Minds behind the Maps – Tony Scavuzzo
By Ian Delaney Mon, Oct 14 2013
The creative force behind HERE is more than just a machine, a bunch of algorithms, and earth-orbiting satellites; it goes much deeper than that.
Underneath all the intuitive UIs, POIs and voice-commands are people who have a passion for mapping the world. One such member of the HERE team is Tony Scavuzzo, US Northeast Field Manager.
Mapping, or cartography to give its real term, is something we all do – subconsciously. When you walk into a shop and know to turn left or right when you exit is because you’ve mapped the environment around you.
For Tony, maps interested him as a child and he continued to delve into the world of maps when he attended Plymouth State University in New Hampshire back in the late 80s.
At the time, cartography was paperbound and the digital age was yet to be realised, and Tony often wondered if he’d ever make a career out of drawing maps. His professor even told him to make a Plan B, because he’d likely need it.
However, Tony stuck with his passion and majored in Cartography in 1991.
Delighted by his first professional cartographer’s job for the federal government, Tony realised he made the right decision in not finding a Plan B.
“When people ask me what I do, I love telling them I’m a cartographer.” Says Tony. “But their response is always the same; isn’t everything mapped already?”
Tony tells us that there’s always more to be done, mapping is never complete. Maps need to be fixed, made better, and they can always be made easier to read and use.
Mapping the world is a lot of work. When you look at a map, a paper or a digital one, you expect to find what you’re looking for.
In one scenario, Tony remembers a project where he had recently spent time mapping hospital emergency rooms, something that if mapped incorrectly could mean the difference between life and death. The following year, Tony was made aware of this:
“An older gentlemen was having a health scare and was unfamiliar with the area. He used his Garmin GPS to get to the nearest hospital. Getting there in a timely fashion came close to saving his life.”
When Tony thinks about the type of information, the points of interest, and just ensuring we have the right road layouts that go into making modern maps, he reminds himself that “the job becomes more than, hey, I just got a house on the map. It’s hey, we just saved a life today!”
“The job of getting people safely and effectively to where they want to go is fun and constantly fascinating. I am proud to be the face of HERE.”