GeoConnexion (GEO): Last year’s INTERGEO in Stuttgart broke all records for exhibition floor space and visitor numbers. Can we anticipate the same success this year?
Karl-Friedrich Thöne (K-FT): Based on the response to date, I am confident Hamburg will be another successful chapter in the INTERGEO story. Virtually all the exhibition space has already been booked and we anticipate visitor numbers will be boosted by this year’s focus on key issues such as Smart Cities, UAVs and BIM.
GEO: The international flavour of the event has grown year-on-year. Do you expect this trend to continue in Hamburg?
K-FT: Very much so. Its growing international appeal is evident in exhibitors and visitors alike and, this year, simultaneous translation will be available for the conference keynote speeches and for presentations on key issues.
With its excellent transport links, Hamburg is easily accessed from overseas, not least from the UK whose national pavilion is, this year, the centerpiece of a 22-strong contingent of British companies and organisations. Such participation has played a big role in internationalising the event and I am particularly pleased that the UK is the country partner for this year’s INTERGEO. I look forward to welcoming Nigel Clifford, Director-General of Ordnance Survey, whose conference keynote - “The evolving Geospatial Environment in Great Britain: the Opportunities and Challenges for a 21st Century NMA” - will be keenly anticipated. The United States is also increasing its presence this year with a pavilion for medium-sized companies. In short, the general trend seems to be continuing and we expect a further increase in the number of international guests.
GEO: As you mentioned earlier, the Smart City concept will be a key topic for discussion. As Hamburg is a trailblazer in developing an intelligent digital city strategy, are any special events being organised around this theme for visitors and delegates?
K-FT: The supporting programme offers a number of interesting excursions that reflect INTERGEO’s core issues and make a fascinating addition to the trade fair and presentations. The “digital city” is an especially important issue in Hamburg and one excursion will give participants an insight into the highly complex surveying operations in Hamburg’s harbour district. Another will introduce participants to the cutting-edge architecture in the harbour district, while anyone interested in the transport infrastructure can visit a major construction site where a large bridge is being built across a motorway without affecting the traffic below.
GEO: What other topics/trends are likely to be high on the agenda at INTERGEO 2016?
K-FT: Citizen involvement, data protection, data security and e-governance are all topics that will influence future developments and be open for discussion. An issue close to my own heart is that of recruitment and the outstanding career opportunities on offer to new talent. A shortage of skilled workers in the IT industry is having an impact on the Geo-IT sector and filling this gap will also be given top priority in Hamburg. The visitor demographics for INTERGEO are getting ever younger and, as such, participating organisations find it an excellent event at which to give the younger generation a positive image of the geo-industry as a potential career.
GEO: A feature of this year’s INTERGEO will be further development of the interaerial SOLUTIONS event for those with an interest in Unmanned Aircraft Systems. How will it differ from the inaugural event held last year in Stuttgart?
K-FT: My impression is that the interest in and demand for UAVs is growing rapidly, both in terms of content and in the breadth of professional solutions and services, not least in surveying. With a regulatory framework now broadly established, the forum in Hamburg will feature twice as many exhibitors as last year, some showcasing classic applications and how they can be used, (e.g. “drones as a service”) and others highlighting the intelligent networking of systems and sensors to create fully comprehensive solutions. Once again, a flight zone will see drones taking to the sky, with fixed and rotary wing platforms being put through their paces.
GEO: Will maritime topics and Hamburg port’s reputation as “Gateway to the World” be reflected at INTERGEO?
K-FT: As one of Europe’s top three ports, with some 10,000 shipping movements a year, handling this volume of traffic and dockside logistics calls for a high level of coordination. For this reason, the HPA (Hamburg Port Authority) has been a trailblazer in adopting intelligent systems networking across its entire harbour operation. Dr. Sebastian Saxe, the HPA’s Chief Digital Officer, will offer an insight into this mammoth task in his conference keynote speech on Wednesday.
Maritime topics such as infrastructure projects on sea routes, hydrographic surveying and offshore developments such as wind farms are threads that will run through other parts of the event, too. These are exciting issues of global importance as the energy revolution continues to be a hot topic at INTERGEO, as elsewhere.
GEO: Will there be a smartphone app for this year’s INTERGEO and when is it likely to be available?
K-FT: The INTERGEO app, providing all the information needed to plan a visit, will be available in app stores at the beginning of September.
GEO: Are there any special travel discounts or accommodation arrangements on offer to visitors? And what are Hamburg’s must-see attractions?
K-FT: Special offers, exclusive to INTERGEO, can be found at www.intergeo.de. With more bridges than Amsterdam or Venice, its historic warehouse district, the Elbtunnel, harbour district, Elbe Philharmonic and Reeperbahn amusement strip, Hamburg has much to offer visitors. Almost all Broadway musicals premier in the city, and if you always wanted to see the world in miniature, take time to visit the Miniature Wunderland model railway in the Speicherstadt district of the city.
The forces of change gather with a vengeance!
Nigel Clifford, keynote speaker at this year’s INTERGEO Conference, reflects on challenges and opportunities in an increasingly complex world
In developed economies we have seen a new wave of demands and challenges from advances in Smart Cities, IoT, UAVs, sensor data available from billions of mobile devices, and cheaper remote sensing options interacting with new levels of machine learning. This torrent of data has potentially profound implications for the operation and purpose of traditional mapping and cadastral agencies operating in economies with continuing austerity and pressure on public funds. For the developing world, managing urbanisation and economic progress requires mature geospatial support at an affordable cost.
The good news is that an alignment of experience, technologies and imagination can chart a path through these challenges. The opportunity is there if we, as an industry, wish to seize it. I look forward to discussing these issues with colleagues at INTERGEO 2016