About

I am Hrishikesh Ballal, welcome to my website. I have had this site in one form or the other for the past 25 years or so. Everyone calls me Hrishi, the H is silent so it is pronounced as ‘Reeshee’. My name, ऋषिकेश in Devanagari / Marathi has a Sanskrit origin. Rishikesh is also the name of a ancient city in the foothills of the Himalayas. I am @hrishiballal on Twitter and also on LinkedIn and Github and my email address is at the bottom of this page.

I am a Mechanical Engineer by training specializing in Engineering Design, Operations Research with degrees from University of Michigan and MIT. In 2015, I completed my PhD at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London with a focus on geodesign. My thesis was around early stage design and is entitled Collaborative planning with digital design synthesis.

I have built and work on two things: Geodesignhub and Openskies.

Geodesignhub is a pioneering software for mediation and negotiations about difficult social-political problems around a location. It is commonly used in the context of public policy, infrastructure investments, tourism, environmental management, urban design, climate adaptation etc. In addition to enabling negotiations, we help with project organization and management support around implementation of the negotiated outcomes. It is used to solve some of the most complex and pressing problems of today.

Openskies is an open source software company with a mission to support current and future aerial robotics ecosystem. Specifically, the company works on Identity and Authentication, Aircraft Surveillance and API harmonization for unmanned aerial vehicals. I also work with different stakeholders as part of standards bodies and around technical aspects of aspects of regulation of unmanned aviation and its integration with national and international airspace.

My expertise and work in the “geo” domain has a strong mechanical / systems engineering focus. I have a long association with open source software a founding member the local chapter of OSGEO: OSGeo Ireland and a huge advocate of open data for governance and public policy.

I feel like I have had many lives professionally. I have written a huge amount of closed and open source software, worked in the automotive industry, United Nations, spent time in Japan, worked at Microsoft among other things. Prior to my “geo” focus, I was working as a regulatory expert on the hardware aspects of consumer electronics. It all started when I was offered a fellowship to work on solving the collection and end-of-life aspects of e-waste and it was the thesis for my degree.

All content in this site is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Unless otherwise stated, everything here is © 1996 ~ 2021 Hrishikesh Ballal.