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Employee spotlight – VP Software Development Ole Kristensen looks back on his decades at EIVA

25 October 2021
Employed at EIVA since February 1993, Ole Kristensen’s time at the company reflects the evolving scope of EIVA’s activities. He has been focused on development of a broad range of tools, from virtual navigation aids to deep learning subsea image recognition. We can honestly say, without any exaggeration, that the totality of EIVA’s current line of software products has been conceived of, built, developed and refined under his expertise and sage guidance.
VP Software Development Ole Kristensen

One of our most long-standing colleagues, VP Software Development Ole Kristensen

‘The driving force to all that EIVA does is using new science and new technologies to benefit the maritime survey and construction industries. It’s remarkable how technology has changed since I began at EIVA, and I believe we have done well to capitalise on all that it has to offer' – Ole Kristensen

In this article, dive into Ole's experiences to learn how EIVA has grown in the decades he has worked here.

Humble beginnings

Before coming to work at EIVA, Ole, with his background in mathematics and computer science, held little interest in maritime industries and little experience at sea, aside from his father’s work as a fisherman. A simple newspaper advertisement set him off in the direction he was to make his career.

Times were different back when Ole joined EIVA… Now the company is over 40 years old but back then EIVA was still in its ‘teens’ – with just fifteen to twenty employees on the books as Ole remembers it. Back then, applied computer science, the fundamental basis for Ole’s work, was rudimentary at best, relative to what we see today in the research and development labs of EIVA.

The technological developments that were to unfold over the course of the subsequent decades have, as Ole says, been fundamental to the activities, growth and success of EIVA.

Programming at sea: first commercial multi-beam sonar software

One of the first substantial projects Ole was involved with was the creation of NaviScan, EIVA's sonar, sensor and laser acquisition software. At the time, EIVA had bought a Reson multi-beam sonar system for our rental pool, but didn’t have any software to handle it, so the team had to develop something new. 

'Around March-April, we boarded a vessel to test the software; we sailed from England across the North Sea to Mongstad in Norway. I was told to bring clothes for a week...I didn’t get back to land for five weeks.’ – Ole Kristensen

Ole notes that the dedication paid off. NaviScan was more or less the first piece of commercial software written for multi-beam sonar. At that time, the NaviScan software was running on a DOS platform and hardware with just 1 MB of RAM available.

‘It meant we had to be very efficient in terms of how we used what little bandwidth we had!’ – Ole Kristensen

EIVA continues to facilitate and improve the efficient use of bandwidth with NaviScan and our other software solutions.


Early version of NaviScan on old PC DOS Windows 3.10
An early version of EIVA NaviScan running on two PCs, one with DOS and another with Windows 3.10, on one of Ole’s early sea outings.

Riding the waves of new technologies from theory to reality

As the digital era unfolded, great advances in computing power and sensor technologies opened the doors to a whole new league of maritime survey and construction solutions, which you can see in EIVA’s product lines. For example, EIVA is engaged in using machine learning and computer vision to move NaviSuite software towards enabling autonomous operations.

‘It has been fun to see that things that were theory back in the day are suddenly reality in today’s workplace. I think that’s one of EIVA’s strengths – we push that advancement.’ – Ole Kristensen


NaviSuite software cutting-edge

This video showcases some features of EIVA’s recent software solutions 

The unbounded possibilities of the digital era also made their presence felt with significant shifts in the work of EIVA – in particular, we spread our reach across the globe! EIVA still holds its headquarters in Denmark, but now Ole has colleagues working from locations in the Philippines, Romania, Germany, the UK, Brazil and Singapore!

The appeal of EIVA

Ole is not alone in having worked at EIVA for many years, Software Engineer Brian Justesen recently celebrated his 25th anniversary of working at EIVA. But what is it about working at EIVA that keeps employees at the company for so long?

Ole values the way EIVA works with customers.

‘I have always enjoyed that my work kept me close to company partners and customers. We get to really listen to customers and respond appropriately, working to deliver solutions which can be successfully applied across a variety of circumstances.’ – Ole Kristensen

Working with customers like this sometimes means doing custom software development and this process of adapting to the customer’s needs and new technologies is one of the things that keeps things exciting for Ole.

‘Being a relatively small company, we’re flexible and can be quick to adapt to customer needs as well as new technologies.’ – Ole Kristensen

Keeping things fresh

Another appealing characteristic of EIVA, Ole explains, is the company’s growth. For example, the addition of departments in EIVA has kept things fresh, he says. Most recently, EIVA reorganised to create a dedicated business development department which will help support participation in even more big projects – so Ole and the rest of the EIVA crew can continue to face exciting new challenges!

One big area of growth lately has been that in 2020, EIVA became part of the Covelya Group – joining strengths with other industry-leading companies, leading to the creation of new joint solutions, such as Equinox, a towed multi-aperture sidescan sonar, which uses NaviSuite Kuda’s user interface to plan, autopilot and display data in real time.

Not only is the company growing in size, but it grows to support the customers more, which Ole values.

‘In more recent years, EIVA’s efforts to support customers have expanded greatly. For instance, during times of CoVID-19 restrictions EIVA increased its offerings of NaviSuite virtual training courses and webinars on the latest EIVA developments, so customers could continue to make the most of our solutions despite not meeting at physical events.’ – Ole Kristensen


Early version of NaviScan on old PC DOS Windows 3.10
An early version of EIVA NaviScan running on two PCs (one DOS and another Windows) of the sort Ole worked on in his early days at EIVA

Coming together

While nothing is as constant as change, some aspects to Ole Kristensen’s work have endured. One of Ole’s first events at which he represented EIVA was the Oceanology International exhibition in London.

‘I first attended the event in my second year at EIVA and I’ve been going to it ever since – I don’t think I’ve missed a single one. That event certainly got bigger come to think of it. Yet it’s still such a small community that everyone is friendly!’ – Ole Kristensen

After a COVID-19 induced break, this and other exhibitions will soon be back on! We look forward to seeing familiar faces again. Check out the upcoming events which EIVA will attend.

Closing remarks

‘Friends sometimes ask me if I never had ambitions outside a single company. I have worked at EIVA a long time, but it’s almost the contrary. As long things are moving forward, inspiring and worthwhile, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.’ – Ole Kristensen

As Ole’s work continues, so too does that of EIVA. We endeavour to remain a company at the forefront of maritime solutions, and at the same time, one that cares deeply for the commitment of its employees, who, like Ole, go above and beyond in their work.

We look forward to the next employee spotlight we can share with you, but until then you can stay updated on EIVA’s activities by following the EIVA cruise.


Ole Kristensen VP Software Development NaviPac
Ole at work behind a more modern computing set-up

Want to join the EIVA crew? We are often hiring – check our job opportunities to see if you can join one of EIVA’s teams; software, hardware, service, sales and more.

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