Federal GIS users want better GPS fit

Federal GIS users want better GPS fit

A preconference survey of registrants for geographic information system vendor ESRI’s federal user meeting next week in Washington found the top concerns are GIS interoperability, data standards and policies for sharing geospatial information. ESRI expects about 1,500 attendees.

Some of the surveyed users demanded better integration of Global Positioning System measurements with their existing ESRI ArcGIS software.

Officials of the Redlands, Calif., company replied that, at the conference, Trimble Navigation Ltd. of Sunnyvale, Calif., will demonstrate an ArcGIS add-on called GPS Analyst, replacing Trimble’s Pathfinder Office.

ESRI said the add-on “will function like a docking station—data sets can be checked out of the ArcGIS geodatabase, taken into the field, edited, used as a basis for new GPS measurement collection and then redocked into ArcGIS.”

GPS Analyst can do the differential correction computations, according to ESRI, which plans to release Version 9.1 of ArcGIS in April.

Other surveyed users expressed concern about complying with the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-16 metadata requirements for their geospatial assets. A-16’s only compliance guidance is to stay current with the Federal Geographic Data Committee site, at www.fgdc.gov.

Despite the uncertainties about incompatible standards and policies, agency GIS users are making progress. The Geospatial One-Stop e-government site currently serves up 17 categories of various agencies’ geodata, ranging from climatic measurements to census demographics, diseases and transportation.

Jack Dangermond, president of ESRI, said in an e-mail response to the survey questions that his 10-year trend forecast “suggests a 100x increase in computing performance, 1,000x increase in storage capacity, and even greater increases in network speed and capacity.”

Dangermond said advances in Web services and service-oriented architectures with loosely coupled, distributed servers could potentially connect all types of computing. He noted “aggressive investments” in grid computing by the National Science Foundation and other organizations.

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