Last night at the December meeting of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) Technical Committee in Charlotte, North Carolina, OGC’s outgoing President & CEO, Mark Reichardt, was awarded a special edition of OGC’s prestigious Kenneth D. Gardels Award.

The Gardels Award is presented each year to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to advancing OGC's vision of fully integrating geospatial information into the world's information systems. This special edition of the award, the second Gardel’s Award to be awarded in 2018, was awarded to Mark by the OGC Board of Directors in recognition of his years of leadership, commitment, passion, and dedication to the advancement of interoperability and open OGC Standards.

OGC Chair, Jeff Harris, commented that: “Mark Reichardt’s keen understanding of the application of technology across diverse missions and markets has enabled significant innovation, which has resulted in improved public safety and business outcomes. His leadership of the Consortium has built enduring relationships that will enable increased location data interoperability.”

Mark joined the Consortium in November 2000 as Director of Marketing and Public Sector Programs, becoming President in 2004 and additionally taking on the role of CEO in 2008. Mark has since lead a global team of members and staff to innovatively drive geospatial data sharing for all. Under Mark’s leadership, the Consortium has grown and established itself as the world’s leading organization for open geospatial standards and innovation. OGC’s standards development process and Innovation Program have since repeatedly enabled the rapid transformation of ideas into implementations.

Time and location, when aligned, shared, and acted upon, improves and saves lives. Mark’s evangelizing of this concept, coupled with an appreciation of geospatial technology as a mission-enabler, not only resulted in impressive operational improvements across a variety of diverse domains, but also created new connections between disconnected domains, and opened new markets to the value of geospatial information.

During all his time at OGC, Mark has demonstrated the integrity, humility, and dedication in promoting spatial technologies to address the needs of humanity that characterized Kenneth Gardels’ career and life.

About OGC

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) is an international consortium of more than 525 companies, government agencies, research organizations, and universities participating in a consensus process to develop publicly available geospatial standards. OGC standards support interoperable solutions that ‘geo-enable’ the Web, wireless and location-based services, and mainstream IT. OGC standards empower technology developers to make geospatial information and services accessible and useful within any application that needs to be geospatially enabled. Visit the OGC website at www.opengeospatial.org.

About the Gardels Award

The Kenneth D. Gardels award is a gold medallion presented each year by the Board of Directors of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to an individual who has made exemplary contributions to the OGC's consensus standards process. Award nominations are made by members – the prior Gardels Award winners – and approved by the Board of Directors. The Gardels Award was conceived to memorialize the spirit of a man who dreamt passionately of making the world a better place through open communication and the use of information technology to improve the quality of human life.

Kenneth Gardels, a founding member and a director of the OGC, coined the phrase "Open GIS". Kenn died of cancer in 1999 at the age of 44. He was active in popularizing the open source Geographic Information System (GIS) ‘GRASS’, and was a key figure in the Internet community of people who used and developed that software. Kenn was well known in the field of GIS and was involved over the years in many programs related to GIS and the environment. He was a respected GIS consultant to the State of California and to local and federal agencies, and frequently attended GIS conferences around the world.

Kenn is remembered for his principles, courage, and humility, and for his accomplishments in promoting spatial technologies as tools for preserving the environment and serving human needs.