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Friday, March 17, 2006

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

One of the fools looks at the acquisition and offers some interesting ideas for monetization, including folks designing dream houses and advertising for contractors/building supply companies to provide goods and services.

More intersting to me, perhaps, is this statement:

And Google’s extensive mindshare in the mapping world affords it the luxury of being able to sell premium versions of SketchUp.

Of course the Fools don’t cover ESRI as it’s private, but clearly they’ve identified their leader in the market.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 07:08 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

To start:

“Butler Group is the premier European provider of Information Technology research, analysis, and advice. Founded in 1990 by Martin Butler, the Company is respected throughout the business world for the impartiality and incisiveness of its research and opinion.”

I’ve never heard of them. But, they put out this paper on sharing GIS that you have to register on the company website to read but is reprinted at TMCnet. Basically, it argues for GIS consolidation up the governmental food chain to save money in repeated work.

GIS systems tend to be expensive and require specialist support staff. The support teams often do the same repetitive tasks such as maintaining and updating data, managing the base maps, and user administration and support. The councils also have to pay for the costs of servers and other hardware (e.g. plotters), and software such as a database for their GIS data. In two-tiered authorities, i.e. county and district councils, there is also a great deal of overlapping processes and duplication of data. Add to this the fact that many councils use the same GIS software, then the case for sharing GIS resources and assets really begins to make sense.

The paper offers a several step plan:

business case is proven…consolidation and centralization of GIS support resources…sharing of maintenance processes ...Hardware could be centralized…sharing of the actual GIS software and databases, achieved through consolidation of software licenses

The paper then goes on to conclude:

However long and complicated the program though, it could deliver cost savings at the end of each stage, and in the end it could transform councils’ land- and property-based services by providing high quality and consistent information and services to staff and customers across council boundaries.

This paper is clearly geared toward the UK. It doesn’t seem to mesh with the vision I hear about here in the states - decentralization integrated via standards-based services.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/17 at 06:43 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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