Exclusive! August 2003 New and Notable

Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping LLCannounced improvements to the Leica ALS50 Airborne Laser Scanner. The changes reduce the minimum flying height to levels typical of helicopter operation in corridor mapping applications and include an increase in maximum pulse rate to 58 kHz, allowing higher data density and tighter post spacing (up to four points per square meter with a 226 m swath and better than 0.9 m post spacing). Minimum flying height has been reduced from 500 m AGL to only 200 m AGL for ultra high-density profiling and line-of-sight navigation in corridor mapping applications (up to 16 points per square meter with a 56 m swath). Multiple-return discrimination has been improved, allowing targets to be detected with as little as 2.7 m vertical separation, resulting in an increased number of “ground hits” when profiling over low vegetation. The improvements are now available on all ALS50 systems, as well as in upgrade packages for most existing ALS40 units. (Leica Geosystems, Atlanta, Ga.)

Safe Software added MapServer support to its web-based data delivery product SpatialDirect. This solution enables users to download data viewed with MapServer directly to their desktops in any format and projection. SpatialDirect has also been integrated with Autodesk MapGuide, ESRI ArcIMS, Intergraph GeoMedia WebMap and MapInfo MapXtreme. (Safe Software, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

CARIS released Spatial Fusion version 3.1. With OpenGIS enhancements, increased format support and client updates, CARIS Spatial Fusion is a web platform that seamlessly integrates distributed data sources into a web-based mapping service, regardless of data format, location or platform. Highlights of Spatial Fusion v3.1 include out-of-the-box support for version 1.1.1 of the OpenGIS Web Map Service (WMS) Implementation Specification; Point of Interest (POI) support to allow for easy addition of POIs; support for DGN files and Marine format (S-57) enhancements; and new logging capabilities to provide additional feedback from the Fusion data services. (CARIS, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada)

Research Systems Inc. (RSI) , a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Company, released IDL version 6.0. Among the new features in IDL 6.0 are Intelligent Tools (iTools), a new set of interactive utilities that allow IDL users to perform ad hoc data analysis and visualization, and produce presentation quality graphics. The new IDL-Java Bridge is a built-in feature that allows IDL users to tie Java classes into their IDL applications to take advantage of special input/output, networking and third-party functionality. New language enhancements for more intuitive programming have been added including increment and decrement operators, compound assignment operators and logical operators. In addition, all new IDL 6.0 packages include IDL VM, a free runtime utility that provides a simple, no-cost method for IDL users and software developers to distribute compiled IDL code. (RSI, Boulder, Colo.)

The Open GIS Consortium Inc. (OGC) announced the availability of the Web Map Service (WMS) Cookbook version 1.0, the first in a planned series of books detailing the implementation and use of OpenGIS Specifications. WMS defines interfaces for Web-based software to learn about, retrieve, merge and query maps. The Cookbook provides the basic understanding and steps needed for implementing and exploiting the WMS interface and related technologies. The document is available for download in Portable Document Format (PDF) at visit http://www.ogcnetwork.org. Cookbook contributors include software vendors, universities and local government users of the WMS interface from around the world. The variety of contributions highlights the different software being used and ensures widespread applicability. The book is divided into three chapters. Chapter 1 establishes the background and context of the WMS interface implementation specification including a discussion of WMS client and server development technologies (XML, XSL/XSLT, ASP/JSP, etc.). This introductory chapter provides a general orientation for all readers but is targeted for managers and end-users. Chapter 2 addresses the design architecture of software systems that implement the WMS interface through use-case scenarios, WMS request examples, and illustrations. DTD/XML documents and XSL/XSLT style sheet examples highlight the role these technologies can play in WMS client and server implementations. Chapter 3 explores implementations of WMS in existing software on both the server and client side. Detailed "recipes" for implementing WMS in popular commercial, open source and freeware products are provided. (OGC, Wayland, Mass.)

Adventure Cycling Association released a new book, “Bicycling the Lewis & Clark Trail,” offering a way for readers to pedal through the past with the Corps of Discovery. The book retraces the famous journey of the Corps of Discovery from Hartford, Ill., to the mouth of the mighty Columbia River at Astoria, Ore. A cyclist's indispensable handbook to the route of the Lewis & Clark expedition, the book follows a path along the Missouri and Columbia river basin through miles of scenic corn and wheat fields, vast prairies, deep gorges, and on to the Pacific Northwest rain forest. The guide is filled with detailed maps, information on road surfaces and traffic and a wealth of historical details. (Adventure Cycling Association, Missoula, Mont.)

Avenza Systems Inc. released MAPublisher 5.0 for Macromedia FreeHand, mapmaking software to produce quality maps from GIS data. Significant new functionality includes support for FreeHand MX, Apple Mac OS X and import of MicroStation Design (DGN) files. New features in MAPublisher 5.0 for Illustrator include MicroStation DGN file import; Douglas-Peucker Line Simplification; the ability to plot points in decimal degrees or DMS onto any projected plane; convert between DMS and decimal degrees; create GeoTiffs and other geo-referenced raster images; map projections stored in already projected files after import; ‘sticky' selection menus remember last menu selection; automatic scale bar creation; automatic grid generation in page units; bezier curve creation from GIS data segments; bezier curve support during scale transformation, projecting, area and length calculations; area drawing tools in map units; coping and pasting map data between layers; automatic grain calculation on data import; updated e00 import, now imports all components (anno, pnt, arc, poly); create grids in differing page units; DGN data automatically attributed level # during import; and data projected to different output map units. (Avenza, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)

Sanborn launched CitySets, a new product consisting of highly accurate digital data of central business districts and select commercial areas in the United States. The series of off-the-shelf digital datasets covers the core downtown areas of 27 major cities. These datasets include: geographic information that meets 1"=100' National Map Accuracy Standards, including building footprints with building-specific attributes such as addresses, street centerlines and names, select geographic features and landmarks, and links to site-specific photographs; digital, seamless, full-resolution Sanborn fire insurance maps, providing a rich variety of building-level data such as construction class and occupancy type; seamless, color-balanced, digital orthophoto imagery at one-half-foot pixel resolution; and building height information—ideal for evaluating a city in three dimensions. For greater functionality, the three-dimensional data sets will be bundled with InterSCOPE Express from ITspatial to enable interactive 3-D visualization and query. This software provides interactive real-time 2-D and 3-D displays which link multiple types of data with a single, stand-alone viewer. (Sanborn, Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Geosoft launched TargetT for ArcGIS, a surface and drillhole mapping extension to ESRI's ArcGIS software. Target for ArcGIS is planned for commercial release in the third quarter of 2003. Target for ArcGIS simplifies the compilation, mapping and analysis of geospatial data within the GIS environment. Built on the same technology as Geosoft's DPA (Data Processing and Analysis) software, Oasis montajT, Target adds spatial data processing capabilities to ArcGIS. Target brings advanced gridding, contouring and drillhole mapping tools to the ArcGIS environment, providing essential, integrated functionality that enables more productive use of geospatial data for timely exploration decision-making. (Geosoft, Toronto, Canada)

UCLID Software developed customizable automated indexing software that processes unstructured documents such as legal descriptions, mortgage documents and other land records. The software relies on the OCR technology that UCLID fine-tuned for its ArcGIS software extensions. Typical indexing software programs work only with structured documents such as forms. Because of the rules and filters UCLID has developed, its software can process unstructured documents with accuracy. The software runs in the background, so it is virtually invisible and does not disrupt workflow. (UCLID Software, Madison, Wis.)

A.R.E. Inc. released the EZ3 Series three-door fiberglass tonneau cover for pickup trucks, designed for easy access from all sides of the truck bed. Its heavy-duty construction makes it ideal for commercial use. The EZ3 offers clear rear visibility from the cab, as well as full access to the truck bed from both sides and the rear. The EZ3 features a durable fiberglass body, painted to exacting specifications to match any truck's OEM finish. The EZ3 Series also comes standard with A.R.E.'s unique palm lock handles with Strattec automotive-quality locks for added security, as well as heavy-duty powder coated steel strap hinges. A.R.E.'s EZ3 Series Tonneau is available for 1993 to present Ford Ranger and Chevrolet S-10; and 1997 to current model long- and short-bed Dodge Dakota model trucks. It is backed by A.R.E.'s limited lifetime warranty.

Also, A.R.E. Inc. introduced a new fiberglass truck cap for the Subaru Baja. The cap installs easily with a fiberglass rail system that is designed to mount directly to existing holes inside the bed of the vehicle. No drilling is needed, and lining up the fiberglass rails with the holes in the bed automatically ensures the cap is installed correctly. (A.R.E., Massillon, Ohio)

Solid Terrain Modeling (STM) completed a 384 sq. ft. (16' x 24') model of the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, California. This project is the world's largest physical terrain model ever created from digital data sources. The United States Marine Corps commissioned this model for use by the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF). To create the Camp Pendleton scene, STM used 10-meter elevation data from SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) and imagery from 2-foot colorized infrared data. The model consists of twelve 4' x 8' polyurethane panels which are tiled together to re-create the entire (16' x 24') Camp Pendleton region. (STM, Fillmore, Calif.)