The Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) invited the press to a meeting to get an update on its activities. We discussed the possibility of a national licensure of "mappers" and some work the organization has begun in exploring this with USGS. Few activities in the U.S. have national licensing, one example being airline pilots. But, the argument goes that surveyors typically practice within a few counties, photgrammetrists typically cover several states. Should states not recognize out of state licenses (as is going on in Florida) there may come a time when a national solution must override state's rights.
MAPPS continues to monitor adoption of a "flawed" NCEES model law that restricts GIS work to certified land surveyors. The group has worked with several states to amend it to allow grandfathering of practicing professionals, but still has much work to do. The analogy of the states "all doing their own thing" was compared to the current debate regarding same sex marriage in the U.S. and whether it's a state or federal decision.
MAPPS is also formulating a statement regarding its position on the Landsat Data Continuity Mission and the role of the private sector on such work. ASPRS submitted a statement regarding Landsat last fall.
I raised the question about professional organization working together (see article below regarding a meeting of several organizations called by URISA). It seems the same discussion came up recently when the executive directors of several organizations were brought together for another purpose. One of the ideas floated: rekindling GIS/LIS, a show that ran until 1998 and pulled together a number of geospatial professional organizations. One of the problems such an event might solve: "stove piping of the professional organizations."
ASPRS Points of Interest
Coolest Title. Keith Lenard is the Vice President of Lands at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Missoula, Montana.
The Big 70! It's ASPRS' 70 anniversary this year. The Rocky Mountain Chapter had a flag flown over the capital to commemorate the event and gave it to Executive Director, James Plasker, to hang at headquarters. That building, by the way, no longer has a mortgage, thanks to donations from companies and individuals. Representatives helped celebrate a "simulated" burning of the mortgage during Tuesday's keynote session. (The burning was simulated for safety sake, but a cool "flame" did rise from a bowl on stage.) Later in the day attendees shared an anniversary cake and celebratory champagne punch.
Geospatial Organizations Unite: How and Why to Work Together
In the March/April issue of the URISA Newsletter, Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) president, Dan Parr, wrote about a recent meeting between nine professional associations and three federal groups to enhance cooperation toward better use of geotechnologies. The associations included very "GISy" ones including URISA and the Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA) and others that focus on using technology within government including the National Association of Counties (NaCO) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). The government groups included the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), USGS, and Census.
I asked Parr why this meeting happened now, in 2004. "We were taking advantage of an opportunity. 9/11 was a 'teaching moment' for our industry. We learned that we are more connected than perhaps we thought, but are not connected as much as we could be." All of the organizations could see that they were not "taking advantage of their collective power" because of their "stove-pipe way" of tackling the various technologies and issues across the industry. Parr pointed out that the last event where six professional organizations came together was GIS/LIS, the last iteration of which was held in 1998.
Further, he noted, few organizations have been effective lobbyists. In part, Parr notes, that's because most of the organizations are educationally focused. The benefits for coming together are many, according to Parr. "We can help the industry and the organizations by providing a common perspective and message. Further, we can introduce our 'corner' [of geospatial technologies] in the context of others." He suggests that, to date, having so many organizations and perspectives on geospatial technologies may have confused people "on the outside."
While some of the organizations that participated are at some level "competitors" when it comes to members, the reality, Parr offers, is that each group "needs to serve the others as a resource." URISA took the lead but he noted, "any of the organizations might have called the meeting."
The meeting itself yielded many ideas. Attendees learned about the newly formed Australian Spatial Sciences Institute that weaves together its many geospatial professionals into one whole. Attendees also discussed a less formal option, a federation of sorts, as well as opportunities for joint conferences, publications, and workshops. Such efforts, Parr envisions, will help educate our members and "make the organizations more attractive to their members." That first meeting yielded not a plan, but a realization of the potential of coming together. A follow-up meeting is planned for June.
What does Parr see for the future? In five years his hope is that there is "a visible, effective, intentional network of organizations speaking with one voice about the effectiveness and necessity of geotechnology in government and industry." How likely is that? "It's more than possible, it's inevitable." And, while Parr is realistic that it won't happen tomorrow, he hopes to "make people impatient so they act now to get things started."
Department of Corrections
Susan Marlow, president of SDS wrote to correct my error last week in naming the company. She also explained SDS' role in the basemap project for Tennessee.
"A small correction - our official name is Smart Data Strategies and we are a joint venture partner on the TN Base Map Project with EarthData. The state contract is actually with the joint venture, TGI Tennessee Geographic Information which is jointly owned by SDS and ED."
A reader also noted I got John Wesley Powell mixed up with William Powell (The Thin Man).
"I wonder: was "William Powell" the 350-pound Samoan attorney for the famous explorer John Wesley Powell? :}"
David Kimball, GIS Specialist, at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation found a "typo" as he generously called it.
"You used 'viola' (a string instrument or flower) instead of 'voila' (a French word that means 'look!' or 'tah-dah!') in this week's newsletter. This seems to be a very popular misspelling, as judged by its frequent appearance on the ESRI forums."
Robert Fowler wrote to correct my usage of "data."
"A small note - in the GIS Monitor this week in Guerilla Marketing you use data as a singular noun. Probably a slip - I've done it myself on occasion. Data are, like media, phenomena, criteria and other derivatives from Latin, plural. The singular being datum, medium, phenomenon etc. "
The editor replies: I take full responsibility for these errors and am privileged to have readers that digest this publication so carefully. I will point out a usage note on "data" here.
• Diana Stuart Sinton, GIS Program Director at National Institute for Technology & Liberal Education, wrote to share some information about resources for GIS educators.
"I wanted to let you know about our website and what the GIS initiative at NITLE is all about. We're the National Institute for Technology & Liberal Education, a Mellon Foundation-funded entity. We currently work only with a particular group of 81+ private, liberal arts colleges for our programs and workshops, but our online resources are increasingly helpful for all, and our membership structure may change in the future.
"The GIS initiative provides resources, curriculum development, and support for faculty at these schools who are interested in incorporating GIS into their research and/or teaching, but are at places where there is usually not a geography department, or overall awareness of GIS at all. Most of the GIS in academia occurs at the larger, research-oriented schools and it's just beginning to break ground in other areas of higher education. Plus these aren't schools that ever do much with teaching 'about' GIS, so the emphasis is primarily on teaching/researching 'with' GIS. One thing in particular we've developed is a searchable database of articles from disciplines that have used GIS in some way (but may be coming from their discipline-specific journals, not the GIS journals)."
Points of Interest
Can't Get Enough? Read the latest Points of Interest daily on our website.
Enterprise for All? Readers might be interested in reading Joe Francica's recap of What We Learned at the Location Technology & Business Intelligence Symposium. The event brought together vendors and users to look at geospatial technologies' role in the business world. Francica introduces the idea of a continuum that runs from spotty implementation to enterprise implementations in part based on the inherent "geographicalness" of the industry. There may yet be a place for those "silos" of information we so often disdain in this industry. Interesting reading.
Telematics Growth Slow. Telematics growth has been sluggish according to a report from ABI Research. The report suggests producers are not offering compelling content, but notes that retention of services in high-end vehicles is significantly higher than in lower-end ones. One threat: the potential that such services will eventually be offered via cell phone.
Canada Up, US Down. No, that's not stock's to which I refer, but the height of these locations. By combining 10 years of data from the U.S. and Canada researchers have determined that Canada is "bouncing back" as the ice shield melts. Other coverage of the same story explains that Chicago is sinking. I suppose they are trying to keep the story local.
Bye Cometa. Wi-Fi wholesaler Cometa Networks, which said it would deploy 20,000 hotspots across the U.S. in just two years, has plans to shut its doors in the coming weeks. The idea was to make a paid wireless system pretty much ubiquitous, but according to a statement on the website return on investment was not sufficient to maintain investor interest. Part of the problem, perhaps is that hotels are offering free Wi-Fi. Pyramid Research reports that 6,000 hotels around the world provide wireless Internet access, compared to 2,500 last year. By 2007, they expect 25,000 hotels to offer Wi-Fi. To gauge the pull of Wi-Fi note that in a survey of more than 1,600 business travelers, 78% said they would use Wi-Fi if it was available on trains.
Quote of the Week: "I've never seen a terrorist with a map of a cornfield in his pocket." That was Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, charging that Washington is steering vital anti-terrorism funds away from New York to low-priority areas in the nation's hinterlands.
Kudos and Conundrums
Have you seen something in our industry worthy of kudos? Or that makes you scratch your head? Send it on. You may take credit or remain anonymous.
Kudos (concepts we applaud)
Those Kids! The students in Lewiston ID are continuing their geographic inquiry in a cemetery study I mentioned two years ago. The update on the 5th Street Cemetery Necrogeographical
Study is here.