GIS News


Mar 2012 | No Comment


France convicts Google Maps for unfair competition

A French commercial court has found Google guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google Maps application and ordered it to pay a fine and damages to a French mapping company. In a ruling the Paris court upheld an unfair competition complaint lodged by Bottin Cartographes against Google France and its parent company Google Inc. for providing free web mapping services to some businesses. The court ordered Google to pay 500,000 euros ($660,000) in damages and interest to the plaintiff and a 15,000 euro fine. The French company provides the same services for a fee and claimed the Google strategy was aimed at undercutting competitors by temporarily swallowing the full cost until it gains control of the market.

Economic Times

ASI seeks Surveyor General’s help to protect heritage sites

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has approached the Surveyor General of India (SGI)?for its expertise in assessing the threat to ancient archaeological sites in the nation and to protect them. The ASI is reportedly in an advanced stage of talks with the SGI for mapping and surveying the 3,600 archaeological sites across the length and breadth of the country. Speaking to Deccan Herald, the SGI, Swarna Subba Rao said the ASI had made a voluntary effort to get in touch with them for mapping the sites and surveying them. Meanwhile, ASI Director Dr Gautam Sengupta confirmed the developments saying the surveying of the sites were important in order to identify encroachments which have occurred over the years in these sites. “The main reason for seeking the help of the SGI?in mapping these sites is to identify the extent of encroachments on the archaeological sites as per the amendment to Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010,”he said.

Northern Ireland’s DARD to replace GIS Department of Agriculture and Rural Development plans £9m geographic information system contract

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland is setting up a £9m contract for an enterprise-wide GIS. It is aimed at correcting shortcomings in the existing GIS and its Land Parcel Information System function, which have been in place since December 2004. The department said the system is also intended to meet a range of requirements for itself and its executive agencies. The project is part of DARD’s EU Audit Compliance Programme aimed at mitigating the risk of EU penalties.

Bentley Partners with Crossrail to Provide Collaborative BIM tools for Europe’s Largest Construction Project

Bentley Systems has announced two key initiatives to support the construction phase of Crossrail – Europe’s largest construction project. The initiatives are aimed at integrating the whole Crossrail supply chain to create best practices in information modelling for construction. Moreover, they are in keeping with the U.K.’s Government Construction Strategy, which calls for replacing adversarial cultures in projects with collaborative ones. At the recent Crossrail Tier 1 Contractor Briefing held at Bentley U.K. headquarters, Bentley announced that:

1. Crossrail’s Enterprise License Subscription (ELS) for Bentley’s application software portfolio will be broadened to serve the extended “Crossrail enterprise” – now encompassing its Tier 1 contractors. Crossrail’s ELS connects project participants through the ProjectWise system of collaboration servers and services and eB software for controlling project information.

2. A newly chartered Crossrail/Bentley Construction/BIM Academy will support the Crossrail “extended” enterprise with innovative applications of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for the Crossrail construction phase.

Bharat Oman Refineries Limited employs Bentley’s ProjectWise

Bentley Systems has announced that Bharat Oman Refineries Limited (BORL) has implemented ProjectWise, Bentley’s collaboration and work-sharing platform, to facilitate the design, construction, and ongoing capacity expansion of its recently commissioned 6 million metric ton refinery in Bina, Madhya Pradesh, India. BORL found that managing and sharing the project’s more than 1 million documents and 100 gigabytes of data among multidisciplinary teams and suppliers was a monumental undertaking. Searching for and accessing this engineering content – which encompassed a variety of formats including Microsoft Office files, AutoCAD, and JPG – and validating that it always reflected the most current technical information was consuming too much time and money.

Blue Marble releases GeoCore 2012 Featuring Improved LiDAR API

Blue Marble Geographics has announced the release of GeoCore 2012, the all-in-one data conversion developer toolkit for geospatial data. The updated version of GeoCore features GeoCalc 6.5, GeoTransform 6.2, and GeoTranslate 5.2. If desired, the latest versions of these software development kits are also available for individual purchase. When combined into GeoCore users can seamlessly work with any Blue Marble data conversion toolkit in the same development environment to build powerful geospatial software.

New system allows robots to map their environment

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) developed a new system that allows robots to build and continuously update a three-dimensional map of their environment. The new approach, based on a technique called Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), will allow robots to constantly update a map as they learn new information over time. As the robot travels through an unexplored area, the Kinect sensor’s visible-light video camera and infrared depth sensor scan the surroundings, building up a 3-D model of the walls of the room and the objects within it. Then, when the robot passes through the same area again, the system compares the features of the new image it has created – including details such as the edges of walls, for example – with all the previous images it has taken until it finds a match. The system is also expected to help blind people by allowing them to make their way unaided through crowded buildings such as hospitals and shopping malls.

Space Daily

Esri UK to supply cloud-based GIS services to public sector

The UK Government Procurement Service selected Esri UK to supply cloud-based GIS services to the UK public sector under the new G-Cloud Framework Agreement. The G-Cloud Framework has created an online catalogue (the “CloudStore”) from which customers may select and purchase from over 1,700 information and communications services available to the UK public sector. The G-Cloud services include a web-based GIS that allows customers to create and publish their own bespoke maps, combining a range of basemap options with the customer’s own geospatially-referenced data. Esri UK’s GIS services are listed in the Software as a Service (SaaS) genre within the catalogue.

NASA map reveals height of earth’s forests

A group of scientists from NASA, University of Maryland and Woods Hole Research Center created a unique map that shows height of the earth’s forests. The map, supposedly an accurate and high-resolution reading, has been created using LiDAR-based measurements from the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System instrument on NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat). The map, available at, depicts the highest points in the forest canopy. Its spatial resolution is 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). The map was validated against data from a network of nearly 70 ground sites around the world.


Korea grants USD 40 mn for Baku’s cadastre mapping

The Korean government allocated USD 40 million for development of the urban cadastre of Baku, Azerbaijan. In a press statement, chairman of the State Land & Cartography Committee of Azerbaijan (SLCCA), claimed that the Korean government will assist in developing the urban cadastre of Khazar district of Baku.
The SLCCA chairman further stated, “Khazar district was pilot, and we are planning to develop the urban cadastre of entire Khazar district, and in the future the urban cadastre of the whole city of Baku. To complete development of the urban cadastre of Khazar district we requested another USD 3 million from the Korean government, and USD 40 million for development of entire Baku cadastre. We have already received initial consent for new financing.”


India may spend USD 1 bn to map aquifers

In the next five years, India is considering spending as much as USD 1 billion to map aquifers, or large underground reservoirs. With the help of this project the Indian government aims to avert a water crisis in the South Asian country, where agriculture accounts for 20 percent of the USD 1.7 trillion economy, according to member of the Planning Commission, India, Mihir Shah.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Shah said, “Now people have begun to feel the pinch. Competitive drilling for water has led to the destruction of our groundwater tables. This has happened because we don’t know what lies below the ground.”

Mapping of aquifers is expected to help India manage cropping patterns and ensure drinking water for its growing population. More than 85 percent India’s villages and half of its cities rely on wells for water.

According to a study by the NASA, India lost 109 cubic kilometers of groundwater because of indiscriminate use during 2002-2008.


Street crime in London to be mapped

Now, victims of street crime in London will be able to report attacks online. A website, Streetviolence, allows those who have suffered robbery and other crimes to post witness appeals and warn the local community by pinpointing the crime on the website, based-on Google Maps. The website has been launched by a charity, Witness Confident. This project aims at galvanising people to become more involved to keep communities safe by providing accurate information about the circumstances of an incident.

Channel 4 News

Japan Maritime Force gets airborne laser mine detection system

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force purchased four helicopter-mountable, laser mine detection systems to help protect its coastline and the daily maritime traffic coming in and out of the country’s ports. This is the first direct commercial sale of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) to an international navy.

According to Northrop Grumman’s press statement, Donna Carson-Jelley, ALMDS programme manager for the US Navy said, “ALMDS will enable the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to cover significant distances at the speed of flight using its MCH-101 aircraft. This technology dramatically compresses the time between mine detection and neutralisation.”

Northrop Grumman

Intergraph to aid Russia in infectious disease management

Russian State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (SRCAMB) in Obolensk, Russia, selected ERDAS IMAGINE and ERDAS APOLLO to help support its spatial-temporal approach for processing data related to infectious diseases and conduct risk analysis of biologically hazardous objects. NeoGeography R&D Group and Navgeocom, authorised Intergraph Geospatial resellers in Russia, are now working directly with the Russian State Research Center on implementation.


Nepal surveys hydropower potential using LiDAR

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) commissioned LiDAR-based surveying for six reservoir type projects in the country. This is the first time that the hydropower is being surveyed using LiDAR technology. The Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Nepal, has already used this technology to map the forest area of the country and the data received by using this technology is being processed.

The survey would be done for Tamor (530 MW), Budhigandaki (600 MW), Dudhkoshi (500MW), Upper Seti (127 MW), Uttar Ganga (250MW) and Kaligandaki-2 (660 MW).

Afghanistan loses 72 pc forest cover

“Afghanistan lost 72 percent of its forest cover. The situation has become worst because glaciers, main source of water supply, are melting. Our northern peaks were covered by glaciers but last year, for the first time in 2011, the snow over these peaks melted completely,” stated Ghulam Mohammad Malikyar, Deputy Director-General of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) of Afghanistan in conversation with an Indian daily.

Commenting on Malikyar’s statement, Dr David Molden, Chief of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) said, “The Himalayas have 54,000 glaciers but there is a dearth of data on these glaciers. Glaciologists are currently conducting long-term balance studies and doing remote sensing and modelling which should throw up results within the next five years.”

Deccan Chronicle

Malaysia soon to table National Geospatial Bill

With an aim to make geospatial technology an essential decision making tool by 2020, for all public and private bodies in Malaysia, the National Geospatial Bill is being formulated, announced Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas, during the International Symposium on Spatially Enabled Government and Society in Kuala Lumpur. Uggah said the proposed Act would provide the legal framework for the development of a spatially-enabled government and society. He explained spatial enablement which used the concept of place and location to organise information and processes had many benefits, in terms of improved decision-making, reduced administrative costs and enhanced industry development opportunities.


SOB to complete topo map of Bangladesh by 2016

Survey of Bangladesh (SOB) will complete detailed digital topography map of Bangladesh by 2016, according to the Director of SOB, Colonel Mahmudun Nabi. He claimed that this is the first time a digital topographic map is being done to provide ‘accurate and detailed’ information on Bangladesh. “Once completed, it will help the government as well as the people,” he told a group of journalists at his office. A topographic map is a detailed and accurate graphic representation of cultural and natural features on the ground. As a sole national topographic mapping authority, the SOB started the BDT 1.81 billion (Bangladeshi Taka: BDT) project at the end of 2007 with technical and financial support from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Prime Minister of Pakistan approves space policy

Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani approved Pakistan Space Policy and it is likely to be presented in National Assembly for its consideration and approval soon, Chairman, Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), Major General Ahmed Bilal announced. Giving a presentation of SUPARCO at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he admitted that in first 40 years since its inception very little work has been done of in space research. He said that in many countries of the world, space related businesses are generating billions of dollars whereas Pakistan is lagging behind in this area. He stressed that emphasis in the policy has been placed on educating students about its benefit for the nation. According to the policy, space education should be made compulsory in schools and colleges.

BMA offers open access to 3D Bangkok map

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s (BMA) City Planning Department drew up a 3D city planning map. The 3D city map of traffic routes and infrastructure systems is available to the public at Thin Hongthong, chief of the department’s Geographic Information Division, said that the digital map is set at a ratio of 1:500 and is based on the latest 2006 Greater Bangkok city plan. It shows the details of each city zone and what types of properties can be built there. There are 990 3D visualised structures out of 1.4 million actual buildings in Bangkok to overlay on the map.

Bangkok Post

DOHA Australia announces tender for ‘Toilet Map’

The Department of Health and Ageing (DOHA), Australia, announced a tender for a new hosting and geospatial data management provider for its nationwide public ‘Toilet Map’ service, designed to help users find the closest public restroom. “The National Public Toilet Map Website identifies the location of many publicly accessible toilet facilities in Australian urban and rural areas, and along major travel routes. Useful information is provided about each toilet, such as opening hours and whether there is wheelchair access,” the DOHA tender reads, adding that the Toilet Map website and relevant iPhone app provides information on “more than 16,000 publicly accessible toilets, owned by both public and private providers throughout Australia.” The successful tenderer will also need to update the relevant public toilet data set hosted on, as well as provide 24/7 maintenance support services.

Centre for Wind Energy to develop solar atlas for India

Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET) is creating a solar atlas for India, which will identify the solar hotspots where the sun’s radiation has optimum intensity for power generation. It will enable solar power developers to accurately pinpoint locations for projects. The Centre will use satellite imagery – it is requesting the Indian space agency (ISRO) for help. But before that, an important part of the project was completed last month. This involved measuring radiation in 51 locations in India, which threw up some surprises, including the fact that pollution-free Ladakh is more suitable for a photovoltaic project than even Rajasthan. The agency is also developing an algorithm to validate the data. The expectation is that project developers, armed with the information, will be able to predict the plant’s output with reasonable accuracy. Also, they can make a better choice of which solar technology (photovoltaic, solar thermal or any other) to use.

Economic Times

Security concerns keep power lines off Japan’s topo maps

The Geographical Survey Institute (GSI), Japan, requested 10 major power companies to provide the locations of their power lines and towers for the electronic map project. Citing terror and safety risks, however, all 10 firms refused, and the power lines disappeared from the newest maps. The Association of Japanese Geographers (AJG) and other organisations, meanwhile, have demanded the lines and towers be included, pointing out that mountain climbers use them to help confirm their locations. The electronic map — available online since February 2011 — replaced the traditional paper version. The electronic map, in contrast to the paper map created from on-site measurements, was built using aerial photographs supplemented with detailed information on roads and structures provided by local governments and companies.

GSI requested the locations of the power lines and towers through the end of 2011, after they proved hard to identify in the aerial survey shots. However, all 10 power firms refused, citing “problems relating to safety policy.” “There is a risk the location information could be used for terrorism or be otherwise misused,” a Kansai Electric Power Co. official overseeing the issue stated. “We are not providing detailed data (to GSI).”


Esri Chief Scientist Receives Honors

Esri chief scientist Dawn J. Wright, PhD, has received the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Presidential Achievement Award. Presented at the AAG annual meeting on February 28, 2012, the award recognizes Wright’s outstanding work as a scientist, researcher, author, and advocate for marine conservation and for her contributions to geographic science.

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