GIS Tech News (#64)

18 Aug, 2008

CS-Map Enters Public Domainp>

Autodesk donates conversion technology to OSGeo.

By Kenneth Wong

Kenneth Wong photo

Norm Olsen, the founder of Mentor Software, once wondered, "What happens to Mentor Software and its clients and customers if I get run over by a bus?" But he doesn't need to worry about that anymore. In September 2007, Autodesk snatched up most of his company's intellectual property for an undisclosed amount, promising to donate the technologies to the open source community. Earlier this month, Autodesk made good on the promise. The company deposited the source code for Mentor Software's CS-Map into the nonprofit Open Source Geospatial Foundation's (OSGeo's) open source project archive. The library, now available free, is a cause for celebration for many who believe open source is the answer to interoperability.

OSGeo's Growing Reach
Autodesk's contribution to OSGeo includes MapGuide, a Web-based platform for developing mapping applications and services, and feature data object (FDO), an application programming interface (API) for storing, retrieving, updating, and analyzing geospatial data.

Autodesk is one of OSGeo's sustaining sponsors. The company provides legal, organizational, and financial aid to help launch and maintain the foundation. Other OSGeo sponsors include PCI Geomatics, known for its geospatial imaging software Geomatica; 1Spatial, a supplier of GIS software and services; and LizardTech, makers of the GeoExpress imaging software. Conspicuously absent from the sponsor list is ESRI, an Autodesk competitor and another big name in the geospatial industry.

On the other hand, both Autodesk and ESRI are involved in Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), a nonprofit leading the development of standards for geospatial and location-based services. Read more »

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Kenneth Wong is Cadalyst's executive editor. Reach him at


GIS in Action

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Editor's note: This article also appeared in Geospatial Solutions Weekly Newsletter, August 15, 2008.

The 2008 ESRI International User Conference, bearing the theme "GIS: Geography in Action," was held in San Diego last week. Attendees flocked to special interest group meetings, paper sessions, and technical workshops. In addition to those familiar attractions, ESRI offered a new track this year. In keeping with the eco-aware tone of the event, a special program highlighted an assortment of presentations, panel discussions, and meetings, all focused on climate change.

Environmental concerns were also on display in the extensive map gallery, which included hundreds of posters and multimedia presentations. Topics included "How Green Is Your Commute? Gas Mileage Estimates for Pierce County, WA, Employment Centers"; "Corridor Designer: A Suite of ArcGIS Tools to Identify and Evaluate Corridors between Fragmented Habitat Blocks"; and "Potential Carbon Sequestration: West Virginia Gas Reservoirs." Poster projects were not limited to green matters, of course; they covered everything from mapping locales mentioned in ancient texts to inventorying mass evacuation routes. Read more »

Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

GIScience 2008
September 23-26, 2008
Park City, Utah
GIScience brings together scientists from academia, industry, and government to explore emerging topics and basic research findings across all sectors of geographic information science. Read more »

AGIC 2008 Geospatial Education and Training Symposium
October 8-10, 2008
Prescott, Arizona
Three days of workshops, technical demonstrations, and activities will keep participants current on the latest geospatial technologies. Sponsored by the Arizona Geographic Information Council. Read more »

Basic Geospatial Intelligence Workshop
October 20-21, 2008
Arlington, Virginia
Sponsored by the Homeland Defense Journal, this workshop will introduce the processes, methods, and products of geospatial intelligence. Read more »

Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
March 22-27, 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada
The AAG 2009 meeting will welcome 8,000 geographers, GIS specialists, and environmental scientists from around the world for the latest in research, policy, and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience. Read more »

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