Sol Katz was born in Sweden and emigrated to the United States at the age of one. He was a US Air Force veteran and earned Masters degrees in Geology and Computer Science. Sol was employed but the Bureau of Land Management in Denver. Sol passed away in 1999 from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and he is survived by his wife Heidi and daughters Shanna and Risa.
Sol was an early pioneer of geospatial open source software. His contributions to FOSS include:
- a key developer of MOSS (Map Overlay and Statistical System) on Data Generals and later, releasing and maintaining PC MOSS
- release binaries and source for DEM and SDTS translators
- reverse engineering the ESRI e00 exchange format and publishing the format
- maintaining a website with links to web mapping and metadata that provided an invaluable resource to implementors
- being an active participant on multiple list-servs guiding and mentoring GIS newbies such as me
Sol's contributions help build the nascent open source geospatial community which was a precursor to the many geospatial open source projects and communities of today. The Sol Katz Award for Geospatial Free and Open Source Software commemorates Sol's pioneering efforts.
Nominations for the Sol Katz Award should be sent to SolKatzAward at osgeo.org with a brief supporting statement for the nomination. Nominations will be accepted until 23:59 UTC on August 20th. The OSGeo announcement with more details can be found here.