OGC Lifetime Achievement Award - Terry Fisher

Contributions of Terry Fisher, recipient of the second OGC Lifetime Achievement Award

Terry Fisher was an active participant in the OGC since shortly after OGC was founded in 1994. His contributions to OGC over many years were substantial. Terry was a force behind Canada's GeoConnections' funding of OGC and GeoConnections' endorsement and deployment of OGC standards, which led to the Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) becoming perhaps the largest single implementation community for OGC. More than any other individual, Terry was responsible for Canada becoming a global model for National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) development that takes full advantage of OGC standards. He guided "Team Canada" companies in their contributing critical standards expertise in the OGC and becoming leaders internationally with standards-based geoprocessing products. "Team Canada" has played an important role in the OGC's global outreach. 

Terry served in the OGC Technical Committee and Planning Committee and was also liaison for the OGC at the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Information Systems and Services (WGISS), where the world's civilian space agencies worked together to use the WMS specification in several key demonstrations. That work helped spur uptake of WMS and other OGC specifications at the European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency (NASDA at the time, now JAXA). He helped the EO community became one of implementer communities that has helped drive widespread use of OGC standards.

Terry had been active in interoperability and "community" standards work since the late 1980's, beginning with his work in the CEOS Working Group on Data. That work later contributed to the Catalogue Interoperability Protocol profile of Z39.50. Terry was instrumental in forming the CEONet program and portal (CEONet was essentially the earth observation (EO) segment of the CGDI, before there was a CGDI), which helped form a foundation for the GeoConnections program, which was launched in 1999.

Through Terry’s efforts, GeoConnections user communities have provided key input to OGC regarding many OGC standards. He initiated and helped lead the GeoConnections Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure Pilot (CGDI Pilot), an OGC interoperability initiative that involved scores of Canadian agencies at all levels of government.


  • Began attending OGC meetings in the days when CORBA was still one of the preferred DCP environments, and the Internet as a DCP was not quite recognized.
  • Has been GeoConnections' PC representative since GeoConnections became a member of OGC at the PC level in 2004.
  • Was instrumental in GeoConnections' sponsorship of early testbed activities (e.g. the second WMS testbed) and other interoperability program initiatives (e.g. CIPI) and OWS testbeds, including OWS-3 and OWS-4.
  • Promoted Z39.50 from the CEOS (Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, FGDC, NASA) community to OGC. OGC's Catalog 1.0 specification included a Z39.50 profile.
  • Was part of GeoConnections' sponsoring of a WMS interface for the open source University of Minnesota MapServer.
  • Encouraged feedback from GeoConnections user communities, including feedback on "best practices licensing" for Federal government geospatial data has provided important input into OGC's GeoDRM activities.