Jan is Head of API Publishing Framework at HERE, and also an organizer of WhereCamp.de, a geo conference taking place Nov 13-15th in Berlin. We will be there (we’re very proud to say our parent company Lokku is a sponsor) as will hundreds of other geo-innovators.
Jan, thanks for chatting with us.
1. Who are you, what is your background in geo?
The first time I got in contact with professional map makers was 2008, when I started working as an Engineer building a cross platform Web-SDK for Nokia’s mapping division, now called HERE. Since then I was fascinated about the wide spectrum of talent required to get a real time, abstract and precise view to our world. A map is definitely not what is was some decades ago, so I like to get inspired by the fast movement the location industry has nowadays. Currently I help the HERE product teams to ship better products by providing going to market guidance and a cloud based infrastructure to properly publish their product related content. Be it APIs or SDKs, I try always to keep a broad view of all our location assets, called the HERE Platform in order to find out where we really benefit our customers.
2. What is WhereCamp Berlin, why are you organizing it? What are your goals for the conference? Who should attend?<
I’m a big fan of grass root events, bringing together people who actually make dreams become reality. Therefore I didn’t hesitate to support the WhereCamp Berlin idea when it was incubated in 2011. Now we are in the process of planning the fourth edition, and it looks as if it will be the biggest event of that kind in the world. We provide an opportunity to present efforts in every Geo-related aspect for people all around the world. This time we have also a “call for paper” edition on the first day with a headline around Next Generation Guidance and Location Intelligence. I’m curious to see what is presented and who is showing up. Get yourself familiar at http://wherecamp.de
3. You also organize GeoMonday, what is that event about?
GeoMonday started in 2013 as a more regular gathering on Geo-Tech compared to WhereCamp. As Berlin had Mobile-Monday and Web-Monday, this is the third Monday tech event. We have a good 50-60 attendees per average and people from all around Germany presenting their talks covered by a event-specific headline. The one for the next event is Location and Internet of Things (IoT). If you think this one sounds interesting to you, get more information and your free tickets at http://geomonday.org
4. Over the last few years there’s been more and more buzz around the tech scene in Berlin, with more and more start-ups being formed. What is the implication for the geo scene? Who are the local innovators (large or small) that we should be keeping an eye on?
In fact there is a lot of buzz right now in Germany’s capital, so it’s sometimes hard to find long-lasting players. Easy to name HERE ;-) (The Berlin based HQ had their roots in the gate5 start-up). Obviously we have also other huge players here, such as Yandex Maps and Telenav (who recently acquired Berlin-based skobbler), but also successful smaller startups, such as komoot, which is located in Potsdam (In the wider Berlin metropolitan area). Beside that it is important to remember, that Berlin was selected as THE e-mobility hub in Germany. So many new ways of getting from A to B are nowadays tested here and it wouldn’t surprise me also seeing more related start-ups being founded here.
5. Germans in particular have embraced OpenStreetMap in a way not seen in many other countries. Any thoughts on why that might be?
That is actually an interesting question. I would maybe try to bring up an analogy with Wikipedia, where the German edition is #2 in the world, based on available articles. I always felt, that the authors there had a very strong rationale why to contribute - the free availability of knowledge. Potentially it is the same with OSM. I really like the way of giving anyone access to a free database to contribute for the better and I strongly believe that this is one of the main sources for innovation going forward.
Many thanks Jan, we are looking forward to WhereCamp Berlin in November.