MAPPS Commends Congressional Letter to Stimulus Accountability Board
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Posted by: Nick Palatiello
VA - MAPPS (www.mapps.org) the association of private geospatial firms, today
commended House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) for
sending a letter to Earl Devaney, Chairman of the White House's Recovery
Accountability and Transparency Board, seeking to assure the efficient
expenditure of stimulus funds on geospatial activities.
a letter dated September 9, Rep. Rahall asked Devaney to "review the use
of funds in ARRA on geospatial investments to ensure that they are being spent
efficiently, and without any waste due to unnecessary duplication."
Recovery Board is charged with overseeing Federal expenditures from the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA; Public Law 111-5), commonly
referred to as the Stimulus Bill.
letter is a follow-up to a July 23 subcommittee hearing entitled "Federal
Geospatial Data Management". The hearing evaluated the Federal
government's current coordination and management structure for geospatial
activities. The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources has oversight
responsibility for USGS, which is the home of the Federal Geographic Data
Committee (FGDC) staff.
hearing focused on intra- and inter-governmental coordination, partnerships,
data sharing, duplication avoidance, and governance in geospatial activities.
The Subcommittee members questioned witnesses on Title 13 restrictions to
Census data that are causing redundant data collection activities and
expenditures in the broadband mapping program and government agency use of
stimulus funding to buy equipment for in-house performance of geospatial
activities that duplicate and result in government competition with the private
sector, thus exacerbating unemployment.
Rahall's letter said, "one of the witnesses at the hearing expressed his
belief that money could be saved from the broadband mapping effort if address
data could be obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, but the Census Bureau could
not provide that data because of restrictions present in Section 9 of Title 13
of the U.S. Code."
also committed to exercising "greater oversight over geospatial activities
occurring at the U.S. Geological Survey and in the Department of the
Interior." He also wrote, "unfortunately, the federal government has
not always done an exemplary job in coordinating its geospatial
the July hearing, John Palatiello, MAPPS Executive Director, and Susan Marlow,
President of Smart Data Strategies, Inc. (Franklin, TN) and chair of the MAPPS
Cadastre Task Force, were among the witnesses who testified before the
subcommittee. Both Mr. Palatiello and Ms. Marlow commended the Federal
government for its increasing use of geospatial data, technology and services
to enhance government programs, but called for stronger leadership to make the
National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) a reality.
letter from Chairman Rahall is available here, from MAPPS.
Formed 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
MAPPS provides its 180+ member firms opportunities for networking and
developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing, education,
public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional development and image