S'pore Power unit unveils wireless mapping solution <img src="/i/g/update.gif" border=0>

Telcos, banks, forestry and transportation authorities could soon allow field staff to access and update their maps on-site, thanks to an interactive mapping software developed by Grid Technologies Pte Ltd, a unit of Singapore Power.

SINGAPORE--Telcos, banks, forestry and transportation authorities may soon allow field staff to access and update their maps on-site, thanks to an interactive mapping software developed by Grid Technologies Pte Ltd, a unit of Singapore Power.

The solution, called Grid Modelling & Planning Interactive (GMAPi), works on any Microsoft Windows CE Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) such as Compaq's iPAQ or Hewlett-Packard's Jornada.

With GMAPi, field workers can record their observations--including the location or status of roads, trees, buildings, fibre optic cables, electrical overground boxes or bank ATMs--directly into the company's central database through a GMAPi-enabled PDA.

The PDA must, however, come equipped with a PC Card to enable wireless Local Area Network (LAN), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) connectivity.

"GMAPi opens up a new world of possibilities for mapping applications. Instead of lugging around huge maps, (field staff can access) all the information they need for their work by the way of a handheld computer. They can even use it to input data directly into the system," said Grid Technologies manager Christopher Tan at a press conference today.

"This will definitely improve effectiveness and increase productivity," he claimed.

Other potential customers for the wireless solution include emergency and drainage/sewerage services firms as well as the police, said Tan. He added that Grid Technologies is currently in talks with a few potential customers, but he declined to name them.

For GMAPi to work, companies also need to buy GE Smallworld's backend map generation software, called Smallworld Internet Application Server (SIAS).

Tan estimated that 100 user licenses for SIAS, including the hardware required, would cost about S$200,000. However, he would not reveal licensing details for GMAPi.

Also announced today was a joint marketing pact with Compaq Computer Asia to bundle GMAPi with iPAQ in Asia Pacific.

According to Compaq Computer Asia managing director Eric Goh, customers will get iPAQ at a discount, but he declined to reveal specifics.

Incorporated in March 1996, Grid Technologies specializes in mapping and Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies and electrical facilities data collection.

Local customers include Housing Development Board of Singapore, Singapore Power Telecommunications, People's Association and Prima Deli. Grid Technologies' sole overseas customer is SPI PowerNet in Australia, said Tan.

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