Identifying “Geospatial” in the Economic Stimulus Bill

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Industry News
Identifying “Geospatial” in the Economic Stimulus Bill
By Susan Smith

The economic stimulus bill, H.R. 1, the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," became Public Law 111-5 with President Barack Obama's signature on Tuesday, February 17. According to an analysis conducted by MAPPS, the association of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems fields in the United States, the bill includes more than $73 billion in programs that will require geospatial data, technology, services and applications in at least 24 Federal agencies.

MAPPS executive director John Palatiello, said they have conducted an analysis of the entire stimulus bill and identified programs that would create a demand for some type of geospatial activity “whether it’s data products, services or applications,” he said. There are over $73 billion in programs that will require geospatial – “not necessarily all dollars that will go to geospatial but all dollars that we can readily identify will require some geospatial application.”

According to the press release, the MAPPS summary, compiled by John Byrd, the association's government affairs manager, includes bill language, itemized funding amounts and accompanying conference report language specifying Federal agency programs and spending in the stimulus bill. MAPPS members can access the report on the MAPPS website.

Palatiello said they will work with the Administration with regard to sufficient implementation of the program and try to maximize the benefits for MAPPS members. The National Geospatial Advisory Committee has already adopted a set of recommendations on implementation with regard to strategic investment and coordination and avoidance of duplication, said Palatiello. The Federal spending described within the summary will be a subject at the MAPPS Federal Programs Conference, to be held March 17-18 in Washington, DC. At this conference, agencies will conduct briefings for members on their programs and budgets to illuminate their analysis of what they have in the stimulus bill and their plans for getting that work accomplished.

Also, “We’re going to be looking at some other agencies that may be not the ones we already deal with but who have requirements and programs in the bill,” said Palatiello. “There are things that you look at the first time and say, that’s not really geospatial, but in fact they are. For example, this major health IT initiative in the bill will need epidemiology GIS, and there will be a tremendous need for things like broadband deployment, and the highway and rail programs for the Department of Transportation in the bill.”

The legislation earmarks particular areas of funding. For example, $1 billion in the bill for the Census is destined to go towards marketing and publication information campaigns to try to increase participation in the Census. However, in order to do that, Palatiello pointed to the fact that the Census Bureau has some idea of the demographics of populations where historically, they have more of a challenge getting people to fill out census forms. The Census would benefit from geographic technology to identify those populations in slow responding communities so that money can be targeted for those areas.

Even where the legislation doesn’t say specifically “mapping” or “geospatial,” by analyzing programs it’s clear where geospatial information will be used. Another example is in the description of a new “SmartGrid” for new energy sources, which will require geospatial information. There are some programs in the stimulus bill such as wildfire management for western fires, which will utilize geospatial services and data.

According to press materials, on Tuesday, March 17, several Federal agencies will present information on their programs, their FY09 budget and FY10 request and the requirements for geospatial products and services from the private sector that is in their acquisition plans. These sessions have been held at MAPPS for more than 20 years, and have included participation by NGA, USGS, NOAA, USDA, BLM, NPS, DHS, FEMA, FHwA, USFS, Census, USACE, USAF, NAVFAC, EPA, FWS, USAID and many other agencies.

MAPPS has formal liaison committees with USDA, USGS, NOAA, NGA, FAA/TSA, Defense and Homeland Security (DoD, USACE, USAF, NAVFAC and DHS). Those federal agency liaison committees will also meet on March 17.

Concluding the two-day conference, MAPPS will host the 4th Annual Geospatial Technology Exhibition, to be held from 5:00 - 7:00 pm in room B-338 of the Rayburn House Office Building within the U.S. Capitol Complex. This event is open to the media, congressional staff members and private geospatial firms.

"Regardless of one's views on the stimulus, we want to make sure MAPPS members optimize the opportunities the legislation provides to do business, keep and hire employees, and contribute to support the Nation's spatial data infrastructure," said Palatiello. "This analysis will help our members target their business development efforts by identifying the potential geospatial demand."

Top News of the Week

GEOSPAN Corporation announced that the U.S Patent Office has granted Geospan’s request for reexamination of Pictometry’s U.S. Patent Number 7,424,133, entitled “Method and Apparatus for Capturing, Geolocating and Measuring Oblique Images.”

In its request to the Patent Office, GEOSPAN submitted prior art that was not considered by the Patent Office when it examined the application that led to Pictometry’s patent. The Patent Office agreed that the prior art submitted by GEOSPAN warranted reexamination of several claims in the patent, and it subsequently issued a Non-Final Office Action rejecting those claims as unpatentable.

Pictometry International Corp. announces a significant win in the reexamination proceedings instituted by GEOSPAN Corp. against Pictometry’s U.S. Patent No. 7,424,133 entitled “Method and Apparatus for Capturing, Geolocating and Measuring Oblique Images.” In sum, on February 2, 2009, the U.S. Patent Office upheld the validity of priority ownership to the inventive concepts claimed within Pictometry’s patent thereby rejecting recent allegations made by GEOSPAN Corp. Furthermore, the Patent Office held that the majority of GEOSPAN claims are without substantive merit.

CARIS is announced the release of Bathy DataBASE 2.2, implementing the very latest technology available to address the obstacles of storing and managing large volumes of multi-dimensional data.

With the ever-expanding volume of multibeam survey data and the large number of archived historical data sources, a data management system specializing in bathymetry management is essential.

Acquisitions, Agreements, Alliances

Global Geo Supplies, Littleton, Colorado announced its recent acquisition of the SoftMouse product line from Immersion Corporation. The acquisition positions Global Geo Supplies as the largest volume provider of 3D computer mouse products worldwide. The SoftMouse 3D computer input devices are principally used to create three dimensional computer models based on two dimensional imagery taken via satellite, aerial camera, and radar.

KORE Telematics, digital wireless services provider specializing in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, announced it has teamed with Datalink Systems to deliver GPS tracking solutions for vehicles, aircraft and other high-value assets. Relying on the KORE network for ubiquitous, real-time wireless data transmission, Datalink Systems can now provide public agencies with GSM and CDMA based tracking solutions from a single network provider.


3D Laser Mapping has opened a purpose-built production centre for StreetMapper, the world’s first vehicle-based laser mapping system. Due to unprecedented global demand, 3D Laser Mapping has expanded its production facilities agreeing a five-year lease on a unit located on a prestigious industrial park just outside Nottingham, UK. These new facilities will be utilized as a dedicated production and testing facility for the highly accurate vehicle mounted laser-scanning structures enabling 3D Laser Mapping to deliver StreetMapper systems to clients around the world.

Global Marketing Insights, Inc. has completed the “2008 Africa Survey and Analysis of the Remote Sensing Market, Aerial and Spaceborne-10 Year Trends” and delivered the final report to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

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