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XVII Conference of ESRI Users in Russia and CIS

The 17th Conference of ESRI users in Russia and CIS will take place on October 18-20, 2011. This year, it will change the dislocation for the “Klyazima” boarding house near Moscow. We plan an active participation at the event.

For more details see DATA+ web-site.

Besides a stand presentation, Easy Trace Group will deliver two reports: "Digital Russia or Playing on the Site of Fire" at the section "GIS as support of decision-making in public authority and business" and "Time to Gather Stones Together" at the section" ArcGIS-based partner solutions". Theses of these reports are given below.

Digital Russia or Playing on the Site of Fire

Availability of detail and reliable information about the territory under control is crucial for public management. All civilized states know it for long and without doubts. The matter becomes even more essential now when we face natural and man-caused disasters frighteningly often, not to mention deepening of the world financial crisis…

As usually, Russia is going its own way. The task financial program «Digital Russia», is failed, and after a long period of reorganization in the bodies responsible for cartography we have come to where we are. Without any claim to a complete analysis, I would like to emphasize some issues.

  • Space information becomes essential, everybody needs it.
  • Cartographic data mostly remain on the paper.
  • Uncertainty of available digital data is shocking.
  • The State finances projects of next stages based on would-be reliable digital data.
  • There are no regulations for getting things (data) put in order.

In the course of project execution, our company in increasing frequency faces the situation when the customer’s data are “forbidden for alteration and unfit for use”. At that, the lion's share of financing is already allotted to intermediate parties and spent for bribes. I am sure that most companies dealing with real projects (unlike numerous go-betweens) know this problem far too well.

In other words:

  • There are significant accumulated volumes of digital data incorrect both in topological and structural sense;
  • For various reasons, most available spatial data are discordant with each other and results of remote probing.
  • The tasks to be solved require matching of dissimilar materials at the minimal cost and reasonable time constraints.

So, use of available data is connected today with transformation, verification and editing of big vector data massifs. Common geoinformation systems are oriented on processing of correct materials and are incapable of such data “digestion” within reasonable time and money frames.

Barbarous state of Russian materials requires more effective means for their assimilation and changing into something livable. Automation of data correction and editing is just the problem that our company has been solving for already several years. New tools and utilities of the data preparation software complex Easy Trace Pro represent results of these efforts.

Time to Gather Stones Together

The time is not far still when it was generally agreed that the Russian geoinformation market was actually dead for lack of digital data. The situation has changed. Being far from data abundance, we have faced new problems nevertheless. They are generated by several waves of «savage digitization» when the State allotted money to anybody familiar with Autocad or Microstation.

Lack of regulations and standards begot a variety of exotic formats and structures. As newly generated digital data were not in real use at first, some digitization results although accepted by customers were actually sets of vector rubbish. Use of local coordinate systems and the “game of secrecy” resulted in data mismatching in tens or even hundreds meters. Besides, the widespread bribery and adding enabled unfair executers to remain the lion’s share of data on the paper or just feign updating of necessary materials.

Some time ago, major automakers started to produce special versions of their famous car models for Russian impassible roads. These investments have proved to be profitable - the demand for luxurious cars in Russia is high. Unfortunately, our share at the world geoinformation market remains vanishingly small and we can not hope for special GIS versions from leading producers.    

Our company has been dealing with data preparation for already 18 years, and we are familiar with these problems not through hearsay. We have to modify our digitizing software constantly in the course of real projects to keep within their scanty budgets. The package has long outgrown simple digitization of course.

Today, we have an experience in imagery decoding, image «pulling on» vector data, vector data matching with orthogonally transformed photos taken as a standard for lack of something better, etc. Paper materials continue to wear out and we have to invent increasingly sophisticated technologies to extract vector from threadbare 1:500 plans and shabby topographic maps.  

Modern GISes excellently process data making them accessible for end users. The line of ESRI’s products supports solving of actually all real-world problems. Or will be so in the near future.

But ESRI left behind the task of data preparation long ago. There are no more blank spots on digital maps of leading countries, but it is far from being true in Russia with our great territory and awful mess in geoinformatics.

So, Russian challenges are unique as usually, and nobody but we ourselves will have to face them. Development of Easy Trace Pro - a digitizing software first and a data preparation complex now – is focused upon this task.