For the next of our HERE employee profiles, we spoke with Belle Koven, who is Head of Data Operations at our Berkeley, California, office.
I manage the HERE data operations team. DataOps is part of the glue that keeps the mission together. We are unseen workers who make sure the data gets from where it is, to where it needs to be, with a high level of quality.
We are about 25 people, split into four sub teams. Our quality testing, ingesting and processing (QTIP) group is in Fargo, North Dakota. We also have a satellite processing and digital elevation team in Berkeley, and we are currently building our own engineering team — “OAT” in Chicago. The system quality analysis and design (SQUAD) team, also in Berkeley, is our glue. Interestingly, our Berkeley teams have a good number of members who have archeological backgrounds.
The DataOps teams handle much of the data that comes into HERE and is used in our mapping. We ingest and do some level of processing for satellite, HERE mapping cars, and also some legacy terrestrial systems. We also deal with the probe data and expect it to expand to work with the sensor data soon.
Most people have seen the HERE True cars but the data that gets captured to the LiDAR and by the camera is written to a hard drive in the car so the information has to be moved from there to a server before the coders and imagery teams, among others, can access it.
The team in Fargo puts the data in local machines and runs scripts for validation. After the initial verification it goes to the cloud where it's re-formatted and ready for use. They also do manual quality assurance of images.
We don’t delete data unless it’s totally broken; like, let’s say the lens cap gets left on the camera or the rig on the car is at the wrong angle. It’s happened in the past but now there is software in the car that alerts the users in these types of situations.
Growing up, I always wanted to be an astronaut but unfortunately, I have Celiac disease and I was never totally sure they would be willing to accommodate the gluten-free diet in space.
But I remained focused on science and I did my undergrad degree in mechanical engineering and then an MS in systems architecting and engineering (a program I was able to basically turn into an engineering-based MBA) from USC. I also have my pilot's license and run half and full marathons. My fastest time for the half marathon is 1.44.45, which is 8 minutes flat per mile, and I am really proud of that one.
I like that we focus on map quality while some other companies focus on quantity. We want to make sure we have the best possible products that are what our customers need. I believe we are doing something different, interesting and valuable.
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