crowded airport

Extra security measures at the Liege Airport

A personal experience from my trip to LARS 2016 – Chili, March 28, April 3d

I hoped to take off from the Brussels Airport on Monday March 28, almost one week after the attacks on the Brussels Airport, but it would took another week before the first 3 flights would leave the airport. This is why I had to start travelling more than 6 hours before my first flight was airborne.
Traveling to Liege is an adventure as such. After a train ride of more than 90 minutes, you have to try to find the (free) shuttle to get to the airport. One Shuttle every hour, arriving just at the moment we (me and a couple of other travvelers) gave up waiting and got for a coffee in a nearby café, resulting in missing that one shuttle we needed to get in time on the airport…
After sharing a cab with 4 persons and luggage to recover the lost time, I finally arrived at the airport 2 hours before the flight was scheduled.
The airport was like an enforced compound with military vehicles blocking the road in a way cars can zig-zag to the parking lot. Paratroopers armed with automatic rifles looking to any car approaching. Everybody was gathered in a big tent, queuing for a checkpoint for goods and persons, looking for weapons and explosives. Strange as this results in an even more dangerous situation for the passengers than allowing everybody immediately in the airport…
After the first security check, I came into a very crowded drop off hall. And everybody had to pass the drop-off point, even the fast check-in hand luggage only passengers. The result was long queues in a too small airport,¹
resulting in delays at the departure gates. From the 4 gates the Airport was the proud owner, only 3 of them where operational, resulting in a 4th queue, after the normal security check.

The result was my plane departed one hour late, so I had to run in Madrid to the other terminal to catch my long distance night flight, just before midnight. At the border control, I didn't had a board documents yet, but as my flight was leaving really soon, I was allowed to run to the gate. Just in time to board and relax in the first class Ile that was reserved for the vice president of OSGeo.
Time to relax on this trip which took me after all more than 24 hours to reach my destination.
Invitation as special guest on the LARS conference
After a good night of rest and after enjoying a beautiful view of the Andes,

Picture from the Airplane above the Andes - Chile

Picture from the Airplane above the Andes – Chile

I arrived at 9:00 am local time at the airport of Santiago. The difference with Liege and Belgium couldn't be bigger. At the exit of the Airplane, a Chile SAF Lieutenant was waiting for me to bring me immediately to the welcome committee with colonels, captains and a general. Arriving in my Jeans and FOSS4G.BE T-Shirt, I was a little uncomfortable, but I was instructed to give my passport so my personal assigned Lieutenant would arrange for me the border administration and take care of my luggage.
While I was welcomed with coffee and had the opportunity to talk to the other guests, I waited for my luggage to change my T-Shirt for a suit. I was also promised I could take a shower in a for me reserved room, before going to the official inauguration ceremony.
The late departure of my Belgium flight decided not to attend the ceremony, as my luggage didn't arrive with me in Chile. So the rest of the day was needed to go to the hotel in the city center and go for shopping. An activity which was completely new for me. Lucky for me, my personal Lieutenant accompanied me with this new experience, and asked me what else he could do for me. Returning to the conference was no option any more, as the activities would be finished when arriving at the conference.

Slot ceremony INSPIRE conference: Doug Nebert Award

Dirk Frigne receives the INSPIRE Conference Excellence Award

During the slot ceremony of the INSPIRE_GWF, I was surprised to hear that I was elected to receive the INSPIRE Conference Excellence Award:

Special awards for recognition of excellence in geo-information
Dirk Frigne (on behalf of open source communities behind Geosparc,
WeTransform, lat/lon teams)
-Technological enablers of data infrastructures
-Sustaining research project results
-Partnership of SMEs in the geospatial domain

This where te words of thanks I spoke:

Honored to receive this award.
In Europe more than 99% of businesses are Sme.
I want to prove how open source and inspire can leverage economical growth in Europe.  So I want to accept this award in the name of OSGeo.
In OSGeo we have a saying: we as a community are not a democracy,  but a do-cracy.
So I took the initiative to work together with we transform and  lat-lon to make inspire fun and simple.
Thank you so much!


Imagine life as a game

“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – Family, Health, Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these; they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.

Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if its value is valued.”

Bryan Dyson – Former CEO of a big company


Entrepreneurial spirit

Just a small thought snippet about a blog I've read ….

I Founded a couple of companies, I bought a couple of companies, Merged a couple of companies – and I even sold one. Still surviving and happy with the things I’m doing.
The good thing is, I learned a lot from these experiences.

As reaction on the blog of Bruno Segers  he mention's from his experience the 5 basic principles for his new venture:
1. Not working on a payroll
2. Don't take the lead of a multinational organisation
3. Don't take the lead of a stock listed company
4. No company where unions are too strong represented
5. No politics.

Well I think I've done all that and the strange thing is. I don't see myself as a serial entrepreneur. I see myself as somebody who want to change the world (even glad with small mini-mini-mini- things I can contribute) and make other people happy. Doing small things, trying to create some impact.
This makes me happy and gives me a lot of energy.

No multinational organisations, but working with companies in other countries.
No payroll for those who take ownership and responsability
No Public listed stocks, but stakeholders you can talk to and give you the power and energy to go on
No unions, but people you can talk to as your own family, and empower them to believe in the story you have to tell
and of course – be open – be honest and respectful – no politics

The company I started with DFC Software Engineering 21 years ago still exists and is super valuable as a bespoke software specialist.

Also The spin-out I created from DFC (Geosparc) is even more valuable, and is after 6 years already bigger than DFC. Generating global revenue but with a strong focus on the European market.

Maybe we should spin-out a third company out of Geosparc Which will grow in 3 years towards a bigger company than Geosparc… 🙂


How Open Source and INSPIRE can be used as a tactical weapon for economical growth in Europe

What My presentation on INSPIRE-Geospatial World Forum 2015

When  25-29 May 2015, in Lisbon Congress Center, Portugal


Torsten Friebe (LatLon)

Giacomo Martirano (Epsilon-Italia)


Europe is well known for its broad network of SME's. In fact, more than 99% of all European businesses are SME's. The recognition that SME's are important for the successful deployment of a platform like INSPIRE is proven by projects such as SMESpire  and programs such as ARE3NA. This paper builds on the observation of Torsten Friebe (member of the technical commitee of the deegree project) and other OSGeo community members saying that still a lot of inefficiencies exist between the different projects from various administrations in different countries. Often the consequence of a “not invented here” syndrome. Currently there is no OSGeo project which provides a full INSPIRE compliant stack consisting out of INSPIRE View (INSPIRE VS TG WMS Profil und INSPIRE), Download (direct access WFS 2.0.0) and Discovery Service (CSW 2.0.2 ISO AP) implementations. On the other hand we challenge the experience of Giacomo Martirano, the project lead of the SMESpire project, an initiative to create a community of SME's building INSPIRE related solutions. During this presentation, Dirk Frigne (founder and spiritual father of the geomajas project  will combine these observations and lessons learned to point out some ideas and possibilities how to launch an ambitious initiative where Europe and here SME's can form a strong player on the global market to offer solutions for business needs world wide and to support tackling the ever increasing environmental challenges. These ideas are based on Dirk’s passion to create a great European software industry and his experience of founding an open source community and contributing to other technology projects with strong impact on the INSPIRE needs. As the hands-on person he is, the idea's presented here will be supported by first hand experience of setting up such an initiative, based on the co-operation of open source communities and a part of the SMESpire network.

Issuedoc – the fastest way to track and manage issues

Do you need a simple solution to generate, aggregate, and manage issues in an easy way? Don't look further, because Issuedoc(tm) is probably the solution for your problem.


demo (in dutch)


Today, citizens are able to contact their administration in several ways ranging from visiting the physical administrative centre, over using fax (oh yes!), e-mail, phone and more and more also through a web portal.
All these channels have to be integrated into in efficient management system.
Last but not least, citizens want to be notified when their reported issues are solved or addressed.

While working on the next generation technology platform to handle geo-related problems using thin client technology, the founders of Geosparc decided to use their technology to build solutions for wide spread unsolved problems, and offer them at very competitive rates.
One of the ideas was to build an integrated solution combining the Geomajas web GIS technology, with a mobile client and an issue handling system – Issuedoc(tm). With this solution they offer many possibilities to improve operational processes and new ways to report and manage problems.
With the Issuedoc(tm)  mobile client (web based), people are able to create a geo-located issue, document it with some descriptions and add pictures. It offers a user-friendly, yet powerful alternative for the different channels existing today.
After issues are reported though the mobile front-end, they are stored into a back-end management system, where each issue receives a unique identifier, making it easy for further handling and follow-up.
The back-end system allows for the dispatching and tracking resolution of issues according to a process workflow.
Friday November 21, 2014 Issuedoc(tm) and Sleevemonkey(tm) will be demonstrated in Ghent, to discuss the solution with some pilot candidates to test it.

Why I am Who I am

I have a passion.
I want to write software.

I share this passion with many other developers.
Actually, I developed software. For years. I wrote assembler programs for Z80 when the 'PC' was not yet invented. I developed computer games on HP41c to play at university with friends, and exchanged my software with other fellow students.
I was involved in community based activities – sharing and exchanging information with peers for programming in Machine code on the HP41c.

After finishing my university degree as an electrical engineer, with expertise on software development I started my professional career … as a software developer …
And I loved it.

I have a passion.
I want to write software.
A curious thing about writing software is that in many cases it is for global use.
So I went to my boss and told him we could/should develop software for the global market.

But the answer was short.

No way.

The risk was to high. As an European company, you should develop a solution for your local country. I speak 1990.
We were an Autodesk Authorized Developer at that time. The word alone …. 'Authorized'
We created some real great stuff. We talked to the core developers of Autodesk, until this was not possible/plausible any more due to Autodesk policy. We had to talk to more 'commercial' people. To Business people. They were interested in our business ideas, we wanted to share technical solutions. It was not fun.

So we created a community together with other 'Authorized Autodesk Developers' and we shared ideas and information.
ADGE: Autodesk developers group Europe. We came together trough-out Europe. And every 6 weeks there was a physical meeting in Basel (Switzerland).
It was a fun time.

At that time, I founded DFC Software Engineering.
Together with other SME's we managed to work together and compete against bigger companies in our local market.

One of the major problems of a software SME is the entrance to the market. As an 'Authorized Autodesk Developer', you are dependent on Autodesk. And they always needed more and more money, from their clients and from their developers. This was a hard time.

I have a passion.

I want to write software.
And I want to be independent.
But this was a very expensive choice.

I wrote software.
Software for Geo-Location Services.

Access to the data was also very expensive. We couldn't afford that as a small SME.
So we developed software for our clients who had access to their own data, or who could afford GeoData from market providers.

But the licenses for the basic technology became more and more expensive. And our added value was on op of this expensive licenses. So we started to create solutions based on open source technology.

We where users of the technology. At this time, we were not involved into the communities of the software we've used. But we were able to create great solutions and could compete on the market against much more bigger players.
DFC Software Engineering became a company of >10 persons (2004).

I had some idea's about my passion and how to develop it.
I wanted to write open source software.
For users to be able to create their own sort of 'google maps' front-end and back-end.


But I didn't write the code myself. I decided to hire others to do the writing.
I became the 'spiritual' father. It was an expensive hobby. But very passionate.

I discussed business models with many peers at that time.
Dries Buytaert (Drupal/Acquia) and Bruno Lowagie (Itext), but also Steven Noels, Karel Maesen, Raf Buyle, Jan De Moerloose, Rudy Frigne, Caroline Dewaele, Yanick Ingelbrechts and a couple of others.




I found an old photo of 2007 @DFC

on Flickr

Today we write software.

We can show references around the globe. A lot of them are behind a closed door, because the strength of the technology is not for processes into the open.

But more and more projects become public available:

ESA Landsat Portal (If you want to order a satellite image from the Landsat device)

Environmental check (press on '>omgevingscheck' to start the application)

Digital Building Permit (press on '>DOSSIER INDIENEN' to start the application)

Company information (Geo-relations between companies industry parcels, financial information, …)

to name only a couple of the applications realized by Geosparc.

More examples of other companies and people of the community can be found in the Geomajas Gallery