INTERGEO Round Table 2012: Geoinformation Holds Enormous Potential

DVW President Thöne, “Geoinformation plays an important role in all key sociopolitical issues”

Karlsruhe, 27 March 2012. Geoinformation holds enormous potential: “Geoinformation plays an important role in all key sociopolitical issues,” said Prof. Karl-Friedrich Thöne at the INTERGEO Round Table in Karlsruhe. All participants were in agreement with the President of the German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management (DVW), the organization responsible for hosting INTERGEO from 9 to 11 October 2012 in Hanover. However, the experts – including representatives from the worlds of politics and industry – backed different approaches for the leading international industry forum with conference and trade fair. Dr. Georg Thiel from the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) called for a “national geoinformation strategy”, while Ernest McCutcheon, Managing Director of Karlsruhe-based DDS Digital Data Services GmbH, said that “too great an emphasis” was placed on data protection, favouring instead an approach highlighting the benefits of employing geoinformation.

During the discussion held under the banner “Smart Geoinformation – Intelligent Geoinformation for the Future”, Thomas Haupt, responsible for sustainability in his position as the Director of PTV Planung Transport Verkehr AG in Karlsruhe, gave an example demonstrating that easier access to data improves the “robustness of systems”. He said that anonymous mobile data could be used instead of models for planning traffic flows, which would also help find a way out of the “data jungle” and into a “healthy mixed forest”. However, DVW President Thöne warned against focusing exclusively on the benefits of geoinformation. The debate on Google Street View, he said, showed that potential risks also had to be included in any discussion. He proposed that: “INTERGEO should also serve as a platform for adopting an offensive strategy for data protection and data security”.

The first national INSPIRE Conference is to be held at the 18th INTERGEO in Hanover this year. INSPIRE is an EU directive for creating a common geodata infrastructure. Under this directive, high-quality geodata from the public bodies of member states should be made available under uniform conditions to support the formulation, implementation and evaluation of European and national areas of policy. “It is our job to put data protection in Europe on a new footing,” said Dr. Georg Thiel. The INSPIRE Conference and INTERGEO, he added, are ideal platforms for launching discussions with a view to developing a national geoinformation strategy.

But how does INSPIRE affect smartphone owners? “INSPIRE will generate added value,” said Thiel, referring to the simple example of intelligent lawn-mowing robots. “These lawnmowers can use INSPIRE, for example, to incorporate weather data into their planning and wait for a storm to pass before automatically starting to mow the lawn”. Public administration bodies will make decisions based almost 100 percent on geoinformation, said Thiel.

Dr. Hartmut Rosengarten from Hexagon Geosystems and spokesman for the INTERGEO Exhibitor Advisory Board acknowledged the event as both an international communication platform for the industry and a bridge between professionals and end consumers. He said: “At INTERGEO, we have to offer solutions so they can be understood and utilised by everyone”.

DVW – Gesellschaft für Geodäsie, Geoinformation und Landmanagement e.V. is the patron of the 18th INTERGEO, which will be held in Hanover from 9 to 11 October 2012.