Prof. Venkatesh Raghavan was honored today with the 2012 Sol Katz Award
for Geospatial Free and Open Source Software during the inaugural
session of the FOSS4G-India 2012 conference in Hyderabad, India. The
award was presented by Ravi Kumar and Vundavallu Aruna Kumar, Member of
Parliament. Venka received a memento on behalf of the OSGeo-India Chapter.
Venka’s dedication to FOSS4G and his community work around the world,
promoting open source geospatial, is second to none. He has been
involved in OSGeo since the foundation was formed in 2006, and we are
lucky to have such a strong global voice in him. The OSGeo foundation
wishes to thank Venka for his wonderful dedication.
The Sol Katz Award for Geospatial Free and Open Source Software is
awarded annually by OSGeo to individuals who have demonstrated
leadership in the GFOSS community. Recipients of the award will have
contributed significantly through their activities to advance open
source ideals in the geospatial realm. The hope is that the award will
both acknowledge the work of community members, and pay tribute to one
of its founders, for years to come.
Sol Katz was an early pioneer of GFOSS and left behind a large body of
work in the form of applications, format specifications, and utilities.
In the early 80’s, Sol assisted in the development of a public domain
GIS package called MOSS (Map Overlay and Statistical System). This
software was arguably the first open source GIS software in the world.
Sol would later go on to release and maintain PC MOSS. He was also one
of the first involved in public data translator utilities. Utilities
that he developed for converting DEMs and reading SDTS files were
contributed back to the geospatial community, and are still available
today. Sol was also a frequent contributor to many geospatial list
servers, providing much guidance to the geospatial community at large.
Sol Katz’s collection of GIS utilities at the BLM is still available at
ftp://ftp.blm.gov/pub/gis/. Sadly, after fighting Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
for almost a decade, Sol died April 23, 1999 in bed. His legacy will
always live on in the GFOSS world.