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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 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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GPS is Being Threatened, LightSquared Update

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Monday, July 25, 2011
Updated: Thursday, August 11, 2011
GPS is being threatened. An application to the Federal Communications Commission by the firm LightSquared, to gain spectrum access for a planned wholesale 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless broadband communications network integrated with satellite coverage across the United States, has raised concerns from a broad cross-section of GPS users due to LightSquared’s interference with GPS.

Earlier this year, MAPPS filed a comment with the FCC in opposition to the LightSquared application.

Additionally, MAPPS was active in gaining unanimous approval of the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO) for a letter in opposition to LightSquared and FGDC or NGAC

An excellent resource for information on this issue is the Coalition to Save Our GPS.

While FCC previously granted LightSquared a conditional waiver, the FCC also directed that LightSquared conduct tests to determine the extent of the interference with GPS.

The Technical Working Group (TWG), which consisted of LightSquared and representatives from the GPS user and manufacturer communities tested more than 100 different GPS devices. The tests, conducte in several test environments, found network deployment proposed by LightSquared would indeed cause interference to millions of GPS users. FCC released the report on June 30 and issued a new call for comments. Such comments are due July 30.

MAPPS has again submitted comments. Individual geospatial professionals, as well as MAPPS member firms, are encouraged to submit comments of their own.

Meanwhile, Congress is moving to prevent FCC approval of the LightSquared application. The appropriations bill to fund the FCC for fiscal year 2012 (which begins October 1, 2011) includes a provision limiting FCC’s funding until it resolves the concerns of possible widespread harmful interference to the GPS system before giving final approval to the application.

Tags:  COGO  Comment  FCC  FGDC  GPS  LightSquared  NGAC 

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