Geographical Information Systems

Geographical Information Systems

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The year 2001 started with the hype of Location Based Services and Internet GIS. However, economic slowdown took its toll on dotcom segment. The GIS service industry revolved more or less around Agriculture, Natural Resource Monitoring, Utilty and Land Records. Transporation and Navigation segment seems to hold great potential. Also highlights of the year were acquisation of ERDAS by Leica and release of ArcGIS 8.1.

Leica acquires ERDAS
The ‘deal of the year’, which took many in the GIS community by surprise was the acquisition of ERDAS, a pioneer in the satellite image processing segment. Leica Geosystems now boasts of wide range of capability in the field of GPS, GIS, Remote Sensing and Aerial Mapping.

Leica’s interest in GIS can be traced back to 1992 when in association with ESRI canada it started NovaLIS. NovaLIS was a land record software development company. In 1997 it entered into an agreement with ESRI for software development in LIS & GIS. In June 1997 Leica with GDE Systems launched a joint venture “LH Systems”. GDE systems along with it’s immediate parent company Tracor was acquired by Marconi North America which in turn became a part of British Aerospace (BAe). LH systems went on to become leader in the field of photogrammetry and aerial cameras.

Leica acquired Cyra Technology (A 3D laser scanning company to measure and model large and complex structures or sites) in Nov’2000. In the post “Public Offering”(November 2000) phase Leica went on to acquire Laser Alignment in Dec’2000 and AEG Graphics in January 2001.

Leica Geosystems has now six subdivisions under it’s umbrella: Surveying & Engineering, GIS & Mapping, Consumer Products, Industrial Products, New Business Division and Special Products. But the spectrum has one band missing i.e. GIS, any guess of the things to come?

TeleAtlas buys ETAK
TeleAtlas, the European GIS data major, acquired ETAK, a Sony comapny, spceialising in US GIS data products. This became the ‘data deal of the year’, since it positions TeleAtlas to truly become an international spatial data company in the field of transportation and navigation.

ArcGIS 8.1
At last Arc users worldwide had something to cheer about. ESRI came up with ArcGIS 8.1, a suite of GIS solutions, for indusrty as well as individuals. The suite came up with the power of Arc and user friendliness of other popular GIS software to combat the competitive market of geospatial technology. It is packed with new interface and new features which will make the users more than happy to use the product. All the products, ArcGIS, ArcSDE and ArcIMS look just about the same, in appearance, with exception that each has different commands available.

The new customisation environment of Visual Basic makes it even more power packed and popular as it is easier for users to develop new extensions and third party software. Users may expect a surge in extensions from third party to complement the need arising from its use in different environmnet. But there is a bad news for ArcView 3.x users, it no longer support Avenue and it will not be a painless transition to ArcGIS 8.1. However, it will make the users smile as they discover many new functions with ease of use of the re-engineered product from ESRI.