Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. Launches Small-Account Policy

Victor O. Schinnerer & Co. Inc. initiated a three-year professional liability policy for small specialty construction, environmental consultant and design firm accounts. “Our multiyear small-account policy is perfect for land surveyors, many of whom may qualify for the three-year policy,” said Kate Frownfelter, program manager for the construction industry group. “It certainly means that these firms can spend less time going over insurance policies and premiums each year and can focus instead on growing their business.”

The small-account multiyear policy offers lower minimum premiums and deductibles than the company’s traditional professional liability programs. Benefits of the program include a three-year policy term, a minimum premium of $1,000 with a $1,000 deductible, full prior-acts coverage after one year of continuous coverage, first-dollar defense for qualifying accounts and a payment plan option for premiums of more than $5,000. The program is also available to newly formed firms with experienced principals. To qualify for the small accounts multiyear program, firms must not engage in contracting activities and they must have less than $250,000 in annual billings, a loss ratio less than 70 percent, and an acceptable claims frequency. For more information, visit

GITA Releases Second CIP-ER White Paper

The Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) released “Spatial Infrastructures,” the second paper of its Geospatial Dimensions of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Response (CIP-ER) white paper series. “GITA members recognize that ‘everything is somewhere’ and that critical infrastructures are vital to the well-being and health of our communities,” said John Moeller, author of the white paper. “Spatial Infrastructures” is intended to foster understanding of spatial data infrastructures, their value in managing, using, and sharing spatial information and services, and how they can help citizens and private and public institutions address vital issues confronting the nation. For more information or to download the paper, go

GSA Updates 3D Imaging Guide

The U.S. General Services Administration released the “BIM Guide for 3D Imaging Version 1.0” in February to assist project teams with tasks from bidding for 3D imaging contracts to ensuring quality in final deliverables. The document provides guidelines for solicitation of 3D imaging services, evaluation criteria to ensure that the specified requirements for the deliverables are met, and tips for successful project management. The BIM guide is intended for use in Public Buildings Service (PBS) contracts for new construction and major modernization projects that require documentation of as-built conditions. The guide is available for public review and comment, and readers are encouraged to submit feedback. For more information or to download the 53-page guide, go select 3D Laser Scanning from the menu.

California Appeals Court Rejects County's Sale of GIS Basemap Data

In a 3-0 decision, a State of California Appeal’s Court in February affirmed the Santa Clara County Superior Court’s decision requiring the County of Santa Clara to comply with public requests for copies of its GIS parcel basemap under the conditions of California’s Public Records Act (PRA). “The Santa Clara decision has potentially far-reaching implications,” said Peter Scheer, executive director of California First Amendment Coalition (CFAC), the group that spearheaded the lawsuit. “It could also apply to virtually any government-created databases, at the local level and statewide, in California and in other states.”

In its appeal of the trial court’s decision, Santa Clara County put forward several arguments to justify its policy of selling GIS basemap data for over $150,000 and for withholding the data asserting that the parcel basemap was Protected Critical Infrastructure Information. The Appellate Court’s decision states that neither federal homeland security provisions nor California PRA exemptions apply and that there is no statutory basis for copyrighting the GIS basemap or for conditioning its release on a licensing agreement. The court validated the CFAC demand for the data at no more than the cost of duplication and without use restrictions.

The matter has been remanded to the trial court to determine allowable charges for producing the GIS basemap. The County of Santa Clara may petition the California Supreme Court to review the case until March 17. The court’s decision is available

China to Complete Beidou Satellite System by 2015

Chinese officials plan to complete the Beidou global navigation satellite system by 2015, according to the International Society for Digital Earth. In an interview on China Central Television, Zhang Xiaojin, director the Astronautics Department of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, announced that 10 navigation satellites are scheduled for launch in 2009 and 2010 with the goal of establishing a global navigation system comprising more than 30 satellites by 2015. China launched the first satellite of the Beidou Navigation System in 2000. Since the launch of Beidou’s fifth orbiter in 2007, China has begun upgrading the navigation system to second generation, which is code named Compass. Currently, the Beidou system provides only regional navigation service within China.

Commercial Operations Commence for GeoEye-1

GeoEye, Inc. began commercial operations for the GeoEye-1 Earth-imaging satellite in February. “We are now selling imagery from GeoEye-1 to commercial customers around the world and to our government customers in Europe, Asia and the Middle East,” said Matthew O’Connell, GeoEye’s chief executive officer. “We are submitting imagery to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency for certification and look forward to beginning to serve NGA under our new Service Level Agreement with them.”

GeoEye-1 imagery products and solutions are commercially available in half-, one-, two- and four-meter ground resolutions. Imagery products are available in color and in black and white. Color imagery comprises four bands: blue, green, red and near-infrared. “We established extremely exacting requirements for GeoEye-1 and meeting them proved to be very technically challenging--particularly in the calibration phase. Additional improvements can still be made, but we have now succeeded in attaining our performance objectives,” said Bill Schuster, chief operating officer for GeoEye. More information is available

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