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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It was an informal conference with all the press and a large group from the geospatial team. Here are some of the questions. Questions and answers are parphrased.

Q: Will Bentley support open source?
A: Not at this time. We think users want a company that gets paid for its products. We will support integration with open source.

Q: With geocoordination (core support for projection on the fly) will there be support for OGC Coordinate Transformation Service?
A: We are looking at it.

Q: What are geospatial 3rd party partners doing?
A: Their value add role is different; they are localizing software in the sense of making it work for local workflows/data models. They are not creating “new apps” per se.

Q: What happened to MicroStation Geographics?
A: It dates back to 1995. It was toolkit, not an end-user product and had limited possibilities for users. In 2004 we began to revampthe vision with two products – Bentley Map aimed as an end-user productivity tool and the MicroStation Geospatial Extension geared more to create a platform for customization. (These are expected later this year.)

Q: Will Bentley do more GIS analysis in its products?
A: The analysis is built into the vertical apps.

[Disclosure: Bentley covered travel, hotel and meals.]

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/01 at 06:39 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Styli Camateros did a bit of the year in review and two points struck me. First, that Daratech identified Bentley as the number 2 geospatial company, by revenues last year. This gave me pause back then, but he said something that put it in context: “Daratech now looks at the industry more like us.” Geospatial used in engineering is being measured in ways perhaps it was not in the past.

Second, Bentley is innovating not only in technology but also in licensing. Its Municipal License Subscription (MLS) includes local government packages of “all you can eat” software based on population. Some thirty-five cities are onboard with the program. I don’t believe any other geospatial companies have followed suit.

Camateros offered up that infrastructure is different from other things on earth because the build and life spans are long and because the best info about them are in the original design docs. He then listed some of the requirements for “Advanced GIS for Infrastructure” which may sound familiar. Such solutions must:

1) support federated information management (that is, use content in its native form and where it “lives”)
2) be able to model in real world 3D
3) support engineering users (that is, offer a single environment for their need to plan, analyze, design, manage facilities)
4) be open (he noted support for OGC standards and “de facto” standards like Oracle Spatial)
5) support multi-disciplinary projects and teams (that is, allow all team members to use the best of breed solution for their work)

Camateros next set out the product framework. I’ve not been intimate with the Bentley technology stack for a few years, so this was very helpful. At the bottom is the “geospatial desktop” - that’s the Geospatial Extension and Bentley Map, which are to be released later this year. These products are the replacements for what was MicroStation Geographics and serve as a development platform and an end-user mapping solution, respectively. On top of that are the industry applications (for water, sewer, comms, etc.). On top of that is the Geospatial Server (ProjectWise + geosavvy including support for Oracle Spatial) which allows for geospatial document/data management. Other layers that can go “anywhere” include mobile and Web apps. There are also some advanced GIS apps, like Expert Designer for electric and other industries. And, there may be more specialized apps, as well. One thing to note – all of these layers, including the industry apps – are from Bentley. No partner apps are noted.

What followed were detailed demos of Bentley apps for electric, gas, comms, water. I want to confess something: these bored me to tears. But that’s good! Why? They are for engineers, not GIS people like me! In fact, GIS is well hidden in these apps, which underscores how far Bentley as a company has come in finding where “GIS” fits in its offerings.

To wrap up, we heard about the “coming attractions.” They include:

- Support for Oracle’s GeoRaster in Geospatial extension – meaning users have a choice of storing images in ProjectWise or Oracle.
- Native WMS in the Athens (2008) MicroStation release
- WFS support in Geospatial Extension
- WFS/CityGML support in Bentley Map/Geospatial Extension
- Ability to “tile” large 3D projects for fast use in Google Earth

[Disclosure: Bentley covered travel, hotel and meals.]

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/01 at 06:36 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I consider NAVTEQ (NVT) a bellwether stock in the geospatial marketplace and today’s quarterly financial report is an indication that growth in location-based content and geospatial information continues to grow. NAVTEQ reported record growth with a rise of 87% in net income over Q1 2006. The growth in coming from the in-vehicle and portable market. Digital map license revenue grew from$118 million in Q1 2006 to $150 million in Q1 2007; cash and cash equivalents more than doubled at the end of the quarter year over year. CEO Judson Green notes that "The business is performing very well and we see positive signs for the remainder of the year." He also noted that the acquisition has closed and the company has released its first Thailand map, the company’s 60th country. 

It is interesting to note that the "goodwill and other intangibles" category was pegged at $211 million nearly tripling the value from 2006. This is generally a "catch-all" category but relates directly to the "branding" of the company and its visiblity in the marketplace.

by Joe Francica on 05/01 at 03:59 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Rather than a dedicated stovepipe fit for specific purpose and application, mobile and portable Location is increasingly being viewed by the larger Web and IT worlds as an enabling feature that adds context and geographic dimension to all applications.

Ray Ozzie’s keynote at mix07 reinforced this concept suggesting that “a common design pattern has emerged for this new era of desktop/web/mobile apps - desktop for richness, browser for tagging and other collaboration/community features, mobile for location-specific information”. 

And IBM agrees with the mobile part, suggesting that mobile-location-added context will be one of the 5 innovations over the next 5 years that will change our lives. 

-Read/Write Web

Continue reading...

by Adena Schutzberg on 05/01 at 09:42 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In this week’s podcast, we discuss what you should know about how the growth of the commercial land satellite business, a basic primer on satellite image processing and what you need to consider as more high resolution satellites are launched in the next five years. We also consider some of the implications of online image processing systems and the possibilities of real-time image downloads.

The podcast is 11 minutes long (10 MB!!!) and was recorded on April 30, 2007.

Subscribe to Podcast RSS

Listen Now (to download, right click on the link at left and choose “save target as”)

Read the show notes

Missed any podcasts? Want to subscribe via iTunes, Yahoo, etc? Here’s the index with all the info.


by Adena Schutzberg on 05/01 at 01:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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