When I first started working at EBP almost 20 years ago, I clearly remember the day when I launched „GIS“ for the very first time (ArcView or ArcGIS 8.1, anyone?). I was amazed by the possibilities and opportunities such technology could enable. But I also clearly remember something bothering me a lot: Now that I have such a powerful tool at my hands – where do I get data for analysis and for creating maps? I felt like a painter having a (conceptually) perfect canvas and amazing brushes. But it felt like I didn’t have any colors to paint a meaningful picture. As a side note, of course, the canvas and brushes turned out not to be quite perfect then: Don’t get me started on the bugginess of the early 8.x releases of ArcGIS. Luckily, the memory of pure frustration because of system crashes has faded away.
A lot has changed since around 2000. Especially the last 10 years have been very exciting for obtaining access to an eclectic set of
colors, uhm, data for spatial analysis: Thanks to Open (Government) Data and in particular to OpenStreetMap, the possibilities now truly seem endless, and it keeps getting better. The most recent example of a new metaphorical color is the opening of Swiss federal geodata.
Besides access to a plethora of data, there have been advances in other areas of the geospatial industry: Rich and meaningful software code is available due to excellent open software, complex IT platforms are ready within seconds thanks to containerization and the cloud, new competencies become available thanks to the advent of data science and data engineering disciplines.
Looking at all the advances I have witnessed throughout these years, I couldn’t be more excited to do what I have been doing the last years: Working with our clients to help solve their problems using a wide variety of brushes and colors – each with the tools that best fit their individual picture.
On to new adventures
However, today is my last day at EBP. My recent decision to quit my job seems even more confusing since this company is and will always be such a great place to work. First, it’s because of the people: Working with friends is something that I don’t want to miss and hope to find at my new job. But there is more to EBP than great people to work with – let me explain: According to a „New Yorker“ story titled „Technology Alone Is Not Enough”, Steve Jobs said in 2003:
[…] the best ideas emerge from the intersection of technology and the humanities. “One of the greatest achievements at Pixar was that we brought these two cultures together and got them working side by side,” […]„Technology Alone Is Not Enough”
At EBP, we have been working at the intersection of information technology and multiple engineering disciplines – such as transportation, construction, or urban planning – and with a strong backing in the humanities. Combining IT and traditional engineering fields with a user-centered approach, our company represents the best platform I can think of to solve multi-disciplinary problems.
By the way: If you are curious about how we work at EBP, an easy way to experience our culture is to start an „EBP Design Sprint“. Or you can even join forces – at the time of writing, there is, e.g., an open data scientist position at EBP.
Still, I’ve decided to move on and try something different, working on a product rather than in projects: Measuring and managing climate risks is key to a net-zero economy and I want to help build the IT tools and data needed to achieve this goal. You can follow me on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn to keep in touch. With Ralph and Anne, I will continue to organize GeoBeer Switzerland and I will always be interested in „all things geo“. Maybe we’ll see each other virtually on March 18th for GeoBeer #34, our first international edition.
I want to thank everyone at EBP and our clients for being such great companions all these years. As mentioned above, it is #TeamEBP and the culture at EBP, which kept me getting up and going every day since I’ve first started GIS 20 years ago.