Collaboration Across Continents: David Lewis’s Globe Point Campus Experience

An underrated value of geospatial companies is a worldwide perspective. When Sten Ravhed began T-Kartor Group AB in 1985 in Kristianstad, Sweden, he started a company that would, in time, acquire a global reach across several countries and a valuable partner with the founding of T-Kartor USA in 2002.

What does collaboration across continents look like? One example occurred this fall when T-Kartor USA’s David Lewis traveled to the Globe Point campus in Kristianstad. David’s time in Sweden spanned just six weeks, yet the impact of the collaboration and connections formed will surely last for years.

David’s Start With T-Kartor USA

David began his journey with T-Kartor USA (TKUSA) in 2019. Although new to the team, he was not new to the geospatial industry – having been involved in the field since 2000. David learned about T-Kartor USA from a St. Louis-based colleague he previously worked with; when David needed a change of scenery, this friend connected him with our team. His current role with the team is serving as Lead Geospatial Developer.

Innovative Work With GIMS

GIMS is a groundbreaking geospatial program T-Kartor Group AB uses in their contract with the Norwegian Defense Force and other public and privately-held commercial clients. At its core, GIMS (Geospatial Intelligence Management Systems) is fundamentally a database management application.

T-Kartor USA currently uses satellite basemap imagery for many of their projects. In recent years, geospatial analysts at TKUSA have been experiencing latency issues when utilizing this imagery. Since the information streams from satellites, drawing imagery and other data takes time, potentially slowing down analyst work.

The intent of T-Kartor USA is to build an extension to GIMS, which would serve as something similar to their Odin tool. The program would ingest and cache global data, bringing in cached imagery on the system for faster viewing by analysts. This program would solve any latency issues and increase workflow efficiency.

Scaling Opportunities for T-Kartor USA

GIMS is a very comprehensive program. David has been learning as much as he can, hoping that TKUSA could further use this program in their daily operations. As contracts with NGA stay increasingly competitive, TKUSA could continue diversifying its client base into commercial clients, who will benefit from this program’s extensive capabilities.

Learning From the Globe Point Team

What’s one word that culminates David’s six-week experience? Appreciation. David holds intense gratitude for the leadership team at T-Kartor for choosing him to work on this project, the Kristianstad team’s gracious hospitality and accommodation, and the Swedish culture and beautiful country.

David has always been a front-end developer; however, to understand GIMS fully, he asserts that you should be a full-stack developer, as understanding the back-end is critical. Globe Point employees possess expertise and knowledge that was extremely helpful to David’s learning, and they were always willing to help and collaborate. In just six weeks, he already felt like part of the team.

Accommodation meant more than just working on the projects themselves – the team also accommodated David by doing their daily stand-ups in English. When outside the office, everyone still spoke in English around David, even if they were not speaking directly to him, for him to feel welcome and included in the social atmosphere.

Exploring Sweden

Kristianstad is a small town in Sweden, which took an adjustment period. David believes that he and his wife likely tried every restaurant multiple times over the six weeks. They also had the opportunity to travel on the weekends, taking day trips to other towns around Sweden and even to Copenhagen (although, as the crow flies, the T-Kartor Globe Point campus in Kristianstad is closer to Copenhagen, Denmark than Stockholm, Sweden).

One of David’s favorite excursions was visiting the town of Åhus, where Absolut® Vodka is produced – they have an excellent distillery tour. David notes that when visiting Sweden, ensure you dress appropriately for the weather; temperatures dropped quickly throughout his visit.

Future Collaboration

David believes that this six-week visit was only the beginning of the partnership on this project. He can interact with his new colleagues and friends at Globe Point through Microsoft Teams and other communication channels. He looks forward to maintaining relationships and constantly learning from one another to advance T-Kartor as a whole and the worldwide geospatial industry.