GIS Tech News (#94)

16 Mar, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

GIS Docks at the Port of San Diego

Port Authority personnel streamline a massive facilities management mission by implementing GIS solutions that work for all departments.

By Karen Richardson

The port of San Diego in California is a multifaceted facility spread over 6,000 acres around San Diego Bay. San Diego Port Authority is responsible for the port, the walkway, the park and concessionaires, several large public art installations, two marine terminals, and a cruise ship terminal.

Operating these diverse assets, which generated $133.7 million in revenue in 2007, requires sophisticated tools. The Port, which uses information technology (IT) enterprise systems to manage business information, decided to apply the same concept to space management. The Port envisioned a system used by every department — from general services for maintenance issues to real estate for managing leases — and accessible by all employees, from a summer intern to the CEO.

"Our vision of creating a common operating picture with a geographic perspective gives everyone the information they require along with the basic GIS functionality necessary to do their jobs in the best way they can," explained Malcolm Meikle, geographic information systems coordinator for the San Diego Unified Port District.

Integrating GIS into the Enterprise

The Port had been using ESRI GIS (geographic information system) technology since the 1990s in two separate departments: engineering and real estate. The departments were creating and using essentially the same data, but the information was not shared.

Three years ago, the Port upgraded from ArcGIS Desktop software to ArcGIS Server, a complete and integrated server-based GIS. The Port's IT department began managing the system to make facilities data accessible to all departments. The goal was to streamline workflows by identifying tasks, questions, and requests best addressed using a geographic approach. Read more »
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Karen Richardson is a marketing writer for ESRI, covering GIS use in business and national mapping.



Arrival of the Desktop Supercomputer

Nehalem workstations offer a strategic advantage we haven't seen in years, and now — yes, now — is the time to ramp up.

By Randall S. Newton

Here we are in the middle of a big fat recession, and the most empowering advance in CPU technology in 20 years has arrived. I'm not talking about a new model that's a little bit better, faster, or cheaper; I'm talking about the advent of the desktop supercomputer. The boss says "do more with less," but your favorite vendor has just introduced new workstations that are radically redefining the value proposition. What do you do?

Be sneaky. Be bold. Be whatever it takes. Start equipping your key technical professionals immediately. The Nehalem generation of CPUs from Intel, combined with new graphics processing unit (GPU) technology from NVIDIA or AMD and the most stable version of Windows ever, will revolutionize the workflow of the people who run the most compute-intensive applications, including:

  • the gal who creates those stunning renderings the executives keep requesting,
  • the graybeard who runs those complicated multiphysics simulations,
  • the surveyors and civil engineers who shoot gigabytes of 3D laser data, and
  • the young architects who do their initial design work in 3D.

These people — and others like them — offer their firms experience, skill, and creativity based on years of training and practice. Often they are more than the final arbiter; they also are important sources of innovation in a firm. Read more »
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Randall S. Newton is editor-in-chief of CADCAMNet and Engineering Automation Report, and a consultant on business and technology trends.


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events


3rd gvSIG Users Meeting
April 13–14, 2010
Trieste, Italy
This free conference is a gathering place for the gvSIG Community of Central Europe, especially for users in Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia. Read more

2010 Washington GIS Conference
April 19–21, 2010
Tacoma, Washington
Themed "Rise to the Challenge," this conference will comprise one day of half-day workshops and two days of seminar tracks. Read more 

Second Open Source GIS UK Conference
June 21–22, 2010
Nottingham, United Kingdom
The OSGIS conference series has an international focus and brings together speakers and delegates from government, academia, industry, and open-source communities. 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


What's New at

Web-Based Help Offers Answers for SolidWorks Users
Solid Thinking tutorial: The new help system introduced in SolidWorks 2010 includes improved search tools, simplified navigation, and up-to-date documentation. Read more

CAD Manager's Toolbox: CAD ROI Worksheet
Revamping processes to save money is great, but evaluating and tracking your proposed changes with this tool is even better. Read more

Please Pass the Parametrics
AutoCAD users can finally enjoy the benefits provided by geometric constraints: easier drawing and editing. Read more

Computer-Aided EcoDesign
Sustainable design tools are springing up all over the building industry, and green options are taking root in product design as well. Read more

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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