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eNewsletter June 2009

Intermap's AccuTerra Wins Apple Design Award

Intermap's beta version of the AccuTerra product for the iPhone application has won the Apple Design Award at WWDC09 in San Francisco, California, in the Best iPhone OS 3.0 Beta App category. The application was recognized for high standards of user interaction and functionality.

Two applications have launched for the iPhone, with plans for nationwide coverage over the coming month. Yosemite National Park Lite and the San Francisco Bay Area are available now in the App Store. AccuTerra apps contain on-device map content for national parks, monuments, and forests, as well as state parks and many other recreation areas for the contiguous U.S. and Hawaii.

The iPhone and AccuTerra map content provide millions of iPhone users with detailed terrain, trails, land usage, and points of interest to enhance their outdoor recreational experience, allowing hikers to view their topographic surroundings with a degree of detail previously unavailable, while accurately tracking their progress. AccuTerra maps reside on the iPhone, so people can use them anywhere – even where there is no cellular coverage. The entire hike can be tracked, saved, and shared immediately via AccuTerra's unique ‘Walking Tour' function right from their iPhone.

The applications are also integrated with Google Earth to enable shared user experiences and the ability to build online communities. The AccuTerra applications have a rich set of features designed for outdoor recreation and come bundled with detailed AccuTerra maps packaged by geographic region. AccuTerra map content contains highly detailed color topographic data, contour lines, hydrography, land-use boundaries, major points of interest, and roads and trails.

"Our iPhone applications continue to extend the AccuTerra product line and begin to leverage our unique NEXTMap terrain data," commented Garth Lawrence, senior vice president of strategic businesses for Intermap. "We're utilizing NEXTMap data in areas of the country where we currently have coverage and will eventually upgrade the remainder of today's AccuTerra nationwide coverage with NEXTMap data. Thus, our NEXTMap data will ultimately power mobile applications with the best nationwide mapping coverage available in the U.S. and Western Europe."

The AccuTerra applications are available from Apple's App Storeon iPhone or at www.itunes.com/appstore/. More information can be found at mobile.AccuTerra.com.


New at GeoWeb 2009

The 4th Annual GeoWeb Conference, slated for July 27-31 in Vancouver, B.C., is the forum for the who's who of geospatial Web technology and geospatial thinking. More importantly, it is the venue for learning about the technical, business, government, and policy issues related to the sharing of geospatial information (more accurately stated as information about the physical world) across the Internet. Just as the GeoWeb is about much more than virtual globes, this year's theme of CityScapes is about much more than urban planning.

The CityScapes theme was chosen to highlight the importance of local and urban data to solving many of the most pressing issues of society and business. Michael T. Jones, CTO of Google Earth, and Alex Miller, President of ESRI Canada, return as keynote speakers. Other invited speakers are David Boloker, Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Emerging Internet Technologies in IBM Software Group; Dr. John Stutz, Vice-President and founding member of the Tellus Institute; Ken Greenberg, Architect and Urban Designer; and Javier de la Torre of Vizzuality, speaking on the Encyclopedia of Life.

GeoWeb is introducing a new workshop on GeoWeb 101 for those new to the GeoWeb and geospatial knowledge, and for those who are technically geo-savvy but looking to understand better the business, governmental, and policy issues involved in expanding the GeoWeb. The GeoWeb 101 Workshop will be taught by leading experts in the field: Ron Lake, of Galdos; Carl Reed, of the Open Geospatial Consortium; and Michael Gerlek, of Lizardtech. For everything you ever wanted to know about the GeoWeb—from its history, definition, and business issues to applications, architecture, and standards—don't miss the GeoWeb 101 workshop on Monday, July 27, 2009. See a more detailed discussion of GeoWeb101 in the Summer issue of Imaging Notes.

Also new to the conference this year is the first Business Issues Panel, moderated by Natasha Léger of LBx Journal (our new location intelligence magazine and website for business professionals). Geospatial solutions are often technologies in search of a problem, or technologies based on high level datasets that are not applicable to specific problem sets (the issue that the CityScapes theme is intended to address).

As a result, it has been difficult for business users to understand the applicability of these solutions to their business needs and requirements. This also has made it difficult for developers of these applications to demonstrate a value proposition beyond a small niche of geospatial experts. Business process integration is a critical component of realizing the benefits of the GeoWeb, and this panel is a first step in elevating that discussion.

The Business Issues Panel brings together a group of experts in executive business issues, technology, and standards to discuss the impact of new applications, the availability and accessibility of data, and the infrastructure of GeoWeb. These three issues will affect the ability to solve such pressing business problems as finding new customers, increasing productivity and speed to market, improving financial management, developing better products and more efficient and safer operations, becoming more competitive, and improving internal and external communications. Panelists: Craig Bachmann, ITF Advisors; Clemens Portele, Interactive Instruments; Sean Gorman, FortiusOne; Sam Solt, Clear Path Labs.

Learn how the GeoWeb infrastructure creates new business opportunities and new business models. Find the business questions and the answers you need to implement location solutions for your business—What data? Where's the data? When is interoperability an issue? What's the ROI?

Don't miss GeoWeb2009 in Vancouver this year - www.geowebconference.org.

See the September 2008 eNews for last year's review of the conference.


O'Reilly Where 2.0 Summary Report

By Craig Bachmann
ITF Advisors, and co-author of our column, Next-Gen Mapping

The Where 2.0 Conference held in San Jose, California, on May 19-21, 2009 was an adventurous review of the emerging technologies surrounding the geospatial industry. The conference focused on a rapid-fire series of presentations that showcased the diversity of creative thinking in all things geospatial.

Clearly, the term "GIS" (Geographic Information System) is no longer adequate to describe the convergence of location-based applications, data, services, social networking, analytics, and mobility for consumers, business, and beyond. Brady Forrest, Chair of Where 2.0, and his team did a masterful job of orchestrating workshops, seminars, keynotes, and exhibition floor activities. While the conference was integrated with the "required" Twitter/Flickr/LinkedIn/AppleApp social networking environments, there was plenty of "old fashioned" discussion in greater than 140 characters.

Google, Navteq, Nokia, ESRI, earthmine, and Yahoo were all sponsors and exhibitors, and each made significant technology announcements. Jack Dangermond and ESRI presented; Oracle was seen in the crowd, but the week belonged to the innovative work presented by the "next-gen" developers.

Sense Networks presented a technology that integrated massive data analytics and location-informed visualizations. Urban Mapping (Brandon Martin-Anderson) presented visualization that included fourth dimension (time) with various routing and location informed data. Earthmine demonstrated its 3D data and presentation capability in a different application – virtual graffiti. Yes, you can "tag" any real location in the virtual world without the vandalism. Clearly, the application hinted at uses beyond responsible graffiti, but this looked like fun.

Robots that use location and a very interesting story from the Velodyne folks helped fill in the background of how LIDAR is being used in innovative ways (music videos). "Augmented reality" using Smart phones – imagine an application that will identify objects and provide more data using the Smart Phone platform – gave a hint of the future. Microsoft's Eric Horvitz was thoughtful in describing his research. Perhaps it is best not to try to describe these presentations in a few words – each can open new worlds.

Social ("it's the communication economy") networking of various forms was highlighted, including a panel that discussed the past, present, and future of the location-based social apps. While legal privacy, opt-in, opt-out, and the social protocols are in debate (a very interesting seminar with Marc Lindsay), it is evident that many forms of social networking/location will be in use without guidance in "data ownership," liability, or monetization.

On the opportunity side, Sean Maday of the United States Air Force described the location-based chaos of trying to integrate hundreds of silo'd applications and data sets to support Military Intelligence. Maday encouraged the hundreds of developers to think about solutions to help improve their spatial information challenge.

Google continues to use advertising to support user-generated mapping and now, through a new API, data layer indexing. Geo-Targeted Ad Units are becoming part of the new spatial model. MapQuest also described the "portal" of value in pulling through access to buyers/sellers.

ESRI (!), Yahoo, Google, Nokia, MapQuest--in fact most of the applications--stressed or announced "open" in terms of APIs, access, and availability. However, this left the business minds still searching (no pun intended) for a business model based on some level of intellectual property, exclusivity, or ownership. Value in these presentations was based on the "intrinsic" value of the technology in context.

Natasha Léger introduced LBx Journal as a new media resource that can help sort out buyers/sellers/concepts as the industry becomes more complex. Ted Morgan, CEO of Skyhook, which links GPS and mobile apps, said that the company counts over 2300 mobile apps that use location.

My favorite programs at Where 2.0 were mapping presentation/design folks, such as Stamen Designs' innovations that mash up design and visualization in using maps (http://stamen.com/) to present everything from travel time analyses to some very different ways of looking at location without "maps." In contrast, Michal Migursk's "Flea Market" map presentation was a fascinating look at "overlaying" paper maps from the "paper ghetto" to create a story and historical context. Cartifact (http://www.cartifact.com/) "maps that mean business" still seeks to improve and innovate on classic themes of map usage.

Again, it is impossible to summarize Where 2.0 quickly (http://en.oreilly.com/where2009/) without missing an application or concept that merits attention. The conference was a fast-paced, creative trip through the newest geospatial technologies, a satisfying and diverse experience.

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