GIS Tech News (#81)

5 May, 2009

The Tao of CAD and GISp>

Now in beta testing, a new on-demand viewing and markup tool
lets users collaborate on a file simultaneously.

By Kenneth Wong

Tao, a Chinese word loaded with philosophical implications -- as in Tao Te Ching or Taoism -- is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you're sorting out DWG files, contour lines, and raster files. But that may soon change, thanks to a team of Israeli software developers.

Recently, a startup called VisualTao quietly came online. The company was cofounded in early 2007 by Irish Shoor, an architect by training, and Jonathan Seroussi and Tal Weiss, both developers who once worked for Israel Aerospace Industries. Philosophically, the company is aligned with the software-as-a-service (SaaS) movement, championed by others such as Arena Solutions and

VisualTao's tagline is "CAD on Demand," but its market may be much broader. Its web-based viewing and markup tool is designed to let you "co-edit and collaborate on CAD and GIS data over the web," making it ideal for crossover disciplines such as civil engineering and utilities. Consistent with the SaaS model, VisualTao's product doesn't require installation. You subscribe to it and use a standard web browser to access its features.

On its home page, the company proclaims, "VisualTao is actively working on future developments and partnerships to enhance its technological platform and end-user solutions." All indications point to a company still in the embryonic stage, still refining its product. The signup page indicates that the company is recruiting beta testers. This may be a rare opportunity to help shape a promising product.  Read more »

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Freelance writer Kenneth Wong explores the innovative use of technology and its implications.


First Look: Newforma Project Center Sixth Edition

By Robert Green

No matter which CAD system you use, you still need to save your files in a logical way so you can find them later, right? Yet with all the advances in the CAD tools we use, most companies store their files haphazardly and have trouble finding them later. And the plethora of file formats and e-mail attachments used in today's typical projects can make project control vexing.

Newforma Project Center Sixth Edition is the latest update to Newforma's project information management software that addresses these key nuts-and-bolts type of concerns, and it adds some new functionality to provide control in BIM (building information modeling) project environments.  Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

GeoDATA 2009
May 14 - July 2, 2009
Various U.K. locations
GeoDATA is a highly successful one-day seminar series offering a unique chance to hear thought-provoking presentations on a wide range of issues facing users of geographic information. This year, Dublin will be on the annual program thanks to a high demand from both GI professionals within the vicinity and GeoDATA partners. Read more

Autodesk Imagine Virtual Event
May 19, 2009
Without having to leave the office, attendees of Autodesk Imagine Virtual Event will learn how Autodesk 2010 software enables them to visualize, simulate, and analyze ideas to the fullest extent. 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.


What's New at

CAD Manager's Journey into 3D, Part 3
A deeper look into the numbers reveals probable reasons behind 3D's slow acceptance. Read more