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Issue Date: August 2001

Open Spatial Solutions gears up for major business drive

1 August 2001

New force in the spatial technology industry, Open Spatial Solutions (Open Spatial), aims to capitalise on its expertise and experience to offer unsurpassed service to the spatial information market. So says Martiens Pelser, Managing Director of Open Spatial.
The company has its roots in fellow M Squared Investments subsidiary, MunSys Technologies, developers of the MunSys spatial solution for local governments and utilities. It took over the marketing, implementation and support of MunSys in May this year, freeing MunSys to concentrate on development of its multiple-award-winning software. Pelser confirms that, apart from its existing skills on MunSys - which uses Autodesk as its core GIS - Open Spatial has also brought aboard capabilities in two additional class leading platforms: ESRI and MapInfo.
"We have handpicked a team comprising the industry's leading lights in these GIS platforms, who will offer their knowledge and skills to extend the adoption of spatial technology throughout South African enterprises," he says.
The company aims to offer a total spatial solution on all its GIS platforms, encompassing consulting, product implementation and training, as well as ongoing support and maintenance. Initially, Open Spatial will concentrate on serving four main market segments: central and provincial government, local councils and utilities; the commercial and financial sector; and the agricultural and environmental fields.
As a data broker, it also markets and supplies data from a wide variety of sources including cadastral data from Surveyor General, topographical data from Surveys and Mapping, as well as demographic data from Sats SA. Open Spatial's own, comprehensive, street centre line data set and national address register is another powerful data collection, which can be used for a multitude of commercial geo-referencing applications.
Further broadening its 'total solutions' approach, Pelser says Open Spatial not only offers on-site services, but will also host spatial databases on behalf of clients - integrating and including their own and third party data - for a fixed monthly cost. "This means they can view data and receive management information on their desk without having to buy the software or data," he says.
It all forms part of a drive within Open Spatial to demystify GIS and to bring its spatial functionality into the realm of everyday technology.
Key to this is another campaign to make the GIS available via the Internet. Linked to database, it enables users to simply open a web page and conduct analysis based on spatial and database information in a user-friendly environment.
Pelser views Open Spatial' strategic alliances and partnerships as fundamental to its success. The company enjoys development partner status with both Oracle and Autodesk and is in the process of similarly cementing its ties with ESRI and MapInfo.
He adds that Oracle, a leader in developing for the Open GIS (OGIS) standard, has enabled Open Spatial to open up GIS information on a much wider scale. "However, Open Spatial is also skilled in providing spatial capability on any existing company database, whether Oracle-based or not."
According to Pelser, Open Spatial aims to expand its expertise into the global arena, in particular, with the marketing of MunSys. Already highly acclaimed and used by five major South African municipalities including City of Johannesburg, MunSys is being further developed in preparation for its launch onto the international market, on 1 January, 2002.
Pelser is bullish about the future of the company, "No other GIS company can match Open Spatial in terms of its human resources - many of whom have been involved in GIS since its infancy in South Africa - as well as our broad base of products," he asserts. "Also, because we are a fresh, new entity, we carry no baggage, nor are we limited by an exclusive alliance to any single product."
He is determined that Open Spatial learns from the past mistakes of the GIS industry. "Unfortunately, it has had a reputation for often not delivering on time or within budget. However, in this highly competitive era, no company can afford to ignore the necessity for customer care and service excellence. Open Spatial will employ established project management practices and extensive quality control to ensure that we deliver on this count, both locally and globally," he concludes.
Open Spatial
(011) 783 1834

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