North American Oracle Spatial Special Interest Group Meeting Review
Dr. Christopher Tucker
For the geospatially inclined, Oracle Open World (OOW) began on
Sunday, September 18th, with the Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG)
North American Oracle Spatial Special Interest Group (NAOSSIG) Meeting
at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.The special interest group, newly
incorporated into IOUG, was chaired by Bob Denaro of NAVTEQ, one of
many organizations which have made a strategic enterprise commitment to
the use of Oracle Spatial.
Jim Steiner, Senior Director for Oracle's Server Technologies, was
invited to welcome everyone to OOW, an event that had more than 36,000
attendees.Steiner's comments focused on how geospatial (and Oracle
Spatial specifically) fit into Oracle's overall "Fusion" vision of
seamless application integration through service oriented architecture
and standards-based grid and infrastructure services.
All the major geospatial vendors were presenting their "wares" at OOW,
and showing their support for Oracle 10g Spatial, including Autodesk,
ESRI, Intergraph, IONIC, Leica Geosystems and NAVTEQ.
The IOUG NAOSSIG (yes, perhaps we should come up with a better
acronym!) was the first national meeting since the kick-off meeting
following the spring GITA meeting in Denver.This latest meeting had
three presentations, followed by a great reception overlooking the
beautiful Gilded Age atrium of the Palace Hotel.David Shrader,
DigitalGlobe's Manager for Database & SAP Systems, discussed the
Oracle Spatial-based implementation of their latest NextView
infrastructure, including technology from Oracle partner IONIC.Paul
Dunne, Assistant Principal Officer of the Ireland DoA Forest Service,
presented that organization's Oracle Spatial-based e-government
solution for better managing forest lands, including technology from
Oracle partner e-Spatial.Jeff Saunders of Farallon Geographics
presented the Utah Department of Transportation's Oracle
Spatial-based asset management system, using Oracle Spatial's Linear
Reference System capabilities, showing how the ArcGIS product line from
Oracle partner ESRI can work atop Oracle Spatial.
Bob Denaro briefed the group on the successful regional meetings that
had occurred in the Washington, DC, area.And, he mentioned that
meetings were soon to come in the San Francisco Bay Area and in
Colorado/Rocky Mountains.Anyone interested in leading or participating
in such SIG's should definitely get in touch with Denaro, via e-mail or (312) 894-7085.
Oracle Open World had several sessions dedicated to geospatial, as well
as "demopods" for Oracle Spatial, GeoRaster, MapViewer, RDF, Triples
and Network Data Management, and Oracle Workspace Manager.There
offerings were in the midst of sessions and demopods for every
conceivable database and application server topic.A user could quickly
learn about the latest Oracle Spatial concepts and then turn around and
learn about real-time databases, in-memory databases, micro-databases,
database replication, failover and recovery management, database
performance tuning and a host of other topics critical to enterprise
spatial data infrastructure deployments.
Oracle Spatial sessions were different this year, with movement from
the product-oriented tracks to industry- and developer-orientation
tracks.Oracle exposed broad communities of database
administrators, programmers and industry customers to Oracle 10g
These included a session introducing Oracle Spatial and MapViewer
technologies to BI and datawarehouse customers highlighting their
integration with Oracle Warehouse Builder and Oracle Discoverer (BI
tools).The session, given by Oracle's Data Warehouse Builder group,
showcased an application developer workflow to load, geocode, analyze
and visualize this information within the context of a business
application.Particular emphasis was placed on using the Oracle
Warehouse Builder to extract/transform/load customer address records,
using the Oracle Spatial geocoding engine for adding coordinates to
those addresses, using the Oracle Discoverer for undertaking business
intelligence queries and using MapViewer for map visualization and
There was also a session on transportation and logistics, with case
studies from San Jose Airport, Belgian Rail and Utah DOT and the use of
Oracle Spatial as IT infrastructure for geospatial enabled operational
systems.Xavier Lopez from Oracle spoke about database features
commonly used in the transportation industry, namely linear reference
systems and network data models, and a new street routing engine.
For something completely different, Lopez spoke on Thursday on the new
functionality in Oracle10g to manage Resource Description Framework
(RDF) data.RDF data management is a W3C standard for managing Web
metadata and enabling semantic technology solutions.Lopez explained
how applications developers are using RDBMS technology for managing the
large amount of RDF data generated to support semantic applications.
While this is an emerging area in IT solutions, it was interesting to
see that Oracle was staking out a lead role in providing a software
infrastructure for (geospatial) semantic solutions.
And, Oracle Spatial was highlighted in multiple utility sessions - a
trend which will undoubtedly continue at next year's GITA meeting in
Tampa, and at the Second Annual International Spatial User
Conference, set for April 27, at the same location.By the way, the
Call for Papers for the spring user conference was just issued, and
abstracts are due October 15th, 2005! Come on.It's only 200 words!
It was interesting that Larry Ellison's keynote/Q&A addressed
Oracle's move to put "deep industry functionality" into both Oracle's
core applications and associated "special algorithms into our
database." This undoubtedly will lead to some very powerful geospatial
products and solutions coming from Oracle over the next several years.
And, since they will be fully integrated into Oracle's core
enterprise-class products, this means that spatially enabling the
entire enterprise (e.g., CRM, ERP, you name it) will be easier than
every before.And, without ever touching a GIS.
From the quality of the people, the sessions and the vendors, it seemed
clear that Oracle Spatial is where the action is.If your project is at
all serious, you better get using Oracle Spatial!