Recap of FOSS4G 2019 Bucharest event

Sep 18, 2019

GeoCat would like to thank the local organizing committee and everyone we met in Bucharest for making FOSS4G 2019 such a wonderful event. It was a pleasure to sponsor FOSS4G 2019 and we will continue our commitment to open source. Thus we would also would like to share a recap of FOSS4G 2019.


The first two days of the conference were devoted to workshops in the impressive University of Bucharest.

Thriving in hybrid environment

GeoCat was pleased to host this dynamic workshop looking at the challenges of deploying open source into a hybrid environment. We had a wide range of participants taking part, and were pleasantly surprised with over 90% already working with both proprietary and open source technologies (lending plenty of confidence to those considering open source for the first time). The highlight for everyone was the lively group discussion with breakout teams sharing some of the unexpected challenges (and successes) leveraging open source technology in their organizations:

  • Challenges and opportunities of using FME to synchronize databases
  • Introducing PostGIS into an Oracle environment
  • Challenge of migrating styling from ArcGIS to other platforms
  • Use of ESRI ArcServer to provide WMS/WFS endpoint
  • Use of public funds in the shift to open standards and open source
  • Use of GeoPackage between ESRI, QGIS 2.x and QGIS 3.x
  • Total cost of ownership discussion going beyond license cost to include staff education and data migration and support
  • Challenges faced introducing open source to management
  • The long term value of data, beyond any technology choice

We also identified an opportunity for improvement as many struggled to connect with others facing integration challenges as part of our open source community.

Introduction to GeoNetwork Opensource

This workshop was well attended. Participants enjoyed an interactive introduction to GeoNetwork, in a very popular hands-on workshop. Due to last minute registrations our room was filled to capacity with every last seat in use. GeoCat had prepared a cloud instances of GeoNetwork for each participant. This allowed the workshop to provide a guided tour – and avoid installation which often dominates introduction workshops. We would like to thank everyone who attended, and braved challenges with classroom power-outages and wifi access.


  • Introduction to GeoNetwork Opensource (workbook)

GeoNetwork Advanced

This hands-on developer workshop focused on building the GeoNetwork software from sources which can be a challenging experience on your own. We were pleased to help participants, with attendees working across a wide range of laptops and operating systems.


Java Developer Workshops

Jody (GeoCat) and Ian Turton (ASTUN) shared a number of hands-on developer workshops looking at the GeoTools and GeoServer development environment. Even though these workshops ran into a little difficulty (with internet, power and air conditioning) a lot of material was covered and the workshops resulted in a healthy discussion. We were especially happy to see attendees taking part in the community sprint and putting their newfound knowledge into practice.


  • GeoTools Developers Workshop ( slides | manual )
  • GeoServer Developers Workshop ( slides | manual )


The heart of any conference is sharing great stories. Presentations this year were split into an epic choose-your-own-adventure with eleven tracks across the National Theatre of Bucharest and nearby InterContinental Hotel. While attendees could not be everywhere at once, the lunch breaks were filled everyone comparing notes from across the sessions. For those at home the videos were live streamed, and are now available as an archive. GeoCat staff are part of the vibrant OSGeo community and contributed to a range of presentations.


The FOSS4G Journey

At FOSS4G, we also took the stage to speak on a matter dear to our hearts: where foss4g as a community comes from, the organizations involved, and the opportunities opening up with the new OGC OpenAPI standards.

Our product GeoCat Bridge has long helped ESRI Desktop users enjoy foss4g technologies. We were pleased to announce a QGIS plugin for our customers, and the associated restructuring of this technology into two open source python libraries.


One click data publishing for QGIS to support OGC/INSPIRE

Paul provided a tour of the new QGIS plugin for GeoCat Bridge 4. For many in the open source community this was their first introduction to the workflow provided by GeoCat Bridge.

Jody had a chance to share how GeoCat has structured the open source projects into python libraries to facilitate collaboration. He also had prepared his own Q&A questions which amused the audience.



While FOSS4G is a great outreach event, it is also a time for the community together and celebrate each other and making the world better.

  • The ice breaker provided an epic evening of dancing and socializing and food. The Bragadiru Palace provided a fabulously backdrop.
  • The gala had a hard act to follow after everyone staying up early for the icebreaker. Set in the imposing Peoples Palace we were thrilled with both the setting and the amazing band. A highlight was the crowd participating in regional dancing, or simply scattered across the steps outside.
  • Evenings also included Birds-of-a-feather (BOF) sessions. We were able to sit together with other projects to discuss interoperability issues between software packages. In a BOF on catalogues, we discussed how to improve the search experience in QGIS. We think QGIS metasearch support for common catalogues and upcoming OGC-API Records will help the catalogue community. In a symbology BOF we discussed interoperability of symbology between frameworks.
  • The closing ceremony startled everyone with a quick (as requested) annual general meeting. This resulted in lightning quick updates from teams and communities world wide. Even Rouault received the Sol Katz award for a moving acceptance speech. We were also entertained with performances from Ivan and Schyler. The local organizing committee had the honor of passing on the baton to the FOSS4G 2020 Calgary team.
  • Saturday’s community sprint was understandably subdued after such a busy week; with progress being made on on community outreach and the incubation committee.



Do you want to know more about our commitment to open source, our products or what we have presented at FOSS4G 2019? Please contact Jody Garnett at

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