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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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August Advocacy and Action - Issue 3

Posted By John "JB" Byrd, Monday, August 20, 2012
 
 
Continuing your legislative advocacy this month, you will have additional opportunities to engage your Members of Congress on legislation important to the geospatial profession. Congress has adjourned for the August recess, and Members of Congress will spend significant time back in their states and districts meeting with constituents, such as you and your employees, over the next 3 weeks. With the November elections looming, this recess is an excellent opportunity to meet or reconnect with your respective U.S. Senators and Congressman. Whether you’re hosting your member of Congress for a tour of your headquarters or a related facility, or attending a town hall meeting, or luncheon hosted by a civic group, take a few minutes to discuss issues important to your firm, the profession, and to MAPPS.

This week’s focus will be on the Freedom From Government Competition Act (FFGCA). FFGCA, H.R. 1474/S. 785, will codify the "Yellow Pages” test, applied by Mayors and Governors, both Democrat and Republican, that says if you can find firms in the Yellow Pages providing products or services that the government is also providing, then the service should be subject to market competition to break up the government monopoly and prove a better value to the taxpayer. This bill will not only make government smaller and more efficient, but it can save up to $27 billion annually.
 
Has your member of Congress cosponsored FFGCA?
If so, please thank them for cosponsoring this bill. If not, please ask them to cosponsor utilizing these talking points.


If your Members of Congress prove tough to reach this week, then make sure to communicate cosponsorship of FFGCA with their staff either in the district or state, or the Congressional staff based in Washington, DC. When you receive a commitment to cosponsor the FFGCA, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach me.

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MAPPS Comments to FAA Seeking Exemption for LIDAR Units in Rotorcraft, Encourages Geospatial Professionals to Submit Comments

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Friday, August 17, 2012

MAPPS has submitted comments to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on its proposed "Certification of Airborne Surveillance and Searchlight Systems Using Lasers or Infrared Searchlights in 14 CFR parts 27 and 29 Rotorcraft,” a rule that could harm the aerial LIDAR mapping market.

Over the past few months, the FAA has made it increasingly difficult for operators to perform aerial LIDAR missions by classifying mapping LIDAR as a harmful laser. With the help of LiDAR manufacturers and operators that make up the MAPPS membership, the association has been working with the FAA to address this issue. However, just like the "laser pointer” law that started the confusion, the MAPPS membership has been diligent in commenting on similar directives that could affect the use of LIDAR technologies.

Airborne LIDAR systems used for mapping are neither surveillance nor searchlight systems. However, language in the proposed policy that includes "installations of fully enclosed laser device..” can sweep the surveying and mapping LiDAR systems into the FAA regulatory scheme. This blanket policy, without knowledge of the niche mapping LiDAR market could affect many LIDAR businesses.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the determining government body for classification and ratings of laser systems. MAPPS member firms that are producers of airborne mapping LIDAR instrumentation all comply with 21 CFR 1040.10. These LIDAR systems are designed to be used as airborne mapping systems with careful attention to design and manufacture for the airborne environment.

As confusion has already taken place within FAA, MAPPS is seeking a specific exemption for mapping LiDAR in 14 CFR parts 27 and 29 Rotorcraft.

Firms that manufacture LiDAR systems and geospatial professionals who perform collection services are encouraged to submit comments to the FAA prior to the August 31 deadline.

Tags:  Comment  FAA  Lasers  LIDAR 

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August Action & Advocacy - Issue 2

Posted By John Byrd, Monday, August 13, 2012

 

 

Continuing your legislative advocacy this month, you will have additional opportunities to engage your Members of Congress on legislation important to the geospatial profession. Congress has adjourned for the August recess, and Members of Congress will spend significant time back in their states and districts meeting with constituents, such as you and your employees, over the next few weeks. With the November elections looming, this recess is an excellent opportunity to meet or reconnect with your respective U.S. Senators and Congressman. Whether you’re hosting your member of Congress for a tour of your headquarters or a related facility, or attending a town hall meeting, or luncheon hosted by a civic group, take a few minutes to discuss issues important to your firm, the profession, and to MAPPS.

This week’s focus will be on the Federal Prison Industries (FPI) Reform legislation. The Federal Prison Industries Competition in Contracting Act, H.R. 3634, requires Federal Prison Industries (also known as UNICOR) to compete for its contracts minimizing its unfair competition with private sector firms and their non-inmate workers and empowering Federal agencies to get the best value for taxpayers’ dollars. Reforming FPI through this legislation would prevent Federal inmates from engaging in geospatial activities including GIS and CADD services.

Has your member of Congress cosponsored H.R. 3634 or the soon to introduced Senate companion legislation?

If so, please thank them for cosponsoring this bill. If not, please ask them to cosponsor utilizing these talking points.

If your member of Congress proves tough to reach this week, then make sure to communicate cosponsorship of FPI Reform with their staff either in the district or state, or the Congressional staff based in Washington, DC. When you receive a commitment to cosponsor the FPI Reform, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach me.

Tags:  Advocacy  Congress  FPI 

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Congress Puts FEMA, Highways on the Map

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Thursday, August 9, 2012

Legislation recently passed by Congress and signed by President Obama will result in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in geospatial activities.

The "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” (MAP-21) commonly known as the Highway Bill, included reauthorization of Highway and FEMA Flood programs, enacted on July 6, in one of the most significant geospatial-related legislative actions in years.

In a presentation to MAPPS members and guests at a luncheon during the Esri International Users Conference in San Diego, MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello said the bill includes numerous provisions sought and recommended by MAPPS. "This bill reflects creative thinking by MAPPS members to develop ideas and recommendations that ultimately became law.” Palatiello also singled out the work of MAPPS government affairs manager John Byrd for successfully shepherding through Congress proposals developed by numerous MAPPS committees and task forces. "We are fortunate to have such effective representation,” he said.

Included in the new law are transportation-related provisions that:

  • strengthens the law against state department of transportation (DoT) competition with the private sector, by mandating that States use the private sector to maximum extent possible for surveying and mapping;

  • clarifies that qualifications based selection (QBS) be used by state DoTs on Federal Highway Administration (FHwA)-funded state DoT projects, not just those construction-related, as FHwA had interpreted earlier law;

  • authorizes a new, robust intelligent transportation systems (ITS) program;

  • creates the "RESTORE” Act, allocating Deepwater Horizon fines and penalties to gulf coast restoration activities in TX, LA, MS, AL, FL, including mapping; and

  • extends the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that provides money for hydrographic surveys by the Corps of Engineers and NOAA.

The bill also reforms of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) national flood insurance program (NFIP), including numerous MAPPS-initiated provisions initiated in the association’s FEMA task force that:

  • Establishes a FEMA technical mapping advisory council, to include a member of a recognized professional surveying association or organization and a member of a recognized professional mapping association or organization;

  • Requires National Flood Insurance Program rate maps use "the most accurate topography and elevation data available”;

  • Requires FEMA to assess the accuracy of current ground elevation data used for hydrologic and hydraulic modeling of flooding sources and mapping of the flood hazard and wherever necessary acquire new ground elevation data utilizing the most up-to-date geospatial technologies in accordance with guidelines and specifications of FEMA;

  • Requires FEMA to develop National Flood Insurance Program flood data on a watershed basis; and

  • Instructs FEMA to develop a funding strategy to leverage and coordinate budgets and expenditures, and to maintain or establish joint funding and other agreement mechanisms with other Federal agencies, such as USGS, and units of State and local government to share in the collection and utilization of geospatial data among all governmental users.

"MAPPS has long been a leader in public policy initiatives that strengthen the geospatial profession and enhance the use of geospatial technologies, services and data products to improve the quality of life for all Americans. These provisions are another example of the important role MAPPS and its member firms play in the community,” Palatiello said.

A presentation including these and other recent MAPPS accomplishments is available here.

To learn about other legislation affecting the profession, be sure to read "Waiting for Congress” in this month’s issue of Professional Surveyor Magazine.

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MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards - Deadline Aug. 31!

Posted By Tammy Joslyn, Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Is your firm planning to enter this year's MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards? Participation in this program is a great way to get the most out of your marketing dollars. 

  • Winners featured in trade magazines and promoted through MAPPS
  • Winning projects displayed at MAPPS Events throughout the year
  • All entries displayed at the Awards Reception in Tampa


The entry deadline is August 31, 2012. 

Categories:

  • Airborne and Satellite Data Acquisition
  • Photogrammetry/Elevation Data Generation
  • Remote Sensing
  • GIS/IT
  • Surveying/Field Data Collection
  • Small Projects
  • Technology Innovation
  • Licensed Data Products - NEW!

A panel of five distinguished judges will evaluate the projects based on complexity, technical innovation and value to the geospatial profession, public and client.

Winners will be Announced at the MAPPS Excellence Awards Reception

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
7:00 p.m.
at the
MAPPS/ASPRS Fall Specialty Conference
Tampa, FL

Please follow the official rules as stated in the Call for Entries and enter by August 31, 2012.

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August Action & Advocacy

Posted By John "JB" Byrd, Monday, August 6, 2012

Starting this week, you will have additional opportunities to engage your Member of Congress on legislation important to the geospatial profession. Congress has adjourned for the August recess, and Members of Congress will spend significant time back in their states and districts meeting with constituents, such as you and your employees, over the next 4-5 weeks. With the November elections looming, this recess is an excellent opportunity to meet or reconnect with your respective U.S. Senators and Congressman. Whether you’re hosting your member of Congress for a tour of your headquarters or a related facility, or attending a town hall meeting, or luncheon hosted by a civic group, take a few minutes to discuss issues important to your firm, the profession, and to MAPPS.


This week’s focus will be on the FLAIR Act. The Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act, H.R. 1620/S. 1153, authorizes the Department of the Interior to develop and manage a single multipurpose, uniform Federal GIS database to track and account for all Federal Real Property, as called for by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and recommended by the National Academy. This Federal effort helps state and local agencies verify their ongoing efforts to identify what each level of government owns. This will also enable government at all levels to find missing property through a "gap analysis.” Additional mapping and geospatial market opportunities for the private sector will be identified and created as a result of the gap analysis. In addition, work related to the operation of the comprehensive GIS will be available.

Has your member of Congress cosponsored H.R. 1620 or S. 1153?

If so, please thank them for cosponsoring this bill. If not, please ask them to cosponsor utilizing these talking points.

If your member of Congress proves tough to reach this week, then make sure to communicate cosponsorship of the FLAIR Act with their staff either in the district or state, or the Congressional staff based in Washington, DC. When you receive a commitment to cosponsor the FLAIR Act, or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach me.

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Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) Appeals FTC Misuse of "Precise Geolocation Data" in Privacy Report

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Monday, July 30, 2012
The Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) has asked Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz to address the concerns of the geospatial community in its privacy report. 

In March 2012, the FTC released a report, "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change" providing recommended actions for business and policy makers to protect consumers' private information.

In the letter to the FTC, COGO points out that during the comment period, the FTC had assured the geospatial community that the intent of the report was not to cover the ordinary activities of the geospatial community. The FTC had indicated that a definition of the term "precise geolocation data" or an exception for the legal, legitimate and ordinary activities in the professional geospatial practice would be included in the Commission's final report.

"The Coalition has been concerned from the start that the professional services provided through surveying, mapping and geospatial data collection would be harmed with the impractical requirement of a consumer choice mechanism," said Dr. Carolyn Merry, chair of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering at The Ohio State University and COGO Chair.

COGO has expressed its concern that footnote 187 in the final report does not adequately address the activities of the geospatial community. The coalition of 11 geospatial associations said the wording in the footnote is not as comprehensive as the FTC had led COGO and the community to believe it would be. In its letter to Leibowitz, COGO urged the FTC to modify text within the body of the report to clarify the issue.

COGO has suggested revisions to the report such that the requirement for individual consumer approval or "affirmative express consent" prior to the collection, sharing or use of "precise geolocation data" be further clarified and eliminated.

"The revisions, additions and clarifications COGO has suggested would provide clarity with respect to parcels and addresses," said Jeff Lovin (Woolpert, Inc., Dayton, OH), MAPPS Delegate to COGO, which originated the letter. "One footnote in a 122-page report does not go far enough to protect areas of professional services that have not been identified as a problem or pose any privacy concern to citizens." The letter can be viewed here


About COGO

 

Formed in 2008, the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) (www.cogo.pro) is a coalition of 11 voting member and four advisory member national professional societies, trade associations, and membership organizations in the geospatial field, representing more than 30,000 individual producers and users of geospatial data and technology. The coalition's Member Organizations are:

 

American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM)

American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)

Geographic Information Systems Certification Institute (GISCI)

Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS)

United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF)

University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS)

Association of American Geographers (AAG)

Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS)

International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO)

National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC)

Urban Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)

 

Associate Members:

 

National Association of Counties (NACo)
National Emergency Number Association (NENA)
Western Governors Association (WGA)
American Planning Association (APA)

 

 

To view the COGO letter, go to:
http://cogo.pro/uploads/COGO-FTCletter-PrivacyReport_Chairman_Leibowitz_July52012.pdf
  

Tags:  COGO  FTC  Privacy 

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MAPPS Announces "Name the Blog" Contest

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
This year MAPPS successfully launched a new website. Many of you have been reading this blog which has replaced FLIGHTLINE. Since launching of the new website the blog has simply been referred to as "MAPPS Blog”. We would like to give our members the opportunity to get their creative juices flowing and come up with a new name for the blog.
 
Name the Blog Contest Guidelines:
  • One submission per person.
  • Submissions open at on August 1 and will end at 5:00 PM EDT on August 31.
  • MAPPS Staff will select three (3) finalists from submissions.
  • All members will have the opportunity to vote for favorite finalists September 17 - October 5.
  • The name of the blog will be announced October 31 at the MAPPS Breakfast during the MAPPS/ASPRS Fall Specialty Conference.
  • The winner will receive a gift certificate to the world famous Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant in Miami, Florida*

 *Note winner does not receive registration to the MAPPS/ASPRS Specialty Conference or 2013 MAPPS Summer Conference

 

Complete the official entry form here.

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Happy Birthday MAPPS!

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Thursday, July 12, 2012
 
 
 
 
 
On this date July 12, 1982 a small group of private sector mapping firm principals and owners gathered at a hotel near O'Hare Airport in Chicago, IL to discuss the need for an association to represent firms engaged in photogrammetry and related activities. The meeting was made necessary by the recent dissolution of the Legislative Council for Photogrammetry. At that meeting, it was decided to form a new organization, the Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors, known today as "MAPPS".

Can you name any of the firms, or individuals, who were at that meeting?

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MAPPS 30th Anniversary Video and a few 2012 Accomplishments (So Far!)

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Check out the video shown at the opening keynote for the MAPPS 2012 Summer Conference. The video highlights how MAPPS has changed as an organization as technology has changed and what MAPPS has accomplish to affect positive change for private geospatial firms over the last 30 years and some recent accomplishments!

 Special thank you to Woolpert, Inc. for producing the video!

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