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In Memoriam: Rob Bieling

In memory of
Rob Bieling

A homage to Mapcreator’s founder, great company leader, friend & mentor.

Rob Bieling passed away unexpectedly on 9th December 2021, taken too early from his loving wife Liesbeth and his 4 children.

His legacy continues to live through everyone’s achievements at Mapcreator. No moment passes where we don’t miss our leader to look up to, a friend to talk to, a foosball player to play with.

Let us take you back in time to remember our dear colleague together…

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Monday morning, our colleagues are getting ready for the week. The talks and catching up about the past weekend just got quieter, when you hear a few tunes chiming from the “balcony”. Rob has grabbed his guitar and, absorbed in his thoughts, he’s letting his fingers dance over the slightly mistuned and old guitar.

You could join him and pick his brain on a topic, having a “koffie-tea” (one of Rob’s specific drinks. A coffee watered down so much, it almost counts as tea), while enjoying his company & the view from the 6th floor.

Has he taken you upstairs yet? If you’re new at Mapcreator, chances are he’ll introduce you to the 7th and 9th floor, Mapcreator’s sisters companies. A big smile on his face, you can clearly see the pride in his eyes when he’s telling you how it all started. He grabbed a thousand page thick book full of maps. When he drops it on the table, you’ll want to cough up the dust that comes with it. Being a digital early adopter himself, always with the latest Apple products at hand, he’d have been a fool to believe that the car atlases Falk used to produce will stick. A vision for a niche product, his friends and business partners Peter and Martin by his side, and with a team of equal map fanatics, they’re making plans to become the modern mapping tool for newspapers.  

Having worked on the forefront of transforming the manual map making process into modern digitization, he’ll remind you it’s important to look back to where you came from, what you’ve achieved & learned, and to continue to look ahead excitedly about what’s to come next. 

 I hope there’s some comfort in knowing that Rob’s legacy will continue to be far reaching.
His contributions to the world of journalism and helping journalist tell better stories
has had a lasting impact that will continue to ripple through the industry.
— Laurie Lawrence, American City Business Journals

Only dogs have bosses, he could say when someone referred to him as their boss. However, Rob was a boss, in the best sense of the term. He cared very deeply about the team and was always interested in your personal and professional developments. Always one step ahead of you (okay, this was annoying sometimes; his steps were huge!) but without exception willing to help and support.

“Thanks for being my rubber duck!”

How often did you find yourself already in a situation where you just needed to tell someone about a problem, and while you were explaining the issue, the riddle solved itself? Welcome to the rubber duck principle! Well, it just so happened that it was common for Rob to “use you” as his rubber duck, and he was equally happy to be the rubber duck for you. No matter when you called him; you either catch him in his attic-office, or on the way to a gym session with his son, or in the car, but no time was an inconvenient time for a catchup – with or without ducks.

What might sound weird to new ears, has become our team-standard whenever someone encountered a roadblock. While the duck has become a more figurative metaphor, whenever we spot a rubber duck somewhere, we sure think about a very special duck.

 He was such an inspiration and has certainly touched
the lives of many, including my students.
— Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Sven Fuhrmann, Hochschule München

Rob’s birthday and the inevitable human ageing weren’t really his favourite subject to converse about. He’d even sneak out of company dinners that would happen around his birthday, just so he doesn’t have to be confronted with the uncomfortable reminder of adding yet another year to the clock. Despite his specific grumpiness, he’d eventually start to enjoy the advantages of putting his work aside and appreciate this newly gained time off. He was in fact quite adventurous, eager to travel, and neither scared of the ice cold Atlantic ocean, nor the strong winds when kitesurfing – obviously also tracking his trips and sharing the pitstops on polarsteps. If you had a couple of glasses with him, he’d probably tell you that when he was young, he would have left the Netherlands to explore the US. But with the love of his life Liesbeth they would stay where their roots are, in lovely Eindhoven.

We all couldn’t have imagined a better Mapcreator home. 

Music advice needed? Look no further. Netherlands’ great music scene sure catered to Rob’s deep love for electronic music.

Festivals? Count him in! Not only did he know about the best festivals in the area, he’d go there himself to proof it. Or do you know anyone else who’d have 8 devices lined up just to get tickets for Tomorrowland?

We even caught him singing in front of a modest sized, SND-drunk live audience in a karaoke bar in Amsterdam after a great event weekend. Music does bring people together, and he sure lived that.

Here’s a playlist of few of Rob’s favourite artists:  

Besides maps, music & travelling, Rob had a great deal of passion for one more thing: life long learning. He’d listen to podcasts, could lecture you on the latest news, and he was especially eager to share his knowledge and experience with the younger generation. In the office, you’d find him heads down buried in his Mac pondering over a problem. You could even stand next to him for a few moments and he might not notice. But when you needed him, he’d drop his tasks instantly just to support you.

In his honour, Mapcreator would like to donate to a foundation catered to young professionals in Eindhoven to support them in their career.

ZZZZZZSSSSSZZZZZSSS….drones were some of Rob’s recent favourite toys. He’d happily be trying out his newest drone and test fly it immediately together with his son. Only sometimes his joys were his colleagues banes. If you think you can enjoy the calm afternoon silence in the office, you probably forgot that sometimes Rob’s test flights would happen right next to your ear.


He wore many hats. On the spot he could figuratively switch them when he felt like he needed to look at a problem from a different perspective. Preferably solving it with a technical solution. Being a technologist at heart but still able to communicate in clear language. Perhaps programming languages were his favourite, taking pride in the ever-growing number of them he could write code in. He still owes us some documentation though, but in his spirit, we will figure it out head-on.

Rob leaves big shoes to fill. Both literally and figuratively. 

This tribute wouldn’t be complete without emphasizing Rob’s love for football, in all sorts of ways. PSV matches in the stadium, or following the team to away games, or how he would tease his Ajax friends when PSV was in the lead!  

Oh, and how mean he could score in Tablefootball, while not willing to accept when he cannot stop a ball himself. A child would have had to cover their ears to not hear his swearing… We still hear his laughter and screams when a match was particularly challenging, and would love to play just one more match with him.

Whenever we see a Tablefootball somewhere, we smile and think about the best competitor & team player!