The software architect
Young IT expert from Appiano, Markus Brigl, dedicated his PhD to the Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He has been working as a software architect for Territorium Online (TOL) in Bolzano since 2006. He was mainly responsible for developing a tool for the OpenGisData.eu project of the province of Bolzano. In his spare time, mountains and biking replace his computer.
Who or what is Territorium Online (TOL) and in what you and your partners are specialized?
I founded Territorium Online together with two other partners in 2001. Together with our 10 collaborators, we develop software relating to cartography and databases. Our software mostly have a geographical component to them, even though we have developed database apps with no GIS components whatsoever. We have specialised in developing software for the preparation, modification and publication of geo data. But our main focus remain web apps.
You're a software architect. What is that all about?
Part of the job is to put yourself in the users' shoes to understand their problems and needs. You also have to keep up to speed with the technical aspects: you have to be able to work out a solution with what you're given. A solution which, possibly, helps your user as much as possible.
Territorium Online developed a tool for the OpenGisData.eu project. What does this tool do and do you see room for improvement?
Territorium Online, together with TIS innovation park and the provincial department for geographical and statistical IT, developed a tool to insert public administration data into OpenStreeMap (OSM). The tool inserts all house numbers in South Tyrol in an OSM database. As OSM is a community-managed and driven project, they weren't too happy about data inserted automatically. That's why the tool was developed as a support tool for OSM users. Right now, the tool supports data insertion which are then managed by OSM mappers. There are many things that could be improved, starting with the alignment of existing OSM data to the integration of other information, such as streets.
How did you learn about OpenStreetMap and Open Data?
I learnt about OSM a few years ago, by pure chance. I stumbled upon OSM while looking for appropriate maps for my biking and climbing hikes, a big hobby of mine. I came across Open Data during my work.
Territorium Online's slogan is ‚mapping your world‘. What do you think are the advantages of Open Data and how do you see the development of Open Data and OpenStreetMap in South Tyrol?
Open Data gives citizens the opportunity to access information for free, information which has already been paid by the taxpayer. These data already belong to the citizens but, normally, in order to get to these data, you have to overcome a mountain of burocracy and invest quite a bit of money. OpenStreetMap goes a step further and enables you to take part in the mapping process itself. I think South Tyrol is just at the start point of the Open Data phenomenon.
And in conclusion: what do you think about the OpenGisData.eu project?
Let me say one thing about it: OpenGisData.eu is an important step in the right direction and should bring advantages for everyone.
Territorium Online http://www.tol.bz.it