A new pan-Baltic conference dedicated to information technology

The event previously known as the Latvian Geospatial Information Technology Conference this year transforms into the Baltic Geospatial Information Technology Conference, becoming the most influential event in the Baltic States dedicated to new technologies in the context of cartography and geography. The main focus of the conference increasing productivity and efficiency by implementing geospatial solutions in information management systems of organisations will be complemented by a wide range of other topics.

More than 500 participants from the Baltic States and other European countries will attend the Baltic Geospatial Information Technology Conference (BGITC) taking place on the 6th of March 2020 at the House of Science of the University of Latvia Academic Centre. The conference will host more than 40 speakers from 9 countries, with Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania being the most widely represented. It will be the largest industry event in the region, attracting developers and users, enthusiasts and aspiring professionals, and policymakers and companies offering, using, or seeking new solutions. As a conference within a conference, BGITC will also include the State of the Map Baltics 2020 (SotM Baltics 2020) - a special stage dedicated to the most current OpenStreetMap (OSM) topics.

GIT is already all around us

Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) is a term that today is probably known to industry professionals only, despite GIT surrounding us for some time already and being used by each of us on a daily basis. Some popular apps that could not be imagined without data based on space and time and their visualisation are Google Maps, maps.me, PokemonGO, Geocaching, Bolt, Trafi, etc.

Just as individual users enjoy the benefits of various apps, large organisations such as Latvenergo, Latvian State Forests, the Rural Support Service, distribution grid operators and the State Forest Service are already investing in "geospatialisation" of information systems to facilitate both business planning and daily staff operations, thus increasing productivity and helping avoid erroneous decisions and wasted efforts.

From space to creative entertainment with open data

Although the conference will primarily feature presentations of practical business applications and ideas for the improvement of business information systems, there will also be a wide range of other captivating topics offering a glimpse into the exciting solutions awaiting us in the near and more distant future: European Space Agency (ESA) and the development of innovative space services; mapping the past with historical photographs and heritage sites; open data and code and their sharing as a foundation for successful societal development; densely populated areas as an alternative to existing administrative areas; city planning and the city model; traffic accident reconstruction using drones, cameras and scanners; remote surveying for prevention of forest fires; the role of geoinformatics education today; "strange maps", "uncustomary" ways of representing geospatial data, and more.

Some of the speakers at the conference: Allan Mustard, former US Ambassador and longtime member of OpenStreetMap; Stefan Gustafsson, Business Incubation Network Coordinator at the European Space Agency; Uģis Bisenieks, Director of Electronic Government Department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development; Ivari Rannamaa, Director of Geomatics Service of Tallinn Urban Planning Department; Augustinas Žemaitis, researcher and mapper of Lithuanian heritage abroad; Topi Tjukanov, GIT enthusiast, author of "Strange Maps" and author of #30DayMapChallenge.

GIT impact for business

GIT enables smart solutions that offer more comprehensive insights into business data - visualisation and analysis to resolve complex issues related to the location of various objects in space and time and to help companies make better decisions. Some of the keywords and topics that will be covered are: combining mapping and geospatial functionality with traditional business data; data analytics platforms combining all your business data; indoor positioning technologies; tools and apps for automated process monitoring; machine learning; topographic information verification and management platform; data management in mobile solutions.

"In the digital age, information technology infrastructure is as important as road infrastructure. Geospatial information technologies – or, to put it in very simple terms, interactive maps – are one of the elements of such infrastructure. For business, this means a visual, efficient and structured way of working with objects in space and time. The conference will be a one-stop source to learn about many current GIT projects and products and will allow every interested party to make the most suitable choice for their needs," said Māris Kuzmins, Head of LVM GEO.

State of the Map Baltics 2020, or the conference within a conference

The SotM Baltics 2020 conference will take place within BGITC as a special stage dedicated to current OpenStreetMap topics. Briefly explained, OSM is a collaborative project aimed at providing a free world map that is accessible to everyone and can be updated and is accessible by everyone. Some of the apps using OSM are maps.me, OsmAnd, PokemonGO, Minecraft Earth; Tesla, Wikipedia, Facebook, and Geocaching also use OSM. The SotM session will include discussions about all things related to OSM - how to use OSM in a browser or mobile app, how to update OSM with details of your favourite local stores and venues, etc.

Organisers and partners of BGITC

The conference is organised by representatives from each of the Baltic States - Estonian Geoinformatics Society, Latvia’s GIS Association, Lithuanian Cartographic Society - and  State of the Map Baltics 2020, which is a conference within a conference. Supporters of BGITC: Gold Partners - Autentica, CGI, Jāņa sēta Map Publishers, Latvian State Forests GEO, LMT, Mikrokods, QlikTech International, Topodati, University of Tartu; Silver Partners - European Space Imaging, Here, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development; Bronze Partner - Visma; and Travel Partner - Latvia Tours.