Flair Act Introduced in Congress, MAPPS To Testify

May 22, 2017 – The "Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act of 2017", a bill to create a current, accurate federal inventory or "cadastre" of all federal land, has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and MAPPS has been invited to testify at the bill’s hearing on Tuesday, May 23.

The FLAIR Act, H.R. 2199, was introduced last month by Representatives Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Ron Kind (D-WI), earning praise from MAPPS, the national association of private sector geospatial firms. "We commend Reps. Kind and Cramer for working in a bipartisan manner," said MAPPS Government Affairs Manager John "JB" Byrd.

Since 2003, and as recently as February 2017, 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 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, 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, spatially-enabled "cadastre" of their land assets. Such a consolidated geographically enabled information system will assist in improved federal land management, resource conservation, environmental protection, utilization of real property, identify property the federal government no longer needs to own, and increase revenue to the government by improving the collection of royalties and other fees from the public lands. The bill also calls for an inventory of existing inventories to eliminate duplicate or obsolete systems and save tax dollars.

The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. Its Subcommittee on Federal Lands will hold a legislative hearing on the FLAIR Act on Tuesday May 23 at 10:00 AM EDT. MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello has been invited to testify in support of the bill. The hearing will be webcast live on the Committee’s website.

"Versions of the FLAIR Act have previously passed the House Natural Resources Committee and the full United States Senate. The early introduction and hearing on the bill in the current Congress is a positive sign that this Congress will enact it into law," Byrd said.

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. 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 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.