System provides information about real-world objects for the Net
Marke Andrews, Vancouver Sun
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2007
Vancouver-based Galdos Systems Inc. is in the final months of a NATO
contract to convert a jumble of geographic maps into a single format
its founder helped develop.Once the data is converted to GML,
(Geography Markup Language) NATO's member states will be able to find
any digital map information they need.
GML gives users a way of encoding information about real-world objects
— bridges, mountains, roads or buildings, for instance — for the
Internet. Now widely used throughout the world, GML was invented by
Vancouver's Ron Lake.
He began working on GML in 1998, the same year he founded Galdos
Systems Inc. Other formats existed in a file system, the formats
designed for specific uses such as military operations or ocean
navigation. GML makes geographical information available for diverse
uses. If an organization becomes involved in a disaster-relief
operation in a foreign country, it can learn all about roads, airports,
topography, rivers and buildings through GML. The system is used to
research climate change, urban planning, transportation and defence.
Lake wrote the first version of GML on his own, but since then many
others have contributed to forming the language. By Lake's estimate,
Galdos has invested about $1 million in GML, yet the company doesn't
make a penny when someone uses the system, which is non-proprietary.
Instead, Galdos receives income from helping organizations convert to
that standard and from the design and sale of software products that
will give up-to-the-minute information on an area. In the case of NATO,
the data preparation contract was awarded to Britain-based TENET
Technology, with Galdos and IIC supporting the conversion.
In Vancouver, such technology could look at how the Canada Line rapid
transit construction may interfere with a road, or give a telephone
company information on the location of gas lines and property
boundaries.Business has been good for Galdos, which has grown from one
employee in 1998 to 30 employees working today at its downtown
Vancouver office.Web search engine Google uses KML, a form similar to
GML, but not as detailed. If you want road information, KML will show
you where the road is and where it goes, but GML will tell you the
dimensions of the road and whether it's made from gravel or asphalt.
"What people are starting to do is style the GML into KML for a Google
Earth map," says Lake. "The hope is that Microsoft and Yahoo and all
the other search engines will use KML, and some of that KML will be
generated from GML or have GML inside it."
Representatives from Google, Microsoft, Autodesk and ESRI will be among
the 300 delegates at the five-day conference GeoWeb 2007, which begins
Monday at the Simon Fraser University's Morris J. Wosk Centre for
Information on the conference can be obtained at
FOUND IN TRANSLATION
No accurate, current and integrated base of geo-spatial information —
the crucial data needed for construction, security, transportation and
all aspects of city planning — exists for the Vancouver region. Part
of the problem is that various data bases use different languages to
encode the information, and there is no system in place to move
information between them. Vancouver-based Galdos Systems Inc. developed
software that can translate the local data into GML (Geography Markup
Language), a kind of universal language for geo-spatial information,
thus allowing for either the integration of data into a central network
or for the access by users to the required data bases. Thus a car
navigation system could more readily be updated to enable drivers to
avoid road problems such as the Canada Line construction along Cambie
Street through connections with the city of Vancouver's data base. Or a
utility digging for its lines could find information on where it might
hit another utility's lines.
Read the article on their website: The Vancouver Sun .
Download the PDF file: Vancouver Sun-Vancouvers Galdos Systems works with NATO July 19, 2007.pdf