Newsline: December 2009

December 1, 2009
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Merrick & Co. Project Takes Top Honors in MAPPS Contest and Letters: Safety Sense.

Merrick & Co. Project Takes Top Honors in MAPPS Contest

A geospatial data collection project providing for levee recertification performed by Merrick & Co. was named the “Project of the Year” in the 2009 Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards competition sponsored by MAPPS, the association of private geospatial firms. The project, which also won in the photogrammetry/elevation data generation category, involved using aerial LiDAR technology and an advanced hydrographic geodatabase to generate valuable elevation data for the City of Wichita, Kansas.

The high-fidelity data compiled and processed by Merrick & Co. were used to substantiate the levee recertification process by more accurately defining watershed boundaries. The resulting geodatabase is expected to be used in the future to identify areas that are prone to flooding and retain runoff, to design culverts and bridges, to identify paths of flood flows, to assist in new development site plans, and to support overall stormwater mitigation.

“The Merrick team members didn’t merely think in terms of what had been done in the past,” said POB Editor Christine L. Grahl, one of the judges for the 2009 contest. “They actively pursued new ideas and pushed the envelope with new technologies to provide deliverables that would continue to add value for the client long after the immediate project was completed. This project provides an excellent example of how thinking in broad terms regarding the value of geospatial data can lead to new opportunities and solutions for all stakeholders.”

Other firms recognized in the MAPPS contest include Intermap Technologies, winner in the airborne and satellite data acquisition category for a project titled “NEXTMap Europe”; Photo Science Inc., winner in the GIS/IT category for “Spatial Data Interoperability at the Florida Department of Transportation”; Kappa Mapping, winner in the small projects category for “Color Infrared Imagery Makes Accurate Bernal Pool Mapping Possible in Bar Harbor, Maine”; and Optech Inc., winner in the technology innovation category for “New Product Introduction in Hardware, ALTM Orion.”

“Once again, MAPPS member firms have demonstrated the professionalism, innovation and societal benefit that the private geospatial community provides to enhance our quality of life,” said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello. “The Excellence Awards are but one reminder of the valuable service our members perform.”

The winning projects will be highlighted in a feature article in the January 2010 issue of POB. For more information on the competition results, visit

Letters: Safety Sense

October 2009

In “Watch out for the new OSHA,” Mr. Koons no doubt brings a great deal of workplace safety experience to his column. However, the article is badly tainted by his anti-OSHA bias. Snarky phrases like “tak[ing] hard-earned money out of the pockets of companies” and “the House is looking at increasing our prison populations” eclipse the value of the column’s factual content. His characterization of non-compliant employers (“these aren’t evil people who don’t care about their employees ... they are hardworking entrepreneurs who just want their businesses to succeed”) misses the point, intentionally or otherwise. It isn’t a matter of good versus evil; it’s a matter of responsibility versus negligence, and too often employers lose sight of the former when they focus too hard on the bottom line.

As the owner of a small professional land surveying firm, I’m interested in information about changes in workplace safety trends and requirements. However, I can do without the sort of overt bias Mr. Koons presents in his column.

Jim Frame

The ideas and opinions expressed by our readers do not necessarily reflect those of POB. Send your thoughts to the editor at

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