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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 tags: Congress  Geospatial  LIDAR  Privacy  UAV  FAA  3DEP  Mapping  MAPPS  surveying  Economy  FCC  FLAIR Act  USGS  Advocacy  Business  Exporting  FGDC  FTC  Jobs  MIO-UIMT  NOAA  parcels  private sector  qbs  Tax  USACE  2014 Winter Conference  Accomplishments  Aviation 

MAPPS Minute - November 20, 2013

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Learn about what the MAPPS Board of Directors discussed at their Fall Meeting held last week. 

Take advantage of Early Registration for the 2014 Winter Conference, deadline is this Friday, November 22.

Tags:  2014 Winter Conference  Associations  Geospatial  MAPPS Board of Directors  Strategic Plan 

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Are labor unions trying to infiltrate the surveying and mapping market?

Posted By John "JB" Byrd, Thursday, November 7, 2013

In recent months, we have seen evidence of increased activity on the part of a national labor union, and its locals, affecting the geospatial community generally and survey crews in particular.

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) is attempting to influence survey firms/survey crews or labor policy affecting surveying and survey crews.  Earlier this year, the IUOE convinced the U.S. Department of Labor to reverse 50+ years of federal policy and define members of survey crews as "laborers and mechanics”, subjecting them to the "prevailing wage” provisions of the controversial Davis-Bacon Act.  Soon thereafter, the Department of Labor began to create a union-sponsored "apprenticeship” program occupation of rodman/chainman. The Operating Engineers then succeeded in getting a state department of transportation (DoT) to impose a statewide prevailing wage mandate for survey crews on all its projects.  Finally, there has been an attempt to impose "project labor agreements” (PLA) on firms employing survey crews on state transportation projects.

A Spatially Speaking Blog post earlier this year explained the issue. MAPPS filed a letter with Congress for a hearing on Davis-Bacon, opposing the Labor Department ruling.

We have been asked by the Committee on Education and Workforce of the U.S. House of Representatives to compile other instances of union activities in our field.  This will be helpful to the committee’s oversight and investigation of these activities.

Davis-Bacon and union organization of surveying and mapping firms is unnecessary.  As NSPS Executive Director Curtis W. Sumner, LS, said in his testimony before Congress, employees in the surveying and mapping field are well compensated and in high demand.  The administrative burden and recordkeeping that will be imposed on small businesses in the field will be exorbitant. There is no evidence that workers in the geospatial workforce need union representation. 

If you have had any recent experience with the IUOE or any other union making an inquiry, initiating an activity, or otherwise increasing its presence in the surveying, mapping and geospatial field, please provide details to John "JB” Byrd, MAPPS Government Affairs Manager or leave your experience below in our comments section.

Thank you in advance for your input.

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


Tags:  Congress  Davis-Bacon  Geospatial  Labor  Mapping  NSPS  Surveying  Unions 

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MAPPS Minute - October 18

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Friday, October 18, 2013

MAPPS announces appointment to the Board of Directions, postponement of the Geospatial & Engineering International Conference and announcement of dates for the 2014 Winter Conference at The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA.

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Tags:  Board of Directors  Exporting  Geospatial  Winter Conference 

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MAPPS Minute October 4, 2013

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Friday, October 4, 2013

 

 

We cover a lot in this week's MAPPS "minute"! As announced in the video, MAPPS will host a webinar on Thursday, October 10 with our guests being representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reviewing the draft Geospatial Concept of Operation (CONOPS). Learn more about our involvement with a joint letter to Congress opposing a government shutdown, meetings with USACE, BLM, USGS, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and more!

Tags:  CFPB  Congress  DHS  Exporting  Geospatial  USACE 

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MAPPS Participates on Digital Coast Panel Focus on Coastal Resiliency for Planning Professionals

Posted By John "JB" Byrd, Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013
On September 30, I participated on a panel of experts focused on "Federal Agency Support for Resilient Communities" during the American Planning Association (APA)'s Federal Policy Conference. My presentation focused on Federal programs, such as NOAA's Digital Coast and 3DEP within USGS, as well as legislation impacting "Resiliency" such as MAP-21, WRDA, and how accurate elevation and geographic data generated by geospatial technology, services, products can benefit planning for resiliency at the local, state and Federal levels of government. Also participating with MAPPS on the panel were Kathy Nothstine (NACo), Samantha Medlock (ASFPM) and moderator Kara Drane (APA)-- each of these organizations are members of the Digital Coast Partnership.
 
Original Post - Sept 26, 2013

MAPPS staff continues to advocate for the Digital Coast Act (H.R. 1382) before Congress in collaboration with members of the Digital Coast Partnership. This past July, MAPPS participated in a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill before a packed room of Congressional staff (House & Senate) and stakeholders. During this briefing, MAPPS HSIA/Oceans and Coastal Mapping Committee and Legislative Affairs Committee Chair Kurt Allen, discussed the benefits of the Digital Coast program that can be realized through the utilization of the private sector’s capabilities. 
 
One member of the Digital Coast Partnership is the American Planning Association (APA). I have been invited by the APA to participate on a panel before their DC Policy Conference, where I will discuss the capabilities of the private geospatial profession to support community "resiliency”.. This will also provide an opportunity to advocate for MAPPS legislative policies and explain how communities benefit from MAPPS’ members expertise. 

The state floodplain managers (ASFPM) and National Association of Counties (NACO) will also participate on my panel.
 
To prepare for this presentation, I am seeking examples, applications and imagery to highlight capabilities and benefits provided by private sector geospatial firms. The audience will be professional planners, mostly in local and state government. Again, I am asking for images for a PowerPoint presentation that depict geospatial data, products, services, and applications related to  Digital Coast to showcase how planners can use geospatial products and services in their coastal communities to  support  "resiliency”.

Please contact me directly prior to the close of business on Friday, September 27.

Tags:  Congress  Digital Coast  Geospatial  Planning  Resiliency 

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MAPPS Minute September 20, 2013 - Geospatial & Engineering International Conference Update

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Friday, September 20, 2013

 

 

Brian Raber, CMS, GLS, GISP (Vice President, Merrick & Company) Program Chair of the Geospatial & Engineering International Conference provides an overview of the program and what attendees will learn and experience at the conference. MAPPS members, don't delay in registering and making your hotel reservations. Lock-in your early bird registration of only $450!

Not a MAPPS member? Professionals that are members of the conference's supporting organizations; AAG, ASPRS, CIRT, GSDI, NSPS, and URISA, receive a registration discount. Click here to register!

Tags:  Engineering  Exporting  Geospatial  International Conference  SBA  USAID 

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Where are the Parcels? 5 Years Since Mortgage Crisis, Key Tool Not Used

Posted By John Palatiello, Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
 
This week is the 5th anniversary of the financial crisis that led to the worst economic downturn since the great depression.

The crisis had mortgages at its root.
 
There was widespread evidence that the severity of the crisis was at least in part caused by the inability of the United States to have an early warning system to detect anomalies and negative trends in the mortgage market -- a national parcel based system.
 
There are a number of experts, including Dr. Ian Williamson at the University of Melbourne and The Honorable Gary Nairn, a member of Parliament in Australia and a professional surveyor, have been critical of the United States for the lack of a national parcel system.
A national summit of geospatial stakeholders on the mortgage crisis was held in May of 2009.

One recommendation that emerged from that meeting was to amend the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) to collect mortgage transaction data at the parcel level.
 


MAPPS promoted that recommendation in Congress, and the result was enactment of such a provision in the Dodd-Frank banking reform legislation.  Dodd-Frank also created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was given the authority to implement the enacted legislative provision.

While the rate of foreclosure in the U.S. is declining, 10.7 million homeowners nationwide — representing 26 percent of all outstanding homes with a mortgage — are still seriously underwater, meaningthey owed at least 25 percent more on their home than what it was worth.
  
The question today, on the 5th anniversary of the mortgage crisis is - "are we any closer to a national parcel system than we were in September 2008?"


Not according to Susan Marlow, President of Smart Data Strategies (Franklin, TN), President-Elect of MAPPS and chair of the association’s Cadastre Task Force. "It is unfortunate to admit that any progress towards a national parcel system has only been in the areas of education and awareness.  Five years later we still don't have an action plan for putting a useful system in place to monitor and prevent another housing meltdown,” said Marlow.

A year before the mortgage crisis began; the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences issued a report, National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future, recommending a national parcel system.  Ms. Marlow was a member of the study panel. The Chair, Dr. David Cowen, professor emeritus of the geography department at the University of South Carolina, also served as chairman of the federal government’s National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC).  He notes with frustration that a parcel system was "recommended by NRC panel and endorsed by NGAC”, but still not implemented the federal government.

Indeed, the CFPB is not even a member of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the interagency committee tasked by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with coordinating the development, use, sharing, and dissemination of geospatial data on a national basis.
 


Tags:  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  FGDC  Geospatial  Mortgage  National Spatial Data Infrastructure  NSDI  Parcels 

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Offshoring Revisited

Posted By John Palatiello, Friday, September 13, 2013

 

In light of a recent court case, it is timely and instructive for MAPPS member firm principals to be aware, and to make all employees aware, of certain laws related to sending work to offshore subcontractors.

When the offshoring phenomenon began over a decade ago, particularly given the heightened awareness of data security after the attack of September 11, 2001, MAPPS took actions to guide and educate the membership on best business practices, as well as legal obligations and restrictions. A MAPPS task force looked into this matter. The association secured a legal opinion in 2004, outlining the applicable law affecting firms, particularly on contracts with Federal agencies. The Task Force made a presentation to the members and its final report, which was adopted by the MAPPS Board of Directors in 2006, provided numerous best practices recommendations for voluntary implementation by member firms.

Materials on this topic can be found on the MAPPS website under Government Affairs.

Tags:  geospatial  globalization  offshoring  services 

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MAPPS President Highlights Accomplishments Over the Past Year

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Friday, August 2, 2013
Updated: Thursday, August 1, 2013
MAPPS President Highlights Accomplishments Over the Past Year

At the MAPPS Membership Annual Business Meeting held Tuesday, July 23, 2013 in Rockport, Maine, departing MAPPS president Dick McDonald, CP, PLS (T3 Global Strategies, Bridgeville, PA) provided his final report to the membership. Below are some of his remarks providing the accomplishments of the association over the last year:

"It has been a tradition at these meetings that the President of MAPPS stands before the membership and announces a list of significant accomplishments of this organization.
This year is no exception.
Since we last met for an annual meeting in Snowmass, Colorado last July, the following are just a few of MAPPS’ achievements –
  • The Department of Homeland Security finally … finally … awarded its contracts for imagery and geospatial services for emergency response.  This QBS, multiple award ID/IQ contract is the result of more than 10 years of effort by MAPPS. That contract was MAPPS idea and it is the result of a decade of tenacity and advocacy by MAPPS;

  • I had the privilege of testifying before a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act and NOAA geospatial programs;

  • We won approval of a Defense Department land inventory provision in the Defense Authorization bill currently before Congress;

  • We met with the staff of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor in Virginia, and Cabinet members, to promote greater use of geospatial services and reliance on the private sector;

  • In other activities at the state level, we successfully battled competition from DOTs, dealt with sales tax issues and successfully placed members on state geospatial coordination councils to insure the private sector was represented, and we made progress on a state council bill in Pennsylvania;

  • We launched a state chapter in Alabama, and began organizing in Florida.  Additionally, our Maryland chapter is now up and running;

  • MAPPS recognized firms’ projects in the sixth annual Excellence Awards competition and reception in November. And our seventh competition is now on, with entries due by September 20.  So get your best projects together and please submit.  This is so important to promoting our profession, demonstrating the capabilities and capacity of the private sector, and highlighting how we as a community contribute to the quality of life in our Nation.  Please, enter a project;

  • MAPPS worked with Congress to develop a GAO study of Federal geospatial coordination to identify duplication and redundancies in agencies that has received repeated news media attention;

  • We assisted our brethren in land surveying in opposition to the Labor Department’s classification of survey technicians as "laborers and mechanics”, subject to the Davis-Bacon Act;

  • It is MAPPS that is leading the fight in Washington against insourcing and government competition, to provide more opportunity for the private sector; 

  • We had a successful Joint Conference with ASPRS in Tampa, Florida and an excellent Winter Meeting in Miami, Florida.  Once again, MAPPS charged Capitol Hill in another very productive Federal Programs Conference in Washington, DC;

  • We’ve had the FLAIR Act, Map It Once Act, Digital Coast Act, Prison Industry Reform bill, and the Freedom from Government Competition Act introduced in Congress;

  • We conducted a LIDAR capacity analysis for USGS and led an effort supported by several other organizations in support for funding of the USGS 3DEP program in Congress;

  • MAPPS led an effort to get all the members of COGO, the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations, to unanimously support a resolution on the importance of geospatial data to our society and proclaiming that privacy restrictions should not be a concern and should not apply to our profession’s activities;

  • We’ve been a leader in getting lawmakers in Congress and State Legislatures to recognize that aerial imagery for mapping from UAVs benefits the public and should NOT be part of restrictions on future UAV use;

  • We conducted a Salary Survey, which will be reported later this week, and two Economic Surveys;

  • We continue to have a successful MAPPS PAC and set a record for members’ contributions, and PAC contributions to candidates in the 2012 election. We had an outstanding MAPPS PAC dinner in Washington in March with Senator Johnson of Wisconsin and Congressman Massie of Kentucky.  I want to thank all the members who contributed and call on everyone to give something to the PAC.  We have a more pro-free enterprise U.S. House of Representatives as a result of the generosity of those who contributed. I encourage you all to make a personal contribution today, whether it is for $50, $100, $200 or $1,000 … the legal limit is $5,000 (actually $10,000 for husband and wife);

  • We did good … we performed community service with our Bike Build to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami at our Winter Meeting.  The look on those kids’ faces was priceless and heartwarming.


    And that is just in the past 12 months.  
 
I thank the membership for its support and participation.  I urge your continued involvement and commitment to MAPPS.  As we’ve often said, ‘in an economy where you are counting every dollar, it’s good to know you can count on MAPPS’.”

Tags:  Economy  FLAIR  Geospatial  MIO-UIMT  Privacy  UAV 

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Myth Busters: What’s the True Motivation for Geospatial Coordination?

Posted By John Palatiello, Thursday, May 23, 2013

MAPPS has long been active in working with the public sector to encourage the efficient utilization of geospatial data. As an advocate and partner, the association has been a proponent of reforms within the government and the private sector. However, recently those motives have been called into question.

Despite being a long time participant in policy issues, such as Congressman Doug Lamborn’s legislation, the "Map It Once, Use It Many Times” Act, H.R. 1604, MAPPS has been the subject of recent criticism that has been based largely on myth. Let’s look some facts regarding Rep. Lamborn’s legislation.

Myth: MAPPS is leading a private sector takeover of Federal mapping activities in the United States.

In fact, MAPPS’s support for greater utilization of the private sector in Federal mapping is based on decades of independent studies and recommendations … including many by the government itself.

 

As long ago as 1932, a committee of the House of Representatives expressed concern over the extent to which the government engaged in activities which might be more appropriately performed by the private sector. Among the activities identified as engaged in government competition with the private sector was mapping. Each time a study has been conducted on the Federal surveying and mapping ("geospatial”) establishment, a common conclusion has been reached. Whether conducted by the White House, Congress, the agencies themselves, OMB or independent Federal research organizations, these studies recommended more contracting in this field. The following are excerpts from these studies:

private cartographic contract capability is not being used sufficiently. We found this capacity to be broad and varied and capable of rendering skilled support ... Contract capability is a viable management alternative ... Its use should be encouraged in lieu of continued in-house build-up

Office of Management and Budget

Task Force on Mapping, Charting, Geodesy and Surveying, 1973

The Investigative Staff recognizes...contract surveys...it is essential that this option be explored more fully...early consideration must be given to the use of qualified private contractors

House Appropriations Committee

Investigative Staff

Study of BLM and Forest Service Cadastral Survey Programs, 1980

commercial resources offer time-proven expertise and professionalism in a wide range of cartographic activities.

National Academy of Sciences

Study on NOAA's Office of Charting and Geodetic Services, 1985

The private sector can play an important role in providing BLM with the massive amounts of data it requires for its three LIS (land information systems) components. BLM can avoid investing in necessary labor and technology by drawing on the capabilities of the private sector for the data gathering phase

Bureau of Land Management

"Managing our Land Information Resources", 1989

(contracting) is an important management tool to raise productivity, cut costs and improve the quality of Government services (the advantage of which is) efficiency, quality and innovation in the delivery of goods and services ... specific areas where the Government could place greater reliance on private sector providers include ... map-making activities

Budget of the United States Government, FY 1990

Office of Management and Budget, January, 1989

(USGS should be) allocating adequate NMD resources to information management and user/donor coordination, and if necessary, increasing these relative to traditional data production programs

National Academy of Sciences

"Spatial Data Needs", February, 1990

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will experiment with a program of public-private competition to help fulfill its mission ... The experience of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which contracts out 30 to 40 percent of its ocean floor charting to private firms, shows that the private sector can and will do this kind of work.

Office of the Vice President

"Creating A Government That Works Better & Costs Less"

Report of the National Performance Review, September, 1993

Thirty-nine federal departments, agencies and bureaus, including the U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, Defense Mapping Agency and National Mapping Division of the Department of the Interior, employ 7,000 workers and spend approximately $1 billion in surveying and mapmaking. Mapmaking is a service that is readily available from private industry at competitive costs. All government mapmaking activities should be opened to bids from private-sector suppliers.

Heritage Foundation

"Cutting the Deficit and Improving Services by Contracting Out", March, 1995

"During the course of our hearings, it became abundantly clear that there are certain activities that the Federal government has performed in-house which can and should be converted to the private sector. Areas such as architecture and engineering, surveying and mapping, laboratory testing, information technology, and laundry services have no place in government. These activities should be promptly transitioned to the private sector.”

Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY)

Debate in Senate on his legislation that became the FAIR Act,

Congressional Record, July 27, 1998

Direct that US commercial satellite imagery be the primary source of data used for government mapping … facilitate the acquisition of commercial imagery for other Federal agencies … expand the market for the imagery.

Memo from Director, CIA to Director, National Imagery and Mapping Agency (now National Geospatial – Intelligence Agency)

Central Intelligence Agency, 2002

The fundamental goal of U.S. commercial remote sensing space policy is to advance and protect U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by maintaining the nation's leadership in remote sensing space activities, and by sustaining and enhancing the U.S. remote sensing industry. Doing so will also foster economic growth, contribute to environmental stewardship, and enable scientific and technological excellence. In support of this goal, the U.S. Government will: Rely to the maximum practical extent on U.S. commercial remote sensing space capabilities for filling imagery and geospatial needs for military, intelligence, foreign policy, homeland security, and civil users;

White House

"Commercial Remote Sensing Space Policy”, May, 2003

The roles and responsibilities of decision-makers must evolve if we are to leverage geospatial information and tools to our best advantage. This entails building and maintaining different relationships and enabling new and creative ways to do business. To accomplish this:

The role of government should shift from implementer to facilitator/enabler and role model, allowing agencies to become more flexible and responsive.


Different relationships should be established, both horizontally across functions and vertically across levels of government and the private sector, to ensure that resources are used most effectively.

The committee concluded that to respond to a world in which data and technology are evolving more rapidly that the institutions that use them, a new model for development and use of geospatial information by the transportation system is needed...The actions necessary to make widespread use of geospatial data in a systematic way could be achieved through a focused alliance and collaboration among public, private, and academic communities. A key is in recognizing that the role of federal agencies is to enable state and local agencies and the private sector to carry out their missions. A practical role, rather than to mandate data requirements, would be to solicit data from data owners and providers and to encourage data sharing among agencies, users, and decision makers.

The past decade has shown that it is impractical for federal and state transportation agencies to collect, maintain, and develop comprehensive geospatial data sets to support broad decision-making activities. A more viable approach appears to be to encourage agencies -- public or private -- that are closest to the source to collect and maintain data necessary for their missions and to facilitate sharing of these data while developing expertise to integrate them into broader decision-support environments."

Transportation Research Board (TRB)

"Geospatial Information Infrastructure for Transportation Organizations: Toward a Foundation for Improved Decision Making", 2004

"Historically, state DoT’s have used Federal highway money, as well as their transportation funds, to build in-house capabilities in surveying, mapping, engineering and planning … states have their own crews, equipment and capabilities that duplicate services available from private firms. States often have airplanes and cameras for mapping aerial photography, analytical stereoplotters (mapping computers), GPS satellite surveying receivers, LIDAR systems, photographic laboratories and other expensive equipment to perform services already available, from private firms. Some state DOT's even market these services outside their own agency, performing work for other state agencies, city and county government, even non-government organizations, in direct competition with the private sector.”

Reason Foundation

"Building Highways or Bureaucracies?”, 2004

Myth: MAPPS member firms profit from inefficiency, redundancy and lack of coordination through a business model of "Capture it Once, And Sell It To As Many Difference Agencies as Possible".

This charge shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how Federal contracting operates. Historically, when a government agency has contracted for mapping and geospatial data, it has done so on a "fee for service" basis. Any agency enters into a contract with a private sector firm, the firm collects and processes the data, and the data, developed to the agency’s standards and specifications, is delivered to the agency with all rights, including the right of ownership. The agency puts the data in the public domain for access and utilization by other agencies, and the general public.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found "federal agencies had not effectively implemented policies and procedures that would help them to identify and coordinate geospatial data acquisitions across the government. As a result, the agencies make duplicative investments and risk missing opportunities to jointly acquire data.” This duplication is not only from agency-to-agency, but there is government duplication of the private sector. When a government agency starts, or carries out, an activity that is already available from the private sector, is that duplication any less wasteful than when agency A duplicates agency B? Indeed, Federal agencies are required to comply with Office of Management and Budget Circular A-16, which requires that agencies, "search all sources, including the National Spatial Data Clearinghouse, to determine if existing federal, state, local or private data meets agency needs before expending funds for data collection” (emphasis added).


Myth: MAPPS now wants to charge citizens for data that has historically been free, through a new tax or user fee.

The idea of a user fee to finance government’s need for geospatial data is neither new nor original to MAPPS. The concept was suggested in a National Academy of Sciences report, Beyond Mapping: Meeting National Needs Through Enhanced Geographic Information Science(2006) and was previously proffered by the now-defunct Spatial Technologies Industry Association (STIA) and discussed in the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) more than a decade ago.

It is no secret that MAPPS has a task force that is studying the idea of a user fee to finance. Articles have been published and presentations have been made to groups throughout the community. It has been an open and inviting process. The Coalition of Geospatial Organizations (COGO), representing every major association in the field, has agreed to engage in a dialogue on the concept. MAPPS has not concluded that any proposed user fee would be assessed on data. Moreover, H.R. 1604 does not establish or assess such a fee; it only authorizes a study of the user fee concept. If one does not believe a new and more effective way to raise money for basic government framework data is needed, then one must be satisfied that nearly 20 years after President Clinton issued an Executive Order calling for a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), the nation now has robust, current, accurate, accessible, interoperable, and complete geodetic control, cadastral, orthoimagery, elevation, hydrography , administrative unit, and transportation data.


Myth: H.R. 1604 will gut the Federal mapping workforce

The legislation sets forth an important set of inherently governmental functions for Federal employees in government agencies and calls for an evaluation of the respective roles and responsibilities Federal, State, local, regional, tribal, private sector, academic, and nonprofit institutions in geospatial activities. The National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC) has long advocated attention to roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, players, and sectors in building the NSDI. Such a definition was also called for by the National Academy of Public Administration in its report, Geographic Information for the 21st Century: Building a Strategy for the Nation(1998). As detailed above, increased use of the private sector and better definition of the role of government in mapping and geospatial activities has long been recommended in government studies.

Myth: Universities only create their own cartography labs to create the campus map

Scores of universities have become "entrepreneurial” and created entities that actually market their services outside the university itself, in direct competition with the private sector. This is not a small or recent problem. University competition with private enterprise has recently been the subject of an IRS investigation and a Congressional hearing. Want proof of university competition with the private sector? Look, for example, here, here or here, to see just a sampling.

Myth: Google, Microsoft, Apple and even Amazon are making sizable investments in spatial data, therefore if you are a true believe in free market capitalism, the government doesn’t need to be involved

Ever look at the data in many of these firms’ archives or platforms? Their data source is commonly the Federal government. Congress found "there are millions of sq km of ortho imagery and terrain published to Google Earth and Maps that has been contributed to Google through partnerships with local, state, and federal programs. These include: USDA-FSA (NAIP), USGS/EROS (DOQQs, current and historical aerial imagery, historical satellite imagery, terrain), and the National Archives … the largest single source of sub-meter aerial coverage that Google has is the direct result of USGS partnerships with state, regional, and local governments for aerial collections.”

Teddy Roosevelt once said, "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

MAPPS has always been in the arena. Whether one agrees with policies MAPPS supports, such as Congressman Doug Lamborn’s legislation, the "Map It Once, Use It Many Times” Act, H.R. 1604, or not, MAPPS puts forward proposed solutions. Others fail to do so, resorting only to critiques of MAPPS and being "cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”.

Tags:  Congress  Coordination  Duplication  Geospatial  MIO-UIMT 

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