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Monday, May 08, 2006

General Michael Hayden was nominated today for the Director of the CIA by President Bush. Directions Magazine’s senior editor Hal Reid covered General Hayden’s remarks at the 2004 GEOINT Conference in New Orleans. He identifies some of the current problems of intelligence data gathering as "cultural, technological and existential."

by Joe Francica on 05/08 at 08:04 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

As has been the case for as long as I can recall, Pictometry gets all its PR done via editorial. It started in local papers, but now that its a big time company providing imagery to Microsoft, it can get the AP to tell its story. Among the tidbits in today’s installment:

The company now employs 105 people, is profitable and boasts a perennial doubling of sales that could top $100 million by 2008. It has been showered with calls from Wall Street this year about going public public.


Beginning in June, under a five-year licensing deal with Microsoft, visitors will be able to order Pictometry’s close-ups of individual homes for $3 each, neighbourhood-size tracts for $6 and square-mile panoramas for up to $25.

The article goes on to note that there are no details of the deal between Microsoft and Pictometry and references the “newly evolving ‘visual GPS’ category of online mapping.”

The article, save the additional facts on selling images, is strangely like one I noted in this blog published on April 1 of this year. I find that “interesting.”


by Adena Schutzberg on 05/08 at 07:47 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

At last week’s press conference my colleague Hal Reid asked if the newly acquired Vexcel team would be working with the SQL Server team. The response was a less than stellar “oh we can have you speak to that team.” I suspect others on the call thought it an odd question. I didn’t.

I’m not sure if Reid was thinking of storage or image recognition issues, but he was 100% on target, as Barbara Darrow writes at CRN in her coverage of the Vexcel acquisition.

Last month, Paul Flessner, Microsoft’s senior vice president of data and storage platforms, said one priority is expanding the current data store and database functions to handle not just text and tables, but images and sounds.

One stumbling block thus far has been a weakness in pattern- and image- recognition algorithms. That is an area to be addressed by third parties, and/or by Microsoft itself, he noted.


Data stores and databases will have to be redesigned or retrofitted to handle these content-rich data types and make them searchable on more than text tags, observers said. In Microsoft’s case, the ability to handle that data and search it will come in the “Katmai” timeframe. Katmai is the next-gen SQL Server, expected by sources to debut in 2008.

Also note that just last week Overwatch acquired pattern recognition experts Visual Learning Systems. That’s the next frontier for folks like Microsoft to pursue. Look for more interest in companies with that sort of expertise.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/08 at 07:24 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The newest book from ESRI Press is titled “Think Globally, Act Regionally: GIS and Data Visualization for Social Science and Public Policy Research” (ESRI Press). An article at SF (San Francisco) State News explains how it got written  .

The textbook is part of a project to introduce GIS—which uses computer-generated maps to make comparisons and projections—into urban studies and urban planning programs nationwide. The Space, Culture, and Urban Policy Project is funded by a three-year, $432,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The school’s Professor of Urban Studies Richard LeGates wrote the book, apparently under the grant, then had ESRI publish it.

I, for one, had no idea how all that worked. But, apparently, that’s one way.

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/08 at 07:11 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

GIS is really an “everyday” sort of thing. Consider this small article in the Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN). I turns out if you live in the “Zip Codes [sic] that are split between two municipalities or between a city and an unincorporated area” you are more likely not to have paid to register your car in the city. Finding people in that situation will net the city some $54,000 in the coming year. The GIS helps, per the final line of the article:

Henning [deputy administrator in the county clerk’s office] said analysts in her office started reviewing the Memphis area last fall, when city officials called in March alerting them that they could do the work faster using their geographic information system, or GIS.

As an aside, if you do live in Memphis you pay: “a $30 city fee annually to register their vehicles, in addition to the $50 wheel tax and the $24 state registration fee.” Wheel tax? How quaint! When I lived in Pennsylvania few years ago, I believe it was my township that had a “head tax,” which I explained to friends “you had to pay if you had a head.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/08 at 07:01 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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