Leica Titan beta offers geospatial data sharing

Leica Geosystems AG, the Switzerland-based provider of geospatial data and applications, has announced the public availability of a beta version of Leica Titan, a new Web-based geospatial information system (GIS) application.

While the Leica Titan interface looks very similar to that of Google Earth or Microsoft Virtual Earth, with a floating globe that users can navigate and zoom in on, Titan focuses on providing channels for data sharing that the other applications lack.

'Leica Titan is positioned as a social network for sharing geospatial data, whether it's imagery, terrain, features [or] 3-D models,' said Mladen Stojic, director of enterprise products at Leica. 'We assume that individuals and organizations around the world have geospatial data that they want to share. Leica Titan is similar to some of the other media-sharing applications that we have for sharing music, pictures and other media files.'

Employing the program's Instant Messenger utility, users can join other users' worlds to access data they have published. All data is stored on the owner's computer, rather than on a central server.

'We're bypassing the need for a heavyweight server application and facilitating users within the social network to immediately share data for emergency response, where they really need that data turned around rapidly as opposed to having to wait for some IT manager to upload it onto a server, publish it and then tell everyone its available,' said Stojic.

Stojic concedes that this approach does present possible bottlenecks for performance. 'If you're working on a slower machine, the ability of that machine to serve the data will be limited to the processing power of the computer,' he said.

Once a user has published data, other users can access that data and use it as overlays on their maps, as well as make comments and annotations.

Data shared through Leica Titan isn't limited to being accessed through the Titan client. Leica has already supported export to Google Earth and Stojic says the company plans to support export to Microsoft Virtual Earth, NASA WorldWind and other client applications in the future.

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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