Geo Week News

November 13, 2013

Top 5 Takeaways from SPAR Europe and ELMF

I’ve spent this week in Amsterdam at the newly combined SPAR Europe/European Lidar Mapping Forum (ELMF) conference. It has been quite interesting to see the differences between the marketing strategies stateside and here in Europe. I’ll be posting some more in depth stories from the conference over the next few posts (as will the SPAR staff), but for now let’s do the top five from this week’s conference.

1. Handhelds are hot. There are multiple handheld scanner manufacturers here and they seem to be very popular booths in the exhibition hall. Two things stand out in this space. Handheld scanners are being marketed as a way to supplement your scans as opposed to a replacement for other scanners, and they are expecting the asset owner to use it as much or more than a service provider.

2. The rush into the point cloud tools business by Autodesk led me to think that it would be hard on those that provided tools for Autodesk products. Boy, was I wrong! Kubit and ClearEdge3D showed new software that aim to leverage the new tools in Autodesk products, while enhancing and adding to the functionality for the benefit of the end user. I also discovered a new Finnish company called Profox that has an entire suite of add-ons for Navisworks.

3. Networking is king. While I normally see a lot of the same people at all of the annual conventions, I have met a lot more people for the first time this week. Quite a few of them are known to me through Twitter, LinkedIn, or the Laser Scanning Forum. However, we had never met in person. I really enjoy online collaboration but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting.

4. Video game-style tutorials and testing are here and you probably have data ready to use. Multiple companies demonstrated applications that took data from CAD, or 3D PDFs, or even Leica’s TruView software, and used them as the basis for interactive, video game-style content. Much more to come on this topic …

5. Bring your walking shoes when you come next year! I spent last week at Disney World and I am certain that I’ve walked more here than I did there. This is a town of traders and sailors. That requires marketing and mapping. If you don’t believe me, just walk over to the Rijksmuseum and look at their maps and mapping tools going back to the 16th century.

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