Trimble Buys SECO Manufacturing Co. in All-Cash Transaction; NOAA Adds New GPS Stations to CORS Network; and New Grant Program Enables Government Agencies to Enhance GIS Programs.

Trimble Buys SECO Manufacturing Co. in All-Cash Transaction

Trimble acquired privately held SECO Manufacturing Co., of Redding, Calif., in July. SECO is a leading manufacturer of accessories for the surveying, mapping, geomatics and construction industries. The purchase marks Trimble’s second engineering and construction accessories company purchase this year. “With the recent acquisition of Crain Enterprises and now SECO, we are well positioned to lead the engineering and construction accessories market,” said Bryn Fosburgh, sector vice president of Trimble.

According to Trimble officials, the addition of SECO complements its January acquisition of Crain Enterprises. SECO specializes in the development, fabrication and machining of metallic accessory products, while Crain focuses on polymer and composite-based products. “SECO will enable us to continue to augment our existing product lines by offering additional accessories as part of our solutions portfolio,” Fosburgh said.

“We have worked closely with Trimble since the early 1980s, and we believe the acquisition is an ideal fit,” said Mike Dahl, vice president and general manager of SECO. “The acquisition solidifies our industry leadership position and gives us access to further expansion by leveraging Trimble’s worldwide distribution channel.”

SECO manufactures and distributes accessories for surveying instruments, lasers, robotics and mapping and GPS systems, which includes tripods, prism poles, rover rods, brackets, adapters, carrying cases and backpacks. SECO also offers custom-made private-labeled products in addition to its company-branded accessories. SECO will be part of Trimble’s engineering and construction segment. Financial terms of the all-cash transaction were not disclosed.

NOAA Adds New GPS Stations to CORS Network

NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS) incorporated 43 new GPS tracking stations into the Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) network in June, including 13 new stations established by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of its Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which monitors and corrects GPS signals for safe aircraft navigation across North America.

“The addition of the new WAAS stations into the CORS network will especially benefit those surveyors who use GPS instrumentation to obtain accurate positional coordinates in Alaska, Canada and Mexico,” said Richard Snay, chief of the Spatial Reference System Division for NOAA’s NGS. In addition to the geospatial positioning community, the expanded coverage will also aid those organizations that apply CORS data to monitor the distribution of moisture in the atmosphere and/or the distribution of free electrons in the ionosphere.

“Alaskan users will benefit the most from this effort by the NGS as four stations were added (Fairbanks, Bethel, Kotzebue and Barrow). It densifies the network of reference stations available to them, which is very useful to OPUS/CORS users,” said Eric Gakstatter, GPS consultant and contributing editor to GPS World magazine. “Also, the new stations have contributed in providing Alaskan WAAS users with the best systemwide accuracy of anywhere in North America at just over a half meter.”

The Wide Area Augmentation System comprises 38 stations providing data to the CORS network. photo courtesy of NOAA

The CORS network is a multipurpose cooperative endeavor involving more than 200 government, academic and private organizations sharing data from their GPS tracking stations with NOAA. NOAA analyzes and distributes the data free of charge in order to standardize positioning data across the country to the NOAA-maintained National Spatial Reference System. Surveyors, GIS users and others can post-process their GPS data with GPS data from the CORS network to determine 3D positional coordinates with centimeter accuracy or submit their GPS data to the Web-based Online Positioning User Service (OPUS) utility ( to have NOAA compute coordinates automatically. The CORS network currently contains more than 1,200 GPS tracking stations spanning the United States, its territories and a few foreign countries. With the additional 13 WAAS stations–four in Alaska, four in Canada and five in Mexico--WAAS now has a total of 38 stations providing data to the CORS network.

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New Grant Program Enables Government Agencies to Enhance GIS Programs

Geographic information system (GIS) software developer ESRI and Xplore Technologies, a manufacturer of rugged mobile computing systems, launched the 2008 ESRI and Xplore Technologies Mobile Government Demonstration Project Grant Program in July. The new series of grants is designed to foster innovative approaches to solving government problems through the combined use of GPS, GIS, wireless and server technology.

“There is an increasing need for real-time GIS connectivity from the field to the office and from the office to the field,” said Brent Jones, ESRI industry manager for engineering, survey and cadastre. “Many users have begun to develop applications and workflows to meet this need, and we are excited that this grant program with Xplore Technologies will help further develop field-office connected efficiencies.”

The 2008 ESRI and Xplore Technologies Mobile Government Demonstration Project Grant Program provides eligible state or local government agencies with the tools and equipment necessary to develop and extend their GIS programs into the field by using next-generation mobile GIS and server GIS technologies. The program is for the enhancement of an existing GIS program, not its initiation. In addition to the creation of 10 models that will demonstrate the integration of mobile and server GIS architecture that improve government processes, another objective of the grant program is to provide reusable applications that can be shared among governments through a mobile government public domain Web site.

The ESRI and Xplore Technologies grants, which total $95,950 in hardware, software and training, will be awarded to 10 state, regional or local governments in the . Any department or discipline within a government organization is eligible. Projects must both demonstrate how GIS is a mission-critical technology in the delivery of government services and how mobile GIS solutions result in increased efficiencies and/or effectiveness in daily efforts, preferably efforts that support the primary objective of the organization. Each program recipient will receive an Xplore Technologies rugged tablet PC; an ESRI Developer Network (EDN) subscription, which includes ArcGIS Server and the ArcGIS Mobile Software Development Kit (SDK); an ArcPad Application Builder license, which includes an ArcPad 7.1.1 license; and an ESRI Virtual Campus training course.

Applications for the ESRI and Xplore Technologies Mobile Government Demonstration Project Grant Program will be accepted through 5 p.m. PST on Oct. 17, 2008. Awards will be announced Nov. 7, 2008. Complete grant information is available at

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