I’m Arjun Gangadharan a.k.a. Ark Arjun, a Geospatial, Civil engineer from Palakkad, in the valley of the Western Ghats in the south of India.
I started out working in the Civil Engineering field after my UG, working across India and Saudi Arabia, but have been fortunate enough to be able to pursue my passion in Geospatial technology after completing Master of Technology. I currently work for SatSure Analytics India. I am good in ideation, conceptualization, productization and innovation with geospatial technologies.
I volunteer at OpenStreetMap, Wikipedia and Swathanthra Malayalam Computing (SMC), and I am part of various FOSS projects. I am a comrade of Open Data, Free & Open Source Software and also advocates for it. I am one of the proud founding member of Open Data Kerala Movement. I am also the co-founder of GeoMinds
This is an explanation to a question I’ve been asked for around 8 or 9 years (I know, about time). A question that I myself gave people the cause to ask. About the prefix ‘Ark’ to my name, which has, as time passed, become an alias, and in certain circles, the only name people know me by.
To start at the beginning, around the time I got access to and started perusing the internet in 2005-06. I was a teenage meddler in art (1) named Arjun (2) with aspirations to become an engineer (3). As anyone from Kerala will tell you, above the ascriptions can be applied to hundreds (or thousands, or millions, who knows?) of other teenagers in Kerala. (Adding cliche quotation: You throw a rock on the air on Kerala, you’re more likely to strike an engineer’s head than you are to hit a coconut tree). It became clear quite quickly that in the overpopulated, obscure jungle that is the internet, I had to have a unique identity by which people could find me, my art and my blogs.
And so I set upon finding a unique, memorable alias. The very first idea that struck me at the time was that it had to have something to do with art. It just had to. There was no alternative. Drawing, sketching, painting - all these came to me as easy as breathing, and filled my brain as the air filled my lungs. Second criterion I decided upon (turned out to be a wise one) was that it had to be short. The shorter the name, the easier it is to remember.
Not long into my search, the simple elegance of an arc struck my mind. It was an essential element of most sketches or paintings. Expounding on the matter, I thought back to how much shapes and images affected my daily life. I’ve always had a sort of visual memory. I couldn’t tell you what the license plate on my Dad’s scooter says, but I can tell you the characteristics of the font used. I couldn’t list the countries Germany occupied during Hitler’s reign, but I can draw you a map and mark them on it. Images. Shapes. Arc. Significant, and short.
But then, a different word came floating into my mind without invitation. Noah’s Ark. A symbol of hope and a tool of survival. The result of Noah’s unwavering sense of commitment to his world. Qualities that resonated with me, ones that I was subconsciously already trying to ingrain in myself. ‘Arc’ became ‘Ark’.
There. That is the origin story of my nickname, my alias, my online alter-ego - whichever term you prefer.