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"Spatially Speaking" is the official MAPPS blog providing information on topics related to the association and profession and MAPPS involvement with the issues.

 

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Top Ten Reasons to Attend the MAPPS Winter Meeting - #6, Professional Practice Issues

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2012

 
 
#6

The laws of supply and demand are not the only ones your firm has to live by.

Congress and state legislatures regularly enact new laws affecting professional geospatial practices.

At the MAPPS Winter Meeting, January 27 - 31, 2013 at the Trump International Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, laws affecting your firm will be presented.
  • Ethics - many states now define a broad definition of geospatial activities as the practice of surveying, requiring a license and compliance with a code of ethics. Whether or not you are a licensed practitioner, you are a professional held to a higher standard of ethical behavior than those in an "industry". Many states require annual ethics training. This session will provide you current information on ethics in the profession.

  • Privacy - Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, State Legislatures and the Courts are imposing new standards for protection of individual citizen privacy. Whether it is UAS, geolocation data, parcel or address information or aerial photography, you could be affected by this new regulatory scheme. Learn what is happening and what you can do about it.

  • Legislative Roundtable - MAPPS has the most active and effective public policy program in the geospatial community. A "roundtable" session will give you an opportunity to provide first-hand input into the MAPPS agenda for Congress and the Obama Administration for 2013.

P.S. MAPPS is conducting a legislative survey which has been sent to one key principal in each MAPPS member firm. The deadline to provide input on legislation that is important to your firm is this Friday, December 21.


To ensure you receive the special MAPPS conference rate be sure to make your reservations at the Trump International Resort before January 4. The hotel is easily accessible from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Miami International Airport (MIA).

Time is running out to receive the Regular Registration Rate, Deadline December 29!


Special Non-Member Offer
 
Attend the MAPPS meeting as a non-member*, if your firm joins by the end of the conference on January 31 the difference between the non-member and member rate will be credited to your firms membership! Register for the conference before December 29 and you could receive a $770 credit! Register for the conference here.

*Membership in MAPPS is by firm not by individual unless an individual is an independent consultant. For more information about MAPPS membership, click here.
 
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Tags:  Congress  Ethics  Privacy  State Legislation  State License 

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Top Ten Reasons to Attend the MAPPS Winter Meeting - #7, New and Emerging Markets

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Tuesday, December 18, 2012

 

#7 
 
 
Are you interested in new and emerging markets in --

Asset Management?

The Florida Market for Geospatial Data Products and Professional Services?

Location/Mobile Mapping?

USGS or NOAA?

Register today!

At the MAPPS Winter Meeting, January 27 - 31, 2013 at the Trump International Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, we will present a morning of sessions on these markets. Whether your firm is new to these market segments, or an experienced participant, the MAPPS meeting will provide up-to-date information on where these market are now, and where they are going in the future.

Check all the conference information.

To ensure you receive the special MAPPS conference rate be sure to make your reservations at the Trump International Resort before January 4. The hotel is easily accessible from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Miami International Airport (MIA).

Time is running out to receive the Regular Registration Rate! Deadline December 29!
Special Non-Member Offer
 
Attend the MAPPS meeting as a non-member*, if your firm joins by the end of the conference on January 31 the difference between the non-member and member rate will be credited to your firms membership! Register for the conference before December 29 and you could receive a $770 credit! Register for the conference here.

*Membership in MAPPS is by firm not by individual unless an individual is an independent consultant. For more information about MAPPS membership, click here.
 
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Tags:  Asset Management  Emerging Markets  Florida  NOAA  USGS 

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Top Ten Reasons to Attend the MAPPS Winter Meeting - #8, New Technologies & Applications

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Monday, December 17, 2012

 

 

New technologies are revolutionizing the profession and may impact your business.


Presentations on Indoor Mapping, Sensor Fusion, Automated Feature Extraction, and Thermal Mapping will provide principals, owners, partners and senior managers of geospatial firms a level of knowledge needed to begin evaluating these technologies and making decisions about your firm's investments and the potential role these new tools can play in your business.

Register today for the MAPPS Winter Conference, January 27 - 31, 2013 at the Trump International Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. Join us for a lively discussion of trends and outlooks. Full conference program and information is available. Registration rates increase after December 29!

To ensure you receive the special MAPPS conference rate be sure to make your reservations at the Trump International Resort before January 4. The hotel is easily accessible from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Miami International Airport (MIA).

Special Non-Member Offer
 
Attend the MAPPS meeting as a non-member*, if your firm joins by the end of the conference on January 31 the difference between the non-member and member rate will be credited to your firms membership! Register for the conference before December 29 and you could receive a $770 credit! Register for the conference here.

*Membership in MAPPS is by firm not by individual unless an individual is an independent consultant. For more information about MAPPS membership, click here.
 
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Tags:  BIM  Indoor Mapping  Top 10  Winter Conference 

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MAPPS Tracks State Capitals

Posted By John "JB" Byrd, Friday, December 14, 2012

Members of MAPPS enjoy an extraordinary benefit that keeps them abreast of legislation in all 50 state legislatures that affect their business.

Since 1999, MAPPS has engaged the firm MultiState Associates, Inc. (www.multistate.com) to monitor legislation in every State House. This early warning system provides private geospatial firms an ability to know about every bill introduced that could pose an opportunity or threat to their professional practice.

Using web-based technology and human intelligence in every state capitol, Multistate can identify any legislation with key words important to the MAPPS membership, such as mapping, surveying, photogrammetry, geospatial, geographic system, etc.

Once a bill has been introduced, a notice is sent to MAPPS staff, including a link to the text of the legislation and the key word. The MAPPS staff analyzes the legislation to determine its relevance to the membership. Notice of the bill’s introduction is often sent to key MAPPS member firm principals in that state. Additionally, bills are listed in Capitol Coverage, an electronic newsletter published twice a month, an exclusive benefit to MAPPS members that highlights the aforementioned state legislation, Federal legislation, procurement opportunities and relevant geospatial news.

Recently, the MAPPS-MultiState Program worked to perfection. A bill in the New Hampshire state House of Representatives was pre-filed for the 2013 session. While the text of the bill is not yet available, the short title was a warning bell, "prohibiting images of a person's residence to be taken from the air.” Upon being notified of this potentially harmful legislation, MAPPS staff contacted the bill’s sponsor. The state representative promptly responded, indicating the bill had not yet been drafted and that it was not intended to impact the legitimate business of aerial surveying, photogrammetry or remote sensing. Lines of communication between MAPPS and the state representative are now open and we are now in discussions on drafting a bill that accomplishes both our objectives.

In some cases, when MultiState informs MAPPS that a hearing on an important bill is scheduled, MAPPS staff will alert members in that state in an effort to deploy a firm principal to the capitol to testify. When a bill to include photogrammetry as the practice of land surveying, without a grandfather provision for experienced and qualified practicing photogrammetrists, was introduced in South Dakota several years ago, a principal of Horizons, Inc. (Rapid City, SD) was alerted, drove to the state capital of Pierre, and told lawmakers the bill would legislate him out of business. The bill was immediately amended to remove all references to photogrammetry. When a similar proposal was offered in South Carolina, MAPPS engaged Multistate to retain a lobbyist who was successful in immediately putting the brakes on the bill until an equitable grandfather provision could be added. Today, as a result of the MAPPS intervention, dozens of photogrammetrists are licensed to practice in South Carolina.

With the growth of state chapters in MAPPS, the Multistate system is an added arrow in the association’s quiver to keep members alert, aware and engaged in state level activities. Political intelligence is important to successful business, and MAPPS helps its members know how the landscape may be changing in their state.

In an economy where you are counting every dollar, it is good to know you can count on MAPPS.

Tags:  Aerial  Geospatial  Privacy  State Legislation  State License 

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Top Ten Reasons to Attend the MAPPS Winter Meeting - #9, Health and Wealth

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Thursday, December 13, 2012
 
 

Agree with Health Care Reform?
 
Disagree with Health Care Reform?

Regardless of your view, change in the healthcare system in the United States is coming.

Employers, employees and families need to know how they will be impacted and what they need to do to be in compliance.

Laws affecting dividends, capital gains, gift and estate taxes are also changing.

At the MAPPS Winter Conference, January 27 - 31, 2013 at the Trump International Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, we will present sessions on Health Care, Wealth Management and Human Resources/Employee Evaluations.

We'll feature experts in health policy, banking and workforce to provide information every geospatial firm principal, owner, partner and manager needs for 2013 and beyond.

Register today. Join us for a lively discussion of trends and outlooks. Check all the conference information.

Be sure to make your reservations at the Trump International Resort. The hotel is easily accessible from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Miami International Airport (MIA).

Special Non-Member Offer
 
Attend the MAPPS meeting as a non-member*, if your firm joins by the end of the conference on January 31 the difference between the non-member and member rate will be credited to your firms membership! Register for the conference before December 29 and you could receive a $770 credit! Register for the conference here.



*Membership in MAPPS is by firm not by individual unless an individual is an independent consultant. For more information about MAPPS membership, click here.




 

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Top Ten Reasons to Attend the MAPPS Winter Conference - #10 Mergers and Acquisitions

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Tuesday, December 11, 2012

#10

Buying or selling a business can be a difficult experience. Or it can be rewarding.

Have you ever thought about buying another geospatial firm?

Have you ever thought about selling your geospatial firm?

Are you considering an outside investor?

At the MAPPS Winter Conference, January 27 - 31, 2013 at the Trump International Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, we will present a session on Mergers and Acquisitions. Experiences of those who have bought, sold or invested in geospatial firms will be shared.

The session will feature perspectives of principals of firms who have acquired and been acquired. It will address positive or negative experiences, do's and don't's, pro's and con's.

Register today to join us for a lively discussion on trends and outlooks.

Be sure to make your reservations at the Trump International Resort. The hotel is easily accessible from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Miami International Airport (MIA).

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MAPPS Statement on the Passing of Jack Brooks, Author of the "Brooks Act"

Posted By John Palatiello, Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012

MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello today issued the following statement on the passing of former Representative Jack Brooks (D-TX):

"I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of former Congressman Jack Brooks yesterday in Texas at the age of 89. I first met Mr. Brooks in the 1970s when I was a Congressional staff assistant and he was our next door neighbor in the Rayburn House Office Building. When I entered the architecture, engineering, surveying and mapping community in the 1980s, I began working first hand with him to preserve, promote, protect, defend and extend the "Brooks Act”, the 1972 law that codified qualifications based selection for federal procurement of architecture, engineering and related services. That law has affectionately and respectfully become commonly known as the "Brooks Act". We also worked together on the 1988 amendment to the Act that updated the definition of A-E services, including clarification of the law’s application to surveying and mapping services.

While many of today’s professionals did not personally know Jack Brooks, his legacy lives on not only in federal law (Public Law 92-582, Public Law 100-656, and Public Law 100-679, codified in 40 USC 1101 et. seq. and 48 CFR 36.6), but also by the fact that almost every state has enacted its own state law, known as a "mini-Brooks Act”, and the process is included in the American Bar Association’s Model Procurement Code for State and Local Government.

While we are still working to assure uniform utilization of the time-tested competency and qualifications process for surveying, mapping and what we today call geospatial services, the Brooks Act stands as a trailblazing method of procurement. Years before "best value”, "past performance” and other qualifications and competency-based metrics for government acquisition became commonplace, Mr. Brooks recognized that quality above low price was in the taxpayer’s best interest. Our Nation is a better place and the envy of the world because of the service and leadership of Chairman Jack Brooks in Congress.

MAPPS members past and present join me in extending our deepest sympathies and paying our respects to the family of Jack Brooks.”

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GAO Reports Shortcomings in Federal Geospatial Coordination

Posted By John Palatiello, Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The long-awaited Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of Federal geospatial coordination – Geospatial Information: OMB and Agencies Need to Make Coordination a Priority to Reduce Duplication has been released.

The report is a rather damning indictment of the agencies' activities. There has been little improvement in coordination since the last time GAO looked at this (Better Coordination Needed to Identify and Reduce Duplicative Investments,GAO-04-703, June 23, 2004), and in some aspects, the situation has worsened.

MAPPS was consulted in the development of this study by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the panel’s ranking Republican, who requested the GAO review. Their committee has broad jurisdiction, including governmentwide policies, and has the ability to facilitate oversight and investigations of government activities.

While the report does not mention H.R. 4233, the "Map It Once, Use It Many Times” Act, introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), chairman of the House subcommittee with jurisdiction over USGS, the home of the Federal Geographic Data Committee’s executive secretariat, GAO suggests that reforms, reorganizations and processes called for in the bill be implemented. Not the least of which are improving coordination and reducing duplication, to include a national strategy for coordinating geospatial investments.

Nor did GAO discuss the enactment of section 100220 of PL 112-141, the provision in the FEMA portion of the MAP-21 Act that calls for an innovative, coordinated funding pool for the collection of elevation data for flood mapping and other purposes. Other major items missed by GAO were reorganization ideas, such as a consolidated surveying and mapping administration, as was previously recommended by OMB in 1973 (the OMB report is not available on-line, but a history of federal mapping and geospatial coordination is found at http://www.fgdc.gov/ngac/a-history-of-spatial-data-coordination.pdf) and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) (http://www.napawash.org/pc_management_studies/napa_report.html). Moreover, while GAO dedicated considerable attention to the Department of Commerce and its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), GAO did not address the inefficiency, waste and duplication in NOAA’s aerial photography function (http://www.oig.doc.gov/Pages/LightAircraftFleetShouldBePrivatized-PerformanceAuditNOAA-STD-9952.aspx). Furthermore, there was no mention of the duplication that exists due to the interpretation by the Census Bureau (also part of the Commerce Department) of Title 13 restrictions on sharing geospatial data. Finally, while the report has a detailed discussion of parcel data, it fails to mention section 1094(3) of Public Law 111-203, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly referred to as "Dodd-Frank”), which amended the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), to authorize the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to collect the "parcel number to permit geocoding” on mortgage transactions.

I was disappointed that GAO only interviewed me and apparently did not talk to anyone else in the private sector. The study team did not address issues I raised, such as how the government duplicates and competes with the private sector and how the language in OMB Circular A-16, or its Supplemental Guidance, on such duplication is either insufficient or ignored.

To be fair, there are positive things happening within various agencies, and progress is being made, to improve coordination, avoid duplication and enhance opportunities for the private sector. GAO acknowledged the USGS effort on a National Enhanced Elevation Assessment, which MAPPS has supported, that effort’s maturity into a viable 3DEP initiative was not mentioned. MAPPS has worked closely to make 3DEP a reality, and the MAP-21 provision, mentioned above, is a notable development. GAO endorsed the establishment or designation of a senior geospatial official in cabinet agencies, something MAPPS has long advocated. It was MAPPS, after all, that was instrumental in securing legislation that created a Geospatial Management Office in the Department of Homeland Security. Moreover, the successful coordination and partnership efforts carried out by the NOAA Coastal Services Center through its "Digital Coast" activity, which MAPPS has called a "best practices” model in testimony before Congress, also did not attract GAO’s attention. Additionally, GAO failed to recognize that USGS, through the Geospatial Information Office at Department of the Interior and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), is developing a "Data as a Service” component to the Geospatial Platform that will enable agencies to utilize QBS, ID/IQ contracts and provide substantive opportunities for numerous private sector firms.

Senator Lieberman is retiring and while Senator Collins is term-limited as the ranking member of the governmental affairs committee, she is expected to remain on the panel. Nevertheless, the report provides valuable information for oversight and reform by Congress and the Obama Administration. Moreover, it throws another log on the fire of examples of government duplication compiled by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) , who is next in line to succeed Senator Collins on the GOP side of the committee. The new chairman is expected to be Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), whom MAPPS has assisted with issues such as a geo-based federal land inventory.

The Senate committee is well aware of many of these issues, and discussed them with GAO. The committee may request subsequent reports that will go into further detail on a wide range of geospatial areas. And oversight of geospatial management will continue to be a priority for the House subcommittee in the 113th Congress.

Tags:  Duplication  GAO  Geospatial  Government 

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When Cutting Expenses, Don’t Eliminate Association Memberships

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Monday, November 26, 2012

In a down economy, falling revenues, and a slow market - such as what many surveying and mapping firms are experiencing today - wise business owners and managers are implementing numerous cost cutting strategies. Nonessential expenditures are being eliminated, belts are being tightened, and even some employees are being laid off.

In these perilous times, one expense that entrepreneurs should resist eliminating is membership in key associations. Such organizations provide a return on investment that can help a firm survive a recession. Terminating a firm’s membership in an association can be short sighted – penny wise and pound foolish, to use an old expression. Here are a few reasons why.

The geospatial community is very different from other professions, as well as industries in other fields. Today, surveying, mapping and GIS projects require a multitude of skills, talents, capabilities, specialties, and capacity. Often, one firm cannot reasonably or profitably accomplish a full project. Rather, firms engage in teaming, partnering and prime/sub contracting on many projects. Many associations are a great way to stay connected with "coop-etition” or "competimates” – firms that are sometimes competitors but also a partner or source of business.

Bob Hickey, Senior Vice President of Photo Science, Inc. West Chester, PA, says attending MAPPS conference is an enormous savings in time and money. "I can see 20 clients - principals of firms we work - with, at a MAPPS meeting, where it would take me weeks, and thousands of dollars in airfare, hotels, and other expenses to see these same colleagues separately.”

Numerous MAPPS membership surveys have indicated that such networking is a top rated benefit of membership in MAPPS. Many firms use their membership in the association as a primary business development strategy.

"When we joined MAPPS, we immediately recognized it as a venue to develop sources of business,” said Dave Hart, President of Continental Mapping Consultants, Inc., Sun Prairie, WI.

Membership in associations also often leads to referrals. The more the staff of the association knows about your firm, the more likely they are to provide a referral. The MAPPS office regularly gets calls from entities seeking a firm for geospatial services. We always give multiple recommendations, or refer the inquirer to the MAPPS web site, but when a specific capability, technology or geographic area is requested, it is helpful that we know the MAPPS members’ specializations.

The MAPPS staff is also a cost effective resource for its member firms. We save our members time and money responding to inquiries that would otherwise take a firm hours to investigate. Questions about small business set aside policies in the Federal government, where to get SF330 software, who offers professional liability insurance for mapping firms, how is the Service Contract Act implemented, or who has an aircraft and camera in South America are just a few of the questions we’ve recently answered for members. The cost of membership in MAPPS, and access to the staff, is significantly less that the cost of using an outside attorney or consultant to answer these questions. While the MAPPS staff does not provide legal advice, we often have information about laws, regulations, legislation and government policies at our fingertips. In many cases, our knowledge is first hand, as we’ve been involved in working with Congress or the government agencies on these issues.

MAPPS is also a great advocate for individual firms. When a member firm of MAPPS encounters a government agency engaging in unfair competition, for violating a Brooks Act requirement, that firm can bring the incident to the attention of MAPPS staff for action. Such breaches of MAPPS-endorsed policy are brought to the attention of proper authorities for remedy and rectification, in the name of MAPPS in order to protect the anonymity of any firm. Correcting a wayward government agency’s action that violates MAPPS principles, and does not result in favoritism of one member firm over another, is a service MAPPS staff provides to its members. Again, retaining outside help on such a matter is not only costly, but exposes a firm in front of the very client-agency with which the firm is attempting to do business.

How can one cut costs? Firms are looking at more cost effective ways to market, sell, promote, partner and collect information. One business development executive recently said rather than having a booth at some conferences, he’s opting for a sponsorship. That provides exposure without all the expense of the staff, shipping and materials of the exhibit hall. Another said he is cutting back on production personnel attendance at technical conferences in favor of business development employees attending conferences where potential clients, with "coop-etition” or "competimates” are in attendance.

Relationships are not like a spigot. They cannot be turned on and off and expected to always be the same. They take care and feeding. A short term absence from membership in MAPPS can lead to long term damage.

In an economy where you are counting every dollar, it’s good to know you can count on MAPPS.

Tags:  Associations  Business  Economy  MAPPS 

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A Message In Advance of Election Day

Posted By John Palatiello, Friday, November 2, 2012

In four days, America will head to the polls.

We are grateful for your help carrying the message that economic growth and a vibrant free enterprise system arefundamental to the cause of creating jobs, prosperity, and opportunity for all. In the final days of the campaign, we have two final requests.

First, please send a note to your employees and stakeholders reminding them of the importance of voting. I'd encourage you to direct them to www.VoteForJobs2012.com to find their polling location and compare their candidates on key business issues.


The truth is that every vote and voice matters in this election. It's pretty simple -- if we want our voice to be heard, we need to make sure that those who support and believe in American enterprise and economic freedom vote in this critical election.

Second, the MAPPS PAC goal is to raise $75,000, and we are only $6,500 short with just a few days to go! Help close the gap and reach this goal now by clicking here to contribute to the MAPPS PAC. Whether you can contribute $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000, every dollar matters.

Tags:  Election 2012  PAC 

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