The four (4) issues for 2016 are:
Geospatial Workforce Development
America, together with the surveying profession, is facing a critical juncture. The average age of a professional surveyor is 58. Surveyors are retiring faster than a new generation is entering the profession. Addition, there is a severe shortage of qualified American PhD professors to teach surveying in our colleges and universities. There is a need to promote workforce in the geospatial community, including the surveying profession in the United States that serves the national interest. Legislation is needed to authorize a Federal program, such as through the National Science Foundation, to establish a public-private partnership for the development of a skilled geospatial workforce. MAPPS and NSPS respectfully urge Congress to introduce and enact legislation to create such a program. MAPPS and NSPS respectfully urge sponsorship of legislation authorizing this program in the 114th Congress. Click HERE for full issue paper.
Surveying and Mapping the Nation’s Coasts
In 2015, the bipartisan Digital Coast Act (S. 2325) was introduced in the U.S. Senate to help authorize a full "Digital Coast" program in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), while a House bill will soon be introduced. This bill would create a coordinated and comprehensive national mapping effort for coastal, Great Lakes, and territorial waters of the United States. Also, the Hydrographic Services Improvement Act (H.R. 2743/S. 2206) has been introduced to help improve and reauthorize NOAA’s hydrographic surveying and related charting activities. Given the fact that More than half of all Americans, 153 million people, currently live on or near a coast, and an additional 12 million are expected to move to the coasts over the next decade. Our marine transportation system which relies on accurate surveys and charts of our harbors, handles moves over 95 percent of the volume of overseas trade, contributes more than $742 billion to our GDP and employs more than 13 million people. MAPPS and NSPS respectfully urge cosponsorship of these bills in the 114th Congress. Click HERE for full issue paper.
Flood Insurance Reform with Better Surveying, Mapping and Elevation Data
The current statutory authority for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)'s is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017. Due to losses from Katrina, Sandy and other super storms, the NFIP remains roughly $24 billion in debt to U.S. taxpayers and hasn't repaid any principal on its loans since 2010. In 2016, Congress will seek to reauthorize Biggert-Waters or further reform the program. Improved surveying and mapping will help FEMA calculate its risk and put the program on a more sound financial footing. There is an important role for LiDAR technology and other mapping activities used to accurately locate structures and preparing letters of map amendment (LOMA), as well as the need for current/accurate elevation data, such as would be provided by USGS through the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). Elevation data are essential for flood mitigation, conservation management, infrastructure development, national security, and many other applications. MAPPS respectfully urges Congress to reform the NFIP to include elevation data collection as connected to the 3DEP program. MAPPS and NSPS respectfully urge sponsorship of provisions allowing for improved utilization of surveying and mapping technologies and applications, as well as better elevation data collection, in this legislation in the 114th Congress. Click HERE for full issue paper.
Private Sector Utilization
A positive public-private partnership business model is needed so that there are clearly defined roles, responsibilities and synergy between the public and private sectors, particularly in geospatial activities at the Federal level. In 2015, the Freedom From Government Competition Act (FFGCA), H.R. 2044/S. 1116, was introduced by Representative John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) and Senator John Thune (R-SD), gaining 22 House cosponsors and 2 Senate cosponsors. There is a dangerous trend toward “in-sourcing” and building in-house government capabilities at the expense of private sector job creation, in the Federal government’s geospatial activities. Federal agencies are purchasing equipment to build their own agency capacity to conduct what are considered commercial geospatial activities in mapping, surveying, and charting. Agencies are also bringing contracted geospatial services into the government for performance by Federal employees. A robust, qualified and competent private sector exists within the mapping and surveying profession and government at all levels should utilize it, not duplicate or compete with it. MAPPS and NSPS respectfully urge cosponsorship of the Freedom from Government Competition Act, and sponsorship of amendment language calling for the utilization of the private sector to the maximum extent practical, on appropriations and authorization bills in the 114th Congress. Click HERE for full issue paper.