MAPPS, the association of private sector geospatial firms, today praised Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA) for signing into law Senate Bill 771, legislation to improve coordination between the wide array of mapping and geographic information stakeholders in the Commonwealth through establishment of a geospatial coordination council.
"Through our chapter in Pennsylvania, PA-MAPPS, we worked hard for several years to enact a bill to establish this council. While Pennsylvania will be among the last states in the nation to have such a body, we believe it will play a critical role in the Commonwealth's geospatial data collection and application for flood control, energy production, environmental protection, economic development and other important geographic information systems (GIS) activities," said John Palatiello, MAPPS Executive Director.
The bill, signed into law October 22, 2014, was sponsored by State Senator John Gordner (R-Columbia). "Currently, GIS is used at and depends upon data from all levels of government, but is uncoordinated," said Sen. Gordner. "The ability to coordinate GIS will avoid duplication, result in more accurate and reliable data, and will ultimately reduce costs by reducing redundancies through improved efficiency." A companion bill in the House was authored by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom). "This legislation is vital to Pennsylvania's emergency responders who rely on accurate mapping data to locate accident victims, hazardous sites and disaster locations. If emergency service providers have incorrect maps, it could add costly minutes to their crisis response times and could lead to the loss of life or the escalation of a catastrophe," according to Rep. Cutler.
SB 771 establishes a state board comprised of state, local, private and academic stakeholders. The board will recommend and advise on policies that further collaboration and partnerships among and between organizations and systems, and help reduce cost and redundancies. PA-MAPPS is among the stakeholder groups specified in the legislation to have a seat on the council.
"We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Gordner and Representative Cutler, and commend Governor Corbett for his support," Palatiello said. "PA-MAPPS worked with a broad coalition of organizations that endorsed the bill, and we had great leadership from a number of our members. Most notably, Ashis Pal (geographIT, Lancaster, PA) and Mike Shillenn (Quantum Spatial, West Chester, PA) were instrumental in shepherding this bill."