As the only national association of private geospatial firms and an active participant in public policy issues, MAPPS was invited to present private sector views to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP), August 18 at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH.
The HSRP is a federal advisory committee created by the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act. The law, which MAPPS supported when it was before Congress, requires NOAA to utilize the private sector to the greatest extent practicable.
MAPPS President Kurt Allen of Photo Science, Greenbelt, MD, and MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello, told the panel that NOAA has made great progress in contracting with the private sector for hydrographic services, shoreline mapping, coastal remote sensing and height modernization. Some 50% of NOAA’s hydrograph services are now performed by private firms. MAPPS encouraged NOAA to continue to increase its use of the private sector. The association called on the panel to maintain an in-house NOAA capability that is “intellectual” rather than “capitol” in nature to perform inherently governmental services, while applying a “Yellow Pages” test to determine what services are commercial in nature. Messrs. Allen and Palatiello also urged the panel to embrace the Brooks Act qualifications based selection (QBS) process for hydrographic and geospatial service contracts, as is required by law, including the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act, and to implement a broad definition of services subject to the Brooks Act in NOAA’s policies and regulations.
MAPPS is a national association of more than 150 private geospatial firms engaged in photogrammetry, satellite and airborne remote sensing, aerial photography, GIS, hydrography, charting, LiDAR, and related geospatial services. Membership activities include networking opportunities, public policy advocacy, education and promotion of private geospatial firms. For information, visit the MAPPS web site at www.mapps.org.