Several MAPPS member firms are assisting with Hurricane Harvey response and recovery. They are providing aerial imagery, surveying, mapping, and other valuable data and services.

"Numerous MAPPS member firms are providing valuable services to help our fellow citizens and assist first responders. Geospatial data collected on the ground and in the air through manned aircraft, drones and satellites are helping with rescue, recovery, repair, response and economic revival," says MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello. "A quick data call to our membership found these are just a few of the many examples of the private geospatial profession making technical and professional assistance available.”

TerraSond Ltd., based in Palmer, Alaska, with offices in Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, is surveying numerous ports and harbor entrances along the Texas coast. The company is performing ocean-bottom hydrographic surveys to ensure ports can be safely reopened for marine traffic as soon as possible and prevent shipping accidents due to debris. TerraSond also has multiple crews and vessels servicing private dock owners and offshore pipeline infrastructure for oil and gas companies.

Daytona, Ohio-based Woolpert is engaged in a pro bono activity, collecting 1-foot orthoimagery across Houston and Harris County, uploading processed data to the firm's disaster relief website, pairing it with previously-collected orthoimagery for change detection analysis, and making the maps available to the public.

Surdex Corporation of Chesterfield, Mo., is serving several municipal governments in the greater Houston area to collect four-band, 1-foot pixel digital orthophotography over a 10,000-square-mile area to allow quick access to the imagery for recovery efforts and disaster management. 

Surveying and Mapping LLC (SAM) of Austin, Texas, has deployed four unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or "drone" crews and two manned helicopters for assessment and recovery efforts in support of electric utilities and oil and gas companies. 

GeoCue Group Inc., based in Madison, Ala., is setting up an Amazon Web Service (AWS) website with the most recent Harris County elevation data through existing LiDAR technology and orthophotos accessible at no cost. 

The Sanborn Map Company (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Esri (Redlands, Calif.) and Vexcel Imaging US LLC (Centennial, Colo.) are part of a consortium providing aerial imagery of Houston and selected Texas coastal cities for use by first responders, humanitarian organizations, federal and state agencies, and insurance companies.

MAPPS has long advocated the use of geospatial data and services in emergency response. Its input to the 2007 National Academy report resulted in the establishment of contracts for "Remote Sensing to Support Incident Management and Homeland Security" by the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the lead federal agency for disasters and emergency response.


Formed in 1982, MAPPS is a national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the U.S. The MAPPS membership spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including member firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, LiDAR, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes associate member firms, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the U.S. and other firms from around the world.