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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


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.
Top 10 Reasons:


Tags:  Congress  Ethics  Privacy  State Legislation  State License 

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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. ( 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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MAPPS Opposes AB 586 and SB 444 in Wisconsin

Posted By John Palatiello, Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2012
On March 12, 2012 MAPPS sent a letter to members of a Wisconsin Assembly committee in opposition to AB 586.

In addition, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) has sent similar letters in opposition to AB 586 and SB 444. ASPRS, like MAPPS, has concluded that in both bills Section 93 would add construction surveying which includes any mapping in support of infrastructure design or the establishing of construction documentation, and Section 95 would add geodetic surveying which includes mapping the size or shape of the earth or the precise location of points on the earth’s surface to the definition of the practice of land surveying, subject to the requirement that such services be performed by a licensed surveyor. In addition, like MAPPS, ASPRS urges the Wisconsin legislature to follow the NCEES model law by including a "savings" or "grandfather" clause.

Original Post:
February 28, 2012

MAPPS has sent a letter to members of a Wisconsin State Senate committee in opposition to AB 586 and SB 444.

This legislation makes significant changes to the definition of services that can only be performed by licensed land surveyors. It would adversely affect mapping professionals who currently perform services not related to boundary services. Inasmuch as the bill does not follow the NCEES model law and does not have a grandfather clause, it would legislate out of business highly qualified, competent and experienced mapping professionals. This includes our member firms in Wisconsin. Specifically, section 93 would add construction surveying which includes any mapping in support of infrastructure design or the establishing of construction documentation (planimetric mapping), and section 95 would add geodetic surveying which includes mapping the size or shape of the earth or the precise location of points on the earth’s surface (control surveys). While AB 586 and SB 444 do not specifically mention photogrammetry, these services would be affected nd adversely impacted.

MAPPS made its views known to the organizations supporting this bill when similar legislation was not approved in the last legislative session. We provided those organizations specific proposals to correct the bill in October of 2011, but they were not included in the current version.

The NCEES Model Law was carefully developed after an extensive process that included a nationwide group of stakeholders, such as engineers, surveyors, photogrammetrists, GIS practitioners, and state licensing board members. The Model Law includes a grandfather or "savings” clause to permit a window during which currently practicing photogrammetrists can become licensed as surveyors, limited to their area of competence and expertise – by demonstrating qualifications and experience in the specialty area of photogrammetry, but not tying it to experience, examination or education specific to traditional land surveying.

Recently, the State Legislature in the State of Oregon and the Commonwealth of Virginia included licensing of photogrammetrists in its definition of surveying. Those legislatures included such a savings clause or grandfather provision. In addition, all geospatial stakeholders in Oregon and Virginia came together to insure that the resulting legislation did not inadvertently harm the increasingly important applications of these technologies. Similar processes have been included by the other state legislatures that have recently enacted legislation affecting photogrammetry in their Land Surveyors Act, including North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Such an inclusive process was not followed in Wisconsin.

The MAPPS Board of Directors has adopted a principle stating "any state licensing program for individual practitioners in photogrammetry and other geospatial disciplines must include a "savings” or "grandfather” provision that permits qualified, experienced professionals to continue to practice without disruption in service.” Inasmuch as AB 586 and SB 444 violate MAPPS Board-adopted policy, MAPPS opposes these bills in their present form.

Tags:  Legislation  State License  Wisconsn 

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