Point of Beginning

Newsline: April 2010

April 1, 2010
MAPPS Presents Congress with Geospatial Imagery Bill and Missouri Completes GPS RTK Network.

An orthoimage map, courtesy of Photo Science


MAPPS Presents Congress with Geospatial Imagery Bill

More than 100 members of MAPPS, the association of private geospatial firms, met with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., in March to seek introduction of a bill authorizing the Imagery for the Nation program. “To save tax dollars, create private-sector jobs, and provide baseline geographic data for economic development and a variety of other applications beneficial to government programs and private business and investment, MAPPS is urging Congress to authorize and fund a program of geospatial image maps of the United States through a bill known as the Making America Prosperous Act, or MAP Act.” said MAPPS President Jeff Lovin, PS, CP.

MAPPS members distributed literature demonstrating that today’s geospatial and geographic information systems (GIS) technologies are essential to good government. The Federal Geographic Data Committee estimates that 80-90 percent of government information has a geospatial-information component, according to MAPPS officials. Dozens of federal agencies, virtually every state, and hundreds of regional, local and tribal units of government acquire imagery each year. “Today, these agencies each acquire their own imagery,” Lovin said. “These ad hoc programs result in costly duplication. A consolidated program provides an economical approach to intergovernmental use of orthoimagery and helps provide data for hundreds of applications in the U.S. economy.”

According to MAPPS officials, the Government Accountability Office has been critical of the lack of coordination in employing and sharing geospatial data. For example, the House-passed health-care bill contains approximately 682 references or provisions requiring location information for implementation; the Senate bill includes 814 provisions. Yet, neither bill creates a geospatial management office within the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate the collection, management and data sharing of the required geospatial data activities or the application of data to these hundreds of requirements.

The MAP Act is a step toward a coordinated, strategic approach to base geospatial data for the nation. “We were very pleased with the response and reaction,” Lovin said. “We are confident the bill will be introduced in the coming weeks.”

Missouri Completes GPS RTK Network

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced in February the completion of the MoDOT GPS RTK Network. The 78-station real-time network of continuously operating reference stations (CORS) covers the entire state, including the complete metropolitan areas of Saint Louis and Kansas City.

The network is built on Trimble CORS and VRS infrastructure technology, according to Tom Seiler, vice president of Seiler Instrument & Mfg. Co. Inc., the company that built the stations. All stations are Trimble NetR5 receivers with Timble Zephyr Geodetic 2 antennae with full GPS and Glonass tracking. The software running the network is the new Trimble VRS3Net, which is capable of supporting hundreds of users.

The CORS stations are positioned using existing National Geodetic Survey (NGS) CORS. Several MoDOT stations have been accepted into the NGS National CORS. According to MoDOT officials, additional stations are being submitted to NGS monthly with the goal of having all stations accepted this year.

The MoDOT GPS RTK Network data are available free to registered users. For more information, visit the MoDOT GNSS Web site, gpsweb.modot.mo.gov.