Wednesday, October 24, 2007

GEOINT 2007 - Great Show, Great People

We're leaving GEOINT later today and I have to say the event was refreshing - and very special this year.

Many times you'll go to a tradeshow and it turns out to be a collection of not-so-meaningful encounters and boring travel - but for The Carbon Project GEOINT 2007 was a high-energy experience shared with some great people.

Many thanks to everyone that took the time to visit with us and share the event - and many thanks to Microsoft Virtual Earth, what a great job pulling things together.

I leave you with one final annoucement from the Microsoft Virtual Earth booth at GEOINT this week...see you again soon.

"(BUSINESS WIRE)—October 23, 2007— Today, at the annual Geoint 2007 Symposium, the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) announced that Microsoft Corporation has joined the consortium as a Principal Member. Government agencies worldwide are realizing the power of geospatial applications to meet their missions in ways that are unprecedented - from public safety applications to famine and hunger relief.

Through its involvement with OGC, Microsoft is able to ensure the geospatial interoperability of its technology, including its flagship geospatial offerings -- the Microsoft Virtual Earth platform - and Microsoft SQL Server 2008, which is scheduled to ship in the second quarter of calendar year 2008..."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

CarbonArc PRO in BAE Systems GEOINT Booth

Above - BAE Systems using CarbonArc PRO to demonstrate Web Feature Service Transactions and other SDI 1.0 services in their booth at GEOINT 2007.
We wish all the BAE Systems folks from San Diego safe travels and good luck during this difficult time in California.

Good Vibes on Virtual Earth

There is a strong, positive 'vibe' coming from the Microsoft Virtual Earth booth here at GEOINT. When people engage they immediately see not only the massive amount of online content from Virtual Earth but they feel the energy of Microsoft staff and the innovation of its partners. It's very much like an high-energy, very edgy, start-up.

One of the great stories from the Microsoft Virtual Earth booth this week was the continued progress on "SQL Server Spatial". This is the first version of SQL Server to support spatial data and operations natively. Here are the high points -

- Comprehensive spatial support lets you build spatial capabilities into your applications by using the support for spatial data in SQL Server 2008.

- High performance spatial data capabilities with SQL Server 2008.

- Extend spatial support by integrating spatial data in SQL Server 2008 with location-enabled applications and services.

We also discussed "Round Earth" and "Flat Earth" solutions in SQL Server 2008 Spatial Data with Ed Katibah.
Basically, Round Earth solutions use the new geography data type to store geodetic spatial data and perform operations on it, and Flat Earth solutions use the new geometry data type to store planar spatial data and perform operations on it.

I'm sure there will be alot more coming...

CarbonArc PRO in SRA Interop Demo

SRA International used CarbonArc PRO to support their role in the GEOINT 2007 Interoperability Demonstration yesterday - they did a great job. The event was well coordinated and looked slick. I'll gather up and post some screenshots soon.

In the meantime, here's a quick look at the stage for the demo and many of the big talks - it was sooo enormous that I was expecting Nickelback to come out and start playing "Rock Star" or something (the shot above is pretty crappy and only covers the center stage, there were two other side stages).
I'd have to say GEOINT is now the premier show event for the 'geospatial' industry.

Gaia 3 in IBM Booth at GEOINT

IBM is using Gaia 3 to demonstrate their new WFS at GEOINT 2007 and we stopped by for a visit.

SDI 1.0 Analytics at GEOINT

We rolled out a couple unique capabilities this week at GEOINT 2007, including a slick set of analysis tools based on OGC Filters - a SQL-like spatial and logical language to make advanced data queries possible.

We showed how GEOINT analysts could combine OGC Filters with Microsoft Virtual Earth - for analysis. Our demo used a simulated release plume polygon to construct new features such as impacted airports, power infrastructure - pretty much any feature. This involved intersecting release plume polygons with the impacted areas.

We did this using OGC Filters and the capabilities of CarbonTools PRO, CarbonArc PRO, CubeWerx WFS - and combined it with Microsoft Virtual Earth.

To leverage OGC Filters, Nuke used tools and interfaces in CarbonArc (built with CarbonTools PRO) to create or use an existing feature like a release plume polygon, construct a Filter Encoding request using Spatial Operators (in this case it was the Spatial Operator "Intersect"), then send it to a CubeWerx WFS-T and acquire new features such as impacted areas from the WFS.

All done in real time yesterday using OGC Filters and Microsoft Virtual Earth.

The demo is based on Filters - The basic idea of an OGC Filter is to provide a SQL-like spatial and logical language to make advanced data queries possible in a distributed environment. Filters do this using a series of logical ("AND" this, "OR" that), comparison (is this "Equal To") and spatial (does that road "Intersect"?) operators. The Filter Encoding (FE) specification, when wrapped up into easy-to-use tools, lets SDI users quickly add complex and powerful queries to their work flows.

All this means a big change from the days when geospatial content was delivered as files and CDs.
NOTE: More on this type of analysis will be coming out of the CGDI Project.

GEOINT 2007 - The Big Show

Well, after several flight delays on American Airlines we made it to GEOINT 2007 - all I can say is that it was certainly worth the trouble getting here. GEOINT 2007 has turned into the premier event in the geospatial industry.

We're good to go in the Microsoft Virtual Earth booth with an awesome group of partners. I'll be sending out updates from the show and the exhibition floor - there's lots going on and the energy in the booth is fantastic.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Microsoft Virtual Earth and SDI 1.0 Converge at GEOINT 2007

CarbonArc PRO brings Microsoft Virtual Earth and OGC® SDI 1.0 Services into ESRI's ArcGIS 9.2 software

The Carbon Project will showcase Microsoft Virtual Earth and OGC® Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) 1.0 at GEOINT 2007 on October 21-24 in San Antonio, Texas - highlighting technology that brings together Virtual Earth and SDI 1.0 for mission critical solutions.

The Virtual Earth platform is an immersive online mapping and search experience that lets public and private-sector organizations easily discover, search, explore, share and visualize location data and locally relevant information. OGC SDI 1.0 is a selected suite of standards from the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.

The Virtual Earth/SDI 1.0 showcase includes –

CarbonTools PRO - an extension to Microsoft .NET that supports advanced location content handling, mapping and sharing. CarbonTools PRO is a toolkit for software developers that makes .NET and SDI integration possible, meaning Virtual Earth and SDI 1.0 can work together on any Window-based system in the GEOINT community.

Gaia 3.1 – a free .NET application for accessing, visualizing and sharing location content. Gaia 3.1 lets you seamlessly access and use a vast array of location content and services from your Windows desktop, including Virtual Earth and SDI 1.0.

CarbonArc PRO – an extension to ESRI’s ArcGIS 9.2 that makes Virtual Earth and SDI 1.0 an integral part of the GIS desktop. ESRI’s ArcGIS is the primary commercial component in many GEOINT production and analysis systems.

“The Carbon Project’s integration of OGC® SDI 1.0 and Virtual Earth is a great example of how the Virtual Earth platform can be used by innovative companies like The Carbon Project to add unique capabilities to all types of applications,” said Jerry Skaw, Marketing Comm Manager, Public Sector, Virtual Earth at Microsoft Corp.

“One of the highlights of GEOINT will certainly be Microsoft Virtual Earth working inside ESRI’s ArcGIS 9.2 software through CarbonArc PRO,” said Nuke, our CTO. “With CarbonArc PRO warriors and analysts can use Virtual Earth and any SDI 1.0 web service as an integral part of the GIS, including WMS, WFS, WFS-T, WCS, Filter Encoding, Gazetteer, GML, GMLsf and Catalog Services (CS-W).”

If you would like to book a private demonstration and/or interview, please call me at 703.491.9543 or visit the Microsoft Virtual Booth at GEOINT 2007.

Virtual Earth Added to CarbonArc for ArcGIS

In the example above, Virtual Earth's Hillshade layer is combined with WMS, WFS, WFS-T and Catalog Services - all in ESRI's ArcGIS 9.2 software

I'm pleased to announce that The Carbon Project's CarbonArc PRO software for ESRI ArcGIS now supports Microsoft Virtual Earth.

The Virtual Earth platform is an immersive online mapping and search experience that lets public and private-sector organizations easily discover, search, explore, share and visualize location data and locally relevant information. CarbonArc PRO is an extension to ESRI’s ArcGIS 9.2 software that supports Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC®) Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) 1.0 and Microsoft Virtual Earth.

CarbonArc PRO is already in use by government agencies and projects in the United States and Canada.

With CarbonArc PRO our customers can now use Virtual Earth and any SDI 1.0 web service as an integral part of the GIS, including WMS, WFS, WFS-T, WCS, Filter Encoding, Gazetteer, GML, GMLsf and Catalog Services (CS-W) - greatly expanding their interoperability and capacity to support mission critical operations.

CarbonArc PRO was developed with CarbonTools PRO, an extension to the Microsoft .NET Framework that allows software developers to add advanced geospatial interoperability to any Microsoft Windows application, including SDI 1.0.

To learn how CarbonArc PRO can help your organization or to discuss licensing options, contact

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Slick CarbonTools-based App on VirtualEarth4Government

GeoFeeeder graphic courtesy of BRIGHTiSolutions

A slick new application called GeoFeeder was featured today on VirtualEarth4Gov - and what I think is really slick is that GeoFeeder from BRIGHTiSolutions is based on CarbonTools PRO .

"GeoFeeder allows you to convert vector data (points, lines and polygons) to GeoRSS XML. GeoRSS is an emerging standard for encoding location as part of an RSS feed. GeoRSS feeds are designed to be consumed by geographic software such as map generators. What this means to you is that GeoFeeder will allow you to import data from ESRI, Autodesk, GML, and KML file formats into Virtual Earth."

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Friday, October 05, 2007

What the heck is SDI 1.0?

There's been alot of hype about "SDI 1.0" this year and some folks find it confusing - so here's a simple breakdown (mybe not perfect, but a start)...

The US government defines a Spatial Data Infrastructure, an "SDI", as the “consistent means to share geographic data among all users.” They go on to describe an SDI as the “technology, policies, criteria, standards and people necessary to promote geospatial information sharing throughout all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, and academia. It provides a base of practices and relationships among data producers and users that facilitates data sharing and use.”

The successful implementation of an SDI starts with the availability of content and services on the back-end and continues with front-end software clients for the end users. This type of a net-centric environment is dependent on industry-wide implementation of these open non-proprietary standards and specifications in software applications, often called standards-based commercial off-the-shelf software (SCOTS). A major push toward commercial embrace of SDIs is the endorsement of "SDI 1.0" by national geospatial organizations as part of the effort to coordinate geospatial standards and promote interoperability.

So given all that - here's is an initial crack at deciphering the bits and pieces of SDI 1.0...

- Web Features Service (WFS): The WFS implementation specification allows clients to retrieve and update geospatial data encoded in Geography Markup Language (GML) from multiple WFSs. It defines interfaces for data access and manipulation of geographic features and through these interfaces, a web user or service can combine, use, and manage geo-data. The basic Web Feature Service allows querying and retrieval of features. A transactional Web Feature Service (WFS-T) allows creation, deletion, and updating of features.

- Web Map Service (WMS): The WMS implementation specification supports the creation and display of registered and super-imposed maplike views (graphical images, such as GIF, JPEG, TIFF, and NITFS).

- Web Coverage Service (WCS): The WCS specification allows access to geospatial “coverages” (raster data sets) that represent values or properties of geographic locations rather than WMS-generated maps (pictures).

- Web Map Context (WMC): The WMC implementation specification is a companion to WMS. It describes how to save a map view comprised of many different layers from different Web Map Services.

- Geography Markup Language (GML): GML is eXtensible Markup Language (XML) encoding for the transport and storage of geographic information, including both the spatial and non-spatial properties of geographic features.

- Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD): The SLD standard defines the structure of an XML file that applies rendering or symbolization rules to features. An SLD requests a WMS to present a map according to submitted style rules.

- Catalog Services (CS-W): The CS-W provides an abstract model and protocol-specific solutions for the discovery of geospatial resources. Through catalog metadata and query interfaces, metadata properties are returned to the requestor, often embedded with links to actual data or services that allow the catalog to act as a referral service to other information resources.

- Filter Encoding Specification (FE): FE is used to express a query or filter using a predicate language, or terms and operators, stored in XML elements. FE is used in requests to WFS and queries to CS-W.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Will “SDI 1.0” Revolutionize GEOINT?

In April 2003, Apple opened its iTunes Music Store online, marking a revolutionary policy and business model shift for distributing and consuming digital music. The result of this shift can be seen on streets, subways and in shopping malls around the world, as people have embraced this new source of digital entertainment. By July 2007, the store had sold 3 billion songs, accounting for over 80 percent of all online digital music sales.

The iTunes phenomenon is a good example of how a new form of digital content dissemination was quickly embraced by users. Can the same type of revolutionary shift happen for digital geospatial information?

In the 1990’s, forward-thinking government policies towards high-resolution satellite imagery combined with the emergence of the Internet fueled a 21st century explosion of access to online imagery. Geospatial content is now easily accessed and used in platforms such as Microsoft Virtual Earth and Google Earth.

These days another revolution is right around the corner, powered by new policies that endorse a proven suite of standards for distributing and consuming digital geospatial information called Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) 1.0.

Based on specifications produced by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), SDI 1.0 is set to address the pressing issue of geospatial interoperability and usability of modern location-based content.

In fact, I think the SDI 1.0 revolution is already underway and deploying cost-effective solutions that challenge traditional Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) business models. You probably won’t see these solutions at your local shopping mall, but they are critical to mission success and national security.

I'll try and make the case in my next few blog posts...