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Telecom and LBS Summit Highlights Mobile GIS Developments

Nearly 180 Esri software users met for the fifth annual Telecommunications and Location-Based Services (LBS) Summit on August 8, 2004, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. The summit, held in conjunction with the Esri International User Conference, is a day-long event that provides a forum for examining methods and strategies for deploying spatial technologies in these industries. The general session was followed by breakout sessions in telecom and LBS tracks. Each track featured a keynote speaker and industry presentations.

The general session keynote address given by David Maguire, director of products at Esri, focused on the direction of mobile GIS. Maguire described current capabilities to pull information from the field for data collection, asset tracking, field-based analysis, and just-in-time decision making and growing capabilities to push data as handheld and mobile devices become smaller, smarter, and location aware.

Maguire also highlighted the new capabilities that will be available with ArcPad 7. These include improved performance, enhanced editing tools, improved symbology, markup tools, and added data formats for TIFF and JPEG 2000. Additional ArcPad 7 development projects will address the use of laser range finders, camera integration, easy GPS integration, and new platforms such as Windows CE 4.2 and Windows Mobile 2003.

More than 50,000 users currently use ArcPad software for mobile mapping and data collection. Work is ongoing on an ArcPad "smart phone" prototype called ArcTel that will enable users to manage multiple layers, pan and zoom, and perform identity-based queries using wireless phones. Work has also been done to port ArcPad to the Palm operating system.

Other hot topics included Network Analyst, Esri's new extension that will work inside of ArcGIS Engine and ArcGIS Server and support advanced routing analysis, multipoint tours, time windows, closest facility, and driving directions as well as complex polygon generation for service areas and allocation across networks. A GPS Analyst for ArcGIS extension, to be released later this year by Trimble, will differentially correct GPS data directly inside ArcGIS, improving the accuracy from 10 meters to 50 centimeters depending on the environment and GPS receiver.

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