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USA North to Implement ClearGround System in Nevada, Hawaii and California; Another One-Call Center Adopts Etak's Integrated End-to-End Underground Damage Prevention Solution.

MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 6, 1999--

Etak Inc., a leading publisher of digital street map databases, location-based technology, and traveler information services, Tuesday announced Underground Service Alert of Northern California and Nevada (USA North) is replacing its existing one-call system with Etak's ClearGround(TM) -- the first end-to-end underground damage prevention solution.

USA North, a one-call center comprised of more than 1,100 members covering Central and Northern California, and the entire states of Nevada and Hawaii, will transition to the ClearGround system later this year, according to Don Heyer, operations manager of USA North.

According to Heyer, one of the primary features distinguishing the ClearGround system from its competitors lies in the integration of Etak's industry-leading, highly accurate digital maps.

"We have finally found a group that can provide high-quality, updated mapping data, which is the most critical requirement for any one-call center," explained Heyer.

In addition to the user-friendly format of ClearGround's ticket delivery system, Heyer noted that CG-Excavate(TM), the system module available for excavators, was another reason for the system's selection.

CG Excavate enables excavators to graphically define dig locations with latitude and longitude precision; electronically transmit dig requests to the one-call center; obtain electronic status report updates from the one-call center when needed; and print maps. Because the ClearGround system uses the same maps end-to-end, excavators have the assurance that their dig locations are consistently communicated to the one-call center, facility owners and locators.

"ClearGround is a system that finally makes the one-call center user-friendly for all of the stakeholders in the one-call system," Heyer stated.

About ClearGround

Since ClearGround's launch at Arizona Blue Stake, demand has grown throughout the industry for the increased productivity and reduced costs resulting from the use of ClearGround's integrated family of software applications. Excavators, one-call centers, facility owners and locators all benefit from more accurate and consistent dig site identification, resulting in fewer outbound tickets.

ClearGround is a suite of software applications for the excavator (CG-Excavate), One Call center (CG-One Call), facility owner (CG-Qualify(TM)) and locator (CG-Protekt(TM)). ClearGround integrates these participants seamlessly and reliably resulting in increased productivity, improved function and reduced costs. All four applications are designed to automate and communicate critical information more efficiently among all parties involved in underground excavations.

The result is a substantial reduction in tickets, response times and ticket mismanagement. Unlike its competitors, the ClearGround system is an end-to-end system that is based on Etak's highly accurate map data and geographic screening. It is customizable to state or regional business and legal requirements.

An integral component of the ClearGround system, Etak's maps offer superior positional accuracy and are periodically updated making it possible for excavators and facility owners to define dig locations and facilities with greater accuracy, freeing them from the constraints of paper maps or large township and state grids. Better accuracy means fewer tickets. Real-world applications of ClearGround have reduced outbound tickets by more than 60 percent.

Etak is the premier publisher of location-based technology and digital maps for in-vehicle information systems, mobile traveler information systems, real-time traffic services, utility damage prevention and commercial business geographics markets. Etak maps cover the United States and Great Britain.

With headquarters in Menlo Park, Etak is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. of America. For more information on Etak's products and services, contact Etak Inc., 1605 Adams Drive, Menlo Park, Calif. 94025, 800/765-0555. Web site: http://www.etak.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 6, 1999
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