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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mortimer RogoffInventor and Businessman

Mortimer Rogoff, 87, who invented technologies that helped make possible the development of GPS navigation systems and cellular telephones, died Aug. 1 of bladder cancer at his vacation home on Nantucket Island, Mass. He was a Washington resident.

Beginning in 1946, Mr. Rogoff spent 22 years working for ITT Laboratories in New Jersey and invented the spread spectrum technology that led to the secure transmission of radio electromagnetic waves, which became a core technology of cellular telephones and GPS.

After leaving ITT in 1968, he founded several businesses, including Navigation Sciences Inc. in Bethesda. While there, Mr. Rogoff patented a method that combined radar maps with electronic charts, resulting in a major advance for marine navigation.

For many years, until his retirement in 2005, Mr. Rogoff was president of the Navigational Electronic Charts System Association, a Washington trade group representing the electronic navigation industry.

Mr. Rogoff was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. In the Navy during World War II, he worked on radar and aerial navigation projects. He received a master's degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University in 1948.

He was the author of several books on engineering and technology.

He settled in Washington in 1979 and maintained a home on Nantucket, where he became a renowned photographer. He was a member of the Cosmos Club.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Sheila Rogoff of Washington; three daughters, Louisa Thompson of Ellicott City, Alice Rogoff Rubenstein of Bethesda and Julia Peach of New York; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

-- Matt Schudel


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