GIS Tech News (#86)

16 Sep, 2009 By: Cadalyst Staff

Drawing Connections between GIS and Design

Wacom's pen display technology supports geodesign tools in ESRI's ArcGIS 9.4.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

ESRI has been discussing the forthcoming release of ArcGIS 9.4 for more than a year, and with the beta version planned for the fourth quarter of 2009, the wait is nearly over. This major release will incorporate a palette-based geodesign toolset, reflecting the company's current emphasis on placing design in a geographic context.

In a summer 2009 ArcNews article titled "GIS: Designing Our Future," ESRI President Jack Dangermond described the concept this way:

GeoDesign brings geographic analysis into the design process, where initial design sketches are instantly vetted for suitability against a myriad of database layers describing a variety of physical and social factors for the spatial extent of the project. This on-the-fly suitability analysis provides a framework for design, giving land-use planners, engineers, transportation planners, and others involved with design, the tools to leverage geographic information within their design workflows. . . . While traditional CAD is a useful tool in the architectural design of a building, GeoDesign is concerned with designing that same building in and around the environment.

According to Mike Dana, business development manager for Wacom, an ESRI business partner, "The idea of geodesign is to take a fresh approach to the authoring and use of GIS data. . . . Can we give people a new set of tools to build GIS data? Can we make access to GIS data more intuitive?"

As GIS technology has been evolving over the past 15 to 20 years, Dana explained, developers and users have focused on expanding capabilities and skill sets. Now that GIS has matured in terms of both ease of use and tool robustness, he noted, it's time to determine how we can best integrate engineering and design with GIS. That goal may be facilitated by Wacom's interactive pen display systems, which operate in place of a traditional mouse and monitor. According to Dana, Wacom worked with ESRI product engineers to ensure that the pen-input technology will enable users to fully exploit the new geodesign tools in ArcGIS 9.4. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events


2009 Bentley Roads and Bridges Conference
October 19–21, 2009
Charlotte, North Carolina
This first joint conference for InRoads and GEOPAK users provides an opportunity for infrastructure professionals to increase their knowledge of Bentley software and refine their technical skill in applying it. Read more

SYWARE Training Class: Mobile Application Development
October 26, 2009
Woburn, Massachusetts
This class from SYWARE offers instruction on using Visual CE and other SYWARE tools to create mobile data entry applications. Read more 

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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Lynn Allen

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