INTERGEO, described as “the leading international trade fair for geodesy, geoinformation and land management,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary, providing an opportunity to review what it has achieved and to look ahead to the 2019 congress in Stuttgart Sept. 17-19, 2019 and beyond.

Industry experts from business and science gathered in Stuttgart at the end of May for a Round Table to share their experiences and expertise.  Reviewing how INTERGEO has evolved over time, Christiane Salbach, Managing Director of the German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management (DVW), observed, “INTERGEO has become far broader and more interdisciplinary, international, and even dynamic in recent years.” She added: “We have been able to reflect trends at INTERGEO much faster than before in recent years and have also become more data-driven.”

The Round Table members noted, everywhere, the concept of digitalization keeps on cropping up, and it is firmly entrenched in the geoinformation sector, too.  But what does this mean in practical terms?  For Ralf Mosler, who leads BIM Transformation at Autodesk, the step-by-step progress of digitalization can be described very precisely from the perspective of the construction industry.  As a matter of fact, it encompasses the entire spectrum, from digital drawing boards and building information modeling (BIM) right through to all aspects of Industry 4.0.  This includes cloud computing, robotics and artificial intelligence.  Mosler said: “For us, this has changed value creation, and every customer has the opportunity to tap into the appropriate aspect of digitalization, depending on the relevant state of progress.”

Michael Mudra, whose roles include leading Geosystems Central Europe at Hexagon, highlighted the topic of digital reality.  He believes digital transformation in all kinds of sectors of industry calls for representing reality in the form of a digital twin.  Mudra sees enormous potential in this: “The new medium of information will act as the linchpin in such ecosystems in the future,” he noted.

Professor Jochen Schiewe from HafenCity University Hamburg pointed out that, whatever digitalization has to offer, it is important to make the topic “practically usable” for applications.  “We still have a great deal to do to link the digital world with reality,” said Schiewe, who is also the Vice President of the German Society for Cartography (DGfK).  He continued, “This calls for developing tailor-made, on-demand solutions in conjunction with entirely different academic fields, such as social sciences.”

Professor Roland Dieterle, Director of Studies for Smart City Solutions at Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences (HFT), thinks along similar lines, placing people firmly at the heart of digitalization.  Dieterle said: “Every digital modification must tangibly improve the real world. Then we can talk of success.”

Dietmar Bernert, head of strategic account management at Trimble, identifies considerable gaps that remain in the process of digitalization, particularly with regard to the availability of data.  He reckons that although various initiatives exist, to drive forward broadband, for example, “We are still bogged down right now.”  Furthermore: “We need practicable, simple solutions for putting data to use.” In this context, he pointed to the key field of analytics, which Trimble is currently engaged in.  Ralf Mosler sumed up the issue saying, “Basically, it’s a matter of improving how information is networked and making it usable.”

The Round Table also concluded that if the geoinformation sector only talks about data without putting it to good, everyday use, then users’ acceptance of digitalization will wane.  

INTERGEO will take place from September 17 to 19, 2019 in Stuttgart.