Congress to Review Federal Geospatial Activities

Reston, VA, July 20, 2009 – MAPPS today commended the subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives with jurisdiction over the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and its management of the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) for scheduling an oversight hearing on "Federal Geospatial Data Management."
The subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the House Committee on Natural Resources will hold the hearing on Thursday, July 23, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., in room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, on the U.S. Capitol complex in Washington, DC. It is open to the public.
According to the subcommittee, "The federal government spends billions of dollars each year to acquire and manage geospatial data, which go into making maps for consumers, state and local officials, and emergency responders, among others. The Department of the Interior has estimated that up to half of the federal investment in geospatial data is redundant. The subcommittee will examine how the federal government manages the geospatial activities of its various agencies, and how information sharing between federal, state, and local governments, and between the public and private sectors, can be improved."
Witnesses will be Karen Siderelis, Geographic Information Officer (GIO) of the Department of the Interior and Acting Chair of the FGDC; Michael Byrne, GIO of the State of California; Susan Marlow, President of Smart Data Strategies, Franklin, TN; and John Palatiello, Executive Director of MAPPS.
"We commend Representative Jim Costa (D-CA), chairman of the subcommittee, and Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO), ranking Republican for convening this hearing. It has been five years since Congress last reviewed geospatial activities, including commissioning a GAO study, and this hearing is timely and important. The 2004 hearing found the Federal government could not quantify how much it was spending on geospatial activities and that coordination efforts needed improvement.  At a time when Uncle Sam’s need for geospatial solutions for climate change, cap and trade, homeland security, transportation, broadband, Census and a variety of other applications is at an all time high, it is appropriate for Congress to review whether the demand is being adequately met," said Jeff Lovin, CP, MAPPS President (Woolpert, Inc., Dayton, OH). "MAPPS believes this hearing will help create new policy and organizational initiatives that will result in better use of geospatial technologies to address national, state and local issues. We are pleased Mr. Palatiello has been invited to testify on the ideas MAPPS has been advocating to improve federal geospatial activities and Ms. Marlow has been asked to discuss parcel and cadastre issues, as well as provide a small business perspective."

The hearing will be webcast and archived on the committee’s web site.

Formed in 1982, 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 span the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, LIDAR, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Member 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 150+ member firms 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