Citation Recognizes Development of National Mapping Standards

TAMPA, Fla. (May 7, 2015) – Dr. Qassim Abdullah was awarded a Presidential Citation from the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) at the 2015 ASPRS Conference on Wednesday, May 6, in Tampa, Fla.

Abdullah, a senior geospatial scientist and associate at  Woolpert, was honored for authoring a new industry map accuracy paradigm that meshes with old mapping standards and provides detailed guidance for current and future applications.

As reported by the ASPRS, the new Positional Accuracy Standards for Digital Geospatial Data allows mapmakers and map users to have a reliable, defensible and repeatable level of accuracy measure per the latest technologies.

“The previous ASPRS standards had been published in 1990, which was before the digital world we’re dealing with now,” Abdullah said. “Now we’re dealing with pixels and images, UAS (unmanned aerial systems), LiDAR (aerial and mobile), IFSAR, (etc.), and the old standards just didn’t apply. People saw the importance of developing new standards for products that went from a paper to a digital approach.”

Abdullah broached the need for updated standards a few years ago in the monthly “Mapping Matters” column he writes for the ASPRS journal PE&RS.

The issues raised in his columns led to the formation of a team to develop new mapping standards. Members of the team included Dr. David Maune, senior project manager at Dewberry; Doug Smith, vice president of David C. Smith and Associates; and Hans Karl Heidemann of the U.S. Geological Survey. At Wednesday's event, Ryan Bowe of Photo Science, a Quantum Spatial company, accepted the award on behalf of Smith.

The new standards, which Abdullah said took three years to complete, were approved by the board in November 2014 and published by the ASPRS in March of this year.

The ASPRS, founded in 1934, serves more than 7,000 professional members around the world who are working to improve the understanding of mapping sciences and to promote the applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems and supporting technologies.

Abdullah, a member of ASPRS since he was a student at the University of Washington in 1979, works at Woolpert’s Arlington, Va., office. Woolpert is a national architecture, engineering and geospatial firm headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

Abdullah also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and online at Pennsylvania State University, where he teaches a class on UAS geospatial applications.

“Teaching keeps me in touch,” he said. “Teaching encourages you to share your knowledge with others and forces you to learn.”

These updated mapping standards were written to help the photogrammetry and GIS world continue to learn and develop, as well.

“The new paradigm provides an easy way to continually apply new technology, because it’s built for a digital world,” Abdullah said. “When technology evolved, the old standards had no room to expand. We made the standards very progressive, so there is room for growth no matter what technology comes along in the future.”

About Woolpert

Woolpert, ranked by Engineering News-Record as a top national design firm, provides professional architecture, engineering and geospatial services to clients in public and private sectors. Founded in 1911, and with more than 600 professionals in 25 offices located throughout the U.S., Woolpert’s collaborative and multidisciplinary approach is driven by great people, great clients and great projects. For more information on Woolpert, visit Woolpert Labs is a cross-functional group of industry leaders who are focused on discovering new uses for geospatial technology and practices to continue fueling advances in the industry. For more information, visit

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