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Friday, March 17, 2006

The Inquirer reports the acquisition and notes only a letter to Vexcel users as evidence. Gee, this is sort of like how we stumbled on Microsoft acquiring GeoTango late last year…

Update: Virtual Globes’ Alan Glennon has the official word.

Update 2: Microsoft shared this statement:

Microsoft has entered into an agreement with Vexcel Corporation to acquire the company. The acquisition is part of Microsoft’s exciting vision to deliver a dynamic, immersive digital representation of the real world that provides the best local search and mapping experience to consumers, businesses and government.  Vexcel’s people, products, and services will play a key role in helping Microsoft deliver on this vision. The agreement requires regulatory approval in the United States and in certain EU countries (Germany and Italy), and more details will be provided once the deal is closed.

Update 3: Microsoft VE blog says the papers were signed last week.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 08:47 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In a not particularly earth-shattered article Wired highlights the new satellites expected from GeoEye and DigitalGlobe in the coming months/year. The spokespersons from the companies work very hard to make clear that the imagery is not in real time and that its overhead.

What the artilce does not cover is the real issue here: how long does it take to get these online services and in-car systems up to date imagery/street networks? I recall asking that of a data vendor once, basically, how often do you give “updated data” to clients? The answer, essentially was “some are monthly, one is weekly.” But, the data folks always caution that don’t know how quickly the custoers upload it to their systems!

Now, I know that “update changes only” solutions are making it easier to load updates, but I don’t think most people are impressed at the update rate on Google Earth/Live Local/etc. One way to impress us? Make the metadata on “date captured” available to users!

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 08:31 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Denver Post has a long and detailed article about State Sen. Tom Wiens who introduced a bill in the state legislature to provide funding to buy commercial imagery satellite imagery in support of wild fire fighting. Several days before the bill’s introduction, Lockheed Martin, a backer of Space Imaging, gave $100,000 to a charity Wiens heads. Wiens maintains there was no connection and that he was not aware of the relationship between the two companies. That part I follow. Then it gets complicated.

Apparently the bill got lots of support, but Wiens killed it after the state determined it’d cost $400 million to put a satellite in space. Huh? The original bill said they’d provide money to get commercial imagery! How is sending a satellite into space involved?

The best part of the article is a quote from Skip Edel, the Colorado State Forest Service’s expert on satellite-based imagery. He expressed his take on commercial satellite imagery:

“They don’t do well on monitoring active fires,” Edel said. “They don’t see through smoke.”


by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 08:15 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Forbes offers an analysis of the success of Trimble’s work in the ag sector and notes things look good. One analyst raised expectations to $40 per share and expect continued recovery in that sector. This is good news; I continue to lament the loss of imagery companies in that arena and wonder how well GIS is faring in agriculture.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 07:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Investor’s Business Daily previews its weekend offerings including this curious tidbit:

Mobile mapping

You may be accustomed to mapping out destinations online or on paper, but what about on your cell phone? Rand McNally and Google (GOOG) are just two companies rolling out mobile maps with GPS features and voice-guided directions. Jean Lee sat down with our technology contributor Bambi Francisco for a rundown on the pros and cons of these high-tech maps.

I’m aware of Google Maps support on mobile phones, but hadn’t heard of anything like this.

Update: An article on a little Google party in Waterloo Canada reminds me of Google’s wireless acquisition in that city.

The Waterloo office will primarily start out in mobile applications technology such as SMS Google searching and Google Maps on cell phones, but the office has the potential to grow into other technologies over time.


by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 07:49 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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