As a GIS specialist and business consultant within the Spatial Intelligence practice, Huibert de Vries is completely absorbed by geographic information. He sees that there are still enormous opportunities in this field. 'More and more clients, especially in the government and industry sectors, are discovering the value of geographic information,' says Huibert. 'Companies can make better informed decisions based on geo-information and improve their services or business processes. From the Spatial Intelligence practice, we point out to clients all the possibilities that exist in this area. We do this, for example, for Rijkswaterstaat, for which we have realized a Network Management Application. But think also of ProRail, Tennet, VandeBron, water boards, provinces or the RVO.'
Increasingly the role of consultant
Spatial Intelligence consists of a team of over 25 professionals in various roles: Esri Consultants, FME Consultants, (open source) Developers, GIS Specialists, Architects, Data Engineers and Business Consultants. Huibert: "With our team we provide spatial information, perform spatial analysis and set up GIS platforms. In addition to engineering and analysis, we are increasingly taking on the role of consultant from Spatial Intelligence. This fits in with Ordina's broader transition to becoming a strategic business partner for our clients.'
Full-fledged part of High performance team
Whereas GIS expertise is sometimes the odd man out, Spatial Intelligence at Ordina is an integrated member of the Data area and the rest of the Ordina family. 'Our specialists become part of High performance teams, within which different disciplines work together on a customer's issue. For example, we seek collaboration with colleagues working on IoT solutions,' says Huibert, who has been with Ordina since early 2022. 'What struck me immediately within Ordina is the connection that colleagues seek with each other. Everyone looks beyond their own little island. It's in their genes. It creates true interdisciplinary cooperation, which allows you to offer added value to the customer.
Geo-information and digital twin
Huibert enjoys the current developments in the field of the digital twin. A digital twin is a virtual copy of an object from the real world, which is connected in real-time to the physical object through sensors and automation, and can make forecasts for the future through modeling. 'Geo-information can occupy an important place in a digital twin,' says Huibert. 'You can, for example, predict the regional consequences in the event of water shortages or, on the contrary, extreme flooding. Or what happens when people put a lot of solar energy on the grid on a sunny day. Based on the available information, you can make smart choices at peak times, when the demand for energy and the supply from wind turbines and solar panels are mismatched. In fact, a lot of geographic information is available for free for that purpose. This is still underused. If you can use GIS for major social issues, how cool is that?
GIS technicians and geo-tolks wanted!
Very cool, as Huibert's enthusiasm shows. He is looking for the same enthusiasm in new colleagues. 'You have to be happy with geo-information. We are also looking for people who know how to store and structure geo-information logically and who know what they can do with that information. What value you can add for clients. So we are looking for professionals with a passion for this profession and strong analytical skills. We can use real technical developers and engineers who work with GIS products like FME, ArcGIS, PostGIS, GeoServer, Erdas IMAGINE, Hexagon Geospatial, Openlayers or Leaflet. But we are also looking for consultants who advise clients and form the link between clients and developers. There is plenty of room for your own development. For example, I am currently working on a semantic data model to deploy Linked Data for a client. That is a whole new world for me.
Drinking beer and improving the world
Those who join the Spatial Intelligence practice immerse themselves in a warm bath, according to Huibert. 'Collegiality, knowledge sharing and cooperation is in the genes of the colleagues. I also sense a lot of idealism among geo-people; we have an eye for important social problems, such as climate change. We link that idealism to technological knowledge and expertise, which is a great combination that helps our clients move forward'. And, Huibert concludes: 'Above all, it's fun within Spatial Intelligence. You can drink excellent beer with geo-guests!'