The Horwood Distinguished Service Award is given for long-term service to URISA and the digital mapping profession. It is named after founding member and first URISA president Edgar Horwood.
"Starting with its infancy, Don Cooke has been a trailblazer in the field of geographic information systems (GIS) and digital mapping," said Will Craig, past president of URISA. "He has provided us with a template for the business, and has been actively supportive of the profession as a whole. No one deserves this award more."
Cooke, a long-time URISA member, helped to create the first digital maps and introduced the value of computer mapping to the business world. He is the founder of Geographic Data Technology, Inc. (GDT), which was acquired by Tele Atlas earlier this year.
"I am incredibly honored to receive this award," Cooke said. "Not only is it a great tribute, but it has strong personal significance to me as Ed Horwood was sitting in the front row when I gave my first-ever professional presentation back in 1967."
Cooke was a member of the New Haven (CT) Census Use Study team that developed the Dual Independent Map Encoding (DIME) system, which was the first practical application of topological data structures in computer mapping. After helping to develop the DIME system, he co-founded Urban Data Processing, Inc. (now Harte-Hanks Data Technologies). Cooke served as an advisory committee member and instructor for the U.S. Census Bureau's DIME Workshop series during the 1970s.
In 1980, Cooke founded GDT, whose initial focus involved creating digital maps for areas not yet covered by the Census Bureau DIME files. As GDT grew, it compiled a vast array of geographic data and began supplying a robust map database for a variety of business uses. GDT was acquired by Tele Atlas in July 2004. Cooke remains active in research and development activities for the company.
Cooke served on the URISA board of directors in the 1970s and was a member of the National Academy of Science's Mapping Science Committee from 1989 to 1993. He is also a member of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Cooke is a graduate of Yale and studied civil engineering at MIT.
About Tele Atlas
Founded in 1984, Tele Atlas is a worldwide leading provider of digital maps and dynamic location content for a variety of navigation, location-based services and geospatial products and database solutions. Tele Atlas' database is a highly accurate reproduction of today's street network, enabling turn-by-turn route guidance on a high percentage of European, U.S. and Canadian roads. Tele Atlas' compatibility with major navigation systems and its open system design have placed the company's technology at the heart of both consumer and business-to-business applications worldwide. From logistics to marketing to traffic and fleet management, in almost every sector of today's business and consumer world, Tele Atlas has built a reputation as an acknowledged pioneer and leader in the digital map industry. For more information, please visit www.na.teleatlas.com (in North America) or www.teleatlas.com (in Europe).