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Friday, February 17, 2006

One of the new tidbits noted at the International Lidar Mapping Forum held earlier this week is LIDARXCHANGE. It’s a “marketplace” for offering for use or finding for use LiDAR resources - like sensors, planes, and ground stations. The map of these? Yes, it’s Google Maps! The efforts is backed by Airborne 1 and will officially launch at ASPRS in Reno.

via GIS User

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/17 at 08:44 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

GeoMullah was there and shares what he took away including a new MetaCarta Labs where users are invited to play with new technology that may or may not turn into real products. He notes he’s “drunk the Kool-Aid.” Yeah, me too, a few years back.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/17 at 08:35 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Express Computer (India) has an interview the Kevin Rollins, CEO at Dell. There’s lots of discussion of the company and its Asia Pacific plans, but this interesting data point regarding tracking and Google Earth. Says Rollins:

Our new, state-of-the-art Enterprise Command Centre at Penang, Malaysia, helps us to monitor operations. We are using Google Earth Pro to track our customers’ equipment. This is to support those installations which have been made at large customer premises.

 
I do not know if that means when it’s ordered until it’s delivered or even after it’s installed on a large customer campus. No matter; this is a situation where some other visualization tool, even a GIS was foregone for the “flash” of Google Earth. Why they need 3D visualization for this sort of tracking escapes me.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/17 at 08:09 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

What does this trend in open source software mean for the geospatial business? I’ve had this question asked of me a few times this week.

Data point: Oracle buys Sleepycat Software. Sleepycat is an open source database company. Why would they do this? I think it is to sell more services and niche applications. Sleepycat sells both a commerical version of their database as well as a free, open source version.

Now, this by itself has no true bearing on geospatial technology. But it is an interesting acquisition. Look at it this way: What if more geospatial companies, in addition to what Autodesk has done with MapGuide, decided to put their products into the open source hopper or decide to build solutions on open source instead of their own technology. Why would they do this?

  1. Offer more solution options: MapInfo, Intergraph, and Autodesk have all professed their desire to provide "complete solutions" for their customers…not just COTS. Why not distribute the code for MapInfo Professional or GeoMedia into the open source category. Could they leverage this strategy to sell more services? Possibly.
  2. Avert competitive threats: I think the days of selling boxes of GIS or desktop mapping software as the primary revenue generating source for larger companies are quickly evaporating. There are too many online alternatives available that are taking their place. Have you seen the list of products and data options offered by Claritas? The list is a mile long and very industry specific. Use free, open source technology from the open source grab bag (not just their own software) as a unique angle to win business against a competitor. Again, the objective is to offer more options in case a customer "demands" open source.
  3. The train has left the station: A few years ago there were just a few open source geospatial options. GRASS, PostGIS, etc. But this list is growing all the time. Perhaps it’s an inevitable trend?
So who stands to gain and who gets hurt? The larger companies will survive because they might be able to move some of their software to open source, ala Autodesk. But I have to wonder if the smaller, niche desktop mapping companies (Tactitian, Caliper, Manifold) won’t get squashed.

by Joe Francica on 02/17 at 06:53 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The Albany Business Review covers MapInfo’s 2006 stockholders meeting by noting the company’s best first quarter ever was this year. The company closed 2005 with $149.4 million in revenue and three acquisitions.

The efforts in diversity - of geography, products and industries is paying off, the article goes on. And, more acquisitions are expected.

“We are no longer just a software company,” said Mark Cattini, MapInfo’s president and CEO.


Update: There’s a bit more on the meeting, including Q&A, from the Times Union.

by Adena Schutzberg on 02/17 at 06:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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