The 2013 Ian McHarg Medal is awarded to Alessandro Annoni for his contribution to information technology applications to the management of geospatial data, promoting their openness and valorisation.
Alessandro Annoni has a vast experience of scientific and technological issues related to spatial planning, spatial analysis, environmental modeling, remote sensing, image processing, system design and software development. His background includes a degree in physics from the University of Milan, followed by almost two decades in the private sector, managing companies specialised in advanced geomatics, Earth observation, and software technologies.
In 1997, Annoni joined the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), where he continues until now with his activity in spatial sciences and geoinformatics.
Annoni has been among the first to recognise the fundamental importance of a legal binding framework to leverage on the existing technological capacities and steer the deployment of common capacities in Europe. As head of JRC’s Digital Earth and Reference Data Unit, Annoni has supervised the largest unit working on spatial data infrastructure in Europe. With his success in the technical coordination of the INSPIRE Directive 2007/2/EC, which is a major European contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), and his work as co‐chair in GEO’s Architecture and Data Committee, Annoni is contributing to the vision of having global interoperable infrastructures where professionals in the field can access and share more efficiently spatial resources. Through the INSPIRE implementing rules, technical guidelines and best practices, Annoni has made a major impact on information technology applications to the management of geospatial data, promoting their openness and valorisation. As a member of to the Architecture and Data Committee of GEOSS and now of its Infrastructure Implementation Board, Alessandro Annoni contributes to the global effort to exploit geospatial information for comprehensive, coordinated and sustained monitoring of the state of the Earth to understand and predict its behaviour better.