Tribute to Robert Raskin

Dr. Raskin was the founding chair (2008-2009) and board director (2009-2011) of the Cyberinfrastructure Specialty Group (CISG) of the Association of American Geographers. During the past years of dedicated service, Dr. Raskin has made significant contribution in broadening the scope of this Specialty Group to support a wide range of geographers. He had organized and chaired over 20 sessions covering a wide range of advanced CI topics, including geospatial semantics, virtual organization, spatial decision support systems and high performance computing at the AAG annual conferences. He had co-edited two special issues in the prestigious GIScience journals – International Journal of Geographic Information Science, and Computer, Environment and Urban Systems to capture the research progress of CI and to foster visionary discussion. Despite his exceptional research achievements and his tireless service for our specialty group, Dr. Raskin had a keen desire to inspire young researchers in CI and guide them to achieve success in their careers and in life. His contribution to our specialty group and the whole GIScience community is innumerable.

Dr. Raskin’s bio can be found below:

Dr. Robert Raskin (1957-2012) was the Supervisor of Science Data Engineering and Archiving Group, Instrument Software and Science Data Systems, at the JPL where he worked for 15 years. He obtained his PhD in Atmospheric Science in 1992 and was an expert on data interoperability in the Earth and environmental sciences. Dr. Raskin served as lead developer of the POET (http://poet.jpl.nasa.gov/) user interface for online data access from the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC), a tool used for many years by PO.DAAC and various ESIP/MEASURES efforts. Dr. Raskin was PI of the SWEET (http://sweet.jpl.nasa.gov/ontology/) project to develop an upper-level ontology for Earth system science. His paper on SWEET was acknowledged as the Most Cited Article 2005 to 2010 by Computers & Geosciences. He was also the PI of the ACCESS-funded Virtual Oceanography Data Center that enables faceted search of PO.DAAC data resources.

Dr. Raskin had served as Vice-President, Chair of the Products and Services Committee, Chair of the Information Technology and Interoperability Committee, Chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Chair of the GIS Cluster, and Organizer of the Interagency Forum on Data Preservation and Stewardship for the Earth Science Information Partner (ESIP) Federation.

For many years, Dr. Raskin chaired the ‘Technology Infusion’ working group, one of NASA’s Earth Science Data Systems Working Groups. With his calm manner and forward-looking insights he helped establish the Earth Science Data Systems Capability Vision to guide the working group deliberations. Dr. Raskin went on to lead the initial semantic web subgroup and was instrumental in raising awareness of the semantic web, creating technology roadmaps for NASA, and ultimately helping NASA reap the benefits of new technology.

With the passing of Dr. Robert Raskin, the academy has lost a scholar, a family member, a dear friend, and a great educator. But the legacy of Dr. Raskin will live on, through the countless lives he touched as a mentor and as a colleague.

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