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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I recall a year or two ago when Google Maps/Earth were new and Microsoft was gearing up with Live Local/Virtual Earth. There was a discomfort in the GIS community as we tried to figure these new offerings out and consider their impact on our world. At this event I noticed, and several attendees mentioned to me, how calm things seemed. Google Earth was shown on stage and Microsoft’s products were mentioned. There seemed to be an unstated acknowledgement that these tools are part of the technology marketplace, even if they are not GIS per se and that that’s ok.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/09 at 10:00 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I’d heard of GCS Research, or thought I had, but when Tyler Otto, a salesperson told me about it GeoMarc technology I realized I didn’t know the company - or the product. GeoMarc is technology to embed information in the pixels of an image, an invisible “watermark.” What sort of information? Ownership information to track use of rights restricted imagery. Links to external documents that store say the different image manipulations the image has been through.

And, get this, the “watermark” stays with the image even if its converted to another form or printed and scanned back in!

The technology is actually a few years old, but is just out in its second (more mature) release.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/09 at 09:48 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

While much of the formal presentation on stage focused around ArcGIS 9.2, specifically ArcGIS Server, Jack Dangermond shared a few new product tidbits:

- SDE for PostGres is expected in Summer (James Fee discussed the topic around the time of ESRI User Conference.)
- In addition to support for KML, ArcGIS Server will in the future offer support for Virtual Earth format. I asked Don Murray of Safe Software about that format and he said that it’s expected but is not available yet.

Update on ArcGIS for AutoCAD 1/10: I spoke the ESRI staffer who did the demo to be sure I got this right. He confirmed the “product” is still a ways off and that documents about it delivered to the show “disappeared” - I suspect ESRI decided to hold off on too many details as suggested by Don’s removal of data. More importantly, I learned that all that was happening in the demo was that a bitmap (raster) of the data was put into AutoCAD as a “backdrop” to the CAD entities; no AutoCAD entities were created, thus they couldn’t be edited. But, he noted, you could do an “identify” and get back attributes from the server. That’s based not on clicking on an entity, but passing the location of interest back to the server.

-original post follows-

There was also a reference to “ArcGIS for AutoCAD” which I understand to be an enhancement to make AutoCAD a full client to ArcGIS Server. By full client I mean can access data and services and the ability to edit data. One ESRI staffer suggested it’d be a free download that would enhance AutoCAD in this way. To me it sounds like a grown up, robust “CAD Client” which served a similar role in making CAD products clients to SDE, if in a more limited way. James notes that Don K. of ESRI pulled his post on his blog about this product.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/09 at 09:36 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Congressman Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania gave the keynote. I think everyone got a sense of this fellow from Jack Dangermond’s introduction. Dangermond explained how Kanjorksi called him up out of the blue to learn about this GIS stuff.

He offered up a few themes and one big challenge. The themes:

- We in government don’t user all the tools we have; GIS is underutilized

He cited how in one mine reclamation project (he’s from the mining area of Pennsylvania) using GIS cut professional expenses from 34% of a project’s cost to 12%. He felt the 34% was out of line to begin with and noted how using GIS got more done in the office than in the field.

- There is a lack of willingness and incentive to share information. The federal government needs to offer carrots and sticks to move this forward.

He was not speaking only of GIS data, though he knows about that, having been involved with the Pennsylvania GIS Consortium.

The challenge:

- There is a great opportunity to reform government (espeically spending/allocation based on geography) and GIS can be a part of it.

He asked the assembled to “be part of the army of reform, join me and Jack to reform the US government.”

I confess while I listened I felt like it was quite a political statement. Kanjorski noted he was in the minority party and is now in the majority party in Congress. Still, the talk reverberated with attendees with whom I spoke; numerous individuals pointed back to one or the other of the points I noted above later in the day.

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/09 at 09:24 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Before things got going at the first day of the ESRI Federal User Conference 2007 (the seventh annual) I had a chance to speak with Jeff Peters. He let me know the conference had about 1,500 pre-registrants and he expected several hundred people to register on-site for the three day event.

Since Peters heads up both the federal and non-federal parts of the office, I thought he was a good person to answer my question about the definition of “enterprise” something I’ve not been comfortable with for some time. He pointed to three characteristics:

- thought is given to architecture (might be SOA or something else), but there is thought about it
- the aim of solutions, not just software
- integration of GIS with other aspects of the organization, not just “GIS by itself”

by Adena Schutzberg on 01/09 at 09:13 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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