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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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MAPPS Minute: Nominations Committee and Summer Conference Early Registration Deadline

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MAPPS President Jeff Lower has appointed Pamela Nobles of 3DS (Tallahassee, FL) chair the MAPPS Nominations Committee. The committee will recommend candidates for 3 seats on the MAPPS Board of Directors. Volunteers to serve on the Nominations Committee are being sought. If you wish to help select the slate of candidates for the association’s board, please contact President Lower by Thursday, May 1.

The full Nominations Committee, along with a call for nominations, will be announced on May 5.

The election of Directors will take place at the annual business meeting of MAPPS during the Summer Conference, to be held on July 27-31, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

The discounted early bird registration rate for the conference expires this Saturday, May 3. 

Mike Tully and his Program Committee are developing another timely and informative line-up of sessions and speakers. We’ll feature a special UAV Day that will include some hands-on exposure to UAV technology.  It will provide everything you need to know to enter this game-changing facet of the geospatial business.Sessions will also focus on new and emerging technologies in LIDAR, a panel on effective marketing communications and key strategies from small and large business to effectively create teaming partnerships that are mutually beneficial. 

More sessions will be announced shortly, but make your plans to attend TODAY by taking advantage of the early bird registration and making your hotel reservation.

Tags:  Business  Contracting  Elections  Geospatial  LIDAR  MAPPS Strategic Plan  Nominations  Small Business  Summer Conference  Teaming  UAV 

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How’s It Going?

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Monday, January 7, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 4, 2013
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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Tags:  Business  Economy  Survey 

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Top Ten Reasons to Attend the MAPPS Winter Meeting - #5, CFO Roundtable

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Thursday, December 20, 2012


The Chief Financial Officer of a geospatial firm has unique responsibilities, as well as issues and challenges to address.
At the MAPPS Winter Meeting, January 27 - 31, 2013 at the Trump International Hotel in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, we're hosting a session to discuss CFO issues.

Representatives of a large firm and a small business in our profession present experiences and observations. This CFO Roundtable will be a historic first in the geospatial business.

Don't miss this session and the entire MAPPS Winter Conference, register today. Registration rates increase 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.
Top 10 Reasons:


Tags:  Business  CFO  Finance  Geospatial 

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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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