Point of Beginning

Conference Recap- Leading the Charge

December 1, 2008
Many vendors of software, instrumentation and other equipment use the exhibition to introduce new products.


INTERGEO is a joint conference and exhibition of the German Association of Surveying (DVV) and the German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management (DVW). The annual event is usually held in various parts of Germany. Occasionally, other societies involved in cartography, photogrammetry and related disciplines have been co-organizers or co-sponsors. INTERGEO is considered by many to be the largest event of its kind in Europe for professionals practicing in various areas of geomatics, but it may draw the largest crowd of any similar event in the world.

More than 15,000 visitors attended INTERGEO 2008, which was held in the northwestern part of Germany in Bremen at the Bremen Exhibition Center (Messe) from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2. Of the total, about 1,400 attended the conference to hear papers presented in four different tracks on a variety of topics including environmental monitoring, laser scanning, polar research, coastal protection, landslide monitoring, alternative energy sources, urban development, land policy and 3D city models among many others.

The theme of the conference, “Knowledge and Action for Planet Earth,” represented the way surveyors and other geomatics professionals are regarded in society and how they, in turn, view their own roles in society. These professionals see themselves as one of the lead groups that help deal with major challenges to the Earth’s environment-whether by simply recording the changes through mapping or by being actively involved in the processes for addressing energy alternatives, climate change and risk management. Geodata and geoinformation are vital to the strategic and political decision-making process, and the understanding that the geomatics professionals can offer is increasingly valued by both the providers and the recipients.



INTERGEO is considered the largest event of its kind in Europe-and possibly the world-for professionals practicing in various areas of geomatics.

New Products and New Concepts

Of course, the big draw is the exhibition. This year, the exhibition covered a gross area of 24,000 square meters-almost 6 acres. The nearly 500 exhibitors ranged from nonprofits, such as universities and public agencies, to large corporations that are well known in the United States as well as some names that don’t have a presence here. Almost 30 percent of these exhibitors were from outside of Germany. The list of countries represented at the exhibition-29 in all-included Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, USA, South Korea, Poland, India and the Czech Republic.

The attendees were just as diverse with approximately 20 percent coming from outside of Germany. As might be expected, most (about 90 percent of the nonGermans) were from Europe, and the rest represented every continent. The German custom of offering refreshments, cookies, sandwiches, soft drinks and even beer at exhibitions kept people constantly on the go and allowed them to maximize their time at the event.

INTERGEO’s exhibition is managed by Hinte, a German exhibition and trade fair management company. Olaf Freier, Hinte’s project manager for the INTERGEO exhibition, expressed surprise at the surge of participants. “When we held this event in Leipzig last year,” he says, “we were not sure what the attendance would be due to the location being in the former East Germany. We were pleasantly surprised. But the attendance in Bremen is even more surprising due to our location being relatively far from the other European countries. Now that we have seen this response, we can be hopeful that attendance next year [2009] in Karlsruhe, which is very close to the French border, will only increase visitors overall and especially from outside Germany.” Karlsruhe is located about 50 miles northwest of Stuttgart.

Because of INTERGEO’s importance in the world of geomatics, many vendors of software, instrumentation and other equipment use this venue to introduce new products. Some of the new product releases included Topcon’s first entry into the terrestrial laser scanner hardware (and software) market with the GLS-1000. Other new products were Optech’s ALTM Orion airborne laser scanner, which has a compact design specifically engineered for midaltitude micro mapping; and Zoller & Fröhlich’s new IMAGER 5006EX, which is the first entry in the market specifically designed to be used in explosive environments, such as underground coal mines, chemical and petrochemical plants, sewage treatment plants, gas distribution facilities and aircraft refueling facilities.

Many companies also use INTERGEO as a way of testing new product concepts. Numerous products that are under development in prototype form or in  preproduction status-both hardware and software-were shown at the conference. For example, one firm showcased an integrated positioning system that would enable a developer or integrator to build a mobile mapping “van” that would connect and record all sensors, such as RTK GPS (one or more than one), an inertial measurement unit, laser scanners (more than one if needed), an odometer, etc.  Another company highlighted a high-resolution rail mapping system that could be used in mine tunnels as well as railroads. It is impossible to say whether these or the other concepts will ever make it to market, but the ideas were interesting. 

An area of constant activity in the exhibition hall was the Open Source Park, which featured several companies specializing in open source geospatial data processing. The participants, especially the developers, view INTERGEO as one of the most important ways they get feedback and suggestions for new features as well as entice new developers to join their ongoing initiatives.

Celebrating Commonalities

A significant development for surveyors and surveying societies around the world occurred at this INTERGEO. In what the participants referred to as the “Bremen Declaration,” several German societies committed themselves to closer cooperation realizing that the commonalities between the societies are more important than the differences. The declaration commits them to collaborating in association joint committees, especially those relating to development of new and young professionals and the developing of better relationships with governments, politicians and society itself. The societies include the DVV and DVW as well as societies representing fields of remote sensing, cartography, photogrammetry, GIS, mining surveyors, publicly appointed surveyors and hydrographers. To demonstrate their newfound relationship, these groups will have a joint booth at the next INTERGEO, which will be held Sept. 22-24, 2009, in Karlsruhe. For more information, visit www.intergeo.de.

Special reporting by Joseph V.R. Paiva, PS, PE, PhD.



INTERGEO 2008

HOST: The German Association of Surveying (DVV) and the German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management (DVW)

Location: Bremen, Germany

Dates: Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2008

Number of Attendees: 15,000+

Future Dates and Location: Sept. 22-24, 2009, Karlsruhe, Germany


Geomatics in the East

INTERGEO East, a sister event of INTERGEO, began five years ago. While these events, so far, have been held in various parts of Eastern Europe, next year will provide a departure from this trend. INTERGEO East 2009 will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from Jan. 27 to 29. It is hoped that this location will draw more participants from the Middle East and perhaps Africa and Asia. For more information, visit www.intergeo-east.com.