This week we’re featuring IGNITE Finalist, Tomasz Berezowski with The Wroclaw Institute in Poland. Get to know more about Tomasz, The Wroclaw Institute, and their unique approach that incorporates a graph database model to support their Smart M.App for crime detection, the Mind M.App.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and I live in Warsaw – capital of Poland, but our company (The Wroclaw Institute) headquarters is located in Wroclaw, which is not that far from the German border. Warsaw is a very unique place. The city was completely destroyed during WWII and reborn like the phoenix. It has a special atmosphere that you only feel in a very few places around the world. People are proud of the city and want to contribute to the development of the city. This is why every time you are in downtown you can see new businesses, new restaurants, and other new construction – it’s very inspiring. Wroclaw is very different; on every corner it reminds you how old and “noble” it is, but I enjoy my frequent visits there very much. We have our headquarters located in recently renovated, beautiful historical building. This is very different to our office in Warsaw, which is located in a contemporary, but indistinct, building.
But our IGNITE group is not only me, it’s also Marek Strzelecki (Lead Developer and great contributor to the entire concept) and Bartosz Majster who also supports us in Application Development. Last, but not least, there are a bunch of other The Wroclaw Institute/WIZIPISI team members who occasionally join us too.
Q: Where did you attend school and what did you study? Why did you choose this subject?
A: I attended Warsaw University of Technology, not that surprisingly – Faculty of Geodesy and Cartography with a specialization in Photogrammetry. As in many cases, it’s hard to pinpoint a single reason, but I think at the time of this decision the main factor was that I expected to make a lot of money (laughing). I’m not very proud of it, but don’t want to lie to you.
Q: Where do you currently work? What is your job? What are your responsibilities?
A: I’m the Co-founder and Vice President of The Wroclaw Institute. We currently employ 25 people and are working on the cutting edge of science and industry. We are trying to introduce the most current scientific achievements to the geospatial world. Our main focus today is the implementation of graph databases, semantic web, and linked data to geospatial business. To not drift too far from real life, we also do jobs involving 3D modeling, photogrammetry, remote sensing, data digitization, etc. My main role is business development, but I am really passionate about technology and I am involved in planning and design of the new products and services.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do during your free time?
A: What is “free time”? Just kidding. However, most people from our industry very likely can relate to this statement. It may not be original, but what I really love is to travel. I think this passion is very common for people from the former Eastern Bloc. That old system limited traveling abroad. Now, we are recovering from that and I have already visited all the continents except for Antarctica! I love to watch for little differences which still exist in our unified world. This is my kind of hunting.
Q: Where did your interest in geospatial/mapping/information services come from?
A: This is a pretty natural interest for geodesy students. It came to me without any significant efforts. Now, after 15 years in this business, I don’t know how to get rid of it (laughing).
Q: How did you hear about IGNITE?
A: I think I noticed an announcement on Hexagon’s webpage, but what really convinced me to pay attention was invitation to the IGNITE session from my friend – Marek Brylski.
Q: Why are you excited about this competition?
A: I strongly believe that this new cloud-oriented business model is not a matter of choice for us. Actually, many other industries are already there. The IGNITE contest is the perfect motivation to take steps towards this new model. I think that this will change the market landscape within the next three to five years. For some businesses it will be catastrophic, some will merely survive, but there will be some that benefit from it. I want be in this third group.
Q: What is the problem your Smart M.App addresses?
A: Investigators across the globe are facing the same challenge of combining gathered information into one meaningful picture allowing them to get to the root of the crime. Some of them use sophisticated computer software, some use paper notes, but the goal is the same: join seemingly distant facts, find hidden connections or understand complex sequences of events. The end result is to determine whether a crime has been committed, to identify suspects, and to recover stolen property where possible. The complexity of this task is as enormous as the complexity of the real world.
Q: What is your Smart M.App called?
A: We call it “Mind M.App.”
Q: What IGNITE Theme does it support?
A: The main focus of our app is Safety.
Q: What does it do?
A: Our idea is to use the addition of GRAPH data support to the Smart M.App. Why? Traditional geospatial data structure is capable of handling homogenous types of information. It implies that every occurrence of the object has the same set of attributes and is linked to the same set of other objects. This is because of limitations of a RELATIONAL data model. In real life, objects have different properties and are related to different sets of objects. For example, in criminology it’s barely possible to find a uniform data model to describe knowledge related to crimes and a web of associations. The GRAPH data model is a perfect tool to handle information of this kind. We propose to add to Smart M.App capability of handling GRAPH data where nodes represent facts and links represent their associations. By “facts” we mean: events, people, evidence, etc. By “links” we mean “is victim of”, “is evidence in”, “is a target of,” etc. Facts are presented as icons, and links as labeled arrows connecting facts.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your Smart M.App?
A: Perhaps after reading my answer for the question about my life choices, you would think that our goal is the prize. Partially, you are right (laughing), but mainly I want my organization to catch the train of the new business model at just the right moment.
Note: Although this Smart M.App is no longer available, you can browse through tons of other Smart M.Apps on the M.App Exchange.