One Year On

April 8th, 2022 | by Marius Dupuis

(3 min read)

Short of becoming an April Fool’s initiative, we started our think tank on March 30th, 2021. Keeping the initial spirit, we still consider curiosity, passion, and fun the main drivers behind our endeavor.

Happy birthday to us! (cake and candle by Andreas Richter)

The past twelve months have taken us across the world and into many fascinating subjects. In recent weeks, however, a planet of which we thought that its borders would, if at all, only be altered by continental drift, has seen the dark side of the force act at its own will. These events clearly overshadow our first birthday, but we won’t give in and want to share a small retrospective with you, our valued readers.

Let’s start with our initial statements and see where we stand today:

No. 1: Mission statement

Our mission as a think tank is to dry the swamp of data flows, data formats, tooling etc. and make it viable for efficient collaboration among the interested parties.

What we achieved

Sure, the swamp is far from dry – but we learned to swim. We have seen data formats, tools, technologies, and data sets emerge at high speed, and we also see standards and marketplaces assisting in consolidating the offerings. Multi-modal mobility is a key driver for data integration across domains. We clearly stated where we still see a lot of room for optimization, and we will continue to point to the links in the chain that look weakest.

No. 2: Credo

A single world that is being navigated in different ways shall be represented by a
single digital twin that can be conditioned for different target applications.

What we learned

Our talks with experts and teams across the industry (e.g., ALP.Lab, Leica Geosystems) made us rethink our statement slightly: a unique digital twin that can be shared among various stakeholders will be hard to achieve across all use cases; but minimizing overlap and guaranteeing seamless interchange of data and applications remains a clear goal.

With these two points being clarified, let’s take a more general look back:

Our journey so far has been fascinating. We looked into mobility in general and across various transport means and we often took a deep dive into data-centric subjects (marketplaces, data sourcing). Data formats, data processing, and standardization have been key subjects represented either as individual posts or as central topics of other posts.

The real world and its digital counterpart were connected whenever we talked about simulation, environment models and the digital twin itself.

The more we looked into topics, the more we figured out that scratching the surface and a bit below is what we can realistically achieve with our short posts. Our texts have never aimed at replacing proper scientific papers, although some have actually been based on contributions to journals etc. But we consider it one of our key achievements that we raised the right questions and, hopefully, got people interested in digging deeper by themselves.

What we definitely enjoyed most in the past twelve months: conducting interviews and expert talks with our colleagues in the industry. Having, with our blog, a means to post our own opinions is nice but being able to provide a platform for other professionals’ opinions is a privilege that we very much appreciate. Of course, we started out by interviewing “friends and family”. And we have been very well received. Actually, nobody who we asked for contribution to our blog has denied their support – a fact by which we feel very much honored.

Our interview partners came from different domains like data acquisition and processing, data formats and digital twins, mobility, business landscape etc. We either sent them questionnaires with dedicated topics that we thought valuable to address, or we spent some time in virtual face-to-face meetings, talked about business and life in general, and summarized our talks in a short post. Whatever method we chose, speaking to the persons behind the facts has certainly been a great experience.

Therefore, interviews and expert talks will remain a strong pillar of our platform. They not only help our audience seeing different sides of the story, and they not only challenge our assumptions on the ideal GEONATIVES world – they are fun, and they bring about the pure essence of what we try to achieve!

Talking about fun: of course, we couldn’t resist and occasionally had to write about oddities which we came across. We hope you enjoyed them as much as we did composing them. Our clear favorite of our first season is the post on geodata that will outlast yourself.

That’s it. Twelve months, 29 posts, 36,141 words, 145 min of reading – still counting. Not too bad for three guys’ work alongside their daily jobs. We will definitely continue, and we are curious to see how deep we can dig in the upcoming year. The baseline is drawn, now let’s go into the details….


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