Remembering Cliff Kottman


3 comments posted
TC211 remembers Cliff and

TC211 remembers Cliff and Doug

"In remembrance of Clifford Kottman and Douglas Nebert"  - Resolution 658 from the 38th plenary meeting of ISO/TC 211  Berlin, Germany, 2014-06-05/06: 

ISO/TC 211 wishes to express our deep regret and sorrow at the passing of Cliff Kottman on  March 26, 2014 after a long period of illness. 

Cliff was present at the first ISO/TC 211 plenary and the first representative from OGC to ISO/TC 211. He participated in our work for several years, as a liaison as well as an expert from the USA. 

ISO/TC 211 also wishes to express its deep regret and sorrow at the tragic loss of Douglas Nebert who died together with his granddaughter in a plane crash in Oregon, USA, on May 31, 2014. 

Doug was a part of ISO/TC 211 in the period of 2001 to 2004, and many of the delegates  have also met and cooperated with him in later years through other organizations. 

ISO/TC 211 expresses its gratitude for the years we knew Cliff and Doug, for the friendship we shared with them, and their contributions to the community. We are grateful and proud for having known them as professional and enthusiastic colleagues. We ask those that were close to them, and know their family and friends at home, to convey our sincere sympathy and warmth, and assure them of our high regards for Cliff and Doug. 

Posted by George Percivall on Fri, 2014-06-06 08:57
Peter Woodsford (formerly

Peter Woodsford
(formerly Laser-Scan/1Spatial, currently Chairman, Snowflake Software) writes.
I first met Cliff Kottman in the early 1990’s when Laser-Scan was seeking to introduce its Object-Oriented technology into the US. Cliff had been identified as one of the key influencers in the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA, now NGA) and I had an introduction to him. He said he couldn’t meet me (a non-US citizen) at DMA, but agreed to have a breakfast meeting in a nearby fastfood joint (maybe it was a pizza parlour!). He listened sympathetically and advised that in the current procurement circumstances we needed to gain the support of the System Integrators (more easily said than done!).
My next significant meeting with him was at the GIS/LIS conference at Nashville, 1995. He was full of enthusiasm for the recently-formed OGC. It wasn’t entirely clear to me at that time what it was all about (in those early days OGC seemed to be quite closely entwined with GRASS and Open Source) but as I talked it over with Mike Jackson, Adrian Cuthbert and David Arctur (who joined us as Chief Scientist shortly after that event) and we met David Schell, it became apparent that it was the beginnings of a key shift in the industry and Laser-Scan became one of the first OGC members outside North America.
I continued to meet Cliff at intervals and greatly valued his precision of thought, open-mindedness and humour. I particularly remember the role he played in developing the modus vivendi between OGC and ISO, which removed significant practical barriers to the adoption of OGC standards in countries, particularly in Europe, where ISO compliance was mandatory. As OGC passes its twentieth anniversary it is inevitable that some of the founding giants leave the stage – Cliff Kottman was certainly one. 

Posted by Peter Woodsford (not verified) on Sun, 2014-04-13 11:14
Cliff was a brilliant man

Cliff was a brilliant man with a huge heart and many talents. I first met him back in 1976 while he was working at DMA (now NGA). We (Autometric) were introducing a new mathematical technique for exploiting imagery, and the DMA folks were having a hard time believing that it would work. Cliff was brought in as a "heavy-hitter" to assess the method. After a 30 minute deep-dive, he quickly determined that the new technique would work. He assured his colleagues that all was well, gave us his blessing and we were on our way. This was the first of countless interactions over the years, where Cliff continued to impress me and others with his keen sense of how to explain complex problems with simple, human-understandable concepts. I also enjoyed his lighter side. He was always able to take some of the sting out of challenging situations, and use humor to place matters in perspective. He was a great role model. I will miss his quiet leadership, astounding teaching moments and smile.

Posted by Harry Niedzwiadek (not verified) on Wed, 2014-04-02 08:08