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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

socalTECH interviews Walt Stender, CEO of Digital Map Products, a GIS company based in Costa Mesa. (It was originally formed by Psomas and Thomas Bros. Maps.) The interviewer asks all the right questions, in particular about how Google/Microsoft et. al. and ESRI impact this company’s business, which focusses on property and real estate apps for non-GIS professionals. Like everyone else, including those very companies, the president claims his own niche:

Digital Map focuses on businesses that need to leverage GIS technology for land acquisition or to track, analyze and report on property or location-based information. We will continue to make complex GIS data and work flows easy to use for our target audiences and do not have any plans to develop solutions that address the needs of the consumer market.

We don’t directly compete with ESRI. We focus on niches where ease-of-use and turn key solutions are paramount. Our users, especially our LandVision users, are not GIS professionals and don’t typically have the budget to hire GIS professionals or have a custom solution built from scratch. ESRI really caters to the GIS professional.

I’m all for niches, but at what point does such a firm turn to these bigger players for their IT infrastructure? How long can such a business afford to develop its own technology in the face of free/smaller fee based Web Services?

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/19 at 08:01 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

As a once practicing geologist, I could not let this day pass without recognizing the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. I had an opportunity to visit one of the more obvious surface features caused by the quake which is located not far from the information center at Point Reyes National Seashore along the Earthquake Trail. For anyone who has studied the 1906 quake, you will typically see a textbook photo of a fenceline that was offset by the displacement caused by the quake along the San Andreas fault. That fenceline can be seen at Point Reyes although I suspect it may have move just a little in the past 100 years.

Last year I also had the good fortune to visit one of the few structures left standing after the 1906 temblor. The San Francisco Mint, called "the Granite Lady" opened for business in 1874 and because of its massively think walls and steel window shutters survived the quake and subsquent fires. This building is literally a fortress and will hopefully be renovated within the next year. Thanks to friend Gil Castle who was the past Mint Executive Director in charge of renovation, I was able to see the Mint’s vaults and classical design. Don’t miss it when it opens to the public.

If you are interested in seeing some of the activities/festivities marking the event, the 1906 Centennial Alliance has created a map showing the various events (Caution…another Google mashup). And be sure not to miss the great resources provided at the USGS website.

by Joe Francica on 04/18 at 10:01 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Why? It’s Special Minister of State, Gary Nairn, gets geospatial. Who is he? He’s charged the Australian Government Information Management Office to investigate spatial e-gov.

Why is he so into spatial? Maybe because he used to be a surveyor. But quotes like this sound like a guy who has been around the block lately:

Imagine combining technologies such as Google Earth with other data on the natural environment and with the built, human-developed or constructed environment - and being able to view, analyse and make decisions based on seeing where health, education, business, or environmental issues are occurring by combining spatial ... information with non-spatial information such as facts and figures.

You get much better government decisions if you can do your analysis in a more strategic way, which you can do if you have that spatial content to your data.

It is other levels of government [besides federal] that, in fact, hold most of the data-sets in this respect.

(He added that it would require an “ambitious” level of co-operation!)

One of the big challenges is between our various departments at a federal level, but then (we have) to take it that step further between different levels of government. Often, it’s local government out on the ground that delivers many of these services.

 

 

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/18 at 10:50 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Windows for Devices reports that Gizmondo.com and TigerTelematics.com have shut down, suggesting the “leaves the portable game console market to Sony’s PSP and the Nintendo DS.” I know the PSP has GPS add-ons and rumor of a future release with embedded GPS. I’ve not seen anything from Nintendo on GPS, however.

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/18 at 10:21 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Our publisher Jane found this long article titled “GETTING THERE: The science of driving directions” in the New Yorker detailing U.S. commerical navigation from its roots in Rand McNally up to Navteq et. al.

A great quote:

“Rand McNally is ‘to maps what Jell-O is to gelatine’” (paraphrased)

-Jim Akerman, the director of the Smith Center for the History of Cartography, at the Newberry Library, in Chicago

by Adena Schutzberg on 04/18 at 06:50 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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