January 21, 2022

Obituary Rudolf Winter

We are deeply grieved at the death of our former DFD colleague and long-term department head, Hon.-Prof. Dr Rudolf Winter.  

Hon.-Prof. Dr. Rudolf Winter

After first working at the then Institute of Telecommunications Engineering, in 1980 Rudolf Winter became the first head of the Remote Sensing Applications department in the just established Scientific-Technical Division, “Applied Data Technology” (WT-DA).

With his commitment, his science competence, and his trustworthy and consistently friendly and obliging manner, he shaped the image of DFD both internally and externally. His successful collaboration with a wide range of user communities in public services, industry and the sciences as well as his efforts on behalf of science education, including as an honorary professor at Würzburg University’s Institute of Geography, are characteristic of his influence. Rudolf Winter decisively contributed to the development of DFD.

In 1996 Rudolf Winter was appointed director of the Space Application Institute (SAI) at the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission in Ispra at Lake Maggiore, Italy, where he remained until 2001. During this time SAI was prominently involved in defining a European Earth observation system. As director of SAI he extended an invitation in 1998 to attend a conference in Baveno, which led to the Baveno Manifesto and ultimately to the European Copernicus Programme. His science assistant at that time, Josef Aschbacher, is today ESA’s Director General. In Rudolf Winter, remote sensing in Germany and Europe has lost one of its defining personalities.

After his engagement with the European Commission, Rudolf Winter turned his attention to art, culture, and above all to his music. He himself played the viola. His personal involvement in culture and social affairs found expression as a member of the municipal council of Herrsching on Lake Ammer until 2018.

Rudolf Winter died on January 15 of this year at the age of 82 with his family at his side. Some of those still working at DFD became enthused about remote sensing because of Rudolf Winter and their first employment was with DFD. We are deeply indebted to him and will not forget him.

We mourn the death of Rudolf Winter in sympathy with his family and the many who will miss him as we do.

Stefan Dech, Winfried Markwitz, Gunter Schreier 
and the entire DFD staff
January 21, 2022

Rudolf Winter with his WT-DA-FE department in 1986