14 Jan Expertise in the spotlight: our IT team
Bart Saelen is a solution architect and IT services team coordinator at Geo Solutions.
Passion for IT & location
I was interested in everything related to computers at an early age. My father spent a lot of time working on IT both professionally and in his spare time, so that passion passed on to me. I still remember that I wanted a Nintendo, but got a discarded Commodore 64 instead. We then converted it into a gaming computer ourselves and the passion for IT was sparked.
Later, in my teenage years, I then built my first websites for the youth group, my school and a local association. And I also started programming more complex things, such as a stock management system for the company where I did student work.
My interest in location? Where something is located has always fascinated me. As a child, I was able to browse through an atlas for hours, trying to imagine what a remote location would look like in real life. Later in the management of the youth group I was also responsible for our collection of staff cards.
After my IT training, I started as an application developer for a wide range of clients from SME to multinational in various sectors: e-commerce, life sciences and various government services.
At one of those government departments I came in contact with a GIS project for the first time and I was immediately intrigued. So when I was looking for a new challenge a few years later, I ended up with Geo Solutions.
The IT services team
Since April 2019 I have been in charge of our newly established IT Services team. In this team we bundle our expertise in application development and IT operations, we are actually a Geo / GIS / location – DevOps team. We can support customers in the entire life cycle of a software application, from design to development to monitoring and maintenance.
Our team consists of a varied mix of profiles with different backgrounds, several team members have an IT background just like me, but there are equally geographers or (bio) engineers. This wide range of backgrounds means that we can look at a problem from a customer with different insights and thus arrive at a qualitative solution.
Something we have been working hard on in recent years is the ability to train people internally, both start-ups and experienced people. We now have the Geo Academy, an internal training platform with which we offer both individual courses and group courses.
In addition, we organize team days several times a year as a team. On such a team day we combine substantive workshops and the opportunity to catch up with your colleagues in an informal way.
The future of GIS
I think that Geo / GIS / location based IT systems still have a way to go when it comes to being “cloud native”. Cloud applications are everywhere nowadays and are now starting to penetrate more and more into the GIS world, but you notice that different software products still have a way to go there. I think we will see a catch-up movement here in the coming years.
In addition, Augment / Mixed / Virtual Reality and everything that has to do with 3D is an absolute game changer for Geo / GIS / location applications. Location information is crucial to make these technologies mainstream in the coming years.