“You are in the understanding business,” -Jack Dangermond, 2023 Keynote Address
Geo Week 2023 celebrated everything at the intersection of geospatial and the built world. It was a record showing for the event, which saw a 50 percent increase in attendance over the 2022 event, with more than 2,800 professionals attending conference sessions and exploring the packed exhibit floor.
Bringing together an audience that spans as many industries and areas of expertise as Geo Week is no small undertaking. Among all the job roles, technologies and workflows are some core common threads – including that we are all trying to get better information about both the built and the natural world to make better decisions, work more efficiently, and, in some cases, even change the world.
As Jack Dangermond pointed out in his keynote address, everyone at Geo Week truly is in the “understanding business.” Whether it is through the use of terrestrial, aerial, drone or satellite information (or a combination of all of these together), or through the processing and analysis of collected data, every exhibitor and attendee is looking for or sharing the solutions they’ve found.
While it is difficult to capture everything the three-day event had to offer, there was a definite and growing buzz generated by those in attendance as they networked on and off the exhibit hall floor. These conversations – between attendees, suppliers, resellers, solution providers and problem-solvers – are what really drive Geo Week.
The event had a sold-out exhibit hall floor featuring 190 exhibitors, representing a 31% increase over 2022, further cementing Geo Week as the premier event for technologies for the built environment, advanced airborne/terrestrial technologies, and commercial 3D technologies.
The morning kicked off, as per tradition, with the Product Preview Presentations, featuring 19 companies showcasing new products.
The opening keynote, featuring thought leaders from Dodge Data & Analytics, Bentley Systems, The Foth Companies, Skanska, National Institute of Building Sciences and Hensel Phelps asked some big questions about how to approach technology adoption, from trialing new software to considering what you – as a practitioner – really need, and whether that functionality is already in something that you might have.
We also heard about the latest industry updates for surveying and mapping, what’s new in bathymetric lidar, what the potential of AR/VR and mixed reality are for the industry, how sustainability should play a role in development, and how digital twins are being applied and scaled in new ways, and what challenges remain for reality capture. In the Exhibit Hall Theater, we heard about cutting-edge geospatial research, and hosted a standing-room-only presentation about NeRFs, 3DEP updates, and 3D Tiles. Across the hall at the Academic Showcase poster session, students and faculty shared innovative projects and case studies that applied lidar and other technologies to understand the world.
After a full day of insightful conference sessions, the evening was capped off with a happy hour in the exhibit hall, sponsored by Trimble.
To learn more about Monday’s sessions, click here.
The morning of day 2 started with an inspiring keynote address from geospatial visionary Jack Dangermond, Founder and President of Esri. In his address, Dangermond spoke directly to attendees, emphasizing their critical role in continuing to make the world a better place – by breaking down silos of information between disciplines. His remarks are a great reminder as to why Geo Week came together as an event in the first place – bringing together previously separated disciplines to share resources, creatively solve problems, and create new solutions.
The conference sessions focused on some key challenges across several industries, including a lively conversation about the future of AEC workflows, and some “reality checking” about reality capture and digital twins. Attendees also learned about the potential that AI and machine learning could bring to geospatial data, and how BIM for infrastructure is a game-changer for addressing infrastructure assessment, repair, and construction. In the Unique Case Study session, presenters discussed new and innovative uses of lidar technology, including scans of cultural heritage buildings and tracking of Monarch butterfly habitats, among other presentations.
In addition, the World Geospatial Industry Council organized a session focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in the geospatial industry – a topic that is paramount for the industry’s future. Recruitment, retention, and leadership were discussed by the panel as well as potential solutions and calls to action for the geospatial community.
In the Exhibit Hall Theater, companies pitched rapid-fire two-minute presentations on their latest products, which were judged by a panel of high-profile judges for “Pitch the Press”.
The last session of the day was focused solely on deserving awardees in the Geo Week award ceremony.
Check out the sessions mentioned above and all the conference programming that happened on day 2.
On the third morning, the concept of connections was explored by a joint plenary panel of WGIC and MAPPS, discussing the importance of coming together. Private industry, governments and non-profits are able to accomplish a lot more when they put their minds together. The private sector will eventually be subject to more government regulation, and it was emphasized how important it is to have a seat at the table, starting discussions about what the industry wants those guidelines to be – before they take effect.
The conference content continued with strong sessions on aerial and UAS workflows, reality capture challenges in the real world, and data management for BIM. In the afternoon, officials shared updates from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Natural Resources Canada, including “what’s next” for the 3DEP program.
After three days of putting terrestrial laser scanners to the test, USIBD took the Exhibit Hall Theater stage to reveal and review their performance under identical conditions. Advocating for spec standards – especially for accuracy – USIBD is looking out for users who want to understand how to evaluate different technologies and find the best fit.
Another packed session in the Exhibit Hall focused on future technologies – from AI to NeRFs to blockchain, from augmented reality to the metaverse – lots ahead on the horizon that might be tomorrow’s hottest topics.
To learn more about the final day, click here.