Tradeshow’s the Appeal at INTERGEO 2010 Conference in Cologne

October 6, 2010  - By

This week, I’ve been attending the INTERGEO 2010 conference in Cologne, Germany. It’s a gathering of ~16,500 people interested in geodesy, geoinformation, and land management. It’s the largest event of its kind in the world.

Although there’s a lot of GIS activity, it’s just as much a surveying/geodesy trade show. I borrowed a little of the following from my Geospatial Weekly newsletter because I think it’s relevant in this newsletter, too. Let me just say that if you’re a land surveyor/engineer/construction contractor/GIS’r, you won’t find a trade show anywhere in the world like this one. To me, two things differentiate it from all other conferences I’ve attended that are related to surveying, engineering, construction, or GIS.

  • The sheer size. 16,500 people buzzing around attracting 504 exhibitors. You can find a solution to any sort of challenge you have regarding surveying, geodesy, construction or GIS. The major GNSS manufacturers (such as Trimble/Spectra, Topcon/Sokkia, Leica, Javad) have enormous exhibit booths that rival the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held every year in Las Vegas. You don’t see these companies spending this much money to exhibit at conferences in North America.
  • Unlike many of the conferences I attend, the focus at INTERGEO is on the trade show exhibit area. The technical sessions are few and most are in German, so that leaves the vast majority of the attendees to flock to the exhibit area. We’re currently in Day Two of the three-day conference, and the exhibit area attendance seems just as strong as the first day, which is not typical. On top of focusing on the trade show area, INTERGEO makes it inexpensive to attend. A one-day pass to the exhibit area is only EUR 20 (~US$26) and a three-day pass to the same is EUR 48.50 (~US$63). It’s even cheaper if you buy it online in advance.

The few technical sessions held were presented by University Professors and various Ph.D.s, so although I submitted an abstract to present a paper, I knew there was no chance I’d be presenting in the formal technical sessions. The closest I am to a Ph.D. is my father’s, which he earned 40+ years ago. Anyway, INTERGEO has a stage in the exhibit area called the Trend and Media Forum. It’s sort of an infomercial stage for companies to show their products and services. They scheduled me to present on that stage, which I did earlier today (Wednesday). The title of my presentation was “GNSS is Changing a Lot — the Future of GNSS Mapping and Surveying.” The audience was sparse, but the good thing is that INTERGEO records the presentations and later posts them on their site. My presentation is not on the TV site yet, but should be by Thursday. Please don’t laugh when I nearly fall down after stepping off the stage while I’m talking :-). Click on the following image to view my presentation.


Following are some pictures I took of the conference exhibit area, with captions:


Altus Positioning                                     Ashtech                                    Javad GNSS



Carlson Software                    CHC Navigation (China)                                   FOIF (China)



GeoMax GNSS (Leica)                           Leica Geosystems                                   Geneq   



NavCom (John Deere)                  Pacific Crest (Trimble)                                  Sokkia (Topcon)



Spectra Precision (Trimble)                                    Topcon                                         Trimble


I’ll post some more photos on our live coverage website tomorrow.

There were many new product announcements in the past day. I saw one that caught my particular interest. I’ve written before that for years I relied on stand-alone satellite mission planning software. The problem that most folks have is maintaining the software as they change computers or update operating systems. There’s also the pain of having to update the almanac every month or so.

I’ve become a fan of online satellite mission planning. I’ve mentioned the NavCom Technology website a few times in this column. However, it has a few shortfalls, namely no control over the elevation mask used and no support for GLONASS or SBAS.

I’m happy to report that today at INTERGEO, Ashtech released an online satellite mission planning tool, and it seems to fit the bill. Among other things, it allows you to adjust the elevation mask, and choose to include GLONASS and SBAS satellites. Of course, since it’s an online tool, you don’t have to worry ab
out updating the almanac.

Following are a couple of screenshots from the program.

Select GPS and/or GLONASS and/or SBAS satellite



Give it a try for yourself by clicking here. There’s a really cool plot that’s generated as a 3D visualization in Google Earth, showing each satellite (green = GPS, red= GLONASS and blue = SBAS).

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