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By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2004-07-05 Print this article Print

Callant and Cooper said they hope that the power of the GeoRaster platform will motivate many parties—including industry and other federal agencies—to contribute to a unified database that will consolidate information thats currently stored in diverse formats.

"Right now, you have to funnel through thousands of different-shaped files, data in many different formats," said Cooper. "Its very difficult to weed through it—nothing is standardized, and thats what were trying to sell with this stuff. If you had one centralized database, that would be really powerful."

At the same time, said Callant, the rigor of working with the new GeoRaster has exposed some issues with source data that previously went unrecognized. "Some of the data that seemed great with 9i was not as great as I thought it was," said Callant, describing ways in which data consistency and other characteristics needed to be refined for best performance in the 10g architecture.

Callant said that it was also a challenge to understand the new coding for GeoRaster, but he said he appreciates that he can use the development tool best suited to a particular task.

"You dont have to use [Oracles] JDeveloper" to take advantage of the 10g platforms capabilities, Callant said. "You also can write with C or Java; Oracle gives you the APIs."

Callant said he and his team have found Oracle developers to be responsive to their questions, not only during the 10g beta program but also since the product release. Cooper agreed, saying, "We actually get to talk with the people who know this stuff."

The grid computing capabilities of the 10g platform are still a future prospect, said Cooper, given the current lack of data homogeneity and application capability among federal agencies. The cost-effectiveness of x86 blade computers, however, looks to him like the wedge that could open that door: "Now that Intel [Corp.] and others are making small and affordable computers that can run these intense models, we can start to share models and share the work effort."

Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP are all prepping 10g-certified applications. Click here to read the story. Callant and Cooper described their goals of moving data from regulatory agencies, sources of geographic data and industry participants in cleanup efforts into a unified coordinate system, as well as a common framework for analysis in the lab and rapid action by EPA and other personnel.

Taking advantage of continuing infrastructure improvements, such as GPS and wireless communications networks, theyre optimistic about the prospects for dramatic improvements to EPA mission effectiveness.

Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at

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Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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