Oracle Spatial 2011 user group, Washington

Indus on EPA data cleanup, HNTB’s TruViz for LiDAR data management, eSpatial—GIS in the cloud.

The Oracle Spatial user group convened in Washington last month. Indus Corp.’s Bob Booher outlined how Indus Corp. has been cleaning up the US Environmental Protections Agency’s Facility Registry, an ‘integrative’ system combining facility data from over 30 National EPA systems and over 45 State Systems. An Exxon-Mobil refinery in California leads the field with 20 different EPA and State programs linked to a single FRS record ( The FRS is key to the EPA’s governance of air, water and toxic substance permitting. Issues fixed in the major geo data cleanup included different formats, datums, missing metadata and other errors. All data is now in a standard SDO geometry using the Federal NAD83 standard datum. In some cases, geocoding data (ZIP codes) provided better locations than the lat/long pairs.

HNTB’s Todd Rothermel noted that point cloud (PC) data collection has exploded of late with different techniques (LiDAR, Sonar, GPR) applied in air, ship or vehicle-borne contexts. PC acquisition creates multi gigabyte files that can cause problems to users and data managers. Rothermel advocates a combo of Oracle 11g Spatial (running on a Linux instance in the Amazon EC2 Cloud) for PC data storage and Bing Maps Silverlight for PC visualization. This approach has been patented and commercialized as HNTB’s TrueViz Pulse. The TrueViz API includes tools for loading, searching and extracting data to various applications and endpoints (

Eamon Walsh (eSpatial) showed how Oracle Spatial in the cloud is used to provide GIS data in ‘software as a service’ mode. Key to successful SaaS is ‘multi tenancy,’ with each user’s data kept secure and private, as exemplified by, NetSuite and others. Multi tenancy is set to transform the GIS business. eSpatial’s offering also runs on the Amazon cloud, on pre-configured Amazon Machine Instances running Fedora Linux and Oracle 11g. Turning the cloud into a secure industrial strength multi tenanted environment still required some smarts. AMIs need to be secured and backed up, access needs to be restricted and there is a need to monitor and respond to evolving machine states, ‘Amazon has a lot of $ meters running!’ Walsh offered some fairly detailed advice to those wanting to roll their own EC2-based GIS servers before turning to eSpatial’s own offering of ‘OnDemandGIS’ and the ‘iSmart’ server. iSmart web GIS is an ‘instant multi-user’ cloud based offering. Users sign up for an account, load data, manage layers, users and permissions and visualize data in the browser ( More from the conference on

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