GIS Tech News (#61)

30 Jun, 2008

Tools Link GPS and Digital Camerasp>

New technology automatically records not only where a photo is taken but also the direction in which the camera is aimed.

By Andrew Roe

Andrew Roe

Gadgets for GPS and GIS users continue to become more impressive and present new possibilities for both casual and professional users. In some cases, vendors large and small are teaming together to provide solutions for a wide range of users.

Consider the integrated geospatial-mapping camera module recently introduced for the Ricoh 500 SE digital camera. The module includes a magnetic compass and GPS receiver, and when attached to the Ricoh 500SE, enables users to acquire the location of a photo as well as the direction the camera was facing when the photo was taken.

Japan-based Ricoh and Thousand Oaks, California-based EKA Technologies had previously introduced an attachment with a built-in GPS receiver that enabled users to acquire location coordinates and embed them with photos as attributes. Meanwhile, GeoSpatial Experts, Thornton, Colorado, had developed a software product called GPS-Photo Link to automatically link digital photographs with location information obtained from Garmin GPS receivers and map the photos on ESRI-based GIS layers.

Ricoh contacted GeoSpatial Experts in 2003 to develop software specifically for its camera and an integrated GPS module, according to Linda Bobbitt, GeoSpatial Experts vice-president. GeoSpatial Experts introduced Ricoh-specific editions of GPS-Photo Link, and continues to offer a standard edition that works with various cameras.

The recent addition of the magnetic compass to the EKA SE-3 module allows the Ricoh 500SE to record direction information. The GPS-Photo Link software accesses this direction data and can place a direction arrow at the photo location on a map. The software can also determine the zoom setting of the camera lens and indicate the field of view of each photo as a triangle on the map. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Andrew G. Roe is a licensed civil engineer and president of AGR Associates. He is also the author of Using Visual Basic with AutoCAD, published by Autodesk Press. E-mail him at


AutoCAD Set for a Civil Transition

By Kenneth Wong

No one should be surprised that AutoCAD Land Desktop (LDT), Autodesk's workhorse for civil engineers and surveyors, is on the way out. The telltale signs are in Autodesk's evolving marketing literature for its potential successor, AutoCAD Civil 3D.

In a 2003 Autodesk white paper, "Using the Autodesk Civil 3D Dynamic, Relationship-Based Environment," author Clay Abajian, an Autodesk-endorsed consultant and instructor, wrote, "Does Autodesk Civil 3D mark the end of [LDT]? No, it does not. Autodesk Civil 3D is 'preview' software released as part of the subscription fulfillment to LDT and Autodesk Civil Design (or Autodesk Civil Series) subscription members."

But eventually, on Autodesk's Civil 3D support page, the company began offering step-by-step guides and case studies to encourage customers to migrate. "The 'Moving from Land Desktop to Civil 3D' guide is intended to help you transition from using [LDT] to using AutoCAD Civil 3D as your primary engineering design application," Autodesk wrote. Read more »

Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

Webinar: Working with SiteNET
July 10, 2008
12 noon ET
In this webinar, Carlson Software's Gary Rosen will show how SiteNET layer-based surface generator and earthwork calculator can save time and money. Read more »

Webinar: Advanced Roundabout & Knuckle Design
July 17, 2008
12 noon ET
This Webinar by Carlson Software will demonstrate how to lay out a collection of intersecting roads, process them all together, and clean up all intersections, cul-de-sacs, and other design features in 2D and 3D. Read more »

Cadalyst's complete list of upcoming events is always available on our Web site. Cadalyst's sister publication, Geospatial Solutions, also offers a full calendar of GIS-related events.