ASPRS and MAPPS Applaud National Land Imaging Program

MAPPS ( and ASPRS ( today praised the Bush Administration for its commitment to land remote sensing with the release of the National Land Imaging Program (NLIP) strategy by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

This program is designed to meet U.S. civilian moderate resolution land imaging needs to monitor the changes in land surface, Polar Regions, and coastal zones due to the changes in population growth, development and climate changes. It establishes a program office in the Department of the Interior, reporting at the Secretary and Assistant Secretary level, to provide focused leadership and management for the nation’s land imaging efforts. NLIP will focus on maintaining a core, operational government commitment and capability to collect moderate-resolution land imagery through the procurement and launch of a series of U.S. owned satellites thereby ensuring the continuity of U.S. collected and managed Landsat-like data, well into future decades.

“ASPRS and MAPPS fully endorse the findings and recommendations of the plan. The plan’s explicit recognition of the essential value of moderate resolution imagery to our environmental, economic, and homeland security is enormously important,” said Kass Green, (The Alta Vista Company, Berkeley, CA) President-elect of ASPRS and a past President of MAPPS and Marvin E. Miller, PLS, PPS, CP (AERO-MERTRIC, Maple Grove, MN) President of MAPPS in a joint statement. “Our organizations have long held that a government operated moderate resolution satellite program is an important governmental function that does not compete with the private sector. We are pleased with this report, its findings that such a land imaging program provides enormous societal benefits, and its recognition that growth of the remote sensing market and the provision of value-added remote sensing services are exclusively a function of the private sector.”

“Now the nation will have a focused program, dedicated to monitoring land changes throughout the world which will allow humanity to more effectively assess impacts, manage resources, and plan for future global needs,” Ms. Green said.

“This is a significant step in global climate change monitoring by the Bush Administration,” said Mr. Miller.

The program is a product of several months of intense research and analysis conducted by the Future of Land Imaging (FLI) Interagency Working Group which was composed of individuals from fifteen federal agencies including, among others, NASA, NOAA, USDA, and the Department of Defense. Both MAPPS and ASPRS contributed significantly to the effort, providing testimony to the commercial uses and public value of moderate resolution images. The findings of ASPRS’s Survey on the Future of Land Imaging are cited repeatedly in the plan and the survey results are included as an exhibit. 

Sustaining the U.S. commitment to moderate resolution imagery collection and management are achievements of ASPRS and MAPPS efforts beginning in 2005, when the two associations advised the Bush Administration of the necessity of a sustained operation in a joint letter.  NLIP calls for the sustained operation the two associations have worked to achieve.

“OSTP stated in its announcement, ‘The United States should establish and maintain a core operational capability to collect moderate-resolution land imagery through the procurement and launch of a series of U.S.-owned satellites’ which is precisely what MAPPS and ASPRS advocated,” said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello and ASPRS Executive Director James Plasker.

In addition to establishing and maintaining a U.S. core operational moderate resolution land imaging capability, NLIP responsibilities will include, among others,
• acting as the lead organization for coordinating and planning future U.S. civil operational moderate resolution imaging;
• ensuring that all U.S. needs for civil moderate-resolution land imagery data are met;
• working closely with other federal agencies to assess U.S. moderate resolution  imagery needs by convening a multi-agency Federal Land Imaging Council;
• maintaining ongoing assessments of user needs and advanced technologies in remote sensing;
• negotiating international agreements to augment U.S. civil operational moderate resolution land imaging capabilities; and
• will ensure that, consistent with the 1992 Land Remote Sensing Policy Act (15 USC 5601), development of the remote sensing market and the provision of commercial value-added services based on remote sensing data should remain exclusively the function of the private sector.

The plan also calls for the creation of a Federal Advisory Committee on Land Imaging composed of individuals from commercial, state, local government, academic, and other nonprofit organizations to guide these activities.

ASPRS and MAPPS pledged to work with Congress and the Administration on implementation of the NLIP recommendations.

Formed in 1982 and currently celebrating the 25th anniversary of the association, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. Current MAPPS memberships spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, hydrography, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Members, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other firms from around the world. MAPPS provides its members opportunities for networking and developing business-to-business relationships, information sharing, education, public policy advocacy, market growth, and professional development and image enhancement. For more information on MAPPS, please visit

Founded in 1934, ASPRS is an international professional organization of 6,000 geospatial data professionals. ASPRS is devoted to advancing knowledge and improving understanding of the mapping sciences to promote responsible application of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems and supporting technologies.  For more information, please go to