When the economy started to slow in the fall of 2008, the MAPPS Board of Directors began to wonder how the market was affecting the member firms of MAPPS. The Board discussed ways MAPPS could help members measure their experiences with revenues, payroll, investments and market segments, particularly in a way where firm principals could benchmark their own experience, observations, and forecasts with those of their peers in other firms.
Beginning in January 2009, MAPPS has conducted a biannual survey to gauge members’ view on the economic climate. Conduced in January and June of each year, the brief survey of member firms collects data that is more qualitative than quantitative in nature to take a snapshot of current conditions as well as determine attitudes about the coming months.
The survey is conducted by Dr. Steven Cox of the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte, NC. Individual firm responses are held in confidence; only membership-wide trends are reported.
The economic survey takes the pulse of the membership on factors such as whether federal, state, or local government markets, commercial markets, or foreign markets are up or down and how members forecast those segments in the coming six months; whether there have been reductions in their firms’ workforce and a decline or growth is projected; expectations for capital investments in equipment, including hardware and software; and whether firms are operating at their maximum capacity. The survey also tracked members’ participation in projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the 2009 "stimulus” bill, and firms’ experience with "insourcing”, the cancellation of federal contracts with the private sector and transferring such work to performance by government employees.
MAPPS member firms, based or with an office in the United States that acquire geospatial data are included in the survey. Associate Members, service firms that do not have a physical presence in the United States or are equipment and software manufacturers, are not polled. The exclusion of the Associate Members is to provide a homogeneous group of firms engaged in geospatial data acquisition, production and application services in the United States.
The next survey will be conducted among member firms January 14-18. The results will be reported at the MAPPS Winter Meeting
, January 27-31, 2013 in Miami, Florida and provided to all members thereafter.
"One of the benefits of membership in MAPPS is to give members a sense of community. Rather than feeling alone in the wilderness, MAPPS member firm principals know they are part of a larger profession and organization, and that there are other principals, owners and senior executives in geospatial firms who are experiencing the same challenges. Whether it is face-to-face networking at conferences or virtual networking through the MAPPS economic survey, the association provides the peace of mind that all geospatial firms are in it together,” said MAPPS President Richard "Dick” W. McDonald, PLS.
"I encourage every member firm that is a data or service provider in the United States to participate in the survey,” McDonald said. "The more participants we have in the survey, the better the quality of results will be.”
In an economy where you are counting every dollar, it is good to know you can count on MAPPS!
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