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Magazine for Surveying, Mapping & GIS Professionals


Volume 17

Developing the Cancún GIS
The Evolution of Mobile GIS
A UAV Project in Niger
Effective Image Delivery and Management

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Eric van Rees
Copy Editor
Elaine Eisma
Remco Takken
Contributing Writers:
Bastien Mancini, Robert Peel, Daniel Lewis,
Lucy Hamilton, Rolando Peñate, Martin Sjödin,
Cathy Chatfield-Taylor, Jared Dominguez,
Lena Halounová, Robin Lovelace.
Matt Sheehan, George Percivall.
Marketing & Sales
Ruud Groothuis

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GeoInformatics has a collaboration with
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Drone Use and Legislation
About two years ago, it was forecasted that the commercial opportunities for the use of
drones would be boundless. They would be useful to protect people from dangerous
situations and it would only take a campaign with a positive twist to counteract the
negative image, held by many, which associated drones with spying and warmongering. Then, in 2013, Amazon caused a stir by declaring that they would pioneer parcel
delivery by drones and it would happen within five years. A brilliant marketing stunt at
the right moment, but, almost certainly, no more than that.
At the present time, governments are still figuring out what to do when it comes to creating uniform, unambiguous legislation for the use of drones in public spaces, which are
not under the operation of the army or police forces. This has caused some irritation
among drone operators and builders in The Netherlands, who feel that they´re missing
out on revenues as surrounding countries with less restrictions are making the lion’s share
of the money and doing the innovative work. That´s why the people in this industry
sector in the Netherlands recently issued a statement asking the government to speed up
their decision making process and come up with European legislation for drone use.
The facts seem to back up the complaints from The Netherlands, as it´s notable and
unlikely to be a coincidence that many geospatial UAV providers in Europe are all to be
found in the same country (Switzerland) and many success stories in this publication
originate from Great Britain where many UAV providers can be found.
Meanwhile, the consumer market has discovered the appeal of drones. They are mainly
regarded as ´toys for boys´ and are often relatively cheap gadgets for recreational use
only. Additionally, professionals are using them for commercial objectives; estate agents,
professional photographers and sportsmen are all finding them useful when they need
to film from the air. For both user groups, legislation applies, but neither the user groups
nor the law enforcers are always as familiar as they should be with the rules.
Although new legislation for drone use in The Netherlands isn’t expected until next year,
the growing amount of drones in the country has forced the government to take direct
and immediate action to guarantee safety for air traffic. Although the government sees
no current threat from the use of drones, they can pose a danger to current air traffic
safety since they are hard to see. Drones are also perceived as a possible
risk when utilized for guarding persons, events or objects. For this reason, a proposal has been written out recently by the Dutch Ministry of
Safety and Justice for companies to develop technology that would take
control of drones and take them out of the air.
This is also the direction things are going in the US, judging from a
recently leaked document from the airspace authority FAA, who
will come up with new legislation for commercial drone use next
year. They have also noticed the safety issues which arise with
the recreational use of drones in cities. It seems that slowly,
government agencies, the public and the industry are getting used to using these new technologies, as well as defining boundaries for what is permitted and what is not. The
current situation indicates that enforcing these rules is far
from easy as not everybody is aware of the rules and cheaper drones can be inaccurate in their navigation. This can lead
to dangerous situations where it´s not always clear who´s
responsible in the case of injuries to persons. All these
matters have to be taken into account by legislators,
as it seems inevitable that this is the way things are
going. It shows once again how indispensable good
legislation is to enable both safety, innovation and
commercial operations for everyone involved.
Enjoy your reading,

Eric van Rees


GeoInformatics is the leading publication for Geospatial
Professionals worldwide. Published in both hardcopy and
digital, GeoInformatics provides coverage, analysis and
commentary with respect to the international surveying,
mapping and GIS industry.
GeoInformatics is published
8 times a year.

On the cover:
Satellite imagery of Cancún. See article on page 26.

The Great Reconnaissance


The Speed of Light


GIS for Roadway Inspection


Testing Ground for New Technology


Incorporating Geospatial Data


Identification of Storm Damaged Forest


Developing the Cancún GIS


Effective Image Delivery and Management


Esri International User Conference 2014


FOSS4G-E 2014: Bremen


Join a “Rapid Prototyping Testbed”


The Evolution of Mobile GIS


ISPRS Congress 2016




Calendar / Advertisers Index


Earlier this year, the French
UAV manufacturer Delair-Tech
performed a topographic study
in Niger. The results had to be
delivered quickly and performed by the company’s first product, the DT-18 UAV.



NorPix has just added support
for the PointGrey LadyBug5
360o camera to its flagship
DVR software, StreamPix 6, to
create a GIS (Geographic
Information System) for roadway inspection that saves
clients both time and money
while greatly enhancing data.

The City of New York uses
open source software alongside
its existing information technology infrastructure to improve
how its agencies provide
services to residents.


Skanska is a company that has
a strong ethos of using new
technology on new projects.
However, it doesn’t take its
buying decisions lightly which
makes the approval of the
Trimble R10 by Skanska’s M1
junction improvement scheme
survey manager Mark Lawton,
an accolade worth having.

As well as announcements
about new releases for the
ArcGIS platform, the
emphasis this year was
placed on new content, app
releases, 3D technology and
the web as the central
medium that connects, users,
data and technology.




Laser scanners are evolving
quickly. From high specification
devices offering great accuracy
and range, we are now seeing
lighter and simpler devices
providing greater mobility and


The storm “Ivar” wrought havoc
across the Sweden during the
night of Lucia in 2013, and
damaged about 8 million cubic
meters of forest. It is important
to as quickly as possible access
information about the quantity
and the geographical position
of any damaged forestry.

By creating a federated GIS
built on Bentley Map, Bentley
Channel Partner Innovacion
Sistemas y Proyectos (iSP)
enabled various departments
to access accurate cadastre
and cartography data.




The Great Reconnaissance
A UAV Project in Niger

Figure 1: The DT18 UAV system.

By Bastien Mancini

Earlier this year, the French UAV manufacturer Delair-Tech performed a topographic study in Niger. The results had to be delivered quickly and performed by
the company’s first product, the DT-18 UAV. This article describes the process of
data acquisition to end product and production of a vector map of the area.

Delair-Tech was started in France in 2011 by
four founders with various backgrounds but
the majority being oil & gas. They recognized
a coming need for small, long range UAV systems for inspection of pipelines and linear
infrastructure. The first prototypes were developed and then, over time, the project evolved
into what Delair-Tech is today; over 30 team
members based in a 700+ square meter facility in Toulouse with the capacity to produce
over 100 hand-built UAV systems per year.
The first Delair-Tech product was the DT-18
UAV. The DT-18 also happens to be certified
for BLOS (Beyond Line-Of-Sight) operations by
the French DGAC which makes it one of, if
not the, only UAV system in the world to be
approved for BLOS operations by an official
rule-making body. The DT-18 has a 1.8 m
wingspan, 100 km total range, two hour
endurance, and weighs only two kg with any
one of its three sensor payloads.

tract. They had been wanting to meet this particular client for several weeks, and knew our
system could meet their technical needs.
However, after finishing their presentation and
having asked when to meet again to discuss
further details, they were a bit surprised by
the customer´s reply : you have to start the job
there next week. “There” was in Niger, and
Delair- Tech had to do a topographic study of
150km x 300m in order to create a new rail-

way, and the results needed to be delivered
within two weeks. The main reasons why they
chose the company´s solution was the price
(more than twice as cheap as regular survey
means) and the reactivity that could be

UAV system
Delair-Tech sells the DT18 UAV system (Figure
1). It was the first to be granted BLOS (beyond

Figure 2: Digital Surface Model (DSM).

When meeting the customer in their Paris
office at the beginning of May, the people
from Delair-Tech were expecting a nice con-

September 2014


Tech was asked to go and do the survey.
Therefore, the specifications were not completely clear yet. However, a vertical accuracy of twenty cm over the whole area was
clearly expressed.


Figure 3: An orthophoto of the whole study area.

line of sight) flights in French Civil Airspace.
To achieve this, an entire UAV system was
designed from scratch: autopilot, aircraft, payload management and ground control system.
To meet the French authority’s specifications,
the plane itself had to weigh less than two kg
because regular planes are designed to be
resistant to four pounds birds, but still can fly
100km. From this initial plan, its capabilities
were extended by adapting the payload to
customer’s needs. And topography was a
strong need, which was so far targeted by
lower endurance systems. The strength of the
DT18 is to be able to fly longer, for such small
weight. In France, where the regulation limits
the flight altitude under 150m ASFC, the DT18
can achieve, in one flight 400ha @4cm GSD

(ground sampling distance = the size of one
pixel on ground). In Niger, where there is no
such limit, a 1000ha flight @12cm GSD was
achieved, flying at 500m ASFC.

The customer’s needs
The customer wanted to do a topographic survey in order to build a railway between the
cities of Niamey and Dosso (and a bit further
after Dosso). Delair-Tech’s data had to be provided to an engineering company in order for
them to estimate the excavation needs first,
and then draw the railway. Needless to say
their main tool is AutoCAD and not a GIS data
processing application. The project being so
much in a hurry, the customer had not yet chosen the engineering company when Delair-

Figure 4: GPS Niger

September 2014

After completing the visa procedures, and taking a few planes with the DT18 as a luggage,
the Delair-Tech people arrived in Niger nine
days after the meeting in Paris. It took four days
to achieve the flights of the whole area, which,
being a country not far from war zones, presents a few constraints. Eight legs were done
along the 150km to be sure to cover the 300m
of width everywhere (and in fact therefore
400m of width was done). The whole thing
was achieved in twenty flights, and about
1200km of distance flown, therefore an average of five flights a day, 60km per flight (as
to keep some battery for security), 300km
flown per day, which cover 1200ha @4cm
GSD. A total of 60  000 pictures of 5Mpix
each were taken (out of which 48 000 were
kept, with an automatic filter based on shutter
time, plane orientation and position, etcetera),
with a lateral overlap of 60% and longitudinal
overlap of 75%.

Ground Control Points
In order to achieve the absolute precision that
was asked by the customer, it was necessary
to have some ground control points. The only
measurements available before Delair-Tech´s
survey were provided by a local geometer in



Figure 5: Topography extract

a reference system he didn’t know - there were
some landmarks with figures that looked like
UTM coordinates on them. Several popular references including Point58 were tested, but
none was matching. Therefore, a Trimble RT4
GPS was bought by the customer, and a few
GCP (Ground Control Points) were measured,
in places indicated by Delair-Tech. Because of
the very short time available, it was decided
to measure as few points as possible, therefore
reducing the precision of the model. Seventeen
points were measured along the 150km.

Processing the data
Processing 48 000 pictures of 5Mpix at once
in order to reconstruct a 3D model is quite a
challenge. However, Delair-Tech has developed
tools in order to pack the pictures and metadata of several flights in one big dataset, and an
interface to work with a software called
Correlator3D (edited by Simactive) that can
manage datasets of hundreds of thousands of
pictures. One has to be patient, but the software never crashes, never says you have ran
out of memory and always finishes by providing results. Furthermore, if necessary, it can be
finely tuned at each step of the calculations
which gives a great control over the results one
wishes to provide to the customer.
Processing 48 000 pictures with 17 GCP in
Correlator3D on one powerful computer with
a regular NVIDIA graphic card, it took 72
hours to perform an AT (aerotriangulation) with
a mean error of 0.40 pixels. This work cannot
be parallelized. The aerotriangulation process
takes the pictures, the position and exterior orientations of the camera for each picture as
measured by the UAV, and gives new positions
and exterior orientations for the camera based
on the pictures by finding common points in
several pictures. It provides also the mean error
for each measurement by the UAV. In the

DT18, the mean error is a few degrees in orientations, and a few meters in position.
When the AT is done, a Digital Surface
Model (DSM) is generated (Figure 2). Processing 48 000 pictures with 17 GCP took six
days. However this work can be parallelized,
so with two computers it is another 72 hours
of work. The result is a GeoTiff file with one
pixel every four cm on ground. The precision
was achieved in Z, which is what interested
our customer, being finally 30cm, which is a
very good result considering the very small
amount of GCP available. This mean error
was measured on the GCP themselves, and
on five other points that were measured by
the Trimble GPS a few weeks after the job.
From the DSM, a DTM (Digital Terrain Model)
is calculated, and that is again 48 hours of
work. The DTM eliminates the trees and houses from the elevation model. The data is then
provided to the customer as a .dwg file, to
be able to work in AutoCAD, with a sampling
of one point every twenty meters, which is
very far from the original available sampling
of one point every four cm.
In the end, in order to provide an absolute
30cm Z accuracy DTM of an area of 150km
x 300m, with a sampling of four cm, around
270 hours of calculations were necessary
over 48  000 pictures at 5Mpix. A better
accuracy could have been achieved with
more GCP (the DT18 system is capable of
8cm absolute Z accuracy).

Going one step further
An interesting discussion arouse between
Delair-Tech and the engineering company
when the aforementioned expressed the need
to have a vector map of the whole area,
because that is how they were used to work.
The UAV systems are capable of doing most
of the things photogrammetry planes can do,

September 2014

but the vectorization job is still very manual.
As expressed by some people in a French
mapping institute : it is a manual job that is
nowadays performed in low-cost skilled
labour countries. In France, the market price
(as paid by the final customer) for this job is
between 5 to 10€/ha (and there were more
than 5000 ha to process), not speaking of the
time it takes. However, the real need of the
engineering company was to have a map they
could display in AutoCAD, in order to draw
the railway over it. And that’s where the UAV
comes in again.
Because in the end, the map is just a human
interpretation of the photography, displaying
an orthophoto of the area under the AutoCAD
drawing was fully sufficient. Therefore the customer simply asked for an extra orthophoto of
the whole area, with a 50cm sampling (still,
four cm was available). See Figure 3. In
Correlator3D, the calculation of projecting the
48 000 pictures over the DTM took an extra
five days, but can be parallelized on two computers.
Finally, by confronting the real needs of the
customers with the possibilities of their UAV
system, Delair-Tech managed to find an original solution that was three times cheaper and
four times quicker than what they thought they
needed at first.
As mentioned in the beginning of the article,
a 1000ha flight was achieved. This was the
fifth day, and it was because the customer had
more topography problems in a specific area.
This example simply illustrates the flexibility of
the UAV system when in such situations: the
people were there and with one extra-day
available, they were able to survey quite a
large area within two hours with the system.

Delair-Tech has designed a range of UAV that
can make acquisitions on long corridors to go
beyond what is done today in terms of photogrammetry using UAVs. Not only is the airframe able to fly 100km, but the image processing capacities that are needed to process
such huge datasets are very rare compared
to what is usually done using UAVs. The potential uses of such long endurance UAVs are
endless for the energy (power lines, pipelines,
gas lines, rivers) or transportation companies
(railways, highways), which are the next
biggest market niches to explore. In countries
like Niger where the lack of infrastructure and
the security matters can be a problem for classical survey systems, the use of UAVs could
grow very quickly.
For more information, have a look at

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Spectra Precision are trademarks of Trimble Navigation Limited, registered in the United States
Patent and Trademark of fice and in other countries. All other trademarks are the proper t y of their
respective owners.



By Robert Peel

Laser scanners are evolving quickly. From high specification devices offering great
accuracy and range, we are now seeing lighter and simpler devices providing
greater mobility and affordability. This is widening the appeal of laser scanning,
and scanners are being used for applications that were previously no go areas
due to the time and cost of projects or because of the location or accessibility.

Innovation in Rapid Laser Scan Data Collection and Processing

The Speed of Light
n the past, laser scanning has been limited by the lack of suitable software and
integrated systems that are needed to
deliver practical, commercial applications. The demand for 3D data is growing, with 3D mapping, city and building modelling now becoming popular. The amount of
data being generated is huge.


This data overload is a problem that has
become known as ‘Big Data’ and it is, of
course, not unique to laser scanning. In our
mobile connected world, vast amounts of data
is being collected. The challenge in the IT
world today is to make best use of this data,
whether it comes from a vehicle telematics system, online shopping or a mobile phone.
Laser scanning is no longer the domain of a
few academic institutions, large companies
and specialist laser surveying companies.
Interest is coming from building surveyors,
archaeologists, forensic teams and organisations that have limited technical resources or
expertise. These users need a fast, simple solution to deal with their own Big Data. Before
going into that, however, let’s look at how
scanner innovation is extending the use of
laser scanning.

Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping

The ZEB1 scanner

September 2014

In terms of widening the appeal of scanning,
probably the most significant advance is
Zebedee, which is the technology behind the
first truly handheld scanner – ZEB1 from 3D
Laser Mapping. Developed by CSIRO


Australia’s national science agency, it uses
robotic technology called Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM), which allows
data capture whilst in motion. In fact, the scanner has a large spring above the handle to
allow the scanner head to constantly move in
multiple directions.
Since it does not rely on GPS, unlike many
systems ZEB1 can be taken anywhere, including indoors and underground where mobile
mapping systems that rely on a GPS fix do not
function. It is lightweight and portable and can
be used on rough terrain, on staircases and
can be fitted onto a pole to extend coverage.

Graphic showing how Pointfuse eliminates manual Point Cloud processing.

Pointfuse generated 3D Vector Model of the The Old House, Shepperton.

Speed of data capture using ZEB1 is a big
plus. In Budapest it was used to map the inside
of an important historic building – the National Institution of Mental Health and Neurology.
Covering more than 40,000 square metres of
indoor space in grounds of 40.6 hectares, the
surveyors had just over one month to complete
the entire project from start to finish on behalf
of property management company Kiving Kft.
“Even with more than ten years’ experience of
reverse engineering projects, the challenge of
documenting one of the capital’s largest heritage buildings in just 32 days was daunting,”
commented Lajos Kandra, Managing Director
of Burken Ltd, the company commissioned to
survey the building. “We had just a few days
to scan an indoor area of around 40,000
square metres comprising over 2000 individual rooms with many physical obstacles in addition to the outside façade and woodland.”
“While our terrestrial laser scanners were perfect for outdoor scanning of the woods and
building facades, and even some of the larger indoor rooms, ZEB1 proved easier to use
for scanning indoors. Capturing data using
the ZEB1 is also fast, as the device requires
no set up and scanning can be completed at
a normal walking pace.”

With the ability to collect more data faster and
extend the scope for scanning, the post-capture processing becomes an issue. Whether
airborne, mobile, terrestrial or hand held
devices, they are all common in that they collect large volumes of data that is difficult to
handle and manipulate for downstream value
added products and solutions.
Pointfuse 3D model showing a section of highway generated from data supplied by Skanska.

September 2014

Just like the switch from film to digital cameras,
it might be a lot quicker to take photographs,
but we then spend hours on the computer sort-



Layered image showing the historic National Institution of Mental Health and Neurology in Budapest.

Electricity Sub-Station, Pointfuse model.

ing out all the images! So, faster surveying and
scanners that can collect over one million points
per second are of little benefit if there is a workflow log jam due to the data processing.
Currently the raw scanner data – the Point
Cloud data – has to go through partially manual processing to generate the vector data that
is needed to create 3D models. Imagine downloading an image off your digital camera to
be presented with a meaningless image showing millions of pixels. This would then need to
be loaded into a converter and manipulated
in a software package before output as a jpeg.
Of course, this is now completely automated.

To address the problem, computer experts at
Arithmetica, an inventive scientific software
house, realised that the same automation was
needed for raw scanner data. The result was
Pointfuse, a development that is changing the
way we visualise 3D Point Clouds.
Pointfuse is a powerful modelling engine that
has been created to give professionals a very
fast, precise and flexible way of turning vast
point cloud data sets into high fidelity vector
models for use in CAD and GIS packages. The
emphasis has been on the automation of this
conversion and ensuring that there is a clear

time saving in both visualising and exporting
the converted files for use in to third party software.
Applications are diverse, but Pointfuse is particularly useful where very large amounts of
data are involved. This includes infrastructure
such as road, rail, power and telecom networks, but also urban areas and buldings.
Following a recent rail infrastructure survey that
involved 68 terrestrial scans, the 96GB of scanner raw data was converted in less than three
hours. The resulting vector model consists of
polylines and polygons, exported and used as
an aid in third party modelling software to create a simulated model of the scene.

One of the most exciting aspects of Pointfuse is the potential the software offers for feature extraction. Pointfuse is able to recognise and extract objects and features without
manual intervention, and this is very important when dealing with large amounts of
data such as a highways survey captured from a moving StreetMapper-type vehicle.

Elsewhere, Pointfuse has been used in the
power industry to create models of sub-stations
and cabling. In heritage projects, where buildings are scanned to create records or plan rennovations, scanner data has been processed
using Pointfuse including scans of Shepperton
Old House, near London.

Through statistical best fit analysis, Pointfuse converts the tens of millions of data points
into polygons. This process also significantly reduces the size of the data, making it
much easier and faster to handle. One of the first trials of this capability was undertaken by the leading construction and infrastructure firm Skanska. Pointfuse was used
to extract highway structures such as bridges, gantries and crash barriers along a
stretch of motorway. Using Point Cloud data, features are recognised and extracted
automatically and in minutes.

Pointfuse is fully mobile compatible, and can
process data from mobile scanners as easily
and quickly as from terrestrial or airborne systems – and its results can be output and used
on standard handheld mobile devices, making
it an essential tool for creating and viewing
highly detailed models in the field.

Skanska sees Pointfuse as a much better solution than the Point Cloud data which is
all that is usually available after a survey. For engineers in the field, Pointfuse is seen
as a very useful tool as it improves decision making by allowing scenes to be viewed
in a realistic way. It means that specific engineering questions can be asked and
answered with the help of meaningful 3D vector models.

For more information, have a look at:

Feature Extraction

September 2014

Even the smallest
things matter
with big data
Geospatial 2014 solves your big data problem using analytics through
the cloud, delivered to mobile. In a user-friendly way, we make real-time
connection from the field a reality and allow you to create customised
solutions. We understand your big data problem and can easily manage it
down to the smallest point and pixel.
We shorten the life cycle between sensing change and taking action.
View our webcast on-demand at

© 2014 Intergraph Corporation. All rights reserved.
Intergraph is part of Hexagon. Intergraph and the Intergraph
logo are registered trademarks of Intergraph Corporation or
its subsidiaries in the United States and in other countries.



By Daniel Lewis

NorPix has just added support for the PointGrey LadyBug5 360o camera to its flagship
DVR software, StreamPix 6, to create a GIS (Geographic Information System) for
roadway inspection that saves clients both time and money while greatly enhancing
data. StreamPix 6 bundles meta-data, including DMI (Distance Measurement Interface)
and GPS data, with images. The LadyBug5 is a spherical imaging system with 30 MP
resolution covering 90% of a full sphere.

GIS for Roadway Inspection
Pavement Assement with StreamPix 6 and the Point Grey LadyBug5
Traditional versus Digital GIS Asset

he recent announcement from
NorPix of StreamPix 6 support for
the Point Grey Ladybug5 represents “the latest step in the development of GIS (Geographic
Information Systems)” according to
NorPix CTO Philippe Candelier. “The
StreamPix 6 strength in image acquisition,
synchronization, and embedded data
means a complete video record of both
the road surface and surrounding area
with embedded DMI and GPS data, making this an excellent choice for geographic information systems (GIS), and vehiclebased photogrammetry in general”
according to Candelier.


Traditionally, most agencies used manual
methods to collect pavement distress data,
a process that was both labor and time
intensive. Moreover, data reliability was
highly subjective because it depended on
inspector training and performance, with
a high level of variability in the results.
Digital GIS provides the advantage of correlating inspector analysis results for accuracy and repeatability. This means a consistent calibration for new inspectors and
the ability to re-calibrate inspectors who
might tend to drift from desired interpretations over time. Also, the GPS data can
be used to compare conditions over time.
This ability to monitor both inspector perUsing a laptop, desktop or small form facformance and quality control (QC)
tor solution, StreamPix six can capture
enables the production of consistently
JPEG 8 or 10 bit from the Ladybug5 at
high-quality data.
full resolution and speed at up to 240
According to NorPix President Luc
Mbytes/second in uncompressed RAW
Nocente, “The visual GIS approach has
format. As well as providing a real-time
Figure 1: The camera operator monitors real-time image acquisition
distinct advantages over other condition
preview, the system can archive directly
assessment methodologies, including:
to .PGR format for panoramic 3D render• Accuracy and precision – Using third-party software, distress
ing or post processing with third-party software, such as that providquantities can be accurately measured, not estimated, resulting in
ed by Point Grey for the LadyBug5. Each frame is triggered using
data that can be analyzed at a higher level, and where you can
the StreamPix 6 DMI (Distance Measuring Interface) and georeferdrill down to see individual distresses, allowing for a thorough
enced using the GPS module. Because the GPS data from a moving
Quality Control Review of identified trouble spots.
vehicle is always an approximation, an external timestamp further
• Repeatability – Previously identified and tabulated distresses
refines the position.
are already in the third-party database for subsequent re-inspecThe Ladybug5 spherical imaging system has 6 high-sensitivity 5 MP
tion in later years.
Sony CCDs, producing an impressive 30 MP resolution covering
• Data-rich records – The spherical image-based data collection
90% of a full sphere. For Pavement Condition Assessment, two addiwith embedded metadata provides a wealth of non-pavement data
tional cameras are added for direct road surface views. With the
such as traffic signs and safety conditions, by-law compliance, etc.
StreamPix DMI module as the trigger, the result is a complete record,
Data which is useful to other areas of the City to aid in planning
with each frame containing the road and surrounding visuals as well
and maintenance.”
as both the DMI information and GPS data with time stamp.

September 2014


Figure 2: Diagram of the truck-mounted monitoring system

This results in a superior deliverable to the City at a much lower cost
than using conventional “feet on the ground” assessment techniques.
When the roadway is re-inspected a few years later, the technician
can review the roadway images, compare the visible distresses in
the GIS to the distresses in the record, and then verify or update the
severity of the existing distresses that have not been repaired, remove
previous distresses that have been repaired, or add newly identified
distresses, thereby significantly reducing the cost of subsequent reinspection.

Figure 4: Third-party software imports image sequences, GPS and timestamp data into GIS software.

The DMI trigger fires all cameras simultaneously, based on forward
movement. If there is no movement, there is no capture.
The MIV two-man crew consists of a driver and a navigator / camera operator. The driver operates the vehicle, watches surrounding
traffic, and receives navigation instructions from the camera operator. The camera operator uses StreamPix 6 to monitor and adjust the
quality of the images collected from all cameras and makes sure that
all roadways are imaged in both directions.
The road inspection cameras are mounted on the vehicle in differing
orientations with both wide angle and telephoto lenses to obtain the
maximum field of view and image coverage. Both of the road cameras are connected to the host computer with a Gigabit Ethernet
interface. The LadyBug5 uses USB3. This allows the team to capture
images at more frequent intervals and faster drive speeds without
dropping or losing images. The StreamPix GPS Module ties each
image to a GPS position showing where the camera was located
when the image was captured (Figure 2).
Later, back in the office, a Pavement Distress Technician uses thirdparty software to perform a virtual drive down the road, reviewing
the sequence of images, moving forward and backward with multiple camera angles to assess pavement condition, identify distresses,
and identify and locate the traffic signs, etc. Once a pavement distress has been identified, the distress needs to be quantified. For
example, in the longitudinal and transverse cracking visible in the
images below, the lengths of the cracking needs to be measured
and associated with the appropriate roadway section.

Figure 3A and 3B:
Third-party software is
used to quantify distresses

How it Works
A Mobile Imaging Vehicle (MIV) is equipped with the LadyBug5 and
two high speed color cameras. High-resolution images are captured
and logged with data at up to ten images per second to an on-board
computer linked to a GPS receiver with time stamp. This system
allows the field team to drive at posted speeds and collect images
from each camera at intervals of five to ten feet. The MIV collects up
to 180,000 images per day, each with precise GPS and time data.

Key to this process is the ability to easily correlate the roadway
image taken from the vehicle to the position on the ground shown in
the map. Typical mobile mapping platforms require users to select a
common point in two or more images to triangulate and establish a
coordinate position on the ground. This is a time consuming process. To map the location of a rectangular pavement patch with four
corners, the technician would have to identify all four points in two
different images to calculate coordinates.
Using third-party tools, the StreamPix-captured images, timestamps,
and GPS data are imported into GIS mapping software, as shown
in the illustration above. Once placed on the map, the image can
be enlarged and extremely fine details can be seen, crack widths
measured to determine severity, the distresses traced on the map,
and linked to a database.

September 2014


potential uses for georeferencing and asset inventory.” With a frame rate from six to sixteen fps and a
data rate from 40 to 245 MB/s via the 5 Gbit/s USB
3.0 interface, StreamPix 6 allows capture to disk in
• Faster Condition Assessment – Because the
uncompressed RAW or in JPEG 8- or 10-bit format
images are collected by a vehicle moving at normal
with no dropped frames. Capture can be previewed
speeds, the time required to capture the data in the
live and archived directly to .PGR format for panoramfield is dramatically reduced.
ic 3D rendering or post processing using third-party
• Higher Quality – The virtual drive review can be
software such as Point Grey’s.
stopped, reversed, and slowly reviewed as many times
Nocente says, “The superb image quality coupled
as necessary to analyze conditions from multiple camwith the StreamPix 6 processing power makes this an
era angles.
Figure 5: Extremely fine detail can be seen.
excellent choice for geographic information systems
• Easier Data Repurposing – A wealth of non(GIS) and vehicle-based photogrammetry, including:
pavement data such as traffic signs, safety conditions, by-law com• Roadside feature inventory and asset management
pliance, etc., can be made available to other agencies for planning
• Municipal ordinance compliance
and maintenance.
• Power transmission grid inspection
StreamPix 6 has greatly enhanced camera management over earlier
• Pipeline inspection
versions, with improvements to light management and lens control
• Railway track inspection.”
parameters such as iris, focus and zoom for some GigE Vision compatible cameras. StreamPix 6 also features improved performance
Other potential applications include situational awareness, enterfor writing data to SSDs and large capacity external USB3 hard
tainment solutions, full dome projection content, and other immerdisks. Export formats include JPEG and QuickTime .mov.
sive experience applications.
This approach has many advantages over other methods, including:

A system with a broad range of applications
Nocente says, “Video that can include GPS and time stamped data
coupled with cameras triggered by a DMI device have many other

For more information, have a look at:

S l www
+1 907.522.3681 l 800.770.3681
Anchorage, Alaska, USA



Join a “Rapid Prototyping Testbed”
One might assume that growing urban populations are adequately served
by the profusion of Internet-connected devices, but that isn’t the case. The
global interest in Smart Cities reflects widespread awareness that many
of the potentials of inexpensive networked devices have yet to be
realized. Non-interoperability of location services is a key obstacle.
he main drivers for Smart Cities are consumer
services, citizen services and municipal management. Science is an important driver, too, but as
a market it offers technology providers less immediate return on investment. Unfortunately, consumer services are constrained a proliferation of location
stovepipes provided by mobile platform providers,
most of whom have not yet seen the value of a shared
platform of location interface and encoding standards. Citizen services and municipal management
are constrained by a combination of centralized GIS
and a disjoint collection of mobile platform providers’
location apps. Dependence on a centralized GIS or
a particular platform provider doesn’t make sense in
a distributed computing world where “the network is
the computer”, and where location data comes in an
ad hoc fashion from anywhere and location intelligence can come from servers anywhere in the cloud
just as easily as it can come from a municipal server.
Also, science, consumer services, citizen services and
municipal management are all constrained by disconnects between the spatial scales of spatial information relevant to Smart Cities: geospatial, civil and
infrastructure engineering, and Architecture/Engineering/Construction. There are other challenges,
too: governance and privacy issues, cost, unstructured
data and hodge-podges of data sets in different formats, Digital Rights Management issues, and access


To help move all Smart Cities initiatives forward, the
Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) proposes an
Urban Internet of Things (IoT) Testbed to catalyze the
marketplace through better approaches to location
information sharing and integration. The OGC has
been developing, testing and promoting geospatial
standards for sixteen years. Testbeds, pilot projects
and interoperability experiments feed prototypes,
engineering reports, best practices and publicly accessible “working code” into Technical Committee working groups. The working groups hammer out candidate standards for international review and adoption
as OGC Standards. The process proceeds on fundamental principles of open sponsorship, open participation by technology providers, rapid prototyping
and spiral engineering.

an Urban IoT Testbed, for example, sponsors might
focus the testbed’s “technology threads” on: Urban
Maps using the richest 3D city models, sharing data
through open standards, Energy and Utilities management through open standards based implementations for Smart Energy, Smart Water Management,
Sensor Webs providing ready access to both dedicated, operational sensors and to opportunistic and
contributed, citizen sensing; Increased situational
awareness from fusion of sensor observations,
Disaster and Emergency Management through response centers equipped with a geospatially enabled
Common Operational Picture, Citizen Services and
Municipal services providing and using spatial information made available to and from home, office and
mobile platforms. Sponsors will likely agree to focus
on the following areas of research and development:
Data collection: Machine Input; Data collection:
Citizen Input; Data Sharing and open data;
Information Transformation; Forensic Modeling and
Predictive Modeling.
Sponsors will find that much work has already been
done in interoperability “threads” in past OGC
testbeds. For example, the OGC’s recent Testbed 10
(OWS-10) addressed interoperability requirements
for gazetteers, semantic mediation and linked data,
cloud technologies and cloud interoperability, big
data, mobile, and hydrologic data interoperability.
Standards, lessons learned, best practices and vendor product advancements resulting from Testbed 10,
other earlier testbeds and the coming OGC Testbed
11 (eleventh in a yearly series), will help Smart Cities
stakeholders “connect the dots” in defining a next
round of rapid prototyping and spiral engineering.
Time has run out for introducing new requirements
into Testbed 11, but there is nothing to prevent Smart
Cities and IoT stakeholders from convening to begin
planning an OGC Urban IoT Testbed. Scope, scale,
site selection, etc. are all to be defined, but the governance structure, methodology, and organization for
creating powerful cost-sharing, leverage and return
on investment are all in place. Please contact OGC
( if you have questions or if you’ve already decided that this can benefit your organization. Let’s get started!

Testbed sponsors provide use cases and scenarios
that exemplify the diverse needs of stakeholders. In

September 2014

George Percivall, Chief Engineer, Open
Geospatial Consortium (OGC).



By Lucy Hamilton

Skanska is a company that has a strong ethos of using new technology on new
projects. However, it doesn’t take its buying decisions lightly which makes the
approval of the Trimble R10 by Skanska’s M1 junction improvement scheme survey manager Mark Lawton, an accolade worth having.

Testing Ground for New Technology
A Skanska Surveying Project
Skanska on the M1 site with the R10 – no need
to look at the pole to check its level thanks to the
eBubble facility on the TSC3 logger.

n December 2013, The Highways
Agency signed a contract with Skanska
UK for improvements to the M1 Junction
19, near Rugby. The project is worth
£129m to Skanska and work began in
January of this year with completion scheduled for winter 2016/17. The scheme, near
Catthorpe in Leicestershire, will reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability
and safety by replacing the existing junction
with a three-level junction and by improving
roads between the villages of Catthorpe and
Swinford so local traffic can avoid the junction.


Adopting new technology
Mark Lawton is the chief engineering surveyor for Skanska and the survey manager on
this scheme. His team of surveyors is
equipped with a range of KOREC supplied
Trimble instruments including the new Trimble
R10 GNSS with TSC3 data logger, Trimble
R8 GNSS a Trimble VX spatial station and
Trimble S6 robotic total stations. They also
use Trimble’s VRS Now service which provides instant access to real-time kinematic
(RTK) corrections across the site.
Skanska has a strong ethos of adopting new
technology and Mark Lawton’s strategy is to
purchase a single unit, in this case the
Trimble R10 GNSS, and then use it alongside Skanska’s existing instrumentation fleet
as part of a larger procurement plan which
involves thorough site testing and dialogue
with Trimble, via KOREC.

Check-in, check-out policy
Under the guidance of Mark, the M1 Junction
nineteen survey team has several procedures
in place to ensure that he knows exactly how
both the instrumentation and Trimble VRS
Now service is performing. “We operate a

September 2014


Screen grabs from the TSC3 illustrating the eBubble facility.

strict ‘check-in, check-out’ policy for all survey equipment,” explains Mark. “Our surveyors and engineers measure the same point in the morning and
evening to make certain that everything is within
tolerance and this is a vital part of the day. Consistency is imperative for the smooth running of our
surveying tasks and this simple step shows results of
GPS coordinates from both the VRS Now network
and the Trimble 851 base station, confirming everyone is confident of the survey network before they
go into the field. This procedure allows us to instantly
spot if there is a problem with the equipment or network. This system saves us time, ensures consistency
of data captured and also provides reassurance for new
team members.”
Mark reports that thanks to this approach, he has daily
confirmation of the consistency of the Trimble VRS Now
service and knows that there has not been a single problem with it beyond occasional downtime for essential maintenance.

Mark also cites that, thanks to the R10’s extended
battery life and meter gauging battery usage, his
surveyors are out on site longer and the days of
re-charging at lunch time or carrying spares in a
pocket are long gone.
Skanska’s R10 is being used with a TSC3 data logger which comes with a built in SIM and handles
everything from .csv files to AutoCAD files and documents as well as providing a platform for Trimble
Access field software. Mark stresses that the TSC3
works for Skanska because it’s not just for capturing
data, but for other uses as well. The TSC3 also comes
with a built in 5MP camera which has been useful on
this project and in particular for manhole surveys. In each case
a number is sprayed onto the manhole cover, it is then surveyed
and a geo-tagged image taken. The camera is also used to identify unrecognised features, for example a manhole cover that
could be a telecoms access box, or for the identification of
exposed cables. The geo-tagged images can be sent from site
to a technical expert for immediate verification. The logger
includes the facility to access the internet and this allows Skanska
surveyors who are elsewhere to access Skanska’s Outlook webmail turning the R10 into a tool that can be used nationally and
not just on established sites.

Instrumentation and technology
The Skanska surveying team predominantly uses its instrumentation for setting out, topographic surveys and utilities surveys and it is these day to day tasks that have provided an ideal scenario in which to test the new R10
GNSS and TSC3 logger.
The R10 is Trimble’s most advanced GNSS and offers
several new patented technologies. One of these is Trimble xFill,
which allows for continuous surveying, without interruption, if
the connection to the base station or Trimble VRS network is
temporarily lost. Trimble xFill works seamlessly to ‘fill in’ for
gaps in the RTK or VRS correction stream by leveraging a worldwide network of Trimble GNSS reference stations and satellite
data links.
At the M1/J19 project’s debut, before the verges were cleared,
many of the surveys required the Skanska team to repeatedly
pop in and out of shrubbery. The xFill technology instantly
removed the headache from this process by maintaining a fixed
solution under the light canopy cover. Mark states that this is
the single biggest benefit the R10 offers his team, cutting out
the frustration of having to reinitialise every five minutes.

Mark concludes, “This project has been the ideal testing ground
for the R10 technology. It maintains lock far better than any other
GNSS we’ve tried and this is crucial for us, far outweighing any
other benefit. It saves time, it ensures accuracy, it generates confidence and it eliminates unnecessary questions normally sent to
our survey team. We have a policy of purchasing the best and
the latest technology. This project has assured us that our next
GNSS purchases will, without question, be R10’s and we will
not be considering any other options. Put simply, it delivers exactly the technology and performance that we require on this type
of civil engineering project.”
For more information, have a look at:

Trimble’s R10.

September 2014



The Evolution of Mobile GIS
July is always an interesting month in the world of GIS. Thousand flock to
San Diego for the annual Esri User Conference (UC). This year more than
any other you can feel change in the air. Esri’s messaging has altered:
now the ArcGIS platform is all encompassing. The most popular sessions
at the conference? Standing room only in all things mobile.

Matt Sheehan is Principal and Senior
Developer at WebmapSolutions. The
company build location focused mobile
applications for GIS, mapping and
location based services (LBS).
Matt can be reached at

his column has been about discussing, writing and building mobile GIS applications. It
was once a lonely road. Misunderstanding
and lack of ability to visualize solving problems
with mobile GIS, were reoccurring challenges. But
we stuck to our guns, believing that mobile GIS
in combination with cloud technology would revolutionize GIS and location technology. It was
obvious at the Esri UC that finally the mobile
penny has dropped.


Offline Collector for ArcGIS
The new offline version of Collector has been wildly popular. Interest is enormous. The release of
this free mobile app, now with offline capabilities, more than any other has caught the imagination of the GIS community. Finally they have a
truly useful mobile app. My company been inundated with requests from clients to help set up and
train staff on the use of Collector. The app is popular with GIS and non GIS trained staff alike This
has necessitated familiarizing these field based
workers with the online and offline Collector workflows. Data set up and publishing in ArcGIS
Online has also been required. Collector is replacing older pen and paper based methods once
used to collect data. Using a smartphone or
tablets built-in GPS, users location and the location of features can be automatically set. Feature
attributes are stored on the device if offline, locally stored edits or additions are pushed to ArcGIS
Online when back online. Images can be attached
to features using the mobiles built in camera.
There are beginning to emerge alternatives to
Collector. GISCloud recently announced the
release of an offline editor which works against
their cloud GIS platform. There is little doubt others will be entering this ever more popular space.

Custom Versions of Collector
There is little doubt that Collector has caught the
imagination of users. It has helped them see the
potential of mobile GIS. That in turn has led to
organizations to think more widely around mobile
apps. One request we are now getting from

September 2014

clients is for a custom version of Collector. This is
for reasons of branding, custom functionality, and
flexibility in loading non-AcGIS Online services.
My company has been working with Esri, and has
built a mobile framework which allows us to provide clients with custom versions of Collector. An
example of this work is a mobile app being built
for a large engineering company. Their need is a
branded version of Collector which provides custom forms (printable to pdf), and can use services
published in ArcGIS server as well as ArcGIS
Online. The need for custom workflows and functionality will drive future developments in the
mobile space for those organizations developing
cloud based mobile GIS apps.

The Mobile Future is Bright
Mobile data collection is truly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mobile GIS and mapping.
Location is central to so many mobile apps, GIS
will be applied ever more broadly. Pipeline companies are tracking the location of vehicles in relation to buried pipes via mobile devices using technology like the GeoEvent processor. Retail site
location teams are searching for and viewing
location linked documents relating to potential
new sites on their iPads. Mining companies are
using location linked forms to store information
collected by geologists on their smartphones while
in the field. Real estate companies focused on
land sales are using GIS driven mobile mapping
apps to help in the sales process.
GIS anywhere, anytime is becoming a reality.
There is still a long way to go, but an inflexion
point has been reached when it comes to mobile
GIS. The future of mobile GIS and mapping is
indeed bright.



Incorporating Geospatial Data
Open Source at Two City of New York Agencies

Rolando Peñate

The City of New York uses open source software alongside its existing information technology
infrastructure to improve how its agencies provide services to residents. Rather than replace
existing monolithic enterprise solutions, two City of New York agencies use OpenGeo Suite to
incorporate geospatial data without sacrificing their existing tools and workflows. Such flexibility enables agencies to design NYC-specific maps and develop web applications that help
civil servants perform their duties and city residents better benefit from municipal services.


GIS, a team within DoITT, proFor modern enterprises, geovides enterprise-wide support
spatial data is one increasingly
for geospatial applications
important aspect of the larger
namely developing and hostinformation technology story.
ing a digital map and geo-refBoundless develops and superenced data along with assoports powerful software for
ciated tools and applications.
enterprise geospatial applications. Its flagship product,
In 2008, DoITT designed a
OpenGeo Suite, is a complete
new web mapping architecopen source platform for manture that would overlay vector
aging geospatial data and
information on top of cached
building maps and applications.
map tiles. By sharing the tiles
OpenGeo Suite offers flexibility
among applications, but
and scalability critical to sucallowing different overlays, the
cessful deployments. The exarchitecture could be used by
NYC Broadband Map provides an up-to-date view of the availability of broadband infrastructure in the City’s
perts at Boundless succeed at
multiple agencies, yet retain a
commercial buildings, as well as a view of emerging demand for broadband services in the City’s commercial
helping enterprise clients reduce
consistent look and feel and be
buildings and neighborhoods.
the cost and time of deploying
centrally maintained.
and managing geospatial software with packexisting monolithic enterprise solutions, two
aging, support, maintenance, professional serSince its relationship with Boundless began,
City of New York agencies, the Human
vices, and expert training.
DoITT has developed a number of applications
Resources Administration and the Department
for NYC government entities and the general
of Information Technology and TelecomOpenGeo Suite is an alternative to other enterpublic, all backed by Boundless commercial supmunications, use OpenGeo Suite to incorpoprise GIS software currently on the market. It
port. Among these applications are a “street clorate geospatial data without sacrificing their
is primarily designed to work within and
sure” application, the NY City Map, a street
existing tools and workflows. Such flexibility
improve, rather than replace, existing architecconditions map, a 311 map and dozens of
enables agencies to design NYC-specific
other internal and external applications
tures to meet the Spatial IT challenges of orgamaps and develop web applications that help
designed to meet specific business needs.
nizations large and small. While traditional
civil servants perform their duties and city resGIS workflows focus on styling and publishing
idents better benefit from municipal services.
Colin Reilly is the Director of the Citywide GIS
maps, OpenGeo Suite makes it possible to inteNYC Department of Information
program, “Our plan for this new application
grate spatial analysis and visualization with
Technology and Telecommunications
and others to follow was to use WFS and conthe tools that IT professionals use every day.
The New York City Department of Information
vert GML to VML/SVG over a map cache to
provide the desired map experience. In selectTechnology and Telecommunications (DoITT)
The City of New York uses Boundless software
ing software that could publish geospatial data
oversees the City’s use of existing and emergalongside its existing information technology
as WFS, we came upon Geoserver as we
ing technologies in government operations, and
infrastructure to improve how its agencies proexpanded our search to open source.”
its delivery of services to the public. Citywide
vide services to residents. Rather than replace

September 2014


NYC Street Closures is New York City’s online map portal for displaying street closures. The application
provides access to information regarding current and future street closures and allows the user to perform
searches based on date and location.

DoITT turned to Boundless for support while
building their architecture around GeoServer.
DoITT has the technical expertise to build the
application in-house but wanted to be able to
get bugs fixed and ask questions about their specific use of GeoServer. The also sought to learn
about GeoWebCache and OpenLayers.
DoITT purchased a maintenance agreement for
OpenGeo Suite from Boundless that provided
them with personalized training, access to support and other professional services for their production environment. Taken together, this gave
DoITT the piece of mind to develop applications
on top of OpenGeo Suite components.
DoITT deployed Geoserver atop an Oracle
database with geographic data stored in SDO
geometry columns. Because Geoserver works
natively with Oracle, there is no need for an
extra layer of software, to mediate the connection. Geoserver provides OGC standard Web
Feature Service access to the data in Oracle,
returning the features as GML. The vector overlays pop out when you try out the sites. Map
features are “live”; they become active with
mouse rollovers and can provide immediate user
feedback without requiring a server-side query.
As this new architecture was developed, DoITT
formalized the design as the WebMap framework for in-house re-use. WebMap has now
been used to develop several different agency’s
map-based applications, including the core
NYCityMap and the NYC*scout for the Mayor’s
Office of Operations.
Open source software solutions are catching on
in New York City, and Reilly predicts that in
future projects Citywide GIS may leverage it
even more. “We currently use a suite of open

NYCityMap is New York City’s online map portal. The application provides a wealth of information including
the locations of schools, day care centers, senior centers, libraries, hospitals, subways, and more, as well as
links to websites for these facilities. This page is also a single access point to many of the numerous locationbased applications on such as online property, building, statistics, and census information.

source tools and, as new needs arise, look first
to open source options before investigating traditional proprietary software. The cost advantages of open source works well within our business plan. Saving money is always well
NYC DoITT chose to use a hybrid architecture,
allowing them to develop their applications
faster and with reduced costs. With a Boundless
maintenance agreement in place, NYC DoITT
was able to maximize their flexibility with
regards to technology choices.

NYC Human Resources Administration
The New York City Human Resources Administration and Department of Social Services
(HRA) serves New Yorkers by overseeing the
majority of the City’s social services programs,
from employment services, temporary assistance and work support. HRA serves over three
million New Yorkers in need.
HRA has several internal applications that
serve client and demographic data that help
case managers and service providers manage
workflows, track client process and keep case
files available. However, none of these applications were leveraging spatial IT technology.
After Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012,
which flooded much of New York City, HRA
realized that their applications lacked a visual
way of identifying clients in flood and evacuation zones which delayed providing services
and necessary assistance. With a recommendation from DoITT, they turned to Boundless.
The HRA team identified a number of key
areas where geospatial data would allow
them to better serve their clients to increase

September 2014

safety and understand evolving needs. First
they engaged with the Boundless team of
experts to explore the training and professional services options. Then HRA embraced
OpenGeo Suite to develop their solution.
Since it began using OpenGeo Suite in 2013,
HRA has been working on incorporating the
software’s functionality into more than several
applications that serve vulnerable populations.
According to Dahan Abdo, a Computer
Systems Manager at HRA: “OpenGeo Suite
made it very easy to incorporate geospatial
data into our applications, not just for mapping but as a way to understand where and
when services were needed. The system
allows us to put our focus on our important
mission of serving clients instead of working
with layers and maps.”
By incorporating geospatial awareness into
their internal applications, they will now
know where clients are located and what
services are closest to them in times of emergencies and on an ongoing basis. Using
OpenGeo Suite, HRA is able to integrate
and geocode multiple datasets from across
the agency and then distribute and display
the data either directly through OpenLayers
or to provide contextual perspective using
lists. “Knowing the location of our clients is
an important need and OpenGeo Suite
allows us to meet that need without tremendous expense or time,” says Abdo, “OpenGeo Suite provided us with the flexibility to
embed geospatial awareness directly into
our existing applications rather than building new ones.”
Rolando Peñate, VP Product Marketing.
For more information, have a look at:



By Martin Sjödin

The storm “Ivar” wrought havoc across the Sweden during the night of Lucia in 2013,
and damaged about eight million cubic meters of forest. It is important to as quickly as
possible access information about the quantity and the geographical position of any
damaged forestry. Therefore, an aerial photo mission over the storm damaged area
was carried out by Blom. Data collection, data processing and conditions during photo
flights are discussed below.

Identification of Storm Damaged Forest
Using Pixel-matched Aerial Imagery

The storm in December
The storm “Ivar” wrought havoc across the Sweden during the night
of Lucia in 2013, and damaged about eight million cubic meters of
forest. The damage after the storm lay scattered in the countryside
and was difficult to detect from the ground, as surrounded areas were
often obscured by standing trees or access was near impossible due
to lack of roads and paths. To undertake a comprehensive inventory
in the field over the 15,000 km2 operating area would have been
very costly and time consuming. Forest companies were quick to perform inventory reconnaissance using helicopters, but the approach is
relatively expensive and the method covers only a small part of the

Damaged areas colored in red

Over the last few decades, severe storms caused major damage to
forests across Scandinavia. To date, the worst of the storms was the
so-called “Gudrun” that paralyzed southern Sweden in January
2005. Aside from major infrastructure damage, the volume of
forestry damaged totaled the same volume as usually harvested in
Sweden each year. Damage of that size is unusual but storms that
cause destruction equivalent to 5-20% of a normal year’s harvest
have occurred on numerous occasions. One of these storms was
“Ivar”, which hit central Sweden in December 2013. Though the
damage usually does not cause any major issues at a national scale,
it does however inflict significant challenges at a local level.
The biggest problem is the extensive logistical challenges faced,
when volumes several times larger than normal must be handled in
a relatively short period of time. Changeover affects the whole chain
from harvesting to timber inventory and capacity in industry. Storm
damage and felled timber is a commodity that is rapidly declining
in value if not taken care of quickly enough. In addition to losses of
storm damaged timber, felled timber if left for too long can cause
devastating insect damage to healthy forestry. It is important to as
quickly as possible access information about the quantity and the
geographical position of any damaged forestry. With the help of
reliable information, a decision is made on how much extra resource
is required; resources in the form of logging equipment and trucks
can then be controlled so that the most urgent forests are prioritized.
Camera and mount

September 2014


Camera lens

landscape. Therefore, a large-scale aerial photography survey is the
better option for large areas to quickly obtain inventories of damage.
Another advantage of aerial photography unlike subjective reconnaissance, was that the data captured was easily used by other
departments, to get even more information from the same dataset.
Another option considered was ordering a relatively high resolution
satellite image. Compared with airborne photography, the results had
not been up to the same quality and the costs were also higher.

aerial images using pixel matching. This was then compared with a
previous surface model from laser scanning and aerial photographs,
which allowed quick identification of all surfaces where the forest was
no longer there. The method made it very easy to identify damage in
aerial images due to automatic coloring. “This has enabled us to obtain
much more detailed information, so that we have a better picture than
ever before of where the storm damage has felled trees”, said Mats
Sandgren, managing director of SCA Skog, to the local newspaper.

Aerial Photography from high altitude

Challenging weather

Due to an order from the forest company SCA Skog AB, an aerial
photo mission over the storm damaged area was carried out by Blom.
Initially a pilot area was captured to confirm that the damaged forest
could be clearly identified from the imagery. The tests were successful and the entire project area was divided into five parts, all with
individual flight lines. The whole capture project was completed in
the early stages of 2014.
To be able to cover the largest area possible in such a limited timeframe, the project was carried out at the highest possible altitude at
5500 meters. It was difficult to reach a higher altitude as the aircraft
was operated with conventional piston engines, and without a pressured cabin. Because of the thin air at such high altitudes, the flight
crew required the used of oxygen masks. The data was captured
using a special high tech digital aerial camera (Microsoft UltraCam
XP), which produced a final 33cm GSD image.

The aircraft is usually stationed in central Scandinavia and at short
notice can complete flights throughout the Nordic region. During a
capture project, local airports are used so that ferry flights are minimized and the flight time is as efficient as possible. Crucial to the airports chosen is availability of fuel and opening hours. Although the
aircraft was stationed in the project area, the weather was still a challenge, especially since the mission was carried out during the winter.
To carry out aerial photo flights during the darkest time of the year is
very demanding, not only because of the few daylight hours but also
unreliable weather conditions with lots of cloud. On several occasions aircraft was not allowed to fly when there was a risk of icing of
the plane itself. Another challenge encountered was to keep the
mechanical equipment running at temperatures of -45c at the required
altitudes. The weather conditions were extremely cloudy at the beginning of 2014, and during January the average cloud cover was 80100% which was significantly higher than normal. This gave a capture window of acceptable weather of only a few days. The pressure
on delivery was hard and the weather conditions were monitored
closely hour by hour, day by day. Once the weather improved, the
flight was carried out quickly. During a full day of flight with good
weather, upwards of 5000 km2 could be captured.

The data
As the data captured is all digital, one advantage is the ability to quickly process the data after the flight has finished. Combined with the
national elevation model that Blom collected with airborne laser scanning for the Swedish Land Survey, the production of orthophotos was
quick and efficient. Within a week after the flight the customer had their
orthophotos delivered. In addition to the traditional aerial photo
(orthophoto), Blom also delivered a 3D surface model of the landscape.
The surface model consisted of a point cloud that was produced from

September 2014

Martin Sjödin, Product manager at Blom within remote sensing
related to forestry in Sweden.
For more information, have a look at:



Satellite imagery of Cancún

Developing the Cancún GIS
Enabling to Collect 66 Percent More Property Tax

By Cathy Chatfield-Taylor

By creating a federated GIS built on Bentley Map, Bentley Channel Partner
Innovacion Sistemas y Proyectos (iSP) enabled various departments to access
accurate cadastre and cartography data. The federated GIS improved the City’s
approach to property tax assessment, enabling the collection of eighteen percent
more tax revenue within six months and 66 percent by the end of the first year.

Bentley Channel Partner Innovacion
Sistemas y Proyectos (iSP) is a provider of
geospatial information systems (GIS) services to local, state, and federal governments as well as the pharmaceutical industry in Mexico. The City of Cancún retained
iSP to modernize its cadastral information
systems and increase property tax collection
revenue. By creating a federated GIS built
on Bentley Map, iSP enabled various departments to access accurate cadastre and car-

tography data. The federated GIS improved
the City’s approach to property tax assessment, enabling the collection of 18 percent
more tax revenue within six months and 66
percent by the end of the first year. The City
quickly recouped its investment, which represented ten percent of one year’s tax collection revenue. In one year alone, the City
expected to generate a total of USD 12.2
million in additional revenue for government
services that will be used to improve quality
of life for its citizens.

September 2014

Tax Collection Shortfall
As one of the most popular travel destinations in Mexico if not the world, Cancún
strives to continually improve the government services it provides to a growing number of citizens and tourists. The challenge is
to leverage the City’s limited financial and
personnel resources to achieve the best quality of life. Cancún is just one of 2,457
municipalities in Mexico that depend on the
federal government for 71 percent of their
revenue. The remaining 29 percent of rev-


enue comes from tax collection – most importantly, property tax collection. However,
because in many cases their tax collection
systems are not yet fully modernized, municipalities in Mexico often take in less revenue
than municipalities in other regions of Latin
America, and far less than Europe and
North America.
In Cancún, one aspect of the property tax
collection system that required modernization was the maintenance of existing land
and building property records, as well as
the creation of new records for areas under
construction within the municipality. Cartography comprised more than 28,000 nonlinked files with geo-reference and restitution errors, and incorrect or non-existent
cadastre keys. Modernizing the system
required working with roughly 2.2 million
entries of cadastral data.
Another constraint on the municipality’s tax
collection performance was the fact that
each department maintained its own information system. As a result, data and records
were inconsistent in quality, format, and
accuracy. Various software applications
were used for database management and
CAD document management. These variances hindered interdepartmental cooperation.

Developing the Cancún GIS
iSP developed the Cancún Federated Geospatial Information System to modernize the
municipality’s cadastral system, and allow
different departments to access and update
property records. The USD 1.2 million project implemented Bentley Map, ProjectWise,
and MicroStation.
In Stage 1 of the two-year project, iSP updated land and building property records, created new construction records, and integrated departmental data into a single cadastral
information system. This involved cleaning
the data, taking aerial photography of the
municipality, and developing photogrammetric restitution maps using the cadastre
module of Bentley Map. Aerial photography
of 156 square kilometers revealed new construction that had not been reported to the
government and had not been subject to
appropriate taxation.
The City also conducted a door-to-door census of the entire municipality using mobile
devices to capture geo-coordinates, current
property data, and images. The next phase
integrated data from each of the municipality’s information systems into a single Bentley
Map desktop GIS. The integrated system
provided one-stop access to cadastral, con-

Having access to up-to-date, single-source data allows department personnel to better manage information.

tour, and statistical maps; aerial photography; asset images; and construction activities. Bentley technology allowed the City to
update property information, identify
merged lots, recognize new properties and
unrecorded construction projects, and discover properties with unreported development.
In Stage 2, iSP set up ProjectWise access
for the entire municipal organization. Using
a common engineering information management platform standardized the entering,
recording, retrieval, and reproduction of
information such as Property Tax Office
records. ProjectWise also facilitated collaboration among departments.

Accurate Data Enables More Effective
The Bentley solution enabled the City of
Cancún to standardize on one platform
throughout the municipal organization. The
Urban Development Office and Property Tax
Office now use the federated GIS to assess
property and building taxes in a consistent,
accurate, equitable, and predictable manner. The municipality can now perform accurate analytics on a complete set of cadastre
information and cartographic databases.
Having access to up-to-date, single-source
of data allows department personnel to better manage information such as property
and building descriptions, ownership records, and assessed property values.
With better data management comes more
effective operations. The City has been able
to identify properties and new construction
that were not previously listed in the tax
database, or that were not correctly described. These property listings have been
corrected or added to the database so the
record accurately reflects the level of construction or development. For example, one
property owner had paid taxes at a rate

September 2014

equivalent to that for an undeveloped lot,
when in fact the property had a fully constructed three-story building. Such deficiencies in the system were quickly identified,
and the offices that use the data were able
to cooperate, provide clarifications, and
submit additional information.
As a result of these improvements, the municipality’s two most critical business units—
Urban Development and Property Tax—have
streamlined their operations, and become
more efficient and productive.

Expected Revenue Increases
The improved approach to property and
building tax assessment increased tax collection revenue by eighteen percent in just
six months—providing USD 3.3 million in
additional revenue for government services.
Within the first year of operation using the
federated GIS, the City expected to increase
property tax collection by 66 percent for an
increase in revenue of USD 12.2 million. In
one year, the City will have recouped its
investment in a federated GIS, which represented just ten percent of the expected tax
collection revenue.
Developed under the supervision of the
National Institute of Statistics, Geography
and Informatics (INEGI), Cancún’s federated GIS has potential application throughout
Mexico, where unreported construction
often costs municipalities millions in lost tax
revenue. Bentley technology will enable
local governments to detect discrepancies in
property data that indicate owners are not
paying the appropriate amount of taxes. iSP
has already begun working with four municipalities to implement Bentley technology
and improve their property tax collection
Cathy Chatfield-Taylor, Freelance Writer & Principal, CC-T Unlimited.
For more information, have a look at



Challenges faced by Two Real Life Organizations

Effective Image Delivery and Management
By Jared Dominguez

As the quantity and variety of image data grows, so does the challenge of
managing and delivering image data. Two organizations in the US that faced this
challenge will be examined here, along with some of the strategies that they
developed to cope with such massive amounts of imagery.

The USACE uses a custom viewer to display thousands of in-house raster images alongside third-party online image sources.

One of the most important assets of any
company or government is its data, and
image data is no exception. With the passage of time, this image data has grown at
an astonishing rate, and so has the variety
of image data. Often, organizations review
their collections of imagery and realize that
they are maintaining not only satellite and
multispectral imagery, but also an impressive assortment of historical imagery,
scanned maps, digital elevation models,
and more. It quickly becomes clear that what
is needed is an effective strategy for managing this quantity of imagery. Just as important though, is a strategy for delivering the
imagery to the members of the organization
or to the public. After all, even the most com-

plete and well organized collection is useless if no one can access it.

United States Army Corps of Engineers
(USACE) Albuquerque District Overview
The USACE maintains more than 12,000
raster and image files covering New
Mexico, southeast Colorado, and parts of
southwest Texas. This imagery covers an
area of 195,000 square miles and includes
USGS hillshade images, black and white
DOQQs, historic photography, and recent
orthophotography. Much of that imagery is
in the LizardTech MrSID format, and some
of those images are mosaics that are multiple gigabytes in size.
The imagery is used daily by USACE scientists, engineers, and other personnel in a

September 2014

custom viewer and over a local area network. The USACE builds facilities for the
Army and Air Force, provides flood protection, creates public recreation areas,
protects and restores wetlands and other natural resources, and supports other government agencies with engineering, contracting, and project management services.

USACE Albuquerque District Challenges
One of the main challenges faced by the
USACE is integration. The images that they
serve need to display in their customized
Geocortex Essentials viewer which ties into
an instance of ArcGIS Server. Additionally,
although the USACE serves thousands of inhouse images, they also want to take advantage of the increasing availability of online


imagery offered by third-party providers
such as ArcGIS Online and Microsoft’s Bing
However, the convenience of online imagery
comes at a cost. Most online imagery uses
variations of the Web Mercator projection,
a projection that is typically not used for
offline maps. As a result, the USACE needs
the ability to change the projection of its
images on demand so that the images can
be layered over the online imagery.

State of New Jersey Office of
Geographic Information Systems (OGIS)
The State of New Jersey OGIS was founded in 2001. Its mission includes promoting
the use of GIS technology among state agencies and providing online access to New
Jersey’s orthoimagery and other data. Every
five years, OGIS flies over the entire state
of New Jersey to update the several sets of
orthophotos archived over the past two
decades. The image collection includes digitally captured 4-band GeoTiffs that have
been reprocessed into lossless 3-band RGB
and infrared tiles along with 3-band
imagery scanned from film. It also includes
MrSID county mosaics obtained from the
USDA’s National Agriculture Imagery
Program (NAIP) and earlier infrared
imagery. Additionally, OGIS maintains historical imagery that has been scanned and
georeferenced, including photographs from
the 1930s and USGS topographic maps
dating from 1881–1924. Some of this
imagery has been converted to lossless JPEG
2000 files from raw data.

area network. Adding the imagery to a
database or moving the imagery to another
location is potentially a cost-prohibitive operation. Ideally then, OGIS needs a solution
that can distribute imagery from plain filebased storage.

Lessons Learned
One of the key challenges for both organizations is the amount and variety of imagery
that they need to distribute. To minimize their
storage requirements and complexity, both
organizations rely on image compression.
The USACE uses the LizardTech MrSID format for a large portion of its imagery, and
the OGIS uses a combination of MrSID
imagery and JPEG 2000 imagery. Both the
MrSID format and the JPEG 2000 format
can compress images losslessly, or without
altering the individual pixel values of each
image. This approach ensures that the accuracy of the image data is unchanged while
still reducing storage costs.
Another challenge faced by both organizations is the need to integrate with other
applications and services. The OGIS especially needs to ensure that its imagery is visible to as many users as possible, which also
means that the imagery must be visible in
as many applications as possible. To meet
this requirement, both organizations distribute their imagery by means of a web
map service (WMS), a standard protocol for
distributing geospatial imagery. Because this
standard is well-established, it has been
widely adopted across GIS applications. Of
the multiple WMS servers available, the
USACE and OGIS selected the LizardTech
Express Server for its compressed imagery.

The USACE also relied on ArcGIS Server for
its other imagery.
Express Server and ArcGIS Server share two
important features. First, both servers support on the fly reprojection. In other words,
they can deliver hosted imagery in multiple
projections to simplify the process of displaying image layers from multiple sources
on the same map. For the USACE, this feature made it possible to display imagery
from online sources. Secondly, both servers
can deliver imagery directly from a file system, simplifying the process of managing
imagery. By storing images on a file system
rather than in a database, the need for a
dedicated administrator is lessened.

Now that image data is becoming cheaper
and more widely available, the problem of
getting good image data is shifting to a
problem of managing and distributing good
image data. For large and small organizations alike, the following strategies have
proven effective in addressing this problem:
• Use image compression to minimize storage costs and complexity.
• Select standards-compliant services to
maximize interoperability and to make
images easier to access.
• Enable on the fly reprojection for image
servers if users are going to display
image layers from multiple sources.
• Use file-based image storage to simplify
image management.

State of New Jersey
OGIS Challenges
As a state agency, the
OGIS needs to provide
easy access to its imagery
for a wide variety of users,
including other government
agencies and the general
public. In other words, the
method that the OGIS
chooses for distributing its
imagery needs to be standardized and widely supported across GIS applications.
Additionally, the sheer
amount of data presents a
problem. Their compressed
imagery alone surpasses
900 gigabytes of JPEG
2000 files on a storage

An image of the shoreline at Atlantic City, NJ is stored in a compressed image format to save on storage and
maintenance costs.

September 2014

Jared Dominguez, Technical Writer at LizardTech.



ISPRS Congress 2016

Czech Republic to host the

next ISPRS Congress

By Lena Halounová



ISPRS is an old lady – born as the International Society for
Photogrammetry in Vienna in 1910. Thanks to an important development of a new science – remote sensing, the Society recognized
remote sensing to become another important theme for Society members and changed its name in 1980 to its present name.
Later on, a closer connection between photogrammetry and remote
sensing on one side and geospatial sciences on the other resulted in
the inclusion of geospatial science topics into the society and the
establishment of two ISPRS Technical Commissions focused on spatial sciences and data.

Currently, ISPRS is organized in eight Technical Commissions. Each
commission has 6 to 10 working groups which are the basic bodies of
the Society’s development. The working groups carry out benchmark
tests, publish special issues on topics within their interest and organize
workshops in the period between two congresses. Each technical commission presents the results of their work during so called Midterm symposia – two years after the last ISPRS Congress.
The Society was founded at the Technical University in Vienna and was
always significantly supported by the academia world. Also, education
and capacity building always formed an important role in ISPRS activities. TC VI is focused on this topic.

Gothic Powder Tower

ISPRS Congress
The ISPRS Congress is a special scientific meeting bringing together all
members only once in four years. The General Assembly of the XII ISPRS
Congress in Melbourne in 2012 elected the Czech Republic to host the
next ISPRS Congress. The Congress is a big event with several thousand participants from the entire world.
The scientific goals of the Congress have been being discussed from
the very beginning during Council meetings. Council and Technical
Commission Presidents approved a procedure of reviewing abstracts
for papers which will be placed in the ISPRS Archives (proceedings)
and a procedure of double blind review of full papers which will form
the proceedings called Annals. The second phase, which is now under
preparation is to define a structure for the scientific program. The final
structure will be publicized in the second call which is planned to be
issued in January 2015. The program will consist of plenary sessions,
technical sessions of individual working groups, thematic sessions with
bridging themes, and special sessions led by important players of the
photogrammetry, remote sensing and spatial sciences world. Special
attention will be dedicated to a Forum of National Mapping Agencies.
The educational goal will be fulfilled by the ISPRS Summer School which
will precede the Congress by one week. It will be organized in cooperation with ISPRS Student Consortium.

Technical goals
The technical goals of the Congress will be twofold – technical exhibition and technical tours. The Congress organizers have already prepared the manual for interested exhibitors, available at Technical tours will be offered, for example an
excursion to Riegl Laser Measurement Systems GmbH, Vexcel Imaging
GmbH, and to the leading national metrology institute, the Metrology
Service BEV-Eichwesen in Vienna. Germany is ready to welcome par-

September 2014


ticipants to DLR (German Aerospace Centre) located in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich. The
Czech Republic will invite interested participants to the Czech Office
for Surveying, Mapping and Cadastre, the Czech mapping Agency,
to present the Register of land identifications, addresses and real
estate, cadastre system, etc.

Vrtbovská Garden - View to the St. Nicholaus Church & St. Vitus´s Cathedral.

Social program
The social program has various
components. The organizers are preparing culture programs and social
programs for all evenings. A welcome drink after the Opening
Ceremony will be the first one. Participants are invited to a concert,
theatre and a boat trip. Accompanying persons can choose from short
and long excursions in and outside of Prague. There is a long list of
pre- and post-congress tours already prepared.

The venue of the Congress Prague Congress Centre is situated two
metro stops from the Prague centre – Václavské náměstí (Wenceslaus
Square) offering not only comfortable transport connections, but also

accommodation close to the centre of the city.
The Congress motto From human
history to the future with spatial
information should evoke respect
to the achievements of our predecessors who invented maps, geometry, topology, photographs, etc.
Our goal – from my point of view
– is to continue in the development
to help humankind in their personal life, in their „working days”, to
secure them from disasters, to
inform them about the actual state of floods, forest health state, e.g.
This short list represents effort of thousands of people to create 3D models of objects, to classify and show individual states of the Earth surface, and to record these data efficiently and in a user friendly way for
human society.

It is the proper time to think about participation in the Congress and
preparation of a paper as the due dates are 30 November (Annals)
and 13 December 2015 (Archives).

September 2014

Lena Halounová, Congress Director.
For more information, have a look at:



Esri President Jack Dangermond during the plenary session.

New Software, Data and Apps

Esri International User Conference 2014
By Eric van Rees

Esri’s annual international user conference was held in San Diego, California
from the 14th to the 17th of July. As well as announcements about new releases for the ArcGIS platform, the emphasis this year was placed on new content,
app releases, 3D technology and the web as the central medium that connects,
users, data and technology.

Erwin Rademaker from the Port of Rotterdam
received a SAG Award and held a presentation
during the plenary session.

Jack Verouden from Royal Dutch Shell receiving the
Enterprise GIS Award during the plenary session.

September 2014


uring the yearly international
Esri user conference in San
Diego, GIS users could hear all
about the latest developments
from Esri´s GIS solutions. No
less than 16,000 so-called ´Geo geeks’ visited the event, which this year, was all about
web GIS. The plenary session on Monday
July 14th was dominated by information
about new applications for 3D and mobile
GIS, interspersed with accounts about various clients from around the world.
As is traditional at every Esri UC in San
Diego, the morning session was reserved for
sharing the company´s future vision, combined with an overview of new and upcoming releases and the bestowing of a number
of Special Achievement Awards, including
the President Award, selected and presented by Esri President Jack Dangermond.


Awards for Shell & Port of Rotterdam
The Netherlands were well represented during
the plenary session, where both Royal Dutch
Shell and the Port of Rotterdam were awarded
an Esri award. Royal Dutch Shell were awarded an Enterprise GIS Award for their current
organisation-wide GIS, which is used all over
the world. Jack Verouden, General Manager
Geomatics, collected the award and stressed
that the cooperation offers more technical
opportunities than ever, now that GIS has pervaded the entire organization.
The Port of Rotterdam received a SAG
award for developing and using an organization-wide GIS. Erwin Rademaker from the
Port of Rotterdam explained, during a presentation later that morning, the challenges
that were faced when optimizing existing
information and unlocking these with userfriendly ICT. Esri developed a solution that
offers every user the correct and standardized (geo-) information within three mouse
clicks. Finally, Rancho Cucamonga, a

Southern California city with nearly
200,000 people, was honored with the Esri
President’s Award for outstanding GIS work
in planning and sustaining growth.

Developments concerning the ArcGIS
After the formalities of presenting the awards,
Jack Dangermond told the audience all about
new developments concerning the ArcGIS
platform, which is continually expanding
through apps, applications and content.
Although more and more applications are
offered as apps (applications for desktop,
mobile and web), the existing ArcGIS platform is still being developed further. For the
third quarter of this year, a new release of
ArcGIS Desktop will be offered (ArcGIS 10.3)
and this will contain a number of new spatial
analysis tools with regards to 3D, space and
time patterns and big data. Integration of realtime data for warning and monitoring is supported in Esri´s GeoEvent Server.
In past editions of the Esri UC, new releases
of ArcGIS Desktop would be the major new
release, but times have changed. It´s notable
that Esri is releasing more and more small,
incremental releases for specific users who
all have specific wishes. Dangermond mentioned the app revolution, which enables Esri
to serve different user groups with new functionalities through apps, offered through
Esri´s own online platform (following the
example of Apple’s iTunes store). But Esri has
more plans in the field of apps: a cross-platform platform was announced for building
one’s own Esri apps, namely the WebApp
Builder for ArcGIS. Additionally, and for the
first time, there was a contest for app developers at the UC, the ‘Climate Resilience App
Challenge 2014’, with apps that map the
changing climate and put policy makers into
motion. The first prize was awarded to a
Minnesota Solar Suitability Analysis app,

As the Esri User Conference takes place right before the international
Comic-Con conference, this year´s merchandise had the same theme.

Visitors to the plenary session.

September 2014

which allows users to identify the suitability
of a location for solar panel installation by
entering home or other location information
and querying solar analysis data.
In the area of content, Esri is further expanding the online platform ArcGIS Online, where
large quantities of data (some of it in realtime!) are offered in the form of thematic
basemaps, demographic data and satellite
imagery, both classified and searchable.
Combined with the online analysis functions
of Esri, these data offer a lot of information
and possibilities which tops what Google has
to offer for the time being. Another new
online service for the entire Esri platform,
which seems to refer to Google Fusion Tables,
is called GeoEnrichment. This enables a map
to be added to one´s own data and was previously referred to as a mashup.
Mac users will be happy to know that Esri
released its first native app for Apple OS X,
Explorer for ArcGIS on the Mac. This is a
native OS X application to discover, view,
and share maps. The app joins Esri’s family
of mapping apps, including Collector for
ArcGIS, Dashboard for ArcGIS, and Explorer
for ArcGIS on iOS and can be downloaded
from the Mac App Store and Esri ArcGIS

Esri 3D applications
3D is an application that has been announced
on a number of occasions, but finally Esri has
something substantial to show to its customer
base. The intention is to offer 3D through desktop, internet browsers and mobile devices.
This app, which was announced at last year’s
UC and is finally available, is ArcGIS Pro. This
new desktop application is part of ArcGIS
10.3 and can be used to visualize and analyze mapping data in 2D and 3D. As this was
announced as the next-generation version of
ArcGIS, many people wanted to know if it will
eventually replace ArcGIS. The answer, for



now, is ‘no’, but what is clear is that Esri has
a lot of plans for ArcGIS Pro. This was demonstrated later in the week at numerous sessions
where the features of the application were
demonstrated. Visitors to these sessions were
encouraged to subscribe and try the beta version of ArcGIS Pro. It is expected that Esri will
integrate more functionality into ArcGIS Pro
over time, so that more and more users will
turn to ArcGIS Pro.
What makes ArcGIS Pro attractive, is the fact
that it´s a 64 bit application, which means
that processors can process data faster and
use larger quantities of memory. This results in
a smoother performance, which is a great requisite for working with 3D models. ArcGIS Pro
is planned for official release for the fourth
quarter of 2014 as part of ArcGIS Desktop
The 3D-theme was also touched on during a
remarkable presentation from Singapore,
which impressed with interactive 3D models.
These can be used in a web browser for desktop and mobile devices without using any special plugins or downloads and is called 3D
Web Scenes. The beautiful 3D models with
detailed textures reminded many people of

the classic video game Sim City. It´s remarkable that 3D applications are offered in standalone software such as Esri CityEngine,
ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Pro. Finally, 3D
is being used for Geodesign, a term that is
used in the Esri community for landscape
architecture through the use of GIS technology. New to the market is a web application
for this purpose, called GeoPlanner for
ArcGIS, released on ArcGIS Marketplace; a
website where Esri apps and data are offered.
The academic and theoretic Geodesign
methodology is spread through academic
courses and conferences worldwide.

Geonet community website
As well as news in the field of new software,
there was plenty to report outside of this category. A recently launched website called
GeoNet promises a social business site where
members of the community will have access
to information on fora and special interest
groups, no login required. For posting messages, however, a login will be required. The
site can be found at and looks
like Facebook without ads and the special
interest groups of LinkedIn.

Impressions of the Esri UC.

September 2014

Although Esri is now a data provider as well
as a software provider, something of scoop
took place with regards to hardware.
Celebrity called in live during the plenary session from Australia through Skype
and explained why he has developed a watch
that can be used to run Esri software. The interest from the Geo-geeks present was great, but
when the watch will be commercially available is not clear at the moment.
Next year´s Esri International UC will be held
from 20th-24th July.
For more information, have a look at:
The full Q&A with detailed info about Esri´s latest releases can be
found at



FOSS4G-E 2014: Bremen
Workshops and Presentations

The announcement at last year’s Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial
(FOSS4G) annual conference in Nottingham, that there would be a Europe-focussed
conference, therefore came as little surprise. The result is FOSS4G-E, a forum for GIS
professionals based in Europe. As the first host, the pressure was on for Jacob’s
University in Bremen to deliver an event that would do justice to Europe’s reputation as
a world leader in the adoption of open source software.

By Robin Lovelace

FOSS4G-E, a forum for GIS professionals based in Europe, was held at Jacob’s University in Bremen.

third of official Local Chapters of the Open Source
Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) are based in the
European Union. Yet the EU is home to only 7% of Earth’s
population and is responsible for around 1/5 of Earth’s
economic activity. The announcement at last year’s Free
and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) annual conference in Nottingham that there would be a Europe-focussed conference,
building on the success of previous conferences for Central and Eastern
Europe, therefore came as little surprise. The result is FOSS4G-E, a
forum for GIS professionals based in Europe and beyond to interact
and show off their work. As the first host, the pressure was on for Jacob’s
University in Bremen to deliver an event that would do justice to Europe’s
reputation as a world leader in the adoption of open source software.


It is important to point out that the main FOSS4G conference will still
take place, this year hosted by Portland in the USA, 8th – 13th
September 2014. There are also many other OSGeo-affiliated events
taking place worldwide. FOSS4G-E is the first ever continent-wide
FOSS4G conference, however. This article asks: was it worth creating
a separate FOSS4G conference in addition to the global one? And
will OSGeo make FOSS4G-E a regular annual event? To answer these
questions we’ll look at the range of workshops, presentations and social
aspects of FOSS4G-E.

Practical tutorials were delivered in nine technical subjects ranging from
the routing software pgRouting to the new geospatial web services platform MapMint. Over half of the workshops were on notably new top-

ics, compared last year’s FOSS4G workshop sessions: MapMint,
EarthServer, PyWPS, ENORASIS and my own workshop on R all made
their debuts in a FOSS4G practical session. Descriptions of each can
be found on the conference website but it is worth commenting on a
couple of new developments: pgRouting has recently added the
pgr_kdijkstraCost function, to calculate the shortest paths between a
single origin and multiple destinations (previously one could only calculate one route at a time).
Regarding the multi-dimensional raster database system rasdaman, conference chair Peter Bauman explained some of the performance
improvements implemented in version 9.0.

Talks on Tuesday 15th started strongly with a packed audience to see
Marc Jansen, who described progress on the greatly anticipated Open
Layers 3 web mapping library. This is being built from scratch and its
expected formal release date is in August, although the software is now
mature and ready for use in ‘beta’ applications.
More exciting developments were revealed in a talk on OSGeo Live, a
free Ubuntu-derived operating system that comes reinstalled with dozens
applications ready for testing. OSGeo Live runs on an external USB
drive (I strongly recommend using USB3 for fast and smooth operation)
or as a ‘virtual machine’ within Oracle’s VirtualBox software, making it
ideal for teaching applications or for people wanting to test cutting
edge geo-software. The next major release of OSGeo (currently on version 7.9) should be ready for release at FOSS4G Portland and will be
based on Ubuntu 14.04.

September 2014


dedicated people commit to improving the
world. In this case, the presentations showed,
the result has been to bring us closer to the day
when everyone has access to user friendly GIS
tools, an aim encapsulated in the slogan “Geo
for all”.

There were many other fascinating talks containing equally interesting nuggets of information of
high relevance to the international GIS community. There is insufficient space here to describe
each in detail; suffice to say that Bremen was a
hive of geospatial technology expertise buzzing
with the excitement about current projects and
future applications. Summaries of each of the talks
can be found on the website,


Returning to the questions asked at the beginning of the article, I now have conclusive
answers: “Yes” and “I hope so”. It has not yet
Social aspects
Suchith Anand, delivering his keynote speech.
been decided if this will be an annual event but
Of course, it wasn’t all work. With sponsorship
the value of a European FOSS4G-E event has
from the Beck’s beer company cold beer was
undoubtedly been proven. It was cheaper, less commercialised and
plentifully provided during the evening activities, helping free communimore personable than the comparatively vast global GIS events. From
cation across cultural and linguistic divides. The World Cup final took
an environmental perspective, regional conferences offer international
place on the Sunday before the conference officially began, providing
collaboration over shorter distances, and from a social perspective
yet another opportunity for socialising. The organisers took advantage,
more intimacy. Overall FOSS4G-E was a resounding success so let’s
inviting for everyone to watch Germany slay Argentina in the main
hope it will run again next year.
conference room. This bonus beginning of FOSS4G-E set the scene for
informal international networking throughout the conference.
During the closing ceremony, the prestigious NASA World Wind competition winners were announced and Venkatesh Raghavan and Suchith
Anand delivered inspiring keynote speeches about the history and future
of the FOSS4G movement. The growth of free geospatial tools is an
astonishing example of what can happen when a dedicated group of

September 2014

Dr Robin Lovelace, School of Geography, University of Leeds.
For more information, have a look at:
Dr Robin Lovelace, School of Geography, University of Leeds.
For more information, have a look at:


CLGE newsletter

CLGE Code of Conduct, interview
In 2009, Dr Frances Plimmer was appointed by a Working Group from the CLGE, now chaired by JeanYves Pirlot, to develop a Code of Conduct for European Surveyors. In this interview, they discuss why
there is a need for such a Code, the process involved in its development and the importance of ethical
behaviour for this profession.
Marc Vanderschueren, for GeoInformatics/CLGE

ing Code of Conduct which had been developed for another profession. The only major requirements were that the development of the
Code should be inclusive and transparent, which seemed to me to
relate more to the process of developing the Code than to its contents.
Jean-Yves Pirlot: A good example had been provided by CEPLIS,
the European Umbrella for Liberal Professions, which defined some
common principles for codes of conduct. Based on these general
rules, we have developed a profession-specific code.

Dr Frances Plimmer and CLGE President Jean-Yves Pirlot in Kuala Lumpur, © Marc Vanderschueren

GeoInformatics: Several national surveying organisations have
Codes of Conduct, so why was it considered necessary to develop a
Code of Conduct specifically for European Surveyors?
Frances Plimmer: The impetus for a Code of Conduct for different
professions in Europe, including Surveying, came from the European
Union’s Directive on Services in the Internal Market (2006/123/EC).
This recognises such a Code as a device to facilitate the provision of
services and the establishment of the profession within its member
states. The EU also stated that such a Code would:
• contribute to ensuring the highest quality services;
• promote higher levels of confidence in the relationship between
European Surveyors and consumers; and
• enhance the image of the profession within Europe.
Jean-Yves Pirlot: our code of conduct is a good example of selfregulation. You can find it on the website of the European Economic
and Social Committee.
GeoInformatics: What guidance did you have from the European
Union in developing the Code of Conduct?
Frances Plimmer: There was very little specific guidance from the
EU, although their documentation provided an example of an exist-

GeoInformatics: How did you go about developing the Code of
Conduct for European Surveyors?
Frances Plimmer: The plan was that I would have copies of the
codes of conduct from those members of CLGE which had published
them and, from these, develop a single Code which reflected the ethical principles of all of these organisations.
In reality, I received relatively few such documents and fortunately,
because of this, the language barrier was not a major issue. I proceeded by developing a draft version of the Code based on the
information I had received, and which was widely circulated by the
CLGE working group to which I reported. As a result of this, I was
sent feedback on which to base a second version. This feedback was
vital for me; to discover any issues which I had overlooked, to clarify
any misunderstandings, as well as to reflect on any criticisms of what
I had included. Some of the feedback I received was contradictory,
which gave me a great deal to think about.
Based on this feedback, I was then able to develop an improved
second version which I sent to the CLGE working group, together with
an explanatory document in which I clarified and justified the details
of the clauses in this revision of the Code. I did not think it good
enough just to present the Code alone. I felt it important to provide
reasons for rejecting or accepting the comments and suggestions
which had been made, so that the whole process was as transparent
and comprehensible as possible.


September 2014

GeoInformatics: Were there any major issues of contention?
Jean-Yves Pirlot: Only one, and this was more a case of clarification than disagreement. It was evident from the Codes of Conduct
from the various professional associations received by Frances, that
it was widely accepted that the surveyors’ primary duty is to their
clients. Clients’ needs, confidentiality etc. were considered to be of
overriding importance, and she disagreed with this.
It was clear that once she had provided a precise example of a situation in which clients’ needs are not paramount; specifically when a
surveyor is required to provide evidence to a court of law when, of
course, the surveyor’s duty is to the court and to no-one else – there
was widespread acceptance of this. Everyone recognised the absolute duty of a surveyor to help the court come to a correct decision.
Frances Plimmer: Yes, indeed, I remember this discussion as if it
were yesterday. In fact this is a principle I learned, as a very new
practitioner, being required to provide evidence in court for property
tax purposes. I suspect that, because not all surveyors can expect to
be called to provide evidence in a court in their professional capacity,
this situation had been largely overlooked. Far more surveyors have
clients and are well aware of potentially conflicting situations which
might arise and risk damaging the interests of their clients. Having a
strong awareness of the principal duty to the client is, therefore, more
relevant to them. Nevertheless, they all clearly recognised their primary duty to a court, should they be called to the witness box, so it was
simply a matter of clarification and explanation on my part.
GeoInformatics: Why is a code of conduct important for professionals?
Frances Plimmer: In my view, it is not important for individual professionals, in the sense that a true professional is, by definition, inherently ethical and will behave appropriately regardless of the existence (or otherwise) of a written Code of Conduct. Conversely,
someone who is unethical is not likely to change simply because of
the existence of a Code of Conduct.
GeoInformatics: Why then do we need a Code of Conduct?
Frances Plimmer: A Code of Conduct is a public statement of the
ethics or rules of behaviour which clients, governments and the public can expect of us. It is, as the European Commission states, a contribution to promote higher levels of confidence in the relationship
between European Surveyors and consumers and to enhance the
image of the profession within Europe.

of its adoption by our member associations but also the way it’s used
by them. We need to know the number and type of infringement procedures. The international European procedures will be particularly
Frances Plimmer: However, there is, I think, a more subtle result
of having such a public statement of our professional ethics. A Code
of Conduct highlights for us all the importance of ethical behaviour.
Ethical behaviour is now no longer implicit in the role of a professional; it has become explicit. There is, for example, increasing focus
on education programmes on Ethics for professionals, in which students can test and discuss their responses to real world situations and
thus develop an understanding as to the extent to which their chosen
course of action may be ethical.
We believe that it has also contributed to a growing perception that
it is increasingly acceptable to discuss ethical dilemmas, which we
face, with our colleagues. Most of us have been or will at some point
in our professional lives be faced with an ethical dilemma. We may
find it hard to deal with that dilemma on our own, and, as the saying goes: “two heads are better than one”. It is becoming increasingly accepted that a discussion with colleagues about an appropriate solution is more likely to lead to an ethical outcome – indeed,
some companies actively encourage such discussions. With a high
profile Code of Conduct, it becomes easier to talk through ethical
dilemmas between ourselves. This also has an educational benefit in
that we all learn from each other, and new professionals develop
their understanding of ethical behaviour more quickly as a result.
For far too long it has been assumed that new professionals acquire
their sense of appropriate ethical behaviour from close proximity to
older more experienced professionals, but this is not considered good
enough any longer.
What is crucial to remember is that, as individual professionals and
as members of professional associations, we enjoy the privilege to
practice our expertise because we have an ethical reputation, not
just high quality technical skills. Professional associations reserve the
right to remove members who demonstrate that they do not meet the
necessary professional standard of behaviour, thereby protecting the
reputation of the rest of us.
Good reputations take years to develop, and can be lost because of
one bad decision. With so much at stake, a Code of Conduct which
explicitly states how we should behave, together with the ethical
expectations which are inherent in our professional status, are absolutely fundamental to our individual future and that of our profession.
GeoInformatics: What’s the way ahead?

Jean-Yves Pirlot: Because there are professional associations of
surveyors within Europe which do not have a Code of Conduct, the
European Code also serves to provide such a statement for their home
market. Since its adoption by CLGE in Rome on 12 September 2009,
about 60% of the national liaison groups or organisations have
signed up to, or endorsed, the CLGE Code. This process is still ongoing but we strongly believe that the last 40% will follow soon.
This code plays an important role in our communication strategy with
the general public. Therefore, we intend to monitor not only the pace

Jean-Yves Pirlot: Frances has devised the code in very general
and durable terms. This is important for such founding texts, especially when the implementation phase requires a lot of energy and
time. However, the evolution doesn’t stop and we have to adapt ourselves to the varying environment. For the moment, CLGE is part of
an international coalition trying to design an international ethical
code for the worldwide surveyor. We will report back about this initiative in the future.


CLGE newsletter

September 2014

A Global Surveyors’ Week coming closer?
During the last FIG meeting in Kuala Lumpur, CLGE and NSPS jointly seized the opportunity to request the
creation of a Global Surveyors’ Week. John Hohol tabled a general presentation about this topic. Let’s
hope that the FIG Council will develop this proposal as suggested.

John Hohol presenting the Budapest declaration to the FIG General Assembly (© Marc Vanderschueren)

ating back to 2013, the Council of European Geodetic
Surveyors (CLGE) and the USA based National Society
of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) have joined forces to
promote the Surveyor, not only in their respective regions
but also on a worldwide scale (read more in the June
2013 Issue of GeoInformatics or in the online digital CLGE-magazine on


During the last session of the General Assembly of FIG, which gathered in Kuala Lumpur, John Hohol, represented NSPS and CLGE,
since Jean-Yves Pirlot was already on his way back to Europe for
another assignment.

The aim of the initiative is twofold: develop our visibility with decision makers and the general public, but also increase respect for
the profession.
Since it’s not always easy to concentrate activities into one day, it
was proposed to adapt the initial concept (one day), to become the
Global Surveyors’ Week, i.e. the week that follows the third Sunday
in March of each year.
We hope this helps. Your comments and support are welcome on
our CLGE Facebook page.

Calendar 2014 / Advertisers Index


06-08 October Symposium on Service-Oriented Mapping 2014 SOMAP 2014 “Geospatial Processing and Visualization”
Potsdam, Germany

02-05 September Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society
Conference 2014
Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, U.K.
03-05 September 7th National Cartographic Conference
GeoCart’2014 / 42nd ANZMapS conference / 3rd ICA Regional
Symposium on Cartography for Australasia and Oceania
The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
04-07 September Ninth European GIS Education Seminar - EUGISES
Cork, Ireland
08 September Blue Marble User Conference
Delta Bow Valley Hotel, Calgary, AB, Canada
08-11 September GIS-Pro 2014: URISA's 52nd Annual Conference
New Orleans, LA, U.S.A.
08-12 September FOSS4G 2014
Portland, OR, U.S.A.
11-12 September Geodesign Summit Europe
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and Science Center,
Delft, The Netherlands
15-16 September OGC Academic Summit 2014
University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada
22-25 September SPIE Remote Sensing 2014
Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam, The
22-26 September 2014 Geospatial Conference (GeCo) in the Rockies
Grand Junction, CO, U.S.A.

06-08 October 2014 ISPRS/IGU Joint Conference
Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre, Toronto, Canada
07-09 October 20th Intergeo
Berlin, Germany
07-09 October UAV Show Europe
Merignac, France
08-09 October 2nd EUROGI imaGIne Conference 2014 - GI
Expertise: Made in Europe
Berlin, Germnay
08–09 October Intermediate GIS using ArcGIS
Newcastle University, Newcastle, U.K.
13-17 October Radar 2014
Lille, France
13-17 October URISA Leadership Academy
Louisville, KY, U.S.A.
14-16 October GeoForm+
Moscow, Russia
20-23 October 14th International Scientific and Technical
Conference “From Imagery to Map: Digital Photogrammetric
Hainan, China
21-22 October Geo Utilities Event
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

06 October IGI User Meeting 2014
Hampton by Hilton Berlin City West, Berlin, Germany

27-30 October URISA 2014 Caribbean GIS Conference

06-07 October Bentley LEARNing Conference: Geospatial and
Mainz, Germany

30 October Blue Marble User Conference
Royal Sonesta Hotel Houston, TX, U.S.A.

06–07 October Introduction to GIS using ArcGIS
Newcastle University, Newcastle, U.K.

03-05 November Trimble Dimensions 2014
Mirage Hotel - Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A.


Please feel free to e-mail your calendar notices to:

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September 2014


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