GIS News: CityEngine, Image of the Week, CalGIS Call for Abstracts

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News from the geospatial industry includes an announcement from Esri about a CityEngine course its staff will teach at SIGGRAPH 2011, the Image of the Week from ESA, and a call for CalGIS abstracts from URISA.  Nvision and Pointools also make company announcements.  


Esri will exhibit and teach a course about CityEngine, its software for 3D modeling and urban planning, at the SIGGRAPH 2011 conference in Vancouver, Canada, August 7–11. The SIGGRAPH conference is one of the world’s largest exhibitions for the computer graphics industry.  This summer, Esri acquired Procedural, creator of CityEngine, to bring easy 3D content creation and design to ArcGIS users. The next planned release of CityEngine will allow ArcGIS users in urban planning, urban design, defense, simulation, and entertainment to create high-quality 3D content with existing GIS data.  In addition to showing CityEngine in booth #970 at the SIGGRAPH conference, Procedural CEO Pascal Mueller will teach the course Modeling 3D Urban Spaces Using Procedural and Simulation-Based Techniques with co-instructors Peter Wonka from Arizona State University, Daniel Aliaga and Carlos Vanegas from Purdue University, and Michael Frederickson from Pixar Animation Studios. The course will cover urban layout design, road modeling, and computational building design as well as a discussion of how CityEngine was used in the Disney/Pixar movie, Cars 2.  For more information, visit

ESA – Image of the Week

The Betsiboka estuary in northwest Madagascar is pictured in this image from Japan’s ALOS observation satellite.  Here, the country’s largest river flows into Bombetoka Bay, which then opens into the Mozambique Channel.  The red colouring of the sandbars and islands between the ‘jellyfish tentacles’ comes from sediments washed from hills and into the streams and rivers during heavy rain.  Mangroves are the predominant vegetation along the islands’ coastlines, sheltering mollusc and crustacean communities and serving as a habitat for sea turtles, dugongs and birds.  The seaport city of Mahajanga can be seen in the upper-left corner of the image. It is home to about 130 000 people and is an ideal tourist destination because most of the year is hot and dry.  In the lower-right corner is Marovoay, where the majority of the some 65 000 inhabitants are farmers.  Agriculture is evident: shrimp and rice farms are common near the water in this area, while coffee plantations flourish in the surrounding land.

Credits: JAXA, ESA

The Advanced Land Observation Satellite captured this image on 17 September 2010 with its AVNIR-2 Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer.  ALOS was supported as a Third Party Mission, which means that ESA used its multi-mission ground systems to acquire, process, distribute and archive data from the satellite to its user community.  In April 2011 the satellite abruptly lost power while mapping Japan’s tsunami-hit coastline.


The California Chapters of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) and the California Geographic Information Association (CGIA) are pleased to announce the 18th Annual California GIS Conference, to be held April 11-13, 2012 at the Sheraton Sacramento. The theme of CalGIS 2012 is Capitalizing on Spatial Technology.  Abstracts will be accepted and significant early registration discounts are available through October 3, 2011.  Visit for conference details.


NVision Solutions has been awarded a prime contract under the SeaPort Enhanced (SeaPort-e) Multiple Award Contract (MAC) for providing engineering, technical and programmatic support services.  The contract provides an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) vehicle established to facilitate a Navy-wide electronic procurement process that leverages buying power, improves business intelligence, and reduces purchasing time.  Under the scope of the contract, NVision Solutions can pursue task orders to support the Navy and other DoD and Federal Agencies.


Survey Solutions Scotland has joined the Pointools Partner Program in the UK. Pointools software streamlines scan-to-model workflows by enabling project teams to reference and reuse the largest point cloud models – the billions of measurement points taken by 3D laser scanners – inside the broadest range of applications.

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