The last three days I spent in Bern (Switzerland), attending this year’s GEOSummit . Primarily I represented UNIGIS at our Swiss cooperation partner’s booth (HSR ). Wearing a second hat, I also had the opportunity to contribute with a presentation on OGD and innovation (similar to this one) to the “Smart Cities” track, organized by former UNIGIS student Yves Maurer . It were quite busy days, but as always, I really enjoyed being in Switzerland!
The GEOSummit is the prime GIS conference in Switzerland bringing together professional associations, companies, academic institutions and GIS experts from various domains. Parallel to the conference, companies showcase their latest products and services in the exhibition hall.
There, at least two trends (I don’t regard UAVs as a trend anymore) could have been identified which will have an impact on how we communicate geospatial information:
- 3D printers seemed to be everywhere. These formerly huge machines have evolved to office-sized gadgets, facilitating the production of endless variations of physical models. Of course, my favourites were small topographic models with an enormous level of detail.
- It’s not only about augmented reality, but also about augmented maps and models. These applications are intriguing examples of how the virtual and the physical space can be fused. I can imagine numerous application examples, especially in the context of awareness building and participatory planning approaches. Two exhibits were especially fascinating.
Students from the University of Applied Sciences Nordwestschweiz (FHNW ) developed an augmented map, which allows to overlay a printed map with real-time information like cloud cover and weather information or the position of airplanes. Of course the programing in the back is sophisticated and should be greatly acknowledged. However, the value of this augmented map application lies in its ability to “spatialize” the thinking of recipients.
Based in Luzern, GeoLabor projects dynamic information, such as agent based simulations, on a highly accurate 3D city model. This is not only nice to watch, but a valuable setting for detecting and discussing spatial and spatio-temporal relations of urban phenomena.
Not a trend but a nice prolongation was the high demand for postgraduate, on the job GIS training, as it is offered by UNIGIS. Consequently I had lots of conversations with domain experts who all aim to extend their portfolio with GIS competence. At several occasions I was supported by enthusiastic current students or alumni who shared their insider experience – I bet, this was by far the best marketing feature.
Today I had a presentation in the “Smart Cities” morning session on how OGD can trigger an innovation cycle with a manifold win situation. Based on the experiences we have made in the bicycle routing projects I could show how the potential of authoritative data can be leveraged when data are made available: additional value can be generated by academic institutions (through models and analyses that turn data into information) and private companies (who turn generated knowledge into market-ready applications), who are then able to provide relevant tools and services to end users. Of course, I’d be more than happy to see much more of such examples, be it in Austria, in Switzerland or elsewhere!
After the conference is before the conference and thus, I’m looking forward to the triple-conference, with FOSSGIS , AGIT and GI-Forum , taking place in Salzburg. There will be plenty of mobility-related sessions with my personal highlight on Wednesday afternoon … See you there!