Martin Isenburg's legacy

Published on 2023-03-10 at geo , ramblings , 2 mins.

I originally posted this on Mastodon and Linkedin.

I only met Martin once many years ago at the Bremen FOSS4G Europe conference in 2014. Even not being a LIDAR user, I followed him afterward, also his weird behaviors on mailing lists and social media, totally ignorant of the illness that he was suffering.

Nevertheless, this is a good read about our industry and mental health; and with all the sadness and struggle, the outcome is still positive thanks to the effort of his legacy holders for years to come.

To give a bit more context here, Martin Isenburg was the developer of the most successful Open Source library to interact with LIDAR data, a type of geospatial data coming from laser sensors, typically acquired from airplanes to generate 3D models of large land areas.

The article gives an overview of his life and how he had to deal with severe bipolar disorder through the years while at the same time doing a decent living on consultancy, software development, and community building.

I think about Martin’s story from time to time, and how we (I at least) don’t pay much attention to mental health in our every day, maybe until it is too late. There is some stigma on mental issues that we need to overcome and in the same way we get help when we have an issue with our teeth or our lungs, we should act the same with our mental welfare.