MAPPS Members Testify About UAV Merits

March 26, 2015 (Reston, VA) - MAPPS members Kirk Contrucci of Ayres Associates, Inc., George Southard of Trimble Navigation Limited and Paul Braun of Continental Mapping Consultants delivered testimony yesterday to the Wisconsin General Assembly, presenting the merits and benefits of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) operations for surveying, mapping and geospatial applications.


"Photogrammetry, the science of making maps from aerial photographs, is an established, accepted, legal, ethical and growing business practice," said Southard. "UAVs are simply another platform like satellites and airplanes being used to carry cameras and other sensors into the air to collect data for precise earth mapping applications. These images and geospatial data are essential to commercial and governmental activities."  


Speaking to the societal benefits of UAVs, Contrucci told the legislators, "Imagery and geospatial data is essential to E911 emergency response, disaster mitigation, precision agriculture, management of storm-water runoff, floodplain mapping, equitable assessment of local property taxes, and other routine applications by all levels of local government on a daily basis. It's also a foundational element for engineering design and construction of a wide range of infrastructure improvements, and is routinely integrated into GPS navigation systems in vehicles and on handheld devices that are proliferating among consumers today."


In addressing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s Notice of Proposed Rule Making for commercial use of UAVs, Braun said, "Surveying and mapping businesses need the ability to fly over areas where infrastructure and people exist. For example, mapping parcels for infill development such as industrial parks; environmental remediation or construction sites over time; corridors for telecommunications and utility lines; flood modeling (including bridges, levees, and topography); and industrial plants for energy generation and distribution."

MAPPS is the leading voice in the geospatial community advocating for open airspace for commercial UAV.  

The invitation for MAPPS members to testify at yesterday's hearing came from State Rep. Adam Neylon (R-98), based on a presentation this past December before the National Conference of State Legislatures by MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello. MAPPS is a member of the NCSL Partnership on UAVs. 


"Photogrammetry and remote sensing provide enormous societal benefit, whether from a satellite, manned aircraft or a UAV", Palatiello said. "These professional activities have been in existence for decades without problem or controversy. We commend Representative Neylon for exploring the economic potential of geospatial activities from UAVs and the benefits to be realized by the citizens of Wisconsin. His hearing will assure that any state legislation does not have unintended consequences."



(From left to right: Paul Braun and Dave Hart, Continental Mapping Consultants, State Rep. Adam Neylon, Kirk Contrucci, Ayres Associates, George Southard, Trimble Navigation)  


(Kirk Contrucci testifying before the Wisconsin Assembly)


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.


Beth Hawley
MAPPS Communications Manager
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