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My Journey

Current Affiliations:

Research Fellow
and former Research Scientist at the Center for Water and the Environment in the Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering dept of the Cockrell School of Engineering


Open Geospatial Consortium

Former Director of Interoperability Programs for the 
Open Geospatial Consortium  (see also my OGC blogs page)


Various roles in NSF EarthCube research, governance & outreach: 
Early history, 2011-2014

My life goal is to help nurture networks of people and ideas across domains and institutions, to advance the study and shared understanding of Earth system sciences. I've worked in several distinct fields, with more than 35 years of graduate study and professional experience including:
  • Active research, leadership, program management, and outreach for geoscience informatics and for international geospatial data exchange standards development (1996-present);
  • Data modeling, programming, software engineering, technical writing, course development and professional instruction for relational, object-oriented, and geographic database systems and applications (1977-2006);
  • Engineering and field operations for space exploration, telephone network maintenance, petroleum exploration and production, and electric utilities research & development (1970-77). 
Details are below, or see my brief bio sketch with selected accomplishments  (separate page)
My publications are also on a separate page.

Links to details below:
For brevity, I use MLA's (multi-letter acronyms) throughout. These are all explained on the Acronyms & Links page.  Let me know if I missed any.

Professional Affiliations

posted Jun 24, 2012, 1:44 AM by David Arctur   [ updated Nov 22, 2017, 12:00 PM ]

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU) (Life member)

  • American Water Resources Association (AWRA)

  • European Geosciences Union (EGU) (Life member)

  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) (Life Member)

Teaching Experience

posted Jun 24, 2012, 1:19 AM by David Arctur   [ updated Oct 23, 2013, 12:12 PM by David K Arctur ]

  • Adjunct Asst Professor in GIS, University of Texas School of Information, Austin TX (Spring & Fall, 2013)
  • Software Development Training Manager, Momenta Corp., Mountain View CA (1991-92)
  • Senior Instructor, ParcPlace Systems, Mountain View CA (1989-91)
  • Member of Technical Staff, Informix Software, Menlo Park CA (1986-89)
  • Principal, Sequoia Systems Consultants, Palo Alto CA (1984-86)


posted Jun 24, 2012, 1:16 AM by David Arctur   [ updated Jul 31, 2012, 8:15 AM ]

  • Ph.D. Urban and Regional Planning, College of Architecture, University of Florida, Gainesville (1996)
    Dissertation: “
    Design of an Extensible, Object-Oriented GIS Framework with Reactive Capability
  • Graduate study in Database Management and Computer Science, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California (1988-89)
  • M.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin (1979)
    Thesis: “Implementing a Monthly Production Simulator for the Regionalized Electricity Model
  • B.S. With Honors in Electrical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin (1975)

Professional experience details

posted Jun 24, 2012, 12:46 AM by David Arctur   [ updated Nov 9, 2018, 11:37 AM ]

See also my brief bio sketch with selected accomplishments  and my publications on other pages.

April 2012 – Present: University of Texas at Austin

Research Fellow, Jackson School of Geosciences (4/12 – Present)

Research Scientist & Fellow, Cockrell School of Engineering (10/12 – Present)

UT Center for Integrated Earth System Science (CIESS) director Dr. Liang Yang and associate director Dr. David Maidment invited me to be Research Fellow in this new research center, formed in 2011. Goals are to support and help organize interdisciplinary research in geosciences, engineering, and public policy across UT schools and departments; conduct seminars and webinars for outreach; and support UT’s access and influence in international standards communities. Due to my level of activities by 2014, I was appointed as Research Scientist in June 2014. 

Participated in NSF EarthCube, started while OGC staff: 
  • 2015-2018: Co-PI on EarthCube Integrative Activity: Advancing netCDF-CF for the Geoscience Community. 
  • 2015-2016: Leadership Council member - voluntary, elective position in EarthCube Demonstration Governance; helped author strategic planning and policy documents for defining the permanent, sustainable phase of EarthCube governance to follow this demonstration phase. 
  • 2013-2015: senior personnel on EarthCube Building Block for Integrating Discrete & Continuous Data (DisConBB), NSF ICER-1343785
  • 2013-2014: steering committee of Marine-Seismic Data Workshop (for EarthCube end-users); coordinator for EarthCube-related activities for this workshop.
  • 2013-2014: Community Engagement / Crowdsourcing Manager for the EarthCube Test Enterprise Governance. 
  • 2013: organized and led an EarthCube-OGC Workshop, co-located with OGC Technical Committee meeting. 
  • 2012-2013: served on the Cross-Domain Interoperability Test Bed Concept Group, the Layered Architecture Concept Group, and the Governance Community Group, co-authoring EarthCube framework and roadmap documents in 2012, and on community engagement team, 2012-13. 
  • 2011-2012: active in two EarthCube Charettes that initiated broad community participation. 
Managed two NASA grants to develop applications for public use of NASA's Land Data Assimilation System (LDAS) model outputs of soil moisture, evapotranspiration, runoff, and other variables at national and global scales. These have resulted in a web application called the Data Rods Explorer, now hosted on the HydroShare platform.
  • 2014-2016: ROSES NNH13ZDA001N-ACCESS
  • 2012-2014: ROSES NNH11ZDA001N-ACCESS
Managed series of GEOSS Architecture Implementation Pilot (AIP) projects to develop water informatics registries to enable and broaden public discovery, access and decision support for water data, maps and models. See my publications list for links to project details.  
  •  AIP-8: March - November 2015
  •  AIP-7: April - November 2014
  •  AIP-6: March 2013 – January 2014
  •  AIP-5: October 2012 - January 2013
2013: started coordinated endowments for the Jackson School of Geosciences and the Information School, to advance research and applications in digital preservation of physical geological and other collections in Earth sciences. 

2013: Completed my role as co-chair of the Standards and Interoperability Forum (SIF) of GEOSS, started while OGC staff. The SIF helps develop and educate on use of the GEOSS infrastructure. 

Adjunct Faculty, School of Information  (1/13 – 12/13) 

Taught graduate-level GIS Introduction course for two semesters in 2013. Could not continue after Fall 2013 due to other work commitments.

    Research Fellow, School of Information (3/14 – Present) 

    Continuing my relationship with iSchool by connecting other faculty with EarthCube and OGC projects, and with endowment activities.   

      July 2012 - Present: Research/Academic Advocate, Open Geospatial Consortium, Austin TX

      This is an outreach role that runs in parallel with my positions at UT Austin. The goals are to stimulate greater use of OGC and related standards for "locatable-data exchange" within the broader research community, and to strengthen the contributions from these communities to influence and advance the evolution of OGC's process and standards. See also staff bio page at OGC website, and my blogs on OGC .

      June 2008 - June 2012: Director, Interoperability Programs, Open Geospatial Consortium, Austin TX

      My primary responsibility was to organize and lead sponsored test beds (OWS-6, OWS-7, OWS-8) to advance standards, best practices, and cyberinfrastructures for sensor web, geoprocessing workflow, security & event architectures, visualization, and decision support, each resulting in a set of reports & demonstrations (OWS-6, OWS-7, OWS-8). I also initiated and led development of these videos: About OGC and OWS-8 Demonstrations Overview. 

      • In 2008, I initiated and helped develop the relationship and MoU between OGC and WMO, which endorsed OGC’s position as an affiliated standards body and strengthened OGC working groups for hydrology, meteorology, oceanography, climate, and other Earth system sciences. 
      • I have given presentations and organized sessions on geoinformatics, data fusion, interoperability, and community building at AAAS, AGU, EGU and other conferences since 2007. Through these venues and related work, I have connected with key figures from ICSU, national research councils, and geosciences institutions in North America, Europe, Australia, Middle East, Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan.
      • With the NSF EarthCube activity in 2011-12, I have connected with key figures from at least 50 NSF research centers spanning the geosciences domains, further raising awareness of standards and processes for interoperability.
      • Supported GEOSS as co-chair of the Standards and Interoperability Forum (SIF), see Univ of Texas position for more details. 


      August 2006 - May 2008: President and Chief Technology Officer, OGC Interoperability Institute, Austin TX

      Directed the OGCii program for education and outreach to advance the interoperability of digital scientific data collections in the geosciences and for institutional spatial data infrastructures (SDI). Helped plan and conduct technical workshops and pilot studies to develop and test systems for interoperability across multiple application domains. Helped identify and recruit government, academic, and commercial partners for specific projects, helped write grant proposals, and the technical and executive reports of these projects. Key project during this period was for requirements analysis and architecture of the Pennsylvania Map SDI (PAMAP). Also helped convene sessions on interoperability and open science at AAAS conferences. 

      February 2000 - July 2006: Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri)

      Interoperability Engineer, Austin TX (1/05 – 7/06)

      Represented Esri in the Open Geospatial Consortium technical committee, serving as co-chair of three working groups. Have written position papers and edited standards specifications. Main accomplishments were to catalyze the completion and adoption of the GML Simple Features Profile specification, and to bring about the addition of elevations and measures within the Simple Features for SQL specification. Have also conducted one-day geodatabase design workshops at URISA national conferences, Esri International User Conferences, GeoTec and Geo-Alberta annual conferences.

      Product Specialist, Austin TX (2/02 – 1/05)

      Coauthored the book, Designing Geodatabases: Case Studies in GIS Data Modeling (Esri Press, 2004). Assisted in quality assurance program for distributed geodatabase technology development. Also conducted one-day geodatabase design workshops at URISA and Esri UC.

      Data Architect, Redlands CA (2/00 – 2/02)

      Developed system requirements, architecture and database designs, and led development of domain-specific data models for use with ArcGIS products, particularly for Defense/Intelligence projects and applications. Was lead data architect in a project to build data warehouse for Defense/Intelligence community. Collaborated, coordinated with technology partners on development projects. Prototyped application interfaces with COM/Visual Basic. Wrote technology white papers and conducted workshops on object-oriented GIS at URISA national conferences. 

      December 1999 - February 2000: Principal, DKArctur Consulting, Sterling VA

      Provided systems engineering and other support for interoperability testbed projects and other standards development initiatives for geospatial information software with the OGC. Advised clients in the areas of geospatial information technology, trends and standards.


      April 1996 - November 1999: Chief Scientist, Laser-Scan, Inc., Sterling VA

      Director of research and development activities for the US subsidiary of a UK-based GIS software company.  Management responsibilities included technical strategic planning and US-UK coordination, software development hiring & management, and collaboration/coordination with other technology partners.

      Activities and accomplishments included:

      • Direction of R&D projects to automate production of U.S. Dept of Defense hardcopy maps and digital geographic data products.
      • Participated for Laser-Scan in OGC, serving as chair of OGC Feature WG, co-chair of Architecture WG, and Technical Committee Representative to the Management Committee. Was industry co-chair of joint OGC-NIMA Geospatial Interoperability Architecture Research Group during 1996-97.
      • Conducted investigative research and authored technical publications for conferences and journals. Key studies included a survey of automated map conflation technology, and peer-reviewed critical examinations of NIMA’s VPF standard and the ANSI Spatial Data Transfer Standard (SDTS).
      • Developed and taught one-day and three-day workshops on Object-Oriented GIS Technology for industry conferences (GIS/LIS, GITA, URISA), and local colleges. Have been an invited speaker on emerging GIS technology at GIS/LIS, URISA, US Geological Survey’s SDTS Developer Workshop, and Transportation Research Board Conference.


      Other prior experience includes:

      • Graduate Research Associate, GeoPlan Center, University of Florida, Gainesville (1992-96)
      • Software Development Instructor, Momenta Corp., Mountain View CA (1991-92)
      • Senior Instructor, ParcPlace Systems, Mountain View CA (1989-91)
      • Senior Instructor and Member of Technical Staff, Informix Software, Menlo Park CA (1986-89)
      • Principal, Sequoia Systems Consultants, Palo Alto CA (1984-86)
      • Planning Engineer, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto CA (1980-84)
      • Energy Analyst, SRI International, Menlo Park CA (1979-80)
      • Geophysical Engineer, Schlumberger Wireline Services, various countries in Africa (1975-77)

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