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Friday, September 07, 2007

Ralph Grabowski shares some comments on the Future of CAD he gave to a user group. Good stuff. I want to pull out a few for us GIS people to consider:

1 - “To better understand what might happen in the future, it is important to know the past. This helps us decode what is happening, and what is likely to happen next, based on common human reactions. For example, if a software vendor switches from selling to the masses to selling vertically or repackaging the product as an API, we know the product is probably failing. Same if the price goes from $199 to $99 to $49 to free.”

We’ve got some of this - with Google, Microsoft, DeLorme moving from end user to professional tools. We don’t alas have so much of the price dropping….yet.

2 - “The Internet made CAD vendors rethink themselves, because the Internet allowed the switch from drawings on paper to drawings as data (DWF, PDF, et al). This lead to the concept that CAD is not about drawings, but about data, which lead to CAD vendors thinking of themselves as data enablers. Hence, companies like Dassault and PTC no longer using the term “CAD,” but other convoluted phrases.”

We still say GIS, but we too are realizing it’s all about the data - and moving it to platform that does the job.

3 - “The CAD market is plateauing, and so CAD vendors are looking for more ways to sell more software in all four directions: earlier in the design process (conceptual and early marketing), afterwards (PLM), down to the shop floor (CAM, etc) and up into management (viewers).”

We see that too - Autodesk is one that’s working to put CAD and GIS throughout the lifecycle. ESRI and others are doing something similar but horizontal - the oil and gas comglomerate should be using GIS not only in managing claims, but in distribution as well.

4 - “In terms of users, bifurcation is occuring: (1) those who continue with tradCAD, like AutoCAD, currently 70% of the market; and (2) those who split off to 3D modelers, currently 30% of the market. Perhaps this generation has to die off before tradCAD disappears.”

Do we have “tradGIS” and if so what is the equivalent of 3D modelers?

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/07 at 08:28 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

As we head into the fall 2007 academic season there likely many “changes of the guard” at geography departments in schools around the world. There are new faculty members, new students, new programs, new courses…

At Penn State the 13-year tenure of the department head (no, we don’t have a chair, chairman or anything like that, we have a “head”) is ending. Roger Downs, someone most of us in GIS probably haven’t heard of (though he did speak at the ESRI EdUC one year), is going to back to being “just” a faculty member. The latest issue of the department newsletter (pdf) highlights some of the growth geography under Downs’ watch including the growth of the World Campus and GIS. We in GIS need to remember that these academic departments (GIS-focused or otherwise) underlie the theory of our practice in addition, sometimes, to training technologists.

Among those writing to honor Downs as he steps down is fellow APB contributor Jeremy Crampton from Georgia State, who like me studied under Downs. Crampton writes:

Roger had this reputation of being able to supervise students who either didn’t fit or who didn’t get along with their advisors - a kind of advisor-of-last-resort for confused graduate students.

Like many in this field I’m here because I “bumped into” a few geographers along the way to doing something else. It was their passion, their interest that made me see the challenge and value of geography and related fields. Roger Downs is among those and I feel privileged to have bumped into him.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/07 at 07:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

ZDnet details criticism of the plan to use military spy satellite data for homeland issues. The the National Applications Office (NAO) is set to launch on October 1. Most people, including members of Congress, first heard of the plan when it was leaked in the Wall Street Journal last month. (We covered that here, but focussed on another aspect.) There is concern that the lack of a legal framework the program “could be misused and violate Americans’ Constitutional rights.” Several Congressmen in a letter to DHS Secretary Chertoff as for a halt to the program until several measures are met to deal with that oversight.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/07 at 07:12 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

In Orange County, FL, middle schoolers can take the bus if they live more than 2 miles from school. In past years, extra capacity and non-enforcement meant even those who lived closer than 2 miles got a seat. This year many of those same students took the bus for a week, but were later told they lived too close and would no longer get a ride. Parents are up in arms mostly due to the lack of notification of the change. The county says budget cuts mean fewer buses and the cutting of bus stops. Parents are now scrambling to set up carpools. I guess they feel that it’s too far or too unsafe to walk.

WFTV Orlando

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/07 at 07:00 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I won’t take credit for this, David Alexander at Telematics Journal tells it. It’s about money (no kidding!)

Bottom line: Cabbies have to pay for the system and arguing they’ll lose money since credit card payments shave a bit off each fare. He notes that a slightly different business model (advertising will pay for the system in no time) would have changed the result significantly. Moreover, he notes, cabbies already have to submit trip reports on paper. The new system automates that.

As he concludes:

Privacy and the “Fear of GPS” is a red herring. It makes for a more dramatic story than “Cabbies Shortchanged by Big Business,” but GPS is not at fault here, and this is a non-story from the GPS perspective.

by Adena Schutzberg on 09/07 at 06:27 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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