GIS Tech News #6

12 Jun, 2005 By: Arnie Williams

Cadalyst GIS Tech News

GIS Across the Enterprise

Geospatial data networks based on Autodesk technologies support municipal and national agencies and an airport

This month we continue our look into how developers of GIS products are influencing the industry. In last month's edition (click here for archives), we examined a number of applications of GIS software from ESRI and their use in various civil engineering projects. This month we look at Autodesk's GIS line-up and its use in infrastructure at citywide and nationwide levels and for airports.

Cities Find Bevy of Uses for GIS
The city of Terrell, Texas, recently used Oracle and Autodesk technologies to develop and manage all data related to its water and sewage system, which was generated with Autodesk Map 3D software. The city's engineering department needed a more efficient way for city departments to access data. Staff from planning, finance, parks and recreation and other departments were flooding the engineering department with ad hoc data requests, too often distracting the engineers from important, time-sensitive tasks. To provide direct access to centralized data, the city adopted Autodesk's Public Works Solution, which combines Map, MapGuide, and Land Desktop software, Munsys Municipal Modules and an Oracle 10g database

The city of Fremont, California, with more than 208,000 residents, is poised for even more growth. The city has created a publicly accessible Web site that delivers location, demographic, vacancy and business information to help developers and real estate brokers make better business decisions. The Web site is based on MapGuide and taps data from an internal GIS online system, also based on MapGuide. The site retrieves parcel-level maps, assessor data and information from the police department, local utilities and others.

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, has become something of a poster child for moving city infrastructure data to a GIS platform. Using Oracle and Autodesk products such as Survey, AutoCAD, Land Desktop and MapGuide, the city has created a system called VanMap, launched in 1999, to bring all city infrastructure data online. This has been a long-term project for Vancouver, with data first coming into the system in the early 1980s. In the first stages, the city replaced all paper maps with digital maps, but much of the data was being unused by a wide audience. By creating VanMap, Vancouver opened up access to its infrastructure data. Now residents and businesses can look up zoning information, and internal departments have ready access to the data through a MapGuide-based viewing system.

GIS for National Railways and Seaways
In Finland, Autodesk Map has helped VR-Group, which handles construction and maintenance of Finland's railways, to revamp the country's passenger and freight railway systems. VR-Group contracted Espoo-based ViaSys Oy, the largest provider of GIS solutions in Finland, to do the job.

Using NovaPOINT and Map, the company implemented a new system, called VR-Track, in 11 months' time. The system now links more than five separate databases from internal groups such as signaling, electric installations, rail network, bridges and geotechnical. These groups now are able to plan together more carefully for railway upgrades. For example, the geotechnical group, tasked with designing the railway structure, and determining such factors as thickness and material of structures, previously had to wait for colleagues in the rail network group to finish designing track geometry for a particular segment before they could determine an adequate railway structure to support the track. The groups now can carry out these tasks simultaneously.

In Rotterdam, the Netherlands, one of Europe's busiest seaports, Autodesk Map has been integrated with a spatial information system to keep traffic flowing. Port of Rotterdam oversees a harbor 6.5 miles wide and more than 25 miles long, and manages the transit and moorage of more than 30 sea ships and 130,000 inland vessels daily. The new Autodesk/SIM system links more than nine separate databases, including the soil information system and land parcels for industrial sites, pipelines and cabling, all in a single source so spatial information can be moved efficiently across the enterprise.

From Seaways to Airways
Few airports see the daily traffic of the Los Angeles International Airport. In fact, LAX is the third-busiest airport in the world, with more than 67 million people passing through its terminals in a single year. The central complex features nine passenger terminals totaling more than 43 million square feet. One terminal, Tom Bradley International, exceeds 1 million square feet.

The group charged with managing the lease space in the airport faces a daunting task. Retail spaces are continuously remodeled as tenants change. But thanks to a new system built on top of Autodesk Map and an Oracle database, lease tracking and maintenance operates more smoothly. The new lease management application enables departments in charge of concessions and terminal property to attach lease or contract numbers and other data for further analysis in an integrated, open system.

Upcoming GIS Events
Cadalyst's full calendar of events is available at

4th Annual Government Symposium and Exposition on Information Sharing and Homeland Security
June 27, 2005-June 29, 2005
New Orleans, Louisiana
Organized by GETA (Government Emerging Technology Alliance), this year's program is themed "Best Practices and Real World Solutions."

ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit
September 12-14, 2005
Adams Mark Hotel, Denver, Colorado
Event designed to focus on practical solutions for homeland security, crisis management and business continuity.

GIS in the Rockies
September 21-23, 2005
INVESCO Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
Conference will include technical sessions and workshops, job fair, exhibition, technical tours and a geocaching event.

Qatar GIS Conference & Exhibition 2005
November 14-16, 2005
The Ritz-Carlton, Doha, Qatar
Event will present an overview of the current GIS state-of-the-art in Qatar and the Gulf Region.