"There is a critical need to refocus the mission and priorities of the
USGS, and to align its budget with this new direction," John Palatiello,
Executive Director of MAPPS (www.mapps.org), told a subcommittee of the
U.S. House of Representatives March 9.
testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of
the House Committee on Natural Resources was to "Examine the Spending
Priorities and the Missions of the U.S. Geological Survey and the
President's FY 2012 Budget Proposal."
USGS operates primarily under authorization provided by the Act of
March 3, 1879. It has been decades since Congress last enacted major
surveying and mapping legislation for USGS. As a result, surveying and
mapping has proliferated among more than 40 federal agencies, resulting
in duplication, a lack of coordination, gaps in coverage and the absence
of a strategic approach to providing the basic geographic information
needed in the 21st century. The need for better coordination of Federal
surveying and mapping activities has been well documented," Palatiello
National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), established by President
Clinton and reaffirmed by President Bush provides a framework for the
geographic information America needs today. However, this priority is
not reflected in the USGS budget."
are surprised and deeply disappointed that funding for NSDI, and the
partnerships to facilitate this activity, is proposed to be cut in the
President's FY 2012 budget by $3.5 million," Palatiello said. "This is
the last place we should be cutting the USGS budget. A reduction in
partnerships will result in more duplication, less coordination, less
leveraging of scarce resources," he said, citing USGS's own analysis
that for every dollar in funds appropriated to USGS for NSDI framework
data, more than $11 in partnership dollars is leveraged. He also opposed
"the proposed decrease in funding for the Federal Geographic Data
Committee (FGDC) by $200,000. FGDC is a USGS office that is responsible
for Federal coordination."
was also raised about the lack of utilization of the private sector and
execution of directives from Congress by USGS, with Palatiello noting
"USGS is not coming close to meeting the instruction of Congress
established in the FY 1996 Interior Appropriations Act".
the bright side," Palatiello said, "we are pleased the budget request
includes an increase, or reallocation, of $48 million to support the
current and future mission of the National Land Imaging Program,
principally through LANDSAT. The moderate resolution data provided by
LANDSAT does not compete with the private sector and is an appropriate
government investment. It provides for data that is primarily used in
research and scientific applications, much of it funded by the
government, which compliments higher resolution satellite and airborne
capabilities available from the private sector. This funding by the
Obama Administration continues implementation of the 'Future of Land
Imaging' program initiated in the Bush Administration. We support this
bipartisan program. MAPPS supports the increase, or reallocation, of $48
million to support the NLIP, principally through LANDSAT. The
bipartisan program provides government funding for satellites that will
ensures data continuity, which compliments higher resolution satellite
and airborne capabilities from the private sector."
USGS was once the envy of the world for its leadership in the mapping
and geographic information field," Palatiello said. "We look forward to
working with the Subcommittee on this important and long-overdue review
and reform of USGS's mapping and geospatial activities so it can once
again be a leader."
Palatiello as public witnesses at the hearing was Dr. Richard Aster of
the Seismological Society of America, Dr. Jonathan G. Price, on behalf
of the Association of American State Geologists, and Dr. Craig M.
Schiffries, Geological Society of America. Each of the witnesses urged
Congress to reprioritize funding for USGS from what has been proposed in
the President's budget request.
in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised
of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic
information systems field in the United States. The MAPPS membership
spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member
Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying,
photogrammetry, aerial photography, LIDAR, hydrography, bathymetry,
charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data
collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Member
Firms, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products
and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other
firms from around the world. Independent Consultant Members are sole
proprietors engaged in consulting in or to the geospatial profession, or
provides a consulting service of interest to the geospatial profession. MAPPS
provides its 160+ member firms opportunities for networking and
developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing,
education, public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional
development and image enhancement.
For more information on MAPPS, please visit www.MAPPS.org.