MAPPS Praises Administration's Space Commerce Bill

Reston, Virginia, October 17, 2007- MAPPS ( the association of private geospatial firms, today praised legislation being sent to Congress by the Bush Administration to restructure the Office of Space Commercialization.

The bill would rename the agency as the Office of Space Commerce and establish as one of its statutory missions to "promote the advancement of United States’ geospatial technologies related to space commerce."

"MAPPS has long called for an office within the U.S. Government to act as an advocate for the private geospatial community and an inside voice for eliminating government competition and maximizing government use of the private sector.  We strongly supported the ‘IMAGE Act’, S. 4006, that was introduced in the last session of Congress by then-Senator George Allen (R-VA) and we are pleased the Bush Administration has endorsed the MAPPS idea of an in-house proponent for commercial geospatial firms," said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello.

"While we may still seek amendments and improvements to the bill, we are delighted the Administration is sending this proposal to Congress and we look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to pass as strong a bill as possible," Palatiello said.  "Although the proposed bill does not go into all the detail of the IMAGE Act, it does endorse the basic tenet – that there is tremendous potential for growth in the geospatial field if only the government would get out of the way."

The "Space Commerce Act" would strengthen and provide more focus for the new Office of Space Commerce (OSC).  An office within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the OSC, would lead the Federal government’s effort on space commerce policy.  While it has recently been involved in satellite, airborne and value-added geospatial activities, in addition to GPS issues, the OSC would be more engaged in all aspects of commercial geospatial promotion and advocacy under the proposed legislation.

MAPPS has long believed an office, modeled after the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy and the Office of Private Sector Initiatives in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Urban Mass Transit Administration (now Federal Transit Administration) established by President Reagan in the 1980s, should be empowered to be an inside-the-government advocate and watchdog to promote utilization of commercial geospatial firms to the maximum extent possible.  "For its entire 25 year history, MAPPS has fought unfair government competition.  To now have an ally – a place to go to inside the government  – will be a great benefit to MAPPS and our member firms," Palatiello said.

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 Active 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 Firms, 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