David Schell, OGC founder, honored with "Making a Difference" Award

David Schell, who founded the OGC and who was for many years the OGC's president, CEO and chairman, was presented with a “Making a Difference” Award by Jack Dangermond, Esri's president, last week at the Esri Federal GIS Conference. Dangermond opened the conference by presenting the award.

David has certainly made a difference, not least for those of us who work with him and those of us who have known him for many years. When the OGC began, there was nothing quite like it in any industry. David invented it and kept reinventing it, steering a course that has enabled the OGC to grow and thrive while holding onto its original vision and basic principles.

True to those principles, he never acted alone. He surrounded himself, on his staff and on the Board of Directors, with capable people of diverse talents and backgrounds. He made important decisions based on the counsel of anyone in the organization or outside the organization who could help him understand the effects of decisions on the consortium's many stakeholders and on the course of the geospatial technology industry. David understands how communities and networks operate and that has been a key element in the success of the OGC.

The complexity of geospatial information is invisible to most people. Few people outside of the OGC and its membership understand how difficult and significant the OGC's contribution has been. Much work remains. All of us working in the OGC process feel that we are making a difference, but the work we do would not be possible if it weren't for the difference that David has made.

We are indeed fortunate that while David has stepped down as OGC Chair, he continues to serve with us as Chairman Emeritus of the board and Chief Strategist for the consortium. He continues to do what he has always done so well, developing strategic initiatives and relationships. Much of his current work involves building a stronger academic foundation for interoperability and helping the Earth sciences develop a greater facility for sharing Earth science data that is critical for the advance of both science and public policy.

For those of you who know David, I ask that you take time to thank him for his vision in creating the OGC, for his determination in maturing the organization, and for his continued lifelong dedication to the vision of unencumbered sharing and application of geospatial information for a better informed global society. David without question has made an important difference in our community.