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Monday, August 01, 2005

I find the Miner & Miner and ViryaNet announcement last week fairly noteworthy. The two companies are integrating their products to address outage management more efficiently. To me, it represents an area of location technology integration where the goal of costs savings can be realized. Miner & Miner’s Responder OMS focuses on outage management;ViryaNet’ Service Hub for Utilities is a workforce management tool. Integration of the two product suites completes a very large segment of the field force management value chain in utility operations. This seems to be an excellent example of how location technology is being integrated with larger enterprise computing systems. In speaking with Noam Arbel, Miner & Miner’s chief technology officer, he said that the companies had completed a proof of concept for one customer and will be promoting this solution to others. Arvel also said that the two companies became aware of their respective solutions because Telvent (Miner & Miner’s parent company) is a stockholder of each.

by Joe Francica on 08/01 at 04:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Last week, VNUnet.com posted an article stating that Microsoft had launched a "GPS killer" by having a web service that allowed a Wi-Fi user "to obtain details of their location and local information." The article reported that Microsoft is using special cars to collect Wi-Fi hotspots. I’d like to know where the database is kept because it was not obvious how to display the hotspots from the Virtual Earth website.  Yahoo Maps is the only portal I found where you can easily display the Wi-Fi hotspot locations, mostly at Starbucks and T-Mobile locations.

So, this is not new stuff really. We asked Ted Morgan, president of Skyhook Wireless, to comment since his company has been building Wi-Fi hot spot databases for a while. Morgan indicated that Microsoft was not using Skyhook’s system. He felt that Skyhook maintains a much larger database of Wi-Fi hotspots and that the key to reliable positioning is the uniformity and density of coverage.

by Joe Francica on 08/01 at 02:59 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

We’ve had numerous discussions about the role of Google, Microsoft and Yahoo’s latest end-user and developer Web mapping options at Directions. This past week, we continued that conversation with Jack Dangermond at the ESRI Conference. In the past Dangermond had warned that we (and others) best “not over-hype” what’s going on. Interestingly, when Joe Francica and I met with him, he wanted talk about Google. “There’s going to be lots of services,” he said referring to Google as one of the many and indicated that Microsoft’s Virtual Earth will be another; Yahoo a third. “The market will decide,” he said.

Dangermond was quick to point out that he indeed thought that Google’s incorporation of mapping technology shines a positive light on the entire industry. But he also pointed out that you still need more advanced systems to do what geospatial professional might call “real work.”

Dangermond believes that Web services such as the Geospatial One-Stop (GOS) and its soon-to-be-created link to National Geographic’s MapMachine will offer professional level alternatives to the new Web offerings. I for one am interested in seeing how the consumer/student geared MapMachine and the more professionally focused GOS interact.

The reason Dangermond wanted to focus on Google in our interview was somewhat telling. It is a concern. It may look positive for the industry, but there will certainly be an impact on ESRI, not too mention others offering similar supporting tools.

It’s valuable to note, too, that from the broader viewpoint, some of the largest technology companies in the world are now in the geospatial market. Data capture tools (GPS, for example) are a commodity and soon Web services for mapping, may be, too, if they are not already. How far they will push into the realm of the professional will be interesting. Will we, as Dangermond has suggested, rent or license geospatial models to plug into our Web mapping tools in the coming years? Will we be able to plug them into Google or ESRI or Yahoo’s visualization service? “This is just the beginning,” said Dangermond. “The market will decide.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/01 at 09:32 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The company, which exhibited at the ESRI user conference last week, will introduce tools to visualize patterns found in the unstructured data of e-mail messages. The company is backed by In-Q-Tel which invests in technology of interest to the CIA. The message can be mapping, with among other things, ArcGIS. This sounds a lot like what MetaCarta does (and it has the same funder), but Spotfire, which has a history in the pharmaceutical and oil and gas exploration markets comes from a different arena: visualization. That said, both companies are nestled in the Cambridge/Somerville area just outside Boston.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/01 at 07:41 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

“I can’t help thinking of ‘Field of Dreams’ (“If we build it, they will come”). It is a fairy tale.” Don Cooke of TeleAtlas on Geospatial One-Stop, quoted in GIS Monitor.

by Adena Schutzberg on 08/01 at 07:06 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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