OGC Lifetime Achievement Award - Charles Roswell

Contributions of Charles Roswell, recipient of the first OGC Lifetime Achievement Award  

Charles Roswell has been an active participant in the OGC from the Consortium’s beginning. He earned the respect of others in the early Technical Committee for his careful and thorough authorship in contributions to several volumes of the abstract spec, in particular Coverages and Temporal. He has been a quiet but consistent advocate who bears considerable responsibility for the successful collaboration between the OGC and ISO/TC 211. In his roles as NGA (previously NIMA) liaison and chair of the Defense and Intelligence Working Group, he has been critical to the success of the OGC. Within the NGA, he supported OGC topics in his dealings with the Geospatial Intelligence Standards Working Group (GWG), the DGIWG, SEDRIS and other organizations relevant to OGC interests.  

Charles’ role in developing the Coverages concept for Geospatial Information can not be stated as anything less than a phenomenal breakthrough in the advancement of the holistic understanding of many forms of geospatial data under the overarching information type known as Coverage. The Coverage concept developed initially in the OGC as an Abstract Specification has now matured into a joint OGC/ISO abstract specification as well as serving as the basis for the Web Coverage Service and Coverages in GML. The Coverages concept has been instrumental in bridging the mental gap between discrete vector based GIS and gridded remote sensed imagery.


Charles has laid the framework for future developments in geo-temporal interoperability through his work on the Temporal Abstract Specification. In time, this work is anticipated to yield breakthroughs similar to coverages.




·         Has been a sought after technical contributor who played a key role as a reviewer and mature advisor to writers of specifications. Perhaps one of the most understated roles in the specification development process is that of reviewer. Numerous specifications have benefited substantially from Charles’ clear thinking, attention to detail and pragmatic commenting. In addition to the ideas he has frequently contributed in Technical Committee discussions, Charles' role in reviewing and commenting has led to multiple specifications becoming standards. 


·         Brought to his work in the OGC decades of valuable experience in geospatial standards. Charles worked within the NATO Inter-service Geographic Working Party and chaired the NATO Geographic Requirements Working Group, where he helped define the requirements for system standardization in NATO. Within NGA and its predecessor organizations, Charles anticipated the need for interoperability standards like those that have been developed in the OGC, and his vision and work have been key factors in making these standards a reality. He was chair for the DMA/NOAA/USGS Standards WG, and he worked within the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) to help develop the FGDC National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) Framework concept and the Framework Data Standard.  


·         Helped bring the key geospatial standards organizations into constructive, collaborative relationships. While working in the FGDC on the NSDI Framework, Charles became involved with the OGC in the Consortium’s first year, and it was through Charles that Robin Fegeas at the USGS became involved with the OGC. Gaining support at the USGS was a critical early milestone for the OGC. Charles has continued to serve as ambassador and “connector,” facilitating inter-organizational cooperation. He was a main contributor to the successful relationships between OGC, ISO TC211 and ANSI/INCITS L1. As the International Representative for INCITS L1 to ISO, Charles has led the United States Delegation in ISO TC211 with an attention to both diplomatic and technical progress. As a member of the OGC-ISO TC211 Joint Advisory Group, or JAG, Charles has been a steady force in progressing the technical specifications with an eye to the strengths of each organization and its members. Charles is one of the main reasons that we live today in a world that has harmonized some of the key specifications for geospatial interoperability. 


     Is a friend to quite a number of the long-time OGC participants. His role as a father, boy scout leader and devout Catholic are inspiring traits to his many friends and acquaintances.


In his modest and unassuming way, in the OGC Charles applied his years of experience working with national and international partners, laying the technical and institutional groundwork for the evolving Web services approach which depends on both technical coordination and a culture of cooperation. Without his contributions, the geospatial standards framework we have worked together to create might not have come into being, and it would certainly not be as good as it is.