Washington, DC, December 7, 2009 – A bill to provide for transparency in the expenditure of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), including the use of geospatial technologies for visualization of the spending, has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and earned the praise of MAPPS (www.mapps.org), the national association of private geospatial firms.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1242 on December 2 by a vote of 421-0. The bill amends the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 by providing for additional monitoring and accountability of TARP. It calls for the Secretary of the Treasury to ensure the official TARP accountability database "provides geospatial analysis capabilities."
MAPPS applauded the leadership of U.S. Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY), the sponsors of the House legislation. "MAPPS commends Representatives Maloney and King for their leadership and foresight in including a provision employing geospatial technologies for oversight and inspection purposes to enable increased accountability and additional monitoring," said John Palatiello, MAPPS Executive Director.
MAPPS has been leading the charge on inclusion of such a provision to the bill. Appearing before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Financial Services, Susan Marlow, President of Smart Data Strategies (Franklin, TN), chair of the MAPPS Cadastre Task Force, said Federal agencies should increase utilization of geospatial technologies to address transparency and accountability in the Federal government’s financial services activities, including TARP. In her September 17, 2009 hearing testimony, Ms. Marlow said, "MAPPS respectfully urges that a geospatial component or geospatial reference be included to the database to help graphically detail where TARP expenditures have occurred or will occur. This alteration to the bill will greatly enhance the Secretary’s ability to increase the monitoring and accountability of TARP funds."
"The inclusion of a provision to include a geospatial component to track TARP funding is a testament to the increased role geospatial technology can play in a variety of applications and is a major victory for our organization," said Jeff Lovin, MAPPS President (Woolpert, Inc., Dayton, OH). "I am thankful for the work of Ms. Marlow and her task force put into this effort and grateful to the members of Congress who recognized the important role professional geospatial technologies, services and products can provide to the citizens of the United States."
"The House [took] the Washington buzzword of ‘transparency’ and put it into practice," Rep. Maloney said in a press release December 2. "We must require the use of the technological tools that are available today. In a day and age when UPS and Federal Express can tell you where a package is anywhere on the globe– and post it to a public website– the Dept. of the Treasury can’t do the same thing with the massive packages of federal dollars backing up financial institutions. My bill will create a sophisticated and complete data stream to provide a complete picture of how TARP funds are being used in near-real time."
The Senate must now act on H.R. 1242 or its own version, S. 910.
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 180+ 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 www.MAPPS.org.