IntelliWhere’s OnDemand

By Joe Francica

This last week, I sat down with Majdi Zahran, Marketing Manager, and Mike Baker, Senior Application Engineer of Intergraph's IntelliWhere division to get an "up close" demonstration of the OnDemand software solution that provides map visualization and editing for personal digital assistants (PDA).At the heart of OnDemand, is Intergraph's guiding philosophy of spatial data integration.If you know and love Intergraph technology, you will appreciate OnDemand because it is an extension of the GeoMedia platform foundation.

For a moment, put aside that fact that PDA's have limited storage capacity, battery life, viewing area, processing speed, and colors in which to totally visualize anything let alone a map.Maps sap the compute power of most desktop computers so if you are looking to replace your laptop with a PDA, that's not going to happen.Let's also put aside whether you believe that a PDA is a useful device for field force automation and whether you think everyone sales person, field representative, or repair service person should have one.It will be enterprise rollouts of just such applications that will drive the location-based services market for the next few years.

Will OnDemand be up to the challenge? IntelliWhere is hoping that your need for data integration extends to the PDA.In other words, given the plethora of disparate data formats, you will want to integrate these data for use in an enterprise deployment of a mapping application for the PDA.In addition, as Mr.Zahran states, you will want an application that is "stable, has good performance, and is easy to use." Plus, if you are in need of high resolution that only vector display can provide, OnDemand will meet those specifications.

OnDemand is a vector-based application.It requires that all data pass through its "gateway extension" to be compressed to the "GTX" format suitable for use on the PDA.The GTX file is a proprietary format that allows for the integration of disparate data.If you are a GeoMedia user, there is a gateway that includes OnDemand Publisher and a dataserver that installs to GeoMedia.The OnDemand Publisher will extract the active window view extents, and make only those attributes that are "locatable" in the legend as active features in OnDemand.This eliminates unneeded data attributes from being sent to the PDA and taking up limited storage space.For those who do not have GeoMedia, there is a set of gateway tools that run in a command line mode or in batch on the desktop with the same functionality.

The interface is has a simplified set of icons, some of which are programmable as "hot key's" to quickly retrieve frequently used queries (See figure 1).Zoom, pan, center, and other typical commands are available.A redlining capability allows the user to "ground truth" the map database as well as add new features which can be incorporated to the primary database by uploading the new attribution through IntelliWhere's Location Server.Location Server is the "server-side software platform that accepts XML queries from any other application or device" and is middleware that prepares the data for wireless communication handsets.

Set up with a GPS device is straightforward and geographic coordinates are provided to OnDemand through the manufacturers application programming interface (API).Three options for refresh and visualization of coordinates received from the GPS area available.Customized applications for field force automation can be written using versions of Microsoft's embedded Visual Basic or C++.

And what about compliance for the OGC's OpenLS (Open Location Services) initiative? Mr.Zahran indicated that OnDemand would be OpenLS compliant.However, it is unclear if Intergraph is simply staking the position as the "vector" data ambassador and let others have the raster protocols.For more information you are advised to visit the OGC's OpenLS website

Published Wednesday, February 20th, 2002

Written by Joe Francica

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