At the September meeting of the Open Geospatial Consortium in Frascati, Italy, Jeff de La Beaujardière, PhD, received the OGC's prestigious Kenneth D. Gardels Award. The Gardels Award is awarded each year to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to advance OGC's vision of geospatial information fully integrated into the world's information systems.
Instead of accepting the gold medallion associated with this award, Jeff has asked that the equivalent value be applied by OGC to support individual memberships to encourage participation in the international standards process.
Dr. de La Beaujardière is currently at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "My career since 1994 at NOAA and previously NASA has been entirely focused on making U.S. government data about the environment more accessible to the public," he said. "I feel that access is not merely about removing policy barriers or putting files on a web server. Access is about using open standards to improve usability, and the Open Geospatial Consortium obviously plays a key role in that space."
De La Beaujardière's participation in the OGC's standards process began in 1998 during the first Web Mapping Testbed while at NASA. He served as editor of the OGC Web Map Server (WMS) standard versions 1.1 and 1.3 and of the International Standard version (ISO 19128), and was a contributor to other standards. He programmed WMS implementations for the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program and the Modeling, Analysis, and Prediction 2005 (MAP’05) Program. As part of NASA's Digital Earth Office and Geospatial Interoperability Office, he worked to promote interoperability and ensure OGC standards are able to meet NASA needs to support time-dependent observations and forecast model outputs.
In 2008, he moved from NASA to NOAA, where as senior system architect of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program, he led implementations of OGC's Sensor Web Enablement standards. He now serves as NOAA's Data Management Architect and chair of the Environmental Data Management Committee. His vision is that all NOAA data will be easily discoverable by potential users, readily accessible and standardized, well documented with good metadata, and archived for future generations.
The Gardels Award is the OGC’s highest honor bestowed upon a Consortium member representative. It is given annually in memory of Kenneth Gardels, a founding director of OGC and OGC's former director of academic programs. Gardels coined the term "Open GIS" and devoted his life to the humane and democratic uses of geographic information systems. He died at the age of 44 in 1999.