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Autodesk buys mapmaker Argus

Design software giant Autodesk makes a move in the geographic information systems market by buying Internet mapmaker Argus Technologies.

Design software giant Autodesk (ADSK) has made a move in the geographic information systems market by buying Internet mapmaker Argus Technologies.

The deal for Argus' assets including its MapGuide technologies was made in cash, but no debt or liability was transferred, Autodesk officials said.

Autodesk plans to incorporate the MapGuide technology into its own line of GIS design products, including the AutoCAD Map software. MapGuide consists of a Netscape Navigator-compatible viewer, a server, and authoring tools.

"AutoCAD is for creating company-specific maps to tie into information from a corporate database," said Autodesk spokesman David Radoff. "MapGuide will be used to let those maps be published over the Internet or intranet."

Argus has been licensing the MapGuide technology to organizations, including the city government of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which want to create their own maps for public or private use. With the authoring tools, developers can create navigable maps to scale with hyperlinks and security parameters that define both read and write privileges for end users.

The acquisition comes just after Autodesk released earnings for the quarter ending July 31 that were disappointing but not unexpected. Wall Street hasn't appeared too worried, however, as stock in the world's fourth-largest PC software maker has risen by more than a point since the mid-August earnings announcement.

The company will announce availability and pricing of AutoCAD products with the integrated MapGuide technology in the near future, said Radoff.