Geographic information systems are moving from mainframes to desktop PCs with a vengeance.
BY J.B. MILES
At the heart of a GIS is the ability to map, to graphically depict relationships between objects and data.
A costly product
' What is it? GIS software allows the capture, storage, retrieval, analysis and display of spatial data in a variety of ways. It is used by local, state and federal government organizations, the military, telecommunications companies and public utilities, and is increasingly used by the health care, retail sales, real estate, insurance and tourist industries.
A GIS program worth its salt should at minimum contain the following features, according to the Geological Survey:
' The ability to relate information from different sources. GIS mapping can input information from many different sources in many different forms.
' Digitized data. Regardless of the initial form of data, the software should digitize it for further editing.
' Data integration. It can link and then integrate information from various sources.
' Projection. A GIS should be able to adjust the scale of any map to that of any other map.
' Data compatibility. If data formats collected by a GIS are different, the software should make them compatible by restructuring them.
' Data modeling. A good GIS can depict two- and three-dimensional characteristics of the Earth's surface, subsurface and atmosphere from many information points and generate a map accordingly.
J.B. Miles of Pahoa, Hawaii, writes about communications and computers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Desktop GIS Software||Product||Description||Features||Price|
|Ramas GIS 3.0||Ecological GIS software linking landscape data with population viability for endangered animal species||Imports landscape data from a GIS, identifies habitat patches, builds a metapopulation model, performs viability analysis and risk assessment, has a user-friendly interface||$1,500 per single-user license.|
San Rafael, Calif.
Design Server 1.0
|Enterprise GIS software combining Audodesk's enterprise server technology with the mapping and design capability of AutoCAD Map||Uses standard open protocols, scales across multiple networks and applications, integrates with enterprise resource planning systems, serves thousands of concurrent users, generates object rules||$6,500 per user|
|Cadcorp SIS 5.2||Suite consisting of MapViewer, MapManager, MapEditor, Map-|
Modeler modules; can be used as a desktop GIS, a developer kit or as an ActiveX control; is Web-enabled
|Includes multiple GIS data and database formats, extensive support for map projections and coordinate systems, Thematic Mapping Wizard and OLE2 support; is OpenGIS-compliant||$300 for MapViewer, $1,200 for MapManager, $2,200 for MapEditor, $2,700 for MapModeler, $4,200 for Active Server|
|GIS+ 3.5: GIS software with tools that create and maintaingeographic databases, develop spatial analysis, data visualizationand custom mapping. Maptitude 4.2: CD-based software for U.S. streets, and U.S. and world geographic data||GIS+ 3.5 comes with 32-bit Windows code, client-server processing and geographic database support; interfaces with multiple data collection tools, including GPS; manages digital orthophotography and satellite maps||$2,995 per license for GIS+ 3.5; $395 per CD set for Maptitude 4.2|
Fredericton, New Brunswick
|LIS/GIS Suite 4.4||Suite with Land Information Systems and Geographic InformationSystems software||Includes Internet GIS, Spatial Fusion, Spatial Fusion Developer, Land Information Systems and Spatial Application Development tools, including ActiveX controls||$635 to $5,000|
|MapGrafix 4.0.1||GIS utility linking text and graphic map features with database infor-mation to relate descriptive data to specific geographic locations||Supports real-world coordinate systems, uses intelligent cartographic data structures, supports standard vector formats, imports raster images into TIFF, has open architecture for customized applications, has comprehensive editing functions||$995|
|Imagine 8.4||GIS suite with mapping, visualization, imaging, remote sensingand advanced imaging analysis||Includes model layer enhancement, fog layer, 3-D shapefile support, hyperlinks, logo layer, enhanced 3-D DXF support and optional modules for NOAA satellite data support and Landsat 7 data||$2,000 up|
|ArcView 8.1, B4|
ArcView GIS 3.2
|ArcView 8.1: desktop visualization, query, analysis, and basicgeographic data automation; ArcView GIS 3.2: ESRI's basiccustomizable desktop mapping and spatial analysis program||ArcView 8.1 can be used as a standalone desktop GIS and as the entry point to ArcView GIS 3.2 while adding features such as ArcCatalog for managing data, on-the-fly coordination and data projection, and customization with Visual Basic for Applications||$1,500 per license for ArcView 8.1; $1,195 per license for ArcView GIS 3.2|
|iSite4.0||GIS mapping and demographics software||Is bundled with Caliper's Maptitude 4.0 and other optional modules for determining best commercial or building site locations||$695 for iSite 4.0; $1,995 for complete package|
|GeoSQL Technologies Inc.|
|GeoSQL 5.51||Standalone desktop GIS software||Works with major GIS formats, including ESRI, MapInfo and Autodesk; provides seamless spatial data using a SQL database that supports ODBC||$299|
|IBIS Software Inc.|
|Pangeo Response 2.0||Modular, entry-level GIS software||Includes Pangeo Desktop, an image display and drawing tool, and Pangeo Publisher, which permits displaying images of unlimited size on the Internet||$990|
|GeoMedia 4.0||Suite with GeoMedia and GeoMedia Professional GIS, Web Mapand Web Enterprise||Includes expanded data server support, integrated plotting workflow, data capture tools visual authoring and application generation tools for the Web, dynamic segmentation analysis, support for wireless GIS and support for a range of SQL servers||$1,500 up|
|Mapping program||Includes Internet support, 3-D viewing capabilities, enhanced data access via Oracle8i Spatial and Microsoft Access2000, and improved printing capabilities||$1,495|
|NACGIS 2.0||Graphical editing software||Includes mouse-controlled and graphic object drawing tools, graphic object manipulation tools, map viewing tools with longitude and latitude, and document editing||$999|
|PAMAP GIS 5.2b||Toolset for analyzing point, vector and area information||Includes Mapper with data input, editing, display and query tools; Analyzer with statistical reports, Topographer for 3-D analysis and visualization; Networker for building network topologies, Modeler for complex model design, and GIS translators and filters||$4,000|
|Conic 4.2||Field-based GIS software that uses portable pen computers||Includes Mapbook for map viewing and navigation, Redline for redlining and sketching, Inspection for database access and updates, Survey for links to external equipment and Mobile Records for record-keeping||$395 up per license; leasing|
|TCI Software Corp.|
Baker City, Ore.
|Collection of high-end tools for automating map preparation, cleanup and maintenance||Is compatible with AutoCAD releases 14 and 2000; includes more than 100 automated map editing functions||$995|
|Mfworks 2.6||Latest version of in ThinkSpace's line of raster GIS software||Analyzes and visualizes spatial data, complements most commercial GIS programs, includes advanced cross-platform raster mapping, Classify Operation, Incremental Operations, AutoAlign and AutoResolution modules||$900|
|Understanding Systems Inc.|
|oasisGIS||Umbrella suite containing mapping software that functions between desktop and enterprise mapping systems||Consists of the oasisCountyMapper for analyzing countywide map data; oasisDeedPro+ for writing, reading and plotting legal descriptions; oasisTopoMetris with algorithms for 3-D terrain analysis and visualization||$895 up|
|Total Alignment |
|Comprehensive set of image manipulation tools|
for use with ESRI's ArcView GIS 3.2
|TAS Basic includes resources for controlling image theme scaling, moving, rotation calculation, georeferencing and World file creation; TAS Advanced adds true image rotation to the package||$295 for both|
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