Besides offering thrilling insights into the current open data policy of both Germany and the European Union, this year’s INTERGEO Congress in Berlin (26-28 September) will be exploring the latest hot topics in the geoinformation sector. Open Data is one such topic currently exercising minds across the continent and beyond.
Let’s say that an energy supplier is planning a new high-voltage power line right through Germany. The company has the financial means to purchase national topographic and land ownership datasets as well as a full set of aerial images for this purpose. At the same time, a whole range of grassroots campaign groups in the affected communities want to substantiate their objections to the planned power line.
Under these circumstances, it would be only right and proper for these groups to have equal access to the key information being used for planning – but they cannot afford it. In an era of transparency in the democratic process this hypothetical example highlights the clear need for widespread access to data collated by public authorities and, thus, delivers a clear vote in favour of open data.
“Open data provides a tool for boosting democracy and creates equal opportunities based on clear information,” says Robert Seuss, Professor for Geoinformation at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, who will be leading a panel discussion on this topic at the INTERGEO Congress.
Openness for better answers
INSPIRE started putting the political will for greater transparency into practice ten years ago. At European level, the aim is to optimize processes and monitoring mechanisms using automated methods and pan-European standards. The idea is for this open data landscape to ultimately enable the powers-that-be to quickly come up with clear answers. The open data debate always assumes that this tool will also help industry take off in new directions. On the other hand, critics point to lost revenue, the investment required in the IT infrastructure and vulnerability to cyber attacks as arguments against too much freedom of information.
However, Seuss believes there is no such thing as “too much” in the open data debate. “The safety aspect can be managed via recognition, so there’s no need to withhold information,” he says.
The Open Data debate will take place on Tuesday, 26 September 2017, from 4.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at INTERGEO in Berlin. Come and be a part of the action!
Register now: www.intergeo.de/tickets
Setting the agenda
GEOconnexion Magazine spoke to Hagen Graeff, General Manager of the DVW*, principal organisers of the INTERGEO Congress, to find out what delegates can expect at this year’s gathering
GEOconnexion (GEO): How many Congress delegates do you anticipate in Berlin this year?
Hagen Graeff (HG): We’re still accepting registrations, but based on last year’s Congress in Stuttgart, we expect in excess of 1400 attendees.
GEO: How has the programme been organised?
HG: While this is still being finalised, there will be somewhere in the region of 120 presentation involving 150 speakers. Specific topics will be covered in almost 40 sessions held in four parallel tracks over the course of the three days. And, once again, the German Cartographic Society (DGfK) will be convening its cartography conference alongside the Congress and exploring the issue of smart cartography.
GEO: What key topics will be under discussion at the Congress?
HG: In keeping with the INTERGEO theme “Knowledge and action for planet Earth”, the Congress will address a variety of hot topics such as recent advances in photogrammetry, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Building Information Modelling and Virtual and Augmented Reality. The EU Copernicus programme will also be high on the agenda, reflecting the growing importance of satellite remote sensing. This will be complemented by an opening day seminar on Copernicus hosted by the Council of European Geodetic Surveyors (CLGE). Also very aptly, given that Berlin is hosting this year’s event, Open Data and Open Government will be further focal points of the Congress.
GEO: Who have you lined-up as this year’s keynote speakers?
HG: Opening day keynotes will be delivered by Klaus Vitt, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, who will address the pressing issues of cyber security and data protection in both public and private sector applications, while Dr. Jürgen Dold, President of Hexagon Geosystems, will be exploring important issues surrounding digitalisation.
GEO: Is anything new planned for this year’s Congress?
HG: Given the long-standing shortage of surveying skills across Europe, we are organising a special panel session on what educational, training and industry initiatives are likely to succeed in tackling this difficult question. A number of other special sessions are scheduled, including:
• The German-speaking Chapter of the buildingSMART organisation will be actively addressing the issue of data exchange and interoperability as the construction industry moves towards intelligent, model-based planning.
• The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), will be holding a special session of its Commission 5 (Positioning and Measurement).
GEO: What does it cost to attend the Congress?
HG: There are a range of options, starting €140 for a one-day ticket to €370 for all three days. An early-bird discount of €325 for all three days is on offer until 18 August 2017, while further discounts are available to DVW/DGfK members. All tickets give access to both the Congress and the accompanying INTERGEO trade fair.
GEO: Where can further information be found?
HG: This can be found online at http://www.intergeo.de/intergeo-en/visitor/conference/registration.php
* German Society for Cartography and Geodesy (http://www.dvw.de)