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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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Summit to Outline Steps for a National Parcel System

Posted By MAPPS, Friday, June 17, 2016

Reston, VA – MAPPS, the association of private sector geospatial firms, today announced it is participating in a national summit to develop a strategy to establish a National Parcel System of interoperable land ownership data.


“Since the first National Research Council study in 1980, a national “cadastre” or parcel system has been deemed desirable and feasible, but has lacked organizational and institutional leadership at the Federal level’ said Susan Marlow of Stantec, President of MAPPS.  “In 2007, I was honored to serve on the National Research Council study, National Land Parcel Data: A Vision for the Future. Today’s summit will focus on an action plan to implement the NRC recommendations and make a national system a reality.” 


The summit is being hosted by the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and its Homeland Infrastructure Foundation - Level Data (HIFLD) Subcommittee, along with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  More than 120 experts from Federal, state and local government, private companies, and nonprofit organizations are meeting at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) headquarters in Reston, VA to develop the parcel strategy.


“MAPPS is pleased to be a partner with the summit’s hosts.  A parcel system has been a MAPPS public policy goal for many years, thanks to the longstanding leadership of Ms. Marlow.  Were optimistic today’s session will result in actions that will finally result in a parcel system that will assisting with economic development, housing, homeland security, land management, and dozens of other government and commercial activities,” said John Palatiello, MAPPS Executive Director.


Support for the summit was provided by these firms: Esri, Digital Map Products, CoreLogic, Stantec, OptimalGEO, The Sidwell Company, and Boundary Solutions, Inc.

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Tags:  parcel  parcels  reston  summit 

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Posted By MAPPS, Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Have you ever heard Mark Twain’s comment about the weather?  “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” he said.


The same could be said about parcel data.


After the mortgage crisis hit the U.S. and global economy, the Federal government hosted a land parcel data stakeholder meeting in 2009.


The only major outcome of that meeting was action by MAPPS.  We successfully lobbied for language in the Dodd-Frank financial services reform bill to add a parcel data collection authorization provision to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.


In discussions with Federal agency partners, MAPPS President Susan Marlow, MAPPS Government Affairs Manager John “JB” Byrd and I believe we have the government’s attention once again.


Action is needed to make a National Parcel System a reality.  A plan to develop and implement such a parcel system is needed. Leadership from within the Federal agencies is essential.


Interest from MAPPS is being sought.  If you have a concern about parcel data, if these data are important to your firm, or you have expertise in this area, let me know.


Send me an email, and we’ll get you involved.


Tags:  parcels 

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National Surveyors Week - MAPPS Minute

Posted By Nick Palatiello, Friday, March 21, 2014

MAPPS joins in celebrating National Surveyors Week in this week's MAPPS Minute. Among the topics covered is the use of remote sensing and satellite technologies to find the lost Malaysia Airlines flight, MAPPS interaction with FAA Administrator Huerta at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAV), the White House working with Esri (a MAPPS member firm) on climate change, and recent articles in National Public Radio and The Washington Post on the extent of unneeded buildings and land owned by the Federal government. 

Tags:  Climate Change  FAA  Federal Government  FLAIR  Land Inventory  National Surveyors Week  NPR  Parcels  President Obama  Remote Sensing  Tax Dollars  UAVs  Washington Post  Waste  White House 

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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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