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3 firms to sell electronic map system to municipalities.

TOKYO, July 24 Kyodo

Electric Power Development Co. and two other firms are planning to market a new type of geographic information systems (GIS) in which even day-to-day changes in cityscapes and streets can be inputted, the company said Wednesday.

Electric Power Development, a semigovernmental company, is teaming up with Meidensha Corp., a heavy electrical machinery maker, and Shobunsha Publications Inc., to sell the system, targeting mainly prefectural governments and municipalities, company officials said.

The prototype of the new computer software for the system was developed by Yutaka Osawa, a professor at Saitama University, the officials said.

The new system could be utilized when municipalities draw up city development plans or devise measures to shield the urban environment from pollutants at low cost, they said.

Starting with an exhibition in the city of Nagasaki on Aug. 1, the three companies will demonstrate the new system at a string of exhibitions in 10 major cities throughout the country, they said.

GIS models are capable of assembling, storing, editing and displaying geographic information onto users' computer monitors.

At present, some 100 local governments across Japan are using some forms of GIS, according to Electric Power Development.

But the users of conventional GIS models have to replace the entire data of an electronic map when they update the map in line with changes in street layouts and cityscape, such as new buildings, newly laid water pipes or expansion of residential areas, it said.

The new one allows users to replace only those portions of the electronic map where changes have taken place. This innovation allows users to closely follow up and examine new changes in cityscape and street layout as time goes by, the company said.

It could even enable users of the new GIS to input the day-to-day movements of the cherry blossom front across the Japanese Archipelago, the officials said.

The three companies plan to make publicly available the prototype of the new computer software as well as the stored data of the electronic maps via the Internet free of charge, they said.

After carrying out market research, the companies plan to commercialize the new electronic map business, starting in April next year, the officials said.
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Comment:3 firms to sell electronic map system to municipalities.
Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jul 29, 2002
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