Meet Your Colleagues: Dino Ravnić

By Nora Parker

Q: What is your position in your company and what do you do there? What challenges do you face? What accomplishments have you achieved?

A: I am a co-founder and the CEO of GIS Cloud. I am also very much in touch with our technology and leading our map engine development. My passion is (geo) data visualization especially in the field of vectors. With my friend and co-founder Marko Šantić I started working on the core parts of our mapping technology back in 2005 while we were studying computer science. Some of the core stuff and ideas in our current map engine are still back from those days.

Dino Ravnić working on GIS cloud capabilitites for GPS.

Back then we noticed we had quite a powerful technology in our hands which we used as a map engine for a few Web mapping sites we were running. So we thought about better ways of how we could leverage it. The idea about GIS Cloud came to us back in 2008/2009. It still amazes me that the domain had been available then. And we got it for $10! This fact just emphasizes how, even in 2009, the GIS industry was still far from the cloud mind set while other software was clearly moving in that direction.

It has been a great experience during the last couple of years, building GIS Cloud from scratch and being a part of the new GIS wave. We came a long way with the maturity and robustness of our technology. By pioneering with HTML5 visualization we have proved that current Web browsers can provide more than enough performance to catch up with and even supersede the user experience of desktop GIS. We now know it is possible to render a huge number of vectors without the need for browser plugins. That is just the beginning; we are enabling and moving more and more of desktop GIS functionality and features into the Cloud.

Q: What was your career path to your current position?

A: My career in business software actually started back in my teens when I created a small business around an enterprise software utility I had built. I have always been passionate about technology and just seeing and understanding what makes something tick and how that can be improved. When I started with my Web mapping (GIS) career, we had a chance to take an open source or a proprietary mapping technology which was available back then, e.g. mapserver, but we just couldn't be satisfied with its performance. Back then, and even today, almost everybody was rendering vectors as raster map tiles and we realized that the future of Web mapping will be rendering vectors as vectors, which makes more sense. That was one of the motives why we decided to build our own mapping engine from scratch. Performance and optimizations are big deals for me because I believe current the GIS experience on the Web can be much better. It is not only to improve GIS user experience and bring it closer to non-professionals, but also to satisfy those professional GIS users who would like to move from their desktops to the cloud and still have great visualization and performance.

Q: What would you like to be doing in your career in 10 years?

A As we have just started and proved that big geo data visualization works great in browsers, I see myself in the geo industry pushing the limits of our technology to the maximum. Cloud is obviously the future of GIS and I see our company as leaders in that space. The current status of the cloud in GIS is in co-existence with the traditional desktop GIS. What I see is a trend of moving more and more requirements and functionality into Web browsers, i.e. into the Cloud. If we just make a parallel with other software like email where we have Gmail as dominant cloud service or business software where Salesforce is doing incredible innovation, we can realize that the potential of having GIS in the Cloud is enormous. Just imagine having a multi-tenant (geo) platform on which you can deploy your new geo app without worrying about infrastructure, visualization - all the heavy-lifting is done for you. Just use provided existing building blocks of such a platform, add your own special sauce and you are ready to go. This is the direction in which we want to take GIS.

Q: What are you personal interests and hobbies?

A: My work takes almost entirely my free time, but I do enjoy traveling, skiing, swimming and spending time with my fiancé watching a movie or hanging out with her and my friends.

Published Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Written by Nora Parker

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