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MAPPS President Reflects on Future Task Force Findings

Posted By Jeff Lower, Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The MAPPS Board of Directors spends a lot of time planning the programs, policies and activities of the association. Our goal is always to make certain MAPPS is providing value to its member firms and is responsive to the needs of the members.

As stated in our Strategic Plan, the MAPPS Mission Statement is "To promote the geospatial business and professionalism in its practice.”

Our Value Statement provides “The foundation of MAPPS as the premier association of private sector firms in the contemporary geospatial profession rests on an essential set of core values that define, inform, and guide our professional practice. These values reflect the history and ongoing development of the profession and have been advanced, expanded, and refined by numerous public policy positions and internal operational activities of MAPPS. Among these are:

♦ Provide an opportunity for networking and information sharing among and between member firm principals, owners, partners and senior executives.

♦ Facilitate cooperative working relationship among firms in the marketplace and competition in the free market based on mutual respect and professionalism within applicable laws.

♦ Promote education and lifelong learning.

♦ Promote a strong, vibrant and capable market of private geospatial firms in the economy and the provision of services, data and products to government agencies at all levels.

♦ Expand the economic opportunity for member firms.

♦ Promote professionalism and ethical conduct by members.  

♦ Provide service to the profession, its clients and the general public.

♦ Encourage social responsibility in the provision of geospatial services, data and products to improve the quality of life of all citizens and solve societal problems.”

Late last year, I appointed a Task Force on the Future of MAPPS. Given his longstanding active participation in MAPPS and his recent retirement, Pat Olson, former CEO of Quantum Spatial, was appointed as chair. Each of the other 11 members of the task force is under the age of 45. I intentionally wanted individuals who represent the future of MAPPS to look at the association they want over the coming years. Its charge was to “give the Board of Directors an unvarnished outside assessment of where MAPPS is and where it should go.” The task force had carte blanche authority to look at every aspect of the association. Nothing was off the table.

The task force report and recommendations were presented to, and discussed with, the Board. Over the past six months, the Board has been reviewing the report and considering actions to implement.

First and foremost, the task force reported that our summer and winter conferences are too long and too expensive for a segment of the membership to attend. It was recommended that the program for the winter conference be shortened but more intense, and that it be held in a city and at a venue that is more affordable. The Board is heeding that call and implementing a revision to the winter conference, beginning in 2016. While a date and venue are being researched, I can report that we will host a 4-day conference in Las Vegas, likely in early February. We will provide more details in the coming weeks.

Second, the task force said there are too many conferences to attend and that partnering with other organizations would provide a desired efficiency. That was confirmed this past April when MAPPS and NSPS hosted a joint national conference in Crystal City/Arlington, VA that included the traditional MAPPS Federal Programs Conference with its Federal agency briefings and day on Capitol Hill. MAPPS and NSPS have agreed to co-host this conference again in 2016.

Rather than hosting an independent Fall Policy Conference, the task force recommended that MAPPS partner with other, existing conferences when it is appropriate to do so. As a result, rather than a stand-alone fall conference, MAPPS will provide the geospatial program content at the Drone World Expo in San Jose, California on November 17-18.

The Board also revised the MAPPS dues structure to assess firms based on its geospatial workforce, not its total workforce, as suggested by the task force.

These are just a few of the task force recommendations the Board has already implemented. More improvements are being put into action and others are still to come. We will continue to study the task force recommendations and develop ways to evolve MAPPS in response to these proposals, and others, including ideas from the membership at large.

The MAPPS Board is here to serve you. Please do not hesitate to call or email a Board member, or see us at our conferences.

As my term as President comes to an end, I want to thank the members for their words of encouragement, constructive comments, and contributions to our association and our profession. MAPPS members do big things in the profession...and for the profession. Let’s keep it that way.

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