29 Jan

Company Spotlight: T-Kartor USA

By Thomas Jang

With a perspective oriented towards constant innovation, the Swedish company T-Kartor Group is a small but creative business supported by about 120 individuals, with offices in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Trust and competence are some of the principles followed by the people at T-Kartor USA and taken with great pride in by its Executive Officer, Simon Bailey. One notable example of T-Kartor USA’s work is Building Healthy Communities, a community-based mapping program conducted in New York City, integrating city wayfinding using graphic design platforms such as Adobe Illustrator. This project is one of many that has demonstrated T-Kartor’s commitment to achieving solutions in public safety and defense by stimulating better travel and navigation around our built and physical environments.

Having grown up in the Tampa Bay area, Simon Bailey has so far been acquainted with GIS and the navigation industry for 25 years. He was first introduced to the inner workings of industries through his father, who worked in construction. There, he was motivated by the surveyors to work for a surveying company, delving deep into the field of geographic information systems (GIS). Before long, he was able to expand his credentials and experiences even further, working with Geonex Martel in St. Petersburg, Florida, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Department of Defense (DOD). 

Working behind the scenes for these various organizations and companies is exactly what brings him the most joy and passion. For eight years in Washington, DC, a time which Bailey reminisces as a good point in his career, he worked for the Boeing Company, a prime contractor supporting NGA. He has also provided unwavering support for soldiers doing field work, those out on the frontlines, and for humanitarian efforts led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Afterwards, he turned his sights on going back to a small business and transitioned to work for Continental Mapping Consultants, a company based in Wisconsin. With CMC, he also opened up an office in St. Louis, Missouri—before he was approached by T-Kartor. From that moment on, he began a new role as a program manager before stepping into his more recent position as Chief Executive Officer. 

With his valuable leadership and expertise, T-Kartor has developed long relationships with customers in the form of governments and armed forces through its products and other deliverables. Bailey credits the Swedish approach to innovation as a source of inspiration for his work at T-Kartor. What makes T-Kartor thrive is its focus on primary skill sets, essential tools when it comes to geospatial analysts and developers. Moreover, this helps the company interact with its various intelligence clients, Norwegian Defense, NGA, the Department of Defense and military branches. T-Kartor has also had a significant influence on the ground in the United States for governments at the local and city levels. They have been able to implement seeds of a more geospatially accessible environment by working in tandem with transportation authorities on platform-enabled content. From this, Bailey and T-Kartor strive to make things even better, pondering the question of how data needs across platforms can be met and innovating new ways of visualizing and presenting the information. 

T-Kartor has demonstrated the importance of its relationships with its clients by making communication as clear as possible. Clients are able to access their holdings, know what they are, and add additional ones. Remarkably, they are also able to output any information they’ve created to a non-connected user even when the internet may not be available. 

Alongside working the Norwegian Defense Forces with aeronautical mapping, as well as their own mapping software—Bailey emphasizes there is always space for improvement. Upon the question of access, he emphasizes there needs to be more advancements with open source and be inspired to create more open source technology such as a Geospatial Information Management System (GIMS). He also highlights that a decision by NATO to officially recognize Sweden as a member can dramatically change the environment of work in which T-Kartor is doing. On the other hand, he is always optimistic in the small size of the business and sees valuable opportunities, such as partnering with companies who specialize in AI and other machine learning technologies. Furthermore, he emphasizes this can enhance their workflow and reiterate it multiple times to make them better and smarter. 

Evidently, Bailey always has a new perspective on how things could be improved when communicating and exchanging information for a variety of purposes. He sees the advantages in leading a small business and the opportunities it has for the environment it works in. Most importantly, Bailey does not shy away from international recognition, especially when it comes to trying to elevate St. Louis, Missouri to the status of a hub for geospatial innovation. In order to achieve this status for the city, he emphasizes integrating what T-Kartor already thrives on: collaboration with others. Upon the establishment of the NGA’s new office in St. Louis, Bailey yearns that the opportunity made with city leaders, civic organizations and industry partners cannot be squandered. As St. Louis “exports more graduates than it keeps,” as he says, there needs to be work done on cleaning up the city’s image. As a geospatial company based in St. Louis, T-Kartor can develop even more of the city’s geospatial brand. There needs to be equitable opportunities for education and employment in the geospatial sector. Along with mending the scars of segregation still being felt in the northern part of the city, T-Kartor can lead the way in helping build jobs and careers in GIS, especially through non-traditional means for children to get involved at a young age. 

At the end of the day, what motivates Bailey is the sense of family at T-Kartor. Being Chief Executive Officer has helped grow Bailey’s empathy for leadership quality and staff—whether it is as large-scale as conducting projects that help communities around the US, or as personal as understanding the lives of his staff and taking care of them. In a message to young people and other individuals interested in the field of geography and GIS, Bailey remarks that interpersonal, face-to-face communication is key and how one communicates even more so matters. Emailing and messaging can only communicate thoughts so much. As Bailey strongly states, send that email, call, send that message, check in.