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Geoinfo critical for sociopolitical issues: DVW President

Karlsruhe, Germany: Geoinformation holds enormous potential. It plays an important role in all key sociopolitical issues, observed Prof. Karl-Friedrich Thöne, President of the German Society for Geodesy, Geoinformation and Land Management (DVW), at the INTERGEO Round Table in Karlsruhe, Germany.

All participants were in agreement with the Prof Thöne, the organisation responsible for hosting INTERGEO during October 9-11, 2012, in Hanover, Germany. 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”.

“It is our job to put data protection in Europe on a new footing,” said Dr. Georg Thiel. The the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (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.

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.

Source: Intergeo