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Special Offer for Geospatial & Engineering International Conference - REGISTER AND SAVE TODAY!
Conference attendees are eligible for a $50 discount in addition to the early registration fee by making a hotel reservation at the Westin Alexandria (Alexandria, VA). Once an attendee has reserved a room, contact MAPPS to receive a special promotional code to receive the $50 discount. This offer will expire on September 4.
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.
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.
Posted By John Palatiello,
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2014
It is my pleasure to inform you of an exciting new activity in MAPPS.
In November, the MAPPS Board of Directors met for two days to engage in a 360 degree review of the association. Given the economy, government budgets and shutdowns, generational changes, emerging markets and technologies, and the rise of social media, the Board met with a representative group of members, former members, prospective members, and government partners to get feedback on what the association is doing right, and where MAPPS can improve.
As a result, one new program is already being launched.
The Board has reorganized MAPPS committees, task forces, and working groups.
We are launching a new series of MAPPS "Forums" to replace several previous committees and task forces. Forums are communities within MAPPS that address issues affecting firms, their products and services, and markets. Each member firm of MAPPS is encouraged to join at least one forum. The forums will not only meet at MAPPS conferences, but host conference calls, organize webinars, and engage in communications using the features of the MAPPS web site.
The forums will provide members an even greater sense of "belonging” and add value to being a member firm in MAPPS. Forums are a way for you to share and gain information and knowledge, network, solve problems, and work with your peers to improve your business and contribute to the well being of the geospatial profession at and apart from attendance at MAPPS meetings and conferences.
Each forum meet at the Winter Conference in San Diego.
A description of each is on the MAPPS web site, along with a way for you to enroll. This is a wonderful opportunity to get even more benefit from your membership in MAPPS, as well as a great way to give back to your profession.
Finally, if there is something in which you have an interest that is NOT part of one of these forums, the MAPPS Board would welcome your ideas for additional forums. Please email me with your thoughts and suggestions.
Once again, in an economy where you’re counting every dollar, it’s good to know you can count on MAPPS.
Posted By Nick Palatiello,
Monday, December 30, 2013
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced
the six sites for testing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The test site
operators include the University of Alaska, the State of Nevada, New York’s
Griffiss International Airport, North Dakota Department of Commerce, Texas
A&M University – Corpus Christi and Virginia Tech.
selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate,
location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety,
aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve
cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS
research needs,” said Michael Huerta, FAA Administrator, in a statement and on
a conference call with media.
"The announcement of the six test sites is a welcomed gift to start the New
Year as businesses in the geospatial community see unmanned aircraft systems as
a revolutionary new platform to provide critical information and geographic data
to the citizens of the United States,” said John Palatiello, MAPPS Executive
Director. "MAPPS congratulates the six operating locations and commends the FAA
for this announcement.”
The FAA stated the intent of the test sites is for research and development of
safety standards and these facilities and locations are to be open for
commercial users. The ability to access
the six test sites by commercial entities must be brokered directly with each test
"MAPPS members are encouraged to work with these test site operators to research and develop their UAS platforms, data acquisition systems, and applications, as well as to assure full commercial participation in order to prevent unfair university or government competition,” Palatiello said.
Some interesting items to note:
The University of Alaska includes test site locations in
Hawaii and Oregon;
Virginia Tech’s selection includes a MOU with Rutgers
University in New Jersey;
As mandated in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2012, the
first test site will be operational within 180 days. The test sites will be
operation through the end of the current authorization that expires in 2017.
This will overlap with the mandated introduction of UAS in the national
airspace in 2015;
The FAA is not providing funding for the test site
locations. Each of the test site operators are providing operational funding
through their own means
Our participation stems from a lunch meeting MAPPS President Jeff Lower, Assistant Executive Director Nick Palatiello and I had with AUVSI President Michael Toscano, Government Affairs Manager and General Counsel Ben Gielow and State Government Affairs Manager Mario Mairena at which a liaison between our respective organizations to work collaboratively on legislation and policy issues was discussed. As a result, Mairena spoke at the MAPPS Summer Conference in Maine in July and I was invited to speak this week at the meeting of the AUVSI government affairs committee.
MAPPS has opposed restrictions on civil, commercial use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), which are likely to soon become a commonly used platform for aerial geospatial data acquisition. While working with AUVSI to defeat onerous anti-UAS legislation, MAPPS has also sought and in some cases succeeded in securing exemptions for mapping operations. (See, for example, in Congress S.1057, Georgia SB 200, and Idaho SB 1134.)
MAPPS also hosted a policy luncheon at Microsoft’s beautiful technology and innovation center, just one-half block from the DC convention center. Government Affairs Manager John Byrd assembled an outstanding panel of key Congressional staff with direct involvement with UAS-related legislation and policy.
There were a number of "hot topics” discussed during the conference. I attended a session on privacy that was broadcast by C-SPAN. I was able to comment on the MAPPS membership and our interest in UAV and privacy issues, which can be seen at 1:23:30.
There was discussion at the MAPPS luncheon and in other venues that the word "drone” should be stricken from our vocabulary. This may be a difficult term to overcome. However, we can paint a better picture for the practical uses of UAVs for surveying and mapping. If your firm is working with a UAS outside of the United States or with a domestic partner with a COA and have examples of how systems are used for agriculture, oil and gas, or other applications that highlight the safe and responsible benefits of the emerging technology, MAPPS would like to know.
Another topic that attracted considerable attention is the ever-present specter of unfair competition, manifesting itself in various forms. Several MAPPS members and others in attendance at the conference expressed frustration that certificates of authorization (COAs) are being granted to government agencies and universities while the private sector awaits the Federal Aviation Administration plan for civil, commercial COAs for UAS, as required by Congress in sections 332-336 of the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act, Public Law 112-95. There is concern that agencies and universities are acquiring UAS and utilizing them on projects that can otherwise be accomplished by the private sector. Many MAPPS members recall a Predator from the Customs and Boarder Patrol being diverted from its core mission guarding the U.S.-Canadian border to capture data on a flood in the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota, resulting in a loss of business for private geospatial firms under contract to the Corps of Engineers, USGS, and other federal mapping agencies. Moreover, while current law and regulation permits private citizens and firms to operate UAS for a "hobby”, there is no effective enforcement to prevent abuse of such authority for commercial purposes. Finally, several conference attendees see an emerging problem – the "dumping” of an estimated 7,500 surplus military UAS to government agencies in the U.S. resulting from the draw-down of combat missions and activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the MAPPS luncheon, Congressional staff presented views on the competition issue, including the need to assure agency conformance with the Economy Act and the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) that regulate agencies’ authority to perform services for other agencies.
In preparation for the AUVSI Government Affairs Committee meeting, John Byrd reminded me the first presentation on UAS at a MAPPS meeting was at the Winter Conference in Palm Springs, California in 2008. Our association has continuously kept the membership appraised of UAS policy, technology and opportunities for more than five years.
It goes to show that "in an economy where you are counting every dollar, it is good to know you can count on MAPPS” is not just a slogan, it is a fact.
Posted By Nick Palatiello,
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 9, 2013
MAPPS will host a special roundtable discussion of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) issues featuring key Congressional staff on Wednesday, August 14.
In just the last week, two certificates of authorization (COAs) were awarded for commercial use and panelists at the MAPPS 2013 Summer Conference were optimistic that a small class of UAVs could receive special approval by the end of 2013. MAPPS is working to continue to keep members and the community up to date with legislative and regulatory information to advance the use of the technology in the commercial market.
This luncheon will take place at Noon at Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center, 901 K Street, NW, Suite 1100 Washington, DC 20001 and coincides with the annual conference and exhibition of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) to be held at the Washington, DC Convention Center. MAPPS has developed a relationship with AUVSI to educate lawmakers at the Federal and state level on the benefits of UAV implementation.
This luncheon will provide attendees an opportunity to hear and learn about policies, legislation and other governmental actions affecting commercial certificates of authorization for UAVs, which can become a popular platform for acquisition of imagery and other geospatial source data. Engage in a discussion of timely topics on the timing, policies and issues affecting UAVs.
MAPPS has confirmed a bipartisian panel of Capitol Hill staff as speakers:
Blas Nunez-Neto, Senior Professional Staff Member (Majority) at Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC). Mr. Nunez-Neto will discuss HSGAC Oversight of UAV-UAS Operations along the Border (CBP/DHS). He was formerly an analyst in Domestic Security, Criminal Justice, and Immigration for the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
Joan V. O'Hara, Deputy Chief Counsel (Majority) for the House Committee on Homeland Security. Ms. O'Hara will cover Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)/DHS operation of UAVs along the borders, how DHS is interacting with FAA for certificates of authorization (COAs), and prospects for legislative language covering UAVs in the DHS Reauthorization and Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
Mitchell "Mitch” Kominsky, Counsel (Majority), House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Mr. Kominsky will cover oversight plans by Chairman Darrell Issa (CA) for UAV technology and applications.
Tim Tarpley, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director, Rep. Ted Poe (TX). Mr. Tarpley will discuss Rep. Poe's sponsorship of H.R. 637, the "Preserving American Privacy Act of 2013".
Additional speakers may be added.
This event is open to MAPPS members, government partners, and guests. MAPPS members are encouraged to invite principals of private sector geospatial firms to attend the lunch.
Registration for the AUVSI conference is not required to attend the lunch.
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’.”
Posted By Nick Palatiello,
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
John Palatiello, MAPPS Executive Director, provided a recorded presentation for The Survey Association (TSA), MAPPS counter part in the United Kingdom. The presentation provides an overview on policies and legislation impacting unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States. The presentation also provides an overview of privacy regulations that are a concern to the geospatial community in the U.S.
Want to learn more? MAPPS will hold more in-depth sessions on UAV regulations and sensors for surveying and mapping, as well as a session on privacy during the MAPPS Summer Conference to be held July 22-26, 2013 in Rockport, Maine. Register today to attend!
Is your firm not yet a member of MAPPS?
MAPPS is offering a special membership promotion for firms that are not current members. The association invites principals of firms to attend the Summer Conference at the non-member rate. If the firm joins MAPPS prior to the end of the conference on July 26, 2013, the firm will be credited with the difference between the member and non-member rate. That is a 56% savings. The reimbursement will be credited toward the firm's 2013 membership dues in MAPPS. Register today!