Sumeet Thombre’s report :
CONFERENCE GEOMUNDUS 2015
Geomundus 2015 was an international symposium held by the students from the consortium of Erasmus Mundus (EM) international Master’s program in Geospatial Technologies. The focus of this conference was on smart cities and was held in Universidade Nova De Lisbon’s IMS campus. I was privileged to attend it in their beautiful campus and met many people, passionate about their research and had nice interactions with them.
A wide range of topics were covered, from geospatial technologies and geoinformatics and their application areas such as geography, environmental science, urban planning, IoT architectures, map simulations etc.
The first keynote speaker was Daniele Quercia, a computer scientist named one of Fortune magazine’s 2014 Data AllStars,
and gave a TED talk on happy maps. The session was very
insightful and unconventional, and a lot of discussion ensued. It was about “connected new urbanism” and how the future of the city is about people, people’s perception of maps and routes and showed a simple crowdsourced application about choosing a happier route instead of a quick route AKA “happy maps”.
This was followed by a PhD student’s research on air pollutants. It was a rather detailed study of air pollutants exposure and inhaled doses during commute.
I presented on the first day too about my research findings and protocol studies, which was appreciated and interactions ensued about possible collaborations around my research. I got some valuable feedback too, which I will try to incorporate into my research.
There were other presentations around the themes of Multidimensional Distributed GIS Using SDI for Sustainable Smart Cities and Geoscience social impacts and engagement. The next keynote speaker was Sumeeta Srinivasan, a PhD from MIT, in the field of transportation planning. It was a brilliant session concentrating on smart cities and spatial equity. It was my favorite session of the conference, as she described the smart city concept
from the perspective of a developing country (something which I can relate to in various aspects regarding bureaucracy, societal instincts, corruption etc) and her research and observations were immaculate and clinical. I was very keen on knowing things further and interacted with her both during her presentation and after it. We had a long talk about the Indian government’s plans to establish 100 new smart cities in the subcontinent, obstacles
associated, approach required and ground level execution measures and policies.
The conference had two very interesting workshops, the first one was on HERE maps, a competitor to the titan of the maps industry Google and their recent acquisition by Audi & BMW, making car navigation systems their main target sector. We got a brief demonstration of the tool and method of data collection was explained, after which we got to try the tool and made some basic pinning and nomenclature on random maps.
The second workshop was about ARCGIS integrating ARCGIS online maps with websites.
Although not very detailed the session explained the tool and the ARCGIS Js API. The key takeaway for me personally was the possibility of integrating ARCGIS to integrate mapping and spatial analysis. This spatial analysis lets us use powerful modeling techniques to make predictions in our case a flood occurrence.
On the last day, there was a career session with some of the professors associated with the geospatial technologies master’s program but was relevant to the students in that masters program.