTMs) that display the bare earth (with cultural features digitally removed), orthorectified radar images (ORIs) corrected to remove normal geometric distortions (grayscale images that accentuate topographic features), elevation shaded images (ESIs) that are multi-spectral images (derived from NEXTMap data and high-resolution images) along with a variety of other geospatial products. NEXTMap USA joins Intermap's NEXTMap Europe dataset for all of Western Europe (2.4 million square kilometers) and other regions already in the company's geospatial data library, totaling more than 12.5 million square kilometers of available data.

According to Intermap, NEXTMap USA is the only uniformly accurate high-resolution elevation map available that covers the 48 contiguous states and Hawaii. Data collected as part of the company's NEXTMap countrywide global mapping programs enables a variety of geospatial applications and prototyping endeavors worldwide — including route and site selection, cell tower placement, engineering planning, transportation safety and fuel efficiency, water resource management, insurance risk assessment, oil & gas planning and exploration, and 3D visualization. See www.intermap.com.

International LiDAR Mapping Forum Calls for Papers

The eleventh International LiDAR Mapping Forum is now accepting abstract submissions for its three day technical conference. ILMF 2011 will be held in New Orleans, 2011 February 7-9, and will welcome speakers from the international LIDAR community who will report on the latest technology advances and recent projects, highlighting actual experiences and lessons learned.

Authors wishing to submit a paper for the conference are requested to submit an abstract of no more than 250 words by visiting www.lidarmap.org/conference/submit_papers.aspx. The Web site also provides a list of areas of interest. The deadline for submitting a paper is 2010 September 15.

ILMF 2011 will showcase more than 50 leading companies in this rapidly growing global market. Exhibitors to date include LIDAR and complementary sensor manufacturers, survey service companies, data processing, GIS and management specialists, and the latest mobile mapping vehicles. For more information regarding exhibiting, contact jo.trippett@intelligentexhibitions.com. See www.lidarmap.org.

2010 BAE Systems GXP Regional User Conference Announcement

BAE Systems is hosting its biennial GXP User Conference for customers in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region on September 13-15, 2010 at Clare College, Cambridge, United Kingdom. The conference is an opportunity for EMEA customers to see emerging technology, such as the new GXP Xplorer™ geospatial data management and cataloging tool; listen to presentations from industry leaders; network with fellow users; and learn how colleagues use SOCET SET® and SOCET GXP® in the field.

Attendees can meet one-on-one with the GXP team, and enjoy keynote speeches from senior military and commercial dignitaries. The interactive forum encourages collaboration and the exchange of ideas to shape future product development. Many software enhancements are based on customer input from previous user conferences. Walk-up workstations are available on site. Register by July 31 to take advantage of early-bird pricing at www.gxpuserconference.com.

MAPPS Asks Congress to Revise Legislation Limiting Use of "Geolocation Information”

MAPPS, the national association of private sector geospatial firms, has sent a letter opposing proposed legislative language that would limit the use of "precise geolocation information". The association said that a draft bill, proposed to be introduced by Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, threatens data collection, applications, and growth in the private geospatial profession.

The draft bill is intended to protect consumers' privacy by requiring "notice to and consent of an individual prior to the collection and disclosure of certain personal information relating to that individual." However, according to MAPPS, language included in the bill is a concern to the collection of geospatial data and geospatial lines of business through its provision limiting the collection of "precise geolocation information".

MAPPS believes the current bill language threatens information that is collected by private and government entities to perform E-911 and emergency response management, environmental protection, home security, mortgage foreclosure monitoring/early warning system, and many other tasks that are conducted by geospatial professionals.

"The intent of the bill drafted by Rep. Boucher — to protect personal privacy — is laudable, but in its current form, the provisions would result in a number of unintended consequences by severely limiting information collected by the geospatial community for government agencies, to support government programs, and to provide for commercial applications that consumers are demanding in the marketplace," said Jeff Lovin, MAPPS President.

The current draft exempts government agencies from its limitations. MAPPS urged Rep. Boucher to more clearly define the term "precise geolocation information", exempt data collected by private sector firms under contract to government or for sale to government agencies, and exempt private individuals who are already regulated and licensed to practice by state licensing boards, as well as exempt commercial satellite remote sensing firms that are licensed to operate by the federal government. See www.mapps.org.

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