July 23, 2015 (Reston, VA) – A bi-partisan bill to create a current, accurate federal inventory or "cadastre" of all federal land, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, has earned praise from MAPPS (www.mapps.org), the national association of private sector geospatial firms.
"The current system from tracking the federal government’s real property is inefficient and redundant. The FLAIR Act improves data management to help eliminate fraud, waste and redundancies, and it’s something I’ve been focused on since my days doing research for Senator William Proxmire’s ‘Golden Fleece’ awards, which pointed out wasteful government spending," said Rep. Kind. "The federal government needs to be taking steps to use the technology available to increase transparency and streamline operations."
"Transparency ensures a more effective, efficient and honest government. Businesses must create and maintain accurate databases in order to pay taxes and it is disappointing the federal government must be forced to apply this same standard to itself. The lack of a database deprives citizens of exercising the oversight necessary for good government. I am happy to introduce this legislation with Representative Kind and help modernize the federal government," said Rep. Cramer.
Since 2003 and as recently as February 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has repeatedly designated ‘Managing Federal Real Property‘ one of the high-risk areas within the federal government most prone to waste, fraud and abuse. One of the reasons cited by the GAO is the fact that the government does not have a current, accurate inventory of the land it owns. A national cadastre has also been recommended by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and the FLAIR Act has been endorsed by its Committee on Land Parcel Databases.
"At a time when Congress is looking to cut spending, add revenue and protect investments it is imperative that agencies identify and eliminate duplicative and wasteful activities using geographic information systems (GIS) and provide accountability for the real property the federal government owns," said MAPPS President Susan Marlow, GISP, Principal with Stantec (Nashville, TN), and a member of the National Academy Parcel Committee.
The FLAIR Act will provide all agencies owning federal real property an improved, spatiially-enabled "cadastre" of their land assets. Such a consolidated geographically enabled information system will assist in improved federal land management, resource conservation, environmental protection and utilization of real property, as well as identify property the federal government no longer needs to own. The bill also calls for an inventory of existing inventories to eliminate duplicate or obsolete systems and save tax dollars.
MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello added, "We commend Reps. Kind and Cramer for working in a bipartisan manner."
MAPPS members promoted the FLAIR Act in Congress during the association’s annual Federal Programs Conference, as part of the National Surveying and Mapping Conference hosted jointly with the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) on April 15 Representatives Mark Amodei (R-NV), Alan Grayson (D-FL), and David Price (D-NC) are also cosponsors.
S. 1225, a Senate companion to this legislation, was introduced in May by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where Senator Murkowski serves as Chair.
Formed in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private sector firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. The MAPPS membership spans 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. Independent Consultant Members are sole proprietors engaged in consulting in or to the geospatial profession, or provides a consulting service of interest to the geospatial profession. MAPPS provides its 120+ 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.