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Barcelona – a new geo-information services hub

June 2010 marked the end of ‘Cerdà Year’, an initiative set up by Barcelona City Council to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the ‘Plan for Reform and Development of Barcelona’, better known as the Cerdà Plan.

Developed by town planner Ildefons Cerdà, this plan radically transformed the city, marking a key milestone in its history and a major break with the past. In fact, the Cerdà Plan is often referred to as the DNA of modern-day Barcelona. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the plan was approved, but the challenges that Cerdà faced and his spirit of innovation are still just as relevant as ever. Barcelona has always been a bastion of creative souls such as town planners, architects and cartographers, and Airbus Defence and Space is proud to be continuing this tradition through Infoterra Servicios de Geoinformación, S.A. (Infoterra SGSA).

With offices in Barcelona and Madrid, Infoterra SGSA was established in 2007 by Airbus Defence and Space (60%), the Cartographic Institute of Catalonia (20%) – the official Catalan mapping agency – and Hisdesat (20%), the military satellite communications operator for the Spanish Ministry of Defence.

Infoterra SGSA forms part of the GEO Division* of Airbus Defence and Space. Specialising in the acquisition, processing and development of data and information for a range of applications within the mapping industry, Infoterra SGSA provides remote sensing services and broad-spectrum consulting capabilities to government bodies and organisations as well as companies from the industrial and technology arenas. Its services encompass everything from planning mains supplies and networks to managing risks and natural disasters, from agriculture and the environment to defence and security. Infoterra SGSA also distributes TerraSAR-X, Spot Image, Formosat, Kompsat and other imagery.

At the end of 2009, Infoterra SGSA acquired full ownership of Enifosa (Enginyeria i Fotogrametria S.A.), a move that heralded a major commitment to superior quality 3D mapping and photogrammetry. This step has transformed Infoterra SGSA into one of Spain's leading suppliers and producers of geoinformation services. It sees Infoterra SGSA expanding its operations along the complete value chain, building on its existing capabilities – such as primary data acquisition from airborne and spaceborne sensors, orthophoto production and services based on TerraSAR-X and Spot imagery – by introducing new aspects such as the production of high-quality 3D databases and the distribution of software such as Cadcorp and the 3D GIS workstation based on Purview and ArcInfo.

“With its know-how and expertise in the 3D environment, we are confident that bringing Enifosa into the fold will help Infoterra SGSA and the entire GEO division to continue growing while offering best-in-class service to our customers,” enthuses Joan Romeu, CEO of Infoterra SGSA.

Jordi Sendra, Enifosa’s founder and owner – who was keen to continue sharing his expertise in the geoinformation arena under the Infoterra umbrella – has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Infoterra SGSA.

Following the decision to combine the company’s three existing Barcelona office locations, at the beginning of March, Enifosa’s 28 employees started work at their new offices on Avenida de la Diagonal – right in the heart of the business district. This is the first time that Airbus Defence and Space has had a major office in Barcelona. Completely renovated and fully equipped – the previous tenant had ploughed enormous effort into creating a beautifully laid-out space, only to be promptly driven out by the property crisis – it is located on the eighth floor of an office block. Since the 445m² of offices and communal areas perfectly matched Infoterra SGSA’s needs, they were able to move in immediately without the need for renovation. Well lit by natural light pouring through its generously proportioned windows, the new space offers a more pleasant environment for staff as well as cutting energy costs.

Bringing everyone together has created synergies that are already being capitalised upon and has improved communication and data sharing between the various departments. The increased office space has enabled a specially designated area to be set aside for data processing equipment while still leaving plenty of room for further growth. Furthermore, costs have fallen through the pooling of cleaning, office supplies, courier services, maintenance, phone bills, insurance and health and safety provisions under the one roof.

* Geo-information Services

Geo-informationGeoinformation ServicesInfoterra