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Friday, May 12, 2006

The San Bernardino Sun reports on Representative Jerry Lewis’ response to allegations he is being investigated by federal authorities.

The front page of LA Times earlier this week pointed to an alleged investigation of misbehavior on the part of Jerry Lewis. He denies any investigation. The story suggests the alleged investigation involves a connection between Lewis and Bill Lowery, a lobbyist. Lowery’s name is connected to a defense contractor who gave money to Lewis’ campaign. That same company hired Lowery. That same company was determined to be an “unindicted co-conspirator” in bribing former Representative Randy Duke Cunnigham.

Lowery is a longtime friend of Lewis and, it turns out, his firm is ESRI’s one and only lobbyist. ESRI’s owners have long supported Lewis. There are no suggestions of improprieties on the part of ESRI, nor is the company under investigation, according to a company spokesperson. The article does cite some interesting numbers.

ESRI has received more than $70 million earmarked in federal contracts over the past decade. Work included such efforts as building software that assesses the fire danger of the San Bernardino Mountains, helping move troops in the Iraq war and assisting in the reconstruction after Hurricane Katrina.

But the company has received many millions more in contracts, according to the Center for Public Integrity. From 1998-2003, ESRI received nearly $132 million in defense contracts, the center reported.

ESRI has paid Lowery’s firm $320,000 since 1998.


by Adena Schutzberg on 05/12 at 06:25 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yes, you read that correctly.

The NGA will use the Microsoft® Virtual EarthTM platform to provide geospatial support for humanitarian, peacekeeping and national-security efforts.

The press release notes that NGA use Virtual Earth during Katrina, but says little. One benefit: I suspect NGA will push Microsoft to follow all those standards, including OGC ones.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/11 at 04:30 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Missouri Rep. Jo Ann Emerson is not through the her work to keep the USGS mapping center open. Yesterday her ammendment to the 2007 Interior Budget bill to keep Rolla open for another year passed committee on a voice vote.

In an article in the Rolla Daily News Emerson is described as discussing “hookwinking.”

Emerson said congress had been “hookwinked” into thinking that privatizing the USGS operation would save money. “The USGS has lied through their teeth about the whole project,” Emerson said.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/11 at 12:50 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

There’s lots of talk about open source in the geospatial community. Will it affect the way organizations buy software? Will it affect the bottom line of current software vendors? I came across an article in CIO Magazine that provides a different perspective from those addressing the broader concern of enterprise computing.

Bottom line: Yes, it will affect how purchases are made and the responsibility shifts to the user for upgrades and maintaining current software versions. Services that are free today will disappear because there is less money generated from the sale of licenses. The result will be less personal attention from your software provider. See the note about Oracle and Ellison’s new approach to software and services support. "Quite brilliant" is the quote from the author. It’s a good read.

by Joe Francica on 05/11 at 10:16 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Philip Howard, writing at, explains how MapInfo is trying to distinguish between GIS and Location Intelligence.

He offers basically two distinguishers:

The first and most significant difference is that GIS starts with geography and location intelligence doesn’t.
Apart from functionality, the other big difference about location intelligence, as opposed to GIS, is that the latter tends to be departmental and localised: in other words, bought for a specific purpose that has something to do with geography.

I personally don’t find those earth shattering and am not sure I by the second one, in these days of even small enterprise GISs for cities popping up.

More interesting to me is the idea that MapInfo is trying to draw out this distinction. “The key question is whether MapInfo can establish location intelligence as distinct from GIS,” says Howard. I don’t think that’s a key question. MapInfo has distinguished itself as THE GIS provider of choice for business since the early days. What that’s called is moot. And, I applaud MapInfo for its subtle use of the term Location Intelligence (whether the company coined it or not). Unlike other who try to cram new terms down our throats (a certain CAD company comes to mind), this is far more subtle.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/11 at 06:33 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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