The 2007 InterGeo event in Leipzig this week was well attended with estimates approaching 15,000 people from more than 80 different countries. This event provides a unique perspective as it combines on one tradeshow floor all of the disciplines that create, manage, analyze, display and distribute geospatial data. It includes both manufacturers and suppliers, and a significant number of small to medium sized businesses (SME’s) The breadth of companies represents the entire geospatial value chain including surveying, GPS, photogrammetry, 3D visualisation and data integration.
Change in the spatial community is on the horizon. A movement is underway to take GIS to the next level. The power of the convergence of CAD and GIS systems was a recurring theme, and several exhibitors on the floor displayed tools for 3D data collection and visualization. There was also a strong focus on systems to improve the efficiency of the infrastructure design, build and operate industry.
The vision of process-centric content, which seeks to add value to data and toolsets, fits neatly into the focus of many of the companies that displayed their products and discussed strategies with us. Following is a summary of the focus of some of the companies that we met with.
1Spatial are focused on the quality of data, integration of tools and 3D. They chair the data quality working group for OGC, and are interested in transferring the semantics of the data into the process to make certain that the data that’s delivered is fit for purpose and can result in higher levels of re-use.
Bentley is focused on moving GIS to the next level, with geospatial building blocks that include desktop, web publishing, server technology and industry applications. They view INSPIRE-based standards as a given now, and feel their tools based on open and interoperable technology (XML, .Net, OGC) are poised for wider adoption. The launch of Bentley Map extends data capture and editing tools with database interface and spatial analysis functions.
Carlson Software is emerging as a player in the civil survey sector within Europe and offers a new standalone Carlson Survey 2008 product. The company is designing products that are open and offer field-to-finish solutions for both CAD and GIS markets.
Definiens now offers a Definiens Extension for ArcGIS product that will provide Earth observation and land use managers greater flexibility for deriving intelligence from satellite and other imagery.
Infotech provides the capacity to deliver content to support the business case. They’re focused on global delivery with a rigorous data quality control and assurance methodology to ensure the accuracy of information.
Infoterra’s TerraSARx satellite was successfully launched and will undergo load testing shortly. The delivery of data will come within the next few months.
Intermap has just completed flying and collecting a digital elevation model for all of Germany at a .75 M vertical accuracy. They’re getting close to completing the entire United States, having recently delivered the entire Gulf Coast region to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Their data is being used by the automotive industry to improve safety and navigation. Predictive adaptive lighting is one application that harnesses knowing what’s around the corner on the road ahead. They’re also working heavily with the insurance industry. Intermap feels there’s an ongoing need to educate the market on what to do with 3D data.
ITT displayed a new DEM Extraction Module suitable for use with a number of different satellite types. Also featured was the company’s feature extraction module. Again, users are seeing the benefits of automated processing as it impacts 3D data visualisation. CREASO, a German company, teamed with ITT to display their new product for processing SAR/InSAR data.
JENOPTIK is a German-based camera manufacturer that is a member of the team with RapidEye that will launch the upcoming RapidEye missions to establish a new Earth Observation System. The company’s JSS 56 camera will become part of the initiative.
Leica Geosystems have held a large market share in upstream data capture, and they aim to have a role all along the spatial data value chain. Change is a primary driver of their business, with a focus on delivering on-demand data that monitors and maps change. This focus on dynamic information products incorporates a Web services delivery, live feeds from sensors, and a collaborative work environment that connects people. The company also presented several new hardware and software technologies including an automated grading system for agricultural and construction applications.
Magellan Professional is now owned by Shah Capital, and they’ve become a marketing-driven company. They’ve outsourced non-core functions such as manufacturing and logistics and have invested heavily in engineering and R&D. The ProMark3 RTK is designed to bring survey-quality measurements to the masses. It’s an easy system to use at the lowest cost and lowest weight in the industry. Look for rapid new product development from this company.
Topcon feels that the science and art of surveying is changing and that the role of professionals will change as they become integrators of data from automated sources. They plan on offering a seamless and integrated solution that helps surveyors transition from scientist to application specialists. Aimed at automating the phases of a job site with real-time information that achieves cost benefits. Positioning has become a commodity and they aim to get beyond the hammer and peg to offer 3D models and eventually heads-up displays that help everyone on the job site achieve the design plan.
Trimble has recently bought a number of companies that fit into their vision for delivering a system for a ‘connected construction site’ that transforms surveyors into data managers. They are aimed at 4D construction management that tracks people, stationary and portable assets as well as vehicles – tying processes into scheduling for maximum efficiency. Recent company purchases like INPHO of Germany, are adding high-end photogrammetry processing capabilities into the traditional surveying hardware mix of the company.
In summary, INTERGEO 2007 at Leipzig saw an increase in the numbers of laser scanning solutions and remote sensing products. A large presence of 3D applications and technologies point toward future development. It appeared that CAD/GIS integration is also gaining momentum as a shift toward the creation of ‘connected’ systems is beginning to take hold. These systems are more than interoperable systems alone, and they are more than data integration. They represent an understanding of wider workflow processes and how data connects to workflows to increase understanding and efficiency.