INTERGEO preview in Karlsruhe explains the dimensions of geodata – we must get used to thinking three-dimensionally and create the appropriate geodata infrastructure for this

Karlsruhe, 19 May 2009. Experts at the INTERGEO preview in Karlsruhe hosted by former DVW President Hagen Graeff and addressing the topic “3D – dimensions of geodata” called for a change in mindset: People must get used to thinking three-dimensionally rather than seeing in three dimensions but thinking in two. The tenor of the discussion at Karlsruhe’s ZKM (Centre for Art and Media Technology) involving Karl-Otto Funk of the Landesamt für Geoinformation und Landentwicklung (Regional Authority for Geoinformation and Land Development), Thomas Hauenstein from the City of Karlsruhe’s real estate office and Jörg Herrmann, CEO of Infoterra GmbH, was that an appropriate geodata infrastructure (GDI) needed to be created to expand the dimensional perspective. The preview also marked the debut of a new communication channel – INTERGEO TV.

The experts offering a taste of what is to come at INTERGEO – the world’s largest congress trade fair for geodesy, geoinformation and land management, which is being held from 22 to 24 September 2009 in Karlsruhe – stressed the importance of a global coordinate system. However, Karl-Otto Funk demonstrated just how difficult it is to amalgamate data – even for a much smaller unit such as the German state of Baden-Württemberg – to implement the European Inspire directive. He explained that although the various administrative bodies – from surveying to nature conservation and veterinary services – have portals and have built up internal GDIs for the 35 administrative districts and 1,109 municipalities, “amalgamating them is difficult.” Funk added that, in order to develop a geodata infrastructure covering all these areas across the entire state (GDI-BW), the Ministry for Nutrition and Rural Areas had set up the GDI-BW supervisory committee to act as a coordination body. He also indicated that a GDI competence centre had been created at the Regional Authority for Geoinformation and Land Development for specialist/technical coordination. “We are on the right road to success,” stressed Funk, adding that the goal within the framework of an EU GDI – Inspire – was to facilitate access to geodata for users in public, political, administrative, business and scientific circles.

Thomas Hauenstein described the stages involved in creating a 3D model of Karlsruhe and explained that 3D plans could provide a much clearer picture of initiatives such as planned construction projects for decision-makers and the public alike. He indicated that there were many different applications – from flood protection to tower block design and noise reduction measures. “3D is even of benefit to the animal kingdom,” he stated, revealing that an optimum location for the municipal zoo’s new flamingo enclosure had been found with the help of a 3D shadow simulation model. Flamingos only mate if they have sufficient sun, so no sun means no offspring.

Jörg Herrmann reported on the milestone of a twin for the TerraSAR-X Earth observation satellite. The launch of TanDEM-X is planned for October and, orbiting in formation, the two satellites will supply the data basis for a global elevation model of unique quality and coverage over a period of three years. The TerraSAR-X mission was the result of a Public Private Partnership between the DLR (German Aerospace Centre) and Astrium GmbH. Astrium subsidiary Infoterra GmbH holds the exclusive commercial usage rights to the data obtained and will supply customers worldwide with geoinformation derived from it. “Infoterra already works in the third dimension,” stated company CEO Herrmann. TerraSAR-X enables precise measurement of ground movements, which are particularly important for the oil, gas and mining industries. For example, the damage to buildings and the infrastructure in the German town of Staufen im Breisgau has been put down to the ground level rising by up to eight centimetres over a period of six months. The cause has not yet been clarified. Infoterra experts are also making use of the “third dimension” at specific workplaces and using stereo glasses. A three-dimensional look at data records, for instance, correctly interprets what happens to a road that appears to end abruptly in two dimensions. The 3D representation shows that the road enters a tunnel and continues through a mountain.

“The topics discussed demonstrate that INTERGEO is embarking on new territory,” stated Jens Riecken, Vice-President of INTERGEO organizer DVW – the German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management. Riecken added that the ultramodern Karlsruhe Exhibition Centre offered the ideal setting for the INTERGEO congress and trade fair, which are being held in parallel with the 57th German Cartographers’ Day. He indicated that after the success of the event in Bremen last year, the bar had been raised very high. “We are endeavouring to achieve even greater internationalization,” he said. In Bremen, 30 percent of exhibitors and 20 percent of visitors were from outside Germany. In Karlsruhe, a total of 500 exhibitors will be showcasing their latest innovations alongside tried-and-tested products over a hall area of 25,000 m², and around 16,000 visitors are expected this year. From humble beginnings in 1995 – when the event in Dortmund had just 178 exhibitors occupying a hall area of 14,500 m², and just 11,000 visitors – INTERGEO has kept on developing in parallel with the fair’s growing significance as the number one industry event. Riecken concluded by urging everyone to “Come to Karlsruhe!”

The preview event at Karlsruhe’s ZKM also marked an important premiere. The DVW and the trade fair organizer, Karlsruhe-based HINTE GmbH, are entering a new dimension in international industry communication with INTERGEO TV (in English). “Today we are taking the next step forward as the leading international industry event and providing a further channel for industry communication,” announced Olaf Freier, INTERGEO Project Manager and CEO of HINTE GmbH at the official inauguration of INTERGEO TV, which can be viewed with immediate effect online at To start with, the latest industry news will appear every three months in the categories Report, Profile, Career, Products and INTERGEO-Inside.