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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

At GITA, Dr. Bill Gail of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth team addressed a question as to working with highly sensititve imagery of perhaps a national security concern and whether they might be asked to black out areas on Virtual Earth. Google had been asked to do this previously for certain areas and Microsoft wanted to preempt such situations. Gail said that Microsoft has sat down with various government agencies to ask them about these potential conflict areas that they thought might be blacked out if asked to do so. Their answer was, "it’s a secret, we can’t tell you."

by Joe Francica on 03/07 at 02:29 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Update 3/7: The folks at (a real estate publication) dug into the cryptic note I mentioned last week (below) and explain what’s going on. Recall that the owner of a mapping search patent, Real Estate Alliance Ltd., is suing a Pennsylvania Realtor, Diane Sarkisian, for patent infringement because she used some software that it’s alleged infringes on the patent. Her case has been supported by the National Association of Realtors. (Directions covered the case in detail here.)

So, what’s new?

The plaintiff filed a motion to expand the suit, to make it a class action. The hope is to add “15,000 members of the Delaware Valley Real Estate Information Network, also known as TREND MLS [multple listing service], and ‘at least tens of thousands’ of users of the Web site who subscribed to enhanced features to market properties at that site since July 12, 1999” to the suit. The plaintiff argues that Sarkisian is a representative of this group. The plaintiffs note that they could take action against other MLSs later.

The defendant launched a countersuit arguing that Scott Tatro (the fellow who sent the e-mail below) “worked in concert with REAL officials in a racketeering scheme that sought to collect licensing money from agents.” Tatro holds a license to the patent and can sell his service,, built on it. The base of the countersuit:  the scheme violates the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

What’s happening now?

The defense will respond to the class action filing. The court will decide if the case is be class action or not. That may occur before or after the case goes to full trial, as I understand it.

The countersuit is on a different track, though it may be linked to the original case. I believe the court makes that decision.

—Original post 3/1—-

Scott Tatro sent this update on the status of the case:

On February 28th in the Federal Court of the Eastern District of PA, the patent holder in this case filed a Class Action Motion.

The court has further ordered submission of Summary Judgment Motions on next Wednesday March 7th.

I need to do some digging to figure out what this is about.

Tatro cites the website fully licensed with documents related to this and other related cases.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/07 at 01:16 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Or, if you are Intergraph, invite folks to the big party at your user conference, not the user conference itself.

The title of the e-mail I received today reads: “Register Now to Save Big and Join Intergraph 2007’s Private Party at the Wildhorse Saloon!” It goes on about the party with nothing about the conference. That’d be a tough sell to your boss, no?

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/07 at 10:23 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

SPIEGEL Magazine explores how GPS has changed, well everything, and how Nokia is making waves in navigation with its new free service. In the mostly correct article a few gems pop out:

On data quality move from ‘ok for cars’ to ‘ok for pedestrians’:

That’s the job of the two map producers, [Tele] Atlas and Navteq. Their employees now actually have to cover an immense number of routes on foot, instead of driving them as they used to.

A quote from historian and essayist Karl Schlögel puts changes in perspective:

“The more solid social orders grow volatile, the more people resort to geographical frames of reference. Today, in the age of Google Earth, we’re veritably flooded with cartographic material.”

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/07 at 10:14 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Gee, I didn’t realize Platial is “the people’s atlas” Anyway, per the press release:

Platial Inc. ... raised $2.4MM in a Series A Round of financing. The financing closes just before a significant soon-to-be-released update of its popular application, MapKit and a series of partnerships.

No word on what’s in the new version or on who the partners are.

by Adena Schutzberg on 03/07 at 10:01 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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