Point of Beginning

Newsline: April 2009

April 1, 2009
Trimble Dimensions Positions Attendees for Success; ASCE Gives America’s Infrastructure Another Poor Grade; University Opens Geospatial Technology Center and more.

Trimble President and CEO Steven W. Berglund presented the opening keynote address on Feb. 23.


Trimble Dimensions Positions Attendees for Success

More than 2,400 people from 67 countries attended the Trimble Dimensions 2009 International User Conference in Las Vegas. In his keynote address, Steven W. Berglund, Trimble president and CEO, focused on vision. “Maintaining vision in bad times is good for business,” he said. “Corporate icons are created during periods of adversity.”

However, he noted that focusing on vision is challenging when so many companies are just trying to make it through each day intact. How a company reacts to the current situation is critical, he said. Some firms have hunkered down waiting for the situation to change. Others are deferring difficult decisions until they have a better idea of what the future will bring. Still others are pursuing vision but with a more cautious approach. And then there is a fourth group that is attacking the situation head-on by aggressively implementing change within their organizations. “Relentless, commitment, vision, transformation, technology--these are the key words for current times,” he said.

Technology-driven change is inevitable, according to Berglund, and Trimble’s Connected Site concept is one way that some companies are embracing change. By allowing information to be moved to wherever it is needed whenever it is needed, the Connected Site streamlines processes and offers a competitive advantage. Berglund said Trimble continues to invest in improving reliability and in tools for accessing and using information.

Trimble debuted a number of new products at the event, including the R8 GNSS System, the Tablet Rugged PC, a new version of its Trident-3D data capture software and analyst software 4.4 for mobile mapping applications, and its VRS3NET software. (For more information about these products, see “New & Notable” on page 48.) In the track presentations, the latest advances in technology and processes for construction, surveying, infrastructure, mapping and GIS, mobile mapping, mobile resource management and utilities field solutions were covered. Indoor and outdoor pavilions gave attendees a chance to test some of the latest equipment capabilities for themselves. The complete recap of Trimble Dimensions 2009 can be found on POB’s Web site,www.pobonline.com .

ASCE Gives America's Infrastructure Another Poor Grade

America’s infrastructure received a cumulative grade of D on the American Society of Civil Engineers 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. The ASCE report estimates that $2.2 trillion in repairs and upgrades are required over the next five years to meet adequate conditions.

The report card assesses the condition and investment need for 15 infrastructure categories, including a new levees category. Categories are evaluated on capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety and resilience. Since its last report card issued in 2005, which assigned a D and estimated $1.6 trillion needed in repairs, ASCE reports that overall conditions have remained the same for bridges, dams, inland waterways, drinking water, hazardous waste, public parks and recreation, rail, schools, solid waste and wastewater. Over the past four years, aviation, transit and roads have dropped while only the energy category improved its grade.

The ASCE report card is determined by an advisory council comprising 28 civil engineers representing each infrastructure category as well as a broad range of civil engineering disciplines. For more information, go to www.asce.org/reportcard.

2009 Grades

Aviation D
Bridges C
Dams D
Drinking Water D-
Energy D+
Hazardous Waste D
Levees D-
Inland Waterways D-
Public Parks & Recreation C-
Rail C-
Roads D-
Schools D
Solid Waste C+
Transit D
Wastewater D-

University Opens Geospatial Technology Center

The geomatics program at Louisiana’s Nicholls State University opened the Geospatial Technology Center. The center is intended to serve as a workstation for geomatics students and professional land surveyors throughout Louisiana. “It’s a state-of-the-art facility,” said Balaji Ramachandran, assistant professor of geomatics. “We’re really proud to have it here at Nicholls.” The computer lab features 25 computer workstations, an unmanned aerial-mapping vehicle that can be launched by hand, several GPS mapping units, a high-definition projection system, four terabytes of server capacity and a high-speed interconnection to the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative, which connects research universities throughout Louisiana and Mississippi.

The center, which Ramachandran said received strong support from the Louisiana Society of Professional Surveyors, took three years to complete and cost almost $1 million. Approximately $700,000 in funding came from competitive grants, according to Ramachandran. Nicholls’ geomatics program, which was established in 2004, currently has 52 students enrolled and has produced two years of graduates.

Intergraph Opens Award Nominations

Intergraph is accepting nominations for the 2009 Carl Pulfrich Award in recognition of significant design and manufacturing contributions to the photogrammetry, remote sensing and Earth-imaging industries. The biennial award honors the memory of Dr. Carl Pulfrich who, as a member of the scientific staff at Carl Zeiss from 1890 to 1927, directed the design of the first stereo photogrammetric and surveying instruments from Zeiss. Carl Zeiss Inc. later teamed with Intergraph to create Intergraph’s Z/I Imaging photogrammetry division. “It is very motivating for Intergraph and our peers in the community to simultaneously honor the memory of a true Earth-imaging pioneer while recognizing the top contributors of this generation,” said Dr. Mostafa Madani, chief photogrammetrist at Intergraph and chairman of the Carl Pulfrich Award Council.

The Carl Pulfrich Award Council will consider nominees on the basis of experience, activities in the fields of photogrammetry and remote sensing, and contributions to the advancement of all aspects of the Earth-imaging field. Applied work involving hardware systems, software solutions, or innovative service activities will be considered. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. CST on July 1, 2009. The award recipient(s) will receive a monetary gift of up to $7,500 and will be presented the 2009 Carl Pulfrich Award plaque during the 52nd annual Photogrammetric Week, Sept. 7-11, 2009, in Stuttgart, Germany. For nomination guidelines, visit www.intergraph.com/promo/carlpulfrichaward.

2008 Federal Radionavigation Plan Released

The 2008 Federal Radionavigation Plan (FRP), published jointly by the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Defense, and Homeland Security, was released in February. The plan describes official federal policy for operating and regulating common-use radionavigation systems to enable safe transportation and encourage commerce within the United States.

The FRP outlines the policy and plan for operating federal radionavigation systems used in positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) applications and suggests how existing systems may be consolidated and improved. It also aims to strengthen the mix of civil and military systems that will advance the nation’s transportation infrastructure by increasing its capacity to move people and products safely and efficiently. Systems addressed in the plan include GPS and GPS augmentations, long range navigation (Loran), very high frequency (VHF) omni-directional range (VOR), distance measuring equipment (DME), tactical air navigation (TACAN), instrument landing system (ILS), microwave landing system (MLS), and aeronautical nondirectional radiobeacons (NDB). The 2008 FRP replaces the 2005 FRP and its companion document 2001 Federal Radionavigation Systems. The 2008 FRP is available for download at www.navcen.uscg.gov/pubs.

Glonass Satellites Operational

The three Glonass satellites launched in December 2008 are now operational, according to the Russian Space Agency’s Information and Analytical Centre. Glonass 727--plane 1, slot 3, frequency channel 5--became operational Jan. 17. The second satellite, Glonass 728--plane 1, slot 2, frequency channel 1--began operation on Jan. 20, and the third satellite, Glonass 729--plane 1, slot 8, channel 6--became operational Feb. 12. All three satellites are designated healthy in both the almanac and ephemerides.

NGA Certifies GeoEye-1 Satellite Imagery

GeoEye Inc. announced that imagery from the GeoEye-1 satellite has been certified by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). As of Feb. 23, GeoEye began delivering GeoEye-1 sub-half-meter ground resolution satellite imagery to the NGA. The GeoEye-1 satellite is now fully commissioned, and GeoEye is able to begin recognizing revenue of $12.5 million per month under the terms of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) signed with the NGA in December 2008. “We are already working on the advanced camera and camera electronics for GeoEye-2 and look forward to continuing to serve NGA with next-generation capabilities,” said Bill Schuster, GeoEye’s chief operating officer.

Army Establishes New Army Geospatial Center

The Department of the Army approved the establishment of the U.S. Army Geospatial Center (AGC) in February. Formerly known as the Engineer Research and Development Center’s Topographic Engineering Center (TEC), the AGC is now a direct reporting center under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Correction: The page number listed in the editor’s note at the end of the “Peak Performance” article (March) was incorrect. The note should have referred to the photo on page 22, not page 20. We apologize for any confusion.


Associate Editor Wendy Lyons compiles “Newsline.” Contact her at 248/786-1620 or lyonsw@bnpmedia. Visit www.pobonline.com for daily news updates.