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2018 NSPS Day on the Hill
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NSPS Day on the Hill

April 11, 2018





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Issues for the 2018 NSPS Day on the Hill



President Trump has proposed and Congress will soon consider a major infrastructure initiative to invest an estimated $1.5 trillion on roads, bridges, airports, and other such infrastructure assets. Surveying and mapping (also known as “geospatial data”) are the foundation to the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of every infrastructure project. In recognition of the importance of accurate geospatial data, Congress should include legislative language calling for robust surveying, mapping and geospatial data collection, management and dissemination in each project.


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Geospatial Data Act

Legislation introduced by Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Geospatial Data Act (H.R. 3522/S. 1253), has exposed a chasm in the geospatial community that could jeopardize chances to reform and improve the coordination and use of geospatial data. Provisions in the legislation seek to improve the governance of geospatial activities among federal agencies, as well as these entities’ relationships with state and local government, universities, and the private sector. Procurement, or contracting with the private sector, is inherent to the Geospatial Data Act and its goal of making the NSDI a success. Provisions that assure quality in the procurement of the collection and acquisition of geospatial data were included to achieve the overall goals and objectives of the legislation. Moreover, the bills include a provision to preserve and comply with existing state law for licensing of professionals in surveying that protect public health, safety and welfare. However, a new version of the bill (H.R. 4395/S.2128) have been introduced without safeguards for the private sector and the licensed professionals regulated by their respective states.


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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 surveying, mapping and geospatial activities at the Federal level. Last year, the Freedom from Government Competition Act (FFGCA), H.R. 1339/S. 506, was introduced by Representative John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) and Senator John Thune (R-SD). A robust, qualified and competent private sector exists within the surveying and mapping profession and government at all levels should utilize it, not duplicate or compete with it. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform recently held a hearing on H.R. 1339.


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