The 2019 Ian McHarg Medal is awarded to Stefano Nativi for outstanding contributions to international Earth science informatics through enabling interoperability of disparate data types, thus laying the foundations for global interdisciplinary science.
Stefano Nativi has made an outstanding and sustained contribution to the field of informatics since he completed his PhD in 1994. He is one of the leading international scientists in the field of spatial data infrastructures and has played a major role in the fields of big Earth data, system of systems engineering, brokering approaches and technologies, Earth and space system informatics, artificial intelligence and interoperability standards for geospatial Information.
His current position as Big Data Lead Scientist of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, which includes responsibilities to the Global Earth Observation Global Earth Observation System of Systems and the Copernicus Programmes, attests to his standing in the community. He has also been Coordinator and/or Work Package Leader of more than 15 international research and innovation projects in Earth and space sciences funded by the European Commission, European Space Agency, US National Science Foundation and the World Meteorological Organisation.
He has had an exceptional role within the international Earth and space science informatics community through building standards that underpin access to, and reusability of, many data types. He has contributed as co-editor of two of the most important International Open Geospatial Consortium geospatial standards: Network Common Data Format (NetCDF) and Geography Markup Language (GML).
Nativi has also given back to the community by supervising PhD Students, in voluntary contributions of his time to professional societies (in particular to EGU and AGU), and in being editor of high-impact data science journals.
In support of his nomination, Nativi’s referees were all high-profile members of the international Earth and space Informatics community: all strongly recommended his nomination. He has an outstanding number of publications, many in high-impact refereed journals.
It is also fitting that Nativi is the recommendation for the Division on Earth and Space Science Informatics given that he was one of the key people that established this Division in EGU in the first place. This award is long overdue for Nativi in recognition of his outstanding contributions not just to European informatics, but well beyond in the international sphere.